ASBAREZ Online [04-29-2004]


1) PACE Tells Armenian Authorities, Opposition to End Disorder, Start Talking
2) Armenia’s President, Georgian Counterpart Meet in Warsaw
3) Russian Duma Concerned Over Ajaria, Burdzhnadze Hopeful of Situation
4) Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana Newest States, 36 in all, to Acknowledge
Armenian Genocide
5) Co-Chairman of Kerry Presidential Campaign Praises ANC for Genocide
Recognition Efforts

1) PACE Tells Armenian Authorities, Opposition to End Disorder, Start Talking

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe (PACE) late Wednesday called on the Armenian government and the
opposition to resolve their bitter dispute through negotiation, and offered to
mediate such a dialogue.
The resolution, drafted by a committee monitoring the 45 member states’
compliance with their commitments, calls for the scrapping of “unjustified
restrictions” on peaceful demonstrations. It states: “The opposition should
enjoy full freedom to conduct their political activities, which include the
right to peaceful demonstrations. The authorities should immediately abstain
from any interference and administrative and judicial harassment in this
regard. The fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly must be respected
and any restrictions must be in line with the European Convention on Human
It calls on the opposition to share in the responsibility of ensuring that
protests are not marred by violence, and advises the opposition to settle its
gripes legally. “The parliament should be the main forum for political
arguments. They should not try to circumvent the political institutions in the
country with a hope to reverse the results of last year’s elections which
in spite of criticism, validated both at the domestic level and by the
international community.”
It also advises against “accepting artificial analogies between the
in Georgia and in Armenia.”
The resolution asks that Armenia’s government submit, by June, a written
report to PACE detailing the steps it has taken in response to the
recommendations. “Their implementation will be assessed by the monitoring
committee’s two Armenia rapporteurs, Rene Andre of France and Jerzy Jaskiernia
of Poland.”
The resolution warns that if no progress is reported, PACE will “reconsider
the credentials of the Armenian delegation” at its autumn session next
Presenting the document to the Strasbourg lawmakers, Jaskiernia made it clear
that while he strongly disapproves of the crackdown, he believes that the
Council of Europe should not question the legitimacy of last year’s Armenian
presidential and parliamentary elections because the fraud surrounding the
elections was “not so extensive that we could disqualify the result.” “The
election naturally delivered results, and now many people are satisfied, so
approach to Armenia should be objective and balanced,” he said.
The assembly also rejected a proposal to endorse the idea of the national
of confidence in Kocharian, as demanded by the opposition.
“The Assembly calls upon the authorities and the opposition to refrain from
any action which may lead to further violence and to engage in a dialogue
without preconditions.”

2) Armenia’s President, Georgian Counterpart Meet in Warsaw

WARSAW (Armenpress)–Armenian president Robert Kocharian met with his Georgian
counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili on the sidelines of the European Economic
in Warsaw, Poland.
Respective domestic political situations and bilateral economic cooperation
was reviewed, and emphasis was placed on the upcoming May session of the
Armenian-Georgian inter-governmental commission agreed to during Saakashvili’s
March visit to Armenia. The two also discussed regional, economic, and other
Kocharian outlined the importance of the meeting with the Georgian president.
Emphasizing Armenia’s general economic growth, Saakashvili told reporters, “We
are interested in further development of Armenia’s economy,” and said he looks
forward to more intense communication with Armenia, as well as strong economic
“We always spoke of good relations, but they were on an emotional level; now
we are interesting in expanding them. Robert Kocharian treats these relations
very practically, and we need to take constructive steps to take them to a new
level,” Saakashvili stressed.
Asked about the Armenian opposition that claims to follow Saakashvili’s
example, Kocharian that none of the players–the president of Armenia, the
formerly president of Georgia, the Armenian opposition, nor the current
president of Georgia–can be compared.

