Russia cutting supplies of natural gas to Tbilisi by half

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 10, 2004 Wednesday

Russia cutting supplies of natural gas to Tbilisi by half

By Dmitry Zlodorev


Russian foreign trade company Gazexport, a subsidiary of the natural
gas producer Gazprom, is expected to cut by a half the supplies of
natural gas to the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi as of March 15,
Gazexport sources said Wednesday.

The upcoming slash results from non-payments for gas over the past
few months, with the total debt reaching 7.4 million U.S. dollars.

Itar-Tass Tbilisi-based correspondent Ia Barateli said earlier
Gazexport supplies 1.7 million cubic meters of gas to the city a day,
and if the local operator of gas distribution lines, Tbilgazi Co.,
manages to pay 2.5 million U.S. dollars in the next few days, there
will be no slash.

In the meantime, Georgian experts say the problem of back payments
comes partly from irregular financing of Tbilgazi by the local
authorities. This finance should cover the cost of gas consumed by
low-income people, public health institutions and social facilities.

Alexander Ryazanov, a deputy CEO at Gazprom, gave assurances earlier
this month the company would continue deliveries of gas to Georgia.

He said at the same time Gazprom was concerned by the technical
condition of the trunk pipelines by which Russia was pumping gas to

“We’re worried by the lack of repair works at the gas pipelines in
Georgia,” he said.

Work of intergvt committees on CIS integration not to be disrupted

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 10, 2004 Wednesday

Work of intergvt committees on CIS integration not to be disrupted

By Lyudmila Yermakova, Dmitry Zlodorev


The meetings of five intergovernmental committees on economic
integration of the CIS states will be held not in March as planned,
but a little bit later, Russian Deputy Minister for Economic
Development and Trade Dmitry Sukhoparov said at the governmental
question-and-answer session during the Federation Council session on
Wednesday. “There will be no disruptions in this process due to the
formation of a new Russian government,” he emphasised.

Sukhoparov also noted that Viktor Khristenko who was appointed
Industry and Energy Minister on Tuesday is still in charge of the
Russian policy on integration with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

The governmental question-and-answer session was devoted to the
development of CIS interstate cooperation. The ambassadors of
Ukraine, Belarus, Tajikistan and Armenia to Russia and staffers of
the embassies of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,
Moldova, Georgia and Turkmenistan participated in the session. “We
want to provide Federation Council members with the materials on the
real situation in the CIS states,” chairman of the Federation Council
Committee on CIS Affairs Vadim Gustov told Itar-Tass.

“The position of the leadership of new ministries on the creation of
a single economic space is very important for us,” he remarked.
Gustov noted that several CIS parliamentary delegations headed by
their speakers would meet in St. Petersburg on April 15 in order to
discuss how “to ratify simultaneously the documents on the single
economic space that the presidents will sign.”

OSCE chairman-in-office to arrive in Yerevan for talks on Karabakh

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 10, 2004 Wednesday

OSCE chairman-in-office to arrive in Yerevan for talks on Karabakh

By Tigran Liloyan

OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy
will arrive in Yerevan on a two-day official visit for talks on the
settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and OSCE-Armenia
relations, sources in the Armenian Foreign Ministry press and
information department told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

The OSCE chairman-in-office will meet Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan and Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arkady Gukasyan, the sources

In 1992 it was decided to convene a session of the Minsk Conference
for Nagorno-Karabakh under the OSCE aegis, but its resolutions were
not implemented. In June 1992 the participants in the Minsk
Conference set up the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh that
became a consultative body. The Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia,
France and the U.S. is working on a draft peace agreement that will
determine Nagorno-Karabakh’s juridical status. Over the last years
the Minsk Group failed to yield certain results and bring the warring
sides’ positions closer.

