ASBAREZ Online [04-07-2004]


1) New Karabagh Envoy for US, Abiyev Ties Unstable Armenia to Renewed War
2) ANCC, Canadian Foreign Ministry Reps Take-up Timely Issues
3) Krakow Armenian Officials Tell Turkey to Keep Distance on Monument Issue
4) Russian Official Injured in Georgia Explosion
5) Fierce Fighting Sweeps Iraqi Cities

1) New Karabagh Envoy for US, Abiyev Ties Unstable Armenia to Renewed War

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The United States will soon appoint a new chief
negotiator in
the long-running international efforts to resolve the Mountainous Karabagh
conflict, official Azeri sources revealed on Wednesday, citing the US
ambassador in Baku.
Azeri news agencies quoted Ambassador Reno Harnish as telling Defense
Safar Abiyev on Tuesday that Steven Mann, Washington’s special representative
to the Caspian Sea region, will soon take over as the new US co-chair of the
OSCE Minsk Group. Harnish said he hopes that the appointment will give new
impetus to the stalled Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. No other details were
In his current capacity, Mann has for years focused on the development of
Azerbaijan’s and Kazakhstan’s Caspian oil and natural reserves by Western
multinational companies. He also successfully lobbied on behalf of the US
government for the ongoing construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
that will pump Azerbaijani and possibly Kazakh oil to the Turkish
The multibillion-dollar oil projects, seen as reducing the ex-Soviet states’
dependence on Russia, have been a key motive for the close US involvement in
the Karabagh peace process. The Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact around
Karabagh lies only several dozen kilometers south of the nearest section of
future pipeline.
Meeting with the US envoy, the Azerbaijani defense chief accused the Armenian
side of trying to “obstruct” the $2.5 billion work on the pipeline.
Abiyev also claimed that rising political tensions in Armenia make a renewed
war in Karabagh more likely. “Should the government lose control over the
domestic situation, a war may break out,” he said. As a defense minister, I
this and warn the public. We must be always ready to defend the territorial
integrity of our state.”
The US State Department has not yet officially announced Mann’s upcoming
appointment. An Armenian diplomatic source suggested that the information
provided by Harnish was not meant for publication by the Azeri government.
The current US co-chair of the Minsk Group, Rudolf Perina, has held the post
since September 2001. Perina and his Russian and French counterparts were due
to preside over an important meeting between the Armenian and Azeri foreign
ministers which was scheduled to take place in Prague late last week. The
were canceled at Baku’s request.
This was followed by the weekend dismissal of Vilayat Guliyev, Azerbaijan’s
tough-talking foreign minister. Azerbaijani commentators said Guliyev’s
replacement, career diplomat Elmar Mamedyarov, will be more pliant to
Ilham Aliyev.

2) ANCC, Canadian Foreign Ministry Reps Take-up Timely Issues

OTTAWA–Representative of Canada’s foreign ministry and Armenian National
Committee of Canada (ANCC) met on April 2 at the ministry building in Ottawa.
ANCC representatives, Chairman Jirayr Basmadjian, and Toros Dimitian held a
two-hour meeting with the ministry’s Director General David Preston, and Peter
Curtis who heads Canada’s Armenia relations office.
Although ANCC representatives stressed the importance of current government
efforts to create dialogue between Canada’s minorities, they nevertheless
expressed concern about the timing of move that coincides with the vote in the
Canadian House of Commons on the Armenian Genocide.
Efforts for potential dialogue–presumably between all minorities–could
possibly overshadow the motion on the Armenian Genocide due for a vote in late
Although the Canadian government opposes the use of the word “genocide,”
explained Preston, it also opposes a vote against motion, and will allow each
member of its party to rule their conscience on the issue.
ANCC representatives detailed the necessity of establishing a Canadian
in Armenia, considering the vast Canadian Armenian community.
They also covered the political situation in the Caucasus, specifically the
absurdity of attempts to regulate the Karabagh conflict without the
participation of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) in negotiations.
Though the meeting participants did not agree on all matters, they
nevertheless agreed that the talks were constructive and beneficial.
Preston and Curtis requested a follow-up meeting in the near future with ANCC

3) Krakow Armenian Officials Tell Turkey to Keep Distance on Monument Issue

YEREVAN (Arminfo)–A Monument to the Victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915
has been erected in Krakow, Poland, and will officially be unveiled on April
There has been some degree of controversy surrounding the monument, with the
Turkish embassy in Poland repeatedly coming out against the use of the word
“Genocide” on the Monument.
Not surprised by the move, Armenia’s ambassador to Poland Ashot Hovakimyan,
said the time will surely come for Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide,
and suggested that a monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian
be erected in Istanbul.
Hovakimyan thanked Krakow authorities for their ability to brave the
of protests by Turkish diplomats, and expressed confidence that the incident
would not bring about a cooling off of Turkish-Polish relations. “The more
Poland knows about Turkey, the better,” Hovakimyan added.
The Archimandrite of the Krakow Monastery Tadeush Isakakyan-Zaleski, in an
open letter to the Turkish Ambassador, stated that any self-respecting
historian could not but confirm the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide,
and that disputes around the word “Genocide” are senseless. He also asked the
Ambassador to stay out of the issue.

