Statements and messages of the President of RA
Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the 5th Armenia-Diaspora Conference
The free and independent Republic of Armenia once again received the Armenia-Diaspora Conference of our representatives from all over the world. Today about 700 representatives of 150 Armenian diaspora organizations have gathered in the homeland from more than 60 countries of the world. Various leaders and representatives of clergy, pan-Armenian structures and community organizations, journalists and separate individuals enjoying a high role and reputation have gathered in this hall.
I cordially welcome you to our motherland. Whatever difficulties they face children eventually return their parents’ home. And this 5th gathering is an event of our domestic reunion as well.
I am confident that during two-day discussions you have proposed, discussed and endorsed new pan-Armenian projects, have developed priorities for the Armenia-Diaspora collaboration which will be soon brought to life with the help of your active involvement and will foster the further development of the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora triumvirate.
The Republic of Armenia appreciates your large-scale works and efforts aimed at dealing with pan-Armenian issues, your persistent and patriotic approach to national priorities and your activities directed to properly presenting the abilities and potential of Armenians to the world. Moreover, during these days no idea will escape our attention, but will be subjected to detailed analysis by the specialists of the Ministry of Diaspora and other bodies.
Armenia is persistent and zealous in strengthening its ties with the Diaspora. The Armenian people today present themselves to the world in the person of the independent Armenia, the independent Artsakh and the powerful Diaspora.
In the modern world the greatest challenge facing the Armenian people is to organize the everyday life of Armenian statehood. If we managed to overcome the most complex challenge, the war, we do not have the right to yield to the whirlpool of daily problems.
Of course, it is not a battlefield where “ours” and “opponents” are clearly distinguished. Consolidation against an external threat is not the hardest thing to do while in everyday life we should understand that very often, and more correctly, always that conditional “opponent” is we ourselves. Hence, we have to fight against our drawbacks, disadvantages, weaknesses and carelessness.
Tomorrow of the special kind of Armenians is determined in the homeland. The progress and power, the future and prospect of the special kind of Armenians are tempered in Armenia because in the modern world the only and most powerful guarantee of people’s eternal existence is its national state.
Today, the last century’s barriers dividing the Motherland and the Diaspora no longer exist. And this by itself is a circumstance which encourages national consolidation. However, that consolidation is not an end in itself. It is a necessary mean to overcome the fear we have revealed inside us.
Emigration has been one of the most serious problems of all Armenian ruling regimes. The contemporary reality is that today we can speak about the existence of a new diaspora generation formed by emigrants from Armenia. And instead of accusing one another both in the Motherland and the Diaspora we have to take practical measures to deal with that problem. Let us highlight our drawbacks together and see what possible countermeasures we can undertake.
I am sure that the Motherland must never become a jail for Armenians. However, neither must it be a hotel. Hotels are for guests, while each Armenian must be imbued with the idea of being a householder. Each Armenian must have his house and home in his fatherland.
Here is where the Diaspora should direct its main efforts aimed at strengthening the motherland and making it prosperous. In the face of current global challenges we need to combine the forces, professional skills and competencies of all Armenians and promote a sense of patriotism and national pride among youth. We need the Diaspora’s ideas in order to build up the Armenian statehood and promote security, stability and development.
In all hard times and dangers the Diaspora has been our closest and most genuine stronghold. However, have we managed to use all our ties, abilities and financial and political capabilities? Of course, no: no because we have not considered the strengthening of Armenia as our top priority and have not made it the subject of all Armenian organizations’ and individuals’ attention.
We have to direct the vector of the Armenia-Diaspora collaboration to the development of Armenia’s economy. Many nations envy the abilities and capabilities of the Armenian people, but a tiny part of them is used to make the motherland prosperous. Each Armenian must ask himself what he has done for his motherland besides making other countries and economies prosperous and how he has tried to ease its pain. And in this respect what work have our Armenian organizations deserving our respect and gratitude carried out?
We welcome and encourage every diaspora initiative in Armenia to link the Diaspora to the Motherland. The state is ready to give diaspora Armenians an opportunity to make investments with the aim of transforming charity into a mutually beneficial partnership.
The free and independent Armenia is a reality. Hence, I urge you to get actively involved in dealing with national issues and developing projects for the future.
The fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is our common goal. The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is possible only politically and diplomatically, through negotiations.
Now it is necessary to present in all fronts the lawful cause of the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination, the struggle for existence imposed upon them, the braveness and steadfastness of the Artsakh people and their natural right and will to live independently and freely.
The war has not finished yet; it was crowned with a ceasefire which recorded our victory. And today the Armenian borders are defended by our invincible and efficient army. I think that each Armenian is proud that we have such an army which enjoys the confidence and love of our entire nation and sets an example of a high organizational level for everybody. The brave soldiers and officers of the Armenian army will prevent any encroachment, will never retreat and with their fighting trim, national spirit and patriotism will make the borders of the two Armenian countries unapproachable.
Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora should continue to struggle for the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination in order for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to become the full-fledged member of the international community.
