UN Humanitarian Leader in Mosul Headlines INNOVATE ARMENIA Festival

Hovig Etyemezian is only 35, but he has witnessed suffering most people couldn’t imagine in their worst nightmares.

“This is my tenth operation with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees,” he says, without a hint of weariness in his voice. If anything, Etyemezian exudes unfaltering idealism and optimism. “What I have been struck by is the resilience of people,” he says. “We, as Armenians, have shown that in our history.”

Etyemezian, who will headline this Saturday’s INNOVATE ARMENIA festival, currently leads the UN refugee agency’s Mosul office, where 950,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) look to his team and dozens of partner humanitarian groups for their basic needs.

UNHCR runs 13 IDP camps around Mosul, with more under construction. Thousands of displaced Iraqis continue to stream into the city, which was liberated from ISIS control in July 2017. New arrivals receive a tent and emergency supplies—consisting of quilts, mattresses, kitchen sets, a fuel can and a solar lantern. Partner agencies provide food, water and other essential services. The goal, Etyemezian says, it to help displaced Iraqis return to “a dignified life in a sustainable way.”

The retreat of ISIS doesn’t mean those returning can pick up where they left off in 2014. Shelter is in short supply. A quarter of Mosul’s residential neighborhoods were destroyed or heavily damaged during months of fighting and years of occupation. Mines and unexploded ordnance still pose grave danger, especially to children.

The emotional toll on those who never left Mosul presents another set of challenges for aid workers. “The level of trauma is huge,” says Etyemezian, “and we have to deal with it. It’s very worrisome to me that ISIS spread its brutal teachings through Mosul schools. Children as young as you can imagine were taught how to kill people, how to decapitate people. A lot of work needs to be done to remedy this.”

Each day, Etyemezian rides to work in an armored vehicle with a military escort. “We are not yet allowed to sleep in Mosul for security reasons,” he says, explaining why he commutes 50 miles from Erbil.

Conflict is nothing new to Etyemezian. Born and raised in Beirut, his childhood was spent against the backdrop of the Lebanese civil war and Syrian occupation. With deep roots in the capital’s Armenian community, he studied political science at Haigazian University before attending the UN’s University of Peace in Costa Rica. He returned home in 2005, just as Lebanon again plunged into war, this time between Hezbollah and Israel.

UN emergency team postings have taken Etyemezian to DR Congo, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Jordan and, most recently, Iraq.

In his 1:15pm talk at INNOVATE ARMENIA, Etyemezian will reflect on his career as a humanitarian aid worker and suggest ways that Angelinos can help.

Q&A with Hovig Etyemezian, Head of UNHCR Mosul Office

Why is it worth your while to leave your lifesaving work in Mosul to speak at a festival in Los Angeles to people whose lives aren’t in danger?

Because I want people to learn more about humanitarian work, and how they can contribute to that work. Human suffering is mostly human made. Whether it’s happening in Los Angeles or in Mosul, it’s something we can prevent if we are aware, if we care.” 

How can ordinary people in Los Angeles help?

There are a number of ways. One is to do humanitarian work themselves. Another is to support it. If you go to UNHCR.org, you can see what your dollar contribution will buy in services for refugees. Another is to work in one’s own society. Every human settlement has its problems. The problems of homeless people in New York—I don’t see them as drastically different than what people face during war.

Is the situation in Mosul worse than what you’ve seen elsewhere?

Every situation is different. ISIS is a very extreme manifestation of violence and criminality. But wherever you have oppression, discrimination or war, you have atrocities. In today’s world, we are able to capture them better. Information circulates much faster because of social media. But there are many forgotten conflicts in the world, where equally brutal things are happening to people.

You were raised in Beirut but have lived all over the world. What do you consider your nationality?

It’s a good question. I have a Lebanese passport and an Armenian one. Part of me is a citizen of the world. I don’t think those are contradictory. I don’t have any nationalistic feelings. Part of me belongs to where I live and where I have visited. I lived in Costa Rica for two years: part of me feels Costa Rican. I lived in Tunisia for two years: part of me feels Tunisian. People make fun of me because my Arabic accent is very mixed.

What languages do you speak?

