Forgotten Genocide remembered

The Western Mail
October 20, 2004


The Prime Minister of Europe’s least-known country was in Wales
yesterday, raising embarrassing issues for the UK Government. No
members of the Welsh Assembly Government were available to meet him.
Anushavan Danielian, Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Republic
of Nagorno Karabagh, wanted to talk about the difficulties faced by
his territory – an Armenian enclave the size of Gwynedd surrounded by
Azerbaijan – and about the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians at the
hands of Turkey during World War One and in the early 1920s.

As confirmed to the Western Mail yesterday by the Foreign Office,
Britain refuses to recognise the independence of Nagorno Karabagh,
saying sovereignty should remain with Azerbaijan. It does not regard
the ‘terrible tragedy’ of the Armenian massacres as genocide.

After speaking to AMs at the National Assembly, Mr Danielian visited
Cardiff’s Temple of Peace, where he met the Rt Rev Dr David Yeoman,
the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, and Stephen Thomas, Director of the
Welsh Centre for International Affairs. They discussed erecting a
memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide in the adjacent
Garden of Peace.

Mr Danielian said, ‘There has been a ceasefire for the last 10 years,
but Nagorno Karabagh remains blockaded by Azerbaijan. The blockade
has destroyed 80% of our economy.

‘If what happened to Armenians during World War One and afterwards
had been recognised at the time as genocide, perhaps subsequent
genocides would not have occurred. It was Adolf Hitler who infamously
said, ‘Who remembers what happened to the Armenians?’ before
conducting his own genocide of the Jews.

‘Turkey must acknowledge its genocide before there can be any
question of it joining the EU.’

An Assembly Government spokesperson said, ‘The First Minister and
other members of the Cabinet had other engagements. There was no
intention to snub Mr Danielian.’