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PRESIDENT SERZH SARGSYAN'S
HISTORIC VISIT TO CYPRUS

Quick image tour of President Sargsyan and his entourage's visit to Cyprus: click here
Simon Aynedjian - Gibrahayer e-magazine Thursday 13 January 2011 - The much anticipated and historic visit of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Cyprus became reality on Monday 17 January 2011. During his visit President Serzh Sargsyan met President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace. He later met Archbishop Chrysostomos. These two meetings were followed by the opening of the Armenia-Cyprus Business Forum that took place at The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
After his Parliament address at a special session hosted by Cyprus Parliament President Marios Garoyian (and aired live from Cyprus national TV RIK) President Sargsyan visited Nareg school in the afternoon and attended a special event in which the Nareg choir performed for the President and his entourage.
Nareg school's Hokapartsoutiun Chairman Vartan Tashdjian welcomed the President and his entourage, while Principal Vera Tahmazian presented the President with a commemorative gift. Visibly moved, President Sargsyan rushed to the microphone and addressed pupils, teachers, parents, and Gibrahay community members, who had packed Nareg Hall.
Accompanied by Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian, Sargsyan later met Archbishop Hergelian and members of Temagan and Varchagan bodies at the Armenian Prelature.
view the video of the visit here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkrnUwztHMU
At 5:00pm the opening of an old Armenian manuscripts exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Ministry of Education and Culture took place where 18 manuscripts from Madenataran will be on exhibit for the rest of the week.
The first day of the official visit of the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Cyprus was concluded by a dinner at the Presidential Palace. Before leaving to Greece
yesterday morning, Armenia's President and his entourage visited the Genocide Memorial in Larnaca.
Cypriot and Armenian media gave extensive coverage to the President's visit, especially to his bold references to neighbouring Turkey and Azerbaijan.
We will give extensive analysis of Turkish reaction to the visit, next week.

TWO ARMENIAN PRESIDENTS ADDRESS CYPRUS PARLIAMENT

TURKISH-ARMENIAN RAPPROCHEMENT "DESTROYED" SAYS SARGSYAN

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan denounced the current Turkish government’s assertive foreign policy as “neo-Ottoman” imperialist designs aimed at forcing Turkey’s neighbors into submission.

17.01.2011 - Emil Danielyan - Azadutiun - President Sargsyan accused Turkey of reversing its rapprochement with Armenia and voiced strong opposition to Ankara’s perceived efforts to take on a leadership role in the region as he paid a state visit to Cyprus on Monday.
In a speech delivered in the Cyprus Parliament, Sargsyan also condemned continuing Turkish occupation of a big chunk of the island and unequivocally endorsed its Greek-dominated government’s position on the unresolved conflict.
“With its contradictory posture, inconsistent statements and groundless manipulation of the [Turkish-Armenian normalization] process, Turkey destroyed it,” he said. “Turkey backed away from its commitments and not only failed to ratify the signed protocols but also reverted to its old positions adopted before the process.”
Sargsyan denounced the current Turkish government’s assertive foreign policy as “neo-Ottoman” imperialist designs aimed at forcing Turkey’s neighbors into submission. “What had the Ottoman Empire given the peoples under its yoke apart from massacres, tyranny and plunder?” he said.
“A country that has kept the border with Armenia closed since its independence under different pretexts and has been blackmailing my people can not aspire to regional leadership,” he declared.
The unusually scathing remarks reflected Sargsyan's frustration with Turkey’s refusal to unconditionally ratify the Turkish-Armenian protocols envisaging the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two neighboring states and the opening of their border. Ankara has made that contingent on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.
Addressing Greek-Cypriot lawmakers, Sargsyan said that Yerevan has never set any preconditions for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations despite having “more than sufficient moral and legal grounds” to do that. He singled out successive Armenian governments’ readiness to improve bilateral ties without Turkish recognition of the World War One-era massacres in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
The Armenian leader emphasized the fact that the Cypriot Parliament was one of the first legislatures to pass in 1982 a resolution recognizing the genocide. He went to express his country’s solidarity with the Greek Cypriots in their decades-long conflict with the Turks.
“Armenia has never accepted and will never accept any attempt to partition brotherly Cyprus,” Sargsyan declared. “We have never come and will never come to terms with the occupation of this friendly country’s north.”
“Armenians and Cypriots are not only friends and brothers but also natural allies, and we are faithful to that alliance,” he said.
A joint declaration issued with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias after their talks in Nicosia, Sargsyan likewise hailed the Greek Cypriots’ “creative approach” to the conflict’s resolution and faulted Turkey for “not duly responding to these steps.” Official Nicosia, for its part, praised Armenia’s “constructive efforts” to settle the Karabakh conflict.

