Sarkisian’s Office Denies Biden Statement

YEREVAN—In a swift response to a video anonymously posted on YouTube late Tuesday, in which Vice-President Joe Biden tells an Armenian activist that President Serzh Sarkisian had asked him not to “force” the Armenian Genocide recognition while the Armenia-Turkey talks were in progress, a presidential spokesman denied the statement and urged the White House to release conversation records.

Commenting on the YouTube video, Sarkisian’s press secretary Armen Arzumanyan said the president did not call Biden and did not make the statement attributed to him. Arzumanyan invited the White House to release the official records of the conversation.

“The president of the Republic of Armenia has never called United States Vice President Joe Biden. It was at the latter’s initiative that two telephone conversations took place in 2009 and during those conversations the president of the Republic of Armenia did not, directly or indirectly, make the expression that is ascribed to him on the video,” said Arzumanyan.

“On the contrary, in all his public speeches and official meetings, President Serzh Sarkisian has emphasized the importance of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and urged not to justify the delay of recognition with the ongoing negotiations with Turkey. Being confident that the White House has at its disposal all of the U.S. vice-president’s official records and phone conversations, the RA presidential administration officially gives its agreement to publicize the noted phone conversation records,” added Arzymanyan.

The full text of the exchange between Biden and the activist follows.

Question: “I’m Armenian, and I want to thank you for the work you did in the Senate. I have a question. I am very involved in the Armenian American community and as you know we’ve been…”

Vice-President Biden: “Oh, I know.”

Question: “… we’ve been very, very burned. I want to know what is the message that we should be giving to our community?”

Biden: “What you should be giving to your community is that we are not backing off. The Turks have to come to the realization of what the reality is. And what we got to do is, you know, this, the compromise that was going on and being worked at for a while… Tell them that it was the Armenian President that called me and said ‘Look, do not force this issue now, while we are in negotiations.’ We passed. That’s past right now. So anyway, reality has a way of intruding.”


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  1. eddy said:

    I would believe what Sarkisian’s Office is saying but how about the actions and stepts taken ?

    Let see a couple of actions taken by Serzh Sarkisian and his foreign minister “real politic” :

    1- The so called road map to the famous two protocols were signed on the night of 22 to 23 April. (Armenian people were totally surprised of the news!) – This “signal” is saying more than any words and “official records of the conversation”

    2- The protocols were signed couple months later (EVEN US foreign minister. Ms Clinton, was invited to the ceremony) . The content of protocols was kept secret to the Armenian people, while Turkish media and news papers were well aware of the content of the protocols (at least about the paragraphs regarding recognition of borders and “historian commission” for international observers tow Turkish main pre-conditions were satisfied)
    3- The protocols did include a sentence regarding creation of join historian commission to investigate impartial… “ , after signing of the protocols not a single high ranking TURKISH politician has ever repeated the two well known preconditions any more !

    4- President Sarkisian did went to Turkey, despite announcement of Turkish parliamentarians, that the protocols will not be put on vote etc, he went to Turley despite close borders and despite his pledge to go to Turkey , when there are serious signs that Turkey is going to approve the protocols!

  2. Dave said:

    The point is, we would not be surprised if Sargsian did tell Biden that the genocide issue should not be pursued. That’s the sad part – that we cannot trust Sargsian.

  3. Vincent Lima said:

    This story and the original story announcing Vice President Biden’s off-the-cuff remarks should have been one story. Asbarez should have called President Sarkisian’s office for comment before posting the original story. Now, perhaps, you can contact Mr. Biden’s office for comment?

  4. Osik said:

    Now it is all politics and I already put my comment on the yesterday’s original article.

