Georgia FM Visits Etchmiadzin

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF GEORGIA SALOME ZURABISHVILI VISITS HOLY
ETCHMIADZIN

ETCHMIADZIN, July 26 (Noyan Tapan). Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Georgia Salome Zurabishvili visited the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
on July 22.

Bishop Paren Avetikian, Head of the Monastic Council, manager on
administrative and organization issues of the Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin, received her and conveyed the best wishes of Catholicos
of All Armenians Karekin II. Greeting the Georgian guest, the Bishop
touched upon the warm and brotherly relations both between the
countries and churches. Salome Zurabishvili expressed her gratitude to
the Holy Father for his reception. She also presented the internal
situation in Georgia and the regional problems. According to the
Information System of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Georgia accompanied by Bishop Avetikian visited
the Cathedral and the museum at the end of the meeting. Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Georgia Georgy
Khosroev and other officials were also present at the meeting.

Armrosgasprom Invests $13Mln to Sphere of Gas-Supply This Year

“ARMROSGASPROM” INVESTS 13 MLN DOLLARS TO SPHERE OF GAS-SUPPLY THIS
YEAR

YEREVAN, July 26 (Noyan Tapan). This year the “Armrosgasprom” company
will invest 6.76 bln drams (about 13 mln dollars) to the sphere of
gas-supply of Armenia. Abgar Budaghian, senior specialist of the
Commission on Public Services Regulation, said about it during the
July 23 sitting. It should be mentioned that “Armrosgasprom” submitted
the 2004 investment program to the commission for discussion. According
to it, 372.8 mln drams will be invested with the purpose of study,
restoration, reconstruction and re-equipment of the gas-supply system,
178.5 mln drams will be invested with the purpose of the decrease of
losses in the gas-supply system, and 23.3 mln drams – with the purpose
of the purchase of machines and mechanisms in the system of gas
transportation. The decrease of losses in the gas-distribution system
made 350 mln drams as a result of investments. 530-kilometer new gas
pipeline will be constructed, and 160,000 people will receive an
opportunity to join the network of gas-distribution, including 98,000
people will become real subscribers. It should be mentioned that
according to the data of 2003, there were 54,000 subscribers in the
republic. The same day, the commission approved the investment program
of “Armrosgasprom”.

USDA Map Contributes to Aigezard Winery

USDA MAP CONTRIBUTES TO AIGEZARD WINERY

YEREVAN, July 26 (Noyan Tapan). According to Brent Trelan, USDA MAP
wine-making expert, the production of the winery of the village of
Aigezard of the Ararat region is the best among the Armenian dry and
half-dry wines. B. Trelan carried out the great work directed at the
increase of the quality of this wine.

According to the USDA MAP, which contributes to the enterprise, the
works were carried out with participation of B. Trenal, in particular,
on the line of the prolongation of terms of storing of and bottling of
wines. According to the message, the history of the winery-brandy
enterprise of Aigezard started in 1929. The winery being idle since
1998 and resuming its work in 2002 has an opportunity to annually lay
in at least 10 tons of grapes today.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Yerevan Conference Dedicated to Monitoring Radiation at ANPP

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE DEDICATED TO RADIATION MONITORING IN LOCATION
OF ARMENIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT TO BE HELD IN YEREVAN

YEREVAN, July 26 (Noyan Tapan). The international conference dedicated
to issues of unification and optimization of the radiation monitoring
in the location of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant will be held in
Yerevan in September.

Robert Vardanian, Chairman of the steering committee of the
conference, told NT’s correspondent that main attention will be drawn
to the problems of security of nuclear power plants, nuclear waste
products, issues connected with the environment that present great
interest for the region. Representatives of the United States, Great
Britain, France, Slovenia, Russia, Hungary, Belorussia Ukraine and
Georgia will participate in the conference besides Armenia.

CoE Contributes to Elaboration of General Layout of Comunities

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONTRIBUTES TO ELABORATION OF GENERAL LAYOUTS OF
REGIONAL COMMUNITIES OF ARMENIA

YEREVAN, July 26 (Noyan Tapan). It is expected that the general
layouts of the communities situated out of Yerevan will be elaborated
this year for the first time. Ruzanna Alaverdian, RA Deputy Minister
of Urban Development, said that the general layouts of 12 communities
of Ararat, Syunik, Gegharkunik, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor will be
elaborated owing to 100 mln drams allocated by the state
budget. Discussions on the preparation of plans and planning of
strategy of communal development were held with correspondent
departments of Vayots Dzor, Jermuk and Syunik. They are financed by
the CE program “Armenia as Innovative Bridge in ECMRRP Model Regions
European Network”. The “European Conference of Ministers Responsible
for Regional Planning” Organization is the Ministerial Committee
responsible for territorial planning of states-members of the Council
of Europe. According to Ph. D Oygen Heller, the Armenian delegation
contributed a lot to the process of the elaboration of ECMRRP projects
and programs. Armenia has great potential and may become a bridge in
the process of the involvement of other countries in the European
structures. Taking all this into account, it was decided to implement
the two-year program “Armenia as Innovative Bridge in ECMRRP Model
Regions European Network” under the patronage of the Council of
Europe, which will give an opportunity to develop new European
approaches to the development of the communities.

Grant plea on car port refused

Herald Express (Torquay)
July 23, 2004

Grant plea on car port refused

Caroline Meek, 29, who relies on a wheelchair, wanted the money to
build a car port at her home at Hedgehog House, Bickington. But
Teignbridge Council’s licensing and appeals committee decided the car
port wasn’t essential for her access to the property, and rejected
the appeal. Cllr Sandra Heath made the announcement after the
four-strong committee heard Mrs Meek’s evidence behind closed doors.

Mrs Meek suffers from herniation of the spinal cord.

She was diagnosed with the complaint only two weeks after she
married, five years ago.

And she is one of only five diagnosed cases in the western world. She
has undergone 14 operations on her spinal cord and skull.

The committee heard a medical team, including Mrs Meek’s
neurosurgeon, general practitioner and physiotherapist, supported the
grant application.

Her condition made her particularly vulnerable to the cold and wet,
they said in a report to the committee.

Steve Bamford, Teignbridge Council’s scientific housing officer said
the council had already carried out almost £6,000 of work at her
home.

The authority had smoothed the drive and improved the access to the
house, and provided a turning area.

That had been paid for by a mandatory disabled facility grant, which
is 60 per cent subsidised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,
with the rest funded by Teignbridge.

Her application for the car port was made, at the council’s
insistence, under a discretionary facilities grant, which is wholly
funded by Teignbridge. But Mr Bamford told the committee the council
had no resources for the grant.

And he revealed £344,000 of the £358,000 total budget for mandatory
grants had already been earmarked.

He added: “We are only in the first part of the second quarter of the
year, and there is already substantial commitment to the mandatory
disabled facility grant.” He admitted the side of Mrs Meek’s house
was “open to the elements”.

But providing a car port would be equivalent to allocating four
stairlifts and three walk-in showers, so it was “a significant
element” he told the committee.

After the appeal Mrs Meek said: “I feel I have slipped through the
system at every stage of my disability.

“I have gone from being a healthy 24-year-old to being a disabled
29-year-old.

“I used to be proud of being British, growing up in our great
country, but since I have needed help in my situation, I have been
let down by every national sector except my neurosurgeon.

“I feel incredibly abandoned and I don’t know in which direction to
turn to obtain any physical or emotional help to improve my life and
those around me.

“The decision today is just the icing on the cake.” The trauma of Mrs
Meek’s condition came after an extremely active childhood and
adolescence. She represented Trinity School, Teignmouth at county
swimming and athletics before going to Bournemouth University.

She has been treated by “mind instructor” Hratch O’Gali, an
American-born Armenian, at his central London clinic.

