Translated by Katia Peltekian*
In the framework of the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of Anjar in the Bekaa Valley, the President of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh Bako Sahakian paid a visit to Lebanon to participate in the festivities. He attended the Sunday liturgy presided over by Catholicos Aram I in Anjar; he was accompanied by the President of the Tashnak Party Hrant Markarian, Armenia?s Minister of Diaspora Hranoush Hagopian, and delegates from around the world.
During? President Sahakian?s tour in the Bekaa, he paid a courtesy visit to the family of the Member of Parliament Nicolas Fattoush for “the friendship with his brother Pierre Fattoush, one of the major investors in Karabakh”.
A banquet was given by Mr. Pierre Fattoush for the distinguished guest at Casino Mehanna in Wadi Zahle; it was attended by Zahle and Bekaa dignitaries in addition to President Sahakian, Ambassador of Armenia in Lebanon Ashod Kocharian,? Bishop Kegham Khatcherian, Chairman & members of the municipality of Anjar, and members of Armenian parties, clubs, associations and social committees.
During the banquet, MP Fattoush welcomed President Sahakian saying, “This visit is close to my heart because of the historical relations between the peoples of Lebanon and Armenia. Fattoush added: “If Anjar became the capital of the Armenians in the world after the tragedy, then Zahle preceded by welcoming a large number of Armenians and built the Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator at the beginning of the 20th century”.
“Through our friendship with distinguished Armenians and by looking at the history and traditions of the Armenians, we are firmly convinced that the best characteristic of the Armenians is not only their devotion to the land that gave them birth, but also their loyalty to the land that embraced them. This is the miracle of the Armenians, the oldest people of the Earth.”
Afterwards, the Mayor of Anjar Garabet Pamboukian spoke, saying, “The Armenians living in Lebanon today are living two happy occasions: the first occasion is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the town of Anjar, attended by international personages. This reflects the importance placed on the town by the Armenian Diaspora, who believe that the town symbolizes not only their sufferings but also their firm belief in life, to overcome oppression and deportation ?
?The second happy occasion is embodied by the dinner banquet given by the Fattoush family in honor of the Armenian President Sahakian and the Armenian delegation. This is not unusual since the Fattoush family?s relationship of friendship and love to the Armenian community in Lebanon, Anjar, and even to Armenia and Karabakh is well known. We, in turn, reciprocate with the same feelings to this honorable & generous family.?
President Sahakian responded: “I am happy to visit Lebanon, the country of the Phoenicians, and I am doubly pleased today that Lebanon is the first country that gave the Armenian people the right to exist and live a decent life, allowing the homeless people to become a part of this nation.”
He added: “In the late twentieth century, the Armenians faced in Nagorny Karabakh (Artsakh) the danger of another genocide at the hands of the Azeris, but thanks to the Armenian national spirit of the young people, we were able to withstand the peril of our country. In the end we succeeded in establishing a democratic State, through pain, on the ruins of towns and villages in Karabakh. In this tragic atmosphere, came from Lebanon a man, a friend and a brother, Pierre Fattoush, a vibrant and dynamic man who invested in our economy despite all the difficulties in those days. Thanks to the large investments in telecommunications, we have been able to link our home to the world with the most recent technologies in the field.
*Translated from Arabic exclusively for Groong Armenian News Network.
Source: An-Nahar Daily, Lebanon, 26 August 2010
Photos by Ashnag:
1) Dignitaries in front of Saint Boghos Church in Anjar.
2) President Bako Sahakian, Catholicos Aram I and President of ARF Hrant Markarian in front of statue dedicated to the Mousa Ler martyers.
President of Nagorno Karabakh Bako Sahakian in Lebanon
(President's website: http://www.president.nkr.am/)
Working visit to Lebanon
On 20 August 2010 President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan arrived in Lebanon with a working visit. On 21 August the Head of the State met representatives of the “Artsakh Fund” organization at the permanent representation of the Artsakh Republic in the Republic of Lebanon. Bako Sahakyan handed in the “Gratitude” medal to the organization for services shown to the Artsakh Republic in restoring and developing the social sphere. The President rated high the role of the fund in carrying out various projects in the republic noting that Artsakh is interested in widening the activities of the “Artsakh Fund” in our country.
