MOSCOW—“The sooner Azerbaijan realizes that there is no alternative to the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s right for self-determination, the sooner the negotiations will conclude,” said Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian Tuesday speaking at the annual Hayastan All-Armenia Fund gala in Moscow.
“My message to you is very clear: Nagorno Karabakh is a consummate state, which is getting stronger every day. Moreover, it’s a much more democratic state than neighboring Azerbaijan,” said Sarkisian.
“As for our defense capabilities, it is obvious: we are strong, we are stronger than ever, and grow stronger every day,” he added.
Sarkisian was joined by Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian, as well as members of the Board of Trustees of the Fund. Sarkisian presented a report of activities of the Fund, adding the “Fund heightens our trust and confidence toward our own strength and, in a larger sense, toward our future.”
Below is the text of Sarkisian’s speech at the gala banquet:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good evening. I am glad to meet with you again. As you know, this year too, activities of the All-Armenian Hayastan Fund will be aimed at giving rise to Artsakh. Implemented will be projects directed at the improvement of the NK water supply infrastructure as well as development of border villages and enhancement of the well-being of their residents.
In this room and in presence of such audience, it would be remiss of me to talk about the importance and expeditiousness of these issues.
However it would not be inconsistent to speak today about gaining respect and enjoying respect. I am not talking about individuals. I am talking about respect toward the entire nation and the state. As a nation we should continue to gain and enjoy greater respect in the world, achieve higher repute and clout.
The bar we inherited has been set incredibly high. The image of the Armenians and Armenia had been shaped by our forefathers for centuries, bit by bit. Outstanding sons and daughters of our nation glorified their own and their nation’s name all over the world. Today, we have a new reality: we present ourselves to the world as a state and as a world-spread Armenian nation. It means that one of our major goals should be to make others respect our ability to live in different capitals but be together, our ability to do common work, and global solidarity of the ancient people. And believe me, only few have this all and it undoubtedly deserves respect. Moreover, our solidarity is aimed at building our home. Our common home must be built solid as rock just as Armenians build their own homes. When I say “our common home” I mean Armenia, I mean Artsakh, I mean our Armenian Motherland.
It’s no secret that there are some states which try to force respect with arms and armies, but it’s also no secret that more often than not they gain hatred instead of respect. It’s not our choice. Bragging is not our choice either. Our choice is to build, to create, and enforce peace. Hence, we have to thoroughly build and rebuild our home. The residents of that home must have military, legal and social protection. We must continue to get stronger, manifesting global solidarity of ten million Armenians. There is no other way to manifest national dignity. It demonstrates our respect toward ourselves which generates and nourishes other people’s respect for us.
I have no doubt, that this will bring greater respect to the entire Armenian nation and will open new doors for us.
After Armenia proper, the greatest number of Armenians resides in Russia. Here, you’re well-known, accepted and respected, and that fact endows you equally with honor and responsibility. You know all too well the price of deserved respect and feel its import in your work. I mean that very feeling and underscore the importance of amplifying it.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The All-Armenian Hayastan Fund is one of those unique structures which being all-national in scope has been able for years to implement vital projects, and particularly to carry the mission of uniting people around an idea; a mission which heightens our trust and confidence toward our own strength and, in a larger sense, toward our future.
During our meetings with you, I often get questions about the constant maturing of Nagorno Karabakh as a state, about current situation in the NK peace process, about unremitting belligerent calls from the neighboring country and about amplification of our defense capabilities.
My message to you is vey clear-cut: Nagorno Karabakh is a consummate state which is getting stronger by day. Moreover, it’s a much more democratic state than neighboring Azerbaijan. The negotiations over the peaceful resolution of the issue go on and the sooner Azerbaijan realizes that there is no alternative to the recognition of the NK’s right for self-determination, the sooner negotiations will conclude. As for our defense capabilities, it is explicit: we are strong, we are stronger than ever, and grow stronger by day.
The Armenian Army was forged in war. We didn’t instigate war and violence but had to defend our homes. That’s the main reason why we prevailed in that unequal fight. The people who defend their hearths, homes, parents, children, and families are invincible.
God our witness, the Armenian people don’t want war, and we will not strike first; however we will take up the gauntlet. We have always been strong on our land, we are strong today, and will be much stronger tomorrow.