He has helped her regain some feeling in her legs, walk up the stairs
on her own and even swim in her local pool.

Una Turchia piu’ vicina

Il Sole 24 Ore, Italia
July 23, 2004

Una Turchia piu’ vicina

Recep Tayyp Erdogan, primo ministro turco, e’ un politico che sa
guardare molto lontano. Il premier di Ankara, un islamico moderato a
capo di un governo monocolore che ha raccolto buoni successi in campo
economico rilanciando la crescita e tagliando l’inflazione, sa che il
futuro del suo Paese passa dall’ingresso nell’Unione europea.

Erdogan sa altrettanto bene che per raggiungere l’obiettivo
occorrera’ avere molta pazienza ed aspettare qualche decennio. Nel
breve periodo, invece, Ankara guarda a una data molto piu’ vicina, il
17 dicembre quando sotto la presidenza olandese la Commissione e il
Consiglio dovranno decidere di aprire, o meno, l’avvio dei negoziati
per l’ingresso della Turchia nell’Unione europea. Aprire i negoziati
non vuole dire entrare, ma sarebbe un viatico importante e un
successo diplomatico per Ankara.

Per entrare in Europa Erdogan ha compreso che doveva sedurre Parigi,
il principale oppositore all’ingresso del Paese islamico ai negoziati
europei. Ecco perche’ il premier turco, nella recente tre giorni
parigina, non si e’ risparmiato: ha incontrato tutte le maggiori
cariche del Paese, dall’Eliseo, a Matignon, dai presidenti dei due
rami del Parlamento all’opposizione socialista, al mondo degli
affari. Sono stati contatti per dimostrare i progressi fatti dal
Paese della Mezzaluna sul fronte del rispetto dei diritti umani e
dell’avvicinamento ai criteri posti per l’ingresso nella Ue.

Nella missione in terra di Francia il premier turco ha incassato
all’Eliseo il personale sostegno del presidente della Repubblica,
Jacques Chirac, la simpatia del primo ministro Jean-Pierre Raffarin,
l’assenso dei socialisti di Frantois Hollande (che pongono pero’ la
condizione del riconoscimento del genocidio degli armeni), e la netta
opposizione dell’Ump e dell’Udf, i due partiti del Centro-destra e
dell’opinione pubblica. Cosi’ per vincere le ultime esitazioni
Erdogan ha giocata la carta del business firmando un maxi-contratto
per l’acquisto di 36 Airbus dal consorzio franco-tedesco. Un
biglietto da 2 miliardi di euro che possono valere un’opzione
sull’ingresso in Europa.

Armenian performers find appreciation, dialogue with Turk audiences

armenianow.com
23 July 2004

Art Over Obstacles: Armenian performers find appreciation and dialogue with
Turkish audiences

By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow arts reporter

While diplomacy seems at a stalemate in relations between Turkey and
Armenia, exchange of culture shows more signs of reaching
understanding.

Last month, the 12-member Armenian Navy Band returned from Turkey
after a successful tour. Earlier in the spring, the Sundukyan National
Academic Theater performed there. And at about the same time, dudukist
Jivan Gasparyan toured Turkey.

The Sundukyan Theater had success in Turkey.

“Artists have recently made serious steps in Armenian-Turkish
relations and probably we can obtain successes there where diplomats
fail,” says Sundukyan art director Vahe Shahverdyan.

Over his long career, Gasparyan has seen some softening of cultural
borders. During Soviet times, he was invited to play in Turkey with a
Russian ensemble. But the only way he could get a visa is if he
changed his surname. Of course he refused.

But in 2000, he finally got the chance to play there on the invitation
of Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider.

“When I got off the plane I was alone in a foreign and, significantly,
in the country of my ‘enemy’. I had never been so excited,” Gasparyan
recalls. “Suddenly I saw a Turk with big piece of paper with
‘Gasparyan’ written on it approaching me. They took my passport for
putting entry visa on it. In two minutes they returned and without
even a customs check I left the territory of the airport. Outside the
airport a limousine was waiting for me. Then I was taken to luxurious
five-star hotel.”

