No Azeri diesel on sale in Armenia – ministry

No Azeri diesel on sale in Armenia – ministry

Arminfo
25 Jun 04

YEREVAN

The Armenian Ministry of Transport and Communications has denied that
Azerbaijani-made diesel oil is being imported from Azerbaijan to be
sold on Armenia’s domestic market, Gagik Grigoryan, head of the
ministry’s foreign relations department, has told an Arminfo
correspondent.

He said that information provided by an expert of the Flash Ltd
company, Musheg Elchyan, that Azerbaijani-made diesel oil was being
transported to Armenia via Georgia was not true.

[Passage omitted: details]

Two brandy producers reach agreement to jointly market Ararat

Two brandy producers reach agreement to jointly market Ararat

AP Online
Jun 25, 2004

An Armenian brandy factory, owned by the French liquor giant Pernod
Ricard, reached an agreement with another brandy manufacturer in this
ex-Soviet republic to jointly use the famous Ararat logo.

The agreement between the Yerevan Brandy Factory, bought in 1998 by
Pernod Ricard in one of Armenia’s most striking privatization deals,
and the Yerevan Brandy-Wine-Vodka Combine will allow both factories to
produce Ararat brandy.

The label dates back to 1887 and was named after the mountain _ which
is physically in Turkey but considered the symbol of Armenia _ where
legend says Noah’s Ark came to rest. Ararat brandy is one of the most
well-known brands in Europe, and was reportedly the favorite of
Winston Churchill.

Pier Laretch, the director of the French-owned Yerevan Brandy Factory,
said “tough negotiations” led to the agreement, adding “but when you
are talking about such a well known brand as Ararat, you must be
careful.”

He said the agreement requires both companies to produce the brandy
from Armenian-grown grapes and to distill a spirit that is matured and
bottled in Armenia. The factories will set up a joint association,
Brandy Bridge, to oversee the shared use.

Both factories “made a choice in support of an effective type of
cooperation that will promote the sale of Armenian brandy in Armenia
and in the world market and will further the creation of good-spirited
competition between the producers,” Laretch said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

BAKU: Norwegian PM visits “anti-Turkish” exhibit at Armenia’s invite

Norwegian PM visits “anti-Turkish” exhibition at Armenia’s invitation – Azeri
TV

ANS TV, Baku
24 Jun 04

An Azeri TV station has criticized the Norwegian prime minister and
foreign minister for accepting the Armenian president’s invitation to
an exhibition at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The exhibition,
entitled “Fridtjof Nansen and Armenia”, is dedicated to the work of
the Norwegian Nobel prize winner with Armenians in the early 20th
century. An Azeri delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe, Rafael Huseynov, told the TV station: “The books
being exhibited distort the truth and go against historical facts and
lack of bias.” The following is the text of the report by Azerbaijani
TV station ANS on 24 June:

[Presenter] We are going back to Strasbourg to speak about [Armenian
President] Robert Kocharyan’s visit. Proud of his role in the
occupation of Nagornyy Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan,
Robert Kocharyan met the Norwegian prime minister, the Norwegian prime
minister exactly.

[Correspondent over Kocharyan’s speech at the Council of Europe]
Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has met Norwegian Prime Minister
Kjell Magne Bondevik in Strasbourg. What is intriguing is that the
Norwegian prime minister came to Strasbourg at the invitation of
official Yerevan to attend the opening of an exhibition titled
“Fridtjof Nansen and Armenia” at the PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe] building.

Who is Fridtjof Nansen? A Nobel Prize winner and public figure from
Norway, who devoted part of his activities to propaganda on behalf of
Armenia and the Armenians. From the 1920s, he was a big partner and
supporter of the Armenians. He even toured the world alleging that
acts of genocide were carried out against the Armenians by the Turks
and raised funds for the Armenians.

Alleging that the Turks carried out genocide against the Armenians,
Nansen’s books extensively propagate hatred for Turks. There is also a
monument erected in Armenia in his memory. In Strasbourg, at the PACE
building, Nansen’s books in Armenian were shown at the “Fridtjof
Nansen and Armenia” exhibition. The Norwegian prime minister also
attended the exhibition together with Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan. And the Norwegian prime minister’s visit to Strasbourg
namely for the opening of this exhibition creates an impression that
the Norwegian prime minister is in solidarity with his country’s
friends of Armenia.

