STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The four-day phone-a-thon held in France to benefit the construction of the North-South highway in Nagorno Karabagh–ended on Sunday evening. More than 700,000 Euros was raised–a record for Europe–with a 30% increase from last year. More than 600 volunteers assisted in organizing the telethon–and were on hand round the clock to answer 9,300 calls from Paris–Marseilles–Montpelier and Nice. Armenian families–enterprises and communities responded to the call for help in constructing the much-needed highway
This year–for the first time–the Armenian communities of Germany and Holland participated in the phone-a-thon. Their input is 31,000 and 25,000 Euros respectively.
The official closing of the phone-a-thon was held in the evening of November 17. NKR President Arkady Ghoukassian and his delegation–the heads of the diplomatic representations of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh in Paris–the Mayor of the French town of Clamard–and the Vice-Mayor of the town of Meudon participated. President Ghoukassian expressed deep gratitude to all those people who helped organize the phone-a-thon.
He noted that the high level of participation in France would–no doubt–influence results of other similar fund-raising efforts (phone-a-thons–telethons) in other countries–including Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.
The President also stressed that if remaining fund raising efforts this year and next year are as successful–then the construction of the "North-South" highway would be completed in one-and-a-half years–way ahead of the three year estimate for completion.
"I am frequently asked how the Karabakh conflict will be settled. Today–I can say that the achieved results–your active participation in the phone-a-thon prove that it is you who will solve the Karabagh problem–as today our struggle has moved to the economic plane," said President Ghoukassian.