Run For Peace: Mountaineer Ara Khatchadourian completes monumental Marseille-Yerevan voyage
YEREVAN, JULY 21, ARMENPRESS. From France’s Marseille to Armenia’s Yerevan with Run For Peace. Mountaineer Ara Khatchadourian has passed 4550 km from the French city in 107 days to reach the Armenian capital.
Ara says the goal of the initiative is to make a call for peace to the world.
“I wanted to run for peace because I was tired of hearing about wars from all sides of the world. France adopted me in 1983 when I left Lebanon. Armenia is my homeland, I wanted to connect these two countries with each other with my run,” he said in Republic Square, Yerevan.
Khatchadourian says he wanted to realize this initiative two years ago, but his plans got delayed due to certain reasons. He says he has no regrets now.
“2018 turned out to be very symbolic because it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the First Armenian Republic’s independence and the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan. I came to also convey my congratulations to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for carrying out the peaceful revolution,” he said.
The Run For Peace initiative was organized by the AGBU. Khatchadourian passed through Europe, reached Turkey, where he was planning to give a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the general elections in the country obstructed his initiative.
“I spent the longest period of time in Turkey, my run comprised 2000 km and 45 days there. I was in Turkey during the elections and I didn’t know if Erdogan would be re-elected, but next time I must definitely give the letter to him. I wrote in the letter that they should [recognize] the Armenian Genocide, and it was this very letter that gave me the idea to run to Armenia,” he said.
France’s Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Lacote met with Ara in Marseille, before he took off on the journey. The Ambassador promised the mountaineer to join him in Armenia.
“I promised I would run the last 6km with him, and I kept my promise. We must hope that next time we will be able to open the borders of Turkey and Armenia, and run through there and come to Armenia. France has already done its share, now it is up to the two states to be able to reach an agreement,” the French Ambassador said.
Deputy minister of Diaspora Aramayis Grigoryan said they’ve followed Khatchadourian’s route during the entire process and it is symbolic that it has coincided with the latest events in Armenia.
“His simultaneous run with the revolution process is symbolic, and we can say with humor that Ara began his revolutionary walk earlier than we did,” Grigoryan said, referring to PM Nikol Pashinyan’s pre-election My Walk initiative.
Ara plans to stay in Armenia for 15 days.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan