YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The current socio-political and economic complication in Armenia are the legacy left by former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, said Hans-Jochen Schmidt, the German Ambassador to Armenia during a conference Tuesday organized by the Civilitas Foundation.
Speaking at a conference entitled, “Assessing Independence in Armenia and the Region,” the German envoy said that Ter-Petrosian must personally accept responsibility for what happened during his term from 1994 to 1997.
“I often hear how the first president criticizes elections and the current authorities during opposition rallies. I asked one of his advisors what he thinks about elections from 1994 to 1997 and he responded by saying that I have wrong information,” said Schmidt.
The German envoy, however, said opposition criticism is justified, because there is an oligarchic state in Armenia, “But he has to remember that the foundation for such phenomena was established during his administration.”
While saying that it was a positive step for the Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress to be granted the right to hold rallies at Liberty Square, but added that “I think that from a political standpoint asking to hold rallies solely in Liberty Square is naive. If people want to assemble, they can do so anywhere and in any square.”
On the foreign policy front, the German envoy said the “outside world” cannot force any decision on Armenia.
“The EU also takes steps in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the normalization of relations with Turkey, but they can’t force anything,” he said.
Schmidt said the most important step in Armenia-Turkey relations is the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, after which discussions on other issues can begin.
“What’s important is that the parties understand that by establishing diplomatic relations, no one is doing anyone a favor; it is a normal process,” he said.
Schmidt also commented on last week’s military parade dedicated to the independence anniversary, saying he was impressed by the display.
“I liked the fact that the parade showed that Armenians have certain capabilities, and if others are interested in war, the Armenian state will provide an adequate response,” explained the Ambassador.
He called it a stabilizing factor for the region, saying that the capabilities displayed at the parade signal that Armenia is able to develop the expertise needed to stabilize any situation.