NATO secretary gen. responds to letter of Armenian FM

March 10 2004


YEREVAN, MARCH 10, ARMENPRESS: NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer responded to a letter by Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan
Oskanian on the killing of an Armenian military officer in Budapest.
In his February 20 letter, the minister expressed indignation over
the brutal act which took place during the context of a NATO Language
training program.
According to the press office of the foreign ministry of Armenia,
the NATO Secretary General expressed his profound shock at the brutal
murder of Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan of the Armenian Armed Forces
and expressed his wish to convey his grief and sympathy to the family
of the victim.
“As you know, the appropriate Hungarian authorities are conducting
a thorough investigation and I am confident that they will spare no
effort to explain all the circumstances of this murder and to make
sure that justice prevails. I will closely follow the results of this
investigation and the due legal process which will follow,” Mr. Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer said.
NATO Secretary General expressed his hope that this criminal
incident will not prevent Armenia from further developing cooperation
with NATO. He stated that the Alliance appreciates greatly Armenia’s
approach, and contribution to Partnership for Peace. “Helping build
confidence and encouraging regional cooperation in the Caucasus
remains an essential part of NATO’s policy of Partnership and
Cooperation,” he continued.
“Allies remain determined to work with your country towards this
end,” concluded the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty

ARKA News Agency – 03/09/2004

ARKA News Agency
March 9 2004

President of Georgia to visit Armenia on March 12

NKR President and RA Minister of Science and Education discuss
problems in the sphere of Nagorno Karabakh education

Hungarian Ambassador to Armenia hands copies of credentials to RA MFA

Hungarian Ambassador to Armenia hands credentials to RA President

International chess competition starts in Nagorno Karabakh

Additional protocol of agreement on application of MAGATE guarantees
corresponds to RA Constitution

The agreement on settlement of voluntary emigration processes
prolonged between Armenia and Russia

Banknotes with nominal value of AMD 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 to be
withdrawn from circulation since 1 April

`Open doors day’ to be held in American University of Armenia on 20

Yerevan Mayor instructed inventory of unfinished erections in
capital’s communities



YEREVAN, March 9. /ARKA/. President of Georgia Mihail Sahakashvili
will visit Armenia on March 12 on the invitation of RA President
Robert Kocharian. On March 12, the presidents will hold confidential
conversation, after which will conduct Armenian-Georgian negotiations
in expanded format.
In the frames of the visit Sahakashvili will meet with RA NA
Chairman, Prime Minsiter, Catholicos of All Armenian and
representatives of Georgian community of Armenia. Delegation headed
with Georgian President will visit memorial of Genocide victims.
The delegations includes ministers of foreign affairs, energy,
infrastructures and development; parliament members. L.D. –0–



STEPANAKERT, March 9. /ARKA/. NKR President Arkady Gukasian and RA
mInister of Science and Education Sergo Yeritsian discussed problems
in the sphere of Nagorno Karabakh education, NKR President’s press
office told ARKA. Gukasian expressed confidence that only every-day
cooperation between profile ministries of Armenian and NKR and
realization of joint programs can positively affect the improvement
of education sphere in Artsakh.
Yeritsian said that his visit in Nagorno Karabakh follows the goal to
get familiar with the problems existing in the sphere. The parties
discussed some aspects of the program on implementation of new system
of education in NKR that envisages use of computer technologies,
re-training of teachers. The Minister promised to provide educational
institutions of Karabakh with 600 computers. The parties noted with
satisfaction that joint efforts of the ministries of the republics
helped opening of representation of National Institute of Education
of Armenia. L.D. –0 –



YEREVAN, March 9. /ARKA/. Hungarian Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to Armenia Ferents Contra (residence in Moscow)
handed credentials RA President Robert Kocharian. The parties noted
that the countries have no political problems and emphasized the
importance of activation of economic cooperation.
Contra in his turn stated that Hungary will become a full member of
EU in May 2004 and noted readiness of his country to assist to the
strengthening of cooperation between EU and Armenia. He also
presented Hungarian Government and his condolences considering murder
of Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian in Budapest. L.D. –0–



YEREVAN, March 9. /ARKA/. Hungarian Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to Armenia Ferents Contra (residence in Moscow)
handed copies of credentials to RA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian,
RA MFA told ARKA. The parties discussed perspectives of deepening of
bilateral cooperation and emphasized the importance of mutual visits.
It was noted that activation of political contacts and strengthening
of legal-agreement field will create conditions for development of
business, economic and cultural cooperation between the countries.
According to Oskanian, entry of Hungary in EU will give new impulse
to Armenian-Hungarian economic cooperation, because the states will
be able to use opportunities of the agreement on partnership and
cooperation of Armenian and EU.
Contra presented Hungarian Government and his condolences considering
murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian in Budapest. L.D. –0–



