WASHINGTON – On March 15, a special reception was organized in honor of a governmental delegation from Artsakh, led by President Bako Sahakyan, at the embassy of the Republic of Armenia. The reception coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Artsakh independence movement.
One day earlier, the delegation met with Congressmen in the US Capitol Building. While speaking to American diplomats, Sahakyan articulated the right of the people of Artsakh to live in independence.
A number of representatives from the Armenian-American community were invited to the March 15 reception along with the Armenophile former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans. Ambassador of Armenia to the United States Grigor Hovhannisian served as the master of ceremonies, first welcoming the official representatives of the Republic of Artsakh and then inviting a number of representatives of the Armenian-American community to themselves deliver their words of greetings to the guests.
At the end, President Sahakyan spoke and declared that he had visited America on a variety of prior occasions. However, this visit is the first to bear both political and historical significance. He then thanked the Armenian General Benevolent Union and its president, Berge Setrakian, who was sitting next to him at the table of honor. He then ceremoniously pinned the Mesrop Mashtots Medal of the Republic of Artsakh on Setrakian’s lapel and gave him an official governmental decree in recognition of his years of assistance to Artsakh.
Moved by this unexpected act of appreciation, Setrakian spoke emotionally, stressing that whatever the diaspora provided to the heroic people of Artsakh was insufficient. The diaspora was obligated to do much more because the Artsakh independence movement gave pride to the diaspora, and inspired its youth to continue to live their lives as Armenians.