It is with despair that we have to report that the deposed leadership of Armenia–even during their last days–continued to pursue their divisive polices by not responding to an entry visa application filed by Asbarez executive editor John Kossakian.
The Asbarez editor accepted an invitation by British Mediterranean Airways to be among a group traveling to Armenia on the airline’s inaugural flight between London and Yerevan. The purpose of the trip was to provide coverage–in Asbarez and Horizon television–on the airline’s services to Armenia and report of the scheduled British Week festivities which took place during the week of January 19. The trip–naturally–would have provided positive coverage for Armenia.
Thus–on January 12–an application for an entry visa to Armenia was filed at the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles–where Kossakian was told that he could return and retrieve his visa in three days. On January 15–two consulate officials informed Kossakian that they had not yet received a response from Yerevan–but were anticipating one in the near future.
On January 21–the vice-consul informed Kossakian that he had not heard from Yerevan and that Kossakian’s passport was to be returned. At this juncture–Kossakian asked the vice-consul for an official response on the visa request–reminding the official that during his visit to Los Angeles in January 1997–then prime minister Armen Sarkissian–with the Armenian Ambassador to the US at his side–had encouraged Kossakian to apply for a visa–leaving the blatant impression that his application would not be denied.
Unfortunately–on Monday–January 26–Kossakian’s passport and the $100 fee remitted for the visa application were returned by mail.
This is but one of many irresponsible approaches by the former leaders of Armenia–who not only call into question the reputation of an Armenian editor–but also disrespect the former prime minister’s pledges. Furthermore–this divisive approach also placed the consulate staff in an awkward situation–whereby they were unable to provide an official response to the request.
We hope such reprehensible incidents will become a thing of the past with the departing leadership and that the new leaders of Armenia will stop at nothing to utilize the abilities of each and every Armenian–be they editors–or businessmen–rich or poor. After all–Armenia belongs to all Armenia’s.