STEPANAKERT, March 9. /ARKA/. International chess competition started
in Nagorno Karabakh. The competition is dedicated to 75th anniversary
of birthday of 9th World Champion Tigran Petrosian. The tournament
will include 10 grand masters from Armenia, Switzerland, Georgia,
Latvia and Iran. The honorary guest of the tournament is 10th World
Champion Boris Spasski. L.D. –0–



YEREVAN, March 9. /ARKA/. Additional protocol of agreement on
application of MAGATE guarantees corresponds to RA Constitution, the
decision was made by RA Constitutional Court.
The agreement was signed on Sep. 29, 1997 in Vienna. According to
Deputy Foreign Minister Tatoul Margarian, on Aug. 15, 1993 Armenia
joined the non-proliferation treaty as of 1968. The treaty allows
MAGATE to conduct inspections in the countries that joined the
agreement. According to the agreements Armenia is obliged not to
create and receive nuclear weapons and not to assist to other
countries in creation of nuclear weapons. L.D. –0



YEREVAN, March 9. /ARKA/. The agreement on settlement of voluntary
emigration processes was prolonged between Armenia and Russia. The
agreement was signed in 1997. According to the RA President’s Press
Service and Public Relations Department, the protocol on the
agreement prolongation as signed by the RA Minister of the regional
control and industrial infrastructures coordination Hovik Abarahamyan
and the RF Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Armenia
Anatoliy Drukov. According to the protocol, the expire date of the
agreement is in 5 years.
In the course of the agreement signing ceremony the RF Ambassador in
Armenia noted that settlement of voluntary emigration processes
proved to be important. In his turn the Head of the Migration and
Refugees Department at the RA Government Gagik Eghanyan added that
the agreement is aimed at creation of favorable conditions for
voluntary emigration of citizens of Armenia and Russia. According to
him, it’s especially important now, when many people return to
Armenia, and the agreement may become stimulus for returning the
citizens of Armenia and settling in the Republic. Eghanyan stated
that at the assignment of the RA Prime Minister, an Armenian
delegation will go to Russia next week to introduce to the Armenians
staying in Russia the favorable conditions provided for them by the
agreement. A.H. – 0–



YEREVAN. March 9. /ARKA/. Since 1 April banknotes with nominal value
of AMD 10, 25, 200 issued in 1993, as well as banknotes of AMD 50 and
100 issued in 1998 will be withdrawn from circulation, as stated by
the CBA Head of Emissions and Monetary Reserves Gevorg Tumanyan. In
his words, these banknotes are still in circulation and will be
accepted for payments in relevant service points. As reminded by
Tumanyan, banknotes with nominal value of AMD 500 and 100 issued in
1993 have been withdrawn from circulation from 1 January 2004, while
the banknote with nominal value of AMD 1000 issued in 1994 were
withdrawn since 1 March 2004. `All banknotes that to be withdrawn
from circulation by the CBA will be circulating for a while, however,
they must be exchanged that can be made in any Armenian bank or their
affiliates in their nominal values without any limitation in number
of banknotes or terms of exchange’, said Tumanyan. The head of the
departments also stated that the main portion of these banknotes has
been already withdrawn from circulation, while the other was replaced
by coins.
At the same time, as mentioned by Tumanyan, the CBA is to withdraw
from circulation banknotes of AMD 5000 issued in 1995 in July 2005,
while banknotes of AMD 500 issued in 1993 in September 2005. T.M. -0 –



YEREVAN. March 9. /ARKA/. The American University of Armenia (AUA)
starts admission of students for education year of 2004-2005 and
`Open doors day’ to be held in the University on 20 March. As
mentioned in the AUA press-release provided to ARKA News Agency
today, the administration, lecturers, students and graduates of the
University will take participation in the action. The participants
and those invited will be familiarized with the AUA admission
requirements, its education programs, library, computer and research
centers, as well as other structures of the University.
The American University of Armenia is functioning since 1991 and
awards Master of Arts degrees in six fields such as Industrial
Engineering and Systems Management, Computer and IT Sciences,
Comparative Legal Studies, Business & Management, Political Science,
Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and Certificate in Teaching
of English as a Foreign Language. High education and good knowledge
of English are obligatory requirements for admission to the
University. T.M. -0–



