[Europe Section, "Mtakasta"]
First Official Talks between ADO and
Armenian Government Officials
Heading for a boost of future concrete co-operation
May 5, 1998
The visit of Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian to Germany provided the setting for the first official talks between the Assyrian Democratic Organisation ADO and Armenian government officials on last May 5.
Despite of the packed working agenda of his delegation Mr. Oskanian made a special arrangement for a ca 1 hour meeting at which Mr. Issa Hanna of ADO Europe was received by the Armenian ambassador in Germany Dr Aschot Voskanian and the Special Commissioner for European Affairs in the Armenian Foreign Ministry Mr. Mntatsakian in the official guest house 'Petersberg' of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in the town of Königswinter near Bonn.
The talks opened up with heartily greetings from Foreign Minister Oskanian who deplored that an unforeseen increase in his working schedule prevented him from participating personally. He expressed his wish to make up for this at a later time, maybe in Yerevan, Armenia and said that nevertheless he did not want to miss the opportunity of having his views on the vividly interesting issue of co-operation with ADO expressed by his representatives.
Also Armenian ambassador Dr Voskanian welcomed the chance for this first official meeting and reminded of the sympathetic perception Assyrians traditionally enjoy among Armenians which unfortunately up to now had not been translated into the establishment of permanent relations between the leaderships of the two people. He said that his personal acquaintance with Assyrians from childhood on in Armenia where there are living an estimated 7,000 Assyrians today resulted in his appreciation of their rich cultural heritage as well as of their 'warm and friendly' character.
In this amicable and cheerful atmosphere Mr. Hanna gave a vivid portray of the long standing and traditionally close and fruitful friendly relations between Armenians and Assyrians and handed over a collection of gifts comprising a picture of 'The Fall of Niniveh' and a number of books telling about the tragic history and actual living conditions of Assyrians throughout the world and highlighting the efforts and achievements of ADO in the various fields of work, e. g. the foundation and operation of the 'Assyrian School' in Augsburg, Germany. Additionally Mr. Voskanian was giving a briefing on the current problems Assyrians are facing in their homelands as well as in their diaspora.
As a spontaneous sign of his compassionate interest Mr. Voskanian asked Mr. Hanna to read the personal dedications written in the books in order to hear the sound of the 'living Syriac (Assyrian) language'.
Mr. Mntatsakian, Special Commissioner for European Affairs in the Armenian Foreign Ministry and technical-administrative expert of this newly established portfolio, made reference to previous contacts of ADO with Armenian organisations and the Armenian embassy in Germany and especially to the ADO congratulation address to the Armenian President Mr. Robert Kocharian dated April 6. He stated that he had been especially looking forward to meeting an ADO delegation as on the work-intensive visit of the Armenian delegation to Europe with a lot of meetings with organisations he had not met such an powerful and competent initiative so far as launched by ADO.
He told that the Armenian government is fully aware of ADO's activities which are followed up closely and seriously appreciated.
Turning to the centre issue of an envisaged co-operation with the Republic of Armenia as well as with the organisations of the diasporas of the two people (Armenian: Spurk - Assyrian: Golutho) to fight common problems and promote their respective well-being in a concrete way Mr. Hanna reaffirmed ADO's strong will to implement all proposals as being already contained in the aforementioned letter to the Armenian President Kocharian.
These proposals aim at establishing future alliances which may work effectively to the best of the Assyrian and Armenian community in the diaspora as well as - with mobilised diaspora forces - to best of their respective homelands (Armenia/Arzach and Bet Nahrin/Mesopotamia).
Fields of work are:
Dr. Voskanian and Mr. Mntatsakian told that meanwhile those proposals had been passed on to the Armenian government for thorough scrutinising where they had aroused great interest.
The special commissioner Mr. Mntatsakian pointed out that these efforts perfectly fit the policy of the newly elected Armenian government which is laying special emphasis on strengthening and developing the Armenian diaspora as having a strategic role both with regard to their ties with other diasporas with which it is seeking friendly relationships and with the Republic of Armenia. This holds especially true for Europe as Armenia is heading for its integration into the European political, cultural and economic context, 'where Armenia belongs to' as Mr. Mntatsakian put it.
After papers documenting all suggestions,
offers and information from ADO have been handed over by Mr. Hanna the meeting ended
to both sides' satisfaction about the fruitful commencement of the relations. There
was the common opinion that there should practical steps be taken towards
translating these firm co-operation intentions into reality as soon as possible by setting up joint commissions meeting on a regular basis with the task to further deepen mutual knowledge of each other, identifying, concretising and implementing co-ordinated projects. For this, at the build-up stage permanent contacts will be maintained especially with the Armenian Embassy in Bonn, Germany while with widening scope and progress of works Government officials and expert teams in Armenia will be involved.
The sides parted warmly looking forward to coming meetings.
After this Mr. Hanna was interviewed by a reporter of 'Snark', one of the leading Armenian news agencies. In this Mr. Hanna gave a detailed description of the main objectives of the ADO initiative and its contents as dealt with in the talks with the Armenian ambassador and the special commissioner.
Mr. Hanna was accompanied by the president and the secretary of the Armenian National Cultural Centre of the city of Dortmund, Mr. Y. Khosrovian and Mr. A. Schmidt, who made the improvement of inter-minority contacts and especially the promotion of Assyrian-Armenian relations a top priority and at the same time served as interpreters during the meeting.