Nalbandian Shuts Out the Press

nalbandianMy colleague Khatchig Mouradian, the editor of the Armenian Weekly, reported Wednesday that requests to interview Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian while he was in Washington were denied.

This is most troubling, especially at a time when flow of information from official Yerevan is so little, that we, in the business, are forced to decipher through propaganda-laced news reports from Turkey and Azerbaijan to make sense of this so-called “roadmap” to normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia.

By shutting out interview requests, Nalbandian missed a golden opportunity to discuss this critically important matter and shed much-needed light on whether this roadmap is more than just an agreement to negotiate or does it come with detrimental strings attached for Armenia. It would have also served as a way for Armenia to lay to rest the speculations and disinformation surrounding this matter and, once and for all, lifting the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the talks-especially from the Armenian government.

Now, more than ever, the need for transparency and frankness with the Armenian people is of utmost importance.

Nalbandian’s refusal to discuss with the Armenian press this and other matters of interest to our readers calls into serious question the strategy being pursued by the Armenian authorities and further clouds the already murky atmosphere created after the April 22 announcement of the “roadmap” deal.

Aside from the three burning questions on whether there’s been an agreement to establish a historical commission to discuss the Genocide, Armenia’s recognition of the Kars treaty and a parallel resolution to the Karabakh conflict, Mouradian probably had a series of other related and important questions for Nalbandian.

Here are a few examples:
If the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a stated priority in Armenia’s foreign policy, how then can Armenia’s president tell the Wall Street Journal that he was not asking President Obama to recognize the Genocide?

Did President Obama, in fact, use his campaign pledge as a bargaining chip to ensure that US interests were realized?

What role does the foreign ministry envision the Diaspora playing in this “roadmap” process?

Will the appointment of a new foreign minister in Turkey impact the talks?

How is the foreign ministry dealing with the vocal opposition by Karabakh Armenians to this effort and are their concerns being taken into account during the-called “fruitful” discussions with Clinton and others?

Why the secrecy?

Since the press was shut out of this process and any semblance of frank dialogue was denied, it leaves us to wonder about these and other questions that are related to the “roadmap.”

What would you ask Eduard Nalbandian if you had a chance to interview him? Feel free to comment!

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  1. Babken DerGrigorian said:

    I would ask how long he expects to keep his job…. treasonous leaders don’t last long in Armenia.

  2. Gayane said:

    I would ask this:

    1. Are you planning to give Armenia away like a bride without any requirements from the other side?
    2. What are the intentions of the Armenian government to agree with Turkey with this so called road-map?
    3. On what grounds does the Armenian Government agreed to sign something in secrecy and expect mutual peace and agreement with Turkey?
    4. Are you taking consideration the feelings of your own people in Armenia and in diaspora in regards to this matter?

    WHY IN HEAVEN”S SAKE did the ARmenian Government believe Turkey to be genuine and wanting to do the right thing? WHY…WHY … WHY mister Nalbandian…????

  3. Gayane said:

    Forgot one more question….

    WE the Armenian people no matter how separated we are, no matter how much we don’t work together to accomplish things, no matter how much negativity we see from our own government will not allow our own country to be freely handed to our enemy.. HOW would you Mr Nalbandian along with your govt officials would answer to all those people who gave their lives to protect our little land.. how would you answer to all those that sacrified their family members to save the little land we still call our homeland.. Armenia? WIll you be able to sleep at night if you allow this secrecy, this lie, this circus to continue?

    Thank you

  4. Jirair Momjian said:

    Personally I am not surprised by Nalbadian’s behavior. A well trained and a professional diplomat, Nalbandian is the product of Soviet Union’s diplomatic corp. I apologies for this personal, but I am afraid it is important in order to understand our current FA minister’s style.
    At the time of USSR, the public and the people of the Union did not matter. The notion of a constituency did not exist. So shutting off the people was common practice. The USSR used its military power in negotiations.
    Nalbandian forgets, in a democratic system and new negotiation techniques, the views of the the constituency is the strongest ally, and weapon to defend one’s cause and obtain one’s objectives. In matter of Genocide, Nalbandian and the government of Armenia have both the people of Armenia and the diaspora as a constituency. Not capitalizing on all Armenians’ views is putting our (Armenian) negotiators, in a position of weakness. A strong negotiator needs to be able to say “this or that proposition will not be acceptable by my constituency”. But to be able to make such a statement, a negotiator has to feed information back to his or her constituency. To be a winner, Nalbandian needs to change style.

