ASBAREZ Online [05-04-2004]


1) Canada’s Dalphond-Guiral Captivates Capitol Hill Audience
2) Conference Explores National Priorities, Diaspora Collaboration
3) A New Body Established To Fight Corruption
4) Ajaria’s Abashidze Vows to Tighten Rule

1) Canada’s Dalphond-Guiral Captivates Capitol Hill Audience

The champion of the recently adopted Armenian Genocide resolution in Canada’s
House of Commons, the Honorable Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral, along with Armenian
Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Hagop Der Khatchadourian, attended the
10th annual Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Observance on
Hill to honor victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The program,
which took place on April 28, was held in the historic Cannon Caucus Room.
During her one-day visit, Dalphond-Guiral took the opportunity to visit the
ANCA offices, and was briefed by Khatchadourian and ANCA Executive Director
Aram Hamparian, on the numerous and diverse ANCA activities.
ANCA Representatives, along with regional and local ANC representatives,
accompanied the Canadian parliamentarian to offices of those Congressmen who
work diligently to advance Armenian American issues.
In what was a most memorable visit, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Dalphond-Guiral with questions about the activities and details that led to
positive vote in Canada’s House of Commons.
During the Capitol Hill Observance that evening, author Peter Balakian, along
with Dalphond-Guiral, were honored for their tireless efforts to advance the
Armenian Genocide issue, and their commitment to the Armenian community.
Many Senators and Representatives expressed their support not only for
official US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also for monetary and
other assistance to strengthen the government of Armenia. They commended the
ANCA for their work, unwavering commitment, and ability to rally absolute
support. They also addressed the importance of Canadian Parliament’s
resolution–its potential to spur similar activity in US Congress.
Over 400 community members and guests greeted Dalphond-Guiral with lingering
cheers as she got up to speak.
After presenting her brief biography, Dalphond-Guiral explained that the
debate on the Armenian Genocide is nothing new in Canada’s House of Commons,
beginning with efforts in the 1980s. Since then, five motions and several
debates have succeeded one another in the House, all aimed at having Canada
acknowledge the 1915 genocide of Armenians.
After three attempts by Dalphond-Guiral, (the first two motions were never
to a vote) Motion M-380 was adopted on April 21.
“What seemed to be impossible–voting on acknowledgment of the Armenian
Genocide–became possible…”
She applauded Canada’s Armenian community, particularly the network of
Armenian National Committees.
“This community’s determination, perseverance, and attachment to its identity
are models for all of us. Over the decades, through its unwavering demand for
acknowledgment of the genocide of 1915, it has given us the right to think
faith can move mountains. It was the steadfast support of Armenians–young and
old–that persuaded Canada to join its voice to those of the parliaments of
Argentina, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Russia, Sweden,
Switzerland, Uruguay, the Vatican, the European Parliament, the European
Council and almost 30 American states, including Missouri, Nevada, South
Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, New
New Jersey, and California. Here is the true glory of freedom and democracy,”
concluded Dalphond-Guiral.

2) Conference Explores National Priorities, Diaspora Collaboration

YEREVAN (Armenpress/Yerkir)–As a follow-up to the Armenian Diaspora
conference, representatives of European and US-based Armenian organizations
with Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and ministry officials to
determine how to collaboratively tackle advocacy issues on Armenia’s foreign
policy agenda. Organized by the Foreign Ministry, the conference ended on
Tuesday in Yerevan. Armenian ambassadors were also on hand to examine national
priorities and the fundamental direction of Armenia’s foreign policy.
Security, development, European integration, peaceful regulation of Karabagh
conflict, and preservation of historical rights and values were targeted as
Armenia’s primary priorities.
Oskanian said that Diaspora organizations and the foreign ministry will be
working more effectively in the coming years to advance those priorities,
considering interests of the countries where they are based.
He also explained that as Armenia’s foreign policy expands daily, the
necessity to mobilize the potential of all Armenians becomes even more vital.
He praised the already persistent efforts of Diaspora organizations in the US,
Europe, Canada, and Latin America.
Meeting participant Hilda Tchoboian, who is the chairwoman of the European
Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, said that international
diplomacy and formation of policy must consistently be monitored by not only
Armenia’s diplomatic force, but also Diaspora organizations in order to act
promptly and effectively.

