The Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth, attended the main memorial ceremony in the Armenian capital Yerevan on 24 April to mark the centenary of the deportation and murder of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.
During a moving ceremony, a large number of foreign dignitaries, including four heads of state and two other ministers apart from Roth, commemorated the atrocities of 1915. In a talk with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Minister of State Roth expressed his heartfelt sympathy and Germany’s grief in view of the brutal murders and deportation, which he said must not be forgotten.
He also took a clear stand on the role of what was then the German Empire and on the part Germany is now playing in helping to bring about reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.
“I am ashamed of Germany’s stance at the time, of how it did and said nothing to prevent the annihilation of large parts of the Armenian people. It is therefore of great importance to my country to play an active role in remembering the past together, examining the events in detail and bringing about sincere reconciliation between the Armenian and the Turkish people.”
Roth also met representatives of Armenian civil society on the margins of the memorial ceremonies to discuss the situation as regards human rights, democracy and the media.