Ambassador Calls For High Wycombe To Get Armenian Twin

By Lawrence Dunhill

Bucks Free Press
Feb 17 2010

THE ARMENIAN ambassador last night called for High Wycombe to be
‘twinned’ with two towns in his homeland.

He was visiting an exhibition of children’s art and ‘illuminated
manuscripts’ from the former Soviet Union republic, at High Wycombe
library, set up by the Chiltern Armenian Society.

The society was founded in 2003 and has been trying to forge links
with towns Igevan and Dilidjan with a view to getting a formal
twinning agreement.

The towns are known for furniture production as well as forestry and
nearby fauna.

His excellency Vahe Gabrielyan told the Bucks Free Press: "There’s a
small but very vibrant Armenian community here in Wycombe and we’ve
already signed a linkage agreement between the three towns.

"We see that there are special values that we share and common spheres
of interest.

"We have to come up with several projects like this exhibition before
twinning can happen, but we believe we can succeed."

Foremr mayor of High Wycombe Liaquat Ali visited Armenia in 2005 and
deputy mayor, Muhammad Abdul-Karim, welcomed the ambassador yesterday
and praised the Chiltern Armenian Society.

He said: "The work the society is doing is excellent and I’m in full
support of these events taking place."

But he said he was "not sure" about twinning the towns because High
Wycombe is already twinned with Kelkheim in Germany.

Errol Baker, the chairman of High Wycombe Twinning Association,
attended and said he would talk to members about the idea.

Odette Bazil, chairman of the Chiltern Armenian Society, said: "There
are a lot of similarities between the towns but British people know
very little about Armenia.

She moved to Britain 50 years ago and wants Britons to find out more
about her homeland, which is bordered by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia
and Iran and is about the size of Wales.

Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its state
religion in 301 AD. Its parliament was formed and a constitution
drawn up in 1995 after 70 years of Soviet rule.

Former health minister Lord Darzi is of Armenian Christian origin
and is a member of the Chiltern Armenian Society.

There are about 18,000 Armenians in the UK.

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