SYDNEY, Australia—Australia’s City of Ryde Council has voted unanimously on a resolution to form an official Friendship City relationship with the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, Stepanakert, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
Armenian-Australian Councilor Sarkis Yedelian moved the motion, which was seconded by Mayor Jerome Laxale, following the advocacy efforts of the ANC-AU on behalf of Armenian-Australians and representations by the Republic of Artsakh’s Permanent Representative to Australia, Kaylar Michaelian.
These efforts were ramped up in the lead-up to next week’s visit of the highest level Artsakh delegation to Australia, to be led by Foreign Minister Masis Mayilyan, who will be joined by Member of the National Assembly Davit Ishkhanyan and Foreign Ministry official Artak Nersisyan.
“This is an historic motion as the municipality with the largest Armenian population in Australia voted to form an official bond with Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, which will enhance ties that will benefit the two cities,” said ANC-AU Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.
“We thank the councilors of the City of Ryde, led by Councilor Sarkis Yedelian and Mayor Jerome Laxale, for leading the way among Australian legislatures in acknowledging Artsakh as a country and the people of that country as equals who deserve peace and prosperity in a thriving democracy,” he added.
Ryde City joins 21 cities outside Armenia to form an official partnership with a city in the Republic of Artsakh, which is as yet unrecognized by any country despite exercising its right to self-determination and voting overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum in 1991.
“This resolution will mean the world to the people of Stepanakert and all of Artsakh, and I thank the Armenian National Committee of Australia, the Armenian-Australian community, Councilor Yedelian, Mayor Laxale and all the councilors for standing with the peace-loving people of the Republic of Artsakh,” commented Artsakh’s representative to Australia, Kaylar Michaelian.
This decision means requires that:
- the City of Ryde establish a “Ryde – Stepanakert Friendship City Committee” to establish greater friendship and understanding between the people of the City of Ryde and Artsakh’s Capital, through the medium of direct personal contact that supports and promotes each region’s social, cultural and economic objectives, in line with the Protocol For International And Australian Friendship Agreements;
- hereby appoints Mayor Jerome Laxale and Councilor Sarkis Yedelian as Co-Chairs of the Ryde—Stepanakert Friendship City Committee, and that they be authorized to appoint additional members of the Committee;
- the Committee explore with the upcoming Artsakh Republic Delegation visit to Sydney, headed by the country’s Foreign Minister, the Honourable Masis Mayilyan, opportunities and avenues to building closer social, cultural, and economic ties between the Cities of Ryde and Stepanakert.
The City of Ryde recognized the Republic of Artsakh in 2018. The Australian state of New South Wales was the first Australian legislature to recognize Artsakh’s independence in 2012.