The exhibition was also attended by Jan Petersen, Norwegian foreign
minister and chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe. Speaking at the exhibition, the speakers once again claimed
that the Armenians had been subjected to genocide by the
Turks. According to Armenian channels, entering the headquarters of
the Council of Europe, Kocharyan had a 40-minute conversation with the
Norwegian prime minister before meeting the PACE leadership. In turn,
the spokesman of the Armenian president, Ashot Kocharyan, said that
Robert Kocharyan and Kjell Magne Bondevik had debated bilateral
relations, energy issues and the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. I want to
reiterate that Norway now holds the chairmanship of the Committee of
Ministers of the Council of Europe. It is also worth noting that
Norway attended this anti-Turkish exhibition at the highest level.

MP Rafael Huseynov, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation at the
Council of Europe, said that the issue would be on their agenda for
the next session, and it was important for Turkey to take the
necessary steps.

[Huseynov, voice] The books being exhibited distort the truth, go
against historical facts and lack of bias. For example, the Turks are
accused of barbarism, the Germans are accused of not stopping the
Turks and similar things. A discussion on Armenia will take place in
September. I hope that Robert Kocharyan’s thoughts, which run counter
to the principles of the European Council, and the biased opinions in
books by Nansen in the exhibition, which was also attended by the
prime minister, will be covered in our speeches. We shall also prepare
a document for the autumn session of PACE. I think that Turkey should
also work in this direction.

[Correspondent] Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, who will also
hold the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe for six months, called for activities to be stepped up for the
resolution of Nagornyy Karabakh. As for the possibility of an unbiased
attitude from Norway, this will become clear from the statements of
Oslo officials in a short while.

[Huseynov] Undoubtedly, the Norwegian foreign minister shares common
views with his prime minister on many aspects. However, as the foreign
minister of his country, his tenure in the post of chairman of the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is six months. This is
not a post with extraordinary powers to have serious impact on the
resolution of any problem. Certainly, there might be an impact, but
this is a post where Azerbaijan and other countries are
represented. But in any case, while analysing Petersen’s activities,
we should also bear in mind this prelude and be more attentive and
cautious.

[Correspondent over Statoil’s Baku office] Let us recall that Norway’s
Statoil is one of the leading companies exploiting Azerbaijan’s oil
and gas projects. Norway now is investing in the Caspian littoral
states, rich in oil resources. For example, the Norwegian prime
minister was recently in Kazakhstan. Oslo always wants to play an
active role in oil and gas projects and expand cooperation with
Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, it seems a bit mysterious that the Norwegian
government should have resorted to such levers of pressure against
Turkey and Azerbaijan in alliance with Armenia.

We asked for comment on this subject, but were told that the Norwegian
ambassador in Azerbaijan would reply to these questions tomorrow.

Qanira Pasayeva for ANS.

BAKU: Az daily forecasts new government attacks on Norwegian envoy

Azeri daily forecasts new government attacks on Norwegian envoy

Azadliq, Baku
25 Jun 04

Text of unattributed report by Azerbaijani newspaper Azadliq on 25
June headlined “Another failure of Ilham’s diplomacy”, subheaded “The
Norwegian prime minister’s presence at an exhibition in PACE devoted
to the so-called Armenian genocide provides a pretext for Ilham to
launch a new campaign of attacks on Steinar Gil”

Relations between the current Azerbaijani and Norwegian governments,
which cooled in the run-up to the 2003 presidential elections, are
turning sour again. According to our report, government circles will
misuse a step taken by the Norwegian government during the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] session. It
will launch a new campaign of attacks on the Norwegian ambassador in
Azerbaijan, Steinar Gil, and even plans to declare him persona
non-grata.

To recap, the main reason for the coolness in relations was the
activity of the Norwegian government and ambassador Gil to protect the
democratic forces from government violence before and after the
elections. The government of [Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev was
so displeased with the Norwegians that later the visiting Norwegian
deputy foreign minister was not even received by the Azerbaijani
president. Subsequently, individual government representatives
levelled accusations against Norwegian ambassador Gil.

It seems that the Aliyev government has not forgotten the “old
hostility” and intends again to step up the campaign against the
Norwegian government, thinking that it has the chance to do this. The
pretext for this is the Norwegian prime minister’s attendance at an
exhibition in PACE devoted to the so-called Armenian genocide and his
meeting with [Armenian President] Robert Kocharyan.

