Gibrahayer – 03/29/2004


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Gibrahayer – Nicosia, 29 March, 2004 – In an evening that had it all,
grace, colour and magic, the Hamazkayin Sipan dance ensemble impressed
a capacity audience in the Strovolos Municipal auditorium in an
unforgettable evening of traditional Armenian dances.

The five years of hard work of Director/Choreographer Janna Tahmizian
in transforming this “peasant army” to a “fighting machine” coupled
with the hard work of successive committees who worked like bees,
blossomed in a spring night in a scent and expression, almost unknown
to us all.

The dancers of Sipan are the pride and jewel of our community. In
faultless, light moves they depicted everything beautiful, sacred and
brave that our people stand for. Moving in uniform formations, the
dancers of Sipan can indeed seek to be compared to any dance group in
Armenian reality and they will no doubt, pass their test in flying

Sensational! This has to be the word to describe the overall
performance of Saturday night.

“One dance after another, they are all spinning in my head,” said an
overwhelmed mother whose daughter danced with the Ensemble for the
first time. “This is the best performance Cyprus has ever seen” said

What began as a one-off performance five years ago has – through years
of sacrifice – been transformed to an academy of performing arts,
where boys and girls of all ages in our community learn our culture
and music, through funand discipline.

During these crucial times, when there is an attempt to erode
important pillars of culture and education in our community, the Sipan
boys and girlsof Hamazkayin are a loud statement, that we can be
certain that irrespective of recent deplorable acts of regression, our
community is here to stay, not only as a passive physical being but as
a vibrant cell in our society, continuing the multidimensional
presence of Armenians in Cyprus.

NO TO THE CLOSURE OF THE MELKONIAN People of all ages demonstrate
their opposition

Simerini daily – Thursday, March 25, 2004 – By Stella Mourettou
NICOSIA – Graduates, parents and students of the school yesterday
demonstrated their opposition to the decision by the management
committee of the Armenian General Benevolent Organisation (AGBU) to
terminate the operation of the “Melkonian Institute”.

One of the most touching moments was when the whole of the Armenian
community sang, in front of the monument of the Melkonian brothers,
the school’s anthem and laid a carnation. Characteristic was the
presence of 75 years old Marie Somakian, who studies at the
“Melkonian” in 1946. “The school is very important to us, because itis
the only with a boarding house in the whole of the diaspora and we
must maintain it, for our culture and our children,” she said, adding
that her whole family studied there – her son, both her daughters, her
sister and her son-in-law. Student Hovik Demirdjian said that they
will all fight to the end. “Today is only the beginning,” he said and
added: “We aim to do much more, while we send letters daily to these
Americans. As they claim, they will place us in other schools,
however, how can we trust those who have clipped our wings?” Sixteen
years old student Elizabeth Torossian said that this is her second
home. “When it closes, where shall we go? I’m in the fifth
grade. Which school will accept a student for only one year,” she
asked. Present at the protest was the chairman of the House Education
Committee Prodromos Prodromou, who said: “This is no time to close
schools, but to open them, especially today when we talk about
multicultural education.” He repeated that the Committee asked the
Ministry of Interior to speed up the ratification of the declaration
of the school as national heritage buildings and the whole school
grounds into one of historical and cultural importance. He also
emphasized that “if the Foundation terminates the operation of the
school or in any other way changes the inheritance of the Melkonian
brothers, then we consider this not only as a hostile act, but also
contrary to what was reassured to us in the House. We consider the
idea to compensate the students and send them to other private schools
as unacceptable.” Also present at the protest were the representative
of the Armenian religious group, Bedros Kalaydjian, the press
spokesman of DYSI “Democratic Rally” Tasos Mitsopoulos, the press
spokesman of “left wing” AKEL Andros Kyprianou, the representative of
the United Democrats Michalis Papapetrou and the Mayor of Aglandjia
Andreas Petrou.

Nagorno Karabakh – March 24, 2004 On March 7-14 the group of 19
Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists visited Cyprus. The visit was
organized by the press clubs of Yerevan and Baku within the framework
of the program `The possibilities of settlement of the Karabakh
conflict: evaluations of experts and coverage in the mass media’.

The implementation of the project was assisted by the network program
of the mass media of the Open Society Institute. The organization of
the visit was favoured by the office of press and information of the
Ministry of Home Affairs of Cyprus, the press service of the embassy
of the Republic of Cyprus in Russia, the chairman of the union of
journalists of Cyprus Andreas Kannauros, the press and information
service of the government of North Cyprus. The aim ofthe visit of the
representatives of the mass media of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorni
Karabakh was to observe the problem of Cyprus from inside and also an
attempt to compare with the actualities of our region.

According to the editor of the `Weekly Bulletin’ of the Yerevan Press
Club Elina Poghosbekian, `The changing atmosphere of both the north
and the south of Cyprus inspire optimism. It is more difficult to
foresee whether we the Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists who
appeared on the hospitable island of Aphrodite will be able `to learn
to walk again’. Thus, it is too early to draw parallels with the South
Caucasian actualities.


