YEREVAN: US reality TV star Kim Kardashian on Thursday met Armenia’s prime minister in a first visit to celebrate her family’s roots that is causing a stir in the ex-Soviet nation.
Kardashian — along with her rapper husband Kanye West, young child and sister — has booked up two floors in one of the fanciest hotels in the heart of the capital Yerevan.
Surrounded by bodyguards and dressed head-to-toe in beige, Kardashian and her entourage were greeted by a huge crowd of fans as they took a tour of downtown Yerevan on Thursday.
“You’re very beautiful!” screamed one starstruck local.
Kardashian is reportedly in the country to make a documentary on the Armenian genocide, ahead of events later this month to mark the centenary of the killings.
The Kardashians, who jetted in Wednesday, had an audience with the country’s premier Hovik Abrahamyan during which they jointly promised to push for the recognition of the genocide, the government said.
“The Kardashians apologised for not speaking Armenian but said they are learning their native language,” a government statement said.
“They pledged to continue the struggle for international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide,” the statement said.
President Serzh Sarkisian is currently in Italy on a visit that will also see him meet Pope Francis.
– ‘Armenia we’re here’ –
Beyond snapping selfies with her fans, Kardashian has refused to talk with the press but instead took to social media to express her delight at being in Armenia.
“Armenia we are here!!!!! We are so grateful to be here & start this journey of a lifetime! Thank you to everyone who greeted us! I can’t wait to explore our country and have some yummy food!” Kardashian wrote on Instagram.
“My husband and daughter came to Armenia as well to see my heritage and learn about my ancestors! My cousins came along too! So excited I can’t sleep.”
Kardashian’s Armenian ancestors on her father’s side emigrated to the United States from an area that now lies in Turkey.
During her eight-day trip, Kardashian and her film crew will visit Yerevan’s genocide memorial and Armenia’s National Archives to see documents about her ancestors. She is then to travel to the provincial city of Gyumri where her distant relatives live.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart and have long sought to win international recognition of the massacres as genocide.
Turkey rejects the claims, arguing that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.