Minister Oskanian Stresses Armenia's Opposition to Genocide Denial; Reminds U.N. Delegates that "Nagorno Karabagh has Never been a Part of Independent Azerbaijan"

September 16, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaking before the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vartan Oskanian, reaffirmed Armenia’s support for the Genocide Convention, highlighted the dangers of genocide denial, and pledged his government’s cooperation with ongoing legislative and international efforts toward the universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In his September 15th remarks before the international body, the Foreign Minister recalled the words of President Kocharian’s statement before the General Assembly two years ago regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. On September 7, 2000, President Kocharian had said that:

“Unfortunately, the Armenian people is fated to enter the new millennium with a load of problems from the past century. The fact that Turkey continues to deny the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire only strengthens our resolve to achieve historical justice.”

In his remarks yesterday, Minister Oskanian extended Armenia’s “profound appreciation to all those governments, legislatures, and international bodies that have recognized the Armenian Genocide, and pledge our cooperation to all those that are currently in the process of reaffirming the facts of this crime against humanity.” He went on to underscore that, “as a signatory of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Armenian Government places a high priority on the struggle to prevent future genocides and to stand up against all attempts to deny past genocides.”

The Minister specifically endorsed “initiatives that reinforce the international consensus behind this landmark treaty.” The U.S. Senate is currently considering legislation, S.Res.307, recognizing the Armenian Genocide and commemorating the 15th anniversary of the United States becoming a full signatory to the Genocide Convention.

“Armenian Americans share the Armenian Government’s enduring commitment to the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, so powerfully articulated by Foreign Minister Oskanian in his remarks before the United Nations General Assembly,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “As a community, we welcome the Armenian Government’s continued international leadership on this issue, and are working in the U.S. Senate – through S.Res.307 – toward our shared goal of ending Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and reinforcing the universal values of the Genocide Convention.”

Minister Oskanian’s remarks covered a broad range of issues. Among these were international issues, from the war on terrorism to sustainable development and the protection of children. He also addressed a number of issues of specific concern to Armenia, including the Armenian government’s National Plan of Action for Children, poverty reduction efforts and leadership in the search for a peaceful settlement of regional conflicts. Speaking about the Nagorno Karabagh issue, the Minister stated that:

“Nagorno Karabagh has never been a part of independent Azerbaijan. Whether we consider history or geography, whether we adopt a long-term political perspective, or whether we face the reality of the facts on the ground, the men, women and children of Nagorno Karabagh have earned the right to live peacefully on their historic lands.”

The full text of Mr. Oskanian’s statement in the “Additional Documents” section below.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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