On April 24, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was celebrated.
The presidents of Russia and France joined other leaders at ceremonies commemorating the genocide 100 years ago of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks, an event which remains a sore point for all Armenians.
The annual April 24 commemorations mark the day when some 250 Armenian intellectuals were rounded up in what is regarded as the first step of the massacres. An estimated 1.5 million died in the killings, deportations and forced marches that began in 1915 by Ottoman officials.
In the capital Yerevan, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and First Lady Rita Sargsyan laid a wreath at a hilltop memorial at the start of the solemn ceremony.
Under a leaden sky shedding rain, foreign diplomats followed, each holding a yellow rose to put into the wreath laid at the foot of a monumental 44-meter needle, symbolizing the nation’s rebirth.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Friday issued a statement expressing “deep empathy…and solidarity” with the Armenian people for the catastrophe of “massacres and forced expulsions” they suffered.