WARSAW—President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday slammed Azerbaijan’s continued military threats and Turkey’s blockade of Armenia, during a visit to Poland.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, Sarkisian spoke of Armenia’s effort to conform to European norms while blasting Azerbaijan for, among other things, the glorification of Ramil Safarov who killed an Armenian soldier with an ax.
“Regrettably, for some Europe still remains a market rather than a system of values. It is really ludicrous when one of our neighbors, which has declared its adherence to the European way of life, at the same time glorifies a scoundrel who committed a revolting murder on foreign soil; threatens to shoot down civil aircrafts; and to deprive through a war the nation, which has been living on its land for millennia of that right,” said Sarkisian.
“Another neighbor of ours—Turkey—which has also been striving to join Europe and is a member of the EU Customs Union, since almost the first day of our independence has shut down our border and refuses to maintain relations which are but normal between neighbors in the 21st century,” added Sarkisian. “With Europe, the pivot of our negotiations is mutual accessibility of our markets, free movement of people; however Armenia’s border with the EU Customs Union remains under lock. We anticipate a full and unequivocal assessment of the inadmissibility of such conduct.”
Sarkisian also discussed Armenia’s relations with Russia emphasizing that those ties would not hamper its ties with Europe or an eventual membership in the European Customs Union.
“The strategic nature of Armenian-Russian relations is no secret. We have been living side by side for many years and for some considerable time – in one common state. During centuries, good, friendly relations based on mutual respect were formed. We are friendly nations; we have a common history and are proud of that history. Armenia and Russia are members of the CSTO; with Russia we have extended military-technical and deep economic relations,” explained Sarkisian in response to a journalist’s question.
“We have never taken a step aimed against Russia and have no complex which would compel us to take such a step,” said Sarkisian. “Armenia is a country which has registered an impressive progress in the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership. We build our work based not on ‘either-or’ but on an ‘and-and’ principle. I see no contradiction here.”
During his visit to Poland, Sarkisian also visited the site of Majdanek concentration camp in Lyublin and laid a wreath, paying tribute to the tens of thousands victims who were barbarically exterminated by the Nazis at the concentration camp.
“From denying the reality up to criminal silence and nonchalant connivance – these are the conditions in which the gravest crimes in human history are taking place. Majdanek might have not happened if the first genocide of the 20th century perpetrated against the Armenians had received universal condemnation and had the perpetrators received their due punishment,” said Sarkisian.
He quoted Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, who said: “The Armenian Genocide had become a prelude to the horrors which were to take place during the two World Wars, in the concentration camps and countless regional conflicts, claiming millions of lives.”
“Today, here with me is the son of the one of the multitudes of Majdanek’s Armenian prisoners and victims, the son of Levon Madoyan. He lives in Armenia, in Vanadzor. We wanted him to join our delegation during this visit, because the most living memory is the memory which lives in generations,” said Sarkisian.
“In reality, former concentration camps – Majdanek, Osventsim, Treblinka, as well as memorials and museums of Yad Vashem and Tsitsernakaberd, which had become historic places, are not just memorials containing documented historical facts. They also represent a strong and impressive message sent out to the human kind and aimed at the enhancement of tolerance among the nations, condemnation of xenophobia and its prevention. The post-war orphanages, which had become the memorials to shattered childhood, just like those that had been created all over the world after the Armenian Genocide, were also impressive messages. We, as a nation which went through it all, have to do even the impossible to prevent the repetition of such tragedies,” added Sarkisian.
“2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II and the Holocaust. I have no doubt that these milestones are also the behests to double our efforts to state unequivocally our firm position to prevent genocides. Never again the act or manifestation of genocide must become a threat and a destructive instrument against human existence and supremacy of human dignity,” concluded Sarkisian.