YEREVAN (ARF Press Service)—Thousands converged on the athletic court of the Republican Stadium Thursday for a rally organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation celebrating the 19th anniversary of the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
In his opening remarks, ARF Bureau member Levon Mkrtchyan said the Karabakh liberation struggle will continue until such time as its independence is internationally recognized.
The main message of the evening, which was conveyed in speeches, video presentations and on banners that covered the four corners of the stadium was that there cannot be an alternative to Karabakh’s independence and the will of the people of Karabakh cannot be compromised through any concessions.
“No government—either in Armenia or Karabakh—has the right to veer away from the will of the Karabakh people, which was through the two referenda. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic expects nothing less that independence and no one has the right to talk about any other status,” said ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian, who is also the chairman of Armenia’s parliamentary commission on foreign relations.
“One cannot advance by conceding national interests and ideals,” said Rustamian, adding that the ARF demands that the government not take steps that would be impossible to correct in the future.
Rustamian also called on the authorities to abandon the Turkey-Armenia protocols, explaining that merely suspending the documents, as Armenia has done, will give Turkey the upper hand.
He pointed out that while the Karabakh conflict resolution process has gained momentum, it has not done so in favor of the Armenians. The protocols, he added, have allowed Turkey to become actively engaged in the negotiations process, creating an imbalance that favors Azerbaijan.
Rustamian stressed the ARF’s priority today is the formation of a national government that must be guided by and lead with the principle of “advancement without concessions.”
Before the conclusion of the event, 18 new members entered into the ranks of the ARF of Armenia.
In Stepanakert Thursday, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian spoke to reporters about the importance of staying true to the sacrifices made during the Karabakh liberation struggle.
He said the people of Karabakh made their decision on Sept. 2, 1991, reiterated it via the Dec. 10 referendum of the same year, defended the independence and freedom of the Republic during the imposed war and reaffirmed their will with the Dec. 2006 constitutional referendum.
“This holiday is important and memorable for all people of Artsakh, as everyone has had a personal role in the formation and development of our independent state. Of course, we still have a lot to do both in the field of foreign policy and in the socioeconomic sphere. However, one thing is cleart and irreversible: the people and authorities of Artsakh are resolute and committed in the realization of our national aspirations and will do everything possible to build a bright future for the Artsakh Republic,” said Sahakian in his congratulatory statement on this occasion.
“September 2 is also a holiday for our compatriots in Armenia and the Diaspora. Because of their joint efforts the ancient Armenian Artsakh still exists and continues to flourish and prosper,” added Sahakian who led the Republic in celebrations of Karabakh’s independence.
Meanwhile in Yerevan, President Serzh Sarkisian also issued a congratulatory statement on this occasion.
“Artsakh’s independence is one of the most shining moments of modern Armenian history and one of the greatest achievements of our nation. We fully appreciate the price for independence, which was paid by the blood of thousands of Armenian men and women. We honor their undying memory,” said Sarksian.
“Political independence, which was fought for by our entire nation, is a reality. Moreover, the efficient state structures of Artsakh and its Defense Army have become an important factor in our region. Internal stability, united will and the resolute commitment of the people of Artsakh and the multi-faceted development of the land leave no uncertainty regarding its free and prosperous future. We are moving forward in the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora triumvirate – true to our historic aspirations,” added Sarksian.
“The peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict can have only one outcome – the international recognition of Artsakh’s independence. As for the military solution to the issue, that option, dear people of Artsakh, we have gone through it long ago. The results of that option are evident to everyone. By your creative work and iron shield of defense you prove every day and every moment that you uphold the sacred legacy and memory of our martyrs,” said Sarkisian.