ASBAREZ Online [04-15-2004]


1) Coalition Joint Statement Calls on Opposition to Enter Into Dialogue
2) Oskanian Criticizes US position on latest Yerevan events
3) Putin Confident Armenia Able to Maintain Stability
4) TARC Disbands Saying Goals Accomplished
5) Library Established in Memory of Catholicos Karekin I
6) Mikaelian Faces Venus Williams

1) Coalition Joint Statement Calls on Opposition to Enter Into Dialogue

YEREVAN (Yerkir)Armenia’s parliamentary coalition again called on opposition
parties to enter into dialogue with them. The Republican Party of Armenia, the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the “Orinats Yerkir” party also pointed
out in their joint statement that they had frequently forewarned the
about the dangers of outright confrontation.
The further escalation of already-high tensions eventually led on Tuesday to
the forcible dispersion by police of an opposition rally in the center of the
city, and the temporary detention of several leading opposition activists and
scores of demonstrators.
The coalition statement, issued at a press conference, was read by the
head of
the ARF’s bloc in Parliament Levon Mkrtchian, who enumerated key issues around
which cooperation between the opposition and the authorities could aid in
Armenia’s development.
Discussing the Tuesday events, the head of the Republican Party parliamentary
bloc Galust Sahakian, said, “If illegal operations were carried out that are
criminally punishable, the subsequent investigation will, in the light of
objective evidence, reveal the circumstances.”
He was responding to reporters’ questions citing opposition statements
that it
is possible to speak about dialogue only after those responsible for the
that transpired on April 13 have been punished.
Regarding the resumption of opposition rallies, Sahakian said that the
opposition can both hold rallies and enter into dialogue.

The full text of the joint statement by the coalition parties follows.

The intolerant and extreme posture current in the political realmthe approach
of setting a priori unacceptable preconditions for dialogueheightened tension
and consequently resulted in open confrontation.
The accepted way and civilized means of resolving the fundamental problems of
the country, intended to secure the prospect of jointly and effectively
resolving the vital issues of concern to the people, were supplanted by the
shortsighted modus operandi of continuous confrontationwhich presents a
danger to society and causes rifts in the people.
The parties constituting the political coalition, through their formal
statements and offers of dialogue, have repeatedly warned of the undesirable
consequences of such developments.
The unfortunate clash of April 12-13 and the incidents that followed it, once
again prove that it is society as a whole that reaps the destructive
consequences of confrontation and clashes.
The modus operandi of ruling out dialogue would further diminish [1] the
influence of political forces in resolving the problematic situation as
well as
[2] the likelihood of finding political solutions, thereby relegating the
process to the legal arena, where only the letter and spirit of the law
Based on the conviction that there is no alternative to dialogue and that
dialogue should never be rendered obsolete, the political coalition, rising
above the accusations leveled against it, once again proposes and puts forth
those issues, the resolution of which together with the opposition could
real progress in the country and the deepening of democratic reforms, without
splitting society into winners and losers:
1. Defining the parameters of adopting key constitutional amendments through
2. Defining the parameters of adopting, through consensus, amendments to the
Election Code fully in line with international standards
3. Formulating the ways in which the opposition can actively participate in
the anti- corruption campaign
4. The implementation, through a clear timetable, of obligations assumed
before the Council of Europe
The political coalition is willing to examine, during the dialogue, the
possibility of including on the agenda, at the opposition’s suggestion, other
fundamental issues that confront our country.
Arriving at an agreement would bring about a new state of affairs in the
country and create the potential to resolve the problems that have
With this proposal, the political coalition invites the political forces
representing the opposition to beginat any time, in the National Assemblythe
political process of dialogue.

Republican Party of Armenia
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Orinats Yerkir Party

