YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Charles Aznavour, the world-famous French singer of Armenian descent, has revealed that he was offered to become Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland and nearly agreed to take up the vacant post.
“The president of Armenia once offered me to become Armenia’s ambassador in Geneva,” Aznavour told the Spanish daily El Pais in an interview published at the weekend. “I felt very proud and happy on that day. But then I figured that if I accept the offer I will lose my freedom.”
“If I don’t like a decision taken by the Armenian government I will feel bad,” he said. “I can’t lose my freedom for an honorable post.”
President Serzh Sarkisian granted Armenian citizenship to Aznavour in late December. The Swiss-based singer already received Armenia’s highest state award, the title of “national hero,” in 2004 in recognition of his long-standing support for the country of his ancestors. A square in downtown Yerevan was named after him in 2001.
Aznavour, 84, is one of the most renowned members of France’s influential Armenian community. He was at the forefront of the community’s efforts to help victims of the catastrophic 1988 earthquake that devastated much of northern Armenia.