04, 2009

President Serzh Sargsyan convened a meeting of the National Security Council

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Today President Serzh Sargsyan convened a meeting of the National Security Council.

The President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan informed the members of the Council on the agreements reached during his visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation and defined actions of the corresponding state structures for their implementation.

The Council discussed and approved the “Concept on Information Security of the Republic of Armenia”. Stressing the importance of adopting the document as well as development and coordinated implementation of the related concrete programs and actions, the President of Armenia instructed the staff of the National Security Council to design and present for the Council’s approval a document which would incorporate proposals of all relevant bodies.

At the meeting discussed were also the Armenian-Turkish dialogue and the process of normalization of the relations between the two countries. Speaking about this issue, President Serzh Sargsyan mentioned in particular that “It is quite natural that we start today’s meeting with the discussions regarding the Armenian-Turkish dialogue and the joint statement of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland issued two days ago. The statement reflects our efforts directed at the improvement of the Armenian-Turkish relations which are being actively supported by Switzerland. I am confident that in the near future we will present to our people also the document which is being negotiated now, and I am sure that it will be endorsed by our people, by our society.

Our approach is clear-cut: there can be no closed borders in Europe in the 21st century. To be a successful state we need to diversify our transportation routs, energy sources, and geography of economic relations.

Lately, it’s been widely argued that the Armenian-Turkish relations are conditioned by the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations or that concessions on Nagorno Karabakh are prerequisites for the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. I would like to repeat once again: in our relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan has never been mentioned as has not been mentioned Nagorno Karabakh. The normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations can, and quite possibly will, have a positive impact of the resolution of the NK conflict, however it cannot be a prerequisite.

The publication date of the joint statement was also discussed extensively. It was argued that the publication of the joint statement on the eve of the day of remembrance of the victims of the Genocide could hamper the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I don’t think it is a valid argument. All those who have been following the international media should have noticed quite the opposite. This time the topic of the Genocide was covered much more intensely that ever before. All the leading international media sources were starting their news programs with that topic, underscoring that “yes” there was the Genocide, underscoring that the President of Armenia reiterated on many occasions that normalization of the relations does not mean putting off the Genocide issue or questioning it. Establishment of relations with Turkey does not impede the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. International recognition of genocides is the only way to prevent them in the future. In the context of international coverage of the Armenian Genocide, the amount of attention this issue got is comparable probably to that related to President Gul’s visit to Yerevan.

The fact that the statement was issued on the eve of April 24 proved that Turkey comprehends the meaning and significance of that day. The co-signing of the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, as well as the corresponding statement by the US State Department, and also the phone call from the Vice President of the United States, which took place later, reiterated the readiness of the international community, and the US and Switzerland in particular, to steadfastly support this process and in some ways to become the guarantors of the reached agreements.

Our approaches regarding historic facts, our national goals and subsequent cause-and-effect connection have not altered, they cannot alter. We should realize that every road starts with the first step. Nobody says that it is easy, or will be easy later on, however we must be ready to move in the right direction and defend our interests.”

The Council also listened to and approved the report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian regarding the Armenian-Turkish dialogue and process of normalization of bilateral relations.

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