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By Hovannes Shoghikian
The family and friends of Armenia’s tenth prime minister visited his gravesite on Tuesday to pay their respects on his birthday.

Andranik Markarian, who died in March, would have turned 56 today. He proved to be the longest-serving prime minister in independent Armenia having been at the helm of the country’s government for nearly seven years.

Among the visitors to the Pantheon, where Markarian is buried, was Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, Vice-Premier Hovik Abrahamian, Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian, members of parliament and government, Yerevan’s mayor, other officials.

Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian approached Markarian’s widow and son to express his sympathy. All officials laid wreaths at the prime minister’s grave in a silent commemoration.

Also today, a presentation of a book telling about Andranik Markarian’s life took place at Yerevan’s House of Chamber Music.

“This is the case when we can say with confidence that we were contemporaries of a national hero and great statesman,” Torosian said at the event. “Today is a day of joy. Of course, we are all sad, but we have to check our sadness the way Andranik managed to check his feelings at many crucial moments. We must rejoice today that God has bestowed such a great state, political, national figure on us.”

Markarian’s friends and fellow partisans also remembered their late colleague describing him in their speeches as a man of integrity who had made a great contribution to the establishment of the Armenian state.
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