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Cablegate: Armenia: President Sargsian Defends

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DE RUEHYE #0638/01 2550918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120918Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY YEREVAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9482
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 000638

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/CARC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU AZ AM
SUBJECT: ARMENIA: PRESIDENT SARGSIAN DEFENDS
TURKEY-ARMENIA DEAL, DOWNPLAYS EARLY BREAKTHROUGH ON N-K

(SBU) Sensitive but unclassifi)VUWN0`gic
importance of Armenia's relationship with Russia, lauded
constructive role of the U.S. in
Armenia-Turkey rapprochement, and downplayed the possibility
for a near-term
resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. END SUMMARY.

RUSSIAN-ARMENIAN "STRATEGIC" PARTNERSHIP

2. Sargsian opened his remarks with a reference to the
ongoing importance of the
Armenian-Russian strategic partnership, which he said is
based on economic cooperation, joint
participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization
(CSTO), and the large
Armenian diaspora in Russia. Sargsian also highlighted the
help Armenia received from Russia
in the form of a $500 million USD loan that helped to
mitigate the effects of the economic
crisis.

U.S.- ARMENIA RELATIONS

3. Sargsian painted a positive picture of the bilateral
relationship with the U.S., citing
economic, security, and democracy projects as areas of
continued close cooperation. Sargsian
emphasized the important role played by the Armenian Diaspora
in ensuring that the U.S.
Congress continued to support the country with development
assistance. Sargsian also made
positive remarks about the U.S. Government's constructive
involvement in Armenia-Turkey
rapprochement and dismissed critics' claims that the talks
had prevented the U.S. President
from publicly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS

4. Sargsian went to lengths to assure the MFA and his wider
audience that his government was
conducting all negotiations on the N-K peace process in a
transparent and open manner.
Rather defensively, Sargsian stated that his government had
not failed to inform
the public on its intentions vis-a-vis the Madrid Principles,
and that publication of the
principles proved that he had never tried to mislead the
public. He acknowledged that the
Madrid Principles had certain weak points, but pointed out
that the central issue of N-K
self-determination was preserved. Taking a stab at the
political opposition, Sargsian noted
that N-K's final status was a "sacred issue", and described
the efforts of those who would
stop the process as nothing more than "petty profiteering".

5. Sargsian downplayed the possibility of a short-term
breakthrough on N-K, assuring his
listeners that the N-K peace process was a lengthy one that
would require "more than a
matter of days, weeks, or even months" to resolve. Sargsian
stated that current negotiations
only covered the basic principles of a settlement. Agreement
on these basic principles would be followed by further
negotiation on complex individual principles. During the
negotiation process, Sargsian noted, it was Armenia's
priority to ensure N-K's security
while being its advocate to the international community.

NORMALIZING TURKISH-ARMENIAN RELATIONS

6. Sargsian referred to the Armenia-Turkey joint-statement
of August 31 as a sign of the
success of his decision to invite the Turkish President to
Armenia the previous
year, and his policy to pursue normalized relations. He
stated that the protocols on the
establishment of diplomatic relations and development of

YEREVAN 00000638 002 OF 002


bilateral relations demonstrated
that Armenia's interests would be protected in three vital
ways:

1) Negotiations with Turkey and agreement on
establishing relations have no
preconditions related to the peaceful settlement of N-K;
2) Historical issues related to the Genocide will not
be discussed by historians but
rather within one of the subcommissions of the
intergovernmental commission; and
3) A hearty and vigorous public debate within Armenia
will precede the signing of these
important agreements.

7. Sargsian closed his speech with a reminder to senior
diplomats about the importance of
their work for Armenia's national security. Sargsian also
noted that since becoming president
he had made 10 ambassadorial appointments, of which only two
had been political appointees.
He pointed to this as a sign of his commitment to the
Armenian Dipcorps and his trust in
their professional judgment.

YOVANOVITCH
YOVANOVITCH

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