YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian held a meeting at the Presidential Palace on Aug. 1, to discuss the recent occupation of a Yerevan police station and the political situation in the country.
In his remarks, Sarkisian stressed that Armenia’s problems will not be solved “through violence or arms,” and that the process of the radical changes in Armenia’s social and political life must be “expedited.” “The very existence of the disastrous tendency to solve problems through violence must be eradicated. We have no right to tolerate even an intention of solving problems by force; the next one can be disastrous for our state,” he said.
Present at the meeting were various cultural figures, representatives of the health sector, media; public and political figures, members of the Public Council, as well as the representatives of legislative and executive bodies, heads of the standing bodies, and representatives of Armenian clergy headed by the Catholicos of All Armenians.
In his speech, Sarkisian expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the two police officers who were killed over the last two weeks.
Sarksian also apologized to journalists who were injured on the night of July 30, when protesters and law enforcement authorities clashed in Yerevan. “I also apologize to the journalists for the events which took [place] on the night of July 30; during these events it was our greatest blunder. Certainly, conclusions will be made. I ask for our indulgence. I ask journalists—not law enforcement personnel—to forget about these events, because I am confident that it will never happen again,” he said.
Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabagh (NKR/Artsakh) situation, Sarkisian said there would not be any one-sided concessions in the resolution of the conflict. “There will be no unilateral concessions in the resolution of the [NKR] issue. Never. Nagorno-Karabagh will never be part of Azerbaijan. Never. I repeat once again: it is out of the question,” Sarkisian said.
Below is the English translation of Sarkisian’s speech provided by the President’s office.
Address of the President of Armenia
Yesterday, the situation created as a result of the assault by an armed group on the police station was finally resolved. It was resolved in a way which was probably the most acceptable for all of us: The National Security Service, Police, State Security Service, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through their consistent and coordinated activities, compelled the members of the armed group to put down their weapons and surrender to the authorities. I am very glad that we were able to avoid the “classical” scenario of resolving situations such as this one, even though the detailed plan for the implementation of such option was certainly on hand too.
We suffered two losses and have many injured. I express my condolences to the family and friends of the Police Force serviceman Sergeant Yuri Tepanosian. We convey our admiration and respect to the family of Colonel Arthur Vanoyan. He was a true devotee, who had steadfastly passed from the Artsakh liberation war up to the April war, but was killed by the bullet of his fellow citizen at the moment when he was carrying out his duty towards the Fatherland. Glory to you, proud Colonel!
As I have already noted, the state bodies of the Republic of Armenia took all conceivable measures to avoid human losses. With this regard, I first of all express gratitude to the representatives of the law enforcement bodies for their work. Composure and magnanimity signify professionalism and understanding of one’s own power. You have manifested them in full measure. I thank you for your expert work.
I also thank those who took the Hippocratic Oath—our doctors and medical workers for their awe-inspiring stance; I bow to their professionalism, to their courageous spirit.
I express my thanks to our General, Hero of Artsakh Vitalyi Balasanian who these days has become the voice of reason.
The unacceptable situation has come to an end; however, its full resolution lies ahead. First of all, there needs to be made a thorough investigation, a comprehensive and unbiased examination, and an open trial. Every single person must answer for his actions only and only before the law. There will be no other options; any attempt of personal vengeance will be stopped by the law. All processes unfolding in the Republic of Armenia will take place exclusively in the framework of the RA Constitution and laws.
The time has come to draw conclusions. A full analysis of these events will take a long time. However, one thing is clear: The process of the radical changes in Armenia’s social and political life must be expedited. First of all, the very existence of the disastrous tendency to solve problems through violence must be eradicated. We have no right to tolerate even an intention of solving problems by force; the next one can be disastrous for our state.
The last two weeks and the losses we suffered in the course are unacceptable—human, social, loss of values, and the huge blow which our economy has suffered. No country in the world can afford such thing to happen; moreover, Armenia had no right to do it.
From now on we will allow no one to take our country hostage.
We will allow no one to undermine the foundation of our state.
Problems in Armenia will not be solved through violence or arms.
