Armenians Mark 20th Anniversary of Karabakh Liberation Movement

Armenians in 1988 protesting in Yerevan for Artsakh self-determination

Armenia’s Mark 20th Anniversary of Karabakh Liberation Movement
STEPANAKERT/YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s marked the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh liberation movement, which began on February 20, 1988 with a resolution by the people of Karabakh to unite with Armenia.
Official celebrations were kicked off in Stepanekert, where thousands gathered at Republic square and marched to Renaissance Square, where they were met with pilgrims from Shoushi and other parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, who had set out on the trek in the early hours of the morning.
In his congratulatory remarks, Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian asserted that the most important achievement of the movement was the establishment of the free and independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
President Robert Kocharian Wednesday congratulated the people of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh Movement.
“Today is a memorable day, the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh Movement,” Kocharian said. “This Movement is the newest stage of the struggle for the self-determination of the Artsakhi people, which marked the start of national revival.”
“The Karabakh Movement was the peaceful and legitimate expression of a fair demand,” he noted. “It was countered by massacres, displacemen’s and large-scale military actions. It grew into a national-liberation strugge.”
“The Karabakh struggle bore many heroes and demanded victims. However, it also hardened the will of our people and deepened the conviction that there is no alternative to independence,” the President remarked. “The independence of Nagorno Karabakh is not only a sole means for maintaining national identity, but also the only real guarantee of peacefully developing on own land.”
According to Kocharian an entire generation grew up in an independent Armenia. For them the Nagorno Karabakh Republic has been a serious achievement in state building.
“I express my sincere gratitude to all those who have been doing and are doing everything for the progress of Artsakh,” Kocharian concluded. “I wish peace, prosperity and new achievemen’s in the state-building of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.”
Also in Yerevan, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia and the ARF parliamentary faction members marked this anniversary by attending the Yerablur National Cemetery and laying a wreath at monument for the fallen heroes of the Karabakh liberation movement.
“We should have marked the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh movement with a larger celebration. We didn’t have that opportunity because of the elections, but we could not forget this momentous event and thought it appropriate to mark it in this manner,” said ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian.
On February 20, 1988 the Soviet of People’s Deputies of Nagorno Karabakh requested unification with Armenia. The request was met with massacres of hundreds of Armenia’s in the Azeri city of Sumgait shortly after and quickly escalated into conflict as Azerbaijan began to attack Armenian villages in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Karabakh parliament Wednesday issued a declaration reaffirming the self-determination of the people of Karabakh.
The referendum reaffirmed the will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to build a democratic, sovereign state based on the peoples right to self-determination, which was proclaimed on September 2, 1991 and followed by an official referendum on December 10, which declared independence from Azerbaijan.
“The Nagorno Karabakh Republic is ready to resolve the existing differences with Azerbaijan exclusively by means of negotiations,” the resolution stated.
It further insisted that the authorities of Azerbaijan must respect their obligations to the international community, including the Nagorno Karabakh Republic; abandon the unpromising policy of confrontation and form an atmosphere of confidence and tolerance between the parties. Such an attitude, the resolution asserts, will have a positive impact on the current efforts at finding ways for a comprehensive settlement.
The resolution appealed to the Parliamen’s of all states, the United Nations and other interested international structures to promote a dialogue between the elected representatives of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan.
It concluded by expressing the National Assembly’s certainty that the international community properly valued the achievemen’s of the Nagorno Karabakh people in building a democratic state governed by the rule of law, forming a civil society and takes with understanding its legal aspiration to become a full member of the community of free states.
This statement was made public and fully approved Wednesday at a nationwide meeting attended by thousands of people on Revival Square of Stepanakert.

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