Armenian FM praises president’s Council of Europe speech

Armenian foreign minister praises president’s Council of Europe speech

Hayots Ashkarh, Yerevan
25 Jun 04

Headlined “The president called things by their names”

An interview with Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan. He comments on
President Kocharyan’s speech in Strasbourg.

[Hayots Ashkarh correspondent] Mr Oskanyan, how was Robert Kocharyan’s
speech received?

[Vardan Oskanyan] Certainly, we are still to hear the response of
different deputies, but I have the impression from my direct contacts
that the president’s speech was very well received. Because it was a
bold and multilateral speech. The president touched almost on all the
problems that worry us and the Council of Europe. Kocharyan touched on
our obligations to the Council of Europe, on the recent events in
Armenia, Armenian-Turkish relations and Karabakh. I think that the
speech’s greatest point was that Robert Kocharyan really called things
by their names. It really was quite a bold speech. And I should say
that such boldness is positively received on the whole, if it is frank
and based on facts. It was an unprecedentedly good speech and the
first impression was positive.

[Correspondent] Different analysts and officials always mention that,
for instance, Armenia’s position on a Karabakh settlement is not fully
clear to the Council of Europe. What do you think, have the
question-marks been removed by Kocharyan’s speech?

[Oskanyan] I think they have. The problem is not that Armenia did not
specify its positions until today. But it was done on different levels
and for different reasons and it was not done fully. But their
expression at such a high level and in such an important institution
has really put a full stop to all the problems. And in this sense it
really answered numerous questions. Moreover, the president spoke from
the point of view of morals and was in quite strong positions, as the
boldness of the speech also required a certain progress by our country
over these years.

[Correspondent] During this visit the president met different Council
of Europe leaders. As a direct participant in those meetings, how
would you describe the whole atmosphere?

[Oskanyan] In the course of all those meetings President Kocharyan was
speaking confidently and frankly. And here the general principle was
that we have nothing to be ashamed of, to defend or justify. We think
that very positive steps were made. Yes, there are shortcomings, but
we surely know where we are going and we shall fulfil the obligations
that we undertook, as they are not only the desire or demand of the
Council of Europe, but also our political will, which stems from the
interests of our state and people. This was the general principle and
during the meetings a very open and frank dialogue took place.

[Correspondent] Mr Oskanyan, may the appointment of Terry Davis, the
rapporteur on the Nagornyy Karabakh issue, to the post of
secretary-general of the Council of Europe reflect this organization’s
role in the settlement process? Is it possible that from now on the
Council of Europe will have a more important and pivotal role in the
settlement process?

[Oskanyan] I do not think that the appointment of Terry Davis as
secretary-general or the fact that he was the rapporteur on Nagornyy
Karabakh may become grounds for the whole organization to be more
active in a settlement. Anyway, the Karabakh issue is on the agenda of
the Council of Europe. On one hand, Terry Davis’s appointment is
positive in the sense that during this last year he got deeper into
the problem. When they touch on the problem we shall know that we are
dealing with a person who knows the problem very well and can consider
it more objectively. He was in Karabakh and in the region. So I feel
positive about the fact that the newly appointed secretary-general of
the Council of Europe has dealt with the Karabakh issue in some sense.

BAKU: Protesters hold country up for ridicule over NATO conference

Protesters hold country up for ridicule over NATO conference – Azeri paper

Zerkalo, Baku
25 Jun 04

The three-day planning conference of the Cooperative Best Effort-2004
field exercises ended in Baku yesterday. The conference was part of
NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme.

It was attended by 32 representatives from 10 NATO member countries
and 49 representatives from 11 partner states, including Armenia.

[Passage omitted: reported details]

Strange as it may seem, the conference was in the public spotlight not
because of the seriousness of the issues it discussed, not even
because of the forthcoming NATO exercises, but because it was attended
by Armenian officers.

Members of the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO), several
political parties and media outlets issued harshly-worded statements
in this regard, saying that the arrival of Armenian officers was
unacceptable. But hard as I tried, I could not understand who those
protests were addressed to. The conference was organized within the
framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, invitations had
been sent out to all partner states and Armenia is a partner country
of the North Atlantic bloc, as is Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani authorities agreed to hold the conference in Baku and
ensure the security of its participants, including the Armenian
officers. The rules of the game within this programme are established
by the bloc and, as the proverb goes, when in Rome act as the Romans
do.