Armenian is my mother tongue, and I went to Armenian school in Lebanon, where we did the French baccalaureate—so I studied Armenian, Arabic, French, and English in school. Later I learned Spanish in Costa Rica.

What is your Armenian diaspora story?

Both sides of my family fled the genocide. My grandparents were Anatolian refugees in Aleppo. That’s where my parents were born. My father later moved to Germany to avoid forced conscription in the Syrian army. My mother went to study in England to be a nurse midwife. They met up in Lebanon, and I was born there.

How do you respond to Americans and Europeans who say: “I don’t know who is an extremist and who is a refugee, and this makes me fearful. I’m reluctant to invite these people into my homeland.”

The idea that “This is my country, this is how I do things” is a problem in itself. If you look at North America and Europe, these places were formed by movements of populations. No one can claim to be the rightful owner of these lands. Second, there are good and bad people across the world. Most people are harmless and good. A few can be harmful, but they cut across ethnicities and races. We humans have a tendency to stereotype. I think people should believe that people are innocent until proven guilty, that most people are victims of violence and not perpetrators, and that radicalism exists across ethnicities and races.

About INNOVATE ARMENIA

Now in its third year, INNOVATE ARMENIA takes place Saturday, September 23, 10 am to 6 pm in Alumni Park and Bovard Hall on USC’s University Park Campus. A day of discovery, science and lively conversation, it features back-to-back speakers on two stages. Admission is free. All-day parking is $12 in USC parking structures. Sponsored by USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies.

The entire day will be LIVE streamed at armenian.usc.edu.

About the Institute

Established in 2005, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience—from post-genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving diaspora. The institute encourages research, publications and public service, and promotes links among the global academic and Armenian communities.

Tufenkian Artisan Carpets Calls on U.S. Treasury Secretary to Start Tax Treaty Talks with Armenia

 

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist James Tufenkian

Owner and CEO James Tufenkian has Built Landmark Boutique Hotels and Established Carpet Weaving Workshops Across Armenia

WASHINGTON – Tufenkian Artisan Carpets – a global brand long respected worldwide as a leading source of handcrafted artisan area rugs – has called upon the U.S. Department of Treasury “to begin talks with Armenia toward a long overdue and badly needed modern U.S. Tax Treaty,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, owner and CEO James Tufenkian, a major American investor in Armenia’s growth – through his artisanal carpets, hotels, and philanthropic work – noted that, for the past 17 years, he has been: “building great boutique hotels in the important touristic regions of Armenia to help develop those very depressed economies, and to create a broad base for tourism to the whole country.  In addition in 1993 I established a very labor-intensive business hand-weaving carpets and textiles to preserve this indigenous and historic Armenian craft, and to provide work for at-risk segments of the population.” He called special attention to the “unusual prospect, in this day and age, of facing double taxation,” noting that “such a disincentive was eliminated long ago in competing nations [yet] Armenia continues to face this unnecessary barrier as it struggles to compete for investment capital to develop the country.”

The Tufenkian letter makes the case for a “clear, reliable international legal taxation framework,” underscoring to Secretary Mnuchin that “the absence of such a framework has created unnecessary uncertainty, resulting, ultimately, in the needless diversion of investment flows to the detriment of the mutually beneficial progress that we all seek in U.S.-Armenia economic relations.”

“We want to thank James Tufenkian and his entire team for their truly transformative contribution to the future of Armenia and the U.S.-Armenia partnership,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “As a major U.S. investor in Armenia, he knows, firsthand, how the threat of double taxation presents a real barrier to new investments and other mutually-beneficial, job-creating opportunities.”

Founded in 1986, Tufenkian Artisan Carpets is a New York-based company with offices and operations in Armenia and around the world.  James Tufenkian, a lawyer by training, has employed thousands across Armenia, and, in 1996, established a philanthropic foundation that supports humanitarian projects in Armenia and Artsakh.

To learn more, visit: https://www.tufenkian.com. To learn more about the charitable and educational work of the Tufenkian Foundation, visit: http://www.tufenkianfoundation.org/

Giro Manoyan says Armenian President’s statement on Zurich Protocols was right

Categories
Politics
Region

Director of the International Secretariat of the ARF Bureau positively assesses Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement at the UN General Assembly according to which Armenia will declare the Zurich Protocols on the Armenian-Turkish relations null and void.

Manoyan said though late this statement was right.

“I don’t think there will be a positive progress over the Protocols. And this is not due to Armenia, but due to the fact that Turkey has numerous internal and external problems and there is no issue in its agenda to establish relations with Armenia. It is not ruled out that Turkey will make fraudulent things, such as it can ratify one of the Protocols, but I think this will not be accepted by Armenia. For them the main task is to exert pressure on Armenia over the Artsakh issue. We hope no positive change in terms of the Protocols will happen so that the President will do what he said on the eve of next spring. I am convinced that he also doesn’t believe in the positive progress, so Armenia will take back its signature. We are waiting for that day”, he said.

Over 700 People Attend ‘The Last Inhabitant’ Premiere in Glendale

From left to right: Panel moderator Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian,director Jivan Avetisyan, System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian, cast member Anne Bedian, Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation chairperson Garo Madenlian, and executive producer Adrineh Mirzayan.

BY RACHEL MELIKIAN

Over 700 people were in attendance at the screening of “The Last Inhabitant” organized by the Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation at the Alex Theater. Among the attendees were the producer of the movie The Promise, Eric Esrailian, the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles, Minister Plenipotentiary Valery Mkertoumian, Consul Armella Shakaryan, and His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.

The film poster describes, “caught between heaven and hell one women’s destiny lies in the crossfire…” showing that the last inhabitant’s, Abgar’s, daughter was lost when the enemy launched hell, however, a dear friend finds her in a psychiatric hospital and brings her back to her father. The Last Inhabitant, set in 1988, is a movie about the Armenians’ struggles in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) during the time of Sumgait massacres.

The central theme of The Last Inhabitant is how the father continues his everlasting love despite hardships. His first hardship includes nurturing his adopted daughter back to a more peaceful life. Secondly, the movie shows the unbreakable friendship between the father and his friend, despite the fact his best friend’s people, Azeris, destroyed his village, Gyurjevan, and massacred all of its people.

The movie mirrors the tragic destiny of Armenians who are perpetually forced to flee their homeland. As Abgar says, “Now I am again on the run.” However, despite all the atrocities, the moral of the story is that Armenians will continue to defend their people and love dearly their ancestral homeland. This is shown in the scene where the last inhabitant stands admiring the panoramic view of his lost paradise.

The world is unaware of us [Armenians] and our history, so film screenings and the film are commonly significant, as we present our story of universal humanity in this way of art,” said Jivan Avetisyan.

Directed by Jivan Avetisyan, The Last Inhabitant has been screend at the Cannes International Film Festival “Marche du Film,” the 20th Shanghai Int’l Film Festival’s “Panorama” program, and at the Venice Int’l Film Festival -Venice Production Bridge program. It has also been selected for competition at the Scandinavian International Film Festival in Helsinki, Finland to take place end of October.

Serj Tankian, System of a Down, scored its music. At the festivals, The Last Inhabitant had great receptions, where both Chinese and Italians viewers loved the film, according to Avetisyan.

The screening of The Last Inhabitant opened Friday, September 15 at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, and is coming to Costa Mesa and Whittier from September 22-24. The screening at Costa Mesa on September 22 and the screening at Whittier on September 23 will follow with a Q&A following the 8pm premiere. The Americana may add additional screenings. Your support determines the film’s longevity on the big screen.

After the screening there was a panel Q&A moderated by the English editor of Asbarez, Ara Kachatourian. Panelists included director Jivan Avetisyan, System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian, cast member Anne Bedian, Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation chairperson Garo Madenlian, and executive producer Adrineh Mirzayan.

“Honestly, it’s been three years in the making of The Last Inhabitant,” said Mirzayan and now that it’s up on the screen, “filling up the theaters, that’s the biggest challenge in our community. Please tell all your friends, non-Armenians as well.”

“Please spread the word for the success of the Armenian film,” said Madenlian, to “Bring Artsakh to the world, and take the world to Artsakh, and hopefully Artsakh takes back all of its borders. We want the word to get out there and make sure people see it [the film] from Artsakh for Artsakh.”

Avetisyan has also directed another moviee about Artsakh called TevanikTevanik has been screened in more than 25 countries, translated into nine languages, shown at many film festivals, and won many honorary awards. Avetisyan’s upcoming feature film, Gate to Heaven, is tentatively scheduled for production Spring 2018.

