YEREVAN, MAY 6, ARMENPRESS. Vahe Mkhitaryan, chairman of the Portugal-Armenia Friendship Union, says the adoption of a statement by the Assembly (parliament) of Portugal dedicated to the memory of the 1915 Armenian Genocide victims is an important victory on the path to international recognition.
“This issue has never been discussed by any party in Portugal. No party has included this issue in its campaign program or has given any promises on this matter. These MPs didn’t have any political interest. They voted for the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, for standing together with the Armenian people. Now, if absolute majority of lawmakers sign any document where the genocide word is mentioned several times, we can confirm that the MPs have recorded the Genocide affirmation fact by expressing sorrow for the Armenian Genocide victims”, Mkhitaryan told ARMENPRESS.
On April 26, 2019, MP Rubina Berardo’s document on ‘Voting to express sorrow for the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide’ has been included in the plenary session agenda of the parliament thanks to 18 MPs of the three most influential parties of the Portuguese parliament. Over 200 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution.
“Several days before the voting the document has been presented for the MPs’ review, which later was adopted only with 4 abstentions, two of which were the members of Portugal-Turkey friendship group, and after the voting the Portuguese MPs paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims with a moment of silence. We have started the preparation works several years ago when we had meetings with the members of the parliamentary factions. During these meetings we have introduced our issues of concern, such as the opportunity to create a Portugal-Armenia parliamentary friendship group and their attitude to the possible discussion of the Armenian Genocide issue in the Assembly. From the meetings it became clear which party was more keen on reacting to these issues, and thus we continued our mission by providing necessary information to the lawmakers about the historical facts and the already existing decisions”, Vahe Mkhitaryan said.
He noted that the international lawyers will soon make their assessments, pointing out the legal force and consequences of this historical decision.
“Absolute majority of the Portuguese MPs voted in favor of this statement, and the term Armenian Genocide is mentioned in the text for several times. From legal terms we can consider that those who have signed the document agreed with this fact, and this was a historical and unprecedented event for us because such an issue has been voice in the Assembly for the first time. We highly value the Assembly’s position on the Armenian Genocide and are grateful for the condolences addressed to the victims of the Armenian Genocide”, Mkhitaryan said.
He also informed that MP Rubina Berardo, who initiated the statement thanks to the direct efforts of the Portugal-Armenia Friendship Union, visited Armenia in 2017, the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial and got introduced on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Rubina Berardo also visited Artsakh and was introduced on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict issue. Upon returning to Portugal, Azerbaijan has included the lawmaker in its “black list”, but the MP gave clarifications on her travel to the Portuguese media outlets and wrote an article about the Armenian Genocide.
Interview by Norayr Shoghikyan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan