RFE/RL photo: U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway
By Hrach Melkumian
President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian leaders will join U.S. diplomats in Yerevan Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Several hundred officials and dignitaries are expected to attend a memorial performance of Mozart’s Requiem dedicated to more than 3,000 victims of the world’s worst act of terror.
The remembrance concert, part of worldwide commemorations of the tragedy, will take place at the American University of Armenia and will be broadcast live on state television.
“We thank Armenia for the official support given by the government as well as for the outpouring of heart-felt grief and sympathy expressed by the people of Armenia for the victims of the terrible murders in New York City, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania,” the U.S. embassy in Yerevan said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement says the unprecedented terror attacks “changed America and the world in fundamental ways.” “No longer are we divided into East or West by competing ideologies,” it reads. “Instead the people of the world are uniting to face the threat of shadowy organizations that use terror and murder to pursue their goals.”
Meeting with local journalists, U.S. Ambassador John Ordway said Washington praised the Armenian leadership for its “very good political and practical support” for Washington’s efforts to hunt down and bring to justice the masterminds of the September 11 mass killings. He said the anti-terror cooperation has further improved the already “excellent” relationship between the U.S. and Armenia.
Armenia backed the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan and opened its airspace for U.S. warplanes and transport aircraft bound for Central Asia. The U.S. embassy’s military attaché revealed to RFE/RL last month that Armenia also offered its airfields for their possible emergency landings. Lieutenant-Colonel Eric von Tersch said the overflights through Armenia spared U.S. aircraft stationed in neighboring Turkey the need to refuel in mid-air on their way back from Afghanistan.