3) A New Body Established To Fight Corruption

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office announced that a
special division to combat government corruption has been established.
Chief prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepian, said the department’s regulatory powers
will be clarified in the coming ten days to establish the direction of its
activities, but that no new employees will be hired to carry out the job. The
special division will work uncover and prevent corruption in the judicial
system, tax and customs agencies, as well as the prosecutor’s office.
The new body is expected to cooperate closely with the presidential oversight

4) Ajaria’s Abashidze Vows to Tighten Rule

TBILISI (Reuters)–The head of Georgia’s rebel Ajaria region on Tuesday defied
central government threats to depose him and promised to tighten his hold on
the territory as his followers crushed an opposition demonstration.
Aslan Abashidze has declared a state of emergency and curfew in the Black Sea
region of Ajaria, which includes the important oil shipping port of Batumi.
Tbilisi has given him until May 12 to recognize its authority.
Armed men broke up a demonstration in support of Georgian President Mikhail
Saakashvili in central Batumi on Tuesday, opposition politicians said. To
prevent students gathering, Abashidze has closed all schools and universities
for two weeks.
Saakashvili has promised not to use force to crush the region’s autonomy but
militiamen blasted bridges linking Ajaria to the Georgian heartland on Sunday,
saying they feared invasion from troops stationed nearby.
“The humane approach that the autonomous republic’s leadership has followed
has not brought results,” Abashidze told local television.
“Any criminal acts, actions or slogans will be treated with the utmost
severity…No one will be forgiven for attempts to create a hotbed of
Saakashvili came to power in a bloodless revolution in November, promising to
end corruption and sweep away figures such as Abashidze who have held office
since Soviet times.
But Abashidze has not backed down. He has refused to disarm his militias as
demanded by Saakashvili and kept a firm grip on the opposition.
“A group of people armed with metal poles fiercely beat the demonstrators.
Before this, fire engines with water cannons were used,” opposition politician
Tamaz Diasamidze told Reuters. He said there had been 200 demonstrators.
Abashidze told local television that the universities and schools had to be
closed for a fortnight to prevent “tension.”
“We had to take preventative measures. No one can calmly watch as
are made for tension. They have to be cut off at the roots,” he said.
Washington is watching the stand-off with concern, fearing for stability in a
country that will be part of the route for a major pipeline taking oil from
Caspian Sea to a Turkish port. It has called on Abashidze to disarm local
militias. Two Georgian regions are currently completely outside central
government control, having gained de facto independence in bloody wars in the
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday that the US
stayed in constant touch with Russia on Georgia’s defiant autonomous region of
Ajaria, trying to prevent a military confrontation in Georgia.
He stressed that the US supported the Georgian government in its bid to
restore constitutional order in Ajaria.
“We welcome President Mikhail Saakashvili’s announcement that he would not
force and we continue to encourage the government of Georgia to use political
and economic tools in its efforts to restore the rule of law in Ajaria,”
Boucher said.
Moscow has also called for calm, fearing that the crisis could descend into
bloodshed. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said, “We regard
relations between Batumi and Tbilisi as an internal affair of Georgia, but we
think that attempts to resolve the problem with militant statements and
to use force are absolutely impermissible.” “Tbilisi should realize that the
use of force will inevitably have in the gravest consequences, primarily for
Georgia itself,” he remarked.
Saakashvili appealed to Moscow on Monday to help rein in former Russian
servicemen he said had blown up bridges around the restive region of Ajaria.
But Saakashvili, clearly wary of stoking tensions with Georgia’s mighty
neighbor, told CNN television he did not think Moscow had ordered the action.
He said he sought a peaceful end to his dispute with Ajaria, the site of an
important oil terminal.
He said the action had been conducted by militia led by retired Russian
officer, Major-General Yuri Netkachov.
“But I am certainly addressing the Russian government today to help us, to
spare us and get rid of some people who fly in and blow up bridges and stir up
trouble,” he told CNN.
Tbilisi has frequently accused Netkachov, once a top commander in the
Transcaucasus region, of raising rebellion.
Tensions in Georgia, which faces rebellion in several regions, are fraught
with implications for the West as well as the former Soviet Union. The country
is a transit territory for a planned pipeline to bring Caspian oil to the
Russia’s two military bases, remnants of past Soviet power, are a source of
tension between Georgia and Russia. Russia is also viewed warily by Tbilisi
its tacit support for rebel administrations in the regions of South Ossetia

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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