March 28, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) have welcomed the Armenian Parliament’s creation of an Armenia-Italy Friendship Group to promote increased cooperation between the Armenian and Italian governments and peoples.

Meeting last week in Yerevan, Italy’s ambassador to Yerevan, Paolo Andrea Trabalza, thanked Armenian Parliament Speaker Armen Khachatrian for his role in the creation of the friendship group. The two men described it as “a crucial step” for further development of bilateral relations. Khachatrian added that it will help expand the exchange of information on legislative activity and cooperation in international organizations. Amb. Trabalza said a similar group will soon formed in the Italian parliament.

“Ever since early Roman times, when the first Armenian Governmor Generals of Venice were apoointed by the Roman Emperor in Constantinople, to the arrival of Abbot Mekhitar, founder of the Mekhitarian Order, who was given San Lazzaro Island by Pope Clement XI in 1712, to the modern era when Armenians escaping from the Soviet Union used Italian cities as transition points to the West, Italy and Armenia have been bound together as comrades in faith and freedom,” commented NIAF president Joseph R. Cerrell, following the announcement of the parliamentary friendship group.

“We welcome the support of our friends in the Italian American community and look forward to the increased bilateral cooperation, trade, tourism, and exchanges that the formation of these Armenia-Italy parliamentary friendship groups will engender,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Armenians, in the U.S. and around the world, value the strong historic and cultural bonds we have long enjoyed with the Italian people, and hold in high regard the role that NIAF plays as the advocate for our nation’s more than 25 million citizens of Italian Heritage.”

The Armenian parliament speaker, who has visited Rome, extended an invitation to his Italian counterpart and the Chairman of the Italian Senate to visit Armenia. The Italian Embassy building in Yerevan is expected to be inaugurated in late May, possibly in conjunction with the opening of the Italian street in central Yerevan, noted the Italian ambassador to Armenia.

For additional information about NIAF visit their website at:


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
Your generosity empowers our advocacy, inspires our work, and sustains our momentum.