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Former French PM : Mistake to involve parliaments in Armenian issue


Ecrit par TN-pige, 2013-05-24 12:27:31


Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Wednesday that it is a great mistake for democratic countries to involve their parliaments in the Armenian issue.

Speaking at a private meeting in İstanbul, Villepin said that the Armenian claims of genocide during the forced migration by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 is “the work of historians” and “you cannot rewrite history through law.”

Referring to the important role that Turkish President Abdullah Gül has played in the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, Villepin said that delicate and difficult issues such as the Armenian problem require good will and imagination in the solution process and that that takes time. “The fewer countries involved, the better it is,” added the veteran French politician.

‘EU should have strategic relations with Turkey, Russia’

Evaluating the current status of the European Union in broad terms, Villepin said that given the internal crises the EU faces, it “should have special strategic relations with countries outside of Europe” such as Turkey and Russia, which are growing, emerging markets. According to him, with a population of 450 million people, the EU does not constitute a “market on a global scale.”

Villepin divided Europe and its problems into three key issues. He said that Northern Europe believes in a strong Europe while Eastern Europe is currently concerned with the challenges of nationalism and populism in addition to the economic difficulties that all Europe is suffering. He defined the third problem as the UK and its planned referendum on its status in the EU, which will also force problems onto the rest of the continent.

“The EU today is not united,” commented Villepin and described Islamophobia as a growing problem on the continent. People are fearful about their futures in terms of their economic well being, which Villepin said makes the continent act in a more introverted fashion. “France is looking too much at its own problems,” pointed out Villepin.

Calling Turkey “one of the leading emerging countries,” Villepin said that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU. “This is a reality,” noted Villepin, going on to say that the EU has “a strong interest in developing cooperation with Turkey.”

Noting that the Kurdish and Armenian issues and its stalled membership bid with the EU are the main challenges Turkey faces, the former French prime minister, who has also served as a minister of foreign affairs, said that Turkey’s relations with the EU are dependent on “how much Turkey as a state wants to have harmonized relations with the EU.”

‘There should be no preconditions set in negotiations with Syria’

Responding to a question from Today’s Zaman on the apparent indifference of the EU regarding the Syrian crisis, Villepin said that one of the reasons the international community is not willing [to take a more active stance] is because “nobody knows what is best for Syria.”

According to Villepin, the international community is not convinced it should intervene, given the negative consequences of the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He added that he is not yet certain whether the intervention in Libya was a success or not.

The support of countries such as Russia and China for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is another obstacle to the involvement of the international community, Villepin stated, adding that Russia’s position should be given due consideration.

“We should not put any preconditions on the negotiations” with the regime in Syria, said Villepin as he criticized the “red lines” that certain countries have mentioned. He added that he believes the removal of Assad from power should not have been stated as a precondition in the negotiations. According to Villepin, an opportunity for negotiations in Syria was missed in the very beginning and now what must be on the international agenda is stopping the war.

‘West should not try to teach Iran a lesson’

“We signed the only agreement with Iran on [nuclear] non-proliferation,” said Villepin, commenting on the Iranian nuclear issue from the perspective of a politician who participated in the French, German and UK negotiations with that country. Praising Turkey’s position on the issue, Villepin said that the P5+1 nations made a mistake by not taking Turkey’s proposal of a new deal for the solution of the Iranian nuclear issue into account.

According to Villepin, it is possible to solve the problems stemming from the Iranian nuclear program if the interests of all parties are taken into account. “The West wants to teach Iran a lesson,” stated Villepin, who added that he believes instead of trying to do this, the West should put something on the table that would be attractive enough for Iran to want to change its position.

Villepin also noted that a sectarian war in the Middle East would be more dangerous than nuclear proliferation.

Source : Today’s Zaman

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