President Armen Sarkissian meets with Executive Director of “Mubadala” investment company

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 19:07,

YEREVAN, 17 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian today met with the Executive Director of “Mubadala” investment company Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak during his working visit to the UAE, ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the President of Armenia.

Mubadala Investment Company is a large investment company which manages a diverse profile of assets and investments in the UAE and abroad. The company mainly carries out activities and makes investments in fields of high technology, telecommunication, energy, healthcare, real estate, infrastructure, education, science and is present in more than 50 countries of the world. The volume of the assets managed by “Mubadala” is estimated 243 billion US Dollars, the head office is in Abu Dabi. “Mubadala” has offices also in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Beijing.

President Sarkissian once again expressed his gratitude to Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, for its readiness to implement energy projects of a total of 400 MW in the field of renewable energy in Armenia. The President highly appreciated the efficient cooperation of “Masdar” company and the Armenian National Interests Fund around the “Ayg-1” programme.

The possibilities of making large investments in alternative energy as well as in other fields were discussed. President Sarkissian mentioned that Armenia is interested in the possible presence of UAE companies also in other fields of our economy and is ready for long-terms cooperation.

Iran welcomes efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey – Iranian Foreign Ministry

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 19:40,

YEREVAN, JANUARY 17, ARMENPRESS.  Official Tehran responded to the first meeting of the Armenian and Turkish special representatives in Moscow, ARMENPRESS reports, referring to ISNA agency, 1lurer.am reports that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated at a press conference that Iran welcomes the normalization of relations between its neighbors and supports the efforts made in that direction.

 "Our region is tired of the breach of relations and negative attitudes. We must help develop positive attitudes and views," Khatibzadeh said.

Special Representatives for the normalization process between Armenia and Turkey, respectively, the Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Mr. Ruben Rubinyan and Ambassador Serdar Kılıç met on 14 January 2022, in Moscow.

During their first meeting, conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere, the Special Representatives exchanged their preliminary views regarding the normalization process through dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. Parties agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions aiming at full normalization.

Date and venue of their second meeting will be decided in due time through diplomatic channels.




Moderna will start clinical trials against Omicron in the coming weeks

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 20:43,

YEREVAN, 17 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. The American Pharmaceutical company Moderna will start the clinical trials of vaccine against the Omicron strain in the coming weeks, ARMENPRESS reports, ''Interfax'' informs citing the announcement of the CEO of the Company Stéphane Bancel.

“The development of the vaccine comes to end. It must be tested in the coming weeks. We hope that in March we will have data that we can share with professionals in determining the next steps.” said Bancel during the online conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Besides that, the CEO of Moderna mentioned that the aim of the company is to develop annual stimulator, which will be directed both against COVID-19, and flu.

“Thus, people will not have problems of meeting demands, when they do not wish to get vaccinated two or three doses in winter, they will have an opportunity to get vaccinated with one strong vaccine, which will defend from COVID, from flu.” he mentioned.

According to him in the best scenario such stimulant can be accessible until fall 2023, at least in a number of countries.

Armenpress: Russia concerned that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs are not able to visit Karabakh. Lukashevich

Russia concerned that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs are not able to visit Karabakh. Lukashevich

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 21:26,

YEREVAN, 17 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. Russia is concerned that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs are not able to visit Karabakh, ARMENPRESS reports Alexander Lukashevich, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE, said at an online briefing.

"We are concerned that the Co-Chairs have not yet been able to visit the region, to get acquainted with the situation, to outline concrete measures to assist the parties in establishing contacts between citizens, to resolve humanitarian issues," Lukashevich said.

He hoped that the visit will take place in the near future.

Referring to the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, Lukashevich noted that despite some incidents, due to Russia's efforts, it was possible to maintain stability in the region in general. According to him, the stabilization of the situation allowed to address other issues, such as the unblocking of roads, discussions on the "3 + 3" platform, etc.

