Oskanian Chirac Meet in Lebanon

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During an official visit to Lebanon last week–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian met with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and French President Jacques Chirac Saturday.

The meeting–which was held upon Hariri’s initiative–mainly focused on the Karabakh conflict resolution process. Chirac–as president of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country–has paid special attention to the development of the Karabakh peace process. Minister Oskanian presented Armenia’s stance on the negotiating process–stressing Yerevan’s firmness in the issue of a comprehensive package solution to the Karabakh conflict without any preliminary conditions.

Chirac–who is scheduled to visit Armenia this September–expressed his support for the package solution to the conflict. The Armenian foreign minister voiced satisfaction with the National Assembly of France recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Earlier Oskanian met with his Lebanese counterpart–Fares Buyez–to discuss the Lebanese-Armenian bilateral relations and the current state of the Karabakh peace process. During the meeting the two voiced satisfaction with the level of cooperation within various international organizations.

At a news conference staged after the meeting–Buyez pointed out that "Karabakh peace talks should be based on a package solution–without any preliminary conditions–and any agreement must allow for the current situation and conditions."

On Sunday–Oskanian visited Antelias to meet with His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.

The same day–Oskanian met with representatives of Armenian political parties. The need for stronger ties between Armenia and the diaspora was stressed during the meetings with representatives of the local Armenian community. Oskanian called on all Armenia’s of the Diaspora to make every effort to resolve national issues.

Oskanian made a statement regarding the French National Assembly’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide when in Luxembourg on Friday.

"I consider it to be–above all–necessary to thank all French parliamentarians and political forces who would not spare efforts to realize this historical mission. The home country of human rights and democracy has proven that today it remains the torch-bearer and pioneer of these ideas," said Oskanian.

"The international recognition of the 1915 Genocide is not a political but a moral issue. Those who reject the historical fact that this infamous crime was committed not only against the Armenia’s but all humanity as well–in their turn commit a crime against the memory of victims and thereby open the way for another genocide," he continued.

"The genocide issue cannot be withdrawn from Armenia-Turkey relations–since it exists in the psyche of both nations. It creates serious psychological obstacles in the way of improving the relations between them. Open discussions and a final solution to this problem may not only have a positive impact on their mutual trust but promote stability and security in the region as well.

"I am sure that the day when this issue will be discussed by the Great National Assembly of Turkey is not far off. I believe that in Turkey–a country that strives to be like Europe–there are politicians like Willie Brandt who will be able to muster sufficient strength to come to Dzidzernakapert–the memorial monument dedicated to victims of the Genocide–to pay tribute to the memory of innocent victims," Oskanian concluded.

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