In principle, we could have demanded that the NATO administration
expel Armenia from the programme. We could have asked the
administration of our own country not to hold the conference in Baku
or to bar the Armenian officers from it.

But “infuriated patriots” did not ask for any of these. Was anyone
actually so naive to expect the Armenian officers to see things from
our point of view and refuse to come over?

By and large, all this speculation surrounding the arrival of the
Armenian officers is designed only for very short-sighted people,
though it may be far-reaching. Suffice it to remember the hue and cry
raised over the issue of visas to the Armenian officers. While
everything is clear on the Armenian side, which wanted to show the
world that Azerbaijan is rejecting all attempts to establish a
dialogue, it remains unclear why Baku chose to play the second fiddle
to Armenia.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly been visited by Armenian officials,
including the prime minister and the interior minister. Likewise,
Azerbaijani officials have visited Armenia. Mutual visits have been
paid at the level of media representatives and nongovernmental
organizations. And no-one had to obtain a visa, not because our
countries maintain normal inter-state relations, but because there are
no visa regulations among the CIS countries. That’s all.

Under such circumstances it is not clear why a representative of our
embassy in Georgia stated without expanding on the reasons that the
Armenian officers will never receive Azerbaijani visas in Tbilisi. Why
play a game of patriotism when it is not necessary at all? All these
issues should have been sorted out by the conference organizers
through diplomatic channels.

The statement by Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Murtuz Alasgarov that
the Armenian officers had come to Baku “secretly” and without the
consent of relevant institutions could hardly be any more absurd. If
we were to believe Alasgarov, the officers of the Armenian Defence
Ministry crossed the border illegally. If this were so, then the
relevant bodies should have arrested them immediately. Besides, if the
law-enforcement authorities were unaware of their arrival, which hotel
could have provided them with accommodation?

Furthermore, our valorous police, which so “professionally” crushed
the opposition’s banned demonstrations, could not withstand the
pressure of a dozen of KLO members outside the conference venue and
let them chant their anti-Armenian slogans in the assembly room.

[Passage omitted: known details]

It is always said in Azerbaijan that the country is at war with
Armenia. But in terms of international law, this is not the case. For
a country to be officially at war with another, a corresponding note
has to be sent to the head of the aggressor state and all relevant
international organizations. But Azerbaijan has never issued such a
note. Armenia is quite happy with the “neither peace nor war”
situation, because it leaves it a lot of room for manoeuvring. But why
aren’t we doing anything? Because if the two countries were really at
war, hardly anyone could offer economic cooperation to Azerbaijan
before the conflict with Armenia is resolved, and the situation such
as this could not have happened.

The gist of this story is that we should target our protests, and not
simply display patriotism, because by doing this, not only do we hold
ourselves up for ridicule, we also undermine our relations with such
international bodies as NATO.

No breakthrough in Karabakh talks soon – Russian mediator

No breakthrough in Karabakh talks soon – Russian mediator

Arminfo
25 Jun 04

YEREVAN

At some stage, the presence of Nagornyy Karabakh representatives in
the talks will become a necessity, the Russian co-chairman of the OSCE
Minsk Group for the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict,
Yuriy Merzlyakov, has said in an interview with Regnum news agency,
commenting on the possible involvement of Nagornyy Karabakh
representatives in the talks.

“I believe that Nagornyy Karabakh is a party to the conflict. A
Karabakh representative signed the cease-fire agreement,” the Russian
co-chairman said. Asked whether Armenia could play a secondary role
at some point, Yuriy Merzlyakov said: “Let’s be frank – Karabakh
cannot settle all problems on its own.” He said that Armenia’s
participation in the talks was important since the conflict had turned
from an internal ethnic problem into a conflict between two
countries. In brief, the participation of all sides is vital, the
Russian co-chairman added.

Commenting on the Prague meeting [on 21 June] of the Armenian and
Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Yuriy Merzlyakov noted that “in
principle, all the participants in the Prague meeting, including the
two countries’ foreign ministers, gave quite positive assessments”. He
said that the discussions had a very competent and constructive
nature.

