UNIVERSAL CITY–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian was the guest of honor at a gala banquet Wednesday evening at the Universal Sheraton Hotel–where more than 850 community leaders and members gathered to pay homage to the Karabakh leader.
The banquet–organized by the Greater Los Angeles Armenian community–was also attended by Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian–leaders of the four Armenian religious denominations–former California Governor George Deukmejian and his wife–the Executive Director of Hayastan All Armenia Fund–Vahan Ter-Ghevondian–Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles–Armen Melkonian and his wife Yevgenia–Karabakh representative in Washington Tevan Poghossian and Karabakh’s deputy presidential chief of staff Gevorkian.
In his remarks to the gathering–Ghoukassian emphasized the importance of the current phase of the Karabakh situation and stressed that Karabakh had transcended the military aspect and was now moving toward the strengthening of social and economic infrastructures in the republic.
He appealed to the Diaspora for assistance in ensuring the revitalization of Karabakh’s economy and industry and stated that his visit to Los Angeles had proven that the Karabakh issue was a pan-Armenian issue.
Ghoukassian was resolute in his conviction that Karabakh’s military victories would translate to political ones in the continuing peace negotiations.
He thanked the Los Angeles Armenian community for its dedication and support and for its resilient assistance at Karabakh’s time of need.
Ghoukassian stressed that when the Azeri armed forces attacked Karabakh–the people of the region were unarmed and unprepared to confront the hostilities. He commended the Diaspora for its financial assistance which became an important tool for Karabakh’s victories.
Ghoukassian was presented a gift by banquet committee member Hermine Janoyan.
Master of Ceremonies Osheen Keshishian announced the arrival of honored guests and the head table–which also included banquet committee chairman Tomik Alexanian.
The invocation was delivered by Western Primate Arch. Vatche Hovsepian. The benediction was said Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
Following a lavish dinner–Ter-Ghevondian and Melkonian each addressed the gathering.
In his remarks–Ter-Ghevondian pointed out that March 3 was the anniversary of the establishment of the Armenia Fund and promised that the future looked promising for the fund and its activities–which include the reconstruction of the earthquake zone.
Melkonian outlined the important role of the Los Angeles Armenian community in Armenia and Karabakh’s struggle toward strengthening their statehood and reforming their socio-economic structures.
A video–canvassing Karabakh’s picturesque sites and monumen’s–was presented with simultaneous musical accompanyment provided by singer Ashot Melkonian.
The program began with a traditional color-guard ceremony undertaken by the Homenetmen’scouts. The national anthems of the US–Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were performed by Hovig Krikorian–accompanied on the piano by Armen Aharonian.
Ghoukassian also met with the Los Angeles Armenian press corps Thursday at a press conference at the Armenian Consulate in Beverly Hills.