News > UAE Armenians > Deputy Foreign Minister meets Sharjah Armenians
"We will never allow any country to use Armenia to attack Iran" says Arman Kirakossian.
On his way back home from Bangkok, Thailand, where he attended the Asia-Pacific Business Forum (27 April 2008), Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia (ROA) Arman Kirakossian visited the Armenian community of Sharjah on 1st May 2008 and had a discussion on foreign policy issues.
Moushegh Bedirian, Chairman of the Council of the Armenian Community (in the Northern Emirates) welcomed the distinguished guest and wished him a pleasant stay in the United Arab Emirates. Referring to the limited number of attendants in the hall, he cited the traffic problems and the transportation difficulties between neighboring Dubai and Sharjah.
Deputy Minister Arman Kirakassian gave a brief overview of the Armenian foreign policy. The lecture was followed with several questions.
At the beginning, Kirakossian repeated known facts about Armenia – Diaspora relationship. He emphasized that Armenia belongs to all of us and we all have ONE target: to develop Armenia and transform it into a prosperous country. “For this purpose, we need to work together. Armenia cannot develop without Diaspora and Diaspora cannot exist without Armenia. Armenia is our common house. If every Armenian places a piece of brick in this structure, we will all end up enjoying a strong homeland”, he said.
In order to make his view clearer, Kirakossian provided a simple calculation on how this could be achieved. “Let us assume that the number of Armenians in Diaspora is 5 million. If each Armenian visits the homeland as a tourist and spends one thousand dollar, we can imagine how big sum we will have under our disposal”.
Talking about Armenia’s geographical location, Kirakossian reminded us that we are situated in a dangerous neighborhood. We should act therefore in a tactful manner and keep ourselves away from dangers. Armenia should not become a battlefield, he declared.
Kirakossian underlined the need for establishing good relations with all countries in the world. He admitted that in recent years the emphasis was on developing relations with the European countries “We have a sort of inclination towards the European civilization and we were trying in recent times to prove that we are adherent to the European values and standards”.
Kirakossian said Turkey is under pressure to develop relations with Armenia and especially to lift the embargo. “Turkey realizes that it cannot refer openly to the closure of the borders with Armenia, because this is against the European norms. Instead, Turkey is using the partial permit for using its air space by Armenian flights as a proof of good intentions towards Armenia, which in fact is a very minor thing to mention”. Another fact Turkey is highlighting is the trade exchange between the two countries, which has reached to the level of 100 million US dollars last year, but Turkey avoids mentioning that this trade is going through a third country (Georgia), clarified the Deputy Minister.
Kirakossian announced that the relations with Iran are in good shape although Iran is facing troubles in its relations with the international community. “We will never allow any country to use Armenia to attack Iran. Nothing like this has been suggested of course, but what we would like to emphasizes is that, under no circumstances, we would like to endanger our relations with Iran”.
On Karabakh, Kirakossian said there are ongoing meetings with Azeri officials. Armenia has always been in the role of the mediator in the Karabakh issue. The meetings on presidential level will continue. “Sometimes there are so many details that we the diplomats are not able to keep pace with”, he said.
Relations with Russia are always good, Kirakossian emphasized. “We are long time friends. We are worried about the tension between Russia and Georgia, because it would affect us too. We are in constant contact with the Georgian authorities with the aim of improving the living conditions of the Armenians in the Javakhq region. We are involved in building roads and other infrastructure projects there. As a result we are witnessing now a sort of economic development, although the situation is far from being perfect”, he elaborated.
With the USA we continue to have good relations, Kirakossian said, mentioning the incident with ex-Ambassador of USA John Evans who openly used the word Genocide (in describing the Armenian Genocide) and was dismissed from his position. An attempt was made to replace him with a diplomat who was not wholly aware about the Genocide (Richard Hoagland). In difference with Hoagland, the official position of the USA was so that even without using the word Genocide, the fact of Genocide was not put under doubt. “We cannot remain indifferent if this kind of attitude is openly adopted by a high ranking diplomat serving in our country”, commented Kirakossian, highlighting the role of the Armenian American community in exerting pressure on the Bush Administration to withdraw the nomination of Hoagland, something which eventually succeeded.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that none of the attendants asked the Deputy Minister about the 1st March 2008 bloody events in Armenia. Kirakossian himself did not refer to these events, probably because his focus was international politics.