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Azerbaijani Film Festival Planned In Armenian Capital

The festival will show recent Azerbaijani movies, like the joint German-Azerbaijani "Absurdistan."
YEREVAN -- An Armenian nongovernmental organization says it will hold an Azerbaijani film festival in Yerevan as part of its efforts to promote Armenian-Azerbaijani reconciliation.

The Yerevan-based Caucasus Center for Peace Initiatives (CCPR) is organizing the October event with support from the U.S. Embassy in Armenia in an effort to further dialogue on repairing Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

CCPR Chairman Georgi Vanian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that "there is a demand for peace -- [it is something] that exists in every family but is [currently] frozen” in the region.

Vanian said he and other festival organizers have watched some 50 Azerbaijani movies produced after the Soviet collapse and will select those which they think "will appeal to Armenian society."

Vanian said the filmmakers have consented to the screening of their movies in Yerevan even though none of them are due to attend the event.

While similar events have taken place in Armenia in recent years, holding such a festival in Azerbaijan is practically impossible. A longstanding government policy considers the very presence of Armenian citizens on Azerbaijani soil an affront to the country's honor and territorial integrity.

Armenians fought Azerbaijan from 1988-1994 for control of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region. The war displaced hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis.