On a state visit to Italy, President Armen Sarkissian and his wife Nouneh Sargkissian visited the Levonian Armenian College in Rome, where they met with representatives of the Armenian community of Italy.
President Sarkissian briefed the attendees on the results of the meetings and discussions held within the framework of the state visit, referred to the Armenian-Italian friendly relations, spoke about the 44-day war and Armenia’s development prospects, as well as the need to fully utilize the potential of the Diaspora.
Touching upon the significance of the state visit, President Sarkissian particularly noted that after the epidemic, for the first time in the last 2.5 years Italy receives a president on a state visit, it is not the visit of any superpower, but the visit of the President of the Republic of Armenia.
“I am proud of that.” I am proud to represent you, our people, the citizens of Armenia,” the President said. “Apart from personal relations, in addition to friendship, there is also a fundamental issue: the attitude of the Italian state and, in particular, President Matarella to our people, our state and statehood. We must be well aware that this is a friendship.”
The President noted that during the epidemic, when Italy was in a difficult situation, he was in constant contact with President Matarella, trying to support him as much as possible. “Even a small word of a friend, anxiety is appreciated and remembered. In exactly the same way, when we faced our catastrophe last year, the war, I received the support and the word of the President of Italy. “
Speaking about the war and its aftermath, President Sargsyan expressed deep sorrow for the loss of thousands of young lives. “Last year was a very difficult year, we lost many young lives,” the President said. “We could actually win or lose. In both cases, there is no doubt that all those who fought were patriots, did not spare their lives for the homeland. In the early 1990s, we were three times better prepared for war, and we won. Unfortunately, we did not turn that victory into a lasting peace, and there was a second war. Azerbaijan, using its capacities, natural resources, built a modern army with the direct support of Turkey. The question was not about courage, the devotion of the fighters. Yes, this is a great tragedy, the consequences of which are still there: captives, missing. These are the consequences of the war. During my meetings in Italy, I raised all the difficult issues that concern us: the issues of border demarcation, the issues of captives and the missing. I asked for the support of the Italian side.”
President Sarkissian expressed confidence that our people will be able to find the strength to straighten their backs after these painful events. “In just 30 years, our people have had both a great victory and a defeat. But we are sure of one thing. Our people are a surviving people. We survived the Genocide, after which we stood up, spread all over the world, rebuilt our lives, created again. We are one of the few nations that, being far from the homeland, first build a church, then a school and then the rest,” the President emphasized.
“I am sure that together we will not only survive, but also recover. Of course, we have to talk and reflect on the mistakes we made. This is a discussion in which the society should participate, but first of all the politicians who are responsible. Let’s sit down and discuss honestly what prevented us from winning this time,” he noted.
President Sarkissian stressed that in order to succeed, it is necessary to use the entire collective strength of our people, including the potential of the Diaspora. “I am sure that our people have the will, the power, the opportunities to live, create and overcome today’s difficulties. The Armenian people have one natural wealth – the Armenian people. For Armenia it is called Diaspora, for the Diaspora -it is called Armenia. I think it is high time that we stop making this division, stop dividing ourselves. It is high time we realize that we are our strongest weapon.”
“We in Armenia, with your help, must think about how to use our advantage. In Armenia, we must seriously discuss how to change ourselves, from the Constitution to the attitude, to use our natural resource, the people, so that Armenia becomes everyone’s homeland. Armenia is the homeland of all of us, we are all responsible for everything that happens in Armenia – for the good and the bad. I am sure that the 21st century can finally be our century. The man will be the greatest value, we must be ready to work on it seriously, especially in the fields of mathematics, physics, programming, artificial intelligence. Those who are fast will win in the economic, cultural and military competition. Economic success will be linked to knowledge. And our people can do it, having a policy in Armenia and the Diaspora, which is aimed at the future.”