Serzh Sargsyan Says We Have No Right To Forget Our Past

14:46 31/08/2009

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan gave interview to "BBC" covering,
so called, "football diplomacy" issue. Find the President’s interview
to world media giant below.

The term "football diplomacy" was put into circulation a year
ago, when Turkish President Abdullah Gul arrived in Yerevan at the
invitation of the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, to watch the
match between the national football teams of the two countries. It
raised hopes that the Armenian-Turkish border could be opened and
the two countries would start the process of reconciliation. However,
official Yerevan accuses Turkey of freezing the process.

BBC correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse visited Yerevan one of these days
to figure out whether President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia was going
to attend the return match in Turkey.

Serzh Sargsyan – The question has two answers. The fist answer is as
follows. It’s not important whether I’ll visit Turkey or not. I’d like
to say that my visit to Turley should not be linked to the relations
between the two countries. Let’s assume that Armenia freezes the
negotiation process with Turkey and I leave for that country to
watch the football match. The second option is as follows: the two
countries continue negotiating, but I don’t attend the match. Which
is more important? This is my answer if you ask the question in the
context of our talks with Turkey.

BBC – what signals is Armenia expecting from Turkey in order to
defreeze the talks?

Serzh Sargsyan – I will leave for Turkey only in case of opening of
the border or at the threshold of the event. We have an agreement. I
think that it’s normal and correct for the parties to implement the
agreement reached earlier. Our wish remains the same – to establish
relations without preconditions.

BBC – Is Armenia ready to make concessions as regards the events of
1915 and do You believe Turkey will call them genocide?

Serzh Sargsyan – Of course, it’s very important for our people, for
Turkey and the whole world. It’s important to restore historical
justice. It’s important for our nations to be able to establish
normal relations. At last, it’s important that it never reoccurs
in the future. But we do not see the recognition of genocide as a
precondition for the establishment of relations.

BBC – Hence, is there an opportunity of compromise?

Serzh Sargsyan – It cannot be called compromise. This is not the
case to speak about compromises. We say, yes, there was genocide,
and irrespective of the fact whether Turkey recognizes it or not,
there is a fact established by all genocide scholars in the world
and recognized by many countries of the world. However, today we do
not view it as a precondition for normalization of relations.

BBC – But anyway that problem is an obstacle to regulate ties with
Turkey. A man, with whom I have had a talk earlier in Yerevan,
recommended another solution: when you drive, you should follow your
back side and you look at the mirror showing the back of you but the
important thing is the way in front you. How well does this example
describe the current situation?

Serzh Sargsyan – Right, I can see quite well what the man wanted to
say. He wants to say that we should follow our future, but we do not
have the right to forget the past. It’s worth reminding that Abdullah Gul traveled to Armenia
at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, after which
the two countries took initiatives to start intensive negotiations
to regulate bilateral ties. In the aftermath of those negotiations
"road map" has been signed and published in April of 2009, which
covers definite steps to regulate ties. But Turkey adopted another
policy of breaking the agreements, which the international experts
and high ranking foreign officials have noted and made statements.

They say that Ankara’s activities have been conditioned by the
blackmail from Azerbaijan. But still, the international society is
optimistic with the fact that Armenian-Turkish "football diplomacy"
will be continued. In fact, today, Turkey is the only responsible
figure, as official Yerevan has been announcing many times that they
are ready to continue negotiations based on the previous agreements.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS