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Lawyers: “ Yerevan is siding with the AGBU”

Nicosia 22 May, 2007 (Gibrahayer correspondents at the event) – Attorney General Petros Clerides, as the legal representative of the Republic of Cyprus, is expected to take court action against the AGBU within the next two or three weeks in an effort to resume the campaign to save the Melkonian school in Nicosia and aim for its earliest operation.
       Some 50 members of the Armenian community, Representative Vartkes Mahdessian and Melkonian alumni who gathered in Nicosia on Monday night heard lawyers Costas Velaris and Christina Sarris say that the Attorney General, who has received several hundred letters, e-mails and pressure, will take action on behalf of the Armenian community of Cyprus .
Attorney General Clerides, however, will re-appoint the trio of Velaris, Sarris and former Attorney General Alecos Markides to undertake the case in his name as they have nearly two years' worth of preparatory work and documentation. The three lawyers had in the past represented Patriarch Mutafyan in the Cyprus cases against the AGBU.
       On the issue of payment it was made clear that the Attorney General has appointed the three lawyers, but he will not pay for legal costs, to which Costas Velaris seemed unconcerned, saying “there is no need to deal with that issue right now”.
       Velaris appealed to the members of the community or anybody else in the world to come forward with information or documentation that could help the case.
       He added that “this time” there would be transparency in the communication of information and any progress report, with Christina Sarris saying any report and information would be posted on any website of the community's choice.
       Responding to calls from the audience to adopt a “proper” channel of communication through the Armenian MP's office and then to use the community's hierarchy of political and other organizations, Velaris said “anyone wishing to contact us may do so”, but added that he and his co-counsels did not want to get involved in the local politics of the small community, where he assumed that “there is no one who wants to see the destruction of the Melkonian.”
       At the same time both Velaris and Sarris contradicted themselves by saying in separate statements that “the action would be in the name of the Armenian community of Cyprus ” while in other statements they said that “the beneficiaries, according to the spirit of the Melkonian Trust, are ALL the Armenians around the world.”
       Velaris was also caustic about some of the obstacles that the case has faced, adding that no one or any organization had contacted the three lawyers with a compromise deal or offer and neither were there any threats or suggestions.
       “Unfortunately the government of Armenia has sided with the AGBU in this matter,” he said, while he also expressed his dismay at the decision of some judges in Cyprus courts, such as the case of the overturning of the first preservation order on the Melkonian estate.
       The preservation order has since been reinstated by the authority of Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis.
       As regards the future structure of the Melkonian, Christina Sarris said that as the Attorney General has undertaken the case, he also has the supreme authority to appoint the trustees of the school and its estate in the future.
       Sarris also mentioned that “as far as I know the Melkonian will be used by the nearby Aglandja state school” that had structural problem and two construction workers were killed, and that the move would be “from the new school year, in September.”

Thank you letter
for scholarship granted by AGBU - California Melkonian Alumni

Dear Mr Zaven Berberian,
Chairman of AGBU-California Melkonian Alumni

I would like to take the opportunity and express to you my most sincere thankfulness for the scholarship of $1,600 which I was granted through your fund.

I wish to inform you, that I am already through with the 1 st semester of my postgraduate studies and had excellent results.

I am really grateful to you for your kind consideration. Please accept my apologies for my belated email.

I remain,

Yours Sincerely
Kazarian Onik
April 5, 2007


The Alumni grants scholarship to Melkonian Graduates from the yearly income of the AGBU-Melkonian Alumni Endowment Fund. The Funds belong to Melkonian Alumni and are administered by AGBU.

Barouyr Sevag - We are few but we are called Armenians
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Our Letter of Appreciation and Gratitude to:

Mr. Neoclis Sylikiotis & Mr. Vartkes Mahdessian

Mr. Vartkes Mahdessian,
Parliamentary Representative of the Armenian Community of Cyprus

Dear Sir:

The Board of Directors of the Melkonian Alumni & Friends extends their deepest appreciation for your active role in reviving the vital issue of Melkonian Institute. Your achievement has by far exceeded our expectations and has motivated not only the Armenian community of Cyprus, but it has echoed outside your jurisdiction, into the remote corners of the world, wherever there is a Melkoniantsi and a concerned Armenian. 

The Restraining Order issued by the Minister of Interior is a major achievement for all of us, which creates a vision for tomorrow, new hope to hundreds of Armenians living across the Continent of Europe and the Middle East, the opportunity to educate them and preserve the Western Armenian Culture and Language. 

The Cyprus MEI Alumni together with California Alumni and all the active Alumni around the world accepted the responsibility to save Melkonian. Although many erroneously considered this, as our sentimental problem, instead of visualizing the deep impact of closing the Melkonian School would have on the Diaspora. We always looked for support from people outside our circle who would say enough is enough. We are very fortunate to see that you have made our problem your problem and you are determined to solve it and save Melkonian as our National Treasure, a symbol of our identity. 

We take this opportunity to thank Mr. Neoclis Sylikiotis, the Minister of Interior, the Government of Cyprus , Archbishop Varoujan of the Cyprus Prelacy, the Committee of Cyprus MEI Alumni and the whole Community of Cyprus . We will never lose our infinite hope as long as we have dedicated and responsible people among us.

Sincerely yours,

Melkonian Alumni & Friends
California , USA


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