After the President's Cyprus visit, Ruben Safrastyan declares that Turkey's policy of neo-Ottomanism has no perspective
"President Sargsyan declared things in Cyprus, which he had never spoken loudly about. For the fist time President Sargsyan declared that Turkey’s policy was based on blackmail and made it clear that the Genocide issue could serve as preconditions in important issues."

18.01.2011 17:57 - Anna Nazaryan - “Radiolur” - President Serzh Sarsgyan’s speech at the Parliament of Cyprus and the joint declaration were of primary importance from the point of view of prioritizing the right of people to self-determination in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and giving an assessment to the Armenian-Turkish relations on the highest level, expert of Turkish studies Ruben Safrastyan told a press conference today. He is assured that Turkey’s policy of Neo-Ottomanism has no perspective.
Facing the problem of territorial integrity, for the fist time Cyprus confirmed in a written document that the right to self-determination or the free expression of will should be of compulsory character in the Karabakh issue, which is very important, taking into consideration that Cyprus is a member of the European Union, Safrastyan said.
President Sargsyan declared things in Cyprus, which he had never spoken loudly about. For the fist time the President declared that Turkey’s policy was based on blackmail and made it clear that the Genocide issue could serve as preconditions in important issues.
“This means that the Genocide issue can once serve as precondition in the establishment of Armenian-Turkish relations,” he said.
Does this mean that the “football diplomacy” has failed? “The process has long reached a deadlock and it’s Turkey’s fault,” Safrastyan declared.

 
Speech of Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, in the House of representatives of the Republic of Cyprus:

Serzh Sargsyan: “New achievements are enriching the spectrum of the Armenian-Cypriot cooperation every year” 

“Your Excellency President Christofias,
Distinguished Mr. Garoyian,
Honourable Parliamentarians,
Dear People of Cyprus,
Thank you for receiving me in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus. I am truly delighted and honored to speak before the Parliament of the traditionally friendly state and the brotherly people for Armenia and the Armenian nation.
I am having warm feelings each time I speak of friendship between our two peoples. This friendship has ancient roots and a rock-solid foundation. Cyprus is a place which is dear to the hearts and minds of the Armenian people. This marvellous island is one of the unique countries in which Armenians have never been considered as strangers from ancient times; rather, Armenians lived and created in this country and, whenever necessary, took on arms to fight against the enemies of this country. The vast majority of the Armenian community of Cyprus, which amounted to tens of thousands in the Middle Ages, left the country after the Ottoman invasion. However, by some irony of fate, the present-day Armenian Community of Cyprus was formed under a different set of geopolitical circumstances as a consequence of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the same empire. Here, I bow respectfully before the Cypriot people for providing shelter, opportunities for a new life, and a new fatherland to the Armenian refugees that survived the yataghan.
My fellow Armenians that settled in Cyprus can live and create freely, without concealing their ethnic identity and origin. Fully integrated in the Cypriot society, the Armenians contribute to the prosperity of their second fatherland. I am proud that the Armenians of Cyprus contribute constructively to the public and political life of this country, as best illustrated by the fact that this session, to my great pleasure, is chaired by my fellow Armenian, Marios Garoyian.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
I stand today in a Parliament that back in 1982 was among the first in the world to recognize and denounce the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, and to demand the restoration of historical justice. The Armenian people are grateful to the brotherly people of Cyprus for joining us in commemoration and paying tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. One of the monuments to the Armenian Genocide located in your country was erected in Larnaca with the support of the Cyprus-Armenia Friendship Group and my dear colleague, President Christofias.
Friendship of our peoples is genuinely sincere and strong. It withstood the test of time and upheavals of history. Destiny often subjected us to cruel tests jeopardize our statehood and leaving our peoples, bearers of a millennia-old culture, in the hands of executioners. We paid with irreversible losses and a long struggle against the common enemy for ridding ourselves of the foreign yoke, and our freedom-loving peoples regained the right to live independently and in peace.

