YEREVAN (Middle East Online)—Germany’s foreign minister on Thursday offered Berlin’s experience in post-war reconciliation to Armenia and Turkey to help them forge peace a century after the Armenian Genocide.
On a visit to Yerevan, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany’s long road to partnership with France after two world wars could serve as an example following the 1915 slaughter and exile of Armenians during World War I.
“When it comes to the bloody history of the 20th century, in which Germany started two world wars, we should not present ourselves as the schoolmasters,” he told reporters after talks with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan.
“But we can offer our experience.”
He noted that he had also told Turkish leaders earlier this year that Germany and France had worked hard to overcome the hatred of previous generations.
“After a difficult century, we have reconciled by not keeping silent about our historical responsibility” but by “working through the horrific things that happened,” he said.
“If our experience can be helpful, we are ready to offer it,” he said, citing youth exchange programs as one initiative that had helped to build bridges.
“But that must be decided here.”
Nalbandian said Armenia was ready to reduce tensions with Turkey but insisted the ball was in Ankara’s court.
“Five years ago, on Armenia’s initiative, we started a process that led to the signature of the Zurich protocols — to make the normalization of our relations possible,” he said.
“But Turkey is not respecting these agreements.”
Steinmeier also visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on Thursday to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Steinmeier was accompanied by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan.
The German Foreign Minister laid a wreath at the memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims and paid tribute to their memory with a minute of silence.
Hayk Demoyan presented a copy of his most recent book titled “Armenian Genocide: Front Page Coverage in the World Press” and a stamp dedicated to Johannes Lepsius, a German missionary, orientalist, and humanist with a special interest in trying to prevent the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
Nalbandian on Thursday met with Steinmeier. Welcoming the guest, Nalbandian said with gratification that Armenian-German relations have been continuously developing in the last two decades, the press service of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Armenia told Armenpress.
Expressing gratitude for the warm reception, Steinmeier noted that his country attaches importance to expansion of comprehensive cooperation with Armenia and he has arrived in Yerevan for that very purpose.