April 3, 2020
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-3622
(OTTAWA) – Earlier today, the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) sent a letter to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon. François-Phillippe Champagne, urging the minister to demand the retraction of a reckless tweet made by the Canadian Embassy in Ankara regarding the recent General Election that took place in the Republic of Artsakh. Furthermore, the ANCC demanded for the ambassador to be recalled “for his irresponsibility and his inability to defend and uphold Ottawa’s official foreign policy objectives of peace and balanced diplomacy”
In a tweet published on Wednesday, April 1st, the Canadian embassy independently made a statement voicing Canada’s support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and not recognizing the fair and free elections held in Artsakh. The tweet was not shared nor endorsed by Global Affairs Canada.
“Canada has always maintained a balanced approach towards the peaceful settlement of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict through its support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group initiative that is based on the core principles outlined in the Helsinki Final Act.” read a part of the letter.
“This tweet does not reflect Canada’s balanced position on the issue and it must be retracted immediately” said Hrag Tarakdjian and Shahen Mirakian, co-presidents of the ANCC, commenting on the issue.
In the letter, the ANCC co-presidents added “Such statements not only fuel anger and concern within Canadians but have the potential of exposing shortcomings within our foreign service, something we cannot allow to happen. Global Affairs Canada simply cannot allow its diplomats abroad to interpret the government’s position as they see fit.”
“The principle of self-determination, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, must be unconditionally upheld in any conflict settlement. These fair and free elections, that witnessed over 72% turnout, were a powerful and remarkable testament to that principle of utmost importance. Failing to realize this is what will impede a constructive peace process and jeopardize the safety and security of the people of Artsakh. Self-determination and democratically elected representatives are the only guarantees to preserve Artsakh’s security and prevent a genocidal campaign.” mentioned the letter, on which the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, all party leaders and their foreign affairs critics were copied on.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Armenian-Canadian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-Canadian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.