By Hrach Melkumian
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Thursday that Armenia will soon reopen its embassy in Iraq which was evacuated shortly before the launch of the U.S.-led military campaign against Saddam Hussein’s regime last March.
“I can not tell a specific date, but that will happen soon,” Oskanian told RFE/RL.
The Armenian embassy in Baghdad was opened in February and had only two diplomats on the eve of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The two men, including Yerevan’s charge d’affaires Vazgen Khanjian, were ordered to leave the country on May 19, just one day before the onset of the war.
Armenia spoke out against a unilateral U.S.-led military action throughout the Iraqi crisis, but avoided any explicit criticism of Washington after the start of hostilities. Oskanian said that the new geopolitical situation in Iraq and the broader region, caused by the overthrow of Saddam’s regime, will not affect Armenia’s traditionally warm relations with the Arab countries of the Middle East. Most of them, notably Syria and Lebanon, have large ethnic Armenian communities.
“Our relations have always been very good and will remain such in years to come,” Oskanian said.