GLENDALE–"I am waiting for you in Armenia," said President-elect Robert Kocharian via a live telephone conversation to a crowd of more than 2,000 Armenia’s gathered at the Armenag Der-Bedrossian Hall–Wednesday–to celebrate Kocharian’s election as President of the Republic of Armenia.
The mood was celebratory at the gathering–organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Western US–as the crowd cheered the newly-elected president when he addressed the gathering.
"This is not just my victory. This is the Armenian people’s victory; the victory of the success of Karabakh," stated Kocharian who added that throughout his election campaign he "felt the support of the Diaspora."
"The choice that our people made–was not a posturing toward my person–but rather a choice for the programs I have presented–the most important of which is uniting all Armenia’s," added Kocharian.
"I believe that the inner strength of our people is much stronger than Armenia’s capabilities. By forging these new relations–I am convinced that Armenia will emerge from its crisis," commented the president-elect who added that strengthening Diaspora-Armenia relations would ensure a successful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Kocharian also stated that such conditions must be created that Armenia becomes a home for all Armenia’s who–he said–must have "home and jobs in the homeland."
He thanked the crowd and wished them prosperity and happiness.
The program began with ARF Western US Central Committee chairman Dr. Viken Hovsepian discussing the importance of community participation in Armenia’s electoral process.
He went on to say that Kocharian’s election was not only a victory for the people of Armenia–but rather one for the entire Armenian nation.
Dr. Hovsepian expressed hope that the president-elect would successfully carry out all the hopes placed upon him and would lead the Armenian nation from one victory to another.
"The time has come for our people–throughout the Diaspora–Armenia and Karabakh to have the opportunity to dream–to create and to be led by optimism and hope–because it deserves all that and more. [The Armenian people] has a future to forge and does not have the right to look back to the past–but rather it has the thirst for heading forward with new victories and successes and a chance to create a bright future," remarked Dr. Hovsepian.
"This opportunity has presented itself to all of us. We hope and wish that we will take this path with honor–unity and conviction," concluded Dr. Hovsepian who then proceeded to call Armenia for the live telephone message from Kocharian.
Before the president-elect’s remarks–ARF Supreme Council of Armenia representative Vahan Hovanessian–who was standing by with Kocharian–congratulated the Armenian community in Los Angeles.
Hovanessian stated that Kocharian was the president of all Armenia’s.
"You must be convinced that the people of Armenia were voting with conviction on behalf of themselves and you," remarked Hovanessian.
The evening continued with remarks from Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Armen Melkonian; Primate of the Western Diocese Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian; Kapriel Moloyan representing the Social-Democrat Hunchakian party; Jean Apoyan representing the Hunchakian party; Father Raphael Minassian of the Armenian Catholic Archdiocese; and columnist and intellectual Stepan Topchian.
At the conclusion of the program–Master of Ceremonies Hovan Tashdjian read a congratulatory message which was greeted with overwhelming applause and would be sent to Kocharian on behalf of all those gathered at the celebration.
The evening took on a more festive mood as singers Araxia Varteressian–Koko Hayitian and Nersig Ispirian performed national and patriotic songs and encouraged the crowd to dance and be merry on this victorious occasion.