Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian urged Diaspora Armenians to invest in Armenia, regularly visit their ancestral homeland and become its citizens as he addressed thousands of them at a rally held in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Pashinian spoke before the crowd that gathered in the city’s Grand Park after holding meetings with Armenian American organizations.
He began his hour-long speech by thanking Armenia’s worldwide Diaspora for its “invaluable” assistance provided to the country since independence. He also thanked those California Armenians, many of them born and raised in Armenia, who supported last year’s “Velvet Revolution” that brought him to power.
“We hope that the Diaspora will stand by the economic revolution taking place in Armenia just like it stood by the political revolution in Armenia,” said Pashinian. “And I want to invite all Diaspora entrepreneurs to Armenia because in today’s Armenia you won’t come across the obstacles that have existed before. In Armenia, systemic corruption has been rooted out and the rule of monopolies and oligarchy eliminated.”
Pashinian then renewed his calls for a “great repatriation” of ethnic Armenians from the United States and other parts of the world. “Great repatriation means, for example, physically staying and living in Armenia for one or two months every year,” he explained.
“Real estate prices in Armenia and Yerevan are substantially rising now,” he said. “Buying a home in Yerevan, in Armenia means making a very good and reliable investment … Every Armenian must have a home in Armenia.”
“Repatriation also means owning a business in Armenia and, more importantly, having citizenship of the Republic of Armenia. Every [Diaspora] Armenian must have Armenian citizenship,” declared Pashinian.
Pashinian proceeded on Monday to New York where he is due to give a speech at a session of the UN General Assembly. It was not clear whether he will meet with senior U.S. officials during his latest trip to the U.S.
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated the Armenian leader on the 28th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
“The United States welcomes the close cooperation between our nations and your government’s commitment to democratic and economic reform,” Trump wrote in a letter publicized by Pashinian’s press office. “We strongly support the desire of the Armenian people, as expressed during last year’s peaceful events throughout Armenia, to live in a democratic country that respects the rule of law and is free from corruption.”
“I look forward to building on the partnership between our two countries in the years ahead,” added Trump.