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AGBU President Berge Setrakian Visits Armenia, Meets with Armenian President Sargsian

Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), visited Armenia from August 28 to September 4, 2009. While there, the AGBU president met with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Serge Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia, Tigran Sargisian, Prime Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Hranush Hakobyan, Minister of Diaspora. On September 4, Setrakian met with President Sargsian at the presidential office. President Sargsian spoke highly of AGBU's active involvement in Armenian issues around the world. During the meeting, they also discussed the issues raised regarding the proposed protocols to be entertained by Armenia and Turkey. AGBU President Setrakian voiced his support for the Republic of Armenia's government in its efforts to achieve a just and fair outcome in the building of good neighborly relations between Armenia and Turkey, while safeguarding the historic claims and rights of the Armenian People. "We know," Setrakian said, "that the authorities in Armenia face a difficult path as they endeavor to build new relations with Turkey without imposed preconditions. We also believe the government of Armenia shares our serious concerns about the sincerity of Turkey, given its historic anti-Armenian policy that has continued to the present time." Setrakian also stressed that while motivated by practical concerns of geopolitical challenges, the Armenian authorities are not inclined to reach any agreement at the expense of the fundamental and historic rights of the Armenian people. He reiterated AGBU's fundamental stand that justice for the sacred Armenian Case and the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide should transcend and not be sacrificed for any immediate diplomatic consideration. He also said that no protocol should precondition normalization of relations by any terms of concession involving the Karabakh conflict. Earlier in the week, Setrakian met with Diaspora Minister Hakobyan and they spoke about upcoming meetings and events that aim to bring together the diaspora and homeland, including a global Armenian leadership assembly slated to take place in Yerevan next year and an initiative to assemble Armenian intellectuals.