Breaks Ground for Armenian Genocide Museum in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES — President Serge Sarigisian completed a weeklong tour of South America, visiting Argenita, Uruguay and Chile. While in Argentina, he took part in the  takes part in groundbreaking ceremony of the Armenian Genocide Museum in Buenos Aires on July 8, on the second day of his official visit to Argentina. He was accompanied by Chief of Staff of the Government of City of Buenos Aires Horacio Larreta and the representatives of local self-government bodies and the Armenian community of Argentina, attended the groundbreaking ceremony of an Armenian Genocide museum at the neighborhood of Palermo in Buenos Aires. After the consecration of the memorial plaque, Chief of Staff of the Government of City of Buenos Aires Horacio Larreta and Chief of the RA Presidential Administration Vigen Sargsyan opened it. On the occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony the president made a speech before the participants.

He said at the ceremony, “I consider it a great honor to be present here today, at the heart of Buenos Aires, and lay the first brick on the foundation of the Armenian Genocide museum together with you. This museum is being built in order to fill up the ranks of the numerous monuments dedicated to the Armenian Genocide which extend from East to West and from North to South as a vivid testimony to the fact that no matter how much time has passed we will keep on remembering and demanding. Human memory is a sort of a historical sieve which with special gratitude keeps those names and place names, which always sow seeds of justice and push forward the noblest universal values.”

He praised the country of Argentina for being home to many Armenians forced into exile after the Armenian Genocide.

He spoke about the commemoration of the centennial next year. “The 100th anniversary of Mets Yeghern is not an endpoint; it is just a unique destination. The centenary will sum up a historical period and will herald a new phase of fighting for the restoration of justice which will be supplemented with new methods of fighting against denialism. We are going to be more powerful, powerful together with the international community since the secret of power and the victory of justice is unity.”

Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, on May 6, the government of the city of Buenos Aires allocated a free area for construction of an Armenian Genocide museum in capital’s Palermo district. On June 10, with the participation of the Armenian embassy in Argentina and under the patronage of Hay center and the Armenian diocese of Argentina the official ceremony of handing the legal documents of the area allocated by the city authorities of Buenos Aires for the purpose of building an Armenian Genocide museum took place.

Sargisian also visited Saint Grigor Lusavorich Church. The Armenian president laid a wreath at the memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide located in the yard of the church and paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims. In addition, the president placed flowers at the monument dedicated to the memory of the Artsakh freedom fighters.

In addition, he visited the local organizations of the Armenian parties and entities — the ARF, the AGBU and the ADL — and familiarized with the cultural, charitable and sports activities of those organizations, as well as with the works carried out by the local Armenian periodicals.

During the reception at the center of Armenia Cultural Association after Edward Seferian the president thanked for the activities carried out by the center and for the warm hospitality extended to the Armenian delegation. At the reception the representatives of the center handed a present carrying the note “We are honest soldiers” to the Armenian President.

Sargisian said, “These words impose a high responsibility because everyone of us is a soldier; a soldier within the framework of his duties, a soldier within the framework of his responsibility, a soldier for his ideal, and I am very delighted that our national organizations and our national parties make us to be proud and this is by what we are distinguished from others. I perfectly understand that our opponents try to be active not only in this part of the world, but also in other parts. They try to pursue their interests, and we do not have the right to accuse them of that since it is their duty to do it. Our goal is to reinvigorate efforts at keeping this fire burning in the coming generation thereby reinforcing the Armenian statehood on one hand and strengthening the Diaspora and our organizations on the other hand. We can make each other stronger. Together we can do a lot. I perfectly understand the aim of their activities in South America – Argentina, Uruguay – and in other places. They also put their efforts in places where we are stronger. Nevertheless, if we are to lose this battle, after a long period of time we will be substituted by others. I am confident that this will never happen. On the contrary, I am confident that the number of our buildings and our supporters will continue to grow. Indeed, owing to this ideal, we are all soldiers, yes, we are soldiers, and we will continue to be soldiers. This is the only way to strengthen Armenia. I am very grateful for your warm reception. Thank you. Together we can do a lot.”

