Andreas Borgeas

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Fresno: Andreas Borgeas Seeks Armenian Consul For Valley

By Alex Tavlian

Fresno Bee

Jan 22 2012 CA

Fresno City Council Member Andreas Borgeas wants the Armenian government to appoint an honorary consul as a link between the Central Valley's large Armenian-American community and the Middle Eastern country.

Borgeas sent a letter Tuesday to Los Angeles-based Armenian Consul General Grigor Hovhannissian requesting that the Republic of Armenia appoint a Fresnan to the ceremonial position.

The position, albeit ceremonial compared to a consul general, could provide important administrative services, such as processing visas, for Valley Armenians.

Armenians currently get visas and other diplomatic services through the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles. "With [the honorary consul] we wouldn't need to go to Los Angeles," Borgeas said. "That would be really neat to have here."

Fresno currently has one honorary consul, Ed Fanucchi, who was appointed by Italy, and one official consul, Reyna Torres Mendivil of Mexico.

"Given the rich history of our Armenian community in the Valley, it's worth exploring the possibility of having an honorary consul serve the community," Borgeas said.

Borgeas placed one stipulation: the position would be nonpartisan and apolitical, and the honorary consul could not advance specific cultural affiliation or political and religious partisanship.

It's important to choose someone who would avoid serving special interests in the local Armenian community, he said.

The honorary consul request received full support from Borgeas' colleagues on the City Council and Mayor Ashley Swearengin, along with Armenian community leaders.

The idea for an honorary consul, Borgeas said, came up when he was spearheading the Fresno-Armenia Sister City exploratory committee in 2009. Since then, the city of Fresno has increased relations with the Republic of Armenia and its U.S.-based officials, he said.

Representatives from the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles said the process of appointing an honorary consul would need to be instigated by Hovhannissian, who was unavailable for comment.

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