Karabakh Prime Minister Discusses Upcoming Telethon

GLENDALE–Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Anushavan Danielian arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday to promote the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Armenia Fund Telethon–which is slated to raise funds for the construction of the Stepanakert-Mardakert Highway.

On Wednesday–Danielian held a press conference at Brandview Collection in Glendale to stress the importance of the project and solicit support for Telethon 99.

Accompanying Danielian at the press conference were the Executive Director of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund Vahan Ter-Ghevndian–Armenia Fund Inc. president Zaven Khanjian–Karabakh representative in Washington Vartan Barseghian and Armenia’s Consul General in Los Angeles Armen Melkonian.

The two sides of the hall were adorned with maps of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–as well as a detailed blue-print of the highway–the construction of which is estimated to cost $25 million. The 126 kilometer road is slated to be completed in three years and it will connect Karabakh towns and villages and facilitate transport in Karabakh.

The press conference was convened by Khanjian who reported that Telethon 99 is scheduled to take place on Nov. 25–Thanksgiving Day–on KSCI Channel 18. Following his introduction–Danielian was introduced to make the remarks of the evening.

Danielian said the soon-to-be constructed highway has been named the "north-south backbone," since it will connect various towns–cities and villages in Karabakh from Hadrut to Mardakert. The prime minister said the road will become a vital part of Karabakh’s economic revitalization and will boost the spirits of Karabakh residents–for it will allow better transportation within the Republic.

The Karabakh leader also discussed the Goris-Lachin-Stepanakert highway–the construction of which is slated for completion in the near future and the official opening is set for Nov. 12. He said the completion of that stretch of road symbolizes "the stepping stone for our national force."

He expressed hope that through economic reform plans–Karabakh will boast a population of 500,000 restoring the country to its former glory.

In response to reporters questions regarding recent discussion on the status of Karabakh and the so-called "higher than autonomy–lower than independence," suggestions from Azerbaijan–Danielian emphasized that "I must state unequivocally that this formula is not a formula of neither the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic authorities nor the leaders of Armenia. Our formula calls for the de jure recognition of the de facto existing independence of Karabakh. We’ve advocated this formula and must continue to do so." Danielian added–"We have a de facto independent state and we must get the existing situation acknowledged and de jure affirmed by the world community. As for compromises–I must say that–as you know–our goal had not been to establish independent Karabakh but we had sought reunification with Armenia. The declaration of independence was a compromise on our part in itself–as we had wanted to reunify with Armenia–and only proceeding from today’s situation we have to take this step–and we consider it a great compromise on our part.

"I don’t know for how long the negotiating process will last–but there is one thing I can clearly state: no one in the world – neither the president of Armenia or Karabakh–nor the prime minister of Armenia or Karabakh consider themselves to be entitled to solve the Karabakh problem by themselves and then confront the people of Karabakh with a fait accompli.

"We deem the liberation of Karabakh and today’s de facto independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to be the achievement of all Armenia’s–and the future of Karabakh–must be decided also with the opinion of the entire nation considered. This is the precondition that no politician will go beyond," Danielian underscored.

Following Danielian’s commen’s–Khanjian briefed the media on the Telethon 99 preparations. He announced that a public relations committee has been established–headed by Armenian Fund Inc. Board member Hratch Simonian–adding that 60,000 families will receive letters in the mail.

He also added that aside from the numerous posters already distributed throughout the community–the telethon committee was also working with the internet-based Armenianradio.com–which is accessed throughout the world.

Khanjian said–the telethon is estimated to cost $300,000–which is the exact figure spent on the previous two Armenia Fund telethons.

During the press conference–Ter-Ghevondian also briefed the reporters about the activities of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund–stating that in April the 8th General Assembly of the Fund was convened and future projects were approved.

Following the press conference–Danielian attended a reception at the same venue–where he had the opportunity to meet with various representatives of the Los Angeles-Armenian community.

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