Foreign Minister’s Resignation Still a Priority, Says Manoyan

ARF Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan

ARF Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s call for the resignation of Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian is still a priority, said the party’s political director Giro Manoyan Wednesday during a press briefing.

“Our demand for the minister’s resignation will allow the president to alter the political course and indicate to all that policies have changed,” said Manoyan, emphasizing that the imperative for changing Armenia’s foreign policy still exists given the continuing disturbing developments.

Manoyan went on to discuss a wide array of issues on the forefront of the Armenian political agenda, including Armenia-Turkey relations and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Manoyan said that a “hot political season” was on the horizon, since Armenia is being pressured into making up its mind on the so-called “Madrid Principles,” which are currently guiding the OSCE Minsk Group conflict resolution process.

“The Minsk Group Co-Chairs are pulling out all the stops to reach an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the so-called ‘fundamental principles’ by October 14. But the final draft of these principles will only be ready for submission by the end of September,” explained Manoyan who clarified that Oct. 14 is the date for a soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish teams, scheduled to take place in Turkey.

“The fact that official Baku has never said that it would abide by the will of the people of Karabakh if they chose to remain outside the territorial jurisdiction of Azerbaijan, is enough reason to declare that the sides will not agree on these fundamental principles,” added Manoyan. “I’d say that neither side wants to say ‘yes’ to the principles but also that neither side wants to be the first to say ‘no.’”

Manoyan assessed that the Minsk Group principals were trying to meet Turkey’s demands of ensuring that Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian will attend the soccer match in October. Late last month, Sarkisian indicated that he might not travel to Turkey for the match, if inroads were not made in the talks.

In his assessment Armenia should have declared to the international community that Turkey has nixed the Armenian-Turkish negotiation process by changing the rules of the game from the onset. He added that such statements from Armenia “would shift pressure on to Turkey.”

“Today, Turkey’s main objective is to demonstrate that Armenian-Turkish negotiations are progressing. It is the only way to prevent any third party’s interference in the process,” Manoyan said, emphasizing that Turkey was doing its utmost to position itself as a the side that is eager to proceed with the talks, when in reality it is the side that has veered from the principle of conducting the talks without preconditions.

Manoyan also discussed recent revelations that the Turkish Secret Police were behind the plot to assassinate Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink, adding that the Turkish authorities have complicated the trial.

“They have turned the trial into a joke, which naturally has angered Dink’s family, the Turkish-Armenian community, as well as non-Armenians,” said Manoyan adding that it was difficult to gauge what the Turkish authorities intention was.

He said the sudden revelations and intermittent information being disseminated aimed at further hiding the truth surrounding the case. Despite assertions to the contrary by Turkish authorities, it is evident that the forces behind Dink’s murder still wield tremendous influence in Turkey.

Commenting on Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS, Manoyan said that Armenia currently is in a delicate position of being deprived of a border with the CIS.

He expressed hope, however, that the Georgian authorities will be prudent and would not create obstacles for Armenia.

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