The duduk player was surprised with the special attention he received,
including a standing ovation.

“My performance was a part of Vollenweider’s concert program and
before announcing the names of artists audience didn’t know who
performed except Vollenweider at the concert. When my name was
announced silence fell in the concert hall for a moment and suddenly
the audience burst into applause,” says Gasparyan, still excited by
the moment.

Arto: “Citizen of the planet”

His concert with Vollenweider led to four solo tours and several
recordings in Turkey.

This spring’s concerts included conversations between the audience and
the artist, including sensitive political topics.

Turkish media highlighted Gasparyan’s responses: “We artists don’t
want to be involved in politics. We make efforts to strengthen
relations between nations with the help of our art. There is no nation
to wish a war and I’m glad that with my music I contribute to
establishment of kind and good relations.”

On the eve of his concert, Gasparyan attended the concert of Turkish
singer Sezen Agsu. When Agsu saw Gasparyan sitting in the hall she
left the stage and hugged him. Then standing on the stage she said: “A
perfect musician is now in this hall. I’ve been listening to his works
for 20 years and every time I’ve been touched with them.”

The Sundukyan Theater felt similar appreciation during two tours this
year, including participation in the Festival of Black Sea Countries,
in Trabzon.

People’s Artist Lorents Arushanyan says the festival was a serious
test for them, during which they managed to overcome years of
barriers. “Of course, even if they carried us in their arms we would
never forget our judgment, our ancestors’ judgment, but with such
cultural cooperation we in some measure will probably contribute to a
solution of political problems,” he says.

The spring visit was the third time the Armenian Navy Band has played
Turkey.

It’s founder, Arto Tunchboyajyan was born in Turkey, but maintains a
universal attitude concerning nationality, often expressed in ANB
performances:

I am a citizen of the planet earth and with my art I’m finding ways of
trust towards everyone despite their nationality. Of course, it
doesn’t mean I forget about history. I know better than anyone about
our bitter days,” Tunchboyajyan says.

Gasparyan: “I had never been so excited.”

Saxophonist David Nalchajyan says art is very strong and powerful
tool. And in the case of ANB, it is complemented with comments by
Tunchboyajyan about regional relations that sometimes are
controversial.

“Our concerts are very free. Often they are full of conversations and
during concerts Arto has dialogues with Turkish audience and tells
about their defects and other things,” says Nalchajyan.

Nalchajyan says some people walked out of the hall. “But young people
have free approaches and even they ask about Armenian questions. They
simply don’ t know anything as they were told a completely different
story and that is what should be changed.”

Political analyst Slavik Minasyan regards such Armenian-Turkish
cultural developments to be diplomatic progress, which can contribute
to friendship without violating national dignity and without burying
history in oblivion. But, he recalls that, although Armenian artists
have been received in Turkey, there has been no reciprocation. In
fact, even a Turkish film was banned from “Private Look”, an
international festival here two years ago.

Many people criticize artists for going to Turkey. But these people
wear Turkish clothes and use different goods of Turkish production,”
he says. “Why shouldn’t we import our art. Let them see that despite
that their ancestors committed genocide, Armenians continues to live.”

At the Center of the Southern Caucasus: and on the brink of survival

At the Center of the Southern Caucasus: . . . and on the brink of survival
armenianow.com
23 July 2004

By Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow correspondent

In the far northeast of Armenia, the village of Barekamavan is subject
to control by the Army of Azerbaijan.

Located in a deep hollow the conflict line practically runs through
the village and frequent shootouts are seen as an ordinary consequence
of life in Barekamavan.

Surrounded

Barekamavan is in the very center of the Southern Caucasus. Georgian
industrial center Rustavi with plants and industrial blocks is clearly
seen from its hills. The m ain Caucasian Ridge is also clearly seen in
the north and behind that ridge there is the “Big World”.

Residents of Barekamavan, however, are too far away from that world.

