His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has congratulated Nikol Pashinyan on his appointment as Prime Minister of Armenia, urging him to address the multiple challenges the homeland faces at this critical juncture in its history.
“The foundations of statehood are endangered,” says His Holiness in his message. “The people expect you to undertake the mission of restoring and revitalizing the homeland with the highest level of responsibility and commitment.”
The Catholicos then draws Mr. Pashinyan’s attention to the consequences of the war, which require urgent solutions.
The war unleashed against Artsakh by the joint forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey and the great loss of life it has caused, the occupation of lands liberated by the blood of our martyrs, the destruction of religious monuments, and the displacement of thousands of families have caused much anger and disappointment in our people, His Holiness says. “It is impossible to turn this bitter and dark page of our modern history without accountability,” he says.
The Catholicos calls for the establishment of a fact-finding commission on the war and make its report available to the public.
“The internal unity of our people, especially in this time of crisis, is an urgent imperative,” His Holiness says. That is a precondition for a strong Armenian state, he says.
He also asks Mr. Pashinyan to lead a government that preserves the identity and values of the Armenian nation at a time when these are compromised by the cosmopolitanism of a globalized world. “We expect the Armenian government to lead our people to firmly embrace the values that guarantee the identity and greatness of our nation.”
No effort should be spared for the recognition of the independence of Artsakh, His Holiness says. “The international recognition of the independence of Artsakh not only should become one of the priorities of the government of Armenia but also of the Diaspora.”
He further stresses the need for a strong partnership between Armenia and the Diaspora. This is also “vital” for Artsakh, he says.
The Russian-mediated November 2020 ceasefire declaration between Armenia and Azerbaijan is an indication of a new geopolitical reality in the Caucasus, His Holiness says. “The present, dangerous situation calls for the government to be vigilant and uncompromising to ensure the security and territorial integrity of Armenia.”
Faced with this situation, Armenia must be resolute in its determination to say “No” to unacceptable demands from her, the Catholicos says. “Indeed, throughout its history, Armenia, which has become an apple of discord at the crossroads of the interests of great empires, survived, albeit sometimes wounded, thanks to its collective courage to say ‘No’.”
“Today, when Armenia is surrounded by old and new genocide perpetrators, who continue to have expansionist aspirations towards Armenia and Artsakh, ignoring their obligations and provisions of international law, the Armenian army needs to become more organized and effective,” the Catholicos says. “We also need to be able to expand our circle of strategic allies and partners.”
He urges the Prime Minister “to take seriously our concerns and thoughts.” This is the path to “lead our homeland to a brighter future” with our collective, consistent efforts.
“We pray to God Most High to keep the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh unshakeable and safe, and to grant you wisdom and strength in your difficult mission.”