ASBAREZ ONLINE [06-01-2004]


1) Armenian Military Plans to Set Up ‘Dro’ Think-Tank
2) ANC Central California Demonstration Delivers Message to Speaker Hastert
3) US Officials Discuss MCA
4) Georgia’s Carrot-and-stick Approach with South Ossetia
5) Iraqis, US Cut Deal on President, Car Bomb at PUK Headquarters

1) Armenian Military Plans to Set Up ‘Dro’ Think-Tank

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Defense Ministry unveiled on Monday plans to
up a special think-tank that will advise it on defense and national security
Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian and the leadership of Armenia’s Armed Forces
attended an official ceremony marking the start of work on a building that
house the ministry’s National Strategic Research Center. Officials said its
construction will cost $600,000 and will be complete within a year.
The center will be named after the late General Drastamat (Dro) Kanayan,
one of
the most prominent military commanders of the first Armenian Republic that
existed from 1918-1920. Kanayan’s US-based descendants have donated $350,000
for the project and were also present at the ceremony. The rest of the money
will be raised by the Diaspora-financed All-Armenian Fund Hayastan.
Sarkisian said that the center, the first of its kind in Armenia, is expected
to provide the Armenian military and other security agencies with “quality
advice” on security challenges facing the country.
The think-tank will be headed by Colonel Hayk Kotanjian, who until recently
served as military attaché at the Armenian embassy in Washington. It is not
clear whether its personnel will be dominated by army officers or civilian

2) ANC Central California Demonstration Delivers Message to Speaker Hastert

FRESNO (ANCA-Fresno/Fresno Bee)–Local Fresno community members mobilized on
very short notice for a demonstration in support of a coordinated national
effort to urge Speaker Hastert and Majority leader Frist to bring House
Resolution 193 (H.Res.193) to a floor vote. Speaker Hastert was in town to
support Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn’s bid for Congress.
Area Armenian Youth Federation and Homenetmen youth, along with community
members were present at the gathering organized by the Armenian National
Committee Central California, Fresno.
Extensive coverage was provided by media outlets, with news crews there from
local ABC and CBS affiliates, KMJ Radio; a feature article also appeared in
local newspaper, The Fresno Bee.
After the fundraising event, Ashburn said he told Hastert he supports the
resolution that recognizes the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands
of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. If elected to Congress, Ashburn
said, “I would ask Hastert to bring it to a vote.”
Demonstrators handed out information flyers, while enlarged poster size
replicas of the ANCA postcards from its postcard campaign served as protest
signs, along with others reading, “Hastert Hear the Cry From History” and
“Hastert Holds the Genocide Vote Hostage.”
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the resolution more than a
year ago, but Hastert has not brought it to the House floor for a vote.
“It has international consequences to it, and it’s something that we have to
work with the State Department on and the White House” Hastert commented to
local radio reporter Ron Statler about the issue.
Statler said the Speaker “declined to say what changes are needed or what the
international implications are.”
ANC spokesman Richard Sanikian informed listeners on air about the nationwide
phone, WebFax, and 100,000-postcard campaign calling on Speaker Hastert and
Senate Majority Leader Frist to take action on the measure. “After a year,
not gotten back to us,” noted Sanikian.
Sanikian said local leaders who support the resolution include Rep. George
Radanovich, R-Mariposa; Fresno Mayor Alan Autry; and Ashburn’s political
former state Sen. Jim Costa.
Costa, a Fresno Democrat, and Ashburn are battling for the open 20th
Congressional District seat. Incumbent Cal Dooley, D-Fresno, is not running
The Central Valley is home to more than 60,000 Armenians, one of the oldest
ethnic groups in the area.
H.Res.193 marks the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the United
Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
If Speaker Hastert does not bring the legislation to a vote in the next six
months, it will die at the end of this congressional session.
For more information log on to , or

3) US Officials Discuss MCA

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–Senior US government officials opened talks with
Armenian leaders in Yerevan on Monday to discuss expectations of economic
assistance under Washington’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
Armenia is among 16 nations eligible for the multimillion-dollar plan to
promote economic and political reforms in developing countries around the
Aid allocations are to be decided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC), a US government agency handling the scheme.
The corporation’s chief executive Paul Applegarth, and three of his top
advisers began their three-day visit to Armenia with a meeting with Prime
Minister Andranik Markarian.
Applegarth also met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian to review terms
for assistance. Kocharian commented that the program can serve as a tool to
assess work already carried out, but said there remains much to do. “This is a
good opportunity for the country to improve conditions and create a good basis
for further development,” the president said.
Parliament speaker Arthur Baghdasarian, who also met with the delegation, said
the parliament will take part in formulating the program proposal which will
target as priorities, development of sub-structures, promotion of small and
medium business in the provinces, housing construction, and implementation
of a
poverty reduction and anti-corruption programs.
Senior State Department official Carlos Pascual who co-chairs a US-Armenian
intergovernmental “task force” cautioned earlier this month that the aid
allocation is not a forgone conclusion, but will depend not only on the
of the proposals but also on the improvement of the Armenian authorities’
and civil rights record . “The expectation, in order to be able to move
with the program, is that there would be progress on these issues and not
movement backwards,” he told a news conference in Yerevan.
A statement issued by the US embassy in Yerevan on Monday cited Applegarth as
saying that it is also essential for the aid proposals to be the result of
“wide discussions” and consensus among various strata of Armenian society.

