Newsletter from, date: 02-03-2004 to 10-03-2004

[09-03-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
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Source : Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter (Armenia)

On March 9, 2004 4 public organizations of Armenia – Yerevan Press
Club, Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Civil Society Institute and
Caucasian Center of Peace Initiatives – disseminated a joint statement
on the assassination of Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian by his
Azerbaijani colleague in Budapest.

`We, similarly to all our compatriots, were greatly shattered by the
barbarous murder of Armenia officer Gurgen Margarian by Azerbaijani
peer Ramil Safarov. The tragic incident in Budapest provoke numerous
thoughts: about the hate incitement towards Armenian in Azerbaijan
that forms the moral and psychological ground for such crimes as well
as about the connivance of certain international structures to the
destructive policy in Baku, narrowing down the prospects of dialogue
with Armenia.

At the same time the irresponsible statements by several Armenian
political and public figures, the publications in media during the
recent days cannot but cause our serious concern. In particular, the
Chairman of the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs of the RA
National Assembly Airmen Rustamian, during the commemoration action
for victims of Sumgait pogroms and the head of the Parliament faction
of Republican Party Galust Sahakian during a briefing at NA on March
4, speaking about the assassin of Gurgen Margarian indulged into
unacceptable generalizations to the address of Azerbaijan nation as

These statements by politicians of such a high rank, representing a
governing political coalition, are all the more unacceptable since
they can be qualified as an official position of ours state, can
create new obstacles for the negotiations on the peaceful resolution
of Karabagh conflict and the normalization of relations between
Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The artificial intensification of anti-Armenian sentiment in
Azerbaijan and its consequences are to be most strongly criticized,
but they can in no way become a justification for dissemination of
racist and chauvinist ideas, alien to our society.

However hard are our experiences related to Budapest tragedy, we call
to display political reticence and hope that common sense and
democratic values will remain guiding for our country’, the statement
of the Armenian NGOs says.

[08-03-2004 ‘Region’]
Source : “Turkish Daily News” newspaper (Turkey)

U.S. Department of State senior Turkey desk officer Larry Silverman
said Turkey’s European Union membership was one of greatest priorities
of the U.S. administration.

Speaking at a meeting of the American-Turkish Association of
Washington DC (ATA-DC), Silverman said Turkey is expecting a blunt,
not a conditional, “yes” at the EU summit scheduled for December 2004
and added that recent signals from the EU reflected an inclination in
that direction. Silverman noted that Turkey played a key role in
policies on a wide range of issues regarding energy, terrorism,
economic development, human rights, the Middle East, Central Asia and
the Caucasus and said, “Turkey’s success is of special importance to
the whole world.”

Silverman also praised recent reforms in Turkey, saying, “Turkey has
realized such reforms that it has even gone further than us on some
issues. For instance, if we wanted to join the EU, we wouldn’t be able
to do that because we have the death penalty in our laws. However,
Turkey has abolished the death penalty as part of the reforms its
Parliament has passed.”

He said Turkey had passed these reforms since they were to the
advantage of the country rather than for the purpose of joining the

Turkey’s Parliament has recently legislated a series of democratic
reforms including limiting the power of the military, abolishing the
death penalty and granting greater rights to its Kurdish citizens and
it is expecting to get a go-ahead from the EU in December.

[05-03-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
Source : “Echo” newspaper (Azerbaijan)
Author: T. Tushiev

For conducting international chess tournament on the occupied
territory of Azerbaijan and will convene its extraordinary
presidential council in Baku

“In case of Armenia’s conducting international chess tournament on the
territory of Mountainous Karabagh, World Chess Federation (FIDE) will
certainly apply sanctions against this country. The type of the
sanctions to be applied will be determined by us in the near future’,
FIDE Vice-president, Co-chairman of Georgian Chess Federation, Zurab
Azmayparashvilli stated in his exclusive interview to `Echo’
commenting on the plans by the Armenian side to conduct a sport event
on the occupied territory. In his opinion, if the international
tournament in Khankendi nevertheless takes place, FIDE will accept the
suggestion of the Azerbaijani side `about conducting in Baku FIDE
extraordinary presidential council whose agenda will include the issue
of preventing similar incidents’.

Previously, our newspaper already reported that according to the
information provided by Armenian media, `Mountainous Karabagh (MKR)
government’ and President of Yerevan Chess Academy, Smbat Lputian
intend to conduct in Khankendi international tournament of 13-degree
complexity devoted to 75th anniversary of Tigran Petrosian, 9-times
world champion. Initially it was reported that the participation of
strongest chess players from a number of countries is planned. Later
it became known that chess players from Georgia, Iran, Switzerland and
Latvia really intend to participate in the Khankendi event. The
organizers of the competition also invited as a commenter 10-times
world champion, Boris Spassky who in 1996 deprived the Armenian gross
master of the universe best chess player title. At present Spassky
lives and works in France.

`I found out about possible conducting of the tournament only on March
3′, Azmayparashvilli says, `I was extremely interested in this
information since organizing an international tournament on the
occupied territory of Azerbaijan cannot be accepted by FIDE, and the
latter will not consider this competition as an international
tournament. We have already informed FIDE President Kirsan
Ilyumjinov. I am sure heads of the federation are unanimous with the
position of Azerbaijani side’.

