LOS ANGLES–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian held a press conference with local print and television media on Wednesday–November 21 at the Brandview Collection.
Asbarez and Horizon representatives–Naz Der-Sarkissian-Krikorian and Edward Jouharyan were present at the press conference.
On Tuesday–Oskanian met with Governor Gray Davis at the Glendale Hilton hotel to sign an economic development memorandum of understanding between California and Armenia–in order to promote trade between California and Armenia. Tuesday evening–again at the Glendale Hilton–the Armenian Consulate hosted and organized a dinner dedicated to the tenth anniversary of Armenia’s independence.
The press conference was opened by Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Valery Mkrtoumian.
Oskanian began by stating how successful his trips to California and to the US in general have been. While in the US–Oskanian met with political and religious leaders of the Diaspora as well as with representatives from the Lincy Foundation.
Oskanian’s speech was proceeded by a question and answer session where significant issues affecting Armenia were discussed. In response to the two most important issues–one being the Waiver of Section 907–and the second being the Turkish-Armenian "Reconciliation" Commission–Oskanian said–the split between two most important Armenian lobby groups–the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian Assembly–had a great impact on the decision to waive Section 907. The Consule General stated the version of Section 907 after the Conference Committee revision protects Karabakh from Azeri aggression–and Oskanian said that "there is no serious threat to the security of Karabakh."
On the topic of the "Reconciliation" commission–Oskanian states–that President Kocharian or himself did not want to interfere or disrupt the commission’s activities. However–six months after the creation of the commission–he stated that the government of Armenia calls of the Armenian commissioners to evaluate themselves and decide whether or not to continue working in the commission.
"From the first day–we were aware of the commission and we stated our knowledge of the commission immediately to the people.
"The government of Armenia did not release an official statement about the commission–because we believe that what individual–who are not involved with the government–do is their own business.
"The government can not take steps to interfere or disrupt such individuals. Six months have passed since the inception of the commission and now is the time for those members to evaluate themselves and see if their accomplishmen’s were positive or negative–and thereby they must decide whether or not to keep the commission alive," said Oskanian.
Oskanian also stated that in the coming months–the Armenian Foreign Ministry plans to work with the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly to try to establish a cooperative relationship–so that they can work together to further help and defend Armenia’s interests in the US.
Many questions about Armenia’s contributions to the anti-terrorist efforts–Armenia’s political–economic and social state–were asked–and Oskanian’s answers were generally positive.