Glendale CA — A delegation of SDHP Western Region of the U.S. headed by Chairman Vasken Khodanian along with SDHP Central Committee member Harry Sarafian met with U.S. Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch on October 12, 2010.
During the hour-long meeting, wide ranging topics were discussed, with primary emphasis being placed on the current political situation in Armenia.
The SDHP delegation was concerned that since the 2008 elections, the Armenian authorities had done very little to address the repeated violations of human rights, the trampling of democratic principles and the rule of law in Armenia. In that respect, the delegation urged the U.S. State Department to continue to stress upon the Armenian authorities the need to release all political prisoners, establish an environment conducive to free and fair parliamentary elections by first and foremost facilitating the return of the independent A1Plus TV Station back on the air.
The delegation was also concerned that by not meeting with the opposition during her last visit to Armenia, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton might have sent the wrong message to the Armenian authorities and the opposition alike. The ambassador assured the SDHP delegation members, that the United States is consistent with its policy toward the establishment of democratic principles in Armenia and that it is doing more toward that goal that what the public might be aware of. She also commended SDHP for championing democracy in Armenia.
On the issue of Nagorno Karabakh peace process, the delegation reiterated its belief that the right to self determination should be the guiding principle in the negotiations and to that end, the NK representatives must return to the negotiation table as an active participant.
The delegation also pointed to the dishonest and insincere approach exhibited by the Turkish government during its negotiations with the Armenian side, thus deepening the distrust and misgivings between the two countries. Other issue discussed during the meeting with Ambassador Yovanovitch included the state of US financial assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. All sides agreed to the need of regional stability based on democracy and the rule of law.