YEREVAN, April 24. / ARKA /. The US ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, told reporters today that the government in Washington will work to have Armenia and Turkey ratify the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and normalization of ties signed in 2009 in Zurich.
He spoke to reporters after paying tribute to 1.5 million Armenians killed by the government of Ottoman Empire in the last years of the World War One.
The two protocols were to be ratified by the parliaments of the two countries, however, in 2010 April Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan ordered to suspend the process of ratification on grounds that Turkey was not ready to continue the normalization process.
"I hope that the protocols will be ratified and the result will be the opening of the borders and establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey,” said Heffern.
In a written address to the nation issued ahead of the 99th anniversary of the tragedy marked April 24 Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan said the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide ‘can afford Turkey a good chance to repent and to set aside the historical stigma in case if they can make efforts to set free their state’s future from this heavy burden.”
“At the same time, I publicly reaffirm: we do not consider the Turkish society as our enemy,” he stressed. “Bowing to the memory of the innocent victims we remember all those Turks, Turkish families who lent a helping hand to their Armenian neighbors and friends being annihilated by the barbarians and helped numerous Armenian children escape from the clutches of the mob. God bless the memories of those who gave plenty of our compatriots a helping hand by risking even their and their families’ lives.”
“The year 2015 should convey a strong message to Turkey,” the Armenian leader added in reference to the approaching 100th anniversary of the genocide.
“The attitude toward Armenia can no longer be measured by words because it presumes clear steps: the opening of the closed borders and the establishment of normal relations [with Armenia.]”
“Our position on the Armenian-Turkish protocols has not changed and the idea of ‘reasonable time frames’ [for their ratification] is becoming more urgent than ever,” he said.
According to John Heffern, U.S. President Barack Obama in his annual address to American-Armenians
will render tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians killed in 1915 and use strong words to condemn that crime.
The ambassador refused to comment on a surprise statement by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Armenian Genocide publicized yesterday in which he conveyed the first-ever condolences to the descendants of Armenians massacred in the Ottoman Empire during World War One.
“The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain,” Erdogan said in his landmark statement.
“It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique geography, who share similar customs and manners will be able to talk to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together their losses in a decent manner… And it is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren," he said.
"I am the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, and do not intend to comment this statement. Perhaps, Washington will make official comments," said the diplomat.
The 1915 Armenian Genocide is recognized by many states. The first was Uruguay in 1965. Other nations are Russia , France, Italy , Germany, Holland , Belgium, Poland , Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden , Switzerland , Greece, Cyprus , Lebanon , Canada , Venezuela , Argentina , 42 states in the U.S. the Armenian genocide is also recognized by the Vatican , the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches. -0 –