4) Russian Official Injured in Georgia Explosion

TBILISI (AP)–The commander of Russian forces in the former Soviet republic of
Georgia was injured in a bomb blast Tuesday night, officials said Tuesday.
Gen. Alexander Studenikin was taken to a hospital with injuries that are not
believed to be life-threatening, Georgian deputy prosecutor Kakha Koberidze
Koberidze said the blast occurred as the general walked to his home from the
Russian troops’ headquarters in the capital Tbilisi, on territory under
control. He said preliminary information indicates it was set off by remote.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Studenikin was injured in an
the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Russia maintains two bases and about 5,000 troops in Georgia as holdovers
the Soviet era when the republic was a key element in the Kremlin’s military
strategy. It has about 150 tanks, 240 armored vehicles and 140 artillery
on the bases.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia withdrew troops from two other
bases, and Georgia has been pushing for the withdrawal of the remaining two.
Moscow has said the withdrawal could take from seven to 11 years, but Georgia
has pressed for complete pullout in three years.
The Georgians have been nervous that Moscow might use the bases to support
defiant leader of Ajaria, the Black Sea province which has been reluctant to
cede any powers to Georgian central authorities. One of the Russian bases is
located in Ajaria.
Despite the tensions over the bases, Russia-Georgian relations have shown
signs of thawing since Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was elected in
January, after Eduard Shevardnadze resigned under pressure of mass public
Georgian Security Council secretary Vano Merabishvili said he suspects those
developments could be behind the bombing.
“I think that this has happened because there’s been an improvement in
relations recently between Georgia and Russia and our enemies don’t like warm
relations between our countries,” he said.
Koberidze said the explosion would be investigated jointly by Georgian and
Russian authorities.

5) Fierce Fighting Sweeps Iraqi Cities


FALLUJA (Reuters)–US-led forces are battling Sunni Muslim guerrillas and a
spreading Shi’ite uprising, as Iraqi anger was inflamed by a blast in the
grounds of a mosque that witnesses say killed 25 people.
In the last three days 35 American and allied soldiers and at least 200
have been killed in some of the heaviest fighting since the fall of Saddam
Hussein nearly a year ago.
The spiraling two-front war, with new flashpoints flaring across the country
as backers of radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr take up arms, is calling
into question US plans to transfer sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30.
US President George W. Bush–campaigning for re-election in November with
opinion polls showing plunging support over Iraq–held phone talks with close
ally Prime Minister Tony Blair, but officials dismissed any suggestion of a
But some countries with troops in Iraq signaled the situation was growing
serious. Ukrainian troops pulled out of the eastern city of Kut after clashes
and regrouped at a base camp. Japan said its troops would suspend
reconstruction work in Samawa, in the south, because of security concerns.
Battles raged between US Marines and guerrillas in the Sunni towns of Falluja
and Ramadi west of Baghdad.


A US military spokesman said there were five Marine “casualties” in
Falluja on
Wednesday, but it was not clear if any had been killed.
In Falluja, witnesses said the office of a Muslim organization in the grounds
of a mosque was hit by a rocket. Local residents said at least 25 people were
A US official at the Pentagon said a bomb had been dropped but “did not hit
the mosque–that was made very clear to us”.
In a small alleyway in the back streets of Ramadi, a dozen Iraqis crouched on
the floor of a house, sheltering from gunfire as Marines and masked insurgents
fought outside.
In a room close by, women and children were crying.
Mosques broadcast calls for a holy war against US troops, blasts echoed
the town and black smoke rose from a building blocks away.
Twelve Marines were killed on Tuesday in a seven-hour battle in
Ramadi–one of
the costliest single losses for US forces since the war that toppled Saddam
began last March.
A US soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad on
Wednesday, bringing to 443 the number of US troops killed in action in Iraq
since last year’s invasion.
Since Sunday, clashes across Iraq have killed 33 US troops, a Ukrainian
soldier and a Salvadoran soldier.


The US military launched a major operation this week to secure Ramadi and
Falluja, where four US private security guards were killed last week and their
bodies set ablaze and mutilated by a jubilant crowd of Iraqis.
North of Baghdad, a US helicopter landed after being hit by gunfire. The US
army said there were no casualties.
Followers of Sadr have fought running battles with US-led forces in the
southern cities of Nassiriya, Amara, Kut, and Kerbala.
An aide to Sadr told a news conference some US soldiers had been captured in
the fighting.
“Some tribes have captured some occupation forces on the streets,” Qays
al-Khazali told a news conference in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf.
US military spokesman, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, said US-led forces
would destroy Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia and that the cleric would be arrested.
“In the central and southern regions of Iraq the coalition and Iraqi security
forces are conducting operations to destroy the Mehdi Army,” he said.
The upsurge in violence has prompted critics of Bush to suggest US forces
a Vietnam-style quagmire.
Bulgaria summoned ambassadors of the United States, Britain, Spain and Poland
to the foreign ministry on Wednesday asking for back-up for 450 Bulgarian
soldiers stationed in Kerbala.
The base has come under attack several times by Shi’ite militiamen, and a
Bulgarian civilian truck driver was killed in an attack on a convoy in
Iraq on Tuesday.
Sadr has appealed to all Iraqis, whatever their religion, to help expel the
US-led occupying forces.
“This insurrection shows that the Iraqi people are not satisfied with the
occupation and they will not accept oppression,” he said in a statement on
Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Wednesday condemned the
way US-led forces were tackling the uprising and called for calm on all sides
and an end to violence.
Bush has vowed the campaign by Sadr’s supporters would not derail
“We will pass sovereignty on June 30,” he told a rally in Arkansas on
“We’re not going to be intimidated by thugs and assassins.”
A US opinion poll on Monday showed support for Bush’s handling of Iraq at a
new low of 40 percent, with 44 percent wanting US troops withdrawn.

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2004 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

ASBAREZ provides this news service to ARMENIAN NEWS NETWORK members for
academic research or personal use only and may not be reproduced in or through
mass media outlets.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS