German Foreign Minister optimistic about extension of Armenian-Turkish constructive dialogue – Turkish Armenian Business Development Council
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German Foreign Minister optimistic about extension of Armenian-Turkish constructive dialogue


22:00, 15 March, 2012

YEREVAN, MARCH 15, ARMENPRESS: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is in South Caucasus on a regional visit March 14-16. Armenpress interviewed Minister Guido Westerwelle about regional issues, recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian-German relations.


-Mr. Minister, regional security issues are of great significance in the modern world. How do you assess the current situation in the South Caucasus and the efforts directed toward ensuring security guarantees?


 -The unsolved conflicts of the South Caucasus impede prosperous and peaceful development of the entire region. The status quo cannot become a long-term situation. The dividends of peaceful settlement would be huge for all states of the South Caucasus. Now we need mutual concessions, and not confrontation. Courageous steps and formation of mutual trust are required. During my visit to South Caucasus I would like to advertise this.


-Nagorno Karabakh conflict is among the main issues of South Caucasus. How do you see the possibility of its settlement and what kind of steps must be undertaken in that direction in your opinion?


-The peaceful settlement of the conflict is in the first place. That is why Germany, as member of OSCE Minsk Group, supports the co-chairs of France, the USA and Russia in their mediatory efforts. Simultaneously, we have successfully worked in favor of the more active role of the European Union. The conclusions of the European Council on Foreign Relations at the end of February, and the EU’s mandate of special commissioner for South Caucasus can serve as a good basis in that issue. EU’s more active role should be involved in the frame of the efforts of the Minsk Group. First of all I think of importance of the steps shaping mutual trust.


 -In the recent period new states realizing their self-determination have emerged, and Germany has stood up for those steps, recognizing South Sudan and Kosovo as examples. Can these states be precedents for de jure recognition of Nagorno Karabakh?


-Every single case has its peculiarities. So, recognition of Kosovo and South Sudan by Germany cannot be precedent for other international recognitions. As for Nagorno Karabakh, the German government supports the goals the OSCE Minsk group pursues through negotiations, which is to establish balance between the international principles of territorial integrity and  self-determination right of peoples.


-The Bundestag has recognized the fact of the Armenian Genocide, and after the adoption of the Bill Criminalizing Denial of Genocides in France some German MPs did not rule out adoption of an analogical bill by the German legislative body. Is it possible that such a bill will be adopted in Germany as well and Turkey will follow Germany’s example in regard to recognition of the historical fact?


 -It is not me that should comment the decisions adopted by French courts or the French legislative decisions. I am interested in Armenia-Turkish reconciliation. I hope for a further constructive dialogue. Examination of history, which should bring to long-lasting reconciliation, must first spring from inside and take place between the parties of the issue, even if it is painful or requires time.


 -How do you asses the current level of Armenian-German relations? Which directions are more prospective for expansion of cooperation?


 -I am happy for our close relations. Germany, as Armenia’s second large donor country after the USA, has supported Armenia since its independence. Our cooperation is very close, specifically in the sphere of support of legal state. We consider this can appear a key on the way of Armenia’s integration to the European Union. With his visit to Germany at the end of January Justice Minister Tovmasyan laid a basis for better enhanced cooperation in this sphere. So, with my visit to Yerevan I want not only to mark the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, but also to stress the interest of the Federal Republic of Germany in strengthening of our relations.


Interview by Armen Ghazaryan



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