RFE/RL Armenian Report – 01/17/2022

                                        Monday, 


Armenian Official Cautious After First Talks With Turkish Envoy

        • Karlen Aslanian
        • Naira Nalbandian

Armenia - Deputy speaker Ruben Rubinian at a session of the National Assembly, 
October 5, 2021.


Three days after holding his first meeting with a Turkish diplomat, a senior 
Armenian official on Monday expressed caution about the success of negotiations 
on normalizing Armenia’s relations with Turkey.

Ruben Rubinian, Armenia’s top negotiator, and his Turkish counterpart, Serdar 
Kilic, met in Moscow on Friday. In virtually identical statements, the Turkish 
and Armenian foreign ministries described the talks as “positive and 
constructive.” They said the two envoys agreed to continue the dialogue “without 
preconditions.”

“Very substantive issues were not discussed at the first meeting,” Rubinian told 
RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in an interview. “We discussed general approaches to 
the process. … It’s still too early to say what kind of approaches Turkey will 
take.”

“We must try to achieve peace in the region and our position is sincere,” he 
said. “We expect Turkey to demonstrate a similar position because it’s simply 
impossible for Turkey to pursue a policy in the region without having a 
relationship with Armenia.”

Rubinian, who is a deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, said that Yerevan 
hopes that the next round of negotiations will be more “substantive.”


Turkey - Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (right) meets Ambassador Serdar 
Kılıç to discuss normalization talks with Armenia, January 10, 2022.

“We are interested in solving real issues and those include, first of all, the 
opening of the [Turkish-Armenian] border and, secondly, the establishment of 
diplomatic relations,” he explained.

In recent months Turkish leaders have made statements making the normalization 
of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on Armenia agreeing to open a land 
corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave. They have 
also cited Baku’s demands for a formal Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani 
sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Rubinian insisted that he did not discuss these demands with Kilic in Moscow. 
Yerevan continues to stand for an unconditional normalization of 
Turkish-Armenian ties, he said.

Armenian opposition leaders remain unconvinced by such assurances, saying that 
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is ready to accept Turkish preconditions relating 
to not only the Karabakh conflict but also the 1915 Armenian genocide in the 
Ottoman Empire.

Rubinian faced harsh criticism from opposition lawmakers when he chaired a 
session of the National Assembly earlier on Monday. Some of them deplored what 
they see as the secrecy of the Turkish-Armenian dialogue welcomed by Russia, the 
United States and the European Union.


Armenia - Deputies from the opposition Hayastan alliance attend a session of the 
National Assembly, Yerevan, .

“When you say that ‘we learn about everything from Turkey’ … there has not been 
a single development about which our foreign ministry has not informed [the 
public,]” responded Rubinian.

The 31-year-old vice-speaker lost his cool when some deputies from the main 
opposition Hayastan alliance cited the fact that he lived in Istanbul for 
several months in 2017-2018 on a scholarly exchange program to accuse him of 
promoting Turkish interests in Armenia.

“I’ll do whatever I want,” Rubinian shouted before walking off the parliament 
podium and menacingly approaching Hayastan’s parliamentary group.

With the shouting match nearly degenerating into a violent clash between 
pro-government and opposition deputies, Rubinian rushed back to his seat and 
interrupted the parliament session. The deputies continued to argue on the 
parliament floor during the break.



Armenian Task Force To Work On Rail Link With Azerbaijan

        • Robert Zargarian


The Armenian government has set up a task force that will coordinate work on a 
railway that will connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through 
Armenia’s Syunik province.

The 45-kilometer railway will be part of broader transport links between the two 
countries envisaged by the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the 2020 war 
in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as follow-up agreements reached by Baku and Yerevan.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev 
reported decisive progress towards establishing the rail link between 
Nakhichevan and the rest of Azerbaijan after face-to-face talks held in Brussels 
in December.

Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the 
construction of its Armenian section will likely cost Yerevan $200 million and 
take about three years. But Grigorian did not say when it will start.

