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Foreign minister: Estonia should recognize Armenian genocide

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Margus Tsahkna at the Armenian Genocide Memorial on December 13, 2023.
Margus Tsahkna at the Armenian Genocide Memorial on December 13, 2023. Source: Välisministeerium

Minister of Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said Estonia should take steps to recognize the Armenian genocide during a visit to Yerevan on Wednesday (December 13).

"Estonians owe it to the Armenians to recognize the genocide against their people," Tsahkna said at the meeting with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.  

"In today's world, where there is an aggression against another country in Europe and Russia is deporting Ukrainian children, we must not forget and neglect history and accept this kind of behavior," Tsahkna said in a statement. 

The Armenian genocide took place in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire systematically destroyed and deported Armenians, causing the death of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. 

Data from the Armenian National Institute shows 32 countries have recognized the killing of Armenians as genocide, including the USA, Russia and 17 European Union countries, including Latvia and Lithuania.

However, Turkey does not believe the claim and some countries have allegedly not recognized the genocide to keep up good relations.

Last year, representatives of the Association of Estonian National Minorities called on the Riigikogu to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Minister: Peace in the region is important for Europe's security

Tsahkna and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed regional security and the peace process with Azerbaijan.

"Peace in the region is an essential precondition for further positive developments between the countries and the region more broadly," the foreign minister said.

He said Armenia has implemented "bold reforms", and is boosting relations and practical cooperation with the European Union.

The minister also welcomed Armenia's commitment to reinforcing democratic values and its commitment to supporting Ukraine.

"It is crucial that Ukraine wins this war because it would show we live in a rules-based world, which is also the foundation of peace for Armenia and Armenians," Tsahkna said. "The situation in Ukraine has a direct impact on security in the Southern Caucasus."

He also met with parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan and said over the past year, relations between Estonia and Armenia have become stronger and this is demonstrated by several high-level visits.

Estonian Refugee Council opens office in Yerevan

The minister ended the day by opening the new office of the Estonian Refugee Council in the Armenia capital.

"As the foreign minister, I am proud that Estonia has provided strong assistance to people who have been forced to leave their homes. Every person counts," he said.

"Armenia has been good at managing the humanitarian situation that has seen it receiving more than 100,000 refugees," Tsahkna said. "It is important to ensure they cope socially and human rights are ensured."

Tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians fled from Nagorno-Karabakh since the territory surrendered to Azerbaijan on September 20, the BBC reported. The territory is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan but large areas of it have been controlled by ethnic Armenians for three decades.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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