You can see The Last Inhabitant at the Americana starting last Friday, September 15 or between September 22-24 at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa and the Starlight Whittier Village Cinemas in Whittier. After the screening, there will be Q&A both in Costa Mesa and Whittier, on September 22 and 23 respectively.

RFE/RL Armenian Report – 09/20/2017

                                        Wednesday, 

Yerevan Signals Scrapping Of Turkish-Armenian Accords


 . Emil Danielyan


U.S. - Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian speaks at the UN General
Assembly in New York, 19Sep2017.

President Serzh Sarkisian indicated late on Tuesday his intention to
formally annul the U.S.-brokered 2009 agreements to normalize
Armenia's relations with Turkey, citing Ankara's continuing refusal to
implement them unconditionally.

"Given the absence of any progress towards their implementation,
Armenia will declare the two protocols null and void," he declared in
a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. "We will enter the
spring of 2018 without those, as our experience has demonstrated,
futile protocols."

The protocols signed in Zurich in October 2009 committed Turkey and
Armenia to establishing diplomatic relations and opening their
border. Shortly after the high-profile signing ceremony, Ankara made
clear, however, that Turkey's parliament will ratify the deal only if
there is decisive progress towards a resolution of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.

The Armenian government rejected this precondition, arguing that the
protocols make no reference to the conflict. The United States, the
European Union and Russia have also repeatedly called for their
unconditional implementation by both sides.


Switzerland -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (2ndR) and his
Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandiana (2nd L) shake hands as they
hold signed documents after a signing ceremony, Zurich, 10Oct2009

In his speech, Sarkisian denounced Ankara's "ludicrous preconditions."
"Turkey's leadership is mistaken if it thinks that it can perpetually
hold those documents hostage and ratify them only on what it sees as
the most opportune occasion," he said.

The Turkish government did not immediately react to the
announcement. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for more
international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict when he
addressed the General Assembly earlier on Tuesday. Successive
governments in Ankara have kept that border with Armenia completely
closed since 1993 in a show of support for Azerbaijan.

Sarkisian already threatened in February 2010 to scrap the protocols
if they are not ratified by the Turks "in the shortest possible time."
But he avoided doing that, saying two months later that he does not
want to upset the U.S. and other world powers.

Sarkisian formally recalled the protocols from the Armenian parliament
ahead of official commemorations in April 2015 of the centenary of the
Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. He told Turkish journalists
afterwards that the move "does not presuppose any legal consequences
because I did not withdraw Armenia's signatures from the protocols."


Turkey -- President Abdullah Gul (R) speaks with his Armenian
counterpart Serzh Sarkisian during the World Cup 2010 qualifying
football match between Turkey and Armenia in Bursa, 14Oct2009

Sarkisian's Western-backed policy of rapprochement with Turkey proved
highly controversial within Armenia and especially its worldwide
Diaspora. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), an
influential pan-Armenian party, pulled out of his coalition government
in protest in 2009.

Dashnaktsutyun and some opposition groups in Armenia were particularly
angered by a clause in the protocols that called for the creation of a
Turkish-Armenian "subcomission" of historians that would examine the
1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenia. They said that the
very existence of such a body could call into question the genocide
acknowledged by most Western historians. Sarkisian and his allies
denied that.

Some critics also questioned economic benefits of an open border with
Turkey for Armenia.

Economists generally agree that cross-border commerce would be good
for the Armenian economy. Just how substantial and quick that impact
would be is a matter of contention.

A 2015 opinion poll by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC),
a U.S. non-governmental organization specializing in the South
Caucasus, found that only one in two Armenians support the opening of
the Turkish-Armenian border. According to the European Union-funded
poll, nearly half of respondents felt that it would damage Armenia's
national security. Also, 82 percent of those polled agreed with the
notion that Turkey "cannot be trusted."



More U.S. Lawmakers Visit Karabakh


Nagorno-Karabakh - U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone (R) and Tulsi
Gabbard meet officials in Stepanakert, 20Sep2017.

Two more members of the U.S. House of Representatives visited
Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday in a show of support for the
Armenian-populated territory's pursuit of international recognition.