YEREVAN. March 9. /ARKA/. Inventory of unfinished erections in
Yerevan’s communities was the subject of today’s sitting in Yerevan
Municipality. As reported by the Vice Mayor of Yerevan Vano
Vardanyan, the Head of Landscaping Department presented the list of
these types of erections, while the Mayor instructed to hold
discussions on this problem with the leaders of the communities
within a week. According to the Vice Mayor, there will be offered
concrete programs for solutions of the problem in the course of the
discussions held, adding that the problem of unfinished erections is
timeliest for 6 Yerevan communities and each community to held
separate meeting with the Mayor. T.M. -0–

ARKA News Agency – 03/10/2004

ARKA News Agency
March 10 2004

RA Foreign Minister to take part in 60th session of UN Commission on
Human Rights in Geneva on March 15-16

Armenian Agency of Tourism Development to take part in the exhibition
`International Tourist Bourse’ in Berlin on March 12-16

The Azerbaijani chess federation expresses its anxiety about holding
the International Chess Tournament in Nagorno-Karabakh

The RA President receives the Georgian Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary in Armenia

Online weekly `Parliament’ to be placed on web since 9 March



YEREVAN, March 10. /ARKA/. RA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian will
take part in 60th session of UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva
on March 15-16, RA MFA told ARKA. The session includes bilateral
meetings with Foreign Ministers of Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg,
and Estonia. L.D. –0–



YEREVAN, March 10. /ARKA/. Armenian Agency of Tourism Development
will take part in the exhibition `International Tourist Bourse’ in
Berlin on March 12-16, 2004, AATD told ARKA. AATD will represent the
program and marketing strategy of tourism development to represent
Armenia as an attractive center of year-round tourism at
international arena. `Participation of Armenia in similar activities
has fundamental importance for maximal protection and economic
efficiency of developing tourism industry’, press release notes.
ITB exhibition will include 10 thousand participants from 180
countries and regions that will represent tourism services of all
levels. The participants are all structures of world tourism
industry. L.D. –0–



YEREVAN, March 10. /ARKA/. The Azerbaijani chess federation expressed
its anxiety about holding the International Chess Tournament in
Nagorno-Karabakh, as the President of the Armenian Chess Association,
Grand Master Smbat Lputyan stated in Stepanakert. `It is very pity
that the Azerbaijani party so badly reacted at holding the
International Chess Tournament in Nagorno-Karabakh. It shouldn’t’ be
so, since such arrangement is the basis for chess development’, he
According to the Academy’s President, `there is a great basis for
chess developing in Nagorno-Karabakh, and it would be good if such
competitions became traditional’.
The idea of holding the International Chess Tournament in
Nagorno-Karabakh occurred to the Armenian Chess Academy and the NKR
Government five months ago.
The International Chess Tournament is devoted to the 75th anniversary
since the birth of the 9th World Chess Champion Tigran Petrosyan.
A.H. -0–



YEREVAN, March 10. /ARKA/. The RA President Robert Kocharian received
the Georgian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Armenia
Nikoloz Nikolozishvili , whose term of office expires. According to
the RA President’s Press Service, Nikoloz Nikolozishvili is assigned
as plenipotentiary of the Georgian President in Samtskhe-Dzhavakhetii
region. The RA President highly estimated the 6-year work of the
Georgian Ambassador in Armenia and noted that significant progress in
the relations between two countries is observed.
In the course of the meeting the parties attached great importance to
the coming visit of the Georgian President Michael Saakashvili to
Armenia. At their estimates, it will be an additional push for
developing Armenia-Georgian relations. During the meeting the parties
discussed the situation in Dzhavakhq. The Ambassador noted that he
happened to be in Samtskhe-Dzhavakhetii , and his primary duty he
considers settling social and economic problems in the region. The RA
President attached great importance to improving the road connecting
Dzhavakhq with Armenia. A.H.–0–



YEREVAN. March 10. /ARKA/. Online weekly `Parliament’ will be placed
on the Armenian Parliament’s web (), as
ARKA News Agency was told in the Armenian Parliament Public Relations
Department. The weekly will include the following headings: main
topic, official reference, legislation, politics, and international
activity of the Armenian Parliament for the next week.
It should be reminded that the first number of print monthly
reference `National Assembly’ was printed on 16 December 2003. As
reported by the Head of Public Relations Department of the Armenian
Parliament Anahit Adamyan, the reference is not for sale and will be
distributed free of charge as inside of the Parliament as well as for
outer use. The circulation of the first number of the reference is
500 copies. T.M. -0–

Armenian IT sector develops at slower paces than expected

ARKA News Agency – Interview
March 10 2004


Exclusive interview with Andranik Aleksanian, Director General of
Arminco Global Telecommunications to ARKA News Agency.

