Serzh Sargsyan has delivered a congratulatory address on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of Armenia's Independence.
Dear President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,
Dear retired President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,
My Fellow Citizens,
I extend my congratulations on the occasion of Independence Day.
The Republic of Armenia is twenty-one years old. In this period of time, we have passed through various crises and ordeals, and did so with dignity, never losing our human and political posture; never losing our bearings and never betraying our goals, the path we had once chosen, or our ideals.
Despite the losses and mistakes, in the past years we have registered impressive achievements. Irreversible changes have taken place in Armenia - both in the state and in social areas, also in the people's mentality and mindset.
The last twenty-one years have not only affirmed the vitality of the Armenian statehood, but also its abilities to solve problems in the most complicated circumstances. We have been able to develop our economy with scarce resources, still under blockade. We have been able to restrain the Azerbaijani appetite that engorges day by day. We have been able to form our democratic institutions that by all means still need to be strengthened. Developing economy, safeguarding security and deepening democracy are not one-off actions. They demand our daily work, which must be done with thoughtfulness and tenacity.
The millennia-long march of Armenians goes on in a new historic era. Yes, these are challenging times, but have they ever been any different for us? Hardly so.
Nowadays, almost every country has its own challenges. Naturally, they differ from region to region, from country to country. We too are taking our share of testing. Experience gained through the years of independence is sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, but always valuable. That very experience tells us that there are solutions to the problems, and we are finding them. We already know where to look for these solutions, and that is already one half of the task.
The peaceful settlement of the Artsakh problem continues to top the list of our foreign policy challenges. As difficult as it is, we still shall explore avenues for continuing negotiations aimed at the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue. If efforts of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs have not yet yielded positive results, it's neither their fault, nor, moreover, is it the result of that format's deficiency, as our neighbors often try to present. This is the fault of those who regularly torpedo the process and the logic of peaceful negotiations. The most recent provocation was that same disgusting acquittal of the murderer and his glorification. We, as well as the international community, have explicitly and unequivocally expressed our position on that matter. I admit that under such circumstances, it is difficult to incline our people to reconciliation and thus even pave the way to peace, but I also know that that is the only right thing to do. To prepare the people for peace does not mean to be unprepared for war and self-defense. It means not to poison people's minds and souls with inhumane ideas and xenophobia, not to turn into zombies young people who have their lives to live and have a country to enrich. For me, appropriate moral and spiritual bearing of the children growing in Armenia is more precious than anything else. Stealthy murder is for cowards, while our, parents' mission is to raise free, well-educated and brave children. It does not matter how difficult the times are, we can not betray ourselves.
In a nutshell, the past years can be characterized as years of loyalty: loyalty to our people's choice, to liberty and democracy, loyalty to our allies and partners, loyalty to our values and goals, to our ideas and principles. Thanks to it, we have accomplished a lot and will accomplish much more. We will do that because we have chosen to join the family of civilized nations and not the quagmire of xenophobia. We will do that because we have sufficient political will and have created necessary conditions by our work.
I once again congratulate us all on the 21st anniversary of Armenia's independence. This is a great holiday in our country; this is a great holiday for the Armenians all over the world. On this festive day, our hearts and prayers are with our brethren in Syria: our country by the limited means it possesses is trying to support fellow Armenians in hardship.
Year by year, day by day we are creating a qualitatively new state. There have been different Armenian states in different historical stages, but each of them was unique and had its own, unique way of development. The twenty-one year old Republic of Armenia is also unique. We are moving through uncharted waters; probably not as fast as we would wish to, but nevertheless steadfastly and, most importantly, in the right direction.
The Republic of Armenia is the embodiment of the dreams of all its citizens and Armenians world-wide, which is also the promise of making that dreams come true!
Long live the Republic of Armenia!
Glory to the Armenian nation!"