ASBAREZ ONLINE [05-13-2004]


1) Opposition No-show for Negotiations
2) Karabagh on Rice’s Moscow Agenda
3) Ambassadors Ordway, Dryukov Meet with ARF
4) Armenia and Iran Seal Pipeline Deal

1) Opposition No-show for Negotiations

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Scheduled dialogue between Armenia’s ruling coalition
representatives and the opposition was halted, when the opposition was a
no-show for negotiations that were to take place Thursday.
The opposition canceled the planned crisis talks with the governing
saying that President Robert Kocharian has not stopped the month-long
on his opponents.
Opposition representatives were scheduled to meet on Thursday with leaders of
the three ruling coalition parties. The meeting was supposed to be the first
official “negotiation” between the two sides that have held a series of
unofficial consultations over the past week.
According to Artarutyun’s Victor Dallakian, the opposition will resume the
contacts only after the authorities take “practical steps” stemming from the
resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE). “We have nothing to discuss with the coalition now,” he said.
Parliament majority leaders said the decision to pull out of the talks was
immediately communicated to them as they waited for opposition representatives
inside the parliament building in the evening.
The boycott followed Artarutyun’s and the National Unity Party’s (AMK)
decision to resume their joint rallies in Yerevan on Friday. The opposition
says it is only prepared to discuss with the authorities ways of ensuring
Kocharian’s resignation “without upheavals,” suggesting in particular a
referendum of confidence in the Armenian leader.
The international community has strongly encouraged both sides to try to
bridge their differences through negotiations, with the PACE resolution
for a “dialogue without preconditions.” The head of the Yerevan office of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Vladimir Pryakhin, echoed
the calls on Wednesday.
“I encourage both sides to engage in a meaningful and genuine dialogue in
order to resolve, within the constitutional framework, the continuing
difficulties,” Pryakhin said in a statement.
Pryakhin also urged the Armenian authorities to “review the cases” of all
those detained during recent opposition demonstrations and end the
controversial “administrative detentions” repeatedly condemned by the Council
of Europe and other human rights organizations. “This practice is incompatible
with European human rights standards,” the Russian diplomat said.

2) Karabagh on Rice’s Moscow Agenda

MOSCOW (Armenpress/Itar-Tass)–US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
told Russian newspaper Itar-Tass on Wednesday that she will discuss possible
resolutions to the Mountainous Karabagh conflict while in Moscow May 14-16.
“Along with Russia, we are trying to settle a range of conflict situations. I
think we are disappointed to some degree that we have not succeeded in the
of Karabagh,” Rice said.
She said that the issue has become “too protracted,” and has had a negative
political and economic impact on both Armenia and Azerbaijan. She stressed
the two governments must resume seeking a settlement with a “serious
Rice is expected to focus on the situation in Iraq during her talks with
Russian officials. “Whatever differences the two countries might have had in
the past, now the accomplishment of success in Iraq is of key importance;
stable, democratic, and prosperous Iraq meets bilateral interests,” Rice told
Rice was last in Moscow in April 2003 to discuss bilateral relations in
connection with the US military campaign in Iraq.
The upcoming talks will also focus on the common fight against international
terrorism, as well as bilateral cooperation in the energy sector.

3) Ambassadors Ordway, Dryukov Meet with ARF

YEREVAN (Yerkir/A1Plus)–US Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway met with the
leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Armenia on Thursday
to review the political situation of the country and ways to remedy the
situation. The ARF also met with the Russian Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly
Dryukov on the same day.
The ARF emphasized that dialogue is key to reaching a political agreement,
that the authorities and the opposition must meet each other halfway to
tackle critical issues vital to the welfare of the people.
They agreed that destabilization of the situation in Armenia jeopardizes not
only the development of the republic, but also in the entire region.
Discussions were along the same lines between Ambassador Druykov and ARF
Armenia Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian, who said that the ARF and
the other coalition partners are determined to resolve current tensions
dialogue with the opposition.
Druykov praised the push for dialogue, pointing to Armenia’s stability as key
to that of the region.
Armenian-Russian relations were also discussed.

4) Armenia and Iran Seal Pipeline Deal

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RBC/RFE/RL)–After more than a decade of negotiations, the
Armenian and Iranian governments took the final step and signed an
agreement on
Thursday to begin construction of a pipeline which will be operational before
January 1, 2007, and will continue to operate for at least 20 years.
“Negotiations on this agreement have lasted for about 12 years and it has
become a reality today,” Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisian said at the
signing ceremony, attended by Iran’s visiting Oil and Gas Minister Bijan
The Armenia-Iran intergovernmental agreement covering the route of the 141
kilometer pipeline was signed in 1995.
The construction of the Armenian part of the pipeline linking the city of
Meghri with Yerevan at a length of 100 kilometers is estimated at $96-100
The Iranian portion of the pipeline will be 41 kilometers, and is
estimated to
cost $120 million.
Each of the two countries is responsible for constructing its part of the
According to Movsisian, Iran has agreed to deliver no less than 1.1billion
cubic meters of natural gas to Armenia, which will pay for gas with electric
energy supplies.
The minister declined to comment on possible sources of financing the
construction. His Iranian counterpart Zanganeh declined to name the agreed
price of gas supplies. He stressed that under the 20 year agreement, Iran
is to
deliver 36 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia.
Some estimate that the cost of gas supplies agreed to is $84 per 1,000 cubic
The Iranian minister said that the Iranian part of the pipeline will be
constructed by the National Gas Export Company. Movisian only said that
construction of Armenia’s portion would be financed by Armenians, and that
proposals put forth by Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, China, and the US would be
Zanganeh arrived in Yerevan and met with President Robert Kocharian
earlier in
the day. A statement by the presidential press service said the gas project
will double the volume of Armenian-Iranian trade, which stood at $90 million
last year.
Armenian leaders say the pipeline will be of strategic importance for their
country as it will provide it with an alternative source of natural gas, which
is used for meeting approximately 40 percent of its energy needs. Russia has
been Armenia’s sole supplier of the vital fuel since the mid-1990s and was,
until recently, uneasy about having a major competitor in the Armenian energy
sector 80 percent of which is controlled by Russian firms. “We regard this
project as a serious question for Armenian energy security,” the President
Kocharian stressed.
Armenia imported about 1.2 billion cubic meters of Russian gas last year
through a single pipeline running through Georgia, which is reportedly in poor
condition and needs urgent repairs. The agreement commits it to buying almost
as much Iranian gas in 2007. The annual volume of Iranian deliveries is due to
jump to 2.3 billion cubic meters in the future, raising the question of
there will be that much demand for the fuel inside Armenia.
Armenian and Iranian officials have indicated in the past that Armenia could
serve as a transit route for Iranian gas exports to third countries, notably
Georgia and Ukraine–an option reportedly opposed by Russia. The Ukrainian
government has shown interest in the project ever since its inception, and the
issue was on the agenda of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s visit to Kiev
this week. Markarian was reported to call for Ukrainian involvement in the
pipeline’s construction.

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