Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan’s visit to London
Meetings with community and traditional Armenian party members formed a significant part of the visit of Artsakh Republic delegation headed by Bako Sahakyan. During the 4-day visit he met with a number of individuals and 10 public, political and cultural organizations of UK. During the meetings the interlocutors noted the necessity to promote NKR presence in Great Britain.
On the first day of the working visit Bako Sahakyan met with members of the Community Council. Almost all of them have been to Artsakh. Еxcept the chairman – Ara Palamudyan but he promised to fill the gap.
Ara Palamudyan, Armenian Community Council
“Almost everyone from the Community Council has been to Armenia and Artsakh. But I am among the guilty – I have been to Armenia but haven’t had a chance to visit Artsakh. I assure you that next time I’ll definitely go to Karabakh.”
The neccessity of helping Artsakh and contributing to the country’s development was among the issues discussed at the meeting. Fully realized, the idea needed practical steps. A business project in power industry was the first thing offered.
“Everyone in Diaspora is willing to help Armenia and Artsakh. There are different individuals and organizations in the sphere who can make investments, provide technological or educational aid. From this point of view there is no doubt that only with mutual efforts and joint work we can achieve good results both in Motherland and Diaspora.”
It should be confessed that the level of awareness is quite low. Bako Sahakyan gave thorough comments and invited our compatriots to Artsakh to get acquainted with both our success and problems. The invitation was accepted at once. Meanwhile, there are things to be done in London too. The Armenian lobby should double its efforts.
“It is a big honour for us to host the President. Armenians of England have always cherished not only Armenia but also Karabakh. So the international recognition of Artsakh is definitely very important for us. We should make efforts to achieve Karabakh’s recognition and I hope we’ll be able to do that.”
Issues of national importance were touched upon at the meeting with representatives of Hnchakyan party. The members of the party asked to show the ways in which they can assist Artsakh in foreign affairs.
“Today we should be happy about one thing: Karabakh is de facto state, the country develops economically. And the most important thing is that the 10-million Armenians all over the world, I am not sure about the exact number, will be happy about their visit to Karabakh. They will witness economic progress more than it can be seen in Armenia. The fact that Karabakh has become our hope for victories is very important. Our struggle started and ended in Karabakh. We are going to have more victories. Surely. The President’s visit means we have taken another step towards winning. If The House of Lords recognizes something today, other institutions will follow it tomorrow. The Queen will recognize it. I am sure she will. And if one day Britain loses its political interest in Azerbaijan, be sure that they will start backing Armenia. Today Russia, France, Italy and Germany support Armenia and those 31 countries that have recognized the Genocide also support Karabakh. Karabakh is accepted by these states regardless of the fact the country’s flag is raised above UN or not. It doesn’t matter.”
According to Vazgen Kasemjyan the significance of Artsakh delegation’s visit to England cannot be overestimated. And to reach our ultimate goal it should be continued.
“We are sure these meetings will have their result. Though we don’t have any high hopes as Britain’s position is quite firm. But we have worked hard in the Parliament for the last 2-3 years. We have had a lot of meetings in the House of Lords and House of Commons. The result can’t be called positive though. They like and respect Armenians but the country’s interests differ from those of Armenia. We are sure that our personal contributions will help us win this battle. Today the President’s presence is already a necessity.”
One of the latest discoveries Hnchakyan party made is that 3 out of 7 founders of it were from Artsakh. The fact is even more obliging for all the members.
“We knew years ago that the people who founded the party in Geneva had come from Yerevan and Russia. Later we discovered that the 3 most oustanding party leaders were from Artsakh – 2 from Shoushi, one from Vank. They were engaged in political activities Western Armenia where they died. And in their memory we have a duty to fulfill.”
Hnchakyan Party is not involved in the political life of Artsakh in any way. Nevertheless, in the near future Artsakh will be included in the party’s programme of activities.
“The project is under way. We have offices in 10 marzes of Armenia. We also have The Central Bureau there. We don’t have representatives in Artsakh but that is in our plans. Probably next year we are going to have offices in the towns of Artsakh.”
Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan had meetings with members of “Hayastan” All Armenian Fund’s British affiliate and its head Armine Karapetyan, representatives of Armenian Relief Society, “Hamazkayin” Cultural Society, Homenetmen’s British chapters. During the meetings issues related to Artsakh-Diaspora cooperation were discussed. The Head of the State praised the role of the above-mentioned panarmenian organizations in retaining national identity, strengthening of ties with Homeland and solving national issues.
Projects currently implemented in Artsakh were discussed during meetings with heads and representatives of British offices of traditional parties – Social-Democratic “Hnchakyan”, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Ramkavar-Azatakan. The named parties are involved in these projects. Issues on statehood building, domestic and foreign policy and Artsakh-Diaspora cooperation were discussed. Bako Sahakyan emphasized the role of traditional parties in supporting Artsakh, solving issues of national significance and strengthening Homeland-Diaspora ties.
“The President accepted our offer to start building a new school in Berdzor. Therefore we must certainly carry out the project. We should also strengthen cultural ties and give the community youth an opportunity to visit Armenia and Artsakh. We shall also involve young people from Artsakh in cultural events held here. It will be useful for them. We should also increase our impact on international media. It’s true that British authorities haven’t recognized Artsakh and still maintain close relations with Azerbaijan but the English support Artsakh and I hope it’s going to have a positive influence on the process.”
Lastly, the President met with members of Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). During the talk the interlocutors discussed not only the projects of the organization but also the significance and role of the two Armenian states in current geopolitical developments.
Asatur Guzelyan, AGBU
“All good initiatives are born during meetings and exchanges of ideas. Meetings of this kind unite our external forces, establish cooperation between different organizations for the sake of the future of Artsakh. Such meetings are extremely important. The ideas expressed by the President and the members of the delegation are important for Diaspora. Because we in Diaspora need to know what the necessities are. One thing is to read about them in papers, another thing is to hear about the priorities from the President himself.”
- – And it’s quite a different thing to come to Artsakh and see them..
A.G. – Yes. In my opinion for every Armenian it’s rather a pleasure than a duty to visit Artsakh. I have been twice and was amazed not only at the nature, but also the people’s mentality, their patriotic spirit. We were at Baroness Cox’s charity event dedicated to the Centennial of the Genocide the other day and she stressed that it were the Christian spirit and patriotism of the people of Artsakh that resisted the Azeri’s atrocities. And she said it had had a great influence on her. Words are not patriotism, actions are. Patriotism is donating 1 dollar, 10 dollars. It is establishing true cooperation. As the historian Eghishe’s wisely said, “Death, unanticipated, is death. Death, anticipated, is immortality”. A cathedral is built with stones, so everyone ought to give one and help build the cathedral. This is my request.”
During the course of time AGBU’s goals have changed. Today Motherland and her problems are the organization’s main objectives.
“Motherland and Artsakh are AGBU’s priority. To the best of our possibilities we are going to implement a number of projects. I want to say that AGBU makes a lot of big investments today and it’s even more important now that donors give practically no interest. Even though the profit has become considerably low our chairmen persuade wealthy individuals to take part in our projects. This is one of our advantages.
This is full picture of Artsakh delegation’s community meetings. The best possibilities to draw conclusions for both parties emerged. In the next part of our report we shall speak about projects of international significance.