Obama will Decide US Policy on Genocide, Says Yovanovitch

Yovanovitch address YSU students

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—President Obama is the person who will decide US policy on the Armenian Genocide, said US Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch in response to questions following a presentation Monday at Yerevan State University.

Yovanovitch was at Yerevan State University addressing students on civil society issues. When asked about he Genocide, the US Ambassador was clear to point out that Obama’s personal views on the matter were well known, adding that it is the president who makes US policy and therefore, he will have the ultimate say on the matter.

The ambassador added that the Embassy is planning to commemorate Genocide Remembrance Day with the people of Armenia.

Yovanovitch also told her audience to not draw parallels between the Karabakh and Kosovo issues saying, “negotiators should not concentrate on the fact whether the two cases are alike or not, otherwise they will start discussing the issue of similarity.”

“Every conflict is unique. People often ask me about the similarities between Kosovo and Karabakh, but every conflict is unique, and the Karabakh conflict can be solved only through negotiations,” explained Yovanovitch.
According to Yovanovitch, the Minsk Group is actively working toward the resolution of the conflict.

In her speech to Yerevan State University students, Yovanovitch stressed the important role civil society plays in ensuring democratic values and freedoms.

“Government needs civil society as a skeptic, a partner, a challenger, a training ground, and a source of innovation. Government and civil society must work in tandem, like oars on a boat. If only one oar is rowing, the boat loses direction and goes nowhere,” said Yovanovitch.

“Empowering civil society not only holds the key to Armenia’s democracy and prosperity, it is vital to the nation’s security. And what better time to begin that empowerment than now?,” said Yovanovitch.

“The well-developed democracy and more active political dialogue that President Sarkisian spoke of will require deep and difficult changes. It will require reforms to Armenia’s laws, institutions, and political culture to expand individual liberty, freedom, and responsibility,” added Yovanovitch referring to Sarkisian’s remarks made at the Republican Party convention. At that gathering the president said “the way forward is to create ‘a well-developed democracy, a more active political dialogue … and persistent adaptation of European standards into all areas of our political, social and economic lives,’” according to Yovanovitch.

In her remarks, the US Ambassador also reflected on Armenians’ history of civic engagement in an effort to ensure democracy.

“In the 19th century, Armenians dreamed of again having their own state. They too wrote, spoke, organized, banded together in associations and parties, and opened schools to pass on Armenia’s language, literature, history and culture, before they finally had the opportunity to establish the First Republic. And for centuries before that, Armenia’s oldest civil society institution, the Armenian Church, anchored a nation often dominated by foreign powers. The Soviet model, government control of all aspects of life on behalf of one ruling party, was an aberration in the history of Armenia. And now Armenia has the opportunity to build a stable, resilient and just democracy, with power balanced between those inside and outside the government,” explained Yovanovitch.

“So I want to close with the words of President Obama in his address to the students at Cairo University in June 2009: ‘…I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you more than anyone, have the ability to re-imagine the world, to remake this world. All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings,’” concluded the Ambassador.

Read Yovanovitch’s complete remarks here.


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  1. zohrab said:

    just tell the truth dont put other affairs ahead of this important event for the world to see to know and releive armenians in diasphora of the pain they still carry be bold be just tell the truth find your dignity

  2. Lusik said:

    1. She closed with words of somebody who called in 2009 from the most powerful position of contemporary world for a commitment to find common ground and respect human dignity, who proved in following years that he can not find common ground and can not hold his promise concerning respect of human dignity. What a farce.
    2. “Առակս զինչ կցուցանե ” In my opinion, she is running propaganda machine to take people on streets. Why so? The turmoil in Arab world has a goal and flow of taking Iran without “external” intervention. Using local resources. In the case of social unrest in Armenia, the Armenia-Iran border will be a mess. Like now is Tunisia-Libya border. Open borders allow for any kind of movements into and out. So, Առակս զինչ կցուցանե` she cares about her country agenda imposed on shoulders of Armenians.
    3. The hope is that Armenian opposition understands that there is time to collect stones, there is time to throw stones. But never play others game.

  3. Lusik said:

    Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric … Human dignity? Can you point a more clear case to demonstrate a respect for human dignity from high podium of power, then recognition of genocide?

    It took about 30 years (from 1995 to 1945) for international community to put in use word “genocide”.
    ? What is the right word for manipulation of the future of a young generation, future of some far-land country by some superpower for its geopolitical interests? This is a rather new international phenomena. It still has to be defined. But it will eventually. How many nations must bring to the altar of superpowers grid in order to start naming things as they are?

    ? Does Armenian nation have a population enough to grow into future and feed also needs of such superpowers?

    ? Remember Shakespeare? “If you meet somebody who can say what will grow from the seed, let him speak to me”. What our neighbor Georgia has as a result of listening foreign sirens? Lands lost. Who was the siren in that time? Envoy from the same country, Bryza, back again to our region.

    Armenian political opposition must find its strength and support from inside the nation. Otherwise they will be collaborators in un-rooting of Armenians.

  4. Z said:

    Yivanovich is a failure, a total nothingness. She can go to hell!
    She should put this in her stupid head:
    1. we have nothing to compromise on NKR
    2. Kosovo and NKR are compareable
    3. It’s not for Obama to decide

  5. www.Voskanapat.info said:

    Remember that this woman was the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2005 – 2008. That poor country is still recovering from the “Tulip Revolution democracy” she brought there that ended up with bloody ethnic cleansing.

    And before that she was , she was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy Kiev, Ukraine from 2001 to 2004 – yes you guessed it! – the Orange Revolution lady.

    What’s next on her assignment list – an Apricot Revolution?

  6. David Boyajian said:

    During her Senate confirmation hearings, Yovanovitch said her family fled the Holocaust. That means they were Jewish.

    But when she toured the US a year or so back, she said she was Serbian Orthodox.

    What exactly is this woman, besides a chameleon?

  7. Shahe said:

    A recapitulation of democratic preachings and actions over many decades concerning issues related to American foreign affairs pragmatic policy after the WW2 have not been exemplary democratic lessons starting from China and ongoing in the Middle East and has been the cause of sufferings both within their ranks and among the populations in almost every spot where Americans have interfered in the internal affairs of other countries by either toppling despots or bringing new ones onto the scene in the name of Democracy, which by the way has different meanings among nations of different background. It may be worth if within the UN a dynamic definition of the word Democracy be devised as opposed to one that is controversial and sets or categories be created to be applicable to all 192 countries in a given time span subject to reevaluation every agreed number of years. Armenians may choose to act wisely for a long term strategy and be always ready for new Sardarabads and beyond.