ASBAREZ ONLINE [05-24-2004]


1) Intellectuals Again Call for Dialogue
2) Renewed Calls for US-Armenia Tax Treaty
3) Azerbaijan’s FM Says Karabagh Talks Have New Impetus
4) Senate Committee Approves Funding for Genocide Curriculum
5) Blasts Kill Seven in Baghdad, More Killed In Clashes

1) Intellectuals Again Call for Dialogue

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenia’s intellectuals met for the second time in recent
months to discuss the current political climate of the country.
At a roundtable discussion organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
(ARF) of Armenia, a government coalition partner, prominent academics and
cultural figures once again emphasized, on Monday, that the only means to find
a possible resolution to current political tensions is for the authorities and
the opposition to engage in political dialogue.
ARF Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian emphasized that though the
first round of discussions helped alleviate tensions, there is threat of “a
wave of confrontation,” and asked those present for their input to avoid yet
another escalation. “We must find the guarantees to provide the necessary
changes,” he urged.
Linguistics University rector Suren Zolian, stressed that both sides must
first and foremost display political will, and pointed to the roundtable as a
practical tool in reviewing the situation, and offering ideas.
The majority of participants voiced their discontent with behavior of both
government and opposition, saying that authorities should not expect praises
while 80% of population remains socially underprivileged. They also went on to
say that both sides do not comprehend the silence of the population that
remains hapless and distrusting of both sides. They concluded that Armenia’s
political arena remains flawed because of its Constitution and delays in
amending the document.
“There is stability in the state. But changes must be made in order for the
country to enter its natural course of development,” Rustamian stressed.

2) Renewed Calls for US-Armenia Tax Treaty

–Treaty Needed to Address Growing Bilateral Commerce and Increased Diaspora
Economic Involvement in Armenia

WASHINGTON, DC–In a letter to Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and in
correspondence sent to members of Congress, the Armenian National Committee of
America (ANCA) renewed its call for the US government to facilitate the
levels of US-Armenia trade and investment by negotiating a comprehensive tax
treaty with Armenia.
“With the expansion of US-Armenia economic ties, it is more important than
ever that our government negotiate a comprehensive and far-reaching tax treaty
that will strengthen the US-Armenia economic relationship for many decades to
come,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The Department of the
Treasury should be working closely with the Armenian government and with
American businesses operating in Armenia–including the growing number run by
Diaspora Armenians–to specifically tailor an agreement that addresses the
needs of Americans who divide their careers between the US and Armenia–or who
plan to retire to Armenia–in terms of portability of pensions and healthcare
and a variety of other concerns.”
The US has negotiated tax treaties with over forty nations in order to
the taxation of transactions, investments, rents, royalties, management
contracts, dividends, interest, and salaries of companies and employees
in both countries. The US has recently exchanged instruments of ratification
with three new countries–Ukraine, Luxembourg, and Denmark.
As part of its broader efforts to strengthen US-Armenia bilateral economic
relations, the ANCA has been working for more than four years to encourage the
US to negotiate a tax treaty with Armenia. Other elements of this effort
included helping to secure Armenia’s membership in the World Trade
Organization–which took place in February of last year–and the granting to
Armenia of Permanent Normal Trade Relations Status (PNTR). Several thousand
Armenian Americans have written to the Social Security Administration using
ANCA WebFax program to call for a Social Security Agreement that would help US
citizens who work part of the year or plan to retire in Armenia. At the state
level, the ANCA-Western Region spearheaded the creation of the
California-Armenia Trade Office, which is set to open in Yerevan later this
In January of 2002, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg
(R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) urged then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, to
help expedite a bilateral tax treaty between the US and Armenia that would
effectively eliminate the “double taxation” of income of citizens working in
both countries. The appeal came on the eve of an inter-agency US Armenia Task
Force meeting, which discussed taxation issues as part of an overall framework
to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

For an overall review of US Tax Treaties

For the full text of most US Tax Treaties:
ind_info/ treaties.html.

For information about Armenia on the website of the US Department of

To learn about USAID’s private sector aid to Armenia:

