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10 04 2008 Neo eletto Presidente dell'Armenia, giura fedelta sulla costituzione e il pił vecchioo vangelo manoscritto del VII° sec. in custodia del museo dei manoscritti Armeni
Ieri,9 aprile 2008, in una solenne cerimonia a Yerevan, è stato insediato il nuovo Presidente della Repubblica d'Armenia, Serge Sarkisian.
Il neopresidente ha giurato fedelta alla bandiera armena, la mano, come di tradizione, sul libro della Costituzione e il più vecchio vangelo manoscritto del VII° secolo portato per l'occasione con particolare cure dal Matendaran(La Biblioteca nazionale).
Riportiamo anche l'ultimo discorso indirizzato alla nazione del Presidente uscente Robert Kocharian....

Sarkisian Sworn In Amid Tight Security By Astghik Bedevian, Ruzanna Stepanian and Emil Danielyan

Serzh Sarkisian pledged to effect democratic change and called for national reconciliation and unity on Wednesday as he was sworn in as Armenia’s president amid unusually tight security measures taken by the authorities.

The inauguration took place at a special session of the Armenian parliament held in the national Opera house in Yerevan. It was followed by a military parade in the adjacent Liberty Square, the scene of daily post-election demonstrations staged by Sarkisian’s main challenger, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Meanwhile, thousands of baton-wielding police blocked major streets leading to the square to keep opposition supporters from gathering there. Hundreds of protesters managed to rally elsewhere in the city center and demand a re-run of the February 19 presidential election controversially won by Sarkisian.

After solemnly taking an oath with his right hand lying on the Armenian constitution and a 7th century Bible, Sarkisian delivered a speech in which he pledged to turn Armenia into a democratic state “where everyone shall be equal before the law” and “where mutual respect, love, and tolerance will prevail.”

“I realize the magnitude of the responsibility now, and I shall recognize it every day for the next five years,” he said. “I shall bear with honor the responsibility of being the President of all citizens of the Republic of Armenia.”

Sarkisian sought to reach out to hundreds of hundreds of Armenians who voted for other presidential candidates, including Ter-Petrosian. “A part of our people supported other candidates, and I now appeal to them: it was your right to vote for someone other than me, but I do not have the right not to be your president,” he said. “Even if a wall of misunderstanding stands between us, I urge you to join us in eliminating that wall.”

“Alone, no one can turn Armenia into a country of dreams,” continued Sarkisian. “All structures, various political and non-governmental forces, and civil society need to unite. This is where the President should act as the key actor in uniting the nation.”

The new president spoke of “wounds” inflicted on Armenia by the March 1 clashes in Yerevan between riot police and Ter-Petrosian supporters that left at least eight people dead. “Today, I urge to look forward, together to seek and find the path of reconciliation, that of development for the Armenia of future,” he said. “I am confident that we cannot have real and tangible success, unless we learn lessons from the past.”

One of those lessons, according to Sarkisian, is that there must be “limitations of fundamental rights” of Armenian citizens, notably their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of assembly. Still, he said those limitations “can not be absolute” and pledged to “revisit” soon the recently enacted legal amendments that effectively banned opposition demonstrations.

The authorities were especially keen to prevent such demonstrations in the vicinity of the Opera building on Wednesday, shutting down a large section of central Yerevan for traffic and even pedestrians. Sarkisian’s inauguration took place 40 days after the worst street violence in Armenia’s history. By Armenian tradition the souls of the deceased are remembered on the 40th day after their death.

With this in mind, several hundred Ter-Petrosian gathered at the site of the deadly violence, over one kilometer away from Liberty Square, to remember its victims. Scores of police in riot gear looked on as they lit candles and lay flowers at a granite podium from which opposition leaders addressed a much bigger crowd on March 1. The silent remembrance quickly turned into an anti-government rally, with mostly female participants chanting “Freedom!” and “Levon!”

Senior police officers urged the protesters to go home but refrained from using force. “You are saying anti-state things and turning all this into a rally,” warned one of them.

“I was here on March 1,” Seda, a gray-haired pensioner, told RFE/RL. “The people had only stones and sticks, but they still shot at us. I want Serzh and Kocharian to go and be put on trial. They are responsible for the deaths of innocent people.”

“This election must be annulled and a new, democratic one must be held,” said Shushanik, a doctor. “This is not about Levon. This is about our freedom.”

Among the protesters were relatives of opposition supporters killed by security forces. Alla Hovannisian’s 23-year-old son, Tigran Khachatrian, was one of them. “He didn’t go to rallies,” she said, holding the young man’s picture. “But on that day he heard about the beating of demonstrators [in Liberty Square.] He called someone and then said, ‘Dad, I have to go there.’ I said, ‘Tigran, don’t go, it’s dangerous.’”

Kocharian In Farewell Address To Nation

By Emil Danielyan

With only one day to go before his resignation, President Robert Kocharian delivered a farewell address to the nation on Tuesday, saying that Armenia has become one of the world’s fastest developing countries during his decade-long rule.

“Progress in the country’s modernization is obvious, and the life of citizens has improved considerably,” Kocharian said in a televised speech. “There are few countries in the world whose pace of development is comparable to Armenia’s.”

“At the same time, it is obvious that a lot remains to be done. The quality of life is still far from a desirable level,” he said.

According to official statistics, the Armenian economy expanded at a double-digit rate for the sixth consecutive year in 2007. The government says the proportion of Armenians living below the official poverty line has dropped from over 50 percent to 27 percent as a result. But government critics dismiss the figure, saying that the robust growth has primarily benefited the rich. They also point to the widening development gap between Yerevan and the rest of the country.

“I apologize to those whose life has not improved during these years,” said Kocharian. “To those whose expectations have not been lived up to, whose dreams have not been realized.”

The outgoing president insisted at the same time that he has done his best to ease the plight of many Armenians impoverished following the Soviet collapse. “I have worked with a tight schedule and saved no effort,” he said. “At least, I have fulfilled all the promises that I gave to voters.”

Kocharian did not say whether he has democratized Armenia’s political system or improved its human rights record over the past decade. The 53-year-old leader has twice won presidential elections marred by reports of fraud and repeatedly cracked on his political opponents to hold on to power. The most recent and harshest of the crackdowns was launched following last February’s presidential election which was controversially won by Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, Kocharian’s longtime close associate.

Kocharian also said in his televised address that he trusts in his successor’s “ability to govern the country effectively.”

Sarkisian will be sworn in as Armenia’s next president on Tuesday during a special session of parliament to be held in the national Opera House in Yerevan. The inauguration will be followed by a military parade in the adjacent Liberty Square, the scene of post-election demonstrations staged by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The authorities are also expected to block nearby streets in the city center in an effort to prevent opposition supporters from disrupting the ceremony.

Seta M.

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