Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 77
April 22, 1998 03:00 AM Age: 18 yrs
Category: Monitor


Interviewed by Radio Liberty yesterday, Armenia's new Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian stated that "Hai Dat"--the Armenian Cause--will become one of the main directions in the foreign policy of the new government. "It will not be the only axis in the country's foreign policy; work will be conducted in that direction along with other issues. We will pay greater attention to this problem and we expect justice from the world community," Oskanian was cited as stating. He added that Yerevan will "put the recognition of the genocide on the agenda of a future dialogue with Turkey." (Noyan-Tapan, Azg, April 21).

The "Armenian Cause" connotes an aspiration to obtain at least theoretical recognition of an Armenian title to territories whose Armenian population was massacred or forced out in the early part of this century. Those territories are situated mainly in present-day Turkey and also in the Nakhichevan republic of Azerbaijan. Some Armenian circles consider that recognition of a "genocide" could pave the way toward raising the territorial issues in a more direct fashion.

Hai Dat was absent from Armenia's foreign policy under President Levon Ter-Petrosian and the Armenian Pan-National Movement from 1991 until this year. However, Hai Dat is promoted by parts of the coalition which supported the election of President Robert Kocharian--notably the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutiun and the Self-Determination Union.

The Dashnak representative in the new government, Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian, is coincidentally the head of the Dashnak party's Hai Dat Center. The party is Armenia's oldest and most prestigious. It is also influential in the diaspora. Kocharian's stated aim of involving the diaspora more closely in Armenia's political processes can only favor a tendency to make the Armenian Cause a part of Armenia's foreign policy.





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