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Oskanian Won’t be Apologizing for March 1

“On Mar. 1, I was neither complicit nor one who concealed: on the contrary, I’ve been a preventer,” said Armenia’s former foreign minister, Civilitas Foundation founder Vartan Oskanian today at the first discussion of a new series by the Civilitas Foundation called One Hundred Questions and Answers.

Asked about the statement he made on Mar. 1, Oskanian responded with great readiness, noting he is happy to provide explanations ahead of the third anniversary of Mar. 1, 2008.

In his words, three years ago that day, he agreed to give a press conference, since, according to him, he had a feeling of political responsibility. “In such a situation, silence is the most dangerous thing and someone had to be found who could talk to the people.”

Armenia’s former foreign minister confessed that prior to making the statement, he had put a condition before then president Robert Kocharian, that in his speech he would urge the opposition for dialogue, to which, according to Oskanian, Kocharian agreed.

“I appealed the opposition for dialogue. Thus, I am someone who attempted to prevent these events,” he said.

Oskanian today also said he doesn’t intend to apologize for what he’s done. “I don’t have a problem with apologizing. In order to apologize, I have to believe that I’ve done wrong, but [in this case] I don’t think so.”

“If I felt I was doing something wrong, I wouldn’t do it,” he added.

Speaking on the consequences of Mar. 1, Oskanian said he hoped that the ruling authorities would “heal the wound”; first, by releasing all political prisoners in the country.

“I think that should’ve been the president’s first order [of business],” he said, noting that if that hasn’t happened 3 years ago, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen today.

“Today is not late. If that happens, we [i.e. Armenia] in every way, will be on a different plane,” he concluded.