Armenia in No Mood to Sever Its Diplomatic Relations with Iraq

Armenia doesn't intend to sever diplomatic relations with Iraq. This was disclosed to reporters here today by the national Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Dzyunik Agadzhanyan.

In her words, Armenia independently establishes or severs diplomatic relations with any specific country. This is being done in line with Armenian interests, Agadzhanyan added.

65 Armenians living in Iraq obtained Armenian citizenship over the 2002 period, Agadzhanyan stressed. This year, another 31 Iraqi citizens applied for tourist visas making it possible to visit Armenia, she added.

Meanwhile the office of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) doesn't think that Iraqi citizens will be leaving en masse for Armenia at this stage. Quite possibly, most people will leave Iraq for neighboring countries, reads a statement by the UNHCR's Yerevan-based office.

Nonetheless, the Government of Armenia and the UNHCR boast the required mechanisms for rendering all necessary protection and aid to such people, the document notes. Despite reports about preparatory work being conducted by the Government of Armenia (for the sake of coping with a possible influx of Iraqi citizens), Armenian authorities haven't yet contacted the UNHCR mission in Yerevan on this issue, the statement goes on to say.

Considering the present-day Iraqi situation, the UNHCR believes that Armenia should leave its borders open, admitting Iraqi citizens, regardless of their nationality, religion and political convictions, if such people have reached Armenian borders, the statement notes in conclusion.