Elton John, seated, with husband David Furnish at left, with Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian standing behind

Elton John Hails ‘Wind Of Change’ In Armenia

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Elton John, the legendary British singer and composer, spoke on Sunday, May 27, of a “wind of change” sweeping through Armenia when he visited the country for the first time to support a local charity helping children with disabilities.

John and his husband, David Furnish, arrived in Yerevan at the invitation of President Armen Sarkissian, the man behind the Yerevan My Love charity. He said that he also wants to help create a safe environment for AIDS testing, and to help rid Armenian society of the stigma associated with the disease as well as with being a member of the LGBT community.

From left, President Armen Sarkissian, Elton John, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, his wife, Anna Hakobyan, and Nouneh Sarkissian

“We have a lot of Armenian friends in England and America,” he said. “They always talk about Armenia. It’s emerging as a new country. It’s only been independent for 25 years. So we have always wanted to come here.”

“This feels like a new country, feels like it has a lot of energy, a lot of hope and promise,” he said while visiting, together with Sarkissian, the Yerevan My Love center in the Armenian capital where he and Furnish handed out hearing aids to children.

John, 71, said he feels that Sarkissian and new Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power in a wave of mass protests in early May, will enable “things to change for the good” in the country.

“I think the wind of change is here and I think it’s very, very positive. I’m very happy to be here and to be a part of it and feel the vibrancy of this country,” he said.

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Sarkissian also received John at the presidential palace in Yerevan. Joined by their spouses, the two men had dinner with Pashinyan later in the day.

Sarkissian lived and worked in Britain for nearly three decades before being elected president of the republic in March. He raised funds there for Yerevan My Love together with Britain’s Prince Charles and organized the latter’s visit to Armenia in 2013.

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