Earthquake Anniversary Marked in Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The 10th anniversary of the Armenian earthquake was marked in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Monday. Early in the morning thousands in Stepanakert made their way for the Memorial Complex to pay tribute to the memory of the earthquake victims.

Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–Prime Minister Jirair Poghossian–members of parliament and government officials–army commanders–officials of the Ministry of the Interior–and representatives of the Stepanakert Mayor’s Office visited the Memorial Complex. Wreaths were laid on the monument to the earthquake victims.

Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Bishop Barkev Mardirossian officiated a requiem Mass. In an address to the gathered–he noted that 1998 became a year of awakening of the Armenian people–but it was also a year of hardship and blockade.

"We received many blows–underwent hardship–but our people–due to their love of freedom and aspiration for justice were able to defend and accomplish the mission entrusted to them by our homeland–our history and God."

Gathering commemorating the earthquake were held in all districts of the republic. At 11:41 a.m.–the time the calamity broke out–people in Karabakh observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the earthquake victims.

President Ghoukassian also addressed a message to Armenian President Robert Kocharian.

"Today–on the day of the 10th anniversary of the Spitak tragedy–Artsakh is grieving along with the entire Armenian nation. Ten years ago–on December 7–the world was shaken by the news about the earthquake that occurred in Armenia. That day was recorded as a tragic date in history. The disaster claimed thousands of lives–bereaving people of their hearts–relatives and friends. The earthquake-torn towns and villages will be rebuilt–but the anguish over the victims of dire natural disaster will remain in our hearts for ever."

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