President Sargisian Addresses the UN


President Serge Sargisian and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

NEW YORK — During his visit to New York, President Serge Sargisian spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, where he stressed the importance of relations with the diaspora, as well as the determination to see through the independence of Karabagh. His speech is below:

I am proud. I am proud to have such compatriots; I am proud because there are hardly many presidents in the world — probably, two or three — that can be offered such reception in New York. I am proud of you.

I salute you and congratulat you on the 20th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Armenia — Motherland of all Armenians.

We have been celebrating this great jubilee with the same sincere fervor in Armenia and in the diaspora. It is quite natural because we are united not only by our genes, our past, our history, but also because we are united by today and most importantly by tomorrow, by our future. The future which we will create together, all of us. The prosperous and thriving Armenia of our common dream should become a reality through our common efforts.

I am aware that in Armenia and especially in Diaspora there are skeptics and even disheartened people. They think that multiple obstacles, challenges and threats on our way are insurmountable. They are our brothers and sisters who probably have a more acute perception of the problems and view the possibilities of their resolution as unattainable. We will revive our hope and faith in our wonderful country and in our own abilities. We will renew our pledge which through the ages was abandoned by just a few and which many more have remained faithful to. They preserved it and fight, created and taught, cured and built, wrote manuscripts and interpreted, went to prison and exile, brought up strong and educated children and bestowed them with the formula of staying faithful to a centuries-long pledge. Foreign yoke is passing, war is passing, crises are passing, governments of our liking or disliking are passing, but our homeland is eternal and undying. It is our homeland as long as we didn’t underestimate ourselves and didn’t lose hope.

These days all the results of our 20-year-long journey have been recapped again and again. Quite naturally, some were complaining that the glass is half-empty yet, the others were asserting vigorously that the glass is already half-full. It is true that on the road toward the Armenia of our dreams we have overcome just a part of it. We will overcome the other one too, together, confident and steadfast. At the same time, the diaspora has brought its share to every accomplishment Armenia has had. And today I express my profound gratitude to all our brothers and sisters, to you all for the multifaceted assistance which you have brought and continue to bring to Armenia from day one of its independence. Thank you very much.

I have already noted that day-by-day Armenia and the diaspora are more and more becoming each other’s extensions. We will not have the Armenia of our dreams without engaging efforts and input of our compatriots from the diaspora. On the other hand, we will not have an efficient, Armenian thinking, Armenian identity preserving and developing, proud diaspora without a persistently developing Armenia, which has its place and role in the modern world.

To make our relations — our complementarity — full grown, we should do everything to be mutually comprehensible and understandable. I am aware that there were times that there could have been disappointments. It is possible that the citizens of Armenia, too, sometimes were disappointed in their expectations. Nevertheless, we should realize that we need to rise above the disappointments of the failures and put our common ardor in passing on to the next generation the Armenian and diasporan bonds that will give no reason for disappointment. All areas of the Armenian politics, particularly the area of foreign policy, must be comprehensibly presented to the diaspora. We will never shy away from consulting with the diaspora, from its criticism, its observations, listening to its viewpoint and considering its experience. There may be situations when our positions on some issues may differ, however we have to do everything to be mostly acceptable and comprehensible for each other. Regarding the preservation of the Armenian identity, issues of essential national interests our goals and agenda must be synchronized, while different means and ways of reaching them must become our asset and guarantee of success.

Peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh issue remains a priority for the Armenian state and its people as, I am sure, it is for the entire Armenian nation. Here we have what we have of which you’re well aware. Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t have any news worth mentioning. I don’t think my position differs from yours. Artsakh has been enjoying its independence for the last twenty years and after the settlement it cannot have a status inferior to the one it has now and which has been won by its sons’ blood.

Independence of Karabagh or the right of its people for self-determination is not to be questioned. We continue negotiations with Azerbaijan mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs. I wouldn’t say the negotiations are entirely inefficient, however on the other side, Kazan is the best example that Azerbaijan is not shining with constructiveness. Our goal has been and remains to achieve international recognition of Karabagh, including recognition by Azerbaijan. There will be no unwarranted or onesided concessions, and we have talked about it on many occasions. We continue to believe that in order to register tangible results in the negotiations, it is necessary to undertake measures and steps which will enhance atmosphere of confidence among the parties.

As long as Azerbaijan carries on with the threat to use force, as long as Azerbaijan nourishes the anti- Armenian sentiments, which are present today, it will be extremely difficult to achieve real progress. And one more thing should be made very clear: the only reason that Armenia has not yet recognized the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh is because Armenia has been trying to ensure results through the negotiations. At the same time, it must be understood that any adventurism on behalf of Azerbaijan, any action beyond the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group will result in our recognition of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh.

We together have yet much to do to bring this process to a successful conclusion. I am confident that with the strengthening of NKR diasporan relations, the issue of the international recognition of Artsakh will become a key point on our common agenda.

I know all too well how difficult it is, particularly for our compatriots in the diaspora to understand and accept our initiative aimed at the establishment of normal relations with Turkey. It is no accident that in the framework of the mentioned initiative, for the first time in the history of independent Armenia, the president conducted a pan-Armenian tour. I tried to listen and to present personally our approaches to the Armenians living in different corners of the world.

Concerns and criticism expressed by our compatriots in the diaspora were comprehended and shared by us. However, I remain confident that regardless of the results, the Armenia- Turkey initiative was timely and because of that initiative from the viewpoint of international standing we have a different Armenia, from the viewpoint of our national agenda — a more powerful Armenia, a stronger diaspora and stronger diasporan-Armenia relations.

The Protocols are not ratified yet, Armenia- Turkey border remains closed, Turkey’s hostile actions against Armenia continue, and yet if before the true nature of Turkey was known only to Armenians, regardless of where in the world they live, now, as a result of that process, Turkey’s true nature has become clear for the world also.

We will continue our joint actions aimed at the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The 100th anniversary of the Genocide is approaching and through our combined efforts it must become groundbreaking in sense of its international recognition and condemnation. Bowing to the memory of our innocent victims, we as a nation which survived genocide, will continue to voice our message and ring alarm addressed to all in the name of humankind and civilization — we have to keep our planet free of all-human catastrophes. You know first-hand value of democracy and great opportunities provided by it for a comprehensive development. Today in Armenia we have adopted standards of European democracy and are moving in that direction. And it is not imposed from outside: it is our people’s choice. Armenians, as any normal nation, love freedom. For centuries — and even today — we have been pursuing freedom. Some would whimper that the path is thorny; some would grumble that we move slowly but all realize that it is our path and we will overcome it. We will overcome it armed with the experience of our unbelievable history, enriched with our and world nations’ cultures. We will overcome it arguing and hugging each other.

Being here, in the United States of America, I would like also to convey words of gratitude to the people and government of the United States for their compassionate and warm attitude toward the newly-independent Armenia, multifaceted assistance provided through the years of independence, efforts put in the resolution of the NK conflict, assistance in the process of normalization with Turkey and finally for constant attention and care for our compatriots — citizens and residents of the United States.

I once again congratulate us all on the occasion of this great holiday. I am certain that the Armenian nation is a huge power and if that power is used properly, we will have numerous new and glorious victories.

Long live the independent and free Armenia — Motherland of all Armenians!

Long live the Armenian nation!