BRUSSELS (Combined Sources)-Foreign Minister of Armenia Vartan Oskanian addressed the Second Convention of European Armenia’s Monday on the 20th anniversary of the European parliament’s recognition of the Armenian genocide resolution.
"I would like to express our appreciation for the efforts of those who passed this resolution 20 years ago," said Oskanian during his speech to the Convention. The international community, he said, has the obligation to recognize and condemnation genocide, whether it occurs in Darfur in the 21st century or the Ottoman Empire in the 20th.
"This resolution revealed political common sense," he said. "A country aspiring to join Europe must look like Europe, act like Europe, imagine and see like Europe. It must view history for what it is–the product of political and social tensions of the time–and it must accept its own role in that history, learn from it and move forward, as Europe has done."
Touching upon the political events currently underway in both the United States and Turkey, Oskanian emphasized the grave necessity for legislative bodies to continue insisting that morality be the underlying principle and ultimate goal of all foreign policies and relations. "Turkey, which is serious about EU membership…will have to come to terms with its past," said Oskanian.
Referring to Genocide as the highest crime against humanity, Oskanian called for "a different kind of response, a different level of reaction, an unorthodox solution commensurate to the extraordinary crime."
Oskanian noted the willingness of Armenia to forgive the crimes of the past noting that "Armenia’s believe that today’s Turks do not bear the guilt of the perpetrators, unless they choose to defend them and identify with them." He reiterated Armenia’s willingness to confront the memories and obstacles of the past alongside Turkey, noting, however, "Turkey must open the borders so that our people will interact to create new experiences to replace the old memories"
Speeches were also delivered by Frattini, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, former and current Members of the European Parliament, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby and OSCE Minsk Group French Co-Chair Bernard Fassier.
The convention brought together people from 29 countries-19 of which are countries from the EU including numerous new Member States. For most of these newcomers, this Convention represented their first participation in a pan European event, said the EAFJD.
The participants were mainly leading members of the Armenian Diaspora of Europe and other personalities with responsibilities in the political and associative domains attending from the European Union Countries of Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Participants from Armenia, Canada, the United States, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Syria also attended.
"The capacity of the convention to mobilize demonstrates the extent to which the Armenian issues constitute a focal point of interest for a number of important European citizens and also for many international observers" commented Laurent Leylekian, the executive director of the European-Armenian Federation.