The Armenian Revolutionary Federation on Thursday strongly condemned an agreement announced by Ankara and Yerevan and said it could pull out of Armenia’s governing coalition in protest. Armenia’s main opposition forces also gave a highly negative assessment of the deal.
The party issued the following announcement:
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has declared, time and again, that good-neighborly relations between the two countries can only be established after the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide and the restoration of the rights of the Armenian people. The lifting of the blockade and the establishment of diplomatic relations, without preconditions, can only serve as first steps on this path. It is absolutely unacceptable for us that relations with Turkey be normalized at the expense of Armenia’s sovereignty, the viability of its existence, or the national and state rights of future Armenian generations.
Deeply committed to these principles, we find unacceptable and condemn the signing, by Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the April 22 joint statement with Turkey.
The statement comes on the eve of the commemoration, on April 24, of the greatest tragedy of the Armenian people. The leaders of Turkey have recently made anti-Armenian announcements in general and on the Artsakh issue in particular, and have restated preconditions for the normalization of relations. The release of the statement at this time and in these circumstances is a blow to the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people.
Noting that this process implies a negative change in the direction of Armenia’s foreign policy, the ARF will, in the coming days, discuss the expediency of its continued participation in the governing coalition.”
The ARF Bureau’s Political Director, Giro Manoyan told RFE/RL that party leaders plan to meet and demand explanations from Sarkisian after he returns from a visit to Moscow. The issue is likely to be on the agenda of Saturday’s meeting of Armenia’s National Security Council as well. ARF Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman Armen Rustamian is a member of that presidential body.
The ARF’s announcement came the day after the party’s top leader, Hrant Markarian, publicly lambasted Sarkisian’s year-long diplomatic overtures to Turkey, saying that they have seriously damaged Armenia’s national interests. He said that Yerevan has made major concessions to Ankara while failing to secure the lifting the of the Turkish economic blockade of Armenia.
“When you draw up a roadmap for negotiations, you plan for a long, very long period,” said Manoyan. “This contradicts the notion that these negotiations must be quick and productive and that they will otherwise be meaningless,” speaking to the hasty timing of the announcement.