At the AGBU center, he presented his appreciation for the warm reception. “What I saw here is impressive and promising. I wish the AGBU Center of Buenos Aires to keep on carrying out its patriotic mission with the same zeal and devotion in the name of the rise and long life of our people.”

At the editorial office of the Sardarapat newspaper of the ADL, the president stressed that he is very proud of compatriots who have found such an “impressive national institution thousand of kilometers away from our historical homeland and continue to carry out with credit the mission of keeping the Armenian spirit alive.” He wished everybody strength in order to keep on working with the same devotion in the name of the rise and long life of our people. Moreover, the president wrote down the same words in the honorary guest book of the editorial office.

He also met with representatives of the Armenian organizations in Argentina and benefactors. At the request of the president the meeting took place in a question-and-answer format during which he answered the questions of the participants related to national preservation issues, the Armenia-Diaspora ties, regional challenges, Armenia’s internal and foreign policy, and its economic priorities, development opportunities and a number of other topics.

The community presented a presidential scepter symbolizing the state authority to Sargisian. It was delivered

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to the president by the leader of the Argentine diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church Archbishop Gisak Muradyan.

During his talk with the community members, he also discussed the state of the Armenians of Syria, urging his compatriots to help them. “Presently, this is our major concern. We are doing our best and will continue our efforts at providing respectable existence for them. I am confident that the geographic distance is not an obstacle for you and the sufferings of our Armenian brothers and sisters of Syria find a response in your hearts. I am sure that be it in the whole world or in Argentina the heart of each Armenian feels pain for sufferings and tears of every Armenian.”

He singled out businessman and benefactor Eduardo Eurnekian. “Born in the remote country of Argentina, he is endowed with the spirit of a real Armenian. Achieving a great success with his diligence and devotion, he has won recognition not only for himself, but also for the Armenian people. The image of this businessman and benefactor should inspire our compatriots from all over the world.”

Earlier he had met with Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri. At the meeting Sargisian emphasized Macri’s visit to Yerevan in 2012 during which the ceremony of transferring the title of international capital of books from Buenos Aires to Yerevan took place. The president noted that the visit gave a new momentum to the cooperation between the two capitals and expressed hope that such visits and mutual contacts will be regular and will embrace an inclusive agenda geared toward promoting mutual collaboration.

President Serzh Sargsyan also congratulated the mayor of Buenos Aires and the friendly people of Argentina on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day to be marked on July 9 and wished peace, prosperity and further achievements.

At the end of the meeting, Macri handed the key to Buenos Aires and the Honorary Visitor Diploma to the Armenian president.

Sargisian also met with the President of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies Julian Andres Dominguez.

Taking into account that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina has postponed all the official events due to health problems, including the events to be held on the occasion of the country’s public holiday on June 9, the negotiations were conducted with an Argentine high-ranking delegation led by the Vice President of the Argentine Republic and the President of the Senate Amado Boudou. Particularly, the Chief of the Cabinet of Minister of Argentina Jorge Capitanich, the President of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies Julian Andres Dominguez, the Minster of Social Development Alicia Kirchner, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovative Production Lino Baranao, the Head of the State Revenue Department Ricardo Daniel Echegaray and other officials took part in the meeting.

At the meeting Sargisian also expressed his gratitude for the Law on the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide passed with the direct involvement of the previous President of Argentina Nestor Kirchner. The president stressed that next year is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and events are to take place not only in Armenia but also in different countries of the world, including Argentina.

On behalf of our people and on his own behalf Sargisian expressed his gratitude to the Argentine authorities and the Argentine people for recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

On July 9, Sargisian started his state visit to Uruguay.

Prior to meeting President Jose Mujica, Sargisian visited Independence Square, laid a wreath at the Monument to General Jose Artigas.

The presidents of Armenia and Uruguay discussed a wide range of issues aimed at strengthening the interstate ties and promoting cooperation. The presidents of the two countries were glad to note that Armenia and Uruguay have managed to establish friendly relations based on mutual respect and trust. According to the presidents of Armenia and Uruguay, the nature of those relations is displayed through their mutual commitment to collaboration and a special attitude toward each other’s concerns. At the meeting, Sargisian stressed that Armenia is interested in promoting a comprehensive agenda in the spheres of policy, trade and economy, culture, as well as in other mutually beneficial spheres. The president expressed readiness to put a lot of effort into reaching that goal.