3) Azerbaijan’s FM Says Karabagh Talks Have New Impetus

(AFP)–Peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve one of Europe’s
longest-running armed conflicts are “intensifying” after a period of
stagnation, Azerbaijan’s foreign minister told AFP in an interview.
Elmar Mamedyarov said that the newly-expanded European Union (EU) was showing
a greater interest in resolving the conflict over the territory of Karabagh, a
factor which he said will have a “positive impact.”
Azerbaijan’s foreign minister was speaking a week after President Ilham
Aliyev, on a visit to EU headquarters in Brussels, urged the organization to
take a more active stand in finding a peaceful solution.
“The negotiations…have recently become more intense after certain
Mamedyarov, a 44-year-old career diplomat appointed last month, told AFP in
interview. “After the European Union received new members, the EU, and Europe
as a whole, has begun to look attentively at our part of Europe,” he said. “I
believe that will have a positive impact on the search for a conflict
He said Azerbaijan’s negotiators were pushing for an interim deal, under
Armenia would relinquish its control over the regions around Karabagh in
exchange for the Azeri side loosening its economic blockade on Armenia. This
deal would reduce tension between the two sides, and “create a possibility for
negotiations to go forward in a freer atmosphere to find some sort of
compromise,” Mamedyarov said.
Armenian negotiators have already rejected this proposal but the Azeri
minister said he would be “persistent.” “Resolving this question is a priority
for us,” Mamedyarov added. “It is very difficult, when you are in the
twenty-first century, you are moving towards Europe, and you have these
displaced persons and you feel under occupation.”

4) Senate Committee Approves Funding for Genocide Curriculum

SACRAMENTO–The Senate Budget Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Jack
Scott (D-Glendale), has approved $250,000 in the 2004-05 state budget for a
model curriculum on human rights and genocide to be distributed to all public
schools in California, which would include studies related to the Armenian
Genocide, the Holocaust, as well as other attempts to destroy or eliminate
ethnic groups around the world.
“To be able to operate in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy, one must
understand the evils that have haunted past generations,” stated Senator
“We must open the discussion on human rights so that today’s children become
responsible adults.”
The model human rights and genocide curriculum, approved by the State
Board of
Education, is intended for use at all K-12 public schools and county
offices of

5) Blasts Kill Seven in Baghdad, More Killed In Clashes

BAGHDAD (AFP)–Several blasts rocked Baghdad, killing seven people, including
two Britons, while clashes between US troops and Shiite militiamen left 18
people dead in the populous Sadr City neighborhood.
Four people were killed and two wounded in an explosion that destroyed an
armored civilian vehicle just outside the sprawling complex housing the US-led
coalition that administers Iraq, a military spokesman said Monday.
Two of those killed in the blast were British civilians, according to the
British Foreign Office.
“These deaths are shocking and they show the risks that civilians and others
have to take in order to assist the Iraqis in the necessary task of rebuilding
and reconstructing their country,” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told
reporters in Brussels.
Another three people, including a child, also were killed Monday in an
explosion that destroyed their car only minutes before a US convoy drove by,
witnesses said.
Meanwhile, US troops, who have vowed to wipe out Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s
private army, clashed with the militia overnight in a neighborhood of Baghdad
where he has strong support.
Hospital officials said 18 civilians were killed in the Sadr City
neighborhood, but the coalition put the figure at 26 and said all were
militiamen loyal to Sadr.
The military said US soldiers already had killed “an estimated 21” militiamen
over the weekend after coming under small arms and rocket-propelled grenade
fire in Sadr City.
US troops had announced the death of another 32 militiamen Sunday in Kufa,
just a few kilometers (miles) from the holy city of Najaf where Sadr is holed
up to escape arrest in connection with the killing of a rival cleric.
Twenty of those killed were felled during a battle in the compound of a Kufa
mosque, the coalition said.
Sadr’s Mehdi Army has been involved in weeks of clashes with the occupation
forces, mainly in central Iraq, after the coalition closed down his newspaper
and threatened to arrest him.
Some of the fiercest battles were fought in the Shiite holy city of Karbala,
but both sides moved out of the city over the weekend.
Coalition officials have made it clear they are determined to wipe out the
armed militia.
The coalition’s military and civilian spokesmen have also said they feared
violence could surge further as the date for a transfer of power nears.
The Coalition Provisional Authority is scheduled to hand over sovereignty to
an interim Iraqi government on June 30, and US authorities have insisted they
intended to stick to that date despite the violence.
Last week insurgents carried out two attacks against senior Iraqi political
figures, killing the president of the coalition-installed Governing Council,
Ezzedine Salim, in a suicide car bombing on May 17.
A similar attack on Saturday wounded deputy interior minister General Abdel
Jabbari Yussef. Three guards, an unidentified woman and the attacker were
killed in the blast.
Salim’s successor, Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, said in an interview published Monday
that the coalition must grant “full sovereignty” to the transitional
government, which has yet to be formed.
“We will not agree to less,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
The United States and Britain were to submit to the UN Security Council later
Monday the first draft of a resolution to recognize a new Iraqi government and
clear the way for foreign forces to remain in Iraq after the formal end of the
“Once we have full sovereignty, we will have the right to decide whether
multinational forces go or stay,” Yawar said.
But he added that the lack of security “means that we will need multinational
forces…which we hope to broaden to include European Union troops and certain
influential Arab countries.”
He also said another two weeks were needed to set up the transitional
government amid intense negotiations involving UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, the
Iraqi council and coalition officials.

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