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The Metropolitan Museum of New York has issued a warning about the threat to Armenian churches, monasteries and cultural sites in Artsakh following the occupation of vast parts of the region by Azerbaijan.

“The recent bloodshed and destruction in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a global tragedy of grave concern to us all. In addition to our plea and hope for the violence to stop, as museum leaders we urge that cultural heritage sites be protected,” says the statement, signed by  Dan Weiss, President and CEO of the Met, and Max Hollein, its Director.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting human creativity of over 5,000 years from across the globe. As the organizer and host of the Armenia! exhibition in 2018—which was the first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context over fourteen centuries—we have watched in horror and sadness at the recent violence and bloodshed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In the statement, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Hollein “implore all those involved to respect these international cultural heritage sites, which enrich our world and have survived for thousands of years.” They add that the “loss of cultural heritage sites is permanent, and is a grievous theft from future generations.”

In a letter on behalf of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and himself, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian thanked the Met for its concern and support to Armenian culture, offering the Prelacy’s assistance in the institutions efforts to safeguard the legacy sites of Artsakh.