US Embassy in Armenia Clarifies Biden YouTube Statement

YEREVAN—The US Embassy in Armenia emailed a statement to reporters Friday afternoon clarifying a recent YouTube video showing Vice President Joe Biden telling an Armenian-American activist that Armenia’s president asked the Obama Administration to refrain from recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

The video, posted on YouTube Tuesday evening, shows the Vice President making the stunning claim that Armenia’s president called him and asked the Obama Administration to refrain from recognizing the Armenian Genocide on the eve of the roadmap agreement and President Obama’s April 24 statement.

According to the US Embassy statement, Biden and President Serzh Sarkisian spoke twice in April 2009 and in neither call did Sarkisian “raise the issue of the content of President Obama’s statement for Armenian Remembrance Day or seek a delay in consideration of House Resolution 252.”

“Instead, the discussions between Vice President Biden and President Sarkisian that were recently referenced by the Vice president were about the need to take immediate steps to improve Armenian-Turkish relations,” the statement said. “The two leaders agreed that there should be no preconditions to normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey.”

“In these calls, the Vice President told President Sarkisian the United States believes that the normalization of relations with Turkey and the opening of borders would provide a path to a better future for Armenia and expressed the support of the United States for his leadership,” the Embassy said.

The statement added that Biden “expressed the Obama Administration’s support for a Swiss proposal for a joint Armenia-Turkish statement on progress made toward normalizing relations.

The Embassies clarifications came after several days of silence on the part of the US government and after Sarkisian’s spokesman swiftly denied the statement Wednesday 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,” Arzumanyan said.

“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. Alo said:

    VP Biden is known for his public and non-public gaffes. I don’t think what he said on this video is true. It can be his interpretation, but I don’t think Serge Sarkissian is that stupid to go on record by saying “don’t push the issue forward yet”.

    • Harutuyn said:

      Alo u r right about all of the above Serj Sarkissian is very smart person also being the President of Shaxmati federasya. Biddene piti ira xoskere hamar clarify ani te inchu e asel mi ban vo rirakanutyun chi u himk chuni.

  2. ara said:

    Armenia doesn’t need Turkey, and Turkey doesn’t need Armenia either. Armenians want _nothing_ to do with Turkey. NOTHING, and the Armenian goverment shouldn’t force this on its people. That border should stay closed until we go to war with turkey again and get back our lands. Only then shall we cross, with military uniform.

      • Christo said:

        nothing to LMAO, who do you actually think we went to war against in the artsakh war, turkish soldiers, turkish special forces, taliban fighters and al qaida fighters and we kicked their A**. Your azeri soldiers were running scared and leaving all the ammo and equipment behind. THAT’s A FACT, can’t re write this chapter of history. Next time stock up on Depends (adult diapers) when you LMAO. By the way turkish special forces get their a** whipped by PKK on a daily basis My FEEREEND!

      • john said:

        going to war with ARMENIA?!?

        Don’t forget THE KURDS are kicking your turkish but even WITHOUT outside help ALREADY. LOL

  3. Christo said:

    Your deceit will make your president a lame duck president, for the next 2 years. I could hardly wait for 2014.

  4. M.S. said:

    The embassy essentially confirmed that Biden misspoke (in political lingo, but in plain English he simply lied)

  5. John said:

    If the Sargsian did not say what Biden said he said, then why did Biden claim in the brief YouTube video that Sargsian told him to dump the Armenian genocide resolution?

    Please – the above “clarification” is not a clarification at all, but an obfuscation.

    Still, I believe that Armenians will buy it and keep quiet so as not to embarrass either the Armenian president or the American VP.

  6. Hove said:

    NEVER trust U.S. politicians. We know our president as well as U.S. politicians but also I do agree with his (Biden) comments about Turks have to come to the realization of what the reality is.

  7. Emmanuel Kevorkian said:

    As Senitors Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton use to recognize the Armenian Genocide. My question is -why they changed their mind?

    • Sarkis said:

      Just to get the Armenian vote in the US.
      Once elected, forget election promises and go back to good old American foreign policy, i.e. = oil and pipelines. Nothing else.

  8. J. C. said:

    To be asking Armenia to normalize relations with Turkey, who continues to deny the Armenian Genocide, would be like asking Israel to have normal relations with a Germany that refused to recognize the Holocaust! The Turks need to stand up and acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and not continue to minimize it or deny it ever happened. It’s the only way there will ever really be normal relations between Armenia and Turkey.

  9. katia said:

    And this so-called Armenian-American “acitivist” did not respond or even react to Biden’s statement? He just kept quiet about it?? Proud (sarcasm) of such activists who just keep quiet when it’s necessary to be very verbal!!

  10. Vacheh said:

    To Seljuk Ahmet,

    As Christo has pointed out, the way your government and your people have insulted Armenians by going to Great Cathedral of the 11-th century Armenian Capital City of Ani and performing Namaz there, while letting it deteriorate to ruins, we don’t need any open borders with you. Hell to your borders and to your criminal ancestors whose hands are still wet with the blood of innocent Armenian women and children.

  11. Avetis said:

    The self-destructive peasants in Armenia’s so-called “opposition” were quick to disseminate this news, as they do with every other anti-Armenia propaganda that is thrown at them by Western or Turkish intelligence agencies. Are they now courageous enough to do the same with this followup?

  12. MK said:

    Never trust a US politician in high office,they are a bunch of liars, this episode has once again proved the point,Biden has lied again,as for the US Embassy statement In Armenia its a load of rubbish.

  13. Vazken said:

    Without the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the “republic of turkey” the long-term future of a “Republic of Turkey” no mater how smaller will get’ is uncertain.

  14. amb said:

    Has anyone, for example somebody from Asbarez, thought of or actually tried to talk to the guy who taped this conversation with Biden? Who is he, and how he came about talking to Biden? Any curiosity, investigation?

  15. Tim said:

    Only in America can a politician lie so bluntly and get cough but no one cares. Didn’t hit the main stream news or pick up any heat. JUST TELLS YOU WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS HEADED.