Armenian Foreign Ministry Must Be More Vocal, Says Manoyan

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YEREVAN (Yerkir)–With the recent barrage of information about an impending agreement between Armenia and Turkey on normalizing relations, the Armenian foreign ministry must be more vocal in expressing Armenia’s official position, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director Giro Manoyan Wednesday during a press briefing.

In his assessment, Manoyan said that Armenia has gone as far as to allow Turkey to speak on its behalf, referring to statements made Tuesday by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who asserted that Armenia and Turkey were well on their way to developing a comprehensive agreement on normalizing relations.

Manoyan went on to urge the foreign ministry to be more transparent in its approach to this very crucial issue. The ARF leader pointed out that while Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian delaying his trip to Turkey could be seen as a sign of protest, but he added that the foreign ministry should provide a more comprehensive reasoning behind Nalbandian’s decision to not participate in the UN Civilization Summit, choosing instead to attend the reception, where he met with President Barack Obama.

Manoyan said Obama’s meeting Monday with the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers was meant to push the two countries to quickly sign an agreement and open the borders.

“It is unclear what Turkey will do, because its priority right now is to stop the recognition of the Genocide by the US,” said Manoyan adding, however, that Turkey is faced with the prospect of alienating Azerbaijan, whose growing anger over the exclusion of the Karabakh conflict from the Armeno-Turkish issue was expressed by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s boycott of the Istanbul summit earlier this week.

If Turkey succumbs to Azeri threats and the Armeno-Turkish negotiations do not yield the desired results in the near future, Armenia will not continue the talks. “Our President will not want to extend the negotiations for years. We want to see practical results soon,” said Manoyan, affirming that diplomatic relations with Turkey would be established and the border would be opened this year.

Manoyan characterized Obama’s comments in Turkey about the Armenian Genocide as “positive but not satisfactory,” saying that Obama missed an opportunity.

“As the US president, he [Obama] stressed that his position on the recognition of the Genocide had not changed. He did this for the whole world to hear and in the presence of the Turkish president,” said Manoyan who deemed this statement, as well as Obama’s speech in parliament where he urged Turkey to reconcile with its own history as a positive.

However, Manoyan added that Obama’s statements about not wanting to tip the balance of the Turkish-Armenian negotiations could be characterized as giving in to Turkish threats, since the recognition of the Genocide and the Turkish-Armenian discussions are not related.

“The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is one thing, while the Armenia-Turkey negotiation is another. They are not related,” stressed Manoyan.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that any agreement between Armenia and Turkey not compromise Armenia’s national interests. As an example, he said any document or phrasing that might cast doubt on the veracity of the Genocide would be unacceptable.

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