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Cablegate: Results of Conversations with U.S.

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS YEREVAN 000361

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT. FOR NEA/ELA AND EUR/CACEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL LE AM
SUBJECT: RESULTS OF CONVERSATIONS WITH U.S.
ARMENIAN GROUPS

REF: (A) State 21329 (B) Yerevan 172 (C) Beirut 282

1. (SBU) Ambassador Evans began his recent tour of Armenian-
American diaspora centers on February 11, only
three days prior to the assassination of former Lebanese
Prime Minister Hariri, which so drastically changed the
political landscape in Lebanon. Conversations with Lebanese-
origin Armenian Americans after the assassination naturally
focused on that event, and on fears for the safety of the
dwindling Armenian community there. In general, there was
very little traction for the talking points conveyed ref A.

2. (SBU) A prominent Armenian who had recently been in
Lebanon and considers Walid Jumblatt to be "like my brother"
offered the following explanation. Syria provided a haven
for Armenians fleeing the Turkish massacres of 1915, so
Armenians are generally well-disposed toward Damascus.
Syrian influence in Lebanon is so strong that "they could
leave tomorrow and nothing would change." The Lebanese, he
said, are "more Syrian than the Syrians."
The Deuxieme Bureau was cited in this connection.
Resolution 1559 was basically a deal between the French and
American governments; French President Chirac imagined that
he was helping Hariri. The Maronite Christians are "the
problem" and Lebanese President Lahoud (whose wife and
mother are Armenian) is not well regarded.

3. (SBU) An Armenian arch-bishop (Prelacy) offered
somewhat more guarded comments that stressed the fragility
of the Armenians' position in Lebanon and expressed fears
for their future.

4. (SBU) We recognize that the situation in Lebanon is now
radically transformed, and will therefore desist from
holding any further discussions, e.g., with the Catholicos,
unless Department wishes us to do so.

EVANS

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