Political Prisoners Should Be Released"


[07:13 pm] 01 October, 2008

"I do not think that the diplomatic relations will better after the
borders are opened," Armenia’s ex Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
told a press conference today. We shouldn’t allow Turkey to decide
whether the mass killings of 1915 can be called genocide or not. We
have nothing to surrender."

As to Serzh Sarkissian’s agreement to setting up a commission of
Armenian-Turkish historians, Vartan Oskanian said it was merely a
slip-up. "If we accept the possibility of setting up the commission,
it means we question the issue of the Armenian Genocide." Although
Serzh Sarkissian later edited his statement made in Moscow, Vartan
Oskanian thinks the international community and Turkey have a vague
understanding of this since the following actions and statements of
the Armenian side gave rise to ambiguous perceptions. Vartan Oskanian
does not understand Serzh Sarkissian’s idea that after opening the
border Armenia will be ready to discuss any issue.

As to the possibility of Turkey’s mediation in the Karabakh conflict
settlement, Vartan Oskanian said: "Turkey is not ready to be a mediator
because it keeps the border with Armenia closed, the railway is not
operating, and consequently it is a conflict side."

Armenia’s ex Foreign Minister says the Armenian diplomacy should
not allow Turkey to make the impression that it is carrying out an
observation mission.

Reporters asked the ex FM to comment on Gul’s recent visit to
Armenia. In this respect Vartan Oskanian said the visit was
unprecedented but did not specify whether it is positive or
negative. "Time will show if the decision to invite Gul was right
or wrong. There is one benchmark for the improvement of the Armenian
and Turkish relations-the opening of the border."

The ex-foreign minister says if the border is not opened in the
upcoming few months or at least the railway is not operated, it
means Turkey manipulated the invitation of Armenia with its typical
diplomatic skill. Therefore, Vartan Oskantan advises to wait for
several more months to evaluate the invitation.

According to the ex FM Gul’s visit was favourable for both countries
and increased the countries’ rating.

When speaking about Armenia’s image Oskanian focused on the tragic
events of March 1. He voices hope that the Armenian authorities will
meet the CoE recommendations and release the political prisoners. He
also hopes that Serzh Sarkissian will declare amnesty in his
presidential address to the National Assembly on October 2.

"Armenia has a good chance today to restore its reputation, and its
high time the opposition and government settled home issues through
negotiations as the home problems hinder Armenia to be a key actor
in the region."

Vartan Oskanian also dispelled the rumors that he would be the axis
and even the leader of the so-called third force.

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