We are unable to change that history, and we do not need to. But the history is well able to change us to make our future better, Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said, addressing the Paris Peace Conference held on the 100th anniversary of the World War I Ceasefire.
“When a state wages a war or is tempted to solve problems by military means, it believes in its own strength and victory. Yet, World War One became a global tragedy for all the peoples engaged and resulted in the destruction of its mastermind states,” Pashinyan said.
He added that while from the geopolitical and military perspective there is a belief that there are always winners and losers in wars, from the human perspective, no one ever wins. Wars bring only loss, misery and devastation.
“Even though one hundred years ago, the humanity realized the need to ban weapon of mass destruction, regrettably it has not prevented the creation of new generations of arms, the acting PM said.
“It was during World War One that the Entente powers for the first time ever used the definition “crimes against humanity and civilization”, thus condemning the Ottoman rulers for the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. Later, this horrendous crime was to be termed the first genocide of the 20th century,” he added.
Nonetheless, Pashinyan added, only few decades later the humankind went through Holocaust, genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, genocides of the Christians and Yezidis in the Middle East, violence against the Rohingya people.
Armenia’s acting PM said voiced regret over the fact that the right to self-determination is being applied selectively.
This is why, he said, the decades-long struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to determine their destiny has not received its proper legal solution and added that “in the 21th century it is absolutely unacceptable that people’s mere desire to exercise its right to self-determination may turn into an existential menace.”
“We need to learn the most important lesson of World War One. No state can build its success at the cost of others’ misery, no one can gain freedom at the cost of others’ slavery. We put an end to the First World War hundred years ago. And this is a perfect occasion to think of entering a century without wars – a century of peace,” Pashinyan stated.
“We are unable to change that history, and we do not need to. But the history is well able to change us to make our future better,” he stressed.
“I do believe, that the leaders that have gathered here, in Paris, are well able to achieve it. And this will be the best ever tribute to the innocent victims of the previous century.”
After the speech Nikol Pashinyan handed a symbolic publication to the Peace Library, an illustrated book by historian Hayk Demoyan entitled “The Armenian Genocide: Front Page Coverage in the World Media.”