Working visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to Syunik marz
The President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian and Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan arrived in Syunik marz on a working visit.
The President visited the combat positions of a military unit of the RA Ministry of Defense, got acquainted with the boundary-line, the living conditions of the servicemen on combat duty, and talked to the servicemen guarding the boundary-line.
The President of the Republic awarded a group of servicemen with nominal watches for excellent service. Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan mentioned that he had been to that section several times, where the boys were performing heroic service in vexed conditions.
“You are performing your duties in the best possible way. Be next to one another, take good care of each other, be alert, help each other and look after your health. Remember your families, serve your homeland, and support each other,” said the President of the Republic, wishing everyone good service and a good return, “I was talking to the commander: he has a very high opinion of you. Today, I accept his words of praise about you as an assessment, I wish each of you strength again. Be sure that we all care about you, guys. Be strong.”
Within the framework of his working visit to Syunik, the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian and Human Rights Defender of Armenia Arman Tatoyan visited the border settlement of Khnatsakh. President Sarkissian and the Human Rights Defender talked to the inhabitants and got acquainted with their problems, mainly related to security, socio-economic situation, and human rights.
The residents mentioned in particular that some areas, mainly pastures, passed under the control of Azerbaijan after the war, and at present, besides security, they have the problem of providing for their living. They singled out the problems related to road repairs, water supply, and gas supply.
In Khnatsakh, President Sarkissian also met with the leader of the enlarged community Tegh and the heads of Khoznavar and Vaghatur settlements, which are part of that community, who presented their problems.
The President of the Republic proposed to present all the relevant information and detailed data on the primary problems of the communities to the Office of the President and expressed readiness to assist in their solution within the powers and possibilities of the President’s institution.
Within the framework of his working visit to Syunik marz, the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian, and Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan visited Goris Municipality, where they met with the leader of Goris community Arush Arushanyan, the leader of Sissian community Arthur Sargsyan, also Yervand Malunts, Armen Khachatryan, and Lusiné Avetyan, the heads of settlements Khndzoresk, Hartashen and Karahunj, part of the enlarged community of Goris.
President Sarkissian noted that the visit to Syunik was to take place long ago, but the coronavirus infection made him postpone it. "Today, I came first to see with my eyes what I hear, to hear personally you speak about your problems, and figure out how I can help you," said the President.
The community leaders informed the President about the situation and problems after the war, singling out the issues of security and demarcation as having special priority. It was also noted that the inhabitants of the border communities of the region, whose main occupation is cattle breeding, are currently deprived of the opportunity to use pastures, even some of their privately owned lands, as they are under Azerbaijani control. This complicates the already difficult socio-economic situation.
Among the problems, people mentioned unemployment, particularly in the sphere of tourism in Goris, and the problems related to infrastructures.
The possibilities of the President's institution to support in resolving the problems were also discussed at the meeting.
Answering the questions raised, referring to the presented problems, President Sarkissian noted that he would try to support their solution as much as possible within the powers of the President’s institution.
On a working visit in Syunik, the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian visited the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, Primate of the Syunik Diocese, together with Armenia’s ombudsman Arman Tatoyan, the leader of Goris community Arush Arushanyan and the heads of some communities of the region.
President Sarkissian was welcomed by the Vicar of the Syunik Diocese, Father Makar Hakobyan.
The President lit a candle in memory of all our servicemen and volunteers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our Homeland.
Within the framework of the working visit to Syunik, the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian, and Armenia's Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan visited the RA NSS border check point at the beginning of the Goris-Kapan highway. The President got acquainted with the service conditions and talked to the servicemen. "You are carrying out your service in a strong position," said President Sarkissian, "Be strong and healthy. Good service to all of you."
Afterwards, President Sarkissian and the Human Rights Defender visited Shurnukh community, met with the heads and residents of Shurnukh and Vorotan settlements.
The President got acquainted with their current problems, especially the issues related to security and proper delimitation. Eleven houses in the village of Shurnukh went under the control of Azerbaijan. The construction of a new residential quarters has started in the village, the location of which, however, is not quite favourable, in the residents’ opinion.
The people of Shurnukh considered the fact that they got deprived of cattle-breeding, their only source of income, a vital issue. After the war, the village became deprived of pastures, which are now under the control of Azerbaijan. Besides, the animals go to those territories and are not returned, which causes additional problems.
The residents also presented some social issues related to water supply, gas supply, and repayment of agricultural loans.