ARKA- What can you say about the Armenian IT market of the previous
year? What is the position of Armenia in the region?

A. Aleksanian- In 2003, the IT sector could have grown by 20%, though
the actual growth was within 5-10%. This testifies to the fact that
the IT-sector develops parallel to the economy, but at slower paces
than may be. We are behind the world tendencies. In the regions, the
problem of the IT development is even more urgent, because of poor
transport and electronic communications, plus lack of specialists and
high cost of installation of communication lines. For example, the
cost of a 2 Mbit line from Yerevan to Gyumri is some $1600 per month.
This impedes business development in the regions, though there is
some growth, and `the frozen state’ has been overcome.

As to the state of the IT in the South Caucasian region, then the our
neighbors are doing principally better than we are . We are behind
Georgia and Azerbaijan as to the infrastructure and communications,
though we are in a better position, as regards the professional
level. That is, we have a good potential to occupy a solid place in
the IT sector of the region. But, we need a model of development,
especially since the IT industry has been declared a priority by the
RA Government.

ARKA- What is your evaluation of the IT-sector strategy (as to the
development model), recently submitted to the Armenian President?

A. Aleksanian- I am aware of the strategy. On the whole, it is
comprised of good and correct provisions. To develop the sector, the
President has set the task to integrate it into the global system.
There are rules of the game, and respective infrastructure and
specialists are needed to ensure the integration. All this brings to
the necessity of a law that will determine the tasks and goals, as
well as legislatively-fixed guarantees for an investor. The IT is not
just an Internet or software development . It assumes an entire
industry with specialists, developed infrastructures and
communications. In particular, the availability of the normal
infrastructure will resolve a lot of problems and will prevent
emigration. At least 5 years are required to attain the goal, and the
generation should change, I think. The technological process we have
now will be out-of-date the next year. In this respect, a `polygon’
should be created for specialists to introduce new technologies. The
period of 5 years is a normal term for training specialists. This is
the period, when the potential will be created. I think that any
problem may be resolved, if the task is set correctly. And in the
long run, nothing can prevent us from developing software in Armenia,
the way India does.

ARKA- What expectation do you have from the law on e-communications?

A. Aleksanian- We need a law that will serve the interests of both
investors, consumers and the country, as a whole. We need not `invent
a wheel’ in this regard. If Singapore and Taiwan managed to grow with
certain arrangements, we may make use of them and achieve success if
not at 100% level, then at least for 50%.. I think it is not that
important to draft a new law, it will be more significant to adopt
someone’s experience and put it into practice correctly. I am for the
above-mentioned, as I am not aware of positive or negative sides of
the law on e-communications.
I do not think it is correct to provide the IT-sector with greater
privileges, as compared to other economic branches. Once we decided
to make the sector a priority, we should organize the process in such
a way, as to enable specialists of other professions to make use of
IT-technologies. Provision of benefits or privileges to the Armenian
IT industry is an incorrect policy, which will ruin the economy.
ARKA- What are the financial results, reported by your company for
2003. Is there any growth as compared to the previous year? What new
services do you plan to provide in 2004?

A. Aleksanian- Theoretically, we have had some growth, though this
growth has been achieved at a high cost. Outside Armenia, it is very
easy to make the business and gain profits. In Armenia, this is not
the growth we could have achieved. We had planned to create 50 new
jobs, cut expenses, expand the infrastructure and introduce new
technologies, though we failed because of the problems with ArmenTel.
We did not manage to expand our clientele in the regions of Armenia.
I will not specify the turnover, though I can state that we report a
10% growth annually. We could have had a better growth, though 10% is
a good index under the conditions of stagnation. In other countries,
the growth index reaches 50-60%.

