YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Solemn ceremonies dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Shoushi–the Day of the Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army and victory in World War II began May 10. As part of the activities–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian–Karabakh Prime Minister Anushavan Daniyelyan–Parliament Speaker Oleg Yesayan–head of the Artsakh diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan–other officials and the public visited the Shoushi Christ the Savior (Kazanchetsots) Cathedral and participated in a service.
Nagorno Karabakh officials and the Armenian defense minister visited the Stepanakert cultural center to see an exhibition of Artsakh painters dedicated to the liberation of Shoushi and victory in WW II.
President Ghoukassian–during a short interview–said–"Without Shoushi we would not have other glorious victories. Shoushi was the beginning. I remember the words of Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian when he asked whether it would be possible to celebrate the victory in 10 years time. Now we are celebrating it. Nothing is impossible in the world. Now the most urgent things on our agenda are formation of the state–a peaceful life–development of the economy and social security."
Hundreds of World War II veterans and thousands of younger Armenia’s paid tribute May 10 to almost 300,000 Armenia’s that were killed between 1941 and 1945 in WW II in events celebrating the 57th anniversary of Soviet victory in the World War II–a public holiday in Armenia.
Wreaths were also laid by top Armenian officials and heads of foreign diplomatic missions to the monument of the UnknownSoldier in Yerevan Victory Park.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian who is expected to be back on May 10 from a week-long trip to Argentina–Uruguay and Brazil has sent a congratulatory message which says–"The May 1945 Victory gave our people a historic opportunity to return to a peaceful and creative work and to build our country."
Residents of Nagorno Karabakh are also marking Victory Day along with the tenth anniversary of the liberation of strategically important town of Shoushi.
An Armenian delegation led by Prime Minister Margarian is in Karabakh to attend the official ceremonies there.
On Wednesday–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic president Arkady Ghoukassian attended a special requiem Mass at the St. Ghazanchetsots church perched atop the highest point in Shoushi–officially opening day-long celebrations in the republic.
Meanwhile–Armenian President Robert Kocharian also addressed the nation on the occasion of Victory Day and the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Shoushi:
"Dear compatriots–I congratulate you on the occasion of the Victory and Peace Day. The victory in May–1945–gave our people a historic opportunity to return to peaceful and creative work and to build up the country.
"It was a victorious peace–and hundreds of thousands of Armenia’s contributed to it notably. They kept the honor of Armenian soldier high in the war that became known as the Great Patriotic War.
"With the liberation of Shoushi in 1992–May 9 received a second meaning–when the worthy heirs of their glorious fathers proved once and for all that they would no longer tolerate violation of the Armenian people’s national rights and human liberties.
"I congratulate you all–and particularly the veterans–on the occasion of this great holiday–and wish you excellent health–good festive mood and peaceful skies."
The Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II addressed a message to Nagorno Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian blessing and congratulating the president and the entire people of Artsakh on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Shoushi.
The message says that the heroic battle of Shoushi became a turning-point in the war for the liberation of Artsakh. "Together with our people scattered all over the world–we are marking the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Shoushi with special joy–remembering our glorious warriors who sacrificed their lives in the name of their Motherland in our prayers. We are glad that the people of Artsakh–who won their freedom–mark the 10th anniversary of Shoushi’s liberation with successes in building up a new life and with confidence and faith in the future."
Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Armen Khachatrian gave a congratulatory message–which says: "I congratulate Armenian people on the Victory day and Shoushi liberation. I express gratitude to veterans–soldiers of our powerful army–who provided our victory and liberated the ancient Shoushi."