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    Armenian FM says Obama's April 24 statement a step forward

    Hurriyet Daily News
    28.04.2009 - 12:31 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - U.S. President Barack Obama's statement regarding the 1915 incidents is a "step forward" compared with the statements made by former U.S. presidents, Armenia's Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said Monday.

    "There are very strong points in this statement. President Obama said that he has many times expressed his approach toward what happened in 1915, and he has not changed his opinion. President Obama used the ‘Meds Yeghern’ phrase, we – Armenians – use either the ‘genocide’ or ‘Meds Yeghern’ concepts," Nalbandian told the Armenpress News Agency.

    "But of course, all Armenians were waiting for the U.S. president to utter the word ‘genocide,’" he added.

    Obama, who pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident during his presidential campaign, did not use the word "genocide" while describing the events in his annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths."

    Instead, he used the Armenian term for the killings, "Meds Yeghern," which has been variously translated into English as the "Great Calamity" or "Great Disaster." He also branded the events as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

    Nalbandian also praised "the important personal assistance" Obama displayed for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

    Obama's statement came days after Turkey and Armenia announced that under Switzerland's mediation they agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of ties between the two neighboring countries that have not had diplomatic relations for more than a decade. The U.S. president extended his support to the normalization process.

    Nalbandian said Armenia is seeking to fully normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions, including those connected with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and recognition of the "genocide" claims.

    He said he hopes that once the two countries normalize their relations the leaders from Turkey and Armenia would attend the ceremonies commemorating the 1915 incidents together.

    "I hope that when we improve – normalize our relations – not only will the leadership of our country put flowers in Tsitsernakaberd but the Turkish leadership will join us. Why can we not do what Charles de Gaulle and Adenauer did? I am sure that such a day will come and Armenian and Turkish leaders will make that step," he said.


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