In 2003, we had to reduce our tariffs, because of ArmenTel’s policy.
We acquire a certain services from the ArmenTel, though we get fewer
discounts than smaller clients. Some of the ArmenTel’s employees have
no idea of the business they are in, and the shortcomings in our work
are on their conscience.
As to the new services, then we plan to introduce some of those in
2004. The first service is the radio-modem communications (enabling
to work from any place). This year, we are going to resolve the
problem in Yerevan. We are going to install the first 5,000
radio-modems in various parts of Yerevan in summer and get rid of
ArmenTel, in this regard. The second service will enable our clients
to access Internet and check mail through a cellular phone. We also
plan to expand our services in the regions of Armenia and we are
negotiating with ArCa and some commercial banks to launch the payment
for our services with plastic cards in ATMs.

ARKA- What about the development e-trade, as a form of

A. Aleksanian- E-commerce may not develop here because of the lack of
the corresponding law and infrastructure. The system may work,
provided that there is one of the attributes present. There is no
bank-shop-client relationship. We need a law on e-trade, which would
enable to make trade transactions through ArCa plastic cards. In
other countries, the problem is resolved easily. Soon, the Armenian
Chamber of Commerce and Industry plans to make a legislative
initiative, to prevent further complication of the problem. I think
that the e-trade will develop only after the adoption of the law.

ARKA- Was there any progress in the Internet advertisement in 2003?

A. Aleksanian- The advertisement business in the Internet is designed
for regular Internet users. However, this type of advertisement is
not in demand in Armenia, because of the restricted number of the
users. On the whole, Internet advertisement has its own place – it
neither grows nor decreases. The Internet advertisement’s share is
1-3% of the Armenian advertisement market.

ARKA- You mentioned above that there were some problems due to
ArmenTel Company’s activities. What is your policy in respect to
ArmenTel and what do you think on possible appearance of the second
cellular communications operator in Armenia?

A. Aleksanian – I have been in this business for 10 years and have
invested all my funds and health. The thing is that the business
generally results in profit in the world, unlike Armenia where it
brings in losses. We have to struggle for our share all the time –
and not just seek investment, but demand definite services from
ArmenTel. This is not an organization, this is a `mistake’. Here are
two examples. Two years ago I applied in writing to ArmenTel with a
request to provide me with a communication line in the regions. I
even allocated the funds immediately, and they (ArmenTel) provided
that line to others. But, this is not the point, the point is that
you have to wait for 2 years to get the long expected line.
It is impossible to collaborate with the organization. I used to try
to settle the issue peacefully, and now I have decided to go to court
directly, with all the problems relating to the ArmenTel. Any small
issue, impeding my activities will be settled in the Court from now
on. I shall apply to the Court, in case if they fail to reply my
inquiry in the set terms. At the moment, I have got two replies to
100 letters, sent to ArmenTel. I see no other technology of dealing
with this Company. On the whole, I am going to sue ArmenTel at a few
million dollars. In February, I plan to bring the first sue.
The organization with all its officials (no matter who they are
-Armenians or Greeks) is destroying the country premeditatedly. I can
state that they do not want Armenia to develop.
I think that the arrival of the second operator will not resolve the
problems, as the organization will be entitled to provide cellular
communications’ services only, and the cable network will remain at
the disposal of the ArmenTel Company.

ASBAREZ Online [03-10-2004]


1) US Addresses Turkish Worries about Iraq Constitution
2) Chamlian School’s Banquet a Night of Success and Hope
3) Kocharian Comes Face-to-face with University Students
4) US Ambassador Meets With ARF Representatives
5) Police Identify Armenian Cemetery Vandals

1) US Addresses Turkish Worries about Iraq Constitution

ANKARA (AFP)–A senior US envoy will meet with Turkish officials to discuss
Ankara’s concerns over the new interim constitution of Iraq, reported Turkish
and US sources.
Ronald Newmann, a member of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in
was asked by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to go to Ankara after Turkey
publicly criticized the interim constitution, signed in Baghdad on Monday, a
Turkish diplomat told AFP.
Turkey has warned that it would pave the way for more instability in the
neighboring country. “The interim law does not satisfy us; it increases our
concerns,” said Turkish government spokesman, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek.
Turkey has repeatedly warned against moves in postwar Iraq that could help
Iraqi Kurds enhance self-rule in the north of the country.
Under the interim constitution, Iraqi Kurdistan will retain federal status
the rest of Iraq will be given the right to begin forming states.
Turkey fears that increased political influence of Iraqi Kurds could set an
example for their restive cousins in southeast Turkey where a bloody Kurdish
rebellion has only recently been quelled.

