YEREVAN—In a swift response to a video anonymously posted on YouTube late Tuesday, in which Vice-President Joe Biden tells an Armenian activist that President Serzh Sarkisian had asked him not to “force” the Armenian Genocide recognition while the Armenia-Turkey talks were in progress, a presidential spokesman denied the statement and urged the White House to release conversation records.
Commenting on the YouTube video, Sarkisian’s press secretary Armen Arzumanyan said the president did not call Biden and did not make the statement attributed to him. Arzumanyan invited the White House to release the official records of the conversation.
“The president of the Republic of Armenia has never called United States Vice President Joe Biden. It was at the latter’s initiative that two telephone conversations took place in 2009 and during those conversations the president of the Republic of Armenia did not, directly or indirectly, make the expression that is ascribed to him on the video,” said Arzumanyan.
“On the contrary, in all his public speeches and official meetings, President Serzh Sarkisian has emphasized the importance of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and urged not to justify the delay of recognition with the ongoing negotiations with Turkey. Being confident that the White House has at its disposal all of the U.S. vice-president’s official records and phone conversations, the RA presidential administration officially gives its agreement to publicize the noted phone conversation records,” added Arzymanyan.
The full text of the exchange between Biden and the activist follows.
Question: “I’m Armenian, and I want to thank you for the work you did in the Senate. I have a question. I am very involved in the Armenian American community and as you know we’ve been…”
Vice-President Biden: “Oh, I know.”
Question: “… we’ve been very, very burned. I want to know what is the message that we should be giving to our community?”
Biden: “What you should be giving to your community is that we are not backing off. The Turks have to come to the realization of what the reality is. And what we got to do is, you know, this, the compromise that was going on and being worked at for a while… Tell them that it was the Armenian President that called me and said ‘Look, do not force this issue now, while we are in negotiations.’ We passed. That’s past right now. So anyway, reality has a way of intruding.”