YEREVAN—Armenia’s National Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved the Armenia-Turkey protocols paving the way for a signing ceremony between the two countries’ foreign ministers scheduled for Saturday.
The NSC met Thursday morning in the presence of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians and head the briefing by President Serzh Sarkisian who dismissed Diaspora and domestic criticism of his policy.
He insisted that the establishment of a historical commission will not stop Yerevan from pursuing the international recognition of the Genocide.
“On the question of the recognition and condemnation of the genocide, we have an obligation and we will fulfill that obligation till the end,” he said.
“Making territorial claims is not the best way to begin normalizing relations,” said Sarkisian, in an effort to counter assertions in the Diaspora that certain provisions in the protocols would prevent territorial claims with Turkey. “We must take into account the realities inherent in the 21st century political culture.”
On the Karabakh issue, Sarkisian said: “We will never opt for unilateral concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, regardless of what we could be offered in return,” he said.
Sarkisian was critical of the protests that greeted him almost all the stops of his tour, especially chiding organizers on the first leg of his trip to Paris.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Paris on October 2 near an Armenian Genocide monument. The Paris police attacked protesters upon Sarkisian’s arrival to lay a wreath at the monument and were dragged kicking and screaming.
In his remarks to the National Security Council, Sarkisian said that wreath-laying ceremony was intended to emphasize the importance of genocide recognition. Sarkisian claimed his expectation was to display national unity on the Genocide issue, but instead his was met by provocations.
Sarkisian rejected the vocal opposition he faced in the Diaspora, saying: “Upon my return from the ‘pan-Armenian tour,’ my goal wasn’t to announce that the Diaspora supports the Armenia-Turkey protocols.”
“I had a chance to once again feel just how different we are depending on our birthplace, community of residence, organizational affiliation and at the same time just how similar we are with our collective Armenian identity,” said Sarkisian, calling his trip “very important.”