  5. Vazrik said:

    Isn’t any treaty/agreement eventually be ratified by the Parliament before it goes into effect? (I am sorry, that I don’t understand how the Armenian law works, but this seems to be the course any democratic state will have to take). Therefore, my question to the minister would be to what extent the members of the Parliament are involved or informed in these negotiations.

    Other questions:
    Why the Armenian government thinks that “normalized” relations with Turkey is beneficial to Armenia? What realistic expectations are there out of a “normalized” relations?

    Why does Armenia ALLOW Turkey to have any say at all about the independence of Artsakh? Didn’t people of Artsakh speak so clearly on that almost two decades ago? They have held so many peaceful and democratic elections since then.

    And eventually, if Artsakh is really integrated with Armenia, and it is practically a part of Armenia, and therefore Armenian borders (all the borders considered) is an issue for Turkey, then it begs the question of if Western Armenia has become Eastern Turkey, how come we have such a difficulty to call Karbagh Eastern Armenia? In fact, Turkey is the last STATE that can talk about occupation. Is the liberation of Western Armenia a part of the *roadmap*?

    And, in my opinion, Armenian Genocide, or any other genocide for that matter, is NOT a subject of any negotiation. Acknowledgment and taking a full responsibility for it must be a precondition to any negotiation.

  6. Mike said:

    I really don’t understand all this noise about Mr Nalbandian.
    The foreign policy of the Republic of Armenia is shaped by its president (and it allways has been).
    This is another sign of how little many of our compatriots in USA know about the actual politics in Armenia.
    Nalbandian does what he has been told to do.
    If you have a problem with Nalbandian’s actions you should direct your questions to Armenia’s president.
    And in general I would suggest that before criticizing anyone for “selling out the interests of Armenia”, people should ask themselves the question “How well do I know the situation in Armenia?”

    p.s. What I said above does not mean that I approve of actions of either Nalbandian or Sargsian. But their actions
    have been extremely predictable, and the Diaspora organizations that supported (or at least failed to criticize) Sargsian after the disputed elections of 2008 should have known this very well.

  7. Rafa said:

    Sadly, I saw this coming…when Sarkisian got elected and voiced his opinion to begin talks with the Turks I knew the government would take the silent road…whats next? Sooner or later they will say that they have given some of the buffer zone territories back to azerbaijan.

  8. Marc Garibyan said:

    Typical corrupt oligarch. This guy does look like the corner baker. These people will sell Armenia for a few silver coins. Not surprised at all at their behaviour.

  9. Diana said:

    I am not that fond of the current Administration in Armenia (or the United States for that matter) but don’t forget, Vice President Biden called Yerevan TWICE before the Roadmap was announced. You can’t be entirely sure that Sarkisian was not strong armed by the Obama Administration. Clearly, morality is not above practicality for this President who talked the moral talk during the campaign – but found it impossible to walk as President. ARE YOU SURE that the Obama Administration didn’t place a “gag order” on Nalbandian? I would not be the least bit surprised. Why else would Nalbandian skip the opportunity to mingle with American Armenians?

  10. Gayane said:

    I am definitely afraid…that all our junqera u ashxatanqa jurna gnalu…

    How we do know that everyone is not working for each other ? Armenia, US and Turkey.. How do we know they dont’ have some sort of a top secret agreement among themselves? There are so many corruption going on, that one does not know what to believe anymore..

    We are heading to the end of Armenian civilization.. end of years and years and years of fighting… all will be lost in the click of a pen…

    As Simon said: beware of the storm that is coming ..