Dear Friends;
Our peoples, who passed through the crucible, are still facing some problems. Unfortunately, in this most civilized era of human history, there are still forces and statesmen that have not abandoned the archaic way of thinking and the invader psychology, confident that even today “the strongest will dictate”. Hence, we have to multiply our common efforts to achieve just solutions for our causes and peace for our peoples.
In this respect, I would like to speak of the vital issues for Armenia and all Armenians, the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and the stalemate in which the Armenia-Turkey relationship currently is. Speaking about these issues is important because in the modern era of information technology misinformation very often quickly overshadows the truth.
The people of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was forcibly annexed to Azerbaijan by the totalitarian regime, never put up with the status imposed on them. They witnessed the fate of the Armenians in Nakhijevan - another annexed territory, who succumbed to the oppression of the Azerbaijani authorities and had to leave the land on which they had lived for millennia. It was not by accident that throughout the Soviet period and especially in during the liberation process, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh was regularly raising the issue of their independence. In 1991, they stated their independence through a referendum that was conducted in full accordance with the legislation of the Soviet Union. Resorting to explicit ethnic cleansing and military aggression, Azerbaijan tried to kill the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Failing to win in the war it unleashed, Azerbaijan was forced in 1994 to sign a trilateral ceasefire agreement with Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Unfortunately, this rare opportunity to establish durable peace, which could have marked the beginning of peaceful coexistence and development for the peoples of the region, is to date being abused by Azerbaijan for preparing a new military aggression.
Hostile propaganda against Armenia and the Armenians and state-supported apparent falsifications of history, which have overwhelmed Azerbaijan, coupled with the arms race and military build-up, prove that Baku is not ready for peace. It reaches a point when my Azerbaijani counterpart declares that a large part of Armenia had been donated to us by Azerbaijan, and that Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is an Azerbaijani city. I am sure that Cyprus has dealt with a similar absurdity of history distortion. The Armenophobic and aggressive stance of Azerbaijan reinforces our conviction that Nagorno-Karabakh has no future within Azerbaijan. Moreover, Azerbaijan has no legal, political, or moral grounds for aspirations regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. While we are determined to resolve the issue in an exclusively peaceful and negotiated way, should Azerbaijan opt for a military adventure our response will be resolute.
Unfortunately, some countries, enticed by energy interests, conduct in our intrinsically volatile region short-sighted policies. In no way is it conducive of regional stability. Moreover, simple logic proves that these very economic interests will be the first to suffer in case the regional stability is endangered.

Dear Colleagues;
Standing here, on the friendly land of Cyprus, I cannot sidestep the Cyprus issue. It so happened that in search for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh and Cyprus conflicts we resort to different principles of international law, because these two conflicts are different in terms of their nature, circumstances, history, and relevant facts. Each conflict has its own logic and a different key to its solution.
Many have tried to catch us in the trap of superficial interpretation of the rules and provisions of international law. However, any law is anchored in justice, and we must stand united in our righteous struggle for the restoration of justice.
Armenians have never hesitated in supporting our Cypriot brothers, at times we even fought for the territorial integrity of Cyprus. We are truly concerned with the resolution of the Cyprus issue, because, like Cyprus, the Armenian cultural legacy in Cyprus is divided; like Cyprus, it longs for reunification, for attention and care, because those, who occupy the territory of our brotherly country, do not bother to take care of the Christian cultural heritage.
Armenia has never accepted and will never accept any attempt to divide brotherly Cyprus. We have never put up and will never put up with the occupation of the North of this friendly country. We join you in remembering Famagusta and other territories occupied by Turkey. We do remember, because the failure to remember would be tantamount to putting up with the status quo and the violence exerted on this country. We are calling things by their proper names, so that the crime is not dashed off and the Cyprus issue is resolved in a just and lawful manner.
Armenians and Cypriots are not only friends and brothers, but also natural allies, and we are committed to this alliance. I assure you that you will not find on the face of the Earth a single Armenian who would not sincerely share in joy of victories and achievements of Cyprus, its progress, stability, and peace.