3) Russian Duma Concerned Over Ajaria, Burdzhnadze Hopeful of Situation

TBILISI (Itar-Tass/Civil Georgia)–Russia’s State Duma expressed its “deep
concern” about the deterioration of ties between Georgia and its Autonomous
Republic of Ajaria.
In an appeal to their Georgian counterparts, members of Russia’s lower house
of parliament said that “there are all reasons to believe that Georgia is
planning to resort to force” to settle its dispute with Ajaria.
The Russian lawmakers also urged the Georgian parliament to do its utmost to
avert military confrontation with Ajaria.
Ajaria has mobilized its reservists amid fears that the Georgian government
might use a planned military exercise later this week to forcibly topple the
regional leadership. Tbilisi denies the accusations, saying it is committed to
finding a peaceful solution to its dispute with Ajaria.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who has vowed to restore economic and
political control over Ajaria, yesterday threatened Abashidze with arrest
if he
refuses to comply with his orders.
Meanwhile, Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze believes that the
head of Georgia’s Ajarian autonomy Aslan Abashidze, “will take steps to
the Georgian central authorities’ legitimate demands.”
“I believe Abashidze will exert efforts to disarm illegal paramilitary groups
operating in Ajaria and to meet all provisions of the Georgian Constitution,”
Burdzhanadze told journalists in Tbilisi on Thursday, confident that it will
contribute to the settlement of the conflict. “Tbilisi has no intention of
artificially aggravating the situation.”
“I believe Abashidze’s visit to Tbilisi will be the best way out,”
Burdzhanadze said.
The Ajarian leader has paid not a single visit to Tbilisi for the past twelve
“That the leader of an autonomy has refused to come to the country’s capital
for so long is certainly abnormal,” Burdzhanadze said. “I believe this problem
will be resolved in the near future.”
Abashidze has avoided visiting Tbilisi since November 1991 for security

4) Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana Newest States, 36 in all, to Acknowledge
Armenian Genocide


WASHINGTON, DC–Tennessee, Nebraska, and Louisiana have joined the fast
number of states who have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, reported the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Democratic Governor Phil
Bredesen of Tennessee, Republican Governor Mike Johanns of Nebraska, and
Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco issued proclamations citing a
“Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” referring to the Ottoman
campaign of eliminate the Armenian population from 1915-1923. The total number
of states in the US reaffirming the Armenian Genocide has now reached 36.
“The Nebraska, Tennessee, and Louisiana proclamations emphasize the ultimate
futility of Turkish efforts to distort the facts about the Genocide,”
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Governors Johanns, Bredesen, and
Blanco should be commended for taking a stand against denial and Turkish
revisionism,” he added.
In the course of the last month, five new states have issued proclamations
the Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. All of the proclamations mark April
23 or 24 as an official Day of Remembrance. The ANCA website
(<;) provides a diagram which displays all of
the states that have issued proclamations or passed legislations recognizing
the April 24 as a day of remembrance.
The proclamations follow a concerted grassroots education campaign by the ANC
Chapters across the country to increase awareness of the Armenian Genocide on
the state and local level. ANC Tennessee Chairman Dr. Shant Garabedian, worked
actively with the Tennessee Armenian community, circulating a petition to Gov.
Bredesen in support of the proclamation. Garabedian discussed the initiative
following Easter Church services in Nashville this month. Massachusetts State
Republican Committee man Bob Semonian spoke extensively to Governors Bredesen,
Johanns, and Blanco during the National Governors Association conference held
in Washington DC, last month. He has since worked with local ANC activists in
the effort to secure Armenian Genocide proclamations from a series of states
across the country.
Semonian, who resides in Watertown, MA, is running for delegate for the
Republican National Convention. Registered Republicans in the towns and cities
of Arlington, Belmont, Everett, Framingham, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden,
Medford, Melrose, Natick, Revere, Stoneham, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland,
Weston, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn can support his candidacy at the
Republican Caucus vote his Saturday, May 1, to be held beginning at 9:00 am at
295 Arsenal St., in Watertown, MA.

5) Co-Chairman of Kerry Presidential Campaign Praises ANC for Genocide
Recognition Efforts

LOS ANGELES–Antonio Villaraigosa, the national co-chairman of the John Kerry
Presidential Campaign, read Senator Kerry’s April 24th statement before
thousands of Armenian-Americans at an event sponsored by the Armenian National
Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR). The gathering was held in the
shadow of the Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello, California on April
“The City of Los Angeles will never forget the Armenian Genocide and I, along
with the Armenian National Committee, will do whatever I can to honor the
memory of the 1.5 million martyrs,” said Councilmember Antonio Villaraigosa.
“In the ten years that I have served in public office, the Armenian National
Committee has consistently been the leading advocate of issues relating to the
Armenian-American community, and I have always valued the close
relationship we
“We thank Senator Kerry for his April 24th Armenian Genocide Statement, and
Councilman Villaraigosa for sharing this message with our community,” ANCA’s
Western Region Chairman Raffi Hamparian said. “Councilman Villaraigosa
understands our long struggle for justice.”
Villaraigosa also participated in an ANCA-sponsored Armenian Genocide program
held at Los Angeles City Hall on April 23. The Councilman spoke to
Armenian-American leaders at that solemn commemoration, then joined his
colleague and event sponsor Councilman Eric Garcetti in passing a resolution
affirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, and emphasizing the
need to challenge those who deny crimes against humanity like the Armenian
Villaraigosa is the former Speaker of the California State Assembly and now
serves as a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

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