Kocharian Attends Karabakh Celebration of Shoushi Liberation

STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)–An Armenian delegation led by President Robert Kocharian traveled to Karabakh on Friday to participate in the celebrations. The delegation was membered by Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–Armenia Fund President Raffi Hovannisian–presidential chief of staff Aleksan Harutiunian–presidential advisor Aram Sargsyan–and other officials.

The Armenian delegation was greeted at the airport by President Ghoukassian–Speaker Yesaian–Prime Minster Petrossian–Deputy Prime Minister Jirair Boghossian–and Defense Minister Babayan–and other officials.

Celebratory events were held at the Karabakh National Assembly meeting hall to mark the 6th anniversary of the liberation of Shoushi and in appreciation of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces–Friday May 8.

Official guests included Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–Speaker of the National Assembly Oleg Yessaian–Prime Minister Leonard Petrossian–Minister of Defense Samvel Babayan and Archbishop Barkev Mardirossian–Primate of Nagorno-Karabakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Prior to his opening remarks–Yesaian asked for a moment of silence to be observed in memory of the all Karabakh martyrs. The national anthem of Karabakh was then performed.

Second Commander Military Training and Discipline Leonid Dzaderian delivered a speech–as did World War Two veteran Aram Mardirossian. Archbishop Mardirossian also offered a message.

Following the presidential address–Ghoukassian offered medals of honor to a group of freedom fighters.

Following a meeting at President Ghoukassian’s office–the Armenian delegation attended the grand opening of the Stepanakert irrigation system–and visited a series of development projects.

At the grand opening of the irrigation system–Vice Chairman of the Stepanakert City Council Valerie Chavadian stressed the significance of the 10 kilometer irrigation system to the city of Stepanakert. She praised the new government for helping eliminating traces of the war–and said that the city has once again risen and is prospering. Chavadian reported that funding for the irrigation system was provided by the Armenia Fund and the Armenian community of Toronto–Canada.

Constitutional Court Chairman and Armenia Fund Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Gagik Harutiunian said the irrigation system–which began construction in 1984–was only one of many Armenia Fund projects to be implemented in Karabakh. Harutiunian said these projects were not just aimed at developing Karabakh–but symbolize Armenian unity–fulfilling the national responsibilities of each Armenian individual.

In his speech–Armenia Fund President Raffi Hovannisian stated that this project was completed with great empathy for Karabakh and with the determination to expand national horizons. "Let this irrigation system be the first drop of water in a puddle which will one day–with a concentrated effort–become a large current and unify the Armenian people and bring to realization the one nation–one homeland–one mission slogan," he said.

Director of the Toronto office of the Armenia Fund Mkrtich Mkrtchian–in his message–said the day was one of celebration for all Canadian Armenia’s and especially the Armenian community of Canada–and modestly praised their contribution. "You fought to protect our lands," he said–"what we have done is minute compared to that." Mkrtchian assured Karabakh that the Toronto Armenian community will soon fulfill its pledge to open a physics and mathematics magnet school. He then presented President Ghoukassian–President Kocharian and Prime Minister Petrossian with momentos.

President Kocharian expressed his gratitude to the Toronto Armenian community and said that the Armenia Fund is not only a benevolent union–but also politics–a mentality–a symbol of Karabakh-Armenia-Diaspora unity and a slogan of the future–all of which are the purpose of the Armenia Fund.

President Kocharian and Raffi Hovannisian cut the ribbon to open the irrigation system.

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