The task force formed by Pashinian’s government late last week is to deal with 
practical modalities of the transport project. It will be headed by Artashes 
Tumanian, Armenia’s former ambassador to Iran, and also comprise nine government 
officials and railway and construction specialists.

Tumanian, who is now an adviser to Pashinian, did not return phone calls at the 
weekend.

Pashinian insisted last month that the rail link will be beneficial for not only 
Azerbaijan but also Armenia. “Through that railway Armenia will gain access to 
Russia and Iran, while Azerbaijan will get a rail link with Nakhichevan,” he 
said.

Critics of the Armenian prime minister are skeptical about the project’s 
economic benefits for Armenia, however. Suren Parsian, an opposition-linked 
economist, believes that it is first and foremost a political undertaking.

“We often overestimate the significance of this unblocking of transport 
infrastructures,” Parsian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “True, Armenia needs 
to have open roads and alternative options. But this must not be presented as a 
miracle cure.”

While apparently reaching an agreement on the rail links, Aliyev and Pashinian 
failed to patch up their differences on the status of a highway that would also 
connect Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Syunik.

Aliyev said ahead of their December 14 meeting in Brussels that people and cargo 
passing through that “Zangezur corridor” must be exempt from Armenian border 
controls. Pashinian rejected the demand.



Opposition Lawmakers Absent From Armenian Delegation Visiting U.S.
Հունվար 17, 2022
        • Marine Khachatrian

Armenia -- Former National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsian speaks at 
an opposition rally in Yerevan, November 21, 2020.


Opposition deputies were not included, for different reasons, in a delegation of 
the Armenian parliament that began a working visit to the United States at the 
weekend.

The delegation headed by speaker Alen Simonian is due to meet in Washington with 
the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and other members of 
the U.S. Congress. Simonian personally decided its composition.

He did not appoint any deputies from the main opposition Hayastan alliance. Nor 
did he ask it to name a representative for the trip to Washington.

Hayastan, which has the second largest group in the National Assembly, said in 
December that it will not join Armenian parliamentary delegations travelling 
abroad until the authorities lift travel bans imposed on 12 of its 29 lawmakers. 
The bans stem from various criminal charges rejected by the bloc as politically 
motivated.

Simonian’s delegation included instead Artur Vanetsian, a leader of Pativ Unem, 
the other opposition alliance represented in the parliament. However, Vanetsian 
pulled out of the trip at the last minute.

Explaining the decision, A Pativ Unem spokesman, Sos Hakobian, said that just 
hours before the delegation’s departure to Washington Vanetsian was informed 
that he will not be allowed to attend Simonian’s meeting with Pelosi.

The Armenian speaker will be accompanied only by Hayk Konjorian, a senior 
pro-government lawmaker, and Lilit Makunts, the Armenian ambassador to the U.S. 
Makunts is also a political ally of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Hakobian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that Vanetsian’s “undemocratic” 
exclusion from the meeting with Pelosi made his participation in the trip 
“meaningless.”

“All other meetings and events [in Washington] will be largely ceremonial in 
nature,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Simonian rejected the criticism on Monday, saying that Pelosi 
is scheduled to meet with her Armenian counterpart, rather than the delegation.

“And the chairman of the National Assembly himself decides the composition of 
the delegation,” she added.


Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2022 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

 

The California Courier Online, January 20, 2022

1-         Pashinyan is Losing His Prized
Trump Card of Democratic Rule
            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier
            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com
2-         In Moscow, Amenia, Turkey Hold First Round of Talks on
Normalizing Ties
3-         Three Armenian Soldiers Killed, Two Wounded After Azerbaijani Attack
4-         COVID-19, Genocide and Orthodox Believers

5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19

************************************************************************************************************************************************