Representatives Frank Pallone and Tulsi Gabbard met with government
officials and lawmakers in Stepanakert after touring the nearby
historical town of Shushi (Shusha).

Pallone, who is one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Armenian
Caucus, reaffirmed his pro-Armenian views on the Karabakh
conflict. "We believe that the people of Artsakh (Karabakh) must be
able to exercise their right to self-determination and have mechanisms
for ensuring their security," the Artsakhpress news agency quoted him
saying at the meeting.

"We are going to do our best within the Congress or within the
confines of the [OSCE] Minsk Group # to see if we can play some role
in creating some confidence-building measures and obviously pushing
along a process that would lead to a peaceful settlement," Pallone
told reporters afterwards.

"But all of that necessitates that Karabakh continue to be Armenian
and have its own self-determination. That, we will always insist on,"
added the New Jersey Democrat who has repeatedly visited Karabakh in
the past.

Both Pallone and Gabbard, a Democrat of Hawaii, praised the Karabakh
authorities' human rights and democracy records. Karabakh shares
"important values" with the United States, Gabbard said.


Nagorno-Karabakh - U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaks at a
meeting in Stepanakert, 20Sep2017.

The two lawmakers were accompanied by the chairmen of the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian Assembly of
America, the two main Armenian lobby groups in the U.S. "As our
congressional friends saw today, Artsakh is a very American story: the
victory of a free people over foreign rule, the well-deserved and
hard-earned triumph of democracy over dictatorship," said the ANCA's
Raffi Hamparian.

Pallone and Gabbard were part of a six-member U.S. congressional
delegation that held talks with Armenian lawmakers and senior
government officials in Yerevan on Tuesday. Another member of the
delegation, David Valadao, travelled to Karabakh on Monday to inspect
U.S.-funded demining activities there.

Earlier this month, Valadao and other pro-Armenian lawmakers pushed
through House of Representatives legislation mandating continued
U.S. government funding for the humanitarianeffort. The U.S. Congress
has financed it since 2001 as part of direct economic assistance to
Karabakh allocated over strong Azerbaijani objections.



Armenian General Cleared Of Corruption Charges


 . Hovannes Movsisian


Armenia -- Retired General Melsik Chilingarian speaks to RFE/RL in
Yerevan, 20Sep2017.

Armenian law-enforcement authorities have dropped corruption charges
against a high-ranking Defense Ministry official who was arrested last
year, it emerged on Wednesday.

General Melsik Chilingarian was taken into custody in May 2016 ten
days after being sacked as head of the ministry's Department on
Armaments which deals with storage, maintenance and repair of weapons
and ammunition supplied to the Armenian Armed Forces.

Also arrested was Colonel Armen Markarian, one of Chilingarian's
subordinates who was in charge of vehicles used by the army.Armenia's
Investigative Committee accused the two men of procurement fraud that
cost the state 145 million drams ($300,000) in losses.

A uniform-clad Chilingarian was spotted by an RFE/RL correspondent
while taking in part in the latest Armenia-Diaspora conference held in
Yerevan. He said that he was set free and cleared of any wrongdoing
about one month after his arrest. He said investigators found that
only Markarian was responsible for the alleged misuse of government
money.

The spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, Sona Truzian,
confirmed the information. She said that "large-scale investigative
actions" taken by the law-enforcement body found no evidence of
corrupt practices or other abuse of power by the general.

Despite being cleared of the corruption charges, Chilingarian was not
reinstated in his Defense Ministry post.He said he now only sits on
one of the ministry's advisory bodies.

Chilingarian's arrest followed the sackings of Deputy Defense Minister
Alik Mirzabekian, as well as General Arshak Karapetian, the Armenian
military intelligence chief, and General Komitas Muradian, the
commander of the Armenian army's communication units. They came more
than three weeks after the outbreak of heavy fighting around
Nagorno-Karabakh that nearly escalated into a full-scale
Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

The four-day hostilities raised questions about the Armenian
military's apparent lack of prior knowledge of the assault. Critics
also suggested that Karabakh Armenian frontline troops did not have
sufficient modern weapons and other military equipment when they came
under attack.

Both Chilingarian and the Investigative Committee official insisted
that the criminal case against him was not connected with the April
2016 war.