Our entire nation is going to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. It will reaffirm the deprived Armenian people’s will and determination to live, create and exist forever and will restate our persistency in fulfilling our national desires together. 2015 must become a year of serious political undertakings and achievements for the Armenia-Diaspora-Artsakh triumvirate. 2015 will also become a year of events and actions unprecedented by its volume and significance. It will restate that all together we are able to launch a large scale movement in order to accomplish our national goals. We have initiated a wide range of political activities and expect a number of heads of states to visit Armenia in 2015.
Many of you are included in the regional commissions coordinating the events dedicated to the Armenian Genocide Centenary. The goal of you all is the restoration of justice and the victory of reason over darkness and misanthropic ideologies.
Spiritual organizations, traditional parties, pan-Armenian and social organizations are also implementing targeted activities. The mass media operating in the homeland and the Diaspora have a lot of work to do as well.
2015 is not the borderline of the Armenian cause, but the new destination of our national revival. Such a special destination was the 50th anniversary of the Genocide when a few decades after the calamity, the whole Diaspora and the Motherland broke the silence and stood together for the cause to officially condemn the Armenian Genocide. The role of the glorious children of our nation, the first Secretary of the Communist Party Hakob Zarobian and, of course, the Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I, in that was great. In these circumstances the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church was able to unite the nation deprived of its statehood around the goal of making national desires a reality.
Today common sense makes the Turkish society call the false official historiography into question, and thousands of Turks reject the denialism of their own country. Hence, it is becoming obvious that Turkish authorities’ policy of denying the Armenian Genocide is step by step exhausting itself and reaching an impasse. As a result of these developments Turkish officials have adopted a new behavior, new modes of action which present themselves as more improved and reformulated versions of the old denialism.
I have stressed many times that the only formula to prevent genocides is the recognition and condemnation of the horrible pages in the history of mankind. We will continue to urge the Turkish leadership to stop the hopeless policy of denial, refresh their dull memory, review the dark pages of the past, face their own history and recognize and condemn the past crime, clear their own conscience and get rid of the age-old burden.
By the way, I would like to put forward an idea and expect you to respond to it. I suggest that we rename the State Commission Coordinating the Events Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide as “Pan-Armenian Council” in 2015 which will become a permanent national platform for addressing urgent pan-Armenian issues.
As a result of regional conflicts a huge segment of diaspora Armenians is forced to emigrate again. The existing formats of the Armenian diaspora are being transforms: old communities are being dissolved and replaced by new ones which need a serous help.
Some part of the viable Syrian-Armenian community, about 12000 people, bleeding profusely as a consequence of the Syrian crises, has settled in Armenia.
Our compatriots who have migrated from Syria need care and support. They are the fragments of our ancestors who suffered the genocide and who, spreading all over the world, have managed to preserve their national image and Armenianness.
Today, all the government bodies of Armenia are involved in activities aimed at dealing with the problems of Syrian-Armenians who are rapidly integrating into the Armenian society. At present, Syrian-Armenians have their issues concerning education, health and social security addressed at a state level. Serious efforts were made and are being made at supporting them in finding a job, starting a new business and acquiring an apartment. We have received Syrian-Armenians with open arms. They are not called refugees in their homeland; they are the master of our country and its indissoluble fraction. Hence, we should make joint efforts to find a lasting resolution to our compatriots’ housing and job issues.
All Armenians, including the state of Armenia, have to support those who have stayed in Syria to protect the Armenian homes. I believe peaceful days yet to come for the entire people of Syria and its Armenian citizens. Syrian-Armenian community will revive and will continue its creative path for the benefit of the Motherland and the prosperity and development of their country of residence.
Unfortunately, the number of regional conflicts continues to grow, and our overarching purpose is to address each Armenian’s pain and suffering in any corner of the world regardless of geographic distance and to make joint efforts at assisting and supporting them.
Only owing to our unity and consolidation can the national desires of Armenians come true, and they will present themselves to the world as an example of general will thereby destroying the anti-Armenian aspirations of all our opponents, regressive forces and movements.
Coming into existence, the Diaspora has always fought for the preservation of Armenian national identity. The preservation of Armenian national identity also stems from the vital interests of the Republic of Armenia. Armenia, in the person of pan-Armenian organizations in Armenia and the Diaspora, have to be more active in supporting cultural and educational initiatives aimed at preservation of Armenian national identity in various Armenian communities.
The knowledge of our mother tongue and its transmission to generations is a national top priority for us. Hence, everybody who have gathered here is obliged to use all mechanisms, methods and ways to make our youth speak Armenian and to nurture love and respect towards the native tongue. The main clutches of the preservation of Armenian national identity are the Armenian language, the Armenian family and the recognition of the real motherland.
The Armenia-Diaspora collaboration is rooted in these priorities. The principle of this collaboration is to develop common stance on the issues of mutual trust, reciprocal assistance and national importance.
Exactly three years ago, I proposed the following formula at the 4th Conference of Diaspora Organizations Leaders and Representatives: “the maximum of the motherland’s capabilities for the Diaspora and the maximum of the Diaspora’s capabilities for the homeland.”
And we can state that each our undertaking acquires pan-Armenian and national importance.
Our common goal is to pass on a more developed, democratic, powerful, peaceful and safer Armenia to coming generations.
Concluding my speech, I would like to congratulate all of us on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Armenia’s independence and I call all Armenians to further strengthen their ties with the homeland.
Our unity makes us stronger, and strength means victory.