Today, during the extraordinary session of the National Assembly of Armenia, which took place at the Karen Demirjian Sport and Concert Complex, the newly elected President Serzh Sargsyan assumed the office of President of Armenia. During the oath taking ceremony he said, “Assuming the office of President of the Republic of Armenia, I swear to unreservedly fulfill requirements of the Constitution to respect human and civil rights and freedoms, to safeguard independence of the Republic, its territorial integrity and security for the glory of the Republic of Armenia and for the benefit of the people of the Republic of Armenia.”
Statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the Ceremony of Inauguration
Distinguished President Kocharian,
Distinguished President of the Republic of Artsakh,
Distinguished President Ghoukassian,
Dear Citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
Distinguished guests, friends,
I express my thanks to our citizens for their active turnout at the presidential elections. I thank those who once again entrusted me with the task of serving as President of the Republic of Armenia.
I also thank those who cast their votes for other candidates. Thereby they expressed their discontent with the problems existing in the country. By doing so, they sent a clear message to the authorities, demanding more efficient work. Rest assured that all messages are duly received.
Today, through taking this Oath, I once again assumed great responsibility, the awareness of which has never left me for one second through the past five years. The Gospel that belonged to Catholicos’s Mother, on which I took my oath, is over a thousand years old. It is an exceptional honor to become the leader of a nation with such historical and cultural roots. At this solemn moment I pledge to hold high this honor.
For any President, a second term stipulated by the Constitution has its advantages but also difficulties. The greatest advantage is, certainly, the experience gained, which is of immense value in this line of work. The extra difficulties relate to increased expectations of the people and higher demands. I will do my best to deliver on these expectations and meet these demands.
For the forthcoming five years, I consider our state’s and nation’s economic development the number one priority. A whole array of problems that Armenia is facing is in this very plane. Let me highlight three main ones: emigration, unemployment, and poverty. The solutions for these problems are to be found on the same field. Efficient economy that is on the rise, this is the formula to our success.
The second priority is in ensuring the rule of law. Equality of everyone before the law is a binding prerequisite both for our economic and political advancement.
The third priority, most directly linked to the one before, the rule of law, is the deepening of democracy. Compare Armenia of five years ago with Armenia of today and you will see the difference. Compare the levels of the freedom of speech, press, and association. Compare the past and present levels of maturity of NGOs and the civil society in general. I promise that we will not be contented with the achievements. Five years from now, we will attain a qualitatively different, far more advanced democracy. I shall not accomplish this alone, we will do it together, dear compatriots.
In the area of foreign policy, a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno Karabakh issue is and will remain our priority for as long as necessary to arrive at a final solution. At the same time, we will consistently work to enhance the level of our security. We do not underestimate any international dimension here; we are grateful to all those who contribute to maintaining regional stability, but we must rely on our own power, first and foremost. In the event of possible adverse developments, the importance of deterring the adversary and preserving peace are beyond discussion.
We have never terrorized our own people with war. Moreover, we have never used this issue as an excuse to gag the opposition. However, we deemed it our duty to earnestly and realistically state that such a threat does exist.
Irresponsible people and those who have never experienced war, may turn the possibility of war into a subject for cynical and sordid profiteering. I am not one of them: I know what it takes to lose a friend or experience the bliss of victory. I fretted over every soldier’s life, every inch of the native land. Therefore, through the vote of confidence vested in me by the people of Armenia, I declare: We do not want war but, at the same time, we are ready to withstand any challenge. I reiterate this for slow learners: any challenge.
Coercion, violence, terror, war; these are our opponent’s notions of reality. They are trying to impose upon us the same notions they force on their own people.
We have rejected these terms, and will never accept them. We are creating a different reality, like I said: economic growth, the rule of law, strengthening of democracy. The word “Armenia” must first of all entail these notions. These are the arguments we present to our adversaries and the entire world.
We offered our neighbours dignified peace, anchored to universal human values. But the experience of recent years has demonstrated that they are not ready to accept the offer. The tougher, in their own opinion, conditions they create for us, the stronger we become. And this will be becoming increasingly more salient.
Today, the more unequal the terms for our exports, the more effort we must invest in producing goods with enhanced added value. We shall invest in products and services that are competitive in the global market.
Our main advantage is in the entrepreneurial spirit and the talent of our nation. Our young men and women, working in the area of modern technologies, maintain the security of our country, like our soldiers do. Any one, who works honestly and produces value, does the same.
Our main task is to increase opportunities for such people to express themselves. Let us provide these people the opportunity and they will do the rest, they will generate, create, develop.
To this very end we also have to ensure dynamic development of Armenia-Dispora cooperation. I am confident that together we can accomplish much more. We have to maximally engage the potential of the Diaspora, its human potential first and foremost. Every competitive and development-oriented investment project will receive support by the authorities of the Republic of Armenia.
Through the electoral campaign we all enjoyed ample opportunities for exposure and introducing our programs. At the same time, each of us was eager to get our ideas down fully and succinctly. Elections do not mark a destination; they signify a new phase. This is the phase for unrelenting and persistent work. The time has come to move from words to work, to reinforce words with work.
Therefore, back to work!
Long live the Republic of Armenia!
Glory to the Armenian Nation!