2) Oskanian Criticizes US position on latest Yerevan events

YEREVAN (Armenpress/Interfax)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
cautioned against making superficial judgments on the internal political
situation in Armenia, saying that the country’s stability is deeply rooted.
“The events we witness today have been created artificially and will soon be
overcome,” he told a roundtable session in Yerevan on Wednesday.
He criticized the US Department of State’s report addressing the latest
developments in Yerevan, as an “attempt to make a balanced statement.”
“The United States has forgotten to condemn the opposition’s calls for a coup
in the republic. If not for this failure, I myself would have signed off on
US Department of State’s report. At the same time, it is these opposition
that can be viewed as the underlying reason for what has been happening in
Armenia over the past few days,” said Oskanian.
Tensions continued on Thursday between Armenia’s authorities and opposition,
which is demanding that President Robert Kocharian resign.
Earlier, the opposition started to boycott parliamentary sessions, calling
a vote of confidence in the authorities, and staged a series of rallies. On
night of April 13, police broke up an opposition rally outside the
residence, and banned all unauthorized large-scale assemblies in Yerevan.
Oskanian blamed “both the opposition and the republic’s authorities for what
has happened.”
“We have already reached a certain level of the country’s democratic
development, but the biggest challenge–to make democratic processes in
irreversible–still lies ahead. And, we need the opposition’s constructive
assistance to succeed in this task,” the foreign minister said, expressing
that “Armenia will manage to prove to the international community that the
political situation in the republic is still stable.”
The official representative of the US Department of State Richard Boucher,
said on April 13 that “the United States is concerned about the current
political situation in Armenia, particularly the sharp escalation in
confrontation between the government and the opposition.” He also noted that
“physical assaults, raids on political party offices, and widespread arrests
and detentions of opposition activists by the police do not contribute to
creating an atmosphere conducive to political dialogue.”

3) Putin Confident Armenia Able to Maintain Stability

MOSCOW (Interfax)–Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian President
Robert Kocharian discussed pressing bilateral issues during a Wednesday
telephone conversation, reported the Kremlin press service.
Kocharian briefed Putin on recent internal political tensions in Armenia and
latest developments.
Putin expressed confidence that Armenia’s leadership would use its existing
potential of democratic reforms to maintain stability, law, and order.
The two presidents also discussed various levels Russia-US relations.

4) TARC Disbands Saying Goals Accomplished



YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) said
on Wednesday that it has achieved its main objectives and is disbanding.
The announcement came after a three-day meeting in Moscow between three
Turkish and four Armenian members of TARC.
“TARC is announcing that its work as a commission is ending,” they said in a
statement obtained by RFE/RL. “TARC’s term was to be one year, but the course
of events required a longer period to accomplish our goals.
“We feel that advances in civil society contacts are now permanent and will
only grow in time. We also feel that beyond our recommendations, official
relations can now best be continued and advanced independent of the TARC
The commission, which was set up in July 2001 with close US State Department
involvement, finished its work by approving a set of “recommendations” to the
governments of Turkey and Armenia on how to improve their strained relations.
Their content was not disclosed.
“The recommendations have a better chance of being implemented if they are
presented privately,” one commission source told RFE/RL. He said it will be up
to the two governments to decide whether they should be made public.
TARC is likely to have reaffirmed its strong support for the unconditional
reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border sealed by Ankara eleven years ago out
of solidarity with Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan.
It is unclear whether TARC recommendations address the 1915 genocide of
Armenians by the Ottoman Government.
TARC also announced plans to hold a big conference on “Turkish-Armenian
rapprochement and reconciliation” this fall. “In addition, we intend to
a Turkish Armenian consultative group which would meet at least annually to
exchange views, review progress, and recommend actions to promote improved
relations,” the statement said.
TARC has faced strong criticism from groups in Armenia and especially the
Diaspora for hampering the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

5) Library Established in Memory of Catholicos Karekin I

RESEDA–The Los Angeles Kessab Educational Association held two functions
earlier this month, to celebrate the memory of Catholicos Karekin I, and to
honor Archbishop Ardavazt Terterian.
The official opening of the Library in memory of Catholicos Karekin I took
place on April 4. The library has been established on the second floor of the
Association’s center. The chairman of the Kessab Educational Association
executive Katchig Titizian, its chairwoman Zvart Apelian, and Prelate
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian delivered remarks at the event.
Archbishop Adavazt Terterian of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in
Antelias, Lebanon was the quest of honor at an April 7 reception. Consul
General Gagik Kirakosian was among the distinguished guests present to honor
Archbishop Terterian. Keynote speaker Haigaz Terterian noted the Archbishop’s
many accomplishments, including his meticulous study of the Armenian language.
Both events were held under the auspices of Prelate Mardirossian.

6) Mikaelian Faces Venus Williams

Tennis player Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian beat Virginia Ruano Pascual 7-6, 6-3 in
the second round of the Family Circle Cup 2004.
Mikaelian will face Venus Williams these evening, who defeated her
second-round rival Samantha Reeves 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The Family Circle Cup taking place in Charleston, South Carolina April 10-18,
is one of the oldest all-women’s Tier 1 events in the world. With 14 of the
20 players in the world, this year’s tournament will feature one of the best
draws this event has ever seen.

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.