Armenian News Network / Groong

Statement of the U.S. Western Region
at the Armenia-Diaspora Conference, 1999

    The Report of the Community of the Western United States
    To the Armenia-Diaspora Conference
    Yerevan, September 23, 1999
    Delivered by Asbed Bedrossian, in Armenian.

    Honorable Presidents, Prime Ministers,
	    Reverend Clergy and dear delegates,

    As with all Armenians, The community of the Western U.S. also
    greets this conference as an effort unique in kind, which endeavors
    to bring together all the social and political organizations,
    various trends, and layers of intelligentsia operating in the
    sphere of Armenian activities. It is our expectation that by
    bringing forth a variety of thoughts and approaches, it will be
    possible to underline the common interests we are bound together
    with, to reinforce these commonalities, and where possible, to find
    new possibilities and increase momentum towards solutions for
    pan-Armenian issues. To be realistic, we must accept that a single
    conference cannot solve all pan-Armenian problems, but we believe
    deeply that this conference is only the beginning of this positive
    process. In this, not only do we have great faith, but we are also
    armed with equivalent determination.

    In the past ten years, The Armenian community of the Western U.S.
    proved on multiple occasions that the pursuit of the inalienable
    rights of Armenians is a top priority. In this sphere, we supported
    Artsakh's just cause with fundraisers, and public and political
    advocacy at the state and national level. Through multiple public
    fundraisers, telethons, by inviting political figures from Artsakh
    and Armenia and putting them directly in touch with the community,
    through the Internet, newspaper publications and other media, we
    have succeeded in raising the level of political consciousness of
    our community and making the struggle for Artsakh part of its
    daily concern. It is up to us to support Artsakh's right to
    self-determination, and to continue our aid to the government of
    the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

    Dear colleagues, the issue of double-citizenship is a matter of
    high urgency for the Armenian community of the Western U.S also. We
    propose to improve the constitution of the Republic of Armenia in a
    manner empowering the cultivation of a clear law on double-citizenship,
    through which each Diasporan-Armenian has the possibility of becoming
    a proud citizen of the Republic of Armenia, subject to all the
    supposed dispositions of such a law. An Armenian living in the
    Diaspora, armed with Armenian citizenship, with the ability to
    receive this citizenship, will feel his Armenian identity and
    belonging emphasized.  His bond with the homeland will gain new
    meaning and weight, and will transcend the boundaries of mere moral

    A positive solution to this issue will also have the beneficial
    effect of strengthening the Armenian economy. During the past
    decades Armenia enjoyed a strong industrial and export
    infrastructure. Today, we expect that our homeland will create
    circumstances conducive for the return of the trained manpower that
    has emigrated, in order to help flourish an economy and industry
    built upon the already existing scientific-technical base. The
    Diaspora can help in this process, and within this framework, the
    community of the Western U.S. also. It is necessary to study all
    existing possibilities, and also all paths towards the strengthening
    of the economies of Armenia and Artsakh. In this regard, the
    community of the Western U.S. expresses its full support for the
    projects and efforts of the "Hayastan" all-Armenian fund. Also,
    through the United Armenian Fund, our community continues to offer
    humanitarian aid of a unique nature.

    The foundation of all these processes, however, is the law and
    lawfulness. The sooner Armenia is indentified as a country where
    the Rule of Law is supreme, the sooner international confidence
    will grow in its structures. In this regard, it is our expectation
    that everyone should be equal in front of the law, and that nobody
    should be considered above the law. Unlawful behavior and
    criminality must be uprooted from Armenia. The law must be
    considered above all personal preferences. When we conquer this
    stage, problems and hurdles which today appear without solution
    will disappear automatically.

    In the political arena, the recognition of The Genocide has so far
    been left up to the Diaspora alone. Today, new realities dictate new
    methods of operation to us. As American-Armenians we have, during
    the past years, seriously advanced and continue to advance the work
    towards the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the
    authorities of the United States. We believe that, once the
    Armenian Genocide becomes one of the strategic cornerstones of
    Armenia's foreign policy, a solution for this problem with
    international significance will be greatly facilitated, and our
    efforts will receive fresh impetus.

    Neither do we feel ambivalent about the issue of Artsakh, which is
    one of the links in the Armenian Cause. Nagorno Karabakh is an
    inseparable part of the cradle of the Armenian homeland. Artificial
    borders drawn by foreign dictators have de-facto been reversed
    today. This correction, however, must also be legitimized by
    international law.  Our brothers and sisters living in Artsakh
    expressed their will in a public referendum eight years ago, and it
    is up to us to stand in support of their choice unreservedly and
    with all our resources, so that nobody thinks about passing
    judgement against the right to self-determination of the Armenian
    Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.

    The Armenian Cause is a complex and multilevel political issue, to
    which end, the imperative to reconcile and complement the political
    paths of Armenia and the Diaspora is now on the Armenian political
    agenda. The work to advance the Armenian Cause has different nature
    in each country and requires different tactics. Faced with this
    reality, Armenia and the Diaspora find themselves faced with the
    necessity to complement each other's work. Today, the Armenian
    political system must be capable of distributing duties between
    Yerevan and the different Diasporan communities. For example, in
    the case of American Armenians, the cooperation of representatives
    of the Armenian Republic and the Armenian lobby to achieve levers
    with influential American political circles.

    Honorable colleagues, Armenians from the Western U.S. once again
    greet this conference, as a preliminary step towards the creation
    of a natural forum for pan-Armenian agendae. It rests upon us all
    to create favorable atmosphere and grounds for the benefit of
    positive solutions to the problems which lie ahead of us. Towards
    this, we remain motivated and accountable.

    Thank you,

    Los Angeles,
    September 1999

Translated to English by Asbed Bedrossian.

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