YEREVAN (Yerkir Media)—A delegation of state and local officials currently visiting Armenia and headed by California State Assembly Speaker John Perez visited the Dzidzernagapert memorial monument and paid respects to the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The delegation is being accompanied by leaders of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.
The visitors toured the grounds as well as the Armenian Genocide Museum, where they wrote individual messages in the memorial book, emphasizing the importance of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide as an important precondition for prevention of such acts.
“This trip, especially this pilgrimage to Dzidzernagapert is very emotional for me,” said Speaker Perez. “My colleague is Armenian and his family is from Kharpert. When we saw the Kharpert emblem (on the map in the museum) we became very emotional. It is important for the all countries of the world to recognize the Genocide and find the way to justice.”
“The last time I was here was six years ago, and now I am very saddened because my memories of childhood are still fresh,” said Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian who is part of the delegation.
“What me and my contemporaries remember, our future generations are going to see in this museum. This is where the pages of history, from which we should take lessons, are being preserved.”
The Perez-led delegation also includes Assemblymembers Katcho Achajian, Cheryl R. Brown, Adrin Nazarian and Scott Wilk. A Los Angeles City Council delegation also visiting Armenia includes Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian and staff.
The ANCA-WR representatives accompanying the delegations are board chairwoman Nora Hovsepian and Executive Director Elen Asatryan.
The delegation was hosted on Tuesday at the Armenia Parliament by its Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan.
“I am happy that can I host the delegation of the legislative body of California, the Motherland of one of the biggest economically most powerful and biggest community of the Armenian Diaspora of the United States of America, where there are also legislators of Armenian origin Khacho Achajian and Adrin Nazarian,” said Abrahamyan.
“Today the parliamentary diplomacy has a big role not only in the development of multilateral, but also inter-state relations,” said Abrahamyan, adding that the cooperation of Armenia’s National Assembly and California Assembly District will turn into cooperation with multilateral format.
Speaker Perez expressed his conviction that their visit would promote the deepening of bilateral cooperation in different fields, the activation and development of inter-parliamentary relations. He deemed important the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the spheres of economy, culture, science, education.
Perez highlighted the role of the Armenian community in the political, economic, cultural and scientific-educational life of California.
In the course of the meeting the sides touched upon the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenian-Turkish relations, regional external political developments. Presenting the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
“The Republic of Armenia has constantly expressed its constructive position in favor of solving the conflict only through peaceful means, on the basis of three internationally recognized principles within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. The People of Artsakh has won its right of living free and should not be ignored by the international community,” said Abarahamyan.
The sides also discussed the impending 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with Abrahamyan emphasizing that that recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide by the international community is the best guarantee of preventing such crimes.
He also commended the State of California and its legislature for recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
Speaker Perez said the state plans to hold large-scale events in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Abrahamyan awarded Perez with National Assembly’s Medal of Honor for his efforts in development of inter-parliamentary relations between the California State Assembly and the Armenian Parliament, as well as for the huge contribution in strengthening of Armenian-American relations.