News > UAE Armenians > Round table discussion on repatriation and protocols
On Friday, 12 February 2010, The Hay Tad Committee of the UAE organized a round table discussion on the premises of the Armenian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, touching upon repatriation, the latest developments in Armenian - Turkish relations and organizational issues.
About 95 people attended the event, which soon turned into a heated debate that lasted four hours.
Moderator Hourig Mayisian welcomed the guests and stressed the importance of repatriation from the perspective of Hay Tad. Referring to the efforts taken by the Armenian government in this respect recently, particularly the study of the Ministry of Diaspora on a repatriation scheme, she pointed out to the timeliness of the issue both for Armenia and the Diaspora. Inviting the Ambassador to make his comments on the topics, she encouraged the attendants to actively participate in the debate.
Ambassador Vahagn Melikian said that the Government of Armenia has taken necessary measures to make the repatriation process easy for Diaspora Armenians. “The Government has the political will to assist all compatriots who desire to be repatriated and start a new life in the land of their ancestors”, he said. “Like any other country, there are difficulties that a new settler might face, including hassles related to documentations, adaptation to new life norms, etc, but the most important element is that, Armenia, as part of its overall national policy, welcomes all repatriated Armenians and strives to create necessary conditions for their progress in the new environment”, he added.
Ambassador Melikian underlined that repatriation does not aim to weaken the Diaspora structure. It is open for those who desire to take the step. “For more than 15 years after the independence we used to hear from Diaspora Armenians that granting citizenship of Armenia is a common national necessity, but when the opportunity was granted to take Armenian citizenship through the dual-citizenship scheme, only limited number of families from UAE and the Gulf region applied for it”, he pointed out.
Nevertheless, Ambassador Melikian believes that the repatriation process has a huge moral and national value. “It is the best way of preserving national identity and establishing the enduring tie with Armenia”.
According to Mher Mkrtoumian, First Secretary of the Embassy of Armenia in Abu Dhabi, “some individuals have very idealistic approach related to repatriation. While this can serve as a good motivational drive, they need to know that there are certain difficulties related to any kind of relocation experienced anywhere in the world. Armenia is still in developing phase and many regulations are being revised and upgraded”, he said.
During the round table discussion, several individuals talked about their decision to go and live in Armenia and what practical problems existed in this domain. They explained also the advantages and the long-term benefits an Armenian can get from this important step.
The most important aspect is that Armenians in the motherland have very positive disposition towards the repatriated Armenians, a situation that eases the communication and integration process.
Overall, there have been 8-10 individuals who have repatriated from the UAE Armenian community in the last year, establishing their businesses in Armenia and contributing to the enhancement of UAE-Armenia ties.
On the second important topic of the day, Ambassador Vahagn Melikian talked about the latest developments in Armenian-Turkish relations and recent Armenian foreign policy news. Referring to President Serzh Sargsyan’s recent speech at the Chatham House and the decision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia on the protocols, he reaffirmed the position of the Armenian government that the protocols do not threaten the recognition process of the Armenian Genocide and the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh dispute.
Ambassador Melikian expressed satisfaction from the round table gathering and said the Embassy will continue communicating with the community and there would be other future events and activities that would cover many spheres including education, culture, business issues, etc.
“We are ready to hear any kind of comment, suggestion and criticism, for the sake of the advancement of our common goals. We believe Embassy – Community relations are entering now a new and fruitful stage”, the Ambassador finalized his thoughts.
Mher Mkrtoumian believes that we have a great challenge in front of us. “Armenians as individuals are very successful, but as participants in collective work they do not show the same degree of excellence, determination and shrewdness. We need to find out a way to import the positive individual characteristics into our collective work”, he stated.
Facts about the event:
rganizer: Hay Tad Committee in UAE
Location: Embassy of Armenia in Abu Dhabi
Date: 12 February 2010, 4-8pm
Number of attendants: 95
Photos: 1) A panoramic view from the round-table discussion.
2) Ambassador Vahagn Melikian.