2) Chamlian School’s Banquet a Night of Success and Hope

GLENDALE–Over 500 parents, alumni, teachers, and friends of Chamlian Armenian
School gathered on February 28, at the Homenetmen Ararat Chapter center to
fundraise for the school, and mark its many accomplishments. Western Prelate
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, and Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero were among
the guests of honor.
Emcees Nova Hindoyan and Aida Yeghiazarian, kicked off the night with a
auction that raised over $8,000.
In his remarks, Archbiship Mardirossian urged the audience to “complete the
cafeteria project and move on to bigger projects such as establishing a high
The climax of the evening came, however, as Chamlian principal Vazken
Madenlian announced that a special committee dedicated to the Chamlian High
School project has been formed, and that $250,000 has already been collected
towards the goal.
Guest welcomed the joyous news, and enthusiastically donated $106,000 for the
renovation of the school cafeteria.
Guests danced and celebrated to the music of popular singer Ashod and his
band. “This was a great evening,” one guest said, “not only did we have a lot
of fun, but it was for a great cause.”

3) Kocharian Comes Face-to-face with University Students

YEREVAN (RFE/RL, Yerkir)–University students from throughout Armenia gathered
at Yerevan State University on Wednesday to meet President Robert Kocharian,
and pose questions on issues of concern.
Asked about the process of settling the Karabagh conflict, Kocharian said
during his term in office, Armenia has accepted several proposals put forth by
mediators, while Azerbaijan has rejected them. “I have dedicated 15 years
of my
life to the Karabagh issue, and I will pursue it all the way through,”
Kocharian said.
Referring to Azerbaijan’s unapologetic and even defensive position on the
murder of an Armenian officer by an Azeri counterpart, the president said it
reinforces the fact that Armenophobia has reached its peak in that country.
are, once again, convinced that Karabagh cannot–under any condition–be a
of Azerbaijan.”
Asked about opposition claims that Armenia remains gripped by a political
crisis, Kocharian explained that in 2003, Armenia registered record economic
growth, accompanied by improving public services. He cited a 13.9 increase in
GDP, which was the highest in the Commonwealth of Independent States. “To
describe as crisis the situation in a country where economic growth has
13.9 percent and where all the indicators testify to quite interesting
developments, is at least, tantamount to not understanding what a crisis
It was the Armenian leader’s first visit to the country’s largest university
since last month’s student protests against a controversial government bill on
military service. The bill, which would have allowed the military to draft
graduate and doctoral students, was eventually withdrawn from parliament.
Kocharian acknowledged that the proposed legislation should have undergone a
detailed public debate before being submitted to the National Assembly, and
revealed his support for compulsory military service for all young men,
including his two sons.

4) US Ambassador Meets With ARF Representatives

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–US Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway met with
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation at the ARF Simon Vratsian center on
Wednesday, in an effort to understand the party’s position on national and
regional issues, and engage in a two-way exchange.
ARF Armenia Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian, ARF Bureau member
National Assembly vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannisian, and ARF faction leader in
the National Assembly Levon Mkrtchian, met with Ordway, where political and
regional developments in Armenia, as well as the National Assembly and the
opposition dominated discussions.
The ambassador remarked that the meeting was fruitful in understanding the
party’s stance on these issues.
Ambassador Ordway frequently meets with the ARF and other political
parties to
better grasp the positions of political forces, and to also present the US
position on democracy, the market economy, as well as regional security.