  5. mantra said:

    It is very simple; diplomacy on sensitive matters requires certain secrecy and compromise to achieve results…No doubt any mention of Genocide would inflame feelings on both sides and makes any rapprochement impossible while the process is being negotiated… Sarkissian did not want that happen and attempted to squash any major opposition to protocols, and wanted the issue discussed without awakening the hardened emotions of people, and in calm and rational atmosphere. He had good, wise and honorable reason for it, in my view…I also noticed that Turkish side were refraining from their usual anti Armenian rhetoric, during the negotiations, as expected. So I believe there was a quip pro quo between all parties to keep a low profile. So it is logical that Sarkissian wanted to ensure that and asked Biden secretly to not to discuss genocide during those days. However, now that it came out, he has no choice but to deny…

  6. Hovhannes said:

    Joe Biden is lying. For those of you who believe him because Sarkisian is corrupted. Well, regardless of him being corrupted. He would not do that in fact he can’t because there is nothing armenianess in that telling biden to not force the Armenian Genocide.

  7. Meg, Yergu, Chors said:

    Every self respecting Armenian should press more clarification of this issue and evidence to the contrary if any… Any one fallowing the events of the now “frozen” Armenian-Turkish protocols will clearly remember how the Sarkisyan administration was using all the resources available to it (legal or illegal) to force the protocols on the Armenian nation, they also will remember how the Armenian administration was playing with words on its position of the Armenian genocide recognition and its fundamental place for the Armenian nation. Everyone clearly remembers that the Armenian president and its administration/ the coalition, only started talking and emphasizing the genocide issue well after they were badly fooled and in the process embarrassed when the Turks cleverly tricked them, left them alone in the room, scrunching their …
    As much as everyone knows that there are no angels on any sides specially when one talk about politics and politicians, IE / Vice President Joe Biden, or the rest of President Obama / administration, I think it is the President Sarkisian’s office that should publicize any recorded tape of the conversation. The Ball is in the President Sarkisian’s court and not the Vice-President Biden’s.

    • Ara Ohanjanyan said:

      Dear Meg, Yergu, Chors, it is very basic – if you state something you are the one that have to prove it if necessary, but not your opponent that the statement is false. Can’t agree with the last part of your comment.

      • Meg , Hing, Vets... said:

        Ara jan…
        You and I, and most people of good will might agree on what is right and wrong, but unfortunately, when we talk about politics and politicians ( to put it mildly) standards change… All I’m saying is that on a good day we all can wish that President Obama and his vice-President will stay true and will fulfill their pre election promises, yet we can not demand it from them, as their ultimate loyalty is to the geopolitical/ economic interests of the USA. At the same time, we as the Armenian people can and must hold our own government accountable for issues of pan national importance; such is the recognition of Armenian genocide. The Armenian government is obligated to do this under Armenian constitution (chapter/ section 11) if not morally. My take and stand on this is not motivated by inter –Armenian, bi-partisan considerations. For me it really doesn’t matter who is on the realm, who is the president, may it be Serj, Pogos, Petros or Martiros… for that matter…. Republic of Armenia as we have it, is a state with many real limitations of all sorts (blocked borders, land lucked, limited natural resources, hostile neighbors) in short you name it we have it, and as such I understand our options are limited, but when any government is forgoing the fundamental essences of what is Armenia, Armenian nation, its purpose, and possibly plays politics with core fundamental values like genocide is unjustifiable… Therefore any self respecting government (President) should challenge and proof to its people that it stands on the firm ground when it comes to genocide.
        President Obama, Vice- President Biden and alike have made promises, broke promises and will do so in the future I’m sure , and ultimately , other then being accountable to their humanity, have no real obligations to the Armenian nation, The President/ government of Armenia does…

    • Osik said:

      Don’t be naïve, The West & Turkish stand was always the same and that was Armenia who since the Soccer games to date once onboard the plain of his London visit and once nowadays is changing position first pro “protocol” later hostile to Turkey and West (sort of) by saying “no one can force us to sign the “protocol”” (of course by disregarding the signing day fiasco).….. and nowadays seems it swings back to pro “Protocol” again, therefore as long as this pendulum keeps swinging more comments gets denied or accepted and vice versa.