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev has
canceled his upcoming crucial meeting with his Armenian
counterpart. Armenia had hoped the talks would serve to establish
whether the Mountainous Karabagh conflict could be resolved in the
foreseeable future. The decision was announced late Wednesday amid
renewed Azeri criticism of the American, French, and Russian
mediators. President Ilham Aliyev again accused the three co-chairs of
the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe of doing little to achieve a peaceful settlement of the
dispute. He also warned ally Turkey against reopening its border with
Armenia. Guliyev said that he will not travel to the Czech capital
Prague to meet with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian because the
agenda of the talks scheduled for Monday has not been specified.
There was no immediate reaction from the Minsk Group. Russia’stop
Karabagh negotiator Yuri Merzlyakov, was quoted as only telling an
Azeri television channel that the talks initiated by the mediators
will not take place because “one of the parties” decided so. The Czech
Foreign Ministry confirmed the information on Thursday. The Foreign
Ministry in Yerevan declined a comment, though Hamlet Gasparian, told
RFE/RL that the ministry has received no written notification from the
mediators. Oskanian said last week that the Prague meeting should
clarifywhether Baku is ready to revive Karabagh agreements reached by
the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Paris and in Key West three years
ago. He added that Aliyev would have to negotiate only with Karabagh
Armenians if he finally backpedals from those agreements. Aliyev,
however, reiterated Baku’s vehement denial of any peace deals cut by
his late father and predecessor Heydar at the Paris and Key West
talks. “There was and there is no agreement,” he told journalists in
Baku. “This is just another lie circulated by the Armenian side.”
Aliyev went on to attack the Minsk Group, which he said has done
“nothing positive” since being set up in 1992. “When we are told that
the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia should reach and agreement
themselves and the co-chairs will support whatever they decide, that
is not mediation,” he said. Azeri leaders have repeatedly complained
that peace proposals put forward by the mediators in recent years
would not return Karabagh to Azerirule. Aliyev declared recently that
his oil-rich nation is not in a hurry to agree to a compromise deal
because he believes it is the Armenians who suffer more from the
unresolved conflict.

of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia a major conference will take
place on Armenian education from 5-7 August 2004 in Antelias,
Lebanon. The conference will deal with a number of issuesand
challenges, pertaining to Armenian education in the Diaspora. The
main subject of discussion will be the Armenian School and the way the
Armenian education is organized and provided in the daily
schools. This will include textbooks, Armenian courses, the
curriculum, the status of teacher, pedagogical methodologies,
extra-curriculum activities, etc. The conference will also attempt to
look at the Armenian formation in a broader context by dealing with
the ways the new generation is formed through the church, the family,
clubs, organizations, etc. What does it mean to be Armenian in a
Diaspora situation? What kind of Armenian should we form to confront
the new challenges, risks and hopes of new times, and how such an
Armenian must be prepared? These and related questions will be
seriously addressed by the conference which will bring together about
70 selected and experienced educators and intellectuals from different
parts of the Armenian Diaspora. His Holiness Aram I will address the
conference and will personally attend all its sessions. The Armenian
Department of the Gulbenkian Foundation willtake part in this
conference and contribute financially. The minister of Education of
Armenia will also address the conference and a delegation from Armenia
will be invited to attend the conference.

COOPERATION YEREVAN, March 25 (Noyan Tapan). Yuri Manoukian was
elected the first Secretary of the Central Committee of the United
Communist Party of Armeniaduring the first congress of the party,
which was held on March 25. These are the first elections of the
party’s leadership,which testify that the party is established. The
Congress was a closed one and 230 delegates took part in its work. 77
members were included in the structure of the Central Committee. 17
members are in the structure of the Bureau of the Central Committee of
the United Communist Party of Armenia. A press conference was held on
the same day andthe leadership of the party read the statement of the
party directed to the people and other political organizations.

Declaring themselves an opposition party, the United Communist Party
of Armenia, refuses to cooperate with the current opposition.”One
shouldn’t lead the people to confrontation with the danger of
consequences that are not predictable and put the existence of the
state at stake,” Yuri Manoukian stated, naming the opposition
political figures the traitors of the nation that act for the sake of
their own interests. At the same time, the United Communist Party of
Armenia calls two other Communist parties, namely, the Communist Party
of Armenia and the Progressive Communist Party, for uniting with the
UCPA around the general idea of building Socialism. According to
Manoukian, UCPA still hopes to come to an agreement with the communist
Party of Armenia, though, he stated, that knowing his party-fellows,
he can say that their position is both indefinite and speculative.
Turning to the people, the UCPA, calls for not taking decisive
measures that can turn fatal for the country, as the hard foreign
political situation requires political stability. The UCPA demands
from the authorities to takedecisive measures for securing the safety
of the country for the sake of the very existence of the Armenian
state. Besides, the UCPA is against the power shift. Hrant Voskanian,
one of the ideologists of the party, member of the Bureau of the
Central Committee of the UCPA, agreed that the parties at power bear
the responsibility for the hard situation in the country. But,
according to him, the fate of the people and their country is not the
monopoly of only one party,but the concern of all.”The power shift is
no goal in itself and doesn’t proceed from the interests of the
people,” Voskanian said.

– A new cardiovascular surgical center was inaugurated in Yerevan with
the financial support of the Greek Onassis Foundation in the premises,
owned by Yerevan Medical University.

– Major state-owned Russian bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB) has finalized the
deal to purchase a 70% stake in Armenia’s savings bank Armsberbank,
one of the largest in the country

– Armenian Minister of Electric Energy Armen Movsiyan said that that
the Iran-Armenia pipeline, construction of which is scheduled to
finish by 2005will be prolonged through Georgian territory

– A working group on Azerbaijan has been officially registered in the
US Congress. The co-chairmen of the group are Republican Congressman
Curt Weldon from Pennsylvania and Democrat Congressman Solomon Otis
from Texas.

– On the initiative of the Chairman of Chamber of Deputies of Italian
Parliament Peir Ferdinando Casini, an Italy-Armenia friendship group
is being created in the Italian Parliament.

– The World Bank is to allocate a $52 million ten-year loan to Armenia
for education reform, Roger Robinson, the head of the Bank’s Yerevan
office, told the press on Wednesday.