Washington, Nagorno-Karabakh, Montreal: Three Stops, One Issue

June 30, 2016

Conversation with Robert Avetisyan
By Sananne Wartabetian


This month, Nagorno-Karabakh’s representative in Washington, Robert Avetisyan, had a little talk with AGBU’s Newsfeed regarding the events in Nagorno-Karabakh, his last visit during the commemoration of the genocide, as well as his thoughts on AGBU Montreal.

First of all, when asked about the political situation in the region he represents, he remarked that the renewed aggression by Azerbaijan in early April, which have failed just as the first full-scale military attack against Artsakh in 1991-1994, have once again demonstrated that there was no military solution to the Karabakh-Azerbaijan confrontation”. Although he seems optimistic about the general outcome of the situation, and so “despite the uncontrolled military build-up and outside help, Azerbaijan was, is and in the future will be unable to conquer Artsakh”, he finds that “the regional situation remains fragile”, and that therefore “the international community and mediators are taking steps to strengthen the cease-fire and restart constructive negotiations. This is the understanding, which opened a new stage in the negotiation process”. Regarding the future of these battles, Mr. Avetisyan notes that they “hope that the regime in Baku now fully comprehends the inevitability of accepting the reality, including existence and development of the sovereign Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Artsakh.” He also took a moment to acknowledge and thank his “compatriots in Canada, who have united again once again to help their brothers and sisters in Artsakh to cope with the new urgent issues and consequences of the April attack against our Homeland”.

Mr. Avetisyan was particularly impressed by AGBU’s willingness to help and get involved with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, especially since it has condemned Azerbaijan’s actions. He warmly thanks Chairman Chahé Tanachian, as well as all members and supporters of the AGBU Montreal Chapter for keeping Artsakh in the focus of their everyday patriotic service. It was a very important and timely initiative to raise our common voice against aggression”. He continues by saying that he is “grateful for the opportunity to offer [their] insight in the regional developments, and the ways [they] together can further strengthen the security of our young democracy from attacks by suppressive regime in Baku.”  

Furthermore, the foreign affairs Minister’s presence at the 101th commemoration of the Armenian genocide not only served to impress Mr. Avetisyan, but also reflected upon Canadian values: I was honored to share the occasion with Honorable Minister Dion, which allowed me to express our profound gratitude to Canada for being home to such a vibrant and strong Canadian-Armenian community. Also, it became a good opportunity to voice our expectations that, as champion in human rights and liberties around the globe, Canada will support and facilitate important democratic state-building processes that are taking place in Artsakh based on our shared values and beliefs. I think Minister Dion deserves a special credit for becoming the first Canadian Foreign Minister to be present at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration by the Canadian-Armenian community. Needless to say, we all appreciate Minister Dion’s personal and professional stance over the issues of global justice and tolerance.”

We couldn’t help but wonder what Mr. Avetisyan thoughts and impressions of AGBU Montreal were. He graciously answered the following: “My first visit, in April 2016, has reinforced my previous impression that the AGBU Montreal is a vibrant and evolving structure. I was happy to see that the tendency has preserved, and that the entire AGBU Montreal family was getting rewarded for their everyday hard work with an increased number of students in the Alex Manoogian school, with an increased number of happy parents whose kids are given access to the rich Armenian heritage, as well as with the extended range of academic disciplines that are so demanded in the contemporary world”. His concluding words encourage us to pursue our path towards greatness: “It is obvious that the continued success requires tireless efforts by all members of the AGBU Montreal. I wish the Chapter every success, and am convinced that the energy and vision of the AGBU Montreal leadership will lead to many more achievements in this noble patriotic endeavor.”

Needless to say, we are thankful that Mr. Avetisyan took the time to answer our questions, and by doing so helping to keep the dialogue between AGBU Montreal and the rest of the Armenian diaspora alive and well.