Several meetings between ARF Bureau members and various political figures in Iran and Cyprus continued over the course of last week. A joint declaration was signed with the Socialist Popular Movement of Cyprus as a result of these successful meetings.
ARF Bureau member Hrant Markarian had an hour-long meeting with Dolatabadi of the Iranian foreign ministry’s CIS and Cacausus division on Wednesday–January 24. Markarian spoke of the ARF’s past and present and explained the party’s activities and its evolution throughout the years. The ARF Bureau representative briefed the Iranian official on the ARF’s efforts at restructuring the state–defending the rights of the people of Artsakh–and organizing the Armenian communities of the CIS. The ARF Bureau delegation also mentioned the recognition of the Armenian Genocide recently by various European parliamen’s–and the efforts of the ARF in this process.
Dolatabadi said he was familiar with the history–ideology–and goals of the ARF–and he feels the party’s mission is being preserved today. He emphasized the ARF’s important role in the political life of Armenia.
Economic relations between Armenia and Iran were also discussed during the meeting.
Markarian concluded his week-long trip to Iran on Thursday–January 25.
On Friday–January 26–Vahan Hovhannisian–ARF Bureau member and chair of the Armenian Parliament’s national security and defense committee–met with Yannakis Kasoulidis of the Cypriot Foreign Ministry. He also met with Vasos Lisaridis-founder and president of the KISOS political party–Spiros Kiprianou-president of parliament–Socrates Hasikos-defense minister–and Tasos Papadopoulos of the DIKO political party.
Foreign Minister Yannakis Kasoulidos congratulated the ARF delegation on France’s recognition of the genocide–and on Armenia’s admission into the Council of Europe. The minister spoke of the historic friendship between the Greek and Armenian peoples. He also called for the resolution of the Armenian cause by the return of western Armenia and Mt. Ararat to present-day Armenia.
Kasoulidos stressed the need to expand cooperation between the Greek and Armenian diasporas–especially in terms of lobby efforts.
Hovhannisian thanked the minister for his warm reception. He mentioned how the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Cyprus in 1965 had a major impact on the international community. He added Armenia feels it is its duty to reciprocate solidarity on the Cypriot issue.
Vahan Hovhannisian announced Armenia believes the resolution of the Cyprus issue must secure the island’s complete unification–and the restablishment of Greek-Cypriot rule over the entire territory.
In respect to relations between the Armenian and Greek diasporas–Hovhannisian said he felt cooperation in the US was at a satisfactory level–yet–a lot of work is needed in Europe.
Hovhannisian’s next meeting was with Vasos Lisaridis of the KISOS party. The KISOS leader stated that both his party and the ARF cooperate under socialist international forums and hoped that this cooperation can be intensified. Hovhannisian in turn said that relations with Cyprus and Greece are of utmost importance to Armenia–especially ties between the parties. He went on by summarizing an ARF Bureau delegation’s visit to Greece in November of last year–where agreemen’s were made with the PASOK party. Hovhannisian suggested like agreemen’s with KISOS.
Lisaridis agreed with all suggestions made by the Armenian delegation–adding that the level of cooperation must increase to even higher levels. Both sides agreed to prepare a joint declaration on this matter.
In his meetings with Parliament President Spiros Kiprianou–the strong friendship between the Armenian and Greek peoples was emphasized. Hovhannisian told Kiprianou that he holds a special place for Armenia’s since he was the first political leader to bring the Armenian cause to the international arena. His efforts toward recognition of the Armenian cause were greatly appreciated.
Kiprianou said his presentation of the Armenian Cause to the United Nations in 1965 stemmed not from political motivations–rather a responsibility to the injustices suffered by the Armenian nation. He said he was happy to see France’s recognition of the genocide–and hope to see more countries following in these steps. It was agreed to boost inter-parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.
During his meetings with Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos–the current state and preparedness of the Armenian armed forces was discussed. The minister in turn presented Hovhannisian with the current state of the Cypriot forces–in particular the reserves of Cyprus. Both sides agreed to arrange a meeting between Hasikos and his Armenian counterpart–Serge Sargssian.
His final meeting of the day was with Tasos Papadopoulos of the center-right DIKO party. Papadopoulos told Hovhannisian his party representatives in Strasbourg supported Armenia’s admission into the Council of Europe. Both agreed on increasing ties between the Greek and Armenian diasporas.