Responding to the issues raised by the people of Syunik and emphasizing the importance of security, employment, and social problems, the President of the Republic suggested that the heads of Shurnukh and Vorotan settlements should discuss the matters in detail with the Office of the President to show support within the powers of the Presidential Institution.
The President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian, who is in Syunik on a working visit, and Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan went to the regional centre of Kapan. In the City Hall, they met with the head of Kapan community Gevorg Parsyan, the head of Meghri community Mkhitar Zakaryan, the deputy head of Kajaran community Zohrab Arakelyan, the heads of Nrnadzor and Yeghvard settlements Alexan Boyajyan and Spartak Zakaryan.
The President noted that he visited some border settlements, met with the residents and community leaders, and once again got acquainted with the problems, which are mainly different, but in some respects, they are the same. "Every village, now on the borderline, has its own problems. There is a village, half of which remained on the side of the enemy. There are villages that have problems with heating and water supply. However, there is one issue of utmost importance that worries everyone: the issue of security. It applies to everyone," he said, "That problem is much deeper than we imagine. The issue of security has a clear picture: it is the Azerbaijani soldiers or their positions, flags, or signs. In fact, there is a deep feeling of insecurity.
I came here first of all to listen to you, the villagers, and see how I or the President’s Institution can help you. The opinion of individuals is important, but the systemic and formed views of the people who are responsible are also essential."
The community leaders presented the situation after the war, as well as their views and approaches to security issues.
President Sarkissian and the Human Rights Defender also visited the airport in Kapan, got acquainted with the conditions and possibilities of making the airport operational, including security problems.
Within the framework of his working visit to Syunik, President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian, and Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan went to the settlement of Davit Bek, part of the enlarged community of Kapan, met with the leader of Kapan community Gevorg Parsyan, the heads of Davit Bek and Kaghnut settlements Beniamin Poghosyan and Arthur Hovhannisyan, also local residents.
They discussed issues related to the situation after the war.
Presenting the problems of their settlements, the heads of David Bek and Kaghnut considered the issue of ensuring security a priority. It was noted that significant areas of arable lands, pastures and grasslands, including privately owned ones, were under the control of Azerbaijan and residents did not have access to them. Unemployment and some other socio-economic issues were also highlighted.
Referring to the mentioned issues, President Sarkissian attached importance of creating new jobs so that people stay and live in their lands. "Think, and make proposals; you know better what kind of activities can be carried out in your communities," said the President. "If there are proposals, I will try to support, find ways and means."
President Sarkissian and the Human Rights Defender then visited the village of Chakaten, met with its residents and the administration heads of Shikahogh, Srashen, and Nerkin Hand settlements, included in the enlarged community of Kapan.
Here too, both the residents and the heads of the settlements considered the issues related to security, delimitation and pastures vital. They also stressed that currently the border communities need a lot of attention. "Armenia starts from Nerkin Hand," said one of the locals.
Responding to that observation, the President of the Republic emphasized that he fully agrees with that viewpoint and has spoken it out for many times․ "One of our problems is that we think that Armenia is Yerevan. We live in Yerevan, and we do not visit regions."
Referring to the problems presented, the President noted with regret that security was the number one issue in all the settlements he visited. Speaking about the delimitation issues, the President noted that specialists, as well as residents of the communities, should be involved in that process. "Many of you have documents that prove that this pasture, this field or that garden was your property, and you must submit those documents to the Human Rights Defender," said the President, "Apart from intergovernmental agreements, maps and all other negotiation processes, there are also human rights."
Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan added that their research shows that there are countries in whose demarcation and delimitation issues, priority was given to cadastral documents as its basis is the person and his rights. "We must record and show the legal violations, and illegalities, they are important for the future a well."
Answering the question about the opportunities for the residents to be supported by the Presidential Institution, President Sarkissian noted that he is ready to do everything within the scope of the Institution’s powers, and visiting the communities and being informed about the problems just on the spot pursue that aim. "There are problems that are the responsibility of the state, but there are problems that can also be solved by international organizations and through charity. There are also systemic problems. New jobs and new activities must be created so that the enemy can see that these villages are flourishing, and not being emptied," he stressed, "The welfare of the village is everyone's responsibility. You are at that front; the front is not only shooting, but also the success of a village. So, we all have something to do. Everything is in our hands, if we have order, are organized, do not deceive ourselves, do not wait with hope that someone will come and solve a problem for us.”
During the meetings, it was offered to submit the issues in a complete and formulated manner to the Office of the President of the Republic or the RA Human Rights Defender to discuss the possibilities of assistance within their competence.