In order to stimulate the Armenian-Uruguayan cooperation, the interlocutors emphasized the need for making reciprocal visits and bringing the two countries’ foreign affairs ministries into regular contact, which gives the opportunity to effectively deal with the issues of reciprocal concern both in bilateral and multilateral formats. In that context Sargisian placed special emphasis on Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Almagro’s visit in May 2012 and the President of the House of Representatives Jorge Orrico’s visit in November of the same year, as well as on last November’s visit of Uruguayan Minster of Tourism and Sport Lilian Keshishyan.

The presidents agreed that the Armenian community settled in Uruguay has certainly made a major contribution to developing the Armenian-Uruguayan relations and has been actively engaged in the country’s social and political life; it has also provided a modest input into the development of the friendly country of Uruguay.

Sargisian noted that Uruguay was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1965 and praised the country for its approach.

Sargisian also met with Vice President Danilo Astori. At the outset the Armenian President presented his appreciation for the warm reception and stressed that he considered it a great honor to arrive in the friendly state of Uruguay on a state visit.

At the meeting the parties touched upon the promotion of the inter-parliamentary ties between Armenia and Uruguay and attached great weight to the role of parliamentary diplomacy in strengthening the interstate relations.

On behalf of his country Astori suggested that Armenia use Uruguay as a gate to develop trade and economic ties with other countries of South America.

On his state visit the Armenian President visited Armenia Square in Montevideo. He paid tribute at the khatchkar dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide installed next to the square.

In the morning of the first day of his visit to Uruguay Sarigisian visited Conaprole cooperative which has great agricultural potential. Here the Armenian President was introduced the factory’s entire range of products the 70 percent of which is exported to different countries of the world and familiarized with the production potential.

During a state dinner, the presidents of the two countries exchanged toasts, touched upon the history of the Armenian-Uruguayan friendly relations, the Armenian community of Uruguay which plays a major role in strengthening the ties between the two countries, the development potential of the interstate relations and the need for making efforts at realizing their full potential for the benefit of the two countries.

Sargisian visited Saint Nerses Shnorhali Church in Montevideo. After the welcome speech of the leader of the Uruguayan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Hakob Glnjyan, in his address to the representatives of the Armenian community of Uruguay, Sargisian noted that he was glad and proud to find out that there was such an influential and organized community in the remote country of Uruguay. “I am proud that you have managed not only to ensure a patriotic atmosphere, not only to tell your children that despite being Uruguayan citizens they are Armenians, but also to win the respect of all the rest of Uruguayan citizens. Together we make each other stronger and only together we can fulfill our national goals,” he said.

The Armenian President laid a wreath at the memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide located at the church yard and paid tribute to their memory.

Later on, President Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting with the representatives of Uruguay’s Armenian organizations and benefactors at the AGBU’s Nubaryan College. By the decree of the RA President the representative of the ARF and Uruguay’s Armenian Cause office Arpi Hochachanyan, the benefactor Karapet Pilavjyan, the Uruguayan Minister of Tourism and Sport Lilian Keshishyan were awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal for strengthening the Motherland-Diaspora ties and making a significant contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity. The president awarded the Mkhitar Gosh Medal to Senator Rafael Michelini and the member of the Uruguayan parliament Ruben Martinez Huelmo for making a significant contribution to the process of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Sargisian went on to Chile, where he met with President Michelle Bachelet. The two presidents discussed a wide range of issues on strengthening the Armenian-Chilean interstate ties and making joint efforts in a row of spheres, which have a prospect for the development of cooperation.

Sargisian laid a wreath at the monument to the National Hero of Chile General Bernardo O’Higgins and paid tribute to his memory.

Following the official welcoming ceremony of the President of the Republic of Armenia, the meeting between Sargisian and Bachelet was held in La Moneda — the seat of the president.

Sargisian also met with them of the Chilean capital city of Santiago, Carolina Tohá, who handed the city’s key and certificate of honorable visitor to the Armenian President.