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Chairman of the World Committee of the Pan-Armenian Games Ishkhan Zakaryan says the preparations for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games are going according to plan.

Armenian News-NEWS.am: Mr. Zakaryan, the opening of the Pan-Armenian Games is just around the corner. Have all the problems been solved? In which stage are the preparations?

Ishkhan Zakaryan: The preparations for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games are going according to plan. As you know, this year the Games will be held in Yerevan and Stepanakert. I don’t want to provide all the information, but I am sure everyone understands what holding the Games means for the two Armenian states in this historic stage. I am leading a large group of people who are trying to make sure the 7th Pan-Armenian Games are held at a high level in both Yerevan and Stepanakert. I would like to stress the fact that the Games are unconditionally supported by Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. By his assignment, the government has decided to set up an organizing committee led by Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, and we are working effectively. The authorities of Artsakh have expressed their unconditional support and have set up an organizing committee led by State Minister Grigory Martirosyan. I would especially like to set aside the support of President of the Football Federation of Armenia Artur Vanetsyan since football is a sport that serves as the pillar for the Games.

Armenian News-NEWS.am: Mr. Zakaryan, your delegation just returned from Historic Armenia. Judging from the reports and the information, you were very busy. How does this trip fit in the context of the Pan-Armenian Games?

Ishkhan Zakaryan: First, I would like to thank Swedish-Armenian benefactor Vartan Srmakes for sponsoring the trip. The torch for the Games had to be brought from our historic Mount Musa (Musa Dagh) to the venue for the opening of this year’s Games, that is, Stepanakert (capital of Artsakh). In the modern world, sporting and cultural events serve as powerful tools for raising big issues and solving them. We carried out the first historic trip from Yerevan to Van. We had rather frank and interesting meetings with representatives of the local authorities and shared major and interesting ideas. I offered to hold the next Pan-Armenian Games in Van, create the Gyumri-Kars format, etc.

The delegation also had meetings with the mayors of Van, Mush, Kars and Igdir. The torch for the Pan-Armenian Games in the ancient Armenian city of Ani was transferred to Stepanakert, the capital of our victories today. The torch of the Armenian Diaspora was lit at the foot of MountMusa (one of the heroic sites of the Kingdom of Cilicia), and the honor was given to Armenian American benefactor Albert Boyadjian, who is one of the founders of the Games.

I strongly believe the Armenian public needs to become actively engaged in the entire process of the Pan-Armenian Games. This is why we will provide thorough information about all the work that has been done and will invite many volunteers.

Armenian News-NEWS.am: Which teams will be participating in the Games? How many participants will there be?

Ishkhan Zakaryan: The Committee is constantly in touch with the institutions of all Armenian communities of the Diaspora. I have a pretty good picture, but there is still time, and the figures might change. After the deadline, the organizing committee will give a press conference and give answers to all the questions in detail.

Armenian News-NEWS.am: Mr. Zakaryan, it seems as though not all Armenians are happy with holding the 7th Pan-Armenian Games in both Armenia and Artsakh with splendor. Were you expecting this?

Ishkhan Zakaryan: You know, when the Azerbaijanis would scream and hold signs as we were visiting certain Turkish cities, I only felt more confident that we are doing the right thing and are doing a good job. When people in Yerevan campaign against us, I compare their mindset and interests with the mindset and interests of the Azerbaijanis. I don’t want to think that certain people in Yerevan may be interested in discrediting the idea of the Pan-Armenian Games. This is all I can say for now.

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