Yerevan is neither Beirut nor Aleppo. Let no one aspire to import Near East solutions of the previous century, of the Cold War to Armenia. Those who do not comprehend this need to look at the history of Lebanon’s civil war or at the consequences of the civil war going on at the moment in Syria and draw conclusions.
I express gratitude to all the political figures who have manifested themselves as true political and state figures and comprehending all that was going on from day one spoke about the unacceptability of the events. Unlike a few short-sighted persons, they understand too well where the line of political competitiveness ends and the security of the Fatherland begins. Critical situations often become litmus tests, pointing out the mature persons for society and history, and singling out our short-sighted ones and adventurists.
I also thank our prominent cultural figures, our public figures, our true intellectuals, who understood very well that through the public condemnation of the unacceptable steps, conveying the word of reason to the members of the armed group, they contributed to a bloodless resolution of the situation, and showed these men a safe way out. Alas, those who were cheering them on unwisely didn’t understand that by spilling out the spite that had accumulated in them they did a terrible thing, and in reality led the armed ones to destruction.
Thank God, good reason is prevailing in our country.
In Armenia a simple truth, which it seems could not be debatable in the first place, has prevailed. That truth lives in our system of values, in our mentality, in our kind, and it is about our heritage. Anyone can dislike the authorities, or the government, or the President, and can be categorically against our policies. However, dislike cannot be a reason for glorifying those who attempt to solve problems with arms. Authorities come and go; encouragement of terrorism will remain as cancer and will spread; it will ruin everything our nation has created. It is dreadful, it must be fully eradicated. Ladies and gentlemen, dear young people, the encouragement of terrorism is a mortal sin. Stay away from that horror no matter what the reason; even if it’s the most compelling reason. Say no to terrorism and all its manifestations. Say no in the name of our country, our nation, our generations, our Fatherland. Say no to that cancer. Toss it away, far away. I ask you.
I thank our journalists and reporters for their dedicated work and for working for a bloodless resolution of the situation. I also apologize to the journalists for the events which took place on the night of July 30; during these events it was our greatest blunder. Certainly, conclusions will be made. I ask for our indulgence. I ask journalists—not law enforcement personnel—to forget about these events, because I am confident that it will never happen again. I also want these events to not subconsciously have an impact on the freedom of your work.
Now, about the criticism which has been voiced. I am not talking about the armed persons that were acting distinctly as terrorists and were hiding their intentions under the slogan of patriotic and social justice. I am talking about concern which is present in some segments of our society. Yes, it is true that the Armenian authorities are not perfect. Yes, it is true that there are many problems and complex issues in Armenia. Our goal is to give them a speedy resolution.
At this stage, our goal is also to form a government of national accord, in which issues will be solved under a wide consensus. The constitutional reforms are aimed at exactly that; the reforms have given a base for the formation of such authorities. A government of national accord is not about a lost someone who is trying to make his way to a high position; it is about the widest possible distribution and sharing of political responsibility, and have already provided for its entire institutional base. I state with confidence that only months later we will have a government of that kind, authorities of that kind.
We follow that route and that route is about political forces and political figures. I state once again, it’s about political figures but not about those who follow the route of armed terrorism and those who support them. Thank God, as we have seen, today we have no shortage of political figures who share the values necessary for building a state and a country. There are many of them in all political parties. And it makes up the political wealth of our country.
I would like to speak about another issue, which we have spoken about on many occasions. It is about the Karabagh issue and the so called “surrender of lands.” My personal statements with regard to our clear-cut position on that are probably numberless. I repeat once again: there will be no unilateral concessions in the resolution of the NK issue. Never. Nagorno-Karabagh will never be part of Azerbaijan. Never. I repeat once again: It is out of the question. I have given my entire adult life to this. To get to the solution acceptable for my nation, I have always been ready to sacrifice any position, and also my life. It is like that today; it will be like that tomorrow.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that we as a state have emerged from that calamity event stronger. Today, we are even more determined to move with doubled speed towards the implementation of the agenda of positive changes in our country. We will talk about it in greater detail very soon.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West