GLENDALE–Members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) visited the Armenian Consul General’s office in Los Angeles on September 14 to voice their opposition to the announced protocols between Armenia and Turkey. Consul General Grigor Hovhannessyan met with a representative from the delegation and discussed some of the points of contention put forth by the AYF.
“The meeting with the Consul General was an important step in getting the voice of our community heard by those who are making decisions affecting the fate of the Armenian nation,” said AYF Executive Director Serouj Aprahamian, the delegate who met with the Consul General. “Our community must be vigilant and speak with one voice against the dangerous elements encompassed in these Protocols.”
The visit on Monday came after five representatives of the AYF went to the Consulate last Friday, asking for a meeting with the Consul General. After being told that the Consul General himself was out of town, the delegation sat down with Consul Sahak Sargsyan to convey their outrage over the proposed protocols. They made it clear that
they wanted their message to reach the administration in Armenia and that they would return the following week to sit down with Mr. Hovhannessyan.
“The Consulate represents the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles and showing them our concern over the Protocols is an important part of the overall process in stopping them from being signed,” said Patil Aslanian, a member of the AYF who was part of the delegation on September 11.
Upon arrival to the Consulate on Monday, the AYF was told that the Consul General would agree to meet but only with one of the delegates. As AYF Executive Director, Aprahamian sat down with Consul General Hovhannessyan and Deputy Consul Mesrop Shaboyan to explain the organization’s opposition to the signing of the Protocols.
Aprahamian explained that the issue of establishing a “historical sub-commission” and implementing a “dialogue on the historical dimension” would be used by Turkey as a ploy to question the long-established facts behind the Armenian Genocide. He also raised the AYF’s concern over the language and provisions which threaten Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination. The clause outlining “mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law” and its implication for the cause of securing restitution for the Armenian Genocide was also discussed.
Consul General Hovhannessyan responded to the concerns by assuring that the Armenian Genocide would not be put into question by the historical commission identified in the protocol, pointing to the fact that the Genocide is not specifically mentioned in the document. He claimed that, instead, the commission would deal with such matters as historical monuments and other such unresolved matters.
He also noted that Karabakh is not mentioned either and that the Protocols are completely delinked from the conflict there. The Consul General reiterated that these were the official positions of the Armenian government.
Hovhannessyan sought to reassure the youth that the Armenian government is negotiating in the best interest of the Armenian people. He even insisted that diplomats such as himself would never forsake our national interests. “If I felt that this administration was forfeiting the national rights of Armenians,” stated Hovhannessyan, “I would not hesitate to resign from my post.”
The AYF members maintained that such reassurances were not enough to placate the dissatisfaction of their organization and community. “The trust and moral capital of the administration has been compromised by their announcement of these Protocols,” said Levon Abrahamian, another AYF member who participated in the delegations. “The mere announcement of such a one-sided document favoring Turkey’s demands is in itself a major setback for our Cause.”
In addition to bringing this matter to the attention of Armenia’s officials in Los Angeles, the youth made it clear that they are on the alert and ready to work with all segments of the community to stop the protocols as they stand from being ratified.
For more information about the AYF and its efforts to stop the Protocols contact [email protected] or call (818) 507-1933.