On the same day President Sahakyan visited Great House of Cilicia Catholicosate in the town of Antelias and met Catholicos Aram I, Lebanese ministers, members of the parliament and heads of local self-government bodies of Armenian origin, as well as representatives of different Armenian organizations.
The Head of the State together with Catholicos Aram I laid flowers to the memorial of the 1915 Genocide victims.
A wide range of issues related to the Motherland-Diaspora ties, Artsakh domestic and foreign policy issues were discussed during the meeting. Catholicos Aram I considered the role of Artsakh in the modern Armenian history as a crucial one underlining that its development and strengthening is of vital interest of the whole Armenians.
Bako Sahakyan considered important the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora trinity calling it the most important precondition for the development of the Armenian people and the Armenian independent statehood. In this process the President rated high the role of the church too.
President Sahakyan subsequently met representatives of the governing structures of the traditional Armenian parties in Lebanon at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Beirut.
Domestic and foreign policy issues of Artsakh were discussed during the meeting.
Adviser to the President of the Artsakh Republic Armen Isagoulov, minister of education and science Vladik Khachatryan, head of the Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President David Babayan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic in Lebanon Karo Kebabjan accompanied the Head of the State.
Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranoush Hakobyan and ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon Ashot Kocharyan partook at the events.
Bako Sahakyan's meetings in Beirut
On 21 August 2010 President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan visited central committee of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East located in the city of Beirut and met with its representatives at the head of the central committee's chairman Soghomon Kilaghbyan.
Bako Sahakyan rated high the role of the church in providing national education and maintaining Armenian national identity in the Diaspora pointing out Haykazyan University, which is one of the leading Armenian higher educational establishments, as the best example of that.
The Head of the State expressed his gratitude to the Armenian Evangelical Church for carrying out different projects in Artsakh expressing hope that the circle of the projects would be enlarged.
Adviser to the President of the Artsakh Republic Armen Isagoulov, minister of education and science Vladik Khachatryan, head of the Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President David Babayan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic in Lebanon Karo Kebabjyan accompanied the Head of the State. Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranoush Hakobyan and ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon Ashot Kochartan partook at the events too.
Meeting in the Patriarchate of the Armenian Catholic Church
On 23 August 2010 President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan visited Patriarchate of the Armenian Catholic Church located in Beirut where he met Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX, supreme hierarchs of church and representatives of the Armenian community.
Issues related to Motherland-Diaspora ties as well as domestic and foreign policy were discussed during the meeting.
Bako Sahakyan called important steady strengthening the ties between various segments of the Diaspora, underlining that in this process making more frequent periodical visits is of special significance. Bako Sahakyan rated high the contribution of the Armenian Catholic Church in preserving Armenian cultural and educational centers in the Diaspora, particularly in Lebanon. The interlocutors touched upon the Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict settlement process too.
Adviser to the President of the Artsakh Republic Armen Isagoulov, minister of education and science Vladik Khachatryan, head of the Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President David Babayan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic in the Middle East Karo Kebabjyan, as well as ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon Ashot Kocharyan partook at the meeting.
On the same day the Head of the State held a press-conference for a number of leading Lebanese mass media. Issues related to socioeconomic development of the Artsakh Republic, Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict settlement process and Artsakh-Diaspora ties were touched upon during the press-conference.
Meeting with representatives of the ?Hayastan? All-Armenian Fund?s Lebanese branch
On 24 August 2010 President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan met representatives of the “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund's Lebanese branch headed by its chairman Sargis Armenyan.
Issues related to socioeconomic development of the Artsakh Republic and realization of various projects in the country were discussed during the meeting.
The Head of the State rated high the contribution of the fund in the development of Artsakh noting that he anticipated further activation of the Lebanese Armenian community in this process.
Adviser to the President of the Artsakh Republic Armen Isagoulov, minister of education and science Vladik Khachatryan, head of the Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President David Babayan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic in the Middle East Karo Kebabjyan partook at the meeting.