Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan with Chancellor Angela Merkel

German-Armenians Applaud Merkel


BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent trip to the South Caucasus received careful attention in Germany, not only in political circles and the major press, but also in the small but active Armenian community here. On September 5, Dr. Raffi Kantian, chairman of the Board of the Deutsch-Armenische Gesellschaft (German-Armenian Society), issued a press release on behalf of his organization.

Titled, “German Chancellor Merkel in Armenian: An important step and the right one for German-Armenian relations,” it read as follows:

Chancellor Merkel visited Armenia on August 24 and 25.  We in the German-Armenian Society welcome her decision to visit the genocide memorial immediately on arrival, a decision that bears a special symbolic stamp. Although she avoided the word “genocide,” she made clear that that is what she meant:

“I planned this commemoration in the spirit expressed also by the Resolution of the German Bundestag (Parliament) in June 2016. I believe that with it, an important step was taken for the development of the culture of remembrance and also that a political classification was assigned, though explicitly not a legal one.”

The Bundestag Resolution from June 2, 2016, “Remembering and Commemorating the Genocide against Armenians and other Christian Minorities in 1915 and 1916,” contains the important ascertainment:

“Today the task for education in Germany, in schools, universities and political formations is to take up study of the expulsion and extermination of the Armenians, including it in curricula and textbooks, as part of the study of the history of 20th century ethnic conflicts, to transmit this to future generations. In this respect the Federal States are to play an important role.”

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We of the German-Armenian Society are confident that despite the reservation, it is here not a question of a juridical classification; from the Chancellor’s following remarks, it is clear that this will provide an important impetus for implementation of the Resolution in the Federal States, implementation which has proceeded very slowly to date:

“As friends and partners of Armenia, we Germans are well aware what atrocities were committed against the Armenians in 1915 and the following years. This suffering of countless Armenians should not and will not be forgotten. Germany will do its part.”

We of the German-Armenian Society are convinced that the democratic and economic development of Armenia is of central significance. Therefore we say: among the most important successes in Armenian foreign policy is the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, known as CEPA. Germany has played an important role in this. This also reflects the positive cooperation in development policy between the two countries. Thus it was only consistent for the Chancellor to assert:

“Germany will do everything possible to ensure that the possibilities contained in this CEPA Agreement, as it is known, will be really utilized and implemented and that as a result a deepened cooperation with all the members of the European Union can succeed.”

This, and the readiness that the Chancellor declared in Yerevan to assume responsibility for a solution to the Berg Karabach conflict, demonstrate that the German-Armenian relations are on the right track. The fact that the only spiritual leader the Chancellor visited during her South Caucasus trip was His Holiness Karekin II., Catholicos of all Armenians, underscores our assessment.

In conclusion we as the German-Armenian Society state: Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Armenia was an important milestone in the relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Armenia.

— Board of the German-Armenian Society



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