NEW YORK—Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Sunday called on the Armenian Diaspora to shift its assistance to Armenia from charity to development ventures during a meeting with Armenian-American community representatives at the Yale Club. Pashinyan is in New York to attend and address the United Nations General Assembly
In his remarks at the event, which was attended by representatives all organizations, including members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee, Pashinyan outlined the challenges facing Armenia and saying that his government is relying on the Armenian Diaspora to become an integral part of the economic development of the country.
“A landmark shift has occurred in Armenia’s development model. Before the [spring’s Velvet] revolution many used to ask others to do something, but now we realize that each of us has a job to do,” said Pashinyan. “The revolution’s pivotal meaning is that every citizen of Armenia now understands that his or her role is decisive in terms of shaping Armenia’s future.”
The Head of Government reiterated that monopolies and corruption have become a thing of the past in Armenia: the City Council elections were free from corruption; they went off without interventions on the part of district and criminal figures. “The citizens of Armenia had the opportunity to vote for whom they wanted, and eventually they have voted for the revolution, snap parliamentary elections, in favor of a free and happy Armenia. Today, money does not have any influence on election results; we will develop tools to ensure that money is used for canvassing purposes rather than for buying votes,” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.
“Armenia no longer needs charitable projects; instead we need development programs,” said Pashinyan, explaining that changes brought about by the Velvet Revolution have created a climate in Armenia where every Armenia, regardless of his/her place of residence can become a force in advancing the Armenian economy and not only reap the benefits of investments but also create opportunities for others.
“The era of survival is over, and the time for developing Armenia has come. We should treat the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora troika as a single body,” said Pashinyan.
Pashinyan lamented that Armenia’s economy is reliant on three main sectors: agriculture, which he said has not been modernized; mining, which he said “sells the national wealth”; and the gambling industry. His hope is to turn Armenia into a robust center development hub for technological advancement.
“We want Armenia to turn from an agrarian, mining nation into a high-tech country, which is our most important imperative as it stems from our [national] security concerns,” said Pashinyan.
The prime minister also discussed the Yerevan City Council elections, which had just concluded. He called the vote “absolutely fair, free and transparent.” Pashinyan also spoke about the imperative to hold snap parliamentary elections in order to complete the cycle of change, which started with the popular movement in the spring.
In discussing Armenia’s foreign policy objectives, Pashinyan reiterated the need for Armenia to develop relations with all international partners.
“We are going to develop relations with all international partners, but we are not going to do it at the expense of others,” said Pashinyan. “We will work to strengthen our relations with Russia, EEU [Eurasian Economic Union] members, Iran, Georgia, the European Union and the United States. We should be more confident in these relations, with approaches inherent to a sovereign nation. We will pursue our foreign policy based on national interests and not on the need to remain on office.”