Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   26 May

Australian politician visits Western Armenia

YEREVAN, MAY 16, ARMENPRESS: Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Walt Secord, who is also the Deputy Co-Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Armenian Group, delivered a powerful speech in Parliament recounting his recent visit to Western Armenia, reports Armenpress referring to Armenia, Austrlian-Armenian weekly.
Secord made history in 2011 by becoming the first Australian politician to visit the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. And in December 2012, Secord returned to Armenia to take part in an expedition to Western Armenia and visit towns and cities, which were completely emptied during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
The tour, which commenced in Yerevan, took Secord north through Gyumri, into the heavily Armenian populated region of Javakhk in Georgia, and then onto the cities of Kars, Van, Ani, Idgir and Akhtamar.
Upon his return to Australia, Secord remarked: “My visit to western Armenia was the most interesting study tour I have undertaken in my life.”
The seven-day visit, which was organised and partially funded by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), allowed Secord to continue his "exploration of the Armenian genocide", and allowed him to "see modern Turkey within the context of the interaction between Islam and the West".
The trip put into perspective the extensive destruction of the Armenian populated regions during the Armenian genocide.
In his speech in Parliament, Secord said: “Of course, official denial is a vital component of oppression and genocide. This is why I will never apologise for my inquiry into the Armenian story or my support for the Armenian community. As I have said in Yerevan, in the Parliament of New South Wales and on many other occasions, it is repugnant for Turkey to deny the deaths of the 1.5 million Armenians.”

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