“Karabakh Has One Directive: Independence ” Says Minister at Rally

ENCINO–More than 1000 community members assembled at Ferrahian School’s Avedissian Hall Sunday–for a public gathering in support of Karabakh.

The event–which was sponsored and organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee–brought a broad cross-section of the community–and featured Karabakh’s Minister of Culture and Youth Issues Armen Sarkisian–as well as journalist Stepan Topchian. The message of the ARF-Central Committee was delivered by Hovig Saliba.

Sarkisian in an impassioned address–told the gathered that there need not be any sense of hopelessness–because the fate of Karabakh will only be determined by the people of Karabakh.

"Today–I am not only representing the people of Karabakh–but I am also representing the government of Karabakh–and I am saying that there is only one elected directive in Karabakh and that is the directive of independence. And there is not even a small deviation from that directive in Karabakh," said Sarkisian.

"We cannot turn back from our victory–and we are confident that we will carry the movement to its just conclusion." noted the Karabakh minister.

The visiting Karabakh official said that the national liberation struggle began from within the people of Karabakh and based on that the government of Karabakh had accountabilities of various kins–including moral–economic and social to the people of Karabakh. He dismissed statemen’s by politicians of the international community saying no one may dictate the future of the people of Karabakh.

The host for the evening’s program–Vazgen Madenlian–asked the attendees to stand in a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Armenian earthquake of 1988–the ninth anniversary of which was marked Sunday.

Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–in his remarks and benediction also remembered the victims of the earthquake as well as the fallen heroes of Karabakh.

After a short visual presentation of images and sounds of nine years worth of national struggle–Sarkisian took the stage to reiterate the reality of the Karabakh conflict. In a running theme–Sarkisian continuously stressed that Karabakh would not succumb to international pressure.

The Karabakh minister recounted his own experiences leading to the accumulation of efforts in 1988. A highlight–he noted–for him and all Karabakh Armenia’s–was when in 1988 news of the uprisings and public demonstrations in support of Karabakh in the Diaspora reached the homeland. It was at that juncture–said he–that Karabakh understood that the liberation struggle was a national matter concerning every Armenian. "They understood that Karabakh represented the will and soul of a century of Armenian struggle," said Sarkisian.

Madenlian in his remarks at various points in the program called on all Armenia’s to protest any anti-Karabakh announcemen’s and policies adopted by various individuals.

"Let the Yerevan authorities–particularly Levon Ter-Petrosyan–hear us clearly. Karabakh is not for sale–Karabakh is not your and your party’s private possession. Karabakh belongs to the people of Karabakh–to the people of Armenia…and to all Armenia’s," declared Madenlian.

He added that the ARF as the protector of the Armenian people and their interests–will not allow anyone to dishonor the memory and the shed blood of the Karabakh freedom fighters–and sign historic Armenia away on paper.

In his speech on behalf of the ARF-Central Committee–Saliba stressed that Karabakh is the cause of the entire Armenian people–and it is all Armenia’s’ duty to fight for it. He noted that today the option being offered to Karabakh are all ones compromising to Karabakh’s national will–and he called on all national forces to unite in order to protect Karabakh from such unjust proposals.

Saliba also outlined ways of strengthening the Karabakh and Armenian statehood and independence.

Topchian in his turn brought the audience’s attendance to Ter-Petrosyan’s and Alexasnder Arzoumanian’s defeatist and betraying stance and remarks on the Karabakh issue. By offering several instances of the two officials’ actions–Topchian condemned their anti-Armenian positions.

Also speaking at the event were intellectuals Boghos Kupelian and Rosa Arvahi–who turned their attention to the deeds of the Armenian authorities.

At the conclusion of the event–it was decided to direct a letter to the Armenian authorities conveying the Diaspora’s concerns–and a letter of support to the government of Karabakh.


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