“Artsakh is Armenia and That’s It,” Says Harutyunyan in Inaugural Address
Artsakh’s National Assembly on Thursday convened a special session in Shushi, during which Arayik Harutyunyan took the Oath of Office of the President of the Republic of Artsakh.
The Artsakh flag, the Constitution and a 17th century Bible were brought to the hall of Shushi’s culture and youth center for the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who was joined by the Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan. Also in attendance were outgoing President Bako Sahakian, Artsakh’s second president Arkady Ghukasyan, the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Parkev Martirosyan, as well as Artsakh lawmakers, Artsakh Army commanders and other government officials.
Archbishop Martirosyan delivered his blessings during the special session, telling the newly-inaugurated president to “serve with courageously and advance justice.”
In an inaugural address to the packed auditorium, Harutyunyan touched on all facets of the Armenian national reality, saying “Artsakh is Armenia and that’s it.”
He considered symbolic the fact that the ceremony was taking place in historic Shushi, in the month of May, which is when Shushi was liberated in 1992. Touching upon the liberation operations of Shushi, he said, “Relying on own potential, with the support of all Armenians they managed to achieve the dream of having a united and free homeland, and developed and maintained it for 28 years.”
“Now is the time to dream and act on building a powerful homeland in military, economic and civilian terms. Now is the time to dream and act for creating favorable and dignified living conditions for the people. It’s now the time to dream and act on implementing a great repatriation,” said Harutyunyan.
Artsakh’s new president also touched on the Armenian Genocide in his remarks, stating that after this tragedy the Armenian people found the strength to move forward and again build a national state “in this victorious month of May,” referring to the establishment of Armenian Independence on May 28, 1918.
“Even during that time the road for Armenians was not so easy, including in Artsakh where especially the Armenians of Shushi faced genocidal acts,” said Harutyunyan. “Artsakh was also divided during the next 70 years under the violent pressures of Soviet Azerbaijan.”
“The Artsakh-Armenians stood up for preventing the new genocide, having the unconditional support of all Armenians. The Artsakh movement was a national awakening. The people of Artsakh rejected victimhood and created their own destiny with their own hands,” added Harutyuntan who then thanked his predecessor Bako Sahakian for his service and diligent work for the homeland.
Harutyunyan also thanked Pashinyan for what he said were the Armenian prime minister’s efforts to advance the socio-economic development of Artsakh, which elevated the republic’s security.
In remarks at the inauguration ceremony, Pashinyan said cooperation between Armenia and Artsakh will become even more efficient during Harutyunyan’s presidency.
“The results of the elections demonstrate that the people Artsakh have expressed their will to implement reforms and adopt a political guideline. In this regard, the newly elected government of the Republic of Artsakh and the authorities of Armenia and Artsakh have a common responsibility to the Armenian people to carry out reforms both in Armenia and Artsakh,” added Pashinyan.
“I want to emphasize that I believe in the political will and determination of the people of Artsakh to follow the path of reforms and creative changes,” said Pashinyan. “I believe that Arayik Harutyunyan’s experience of being Prime Minister of Artsakh will help to not repeat the mistakes of the past. In fact, it will help to draw on the lessons of the past.”