Karekin I Issues Statement About Karabakh 10th Anniversary

In an official statement released in honor of the tenth anniversary of the liberation movement of Karabakh–His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s recalled the massive outburst in demand of freedom and liberation in February 1988 which came "from the mountains of Karabakh to the heart of our capital Yerevan–into every Armenian home and–without exception–throughout all sectors of our world-spanning Diaspora."

The Pontiff asserted that the past ten years presented to the Armenian nation numerous political–military–economic changes and instabilities–however the one remaining constant was the Armenian people’s unsparing will and efforts to preserve and protect the unalienable rights of Armenia and Karabakh.

His Holiness expressed sympathy for all those families whose members were martyred in the struggle for liberation and for all those who remained physically and psychologically scarred. He noted the outpouring of national and international–religious and public support of all victims and heroes of the movement–and expressed gratitude for the cease-fire in effect for the past four years. The Catholicos observed that these years provided the nation with the opportunity to unify in efforts to reinforce Karabakh’s independence and freedom. "On the path to self-valuation and independence–the liberation movement became a national rebirth," He said.

Karekin I stressed that the struggle for Karabakh is not yet over–and Karabakh is "neither an emotion nor a memory–neither a song nor a poem–neither a speech nor a lecture. Karabakh is a land which needs to be cultivated–a people which needs to grow and develop a standard of living–a government to be fortified. The dark clouds have yet to leave the sky. It is most significant for the world to know one thing–that the voice of Karabakh is the voice of all Armenia’s."

The Catholicos further stressed that it has been proven over and over again that the only resolution to the Karabakh issue could be reached through a unified Armenian nation. He pointed out that there cannot be Armenia Armenia’s–Karabakh Armenia’s–or Diasporan Armenia’s–but only Armenia’s.

On this–the tenth anniversary of the liberation movement of Karabakh–the Pontiff called on the entire Armenian nation to support the people of Karabakh–and with frequent visits and civic contributions assist the people of Karabakh in its effort to improve its quality of life. He called on all foreign nations–religious and political forces–as well as humanitarian organizations–to respect and help reinstate the people’s right to freedom and a fair and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Karekin I also called on the people of Karabakh to remain strong and faithful to the cause–as well as to retain their faith in God and the Armenian church. He urged all who left or were forced to leave Karabakh during war to return home to contribute to the empowerment of the will to live free–the heart of the Karabakh liberation movement.

"We are aware of the contemporary hardships in Karabakh and Armenia. However–we have no other option but to survive through bravery–and through sacrifice–dedication and hard work to defeat all obstacles–always keeping bright tomorrow’s flame of hope," He stated. "Let hope be the light of all our live," concluded the Catholicos.

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