Every house and yard of Barekamavan is located within snipers’ field
of view. The last incident when gunfire led to death was June 5, 2002
when a sniper’s bullet killed 49-year-old resident Martin Mikaelyan.

Barekamavan is the final stop on an 18-kilometer road that links it
with Voskevan, and Koti. The road itself splits off from the main
Ijevan-Noemberian-Tbilisi road in the area of border village
Baghanis. Koti, about eight kilometers away is the closest Armenian
populated area. Azeri villages Birinji, Iginji and Uchinji are much
closer.

The strategic Azeri villages have been consolidated into one area
called Shikhlu. Among its inhabitants are Shias and third-generation
Sunnis whose ancestors clashed with Amenians in 1918-20.

“Despite our village is located far away from Yerevan, during Soviet
times it held an advantageous position,” says village head Hovhannes
Karakeshishyan. The village is just 18 kilometers from the Red Bridge
junction, which joins Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Tbilisi is only
65 kilometers away.

“Today as a result of the blockade of communications Barekamavan is in
a very vulnerable position,” Karakeshishyan says. “Besides, a restless
border doesn’t contribute to the development of the village. Today
Barekamavan is on the brink of survival.”

Farm vehicles have become sniper targets in border villages At
present, 455 people live in the village, 80 percent of which are
pensioners.

“Young people have almost nothing to do in the village,” says the
village head. “There are no factories and no farmland, as most of it
contains landmines . . . Livestock farming is not developing as well
because a bead is kept on pastures and cattle often trip
landmines. Young people have really nothing to maintain their families
with in Barekamavan. That’s why this village is getting older before
the eyes.”

Only four births were registered in 2003 in Barekamavan. Last year the
village school had 37 pupils, in a building that has been shot up many
times and shows the effect.

Gurgen and Amalia Azatyans are pupils of lower forms of Barekamavan
school.

During lessons they also study nature of their homeland, which they
know by heart. They perfectly know the places of spring fountains
where children go everyday for water, hauled out by a stubborn
donkey. They know the range of mined territories, where it is not
recommended for them to go.

“Children know geography of their homeland by heart,” says head of
Barekamavan, “the case with the history of their own life is much
harder.

How and where are they going to live? There are no possibilities to
talk about bright prospects of development of the village.”

During Soviet times, a branch of the “Shushan” factory ran in
Barekamavan and 120 locals worked there. Today the factory is gone and
so are most of the workers.

Karakeshishyan, an engineer, was one of the factory workers.

Tobacco is among crops in the region

“Those days people lived in plenty, plus, cattle growing was
developing. Our stock farmer was Azeri from the neighboring
village. Despite Azeries never lived here, however, we were in normal
relations with them. For instance in 1987 administration of the
village applied to government of Azerbaijan with the request to
install gas pipeline to Barekamavan. During Soviet times such a
request was quite normal. A year after that the Karabakh conflict
began and all ties were broken.”

These days, Barekamavan exists on money transfers, made to remaining
family members by those who have found work outside. The money is
spent in Koti, as there is no commerce in Barekamavan.

“It is obvious that government of Armenia must develop special
economic policy for border villages,” Karakeshishyan says. “There is
no other way for survival. There are few populated areas like
Barekamavan in Armenia.

However, their importance and strategic value is great.”

This day Karakeshishyan packs his donkey with a couple of old cans and
again goes to the spring for water, looking over his shoulder for
snipers, with little to look ahead to . . .

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

A family takes to the hills to master the art of sheep farming

Counting on Success: A family takes to the hills to master the art of sheep
farming
armenia.now.com
23 july 2004

By Julia Hakobyan ArmeniaNow reporter

On a foot of a hill near Lake Sevan, where four-legged creatures
vastly outnumber the upright, an Armenian family has found a new home
and a chance for well being.

The Ghalichyan family left their home in Shorzha village two years ago
for the sake of their sheep, for grassland and vast expanses, and for
the chance to harmonize with nature.