“As for my assessment, it is too early to air it yet. I would only
note that no breakthrough should be expected at the current stage. The
agenda of the future talks on the settlement is being drafted. This is
a selection of issues that will be discussed by the sides with mutual
consent. This is a time-consuming job that cannot lead to a
significant breakthrough yet,” Merzlyakov said, adding that no
documents were being discussed at the current stage.

The Russian co-chairman said that “there are new thoughts and ideas,
of course, since the meetings have an open agenda”. “Both sides and
the co-chairmen put forward proposals. The questions that will be
discussed in detail in the future are selected in this way,” the
Russian co-chairman said, adding that there was an agreement on the
confidentiality of the discussions.

BAKU: Azeri Official Accuses Armenian President of Lying to World

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
June 25 2004

Azeri Official Accuses Armenian President of Lying to World

Ramiz Novruzov, head of the foreign relations department at the
Azerbaijani president’s office, on Thursday accused Armenian President
Robert Kocharian for his attempt to lie to all the world in his speech
at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on June
23.

During his speech, which has caused anger in Azerbaijan, Kocharian
claimed that Nagorno Karabagh has never been part of independent
Azerbaijan.

The Armenian president said that at the time of collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991 two states were formed: the Azerbaijani Republic on the
territory of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and Republic of
Nagorno Karabagh on the territory of the Nagorno Karabagh Autonomous
Region.

`Establishment of both these states has similar legal grounds. The
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, henceforth, has nothing to do
with the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh,’ claimed Kocharian.

`These are all sheer lies,’ said Novruzov. `Nagorno Karabakh is
Azerbaijan’s historical land. Armenians have been resettled in
Karabakh not long ago and they even have celebrated the 150th
anniversary of their resettlement in Karabakh by erecting a monument
there,’ he said.

The Armenian president’s statement was also rejected by Terri Devis,
the new chairman of the Council of Europe who had worked as a
rapporteur of this high European body on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict
before being elected to the position.

Asim Mollazade, a member of Azerbaijan’s delegation at the PACE said
in his interview with local media that, Davis said during his speech
at the Political Committee of the PACE on 24 June that Azerbaijan
joined the United Nations with Nagorno Karabakh being part of its
territory.

Mollazade said the CE chairman also underlined that Azerbaijan’s
territories have been occupied.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

BAKU: Al-Qa’idah might threaten major oil pipeline – Azeri Sec. Min.

Al-Qa’idah might threaten major oil pipeline – Azeri security chief

Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
25 Jun 04

[Presenter] The National Security Ministry has obtained information
about acts of sabotage being prepared on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline, Minister Namiq Abbasov has told ATV. Being more specific,
the minister said that Al-Qa’idah is involved in the terrorist threat.

[Reporter] The country’s special services have information that
international terrorist groups are planning sabotage on the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. National Security Minister Namiq
Abbasov said that Al-Qa’idah was also mentioned in this connection.

[Namiq Abbasov] We have such reports. This is quite possible. There
are quite a few opponents of Baku-Ceyhan. All kinds of threats against
it are quite possible.

[Reporter] The general did not rule out that Al-Qa’idah members could
be hiding in occupied uncontrolled territories. He said that it would
be irresponsible to dismiss possible sabotage on the Azerbaijani
section of the oil pipeline. But the minister stressed that special
services were carrying out the necessary measures in order to prevent
this.

Mr Abbasov also commented on the problem of the two Armenians who left
Armenia for Azerbaijan and are seeking asylum in a third country. The
problem will be settled very soon, the minister said.

BAKU: Armenian Troops Fire at Azeri Army in Horadiz, Report Says

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
June 25 2004

Armenian Troops Fire at Azeri Army in Horadiz, Report Says

Armenian troops stationed in the occupied southwestern Fuzuli
District fired at Azerbaijan’s army positions in Horadiz settlement
on Friday, the Karabakh bureau of ANS reported.
According to the report, Armenians ceased shooting after Azerbaijani
soldiers fired back and shot one Armenian soldier to death.
ANS said the press office of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense neither
confirmed nor refuted the report.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics in the Southern
Caucasus, are at a state of no war no peace after a cease-fire
agreement was signed between the two in May 1994.

During a three-year war between the two countries in early 1990s,
Armenia has invaded and taken control over one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s
territories, forcing over 700,000 civilians to leave their homes.

The shaky cease-fire agreement that has kept the status quo since
1994 is frequently violated by sporadic exchange of fires in the
frontline separating Azerbaian from its occupied territories.