Aliyev Laments Lack Of International Pressure On `Fascist' Armenia



U.S. -- Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev addresses the 72nd United
Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S.,
.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again strongly criticized the
international community on Wednesday for not helping Azerbaijan regain
control over Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian-held districts surrounding
it.

In a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, he also lashed out
at Armenia, calling it a "corrupt" and "fascist" dictatorship and
branding his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian as a "war criminal."

Aliyev repeated Baku's regular claims that Armenia has been ignoring
the Karabakh-related resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in
1993-1994 and trying to maintain the status quo.

"The question is how can this corrupt, failed state ruled by a
despotic, medieval regime afford to violate international law for so
many years and ignore the resolutions of the UN Security Council and
statements of the leading countries of the world?" he said. "And the
answer is double standards.

"There is no international pressure on the aggressor, no international
sanctions imposed on the Armenian dictatorship. This policy must be
stopped."

"The international community must stop Armenian fascism and terror,"
he added.

Aliyev, who is facing growing internationalallegations of corruption
and criticism for harshly suppressing dissent in Azerbaijan, did not
name any world powers allegedly backing Yerevan. He reiterated instead
that "the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be completely
restored" as a result of a Karabakh settlement.

Sarkisian ruled out such an option when he addressed the UN assembly
on Tuesday. He stood by the official Armenian line that the Karabakh
Armenians' right to self-determination must be at the heart of any
peace accord.

Sarkisian said Karabakh cannot be placed back under Azerbaijani rule
not least because Aliyev's regime is a "symbol of medieval
backwardness." "Azerbaijan has no legal and moral grounds to lay claim
to Artsakh (Karabakh)," he went on. "Artsakh has never been part of an
independent Azerbaijan."

"Whatever variant of settlement we arrive at, the Republic of Artsakh
cannot have a lower status and enjoy less freedom than it does now,"
said the Armenian leader.

Peace proposals jointly made by the United States, Russia and France
over the past decade call for a phased resolution of the
Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute. It would start with a gradual liberation
of virtually all seven districts around Karabakh that were occupied by
Armenian forces in 1992-1994. In return, Karabakh's predominantly
ethnic Armenian population would be able to determine the territory's
internationally recognized status in a future referendum.

Aliyev and Sarkisian traded the verbal attacks ahead of a possible
meeting in New York of their foreign ministers. The U.S., Russian and
French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group hope that the meeting will
prepare the ground for an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit later this year.



Press Review



"Zhamanak" analyzes possible implications of Prime Minister Karen
Karapetian's latest remark that he would like to continue serving as
prime minister next year. "Karen Karapetian was never known for his
determination and straightforward answers," writes the paper. "If he
is now making clear his ambitions relating to 2018, one can presume
that either a political decision has been made or that Karen
Karapetian intends to seriously fight, with the help of
Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetian, for power in 2018. We
are more inclined to believe in the former." It suggests that the
premier would have hardly made such a statement without having reason
to be optimistic about his political future.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" speculates, meanwhile, that President Serzh
Sarkisian "did everything" to sack Karapetian or force him to resign
before the Armenia-Diaspora conference that began on
Monday. "Sarkisian had serious reason to do so," writes the paper. "As
we all know, the Diaspora is not quite enthusiastic about Armenia's
current authorities and has reservations and grievances on many
issues. In this situation, with his European image Karen Karapetian
could become a real alternative for respected Diaspora figures."

The paper claims that Karapetian has also received "serious support"
from the West of late despite his strong connections with Russia's
government and business circles. It points to statements by Western
diplomats hailing his reform agenda. Karapetian could therefore pose a
"serious threat" to Sarkisian, concludes "Zhamanak."

"Zhoghovurd" blasts government plans to step up the teaching of the
Russian language in Armenian schools. A government document disclosed
by the media last week stresses the importance for Armenians to speak
"different foreign languages." The paper says that the government is
singling out only one of those languages. "This is an abnormal
phenomenon," it says, adding that the Armenian authorities are trying
to promote Russian under pressure from Moscow.

"Hraparak" is unimpressed with the latest Diaspora-Armenia conference,
saying that many of its participants are now less enthusiastic than
they were during the previous gatherings held in Yerevan. This is why,
the paper says, some Diaspora Armenians openly criticized the Armenian
authorities this time around.