Dear Friends;
Establishment of durable peace and stability in our region is one of Armenia’s key objectives. However, our persistent efforts in this direction came to a stalemate. I trust that you in Cyprus have closely followed the Armenia-Turkey normalization process. The process initiated by our sincere offer to normalize relations with Turkey, albeit through small steps, quickly came to a halt. Turkey destroyed it with its inconsistent posture, contradictory statements, and baseless manipulation of the process. Turkey stepped back from its commitments and not only failed to ratify the signed protocols, but also returned to its pre-normalization position. Our efforts and the efforts of our colleagues actively engaged in the process faced the wall of preconditions. Should preconditions be set, then we had considerably more moral and legal grounds for presenting preconditions. We did, however, find the strength to overcome all psychological obstacles and to move forward. We do have many problems with Turkey, including, first and foremost, the problem related to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. However, instead of setting preconditions, we opted for a dialogue as a civilized way for resolving problems.

Dear Colleagues;
We must face the truth. Turkey today aspires to become a regional leader by conducting a so-called “New Ottomanism” policy. However, regional leadership implies a responsible approach and a responsible way of thinking, rather than practices of coercion or dictate. What did the Ottoman Empire bring to the peoples under its yoke other than massacres, oppression, and tyranny? Does anyone miss Ottomanism, providing a reason to deliver a “New Ottomanism”?
And what does the “zero problems with the neighbours” policy mean? Does it mean that all neighbours should obediently do what Turkey wants them to do and satisfy Turkey’s preconditions? There are probably neighbours for whom it is quite beneficial, but we are certainly not among them.
The country which since Armenia’s independence has upon different pretexts closed the border and is trying to blackmail my people may not aspire for regional leadership. We consider ourselves bearers of the European values and a member of the European family. Armenia is currently implementing wide-scale reforms with the significant support of the European structures. We are greatly interested in having neighbours committed to the democratic and European values, neighbours that resolve issues by means of dialogue and negotiations, rather than threats. We hope that Turkey will understand and appreciate the importance of these values for its own stability, development, and prosperity.

Dear Friends;
The Armenian-Cypriot friendship is anchored not only in deep-rooted historical, cultural, and social ties, but also in mutual trust, respect, admiration, and a shared system of values.
My presence in this hall today, as well as productive reciprocal visits by the senior officials of our countries, bear testament to the depth of our relationship and to the determination to deepen them further. The Armenian-Cypriot relationship has progressed significantly in the last two decades. Our countries are now engaged not only in the active political dialogue, but also in vibrant cooperation in virtually all, including the inter-parliamentary, military-industrial, cultural, educational, and other areas. I would like to see further progress in the economic area as well; we are exerting joint efforts in this field. I think that in this sphere too we will achieve major progress in the years to come.
As I speak here in the House of Representatives of Cyprus, I could not circumvent the importance of active inter-parliamentary cooperation for the Armenian-Cypriot relationship. I am delighted to note considerable progress in the inter-parliamentary cooperation field. I wish also to emphasize the role of parliamentary diplomacy and the need to support one another on vital matters in the international parliamentary structures.

Dear Colleagues;
One can state with confidence that new achievements are enriching the spectrum of the Armenian-Cypriot cooperation every year. As natural allies, we are keen on each other’s political, diplomatic, economic, and social strengthening.
Our peoples and countries are connected not only by history and culture, but also the future. I am confident that through close cooperation and joint efforts, we can secure the sovereignty of our states and a prosperous future for our peoples. I have no doubt that together we will forge history of millennia.
Long live Cyprus!
Long live Armenia!
Long live the Armenian-Cypriot centuries-old friendship!
Thank you for your attention”.

 

 
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