4) Georgia’s Carrot-and-stick Approach with South Ossetia

(–Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is
wielding a
stick and extending a carrot to the separatist region of South Ossetia.
Georgian leaders say their actions are driven by a determination to eradicate
smuggling and corruption. Government critics, meanwhile, charge that
Saakashvili seeks a repeat of the “Ajarian” scenario, in which Tbilisi
brings a
break-away region back under central control by fomenting popular unrest in
In late May, Tbilisi stepped up pressure on South Ossetia–an autonomous
republic of Georgia that secured quasi-independence during a separatist
struggle in the early 1990s–by establishing checkpoints at Georgian-Ossetian
administrative border crossings. Those checkpoints are designed to cut off the
flow of contraband between the region and Georgia proper. South Ossetia has
long had a reputation as a smuggler’s haven.
Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania asserted during a May 31 broadcast by
Imedi TV that the checkpoints reduced smuggling “to nil,” adding that the
government’s success in curbing the illicit trade “has made people who have
been making a lot of money through these channels nervous.”
South Ossetia’s armed forces “have been ordered to destroy any aircraft or
regiments that cross the border,” Interfax cited Eduard Kokoity, the region’s
president as yesterday. Georgia is trying to accumulate as many Georgian
as possible on the border “and to use them if an incident occurs.”
Tension escalated May 31 when Tbilisi dispatched Interior Ministry forces
in to
reinforce the checkpoints. The Russian commander of a joint peacekeeping force
in South Ossetia, Maj. Gen. Svyatoslav Nabzdorov, called the Georgian move “a
dangerous provocation that could have unpredictable consequences,” the
Interfax-AVN news agency reported. Georgian officials countered that they
deployed reinforcements after Russian peacekeepers threatened to use force to
remove the checkpoints, the Civil Georgia web site reported.
South Ossetia, a region of about 100,000 people, set up a pro-Russian
autonomous government in the 1990s and Russia maintains troops in the region.
Georgia, which last month built police posts near the border, late yesterday
withdrew the new units sent to the area, Interfax cited Lieutenant General
Valery Yevnevich, a commander with Russian peacekeeping forces, as saying.
Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili said last week, while his government
won’t accept the disintegration of Georgia, it is willing to consider models
for a state that take into account the interests of regions such as South
Ossetia. Georgia last month ousted Aslan Abashidze, the leader of the
region of
Ajaria, which also set up an autonomous government in the 1990s.

5) Iraqis, US Cut Deal on President, Car Bomb at PUK Headquarters

BAGHDAD (Reuters)–Iraqi leaders cut a face-saving deal Tuesday with the
States and United Nations on a president and government to lead the country
of occupation.
An 11th-hour compromise saw Washington’s choice of president make way for
tribal chief Ghazi Yawar. He was then sworn in with an interim cabinet of
technocrats in a televised ceremony rich in symbolism at a palace complex
by Saddam Hussein.
A car bomb that tore through the nearby offices of a Kurdish political party,
killing and wounding several people, underlined the scale of the challenge the
interim administration faces in organizing first free elections in the New
Several rockets also landed around the US compound as officials were meeting,
wounding one Iraqi. And a suicide car bomber killed 11 Iraqis outside a US
north of Baghdad.


The death toll was unclear in the bombing of the Patriotic Union of
Baghdad headquarters. A US officer said three people were confirmed dead
and 20
wounded, but police at the scene said the toll was considerably higher.
A huge crater was blown into the ground at the entrance to the PUK building,
close to the “Green Zone” compound where officials were announcing the deal on
the new government.
In a face-saving maneuver, the 22-member Governing Council initially dropped
its objection to Pachachi. Then, within minutes, the 81-year-old former
minister renounced the post and Brahimi declared that Yawar would become head
of state.
Officials then announced that the Council, whose members US officials had
accused of trying to cling to power by claiming positions in the new
government, was being wound up.

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.