1-       Pashinyan is Losing His Prized
Trump Card of Democratic Rule
            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier
            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com
The Los Angeles Times published on January 11, 2022, an opinion column
by Jonah Goldberg, titled: “Just meeting with Putin is a
concession—the U.S. should be wary of giving more.”
Goldberg expressed his unhappiness that Russia and other members of
its military coalition, the Collective Security Treaty Organization
(CSTO), which includes Armenia, sent troops to Kazakhstan on a
‘peacekeeping’ mission earlier this month. In his article, Goldberg
made a critical reference to Armenia: “None of CSTO’s members—Russia,
Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—are
democracies. Armenia comes closest; Freedom House designates it a
‘semi-consolidated authoritarian regime’ with a ‘Democracy Score’ of
33 out of 100. The rest are ‘consolidated authoritarian regimes.’”
Goldberg’s derogatory description of Armenia, which has been praised
as a bastion of democracy since Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to
power in 2018, must have made Armenians feel uncomfortable. Freedom
House, a Washington-based research institute funded mostly by the U.S.
government, regrettably proves that Goldberg was not wrong in his
criticism of Armenia. Freedom House publishes an annual “Freedom in
the World” report which assesses each country’s degree of democracy,
including political freedom and civil liberties. Countries are
classified as “free,” “partly free,” or “not free.”
When Pashinyan became Prime Minister, he was applauded by the
international community and Armenians worldwide for establishing
democratic rule through his “Velvet Revolution.” However, Freedom
House continued to classify Armenia as “partly free” throughout 2018,
2019, 2020 and 2021. Armenia is also designated as “not an electoral
democracy,” based on its low ratings on “political rights” and “civil
liberties.” Just in case Azeris and Turks wish to celebrate Armenia’s
low ratings, both Azerbaijan and Turkey are ranked far worse as “not
free.”
Here are highlights from Freedom House’s detailed 30-page report on
Armenia for the year 2020:
In the category of “National Democratic Governance,” with 1 as best
and 7 as worst, Armenia was rated 2.25. This category “considers the
democratic character of the governmental system; and the independence,
effectiveness, and accountability of the legislative and executive
branches.”
In the category of “Electoral Process,” Armenia was rated 3.25. It
“examines national executive and legislative elections, the electoral
framework, the functioning of multiparty systems, and popular
participation in the political process.”
In the category of “Civil Society,” Armenia was rated 4.5. It
“assesses the organizational capacity and financial sustainability of
the civic sector; the legal and political environment in which it
operates; the functioning of trade unions; interest group
participation in the policy process; and the threat posed by
antidemocratic extremist groups.”
In the category of “Independent Media,” Armenia was rated 3. It
“examines the current state of press freedom, including libel laws,
harassment of journalists, and editorial independence; the operation
of a financially viable and independent private press; and the
functioning of the public media.”
In the category of “Local Democratic Governance,” Armenia was rated
2.25. It “considers the decentralization of power; the
responsibilities, election, and capacity of local governmental bodies;
and the transparency and accountability of local authorities.”
In the category of “Judicial Framework and Independence,” Armenia was
rated 2.5. It “assesses constitutional and human rights protections,
judicial independence, the status of ethnic minority rights,
guarantees of equality before the law, treatment of suspects and
prisoners, and compliance with judicial decisions.”
In the category of “Corruption,” Armenia was rated 3. It “looks at
public perceptions of corruption, the business interests of top
policymakers, laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest,
and the efficacy of anticorruption initiatives.”
A second report on Armenia was published by Human Rights Watch (HRW)
on January 14, 2022. HRW is an international non-governmental
organization, headquartered in New York City that conducts research
and advocacy on human rights.
HRW reported that even though “the political crisis” after the Artsakh
war “was largely defused in the June 2021 snap elections … domestic
violence, discrimination against people with disabilities, barriers to
effective pain treatment and palliative care, and violence and
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
persisted. Striving to fight rising incidents of hate speech,
authorities introduced regulations which may undermine freedom of
speech.”
Regarding “accountability for law enforcement abuse and torture in
custody,” HRW reported that “torture and ill-treatment in custody
remains a problem and it is often perpetrated with impunity. Even when
criminal investigations are launched in response to allegations of
torture, they are rarely effective.”
In the first six months of 2021, there were “documented 15 cases, with
17 victims, of physical violence against journalists perpetrated by
both public officials and private individuals.” There were also
“heated public debates, which often included inflammatory speech by
members of parliament and other public officials that was at times
directed against human rights defenders and activists.”
The HRW also reported that “many children with disabilities remain
segregated in orphanages, special schools, or at home with little or
no education.” In May 2021, “parliament adopted the Law on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities, which includes guarantees of
accessibility, independent living, and access to justice, and bans
disability-based discrimination.”
According to HRW, “violence against women and children … remains a
persistent problem.” In addition, “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) people in Armenia continue to face harassment,
discrimination, and violence.”
An indication that Armenia is losing its image of a democratic country
is the fact that last March, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken,
in a call with Prime Minister Pashinyan, counseled him about “the
importance of the rule of law and democratic institutions.”
Prime Minister Pashinyan came to power in 2018 promoting democracy,
thereby gaining much support and praise from international circles.
Regrettably, Pashinyan’s monopoly on power and increasing tendency to
make all governmental decisions single-handedly are turning Armenia
into a one-man rule which will result in the country losing its
democratic credentials and international support.
************************************************************************************************************************************************
2-         In Moscow, Amenia, Turkey Hold First Round of Talks on
Normalizing Ties

MOSCOW (RFE/RL)—Representatives of Armenia and Turkey have agreed to
continue negotiations after a first round of talks in Moscow on
January 14 aimed at normalizing relations after years of animosity.

Ruben Rubinyan, the deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, and
Serdar Kilic, a former Turkish ambassador to the United States, agreed
during their meeting in the Russian capital that Turkey and Armenia
should work to regulate ties “through dialogue” and without
preconditions, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.

“The date and place of the second meeting will be determined via
diplomatic channels,” the ministry said.

Going into the talks, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said it expected
the negotiations to result in the establishment of diplomatic
relations with Turkey as well as the opening of the border between the
two countries.

Last month, Armenia lifted a ban on the import of Turkish goods that
had been a burden mostly to Armenians, and Turkey announced charter
flights to Armenia would be allowed.

************************************************************************************************************************************************

3-         Three Armenian Soldiers Killed, Two Wounded After Azerbaijani Attack

Azerbaijani forces on Tuesday, January 11 launched an attack on
Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province, killing three soldiers of Armenia’s
Armed Forces and injuring three.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that Private Arthur Mkhitaryan (born
2002) and Junior Sergeant Rudik Gharibyan (born 2002) and Vahan
Babayan (b. 2003) were killed when Azerbaijani forces shot at Armenian
positions using artillery and drones.

Two other Armenian soldiers – Artur Mkhitaryan and Rudik Gharibyan
(both born in 2002) – were killed earlier in the day, while two others
were injured in fighting.

“The two wounded servicemen are in stable condition, their lives are
not in danger,” the Defense Ministry added.

Azerbaijani forces violated Armenia’s border in several sections in
the provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik on May 12 and 13 and are still
refusing to withdraw their troops from the area. On November 16, the
Azerbaijani side launched a fresh offensive in the province of Syunik,
during which Armenian soldiers were killed and taken captive.

The attacks began at around 3:15 p.m. local time when Azerbaijani
forces opened fire at Armenian military positions near the Verin
Shorzha village in the Gegharkunik Province. One soldier was wounded
with “moderately severe” injuries, according to Armenia’s Defense
Ministry.

Azerbaijani forces resumed their attacks at 5:30 p.m. local time, with
Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan reporting that the
military units near Verin Shorzha and Nerkin Shorzha villages were
targeted. Mkhitaryan and Gharibyan were killed during this attack,
while two other soldiers sustained non life threatening injuries,
according to the defense ministry.

The cross-border shooting continued well after 6:30 p.m. local time.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned what it called in a
statement “the gross violation of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani
Armed Forces.”

“The provocation of the units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces is
another manifestation of the continuous encroachments of Azerbaijan on
the territorial integrity of Armenia, which began on May 12, 2021 with
the intrusion into the sovereign territory and continued with regular
armed attacks,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.

“The Republic of Armenia draws the attention of the international
community to the fact that official Baku, by continuing its
encroachments on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the
Republic of Armenia, violates the basic principles of international
law, including the UN Charter, and undermines regional security,” the
statement emphasized.

The foreign ministry said that Armenia “has repeatedly stated that one
of the ways to avoid further aggravation of the situation may be the
withdrawal of troops and the launch of an international monitoring
mechanism along the border.” It also called on Azerbaijani authorities
to “refrain from provocative actions, to fulfill their commitment to
establish stability in the region assumed after the meetings in Sochi
and Brussels.”

During a phone conversation, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan briefed
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Karen Donfried about Azerbaijan’s latest ceasefire violation.

The call, which was initiated by Donfried, also focused on the Artsakh
conflict settlement through the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, the
release of all prisoners of war, as well as efforts to normalize
relations between Armenia and Turkey and the situation in Kazakhstan.

“The Azerbaijani authorities are acting in clear violation of
international rules,” said Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender. “They
are responsible for crimes committed: killing two Armenian servicemen
in Gegharkunik today, for violating their right to life, for harming
the health of wounded servicemen, as well as for disrupting the
security of the civilian population and aggression against people.”
**********************************************************************************************************************************************

4-         COVID-19, Genocide and Orthodox Believers

By Tessa Hofmann

For The California Courier

I just read Harut Sassounian’s article “Patriarch of Istanbul Spreads
Falsehoods About Covid, Under the Guise of Religion”. The article
refers to a sermon by the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Istanbul,
Sahak Mashalian, in October last year. At that time, the patriarch
warned his congregants against covid vaccinations, which he related to
the apocalyptic visions of the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation.
In it, there is talk of a beast that forces people to wear a “mark” on
their forehead or right arm. With this mark or chip, the patriarch
hinted, complete control would be exercised over those vaccinated.

The words of the church leader shocked me, but I was not surprised. In
Germany, about one-fifth of the population belongs to the vaccination
skeptics or even opponents. This anti-vaccination segment of the
population is made up of very heterogeneous segments.

There are also vaccination opponents and vaccination skeptics among
Armenians. Since valid empirical studies on the number and motives of
Armenian vaccination opponents are lacking, I can only draw on
personal experience. For around the same time, in October 2021, I had
my very personal and no less drastic experience with Armenian
vaccination opponents. At that time, “the Working Group Recognition –
Against Genocide, for International Understanding,” which I co-founded
and chair, organized a three-part series of events on the theme
“Berlin Writes Legal History: From Assassination to the United Nations
Genocide Convention.” Public health regulations prescribed that, if
these events were held indoors, participants had to be vaccinated or
recovered from a covid infection within the past six months.

Because of this restriction, we were criticized by an Istanbul-born
Armenian who, in his Facebook comment, compared the exclusion of the
unvaccinated with the extermination of Jews in the “Third Reich” and,
as a descendant of Armenian Genocide victims, now saw himself
victimized again — by a human rights organization based in Germany.
The comparison is also extremely popular among non-Armenian
vaccination opponents in Germany. It represents an unacceptable
trivialization of the Shoah: The victims of the industrial-scale
extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany were never asked if they wanted
to be Jews. The Nazi regime declared them Jews based on its arbitrary
racist definitions. A “non-Aryan” grandparent was enough for
discrimination. Today’s vaccination opponents in European
constitutional states, on the other hand, define themselves as
vaccination opponents and certainly run no risk of being murdered for
their decision.

Is it relevant that our Armenian critic was from Istanbul? A fellow
human rights activist committed to recognizing the Ottoman genocide,
who became an unvaccinated covid victim, was also from Turkey: He had
no pre-existing conditions, followed a healthy diet, exercised, and
believed that he could therefore forgo vaccination. He contracted the
disease from his infected wife. After a tracheotomy in the hospital,
he became further infected with multidrug-resistant germs and died at
the end of October.

However, I know Armenian vaccination opponents also among the
“hayastantsiner,” as well as among young Pontos Greeks of the fourth
post-genocidal generation. Is anti-vaccination more widespread among
Orthodox Christians than in secular or Western Church societies? The
empirical picture is mixed: In Romania, there seems to be a
correlation between the low nationwide vaccination rate of 41.74
percent (first-time vaccinations) and the anti-vaccination attitude of
the Orthodox clergy. In Armenia, the rate of initial vaccinations is
even lower, at only 32.27%. However, the Catholicos of All Armenians,
Garegin II, has clearly distanced himself from the statements of the
Istanbul Patriarch and has professed his own vaccination. But in the
orthodox EU state of Greece, the rate of first-time vaccinations is
72.42%, almost as high as in largely secular Germany (73 percent).

Epidemics or pandemics have accompanied mankind since the beginning of
its history. But for the first time ever, the state has intervened
globally and massively in the individual and collective liberties of
its citizens. In societies where citizens’ trust in the state has
already been shaken for historical or current reasons, this has
intensified the public’s fatigue and irritability. In other societies,
these reactions appeared for the first time. After two years of Covid
regulation, nerves are on edge, especially since governments’ epidemic
policies were often inconsistent due to lack of experience. Political
decision-makers have also neglected to openly communicate to citizens
that they are often in the dark because of the limited knowledge about
Covid; and to err is human.

I expect spiritual leaders, even more than political leaders, to make
us aware of the ethical connections between lifestyles and pandemics.
Patriarch Mashalian, on the other hand, draws on a widespread,
anti-capitalist-tinged conspiracy theory to explain the pandemic,
according to which the apocalyptic beast stands for either Bill Gates,
George Soros, or similar suspects. One can take one’s pick. By thus
shifting the blame, he regrettably deflects attention from the
responsibility we all bear for our environment and our fellow
creatures. And what falls back on us is not Divine punishment, but the
consequence of our own ineptitude.

Dr. Tessa Hofmann is a scholar of genocide and Armenian studies. She
has been a human rights activist for ethno-religious minorities in the
Middle East, including Turkey, and the South Caucasus for nearly 50
years.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************

5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19

Armenia continues the fight against COVID-19, as the country continues
promoting the vaccination phase. Armenia's Ministry of Health
announced on January 11 new restrictions to curb the fast spreading of
the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. From January 22, people above 18
must present either a vaccination certificate or a negative recent
test result prior to entering restaurants, hotels, cinemas and other
similar venues, Xinhua news agency reported citing the MInistry as
saying. As of Monday, January 10 the country had administered a total
of 1,694,518 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Ministry.

The U.S. State Department on July 26 warned American citizens to
reconsider travel to Armenia due to the increase in cases of the
Covid-19.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a
Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Armenia due to COVID-19, indicating a
high level of COVID-19 in the country,” said the State Department.

The State Department also urged U.S. citizens not to travel to the
Nagorno-Karabakh region due to armed conflict. “The U.S. government is
unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in
Nagorno-Karabakh as U.S. government employees are restricted from
traveling there,” the State Department added.

WHO, with funding from the European Union, in September supplied X-ray
equipment to 7 COVID-19 frontline hospitals – 1 in the capital Yerevan
and in 6 other cities in Armenia.

A new law came into effect on December 10, by order of the Armenian
Ministry of Health, that would allow employers to fire workers who
refuse to provide proof of vaccination. Armenia has the lowest
vaccination rate in the region and Europe. Armenia began its mass
vaccination campaign in April with authorities planning to inoculate
700,000 of the country's 2.9 million citizens by the end of the year.
However, only 516,989 citizens had been fully vaccinated by Dec. 6.

620,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were donated to Armenia by Norway
with the support of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism within the
framework of the Team Europe initiative is already in Armenia.

"The entire infrastructure is ready to carry out a large number of
vaccinations. I add that vaccination does not exclude the disease, but
reduces the risk of contagion", Armenian Health Minister Anahit
Avanesyan reported during a recent press conference, adding that the
late entry into force of the restrictive measures was a shortcoming of
her department. According to the minister, they are currently
considering the option of requesting certification of negativity from
Covid or vaccination to enter restaurants and attend concerts.

There were 6,110 active cases in Armenia as of .
Armenia has recorded 347,785 coronavirus cases and 8,020 deaths;
333,655 have recovered.
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NBA Detroit Pistons’ Rex Kalamian could become head coach of Armenian basketball team

NBA Detroit Pistons' Rex Kalamian could become head coach of Armenian basketball team

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 14:17, 14 January, 2022

YEREVAN, JANUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. NBA coach Rex Kalamian is the main potential candidate for head coach of the Armenian national basketball team, sources familiar with the matter told ARMENPRESS.

Kalamian serves as assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

He previously had coaching terms with the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Toronto Raptors.

OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship is the only format for settlement of NK conflict – Artsakh MFA

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 14:27, 14 January, 2022

YEREVAN, JANUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh has issued a statement, commenting on the recent remarks of the Azerbaijani President.

Armenpress presents the full text of the statement:

“In his recent interview to a number of media outlets, President of the Azerbaijani Republic Ilham Aliyev, touching upon the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement and regional processes, once again used anti-Armenian, destructive, expansionary vocabulary and ideas, dwelling upon relevant programs and goals.

Such a policy is a gross violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the agreements reached. It aims to torpedo peace and stability initiatives and dismantle the existing formats.

The Azerbaijani leader also specifically targeted the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship and the peacekeeping mission carried out in Artsakh by one of the co-chair countries- the Russian Federation, voicing absurd accusations against their activities.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship is the only format for the settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict agreed by all sides.

We highly appreciate the mission of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Artsakh and consider unacceptable any attempt to cast a shadow on their activities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh strongly condemns the behavior of Azerbaijan, being convinced that such a policy carried out at the state level should be properly assessed also by the international community”.

OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship is the only format for settlement of NK conflict – Artsakh MFA

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 14:27, 14 January, 2022

YEREVAN, JANUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh has issued a statement, commenting on the recent remarks of the Azerbaijani President.

Armenpress presents the full text of the statement:

“In his recent interview to a number of media outlets, President of the Azerbaijani Republic Ilham Aliyev, touching upon the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict settlement and regional processes, once again used anti-Armenian, destructive, expansionary vocabulary and ideas, dwelling upon relevant programs and goals.

Such a policy is a gross violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the agreements reached. It aims to torpedo peace and stability initiatives and dismantle the existing formats.

The Azerbaijani leader also specifically targeted the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship and the peacekeeping mission carried out in Artsakh by one of the co-chair countries- the Russian Federation, voicing absurd accusations against their activities.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship is the only format for the settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict agreed by all sides.

We highly appreciate the mission of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Artsakh and consider unacceptable any attempt to cast a shadow on their activities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh strongly condemns the behavior of Azerbaijan, being convinced that such a policy carried out at the state level should be properly assessed also by the international community”.

EU fully supports normalization process of Armenia-Turkey relations – Toivo Klaar

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 14:30, 14 January, 2022

YEREVAN, JANUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. European Union’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar welcomes the news about the meeting of special envoys of Armenia and Turkey in Moscow.

“Normalization of relations and opening of communications is an important objective that the European Union fully supports”, he said on Twitter.

The delegations of Armenia and Turkey arrived in Moscow, Russia, where the first meeting of the special envoys of the two countries will take place. Armenia’s special envoy for the dialogue process with Turkey is Ruben Rubinyan, and Turkey’s representative is former ambassador to US Serdar Kilic.