FIDE Vice-president stated that international federation never
interfered in politics, `since all chess players should always be
beyond politics’. Each national federation has a right to conduct a
competition on the territory of its own state. In the current
situation, Azerbaijan has not informed FIDE about conducting a
tournament on its territory, whereas it is common knowledge that
Mountainous Karabagh is an integral part of Azerbaijan’.

Azmayparashvilli stated that FIDE is really concerned over possible
organization of a tournament. `At present we are clarifying the
details. On March 3 representatives of the Armenian Federation tried
to contact me. Today (yesterday – T. T.) I will try to contact them to
make clear the position of FIDE on this issue. Certainly, we cannot
prohibit Mountainous Karabagh to conduct any competitions on its
territory but these events cannot be granted international status’.

According to Azmayparashvilli, in case of conducting the tournament,
FIDE will not accept the results of this competition, that is, the
tournament participants will not be able to get rating scores. It
means that their participation in the tournament will prove
useless. `If Armenia’s participation in organizing the tournament is
confirmed, FIDE will immediately apply sanctions against this

FIDE Vice-president also commented on possible participation of
Georgian chess players in the Khankendi tournament, in particular one
of the strongest young chess players of Georgia, Bakhadura Jobava. `He
is a young chess player, absolutely far from politics and does not
have any idea of the current political situation in the region’, Zurab
Azmayparashvilli holds, `When heads of Georgian Chess Federation were
notified of his participation, we immediately contacted the chess
player and strongly recommended not to visit Khankendi. Otherwise, the
Georgian Federation promised to apply sanctions against him. I think
Jovaba will make the right decision’.

In his turn, President of Azerbaijani Chess Federation, Milli Mejlis
deputy Aynur Sofieva noted to `Echo’ that our country has already
taken certain measures on preventing organization of this
competition. `Today (yesterday – T.T.) we sent out notes of protest to
chess federations of those countries whose sportsmen intend to
participate in this tournament’, Sofieva stated. `Besides, we intend
to turn to the heads of French Chess Federation and request to keep a
reputable person like Boris Spassky, 10-times world champion far from
this venture’.

According to the head of Federation, FIDE’s authorization is required
for conducting international tournament in any country. `I may assert
that FIDE will never grant authorization for conducting a similar
competition on the territory of an unrecognized entity like `MKR’,
Aynur Sofieva said. `I am confident no international tournament will
be conducted in Khankendi but even if it takes place, we will not
tolerate it, filing a protest to FIDE. FIDE will inevitably apply
sanctions against Armenia afterwards.

Sofieva is confident that FIDE will also consider the 13-degree
complexity factor of the tournament. If a tournament of such high
level of complexity was conducted somewhere we would be notified
beforehand’, Aynur Sofieva said. `FIDE itself is not aware of this
tournament, and it is not organized under the aegis of this
organization. 13th category is a myth spread by Armenia to attract

The statements by the head of our Federation and FIDE Vice-president
were also confirmed by Vice-president of national chess federation,
Fayik Gasanov, who is at the super tournament in Linares (Spain) these
days as an assistant of chief arbiter. `We were notified that Armenian
Federation concealed the fact of conducting this tournament from
FIDE. As soon as international federation found out about it, the
response came out immediately’, Fayik Gasanov stated in the phone
conversation with `Echo’. `In case of holding international tournament
in Khankendi, we intend to convene extraordinary session of FIDE
presidential council at which we will discuss possible options of
preventing future attempts of the Armenian side to conduct any chess
events on the Mountainous Karabagh territory. Previously FIDE
repeatedly turned to us with a proposal to convene in our capital
presidential council of international federation. At present, the time
has come to put an end to illegal actions by Armenia’. According to
the head of press service of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and
Tourism, Ragif Abbasov, FIDE charter stipulates that any international
chess tournament, and 13-degree complexity in particular, should be
included in the official calendar. `This tournament is not included in
FIDE calendar since this tournament is not official and the
participation of foreign chess players may only have a private
status’, Abbasov holds. `It is not for the first time that Armenia
tries to conduct a similar competition on the occupied territories of
Azerbaijan. As a result, Armenians will just force international
organizations to apply sanctions against them’.

`One should not trust the information about conducting the so-called
international tournament in `MKR’, head of press service of Foreign
Affairs Ministry, Merin Mirza declared to `Echo’. `It is essential to
find out in what category will foreign chess players participate in
the tournament. I am confident that their participation will be of
private nature, which means they will not represent the countries of
their residence. In case their participation is of official nature,
MFA response will be immediate and appropriate. In the first place, we
will apply to the governments of those countries who have
sportsmen-participants in the tournament and afterwards will file a
protest to international organizations’, head of MFA press service

Yerevan Press Club of Armenia, ‘Yeni Nesil’ Journalists’ Union of
Azerbaijan and Association of Diplomacy Correspondents of Turkey
present ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkey: Journalist Initiative-2002’
Project. As a part of the project web site has
been designed, featuring the most interesting publications from the
press of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey on issues of mutual
concern. The latest updates on the site are weekly delivered to the

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