Armenia Celebrates 18th Anniversary


President Serge Sargisian

President Serge Sargisian

YEREVAN (ArmeniaNow) — President Serge Sargisian sought to emphasize the link between “all generations” and “all Armenians” in the accomplishment of sovereign Armenia as he addressed the nation on the 18th anniversary of independence Monday.

Describing the anniversary of the September 21, 1991 referendum in which Armenians overwhelmingly pronounced in favor of living as an independent nation as a holiday that “all generations of the Armenian nation coveted and sensed deep in their hearts,” Sargsyan emphasized that all of those generations of Armenians, without exception, were guided by the same vision: “Independent Armenia that epitomizes freedom, human and national dignity and, ultimately, the right and historical ability to create good and beauty.”

Sargisian congratulated all Armenians on the Independence Day.

“What does Armenia preach to its offspring all over the world after having resurrected from the genocidal hell? Pure and simple concepts: unity, collective will and effort, the state’s determination to pursue and protect the interests and goals of Armenians, filial love of and dedication to the homeland of all Armenians, and a happy possibility to build up the Armenia of our dreams by joint efforts. And Armenia says them: ‘Welcome back to native home,’” said Sargisian.

The address timed to the anniversary of Armenia’s independence comes at a time when Armenia is seeking to reconcile with its big neighbor and historical foe, Turkey. The majority of today’s worldwide Armenian Diaspora are descendants of survivors of the 1915-1918 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

Sargisian initiated a rapprochement process last September by inviting his Turkish counterpart to Yerevan on the formal occasion of watching a FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifier between the two countries’ national soccer teams. He is likely to pay a return visit to Turkey next month to attend the return match of the soccer team and likely to sign a document on establishing diplomatic relations and developing bilateral relations.

Authorities in Yerevan have insisted that the Swiss-brokered Armenian-Turkish draft protocols unveiled three weeks ago provide for an unconditional normalization of ties. But the local opposition, and notably the Diaspora-linked nationalist party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, contend its several key provisions are potentially damaging to national interests. Parts of the Armenian Diaspora appear to share this concern as the main bone of contention is Armenia’s perceived compromise on the process of international recognition of the Genocide by agreeing to establish “an intergovernmental sub-commission to implement a discussion on the historical dimension.” Another major concern lingers over Armenia reaffirming its current border with Turkey that was drawn by Russian Bolsheviks and Turkish Kemalists in the Treaty of Kars in 1921. The treaty is widely viewed in Armenia and its Diaspora as treasonous.

Remembering in his Monday address of the hardships that the nation has been challenged to overcome by joining hands following the all-national referendum on independence, the president said that “the main choice is already made.”

“From now on independence is our fortune and destiny, our onus and responsibility, our weapon and instrument, our might and right, from now on, irrevocable and eternal,” Sargisian said.

The Armenian leader further stated the “pure and simple” concepts that Armenia preaches “having reemerged on the international political arena”: peace, stability, good neighborly relations, multilateral economic and other kinds of cooperation in all spheres.”

“We have been sufficiently patient and wise to take that approach even towards those who for years have attempted and still attempt to hinder our progress by all kinds of blockades and Armenophobic propaganda,” said Sargisian.

Also extending congratulations were US President Barack Obama, who issued a special statement and a congratulatory message to his Armenian counterpart.

“The people of the United States join the people of Armenia in celebrating Armenia’s day of independence today,” Obama said in a statement posted on the White House website. “We deeply value the many cultural and historic ties that bind our two countries.

“The United States gains strength as a nation from the contributions of so many Americans of Armenian ancestry. We congratulate the people of Armenia on their national day,” he added.
Russian President Demitry Medvedev also extended his congratulations.