Roam with a view

“We chose a place near pasture and a spring and built a house and
cattlepen,” says the head of the family Edik Ghalichyan. “We have
here all that is needed for living: shelter, food, work. We installed
electricity, built a bath and a basement for keeping food. The only
thing what we don’t have are neighbors, but by now we’ve gotten used
to it.”

Ghalichayn, 58, his wife Yunik, their two sons with their families
made the decision to go to the mountains on an invitation from the
Tufenkian Foundation.

Four years ago the foundation launched “Sheep Farms”, a project that
promotes livestock breeding and offers farmers a way establish livable
business.

The foundation (established in 1996 by U.S. businessman James
Tufenkian) distributed 258 sheep (eight rams and 250 ewes) among 10
families in each of four villages in Gegharkunik Region. Each group of
10 families also received a $4,500 loan for maintenance of the
heard. The families agreed to pay back the money and return a
same-sized herd within five years.

The Ghalichyans may turn out to be an exception in a program that has
proved challenging. Their individual herd (some 300) is bigger than
the collective herd from four years ago.

The Ghalichyans settled near grazing land

“We didn’t intend to leave the village in the beginning,” says
Ghalichyan.

“But a big herd needs a big pasture. We had to take the herd each day
to the mountains, several kilometers from our house and stay there the
all day long. And once I came here with the sheep and decided to
stay.”

It was not an easy decision to live communal village life for the
savage landscape and a herd of sheep. But the family was experiencing
financial hardships as most of the villagers and the idea of having
their own farm prevailed over the fear of social isolation.

The transition from small herd to family business has not been
easy. For example, brucellosis spread in the herd, and the
Ghalichyan’s had to destroy half their stock.

“We had been keeping sheep before, but taking care of such a big herd
caused many unexpected problems,” says Yunik, 52. “It took over two
years to learn all the details of farming from our own mistakes.”

Yunik says that they learned among other things that the first portion
of milk causes death for newborn lambs, a detail that they did not
know before.

“When we had a small herd while in our village and some lambs were
dying it did not disturb us, but now since we have a big herd the
death of lambs is very harmful for the further herd development,” she
says.

Even though the herd has increased, the Ghalichyans have not yet
turned a profit. The seed money from the foundation covers expense for
80 tons of hay for feed during winter. Money made from selling wool
goes to cover costs of renovating sheep pens and buying vaccinations.

“We could not imagine how hard it would be to develop the farm,” says
Edik, “however we do not regret that we are here. Life was easy in
Soviet times, nowadays it is hard, but if you are ready to work hard
you will survive anywhere and in any times. Now we see the results of
our work and I hope soon our sheep will bring us profit”

The Ghalichyans also have cows, turkeys, hens and cover their daily
ration by trading milk, cheese and mutton for household necessities.

Samvel Gevorgyan, manager of Sheep Farm Project says that the project
implementation caused unexpected problems for the organizers as well.

The foundation founder and the flock

Gevorgyan says that they chose Gegharkunik as the most economically
area economically for the project, however could not expect that
farmers would have problems with farming.

Now, however: “Our experience in working with farmers demonstrates
that the villagers were not ready to work,” he says. “They experience
difficulties which we did not expect and for most families that work
appeared to be too hard.”

Only eight families (including Ghalichyan’s) out of the initial 40
succeeded to maintain the herds they got.

“In some cases the heads of the villages were not eager to cooperate
with us and were hindering the works of the families,” Gevorgyan
says. “It is because they do not have a clear idea what the contract
is, that we give loans, not money. We regularly organize meetings with
villagers to explain the project, their responsibilities and
duties. We hope that Armenian farmers will realize the advantages of
having their own farms.”

As for Ghalichyan family they hope they will manage to return the loan
and herd to foundation. The head of the family says that he would work
as hard as possible to secure the life of his family. Edik hopes that
his grandsons and their families would inherit his farm and the small
oasis in the mountain would become a successful family enterprise.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress