State Department Official Visits Armenian Genocide Memorial

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (center) carries flowers to the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, accompanied by U.S. and Armenian diplomats and the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Hayk Demoyan. Feb. 18, 2015. (Photo: official publication)

Discusses Regional Issues on Visit to Armenia

YEREVAN—“America cares deeply about its partnership with Armenia,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters in Yerevan on Wednesday, Armenpress reports. “For more than 20 years we have supported the democracy, independence, economic growth and prosperity and we intend to develop this further,” she said.

Assistant Secretary Nuland said she was honored to meet with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, and civil society representatives and to visit the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan.

“Within the framework of the visit we discussed the relations with all neighbors. I would like to say that from the American perspective we are confident that the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey will remain important for both countries and for peace and stability in the region. We’ll enhance the efforts in that direction,” Nuland said.

“It’s important that Armenia has not withdrawn from the process and it’s important to us that the process may continue,” Nuland said.

Nuland visited Dzidzernagapert and laid flowers at the monument commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Hayk Demoyan welcomed and accompanied Nuland and the delegation she led.

Nuland met with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and expressed gratitude for Armenia’s active involvement in U.S.-led peacekeeping missions.

Speaking about the Karabakh conflict, the two parties agreed once again that the all possible efforts must be made to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Nuland also talked about the Azerbaijani commandos arrested in Stepanakert, calling what they did a “horrible crime.” At the same time, Nuland called on Artsakh’s authorities to make a “humanitarian gesture,” ostensibly calling on them to release the prisoners back to Azerbaijan, but did not go into details.

The ANCA’s Executive Director Aram Hamparian responded to Nuland’s comments in a statement, saying, “Any U.S. dialogue with Azerbaijan regarding prisoner issues must be predicated upon Azerbaijan first agreeing to an American demand for the re-incarceration of Ramil Safarov, an admitted and unapologetic Azerbaijani axe-murderer who was pardoned, praised, and promoted by Ilham Aliyev after having killed an Armenian officer in his sleep during a NATO training exercise in Hungary.”

“The spectacle of Azerbaijan publicly honoring yet more killers of Armenians would — in addition to being a moral outrage — further destabilize the region, inciting anti-Armenian hatred, emboldening Aliyev’s aggression, and undermining prospects for peace.”

Hamparian also commented on Nuland’s visit to Dzidzernagapert, commending the visit, but at the same time calling on the White House to stop hindering the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

“We value Assistant Secretary Nuland’s visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial as a symbol of American solidarity with the Armenian nation, while also recognizing – with great regret – the profound and ongoing moral and material harm of the gag-rule imposed by Turkey, and still enforced by our White House, that prevents American diplomats from speaking honestly and forthrightly about this crime.”

“Then Senator Obama spoke to this issue very pointedly in 2008, when he said: ‘An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.’ The painful irony, of course, is that the truth that Senator Obama once championed he now prohibits as President. The time for this century-long farce to end is now. It’s time for President Obama to finally honor his pledge: ‘As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide,’” concluded Hamparian.

Nuland also met with Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian. The two discussed U.S.-Armenian relations and agreed on the interest of both parties for further collaboration between the two countries.

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