Berejiklian Interviewed in Armenia: Discusses Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Genocide

By ARMENPRESS | Friday, 19 July 2019

The Premier of Australia's largest state of New South Wales, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, was interviewed by ARMENPRESS while in Armenia. The following is the interview in full.

YEREVAN, JULY 19, ARMENPRESS. Premier of New South Wales, Australia, Gladys Berejiklian is in Armenia for her fourth visit. This time, she is paying a private visit, but meetings have already held with Armenia’s President and Prime Minister.

Gladys Berejiklian gave an interview to ARMENPRESS talking about the future programs, the Armenian community of New South Wales, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other topics.

-Ms. Berejiklian, as a result of elections held in New South Wales on March 23, 2019, you become the first popularly elected female and first elected Armenian Premier of NSW. NSW exceeds Armenia with its size and population by several times, as well as exceeds a number of leading countries with its economy. What cooperation prospects do you see with Armenia? Are there any mutual partnership programs which you already discussed with the Armenian President or the PM?

-The programs are very broad, but I hope we will be able to establish strong ties at the official level in the future, because at a non-official level our hearts are very close. The Armenian community of New South Wales is very powerful. The members of the community always want not only to visit Armenia, but also be useful for the country. We have thoroughly discussed the issue of deepening the relations at an officials level both with the PM and the President, and I hope that we will be able to give an official status to our relations in the future.

-You visited Armenia also in 2013 with the delegation of Australian politicians. Six years have passed since that visit, what change do you see in Armenia and what are your impressions today?

-This is the first time I am visiting Armenia as a Premier, but this is my fourth visit. I have relatives here and always try to visit Armenia. I saw a lot of changes in Armenia. I think the people here are more optimistic, full of hope about the future, construction is developing, but there are some issues which need to be solved in the future. But I am optimistic about Armenia and feel that Diaspora-Armenians always stand together with Armenia.

-What impressed you most in Armenia? And what can attract NSW tourists to visit Armenia?

-I think Armenia’s history and beautiful sites are attractive. Armenia should show this wealth in a better way, especially the country's monuments with historical value. For instance, if the western world is informed that there are churches here dating back to the fourth-fifth centuries, they will be interested in visiting here.

-Last time you also visited Artsakh. Are you planning a similar visit this time?

-Unfortunately no. This time my visit is very shot, I came here for a week to attend a wedding. But I will visit Artsakh again in the future. I have been there twice before and always urge my friends to visit there. Another group of Australian lawmakers will visit Armenia in the near future, and I hope they will visit Artsakh as well.

-You proudly state that you are the granddaughter of a family who survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide. During your activities you repeatedly called on the Australian authorities to recognise the Armenian Genocide. Do you think Australia will recognise the Armenian Genocide? What are the possibilities for that and what actions do you take on this direction?

-It’s already been 20 years New South Wales recognised the Armenian Genocide and has recognised the independence of Artsakh. We hope that Australia will also recognise the Armenian Genocide, if Germany and some countries can recognise, and I always raise this issue among my parliamentarian friends. I hope Australia will recognise the Armenian Genocide in the near future.

-What will be your advice to Armenians living in Diaspora who are just starting out in politics?

-Two things have always helped me are belief and diligence. If you work hard, you can do anything. I’m always asked what is the secret, I say there is no secret. You need to work day and night and should always be optimistic, these two things are very important.

-Do you have any plans and goals to occupy positions in higher office in the future?

-No, my position as Premier is enough. But 17 years ago when I was elected as a member of parliament, I didn’t imagine that one day I will become Premier. But gradually when you are recording one success, you understand that you can achieve another as well. Thus, I achieved this position in that way.

Interview by Norayr Shoghikyan
Photos by Tatev Duryan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan