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How Margaret Thatcher “stole” the smile of Armenia’s future president


Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Armen Sargsyan
Armen Sargsyan

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


When I met with Armenian presidential candidate Armen Sarkissian for an interview, I noticed a folder on his table, which contained archival photographs. Mr. Sarkissian agreed to tell about some of them.

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


James Baker is a wonderful person, very charismatic. I think he could become one of the best presidents in the history of USA, if he were nominated by the Republican Party.

Former National Security Advisor to U.S. President, Zbigniew Brzezinski

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


I visited the U.S. as the Armenian Prime Minister and Zbigniew Brzezinski invited me to give a speech in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

He introduced me in a funny way, saying I was “Vaclav Havel of the Caucasus” (laughs – Mediamax).
Armen Sargsyan Armen Sargsyan

Photo: Mediamax


Of course, Brzezinski never tried to hide his negative opinion of Russia, which stemmed from his Polish roots. However, I learned a lot from him. You could find fine details explaining American politics among his anti-Russian views.

We met frequently afterwards, when I wasn’t holding a public position. Naturally, our opinions often differed. He used to call me a “Soviet product”. I would reply that Polish and Russian people had so much in common that a possible conflict could lead to bad consequences.

Former U.S. Vice President Albert Gore

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


We met for the first time when I visited Washington as the Armenian Prime Minister. We often met later on different occasions and built a good friendship. It should be noted that I played a small role in Gore’s shift to advocating “green” economy.

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


It was 1993 or 1994, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister no more. We had quite a heated discussion of UK’s relations with South Caucasus and Azerbaijan on that day, as you can see from my face on the picture. It was a good lesson for me: no matter how the meeting goes, don’t lose your smile (laughs – Mediamax).

Margaret Thatcher had brilliant memory. She remembered in detail her visit to Armenia after the earthquake in 1988. Her husband Dennis was friends with Calouste Gulbenkian’s son Nubar and was well-informed about the Armenian history.

Personal relations are very important. For instant, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl too knew Armenians well, as his close friend Hans Klein was a former journalist, who made many Armenian friends while covering the civil war in Lebanon.

John Paul II

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


I had a very warm relationship with Pope John Paul II. He was supposed to visit Armenia after the opening of the “Rome-Armenia” exhibition in Vatican in 1999. Unfortunately, the Pope fell down and injured his leg during the mass in Krakow, so the visit had to be postponed and took place only in 2001.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


I have known Bill Clinton for years and we often met at the Davos forum. Our first meeting was quite unexpected. I was attending the meeting with Albert Gore, as the Armenian Prime Minister, and in the end he asked everyone else to leave the room. Soon Bill Clinton came in and took me to the Oval Office, where we spoke for a long time.

Charles Aznavour

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


This photograph means the world to me. When I was the Ambassador to the European Union, Charles Aznavour would visit twice a year and we went to different meetings together. In this picture, we are at the meeting with Commissioner Emma Bonino.

I felt like a king every time Charles visited, because everyone received me. In the evenings I organized dinners with Aznavour. He has been one of the best diplomats for us from the first years of Armenia’s independence.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Former Chief of Staff of Russian President, Alexander Voloshin

Photo: Armen Sargsyan’s archive


In a sense, this photograph is symbolic: Armenians are helping Americans and Russians to find a common ground (laughs – Mediamax).

Ara Tadevosyan talked to Armen Sarkissian

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