5) Police Identify Armenian Cemetery Vandals

KRASNODAR (Armenpress)–Local police have identified the group of youth who
desecrated Armenian gravestones at the Krasnodar Slavonic cemetery on March 2,
reported Yerkramas, a weekly paper published by the Armenian community of the
southern Russian province.
The culprits are eight youth between the ages of 13 and 16. Police said their
parents will have to pay for restoring the damaged tombs.
A similar act of vandalism in 2002 sparked strong condemnation by the
government and leading politicians concerned with the escalating ethnic
tensions in the southern Russia.
In April 2002, approximately 50 youths ravaged gravestones and monuments at
the Armenian cemetery in Krasnodar. Though the local police at the time
announced the arrest of three Russian youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17
on suspicion of involvement, all managed to avoid punishment.

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Armenian leader decisive to solve Karabakh problem

Mediamax news agency, Yerevan, in Russian
10 Mar 04

Armenian leader decisive to solve Karabakh problem


Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said in Yerevan today that “we
shall bring the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh problem to an
end”, the Armenian president said at a meeting with Yerevan students,
Mediamax reports.

Kocharyan said that “at least the last 15 years of my life” have been
devoted to solving the Karabakh problem.

According to the president, at least the fact that “during my term in
office, the mediator countries put forward proposals on a solution to
the conflict, which were accepted as a basis for the talks by Armenia
and rejected by Azerbaijan” could serve as an appraisal of the
current Armenian authorities’ policy on the Karabakh issue.

“I think only this fact speaks for itself,” Robert Kocharyan said.

Canadian Diocese: Primate of Javakheti in Montreal

Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada
Contact; Deacon Hagop Arslanian, Assistant to the Primate
615 Stuart Avenue, Outremont-Quebec H2V 3H2
Tel; 514-276-9479, Fax; 514-276-9960
Email; [email protected], Website;

Primate of Javakheti in Montreal

On Tuesday, 2 March 2004, Very Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan, Primate
of Javakheti met with the representatives of the Montreal Armenian
Community in the Diocesan Dikran Garibian Hall. Father Babgen Salbyan
talked about the current situation in Javakheti and the expectations
of the Armenian Community from both Armenia and Diaspora.

Afterwards, at St Gregory the Illuminator’s Marie Manoogian Hall, Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan made a presentation on the current
situationin Javakheti, the needs and expectations of Javakheti
Armenians; discussions focused on the policy of the Georgian
government towards Javakheti and matters related to the role and
mission of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church. Donations, for a total
of $12.000 were made to Javakheti Armenians by the faithful of the
Canadian Armenian community. On this occasion, Bishop Bagrat
Galstanian, Diocesan Council members and the Clergy extend their
sincere thanks and gratitude for the donors.

The following day, Bishop Bagrat Galstanian accompanied by Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan and Mr. Hagop Amirianpaid a short visit
to the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Ottawa and met with the
Ambassador, His Excellency Ara Papian and the staff of Armenian
Embassy. Discussions focused on the issues related to Javakheti
Armenian community, Armenian Apostolic Church and Motherland Armenia.

Feast of Saint Vartan and His companions in the Canadian Diocese

On Sunday February 29 2004, the feast of St Vartan the Warrior and his
companions was marked at St Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral
organized by cultural unions and political parties of the Armenian
community of Montreal. His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian presided
over the ceremony. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Primate of
Javakheti, the Very Reverend Father Babgen Salpyan.

This year, the Diocesan Primate suggested that each of our church’s
feast days will be given an appropriate meaning and
content. Accordingly, St Vartanank was declared as the BLESSING DAY OF
since his first day as Primate, Serpazan has paid special attention to
the rejuvenation of the spiritual life in our Diocese.

Over 800 faithful attended the ceremony. Representatives of the unions
and parties who were escorted to the altar by the AGBU Armenian Scouts
renewed their vow to serve the Armenian people and the Armenian
Church. In his sermon, Bishop Galstanian said “Today, we are called to
serve the Armenian Church, Motherland Armenia and our beloved
people. Today my heart is full of joy witnessing the unity of our
people as it was in the Battle of Avarayr”. Serpazan thanked and
expressed his appreciation to the members of the organizing committee
and the faithful; he then introduced the Primate of Javakheti Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salpyan, who in turn thanked Bishop Bagrat for
inviting him to visit the Canadian Diocese.

Following the service, the guests attended a special cultural program
designed by the organizing committee with the participation of the
studentsof Alex Manougian Armen-Quebec School, Bolsahay Cultural
Association and Diocesan Youth Council members.

Divan of the Diocese