(Tigran Avetisian)

Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2017 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
www.rferl.org

Azerbaijani Press: Elimination of All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress in Russia Unfriendly Step Towards Azerbaijan – MFA

Turan Information Agency, Azerbaijani Opposition
 Tuesday


Elimination of All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress in Russia Unfriendly
Step Towards Azerbaijan - MFA



Baku / 19.09.17 / Turan: Elimination of the All-Russian Azerbaijani
Congress (ARAC) in Russia is an unfriendly step towards Azerbaijan.
This was stated by the official representative of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, commenting on the
decision of the Appeals Board of the Supreme Court of Russia to
approve the first instance court's verdict on the liquidation of ARAC.

"In general, we regard the decision to eliminate ARAC, which played an
important role in the development of humanitarian relations between
Azerbaijan and Russia, as an unfriendly step from the political point
of view, which severely impacts the development of the strategic
partnership of the two countries at a high level," Hajiyev said to the
state news agency AzerTaj.

The reasons for such an unfriendly decision of the Russian Federation
on the liquidation of ARAC are not clear. Moreover, Russia is one of
the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, and this status
requires demonstration of a balanced approach towards the sides of the
Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. "At the time when an unfair approach to
the representatives of the Azerbaijani community living in Russia is
being applied with the elimination of ARAC, the Russian Union of
Armenians is fully supported and continues its activities," Hajiyev
continued.

In general, the Russian Federation's policy regarding the liquidation
of ARAC is surprising and causes serious questions and deep regret,
Hajiyev summarized. -06D--

Azerbaijani Press: Azerbaijan urges OIC countries to limit all forms of co-op with Armenia (UPDATE)

Trend, Azerbaijan
Sept 20 2017
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 20

By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has urged the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to make every effort to support the measures to end Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan, avoid illegal economic and other activities in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, limit all forms of cooperation with Armenia.

He was addressing the OIC Contact Group meeting on the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, which was held in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

It was noted that for the period after the first meeting of the OIC Contact Group, the situation on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement process didn’t change, on the contrary, clashes on the frontline, as well as cases of deliberate killing of Azerbaijani civilians residing along the contact line between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops increased.

Mammadyarov also urged the OIC countries to refrain from Armenia’s armament in order to prevent the escalation of the conflict, and ban the transit of weapons and military equipment through their territories for this purpose.

Azerbaijan relies on the consistent solidarity of the Islamic world in resolute condemnation of the use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and the occupation of its territories, Mammadyarov said.

It should be noted that during its summit in Istanbul in April 2016, OIC made a decision to establish a contact group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which included the foreign ministers of the OIC member-states. The decision was made at Turkey’s initiative.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

Azerbaijani Press: Azerbaijan says US congressmen’s illegal visit to Nagorno-Karabakh is being investigated

APA, Azerbaijan
Sept 20 2017

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The visit of members of the US House of Representatives – Frank Pallone and Tulsi Gabbard – to the occupied Azerbaijani territories is being investigated, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told APA on Wednesday.

 After the investigation is over, appropriate steps will be taken in relation of these persons, Hajiyev noted.

 “These persons have long been funded by Armenia and the Armenian lobby in the US. They are completely depended on the US-based Armenian lobby,” he added.   

Azerbaijani Press: Azerbaijani defense minister checks readiness of military formations’ resources

Trend News Agency, Azerbaijan
Sept 20 2017


20:09 (UTC+04:00)
  • Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 20

    Trend:

    Azerbaijan’s defense minister, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov has checked the level of readiness of the mobilization resources of formations and units intended for rapid deployment and use during combat operations, the Defense Ministry told Trend Sept. 20.

    Hasanov heard reports of commanders of various levels on the complement, combat coordination, staff structure and combat capabilities of troops participating in large-scale exercises.

    Depots of military units temporarily storing military equipment and weapons, guns, reserve ammunition, as well as other material and technical means were inspected.

    The minister checked the combat readiness of reserve military equipment, familiarized himself with the activities of points for the reception and complement of equipment, as well as reserve military personnel, heard reports of military officials of varying ranks and gave instructions.

    The defense minister highly appreciated the personnel’s level of readiness and organization, the technical condition of the stored military equipment, arms and ammunition.