President Armen Sarkissian on Thursday challenged the leadership of the Knesset—Israel’s legislature—to recognize the Armenian Genocide, which he said should not be conditioned on political interests and realities.
Sarkissian, who was in Jerusalem to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday and take part in the international commemoration of Holocaust Day met with the speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and discussed, among other matters, the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
Noting that many pages of history are tragic for the Armenian and Jewish people, President Sarkisssian said efforts should be made to ensure that such human catastrophes are never repeated.
Sarkissian told Edelstein discussed the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition by the Israeli Knesset, stressing that recognition and condemnation of this shameful page of history should not be conditioned by today’s political interests and realities.
“Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is first of all a moral responsibility and a tribute to the memory of innocent victims, while it is an important contribution to the international efforts to prevent genocides and crimes against humanity,” Sarkissian told Edelstein.
In welcoming President Sarkissian, and first lady, Nouneh, Edelstein, who was joined by his wife, Irina Nevzlin, emphasized the importance of strengthening Israel-Armenia relations. He cited Yerevan’s recent decision to open an embassy in Israel as an critical step in advancing ties between Yerevan and Tel Aviv.
“I think this visit will bring a very positive change to our relations. Our partnership potential is much more than we use it today,” said Edelstein.
Sarkissian said that the historical similarities of the two nations must compel both to think about the future.
“We can jointly create that future both as two states and two nations. Armenia is a small country, but a global nation, the same is Israel,” said Sarkissian outlining the robust areas of cooperation, such as science, education, security, agriculture and information technologies.
“As President I have an initiative to make Armenia a new technological hub because we have several advantages for doing that. There are highly-qualified experts in physics and mathematics in our country, we have very good educational programs in programming,” added Sarkissian.
At the conclusion of the visit the president and the first lady left a note in the Knesset’s guestbook and were guided on a tour of the Knesset.
Jerusalem welcomed the guests participating in the Holocaust conference in the languages of countries being represented, including Armenian.
The event has brought together leaders from more than 40 countries, including Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Iceland and other countries.
The conference will take place at Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
The conference is being held under the auspices of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.