EMBASSIES ARE OFTEN PERCEIVED AS PROTOCOL SERVICES, SAYS ARMENIAN DIPLOMAT

10:44 * 30.05.14

In an interview with Tert.am, Ara Papyan, a former Armenian ambassador
to Canada (2000-2006) and the director of the Yerevan-basedModus
Vivendi center, commented on the activities of Armenian in foreign
states, noting that the public perception of embassies' role is often
wrongly reduced to that of protocol services.

Addressing the reported plans for organizing a special assembly of
ambassadors in Yerevan to discuss the Genocide centennial commemoration
agenda, Papyan said he thinks that its success depends on the strategic
instructions to be given to the diplomats.

"The practice of ambassadorial assemblies has always existed. We used
to hold annual assemblies of ambassadors to sum up the past year and
outline the plans for the coming year. We can now assume that the
assembly will be a special one, as the question focuses the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and [the meeting] is being
held after the session of the Government Commission [responsible for
coordinating the centennial commemoration events]. As to what can
be done, everything depends on the instructions that the ambassadors
may receive. If they are limited to instructions, ambassadors do that
some way or another. The problem is that we need resources to carry
them out. If our goal is to tell the world that a crime of genocide
was committed and we were massacred, that's a different matter,
which I don't think makes any sense at all. If [we want to prove]
that the genocide committed caused the Armenian statehood suffer
territorial and material losses, and that the Republic of Armenia
has to receive redress, that's absolutely a different question which
requires considerably serious work. The strategic task set to the
ambassadors is of importance too," he said.

Asked whether special resources are necessary, Papyan agreed that they
really need appropriate means to ensure the ambassadors' effective
work. "It is necessary, for example, to provide them with the new
studies, collections of documents or books on Genocide, as well as
money, because if an exhibition or any other event is held somewhere,
most of them are paid. If that's to be done with the community's
efforts, then that's what is being carried out some way or another,"
he answered.

Considering the Genocide recognition a moral rather than a political
issue, Papyan said further that it is more important to demand
reparation, focusing on the legal aspect of the question. "No legal
consequences stem from recognition per se. And the [Foreign] Ministry
is a political body tasked with protecting the interests of the
Republic of Armenia. If the Foreign Ministry sets itself a task to
protect Armenia's territorial integrity which was violated, that's
a different question. But if it is necessary to open exhibitions,
that's something which has always been done. Didn't we do it in the
past when there were not centennial [commemoration] commissions? I
am sure different exhibitions have been held, and I myself am the
witness of that. It is important to introduce this topic as a legal
and political issue. The Genocide recognition doesn't make any sense
without reparation; this is the problem. When you, as an aggrieved
side, speak on your losses, it will make sense if you also make the
next step - demand reparation," he added.

Armenian News - Tert.am