Toronto, July 5, 2022 – Former Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Republic of Armenia (RoA) to Canada (2000 – 2006), historian, lawyer, decorated army veteran, president of Modus Vivendi NGO and council member of the National-Democratic Alliance (ADA) Hon. Ara Papian was in Toronto to meet the public and present his and his ADA colleagues’ views about the current security situation in RoA, the challenges the country faced and available options. Those, in these uncertain days, were subjects that people were interested in and they were eager to hear about them from a knowledgeable and experienced person.
Mr. Papian drew similarities between the present and the dire days Armenians experienced prior to Sardarapat (1918) surrounded by advancing enemies. In his view another war between RoA and Azerbaijan was inevitable as Aliyev continued his expansionist policy. At this point Mr. Papian rhetorically asked whether RoA alone could meet the challenge. The speaker went on describing the dwarfed capabilities of RoA in comparison with Azerbaijan’s potentials, and drew the conclusion that RoA needed a guarantor for its security.
The speaker dismissed the notion that Russia could be relied on based on historical antecedents and present undesirable economic and military condition it faced. Mr. Papian described the economic dependence of RoA on Russia as neo-colonial citing examples of Russia’s controlling interests in a variety of vital and strategically important economic enterprises. As such, he argued, Russia’s interest was to have a subservient government in RoA. The present administration was fulfilling that role, it was incapable to redress the situation and uphold the sovereignty of the country. “RoA’s statehood is threatened”, he concluded. In the past and following the 44-day war Armenia lost land whenever Russia was involved. The war in Ukraine will hurt Russia both economically and militarily irrespective of the outcome. It is already isolated internationally and it will not be capable to play a positive role for RoA and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
Expanding the discussion regarding a guarantor for RoA security, through elimination of other countries, such as Iran, Mr. Papian asserted that only USA could play and be entrusted in that role. He drew upon the post-Genocide humanitarian assistance that USA provided to Armenians (orphanages) in Armenia and throughout the Middle East. Ongoing interest in the strategic importance of RoA was cited. USA would like to have a foothold in the Caucasus and therein lay the importance of RoA for USA. Recent statements and visits to Syunik by US officials were significant along Canada’s decision to establish an embassy in Yerevan. He opined that it would not have taken place without the knowledge and consent of USA. Mr. Papian advocated for a non-NATO alliance with USA.
With respect to Artsakh Mr. Papian believed that the starting point of negotiations was wrong. The concept of self-determination and separation from a country pre-supposed that the area was part of that country, i.e. Azerbaijan in case of Artsakh. Armenian diplomacy should have negotiated on the basis of the map that was drawn by the specific commission that was mandated by the League of Nations. The same argument was presented regarding opening the borders and demarcations. Mr. Papian stated that he and his ADA colleagues did not object to the opening of the border crossings with Turkey, but references in general to the borders between the two countries should be excluded. A related matter was the subject of the enormous amount of time, energy and money invested in the efforts directed for the recognition of the Genocide of Armenians. Mr. Papian was critical of it, and instead he advocated for efforts geared at restitution. “Recognition alone would not bring back the lands”, he declared.
Unfortunately the latter part of the meeting was marred by loud back and forth arguments. They made it difficult to follow the discussion. Inadvertently and unintended by the organizers, this led to some of the speaker’s questionable assertions remain unchallenged. Given the fact that gatherings about sensitive political nature are at risk of being disrupted or even ultimately being hijacked, as a preventative measure it is suggested that presentations be completed prior to opening the floor for a Q&A session.
Forty people attended the gathering at a local community centre. They were offered free of charge the Legal Bases for Armenian Claims booklet (in Armenian) authored by Mr. Ara Papian. It was announced that a telethon in support of the National-Democratic Alliance will take place on Sunday, July 17, 2022 at 6pm PST (9pm Toronto time). For participation the following links were provided https://www.facebook.com/NatDemAlliance and https://www.youtube.com/user/preparliament