05, 2009

President Serzh Sargsyan met iwith the participants of the informal gathering of young political activists

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On May 2, President Serzh Sargsyan met in Tsakhkadzor with the participants of the informal gathering of young political activists. The gathering is being conducted under the high patronage of the President of Armenia.

Greeting the participants of the gathering, President Sargsyan said that this was the first informal meeting of young political activists from different European states conducted in Armenia. According to the President, “this is a very good occasion for the young politicians to get to know each other, to organize discussions, exchange views and even share experience since in every corner of the world a positive experience can be found which can enrich everyone.” According to Serzh Sargsyan, in the contemporary world this is extremely important because the states are not just isolated islands but tied to each other by thousand threads. “Challenges that arise today have mostly a common nature and for that reason in many cases the states and the peoples join their efforts to address these challenges, “– the President of Armenia underscored and added “When I say that the countries are tied to each other by thousand threads, I first of all also mean our country, the peculiarity that the Armenian people have acquired unwillingly – it is our Diaspora.” The President noted that on the one hand our people are proud with this peculiarity, on the other hand it was not our choice: it is a consequence of historic circumstances.

In Serzh Sargsyan’s words, the modern youth is witnessing global changes – collapse of the last empires and the shaping of the new Europe. “I am confident that some years from now you will continue this job, you will carry on with new resolve which brings around a certain responsibility,” – Serzh Sargsyan said and added that every Armenian considers him or herself to be a European, regardless of whether the Europeans consider Armenians to be Europeans. “We joined the Council of Europe, we participate in the European structures on our own free will. At the same time we voluntarily assumed responsibilities which must be fulfilled. In a nutshell, these responsibilities can be summarized as follows: we want to change the rules we live by and live by the European rules, becoming a part of the whole, at the same time bringing to that whole our own color,” - the President of Armenia said.

President Sargsyan highlighted the importance of the young people’s opinion and approaches because young people always come up with new and fresh ideas, concepts and enthusiasm for action. He said that throughout his public and political career he has been frequently dealing with the youth-related issues and problems. At one time he was the leader of the Soviet youth organization of Nagorno Karabakh. “When in 1988 Nagorno Karabakh started its fight for independence, I was 34 years old. It is know that by the decision of the Communist party of the USSR, Nagorno Karabakh was incorporated into Azerbaijan against the will of its people. We were strongly convinced that much injustice was done during all those years and it is not coincidental that since the first days of 1988, we, the young people, joint that struggle without a second thought with only one goal – to see a free and independent Armenia, and a free and independent Karabakh. Thank God, that together with our people we were able to achieve that goal. Today, we have free and independent Armenia, which solidifies its statehood with each passing year, and we have Karabakh, which is not a part of Azerbaijan since long ago. However, currently we are exercising great efforts to turn our second dream into reality, “– President Sargsyan said.

Serzh Sargsyan said that he was the Minister of Defense of Armenia for a long time, he headed the armed forces and the majority of the army where 18-20 years old young men or 22-24 years old college graduate officers, who serve a fixed term. We use to say that the Minister of Defense is the head of the largest youth structure in Armenia.

Speaking about the history of the NK conflict, President Sargsyan mentioned that when the Soviet Union was in the stage of formation, two historic Armenian areas, populated by the Armenians – Nagorno Karabakh and Nakhichevan – were made parts of Azerbaijan to tie closely the Republics to the Soviet Union. He stressed that “the people of Nagorno Karabakh never accepted the idea of being incorporated in Azerbaijan and starting from 1920s was struggling to disengage from Azerbaijan. A new tide rose in Nagorno Karabakh in 1988 and in 1991, concurrently with the referendum in Azerbaijan, a referendum was held in Nagorno Karabakh. After the referendum, in full accordance with the laws of the Soviet Union, Nagorno Karabakh separated from Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh were established simultaneously. Azerbaijan unleashed aggression against Nagorno Karabakh, and the people of NK and the Armenian people in general defended their country and their rights with their own blood, and today we have what we have. And when today the leadership of Azerbaijan and the Azeris are talking about the Armenian aggression it is simply not true. The fact that those actions took place 15 years ago does not mean at all that the cause and consequence relation was interrupted or that today the reality is different.

We see the resolution of the problem exclusively through peaceful means, based on compromise and in accordance with all basic principles of international law. We believe that the issue can be resolved based on the principles of territorial integrity, right of people to self-determination and non-use of violence,” – said President Serzh Sargsyan, stressing the importance of the joint declaration adopted in 2008 in Helsinki at the OSCE Ministerial Summit which confirmed these principles as the basis for the resolution of the issue. The President of Armenia also noted that the “Madrid Principles” is a document based on these very principles, which today serves as a primary base for the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Noting that the current global economic and financial crisis is a serious challenge for the entire world, Serzh Sargsyan expressed confidence that the world would be able to overcome it and added, “it is better to have a financial and economic crisis than moral and political one.”

The President of Armenia also said that he thinks highly of young professionals and that the bulk of his team comprises young people. “We have a large number of well educated and skillful young professionals and we are trying to use their potential and abilities for the further advancement and development of our country,” – the President of Armenia stressed.

Wishing the participants of the meeting all the best, Serzh Sargsyan expressed hope that their enthusiasm would not topple.

Afterwards, the President of Armenia answered the questions raised by the participants of the gathering.

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