    • Stephanie Dallakian said:

      You are right, of course Biden is lying… naive our American-Armenians are…….just as we believed that Obama (in his promise before the presidential election) that he would force the recognition of the genocide by the Turkish government. How many fellow Armenians told me, at that time, I had to vote for Obama because he was going to bring to reality our dream of genocide recognition, which he totally shirked from that promise after he was elected. LIKEWISE, now that we are going into an election, that same promise is surfacing, this time out of Biden’s mouth. Does no one realize that this is another ploy to coerce Armenian-Americans into voting democratic. Wake up smell the reality, Biden is lying, it is all politics.

  8. Norin Radd said:

    Just because Job Biden said President Sargisyan said something does not mean it was said. Come on people, surely some of you cannot be THAT naive and one-dimensional to just believe what is being said at face value?

    Maybe he said it, maybe he didn’t, the bottom line is even if he did say it, that still should not be a reason for the 180 the Obama administration pulled after they got elected. Most importantly, Biden knows this is a touchy subject and could very likely be putting out disinformation to fluster some of you, and by the looks of the comments, some of you are naive enough to be goaded right into it! Please wake up and smell the coffee folks, read between the lines a little for God’s sake!

  9. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Does Sarksyan’s Office think they are dealing with Mnacakan Martirosyan (Nickname, Maco), an Armenian Judge or another Martirosyan — Radek Martirosyan, the President of Armenia Academy of Sciences and Former Rector of Yerevan State University?

  10. Areg said:

    Sargsyan says he wants Biden’s office to publicize the records knowing that it is simply not possible, so it sounds like cheap trick. Transcripits of conversations between head of states never get published. i have no doubt that in April 2009 sargsyan was acting Genocide recognitiion. You all knew that, and here is the proof…

  11. Sako said:

    Either way, as Ishkhan said one of them is lying. Thats the bottom line. And we should do everything to find out who and raise hell on them. So they will know not to mess with Armenian people. WE ARE NOT IDIOTS AND FOOL. AND WE SURE WONT LET THEM MAKES US LOOK LIKE ONE.

  12. Ara Ohanjanyan said:

    I’m bewildered at the people who think that Obama or Biden are more honorable creatures than Sargsyan. They all buckle under turkish pressure and it is as disgraceful for the mighty American President as it is shameful for the Armenian one. Biden’s deed is simply disgusting – with this obvious lye he is trying to have couple of more Armenian votes. I think he will succeed.

  13. Z said:

    What’d you expect, that Armenan president would say, “Yes that’s correct, I called him and asked him to cool down that genocide issue”. Of course he’ll deny.

  14. HOVANNES said:

    This is a media game of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation against the foreign policy of the president
    Sargzyan . Its a pitty . When will be the day to see united our people in order to achive our victory against
    the denier.

  15. vartan said:

    well given biden past history having amnesia (selective that is) and his boss being the pinoccio
    who would believe a word they say. and vote for them NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  16. Sarkis said:

    Does it really matter who said what to whom and when?
    Look at the facts and please do your own math.

    By signing the protocols, Sargsian and his FM, were confirming their willingness to give up, in writing, three things :

    1. The Armenian Genocide, ( with the formation of a doomed group of Historians ).
    2. Our terrirorial claims, reparation, and all the rest, ( by freezing the current borders ).
    3. The right of self-determination of neighbouring people ( i.e. Karabagh), ( with the clause referring to the respect of “territorial integrity only” of neighbouring states ).

    Has Sargsian given up on those protocols? The answer is: NNOOOOO.
    Is his FM still insisting today that if Turkey signs, Armenia will follow suit? The answer is: YES.

    I think we should be leaving Biden do his job as VP and attend funerals. We shouldn’t have talked to him about Armenian issues in the first place.

    • Meg , Hing, Vets... said:

      Thank you Sarkis…
      Good suggestion, Let the President Sarkisyan and his administration prove its innocence by outright rejecting ,puling back its signature from the Protocols all together, no more frozen Protocols…
      Armenian nation all over the world demonstrated against it then and will never accept to such a sell out…
      We lost so much physically, materially , all we got is our spirit and soul… all we got is our honor… we as a nation can not afford to play politics and sell our honor, essence and soul….

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