WATERTOWN, Mass. (Armenian Weekly)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian Wednesday visited the Hairenik Association and met with representatives of the ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee, Ivan Ardhaldjian and Garo Getsemanian, and members of the Armenian Relief Society Central Executive Board and International Office. Sahakian gave a press conference attended by editors of the Armenian Weekly, the Hairenik Weekly and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator.
Ardhaldjian welcomed the president and briefly described the main challenges facing the Armenian community in the Eastern U.S. and the role of the ARF in confronting these challenges. Getsemanian spoke about the work the ARF-ER has done in Armenia and Karabakh, while Sahakian talked about the different ways in which the Armenia diaspora has assisted and can still assist in bringing consolidating the independence of Karabakh and securing its prosperity. At the end of the meeting, the Central Committee members presented a gift to the president.
The ARS representatives offered a brief presentation to the president of the Society’s activities in Armenia and Karabakh. They concentrated on the 12 ARS "Soseh" kindergartens in Karabakh, and presented statistical details about their financial situation and the present number of students and staff.
The president and members of his delegation commended the ARS for its activities. Sahakian underlined, more than once, the necessity of coordinating all projects in Karabakh with the local authorities, who have adopted the slogan "Let us join together" in securing a decent livelihood and acceptable social and economic conditions for Karabakh citizens. Sahakian then invited the ARS Central Executive Board to Stepanakert, to report to the local population on the Society’s activities in the diaspora and the homeland.
At the end of the meeting, ARS Central Executive Board member Mayda Melkonian presented Sahakian with a gift. He, in turn, recorded the following in the ARS International Office’s visitors’ record book: "The people of Artsakh highly commend the participation of the diaspora and we are interested in developing and strengthening our relations in the name of our mutual goals."
While in Watertown, Sahakian also visited the St. Stephen’s Armenian School, where students from St. Stephen’s and the Armenian Sisters’ Academy performed songs and recited poems for the President. He was accompanied by Archbishop Barkev Martirossian, Prelate of Artsakh; Roudig Husnoonts, the vice-chairperson of the National Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh; Narine Azadian, the Minister of Social Affairs; and Vardan Barseghian, the Permanent Representative of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the United States.
Sahakian, last Sunday met with Armen Martirossian, the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations. Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tatoul Markarian also attended the meeting.
Martirossian reviewed the recent activities of the Armenian Representation in the UN concerning the Karabakh settlement. Sahakian said the OSCE Minsk Group was instrumental for achieving a resolution to the conflict, and emphasized the need for full-fledged participation by all sides in the negotiations.
The same day, Sahakian met with a group of Armenian businessmen in New York, headed by Raffi Meghrian. They discussed the prospect of various projects in Karabakh, particularly carpet weaving. Sahakian said he appreciated Meghrian’s contribution to that branch, and noted the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic authorities would work on its development.
Sahakian also met with Prelate Oshagan Choloyan and representatives of the Armenian community in New York and discussed a number of economic and political issues. Archbishop Choloyan called upon the meeting participants to take an active part in the Karabakh’s future and emphasized that the fate of the spiritual and cultural identity of Armenia’s was being decided in Karabakh.
Later in the day, Sahakian posthumously awarded the Medal of Gratitude to the family of well-known benefactor Sargis Hakobian. Armenia’s will always remember Hakobian’s contribution to the development of the Karabakh, said Sahakian.
Sahakian Monday met with Congressman Joe Knollenberg in Detroit, who congratulated Sahakian on his presidency and the people of Karabakh on their democratic and transparent elections.
They discussed the current socio-economic situation of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the Karabakh conflict settlement process. Congressman Knollenberg emphasized the need to resolve the problem in a peaceful way, and the importance of having the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic participate in the negotiations as an equal party.
Sahakian said he greatly appreciated the humanitarian aid rendered to Karabakh by the United States, noting the need for investmen’s and the significance of development programs in the educational and health spheres.
Sahakian also met with representatives of the Detroit-Armenian community, including ARF-Eastern Region Central Committee chairperson Haig Oshagan, who pledged the region’s support to Karabakh.