Israeli Ambassador Discusses Relations, Arms Sales to Baku
YEREVAN (Armenpress)—The Ambassador of Israel to Armenia, Shmuel Meirom, assured during an interview with Armenpress on Thursday that Israel does not sell arms to Azerbaijan that can destabilize the region. At the same time, the Ambassador asserted that obtaining arms on the global market is an easy affair for any country. In his interview with Armenpress’ Hasmik Harutyunyan, the Ambassador also reflected on Armenian-Israeli relations and why Israel qualifies the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a “political issue.”
HASMIK HARUTYUNYAN: Mr. Ambassador, first of all I would like to thank you for accepting our request for an interview. To start, let’s speak about Armenian-Israeli relations. How do you assess them?
AMB. SHMUEL MEIROM: As with every time I am asked this question, I can say now again that the relations between Israel and Armenia are good, even though their full potential has not yet been realized. In other words, there are projects and many areas of cooperation on the agenda, such as the signing of a number of agreements, mutual high-level visits, and more.
H.H.: One can frequently hear Israeli statesmen calling the Armenian Genocide a “political issue.” Don’t you think that the international community and particularly Israel must view the question mostly from a moral, humane, and not a political standpoint?
S.M.: The subject of recognizing the Armenian Genocide has consistently been raised in Israel every year. It is not a secret that we face two matters: on the one hand, Israelis and Jews in general have a special sensitivity to the tragedy that struck the Armenian People; on the other hand the entire issue has regrettably political connotations that touch upon the relations of both our countries with Turkey. We have not forgotten the moral aspects.
H.H.: The President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian officially invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to attend the commemoration ceremony dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2015. How would you assess this step?
S.M.: I believe that the step taken by Armenia’s President was a courageous and wise one. Relations between Armenia and Turkey are of much importance to both countries and the thawing of ties would be a welcome development for them both. I look forward to the day that Turkey’s border with Armenia will be open and that there will be a free flow of people and goods between both countries. This would also enable a discussion of more sensitive issues such as the Armenian Genocide.
H.H.: Is it possible that Israeli delegation will also participate in the commemoration events of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide?
S.M.: I believe that there will be an Israeli delegation to the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Memorial, although I cannot at this time say who will head it.
H.H.: Mr. Ambassador, Israel is among those countries which sell a vast amount of arms to Azerbaijan. Is there an apprehension in Israel that those arms will be used against Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and destabilize the situation in the region?
S.M.: In Israel there is a committee that strictly examines arms sales to any country in the world, including Azerbaijan. The committee strictly ensures that no kinds of arms would be sold that would destabilize the region. We are aware of the great sensitivity that exists in Armenia to the issue, and as a country which itself has a conflict with some of its neighbors, Israel understands this. However, we need to be clear: today no country has a problem to obtain arms on the global market. If Israel were to totally refrain, another country would sell arms anyway.