ASBAREZ ONLINE [06-07-2004]


1) ANCA Chairman Calls State Department on Its ‘Disingenuous’ Excuse for
Armenian Genocide Exclusion
2) Ghukassian Presses Lenmarker for Equal Footing
3) Construction of Airport Terminal to Take Zvartnots to New Heights
4) Farewell to Former President Ronald Reagan

1) ANCA Chairman Calls State Department on Its ‘Disingenuous’ Excuse for
Armenian Genocide Exclusion

WASHINGTON, DC (ANCA)–In a detailed letter sent last Friday to Secretary of
State Colin Powell, Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken
Hachikian pressed the State Department to end its practice of excluding any
mention of the Armenian Genocide from the history section of its official
website on Armenia.
The State Department website features Background Notes on one hundred
ninety-eight nations. Each entry includes a brief historical review. The
historical section for Armenia makes no mention of Ottoman Turkey’s systematic
destruction of over one and a half million Armenians, or the “demographic
disaster” described by the Library of Congress as having “shifted the
center of
the Armenian population from the heartland of historical Armenia.” The ANCA
issued an action alert on this issue in January of this year.
Hachikian’s letter was written in response to a May 6 State Department letter
to Joe Dagdigian, Chairman of the Merrimack Valley ANC chapter.
In an April 20 letter to the State Department, Dagdidgian documented a series
of serious shortcomings in its website on the history of Armenia, noting, in
“The historical survey of Armenia omits any reference to the Armenian
committed by Ottoman Turkey beginning in 1915. To recount nearly 3,000
years of
Armenian history without the inclusion of this cataclysmic and relatively
recent event in the history of the Armenian people is inexcusable. Rather than
contributing to an understanding of the region, it obscures the region’s
history and fails to provide the background necessary for understanding
Armenian and regional issues.”
Responding to Dagdidgian, the Director of the Office of Caucasus and Central
Asian Affairs John Fox, wrote:
“Country background notes on the State Department’s web-site were designed to
provide interested readers with concise and up-to-date information regarding
key economic and political issues in the country, as well as travel conditions
and commercial opportunities. Country background notes also provide a very
brief introduction to the country’s history. Typically, each background page
will collapse over 2,000 years of history into 3-4 concise paragraphs.
Consequently, even episodes of great historical importance are often not
treated in our background notes.”
In his sharply critical letter to Secretary Powell, Hachikian spells out the
historical inaccuracy, the basic inconsistency, and the moral bankruptcy of
State Department’s position of excluding the Armenian Genocide from its
of Armenia:
“Rather than acknowledging and taking steps to correct this obvious error–or
even indicating a willingness to review this flawed document, the State
Department’s letter, signed by John Fox of the Office of Caucasus and Central
Asian Affairs, instead, sought to reduce this issue of profound historical and
contemporary significance to a simple consideration of space.”
Hachikian goes on with an in-depth review of the assertions made in the State
Department letter, concluding that, “we find it plainly disingenuous, if not
outright dishonest, to imply that the exclusion of the Armenian Genocide is
based on space considerations.” He adds, “it is clear that this historically
inaccurate refusal to even acknowledge the premeditated extermination between
1915 and 1923 of fully two thirds of all Armenians by Ottoman Turkey and the
exile of a nation from its historic homeland of more than three thousand
represents another very sad chapter in the State Department’s complicity in
Turkish government’s ongoing immoral campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide.”
In closing, Hachikian writes, “How truly regrettable I find it to have to
engage in word-counts to illustrate the ridiculous and reprehensible
lengths to
which the State Department goes to help the government of Turkey to deny the
undeniable–the crime of genocide committed against the Armenian nation. In
interest of basic morality, historical accuracy, and the State Department’s
credibility, on behalf of the American-Armenian community, I ask you to
immediately correct this obvious and insulting ‘error.'”

Readers can express their concern about the Armenia Background Notes by
visiting the ANCA website, <;

2) Ghukassian Presses Lenmarker for Equal Footing

STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)–The president of Mountainous Karabagh Republic
(MKR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the
Karabagh conflict met in the capital of MKR, Stepanakert, on June 4.
Thanking OSCE’s Goran Lennmarker for his visit, MKR President Arkady
Ghukassian said that only immediate interaction between mediators and MKR
representatives, as well as Stepanakert’s equal participation in negotiations,
could end the stalemate to bring about a peaceful resolution.
Ghukassian expressed hope that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s interest in
resolving the conflict, as well as its cooperation and involvement, would help
the establishment of peace in the region.
He, at the same time, stressed that Azerbaijan’s extremism via a concerted
effort to stir anti-Armenian propaganda, especially among its population, is
destructive and stands in the way of progress.
The efforts of international mediators, stressed Ghukassian, would better be
served if they concentrated on creating conditions for a balanced dialogue
between MKR and Azerbaijan, rather than formulating suggestions.
Lennmarker said that the goal of his fact-finding mission to MKR and the
region is to seek a speedy resolution to the conflict, indicating that all of
Europe is interested in accelerating the peace process.
He said that the experience gained in settling past conflicts would be a
valuable tool in expediting the matter, and ruled out a military settlement to
the conflict.

3) Construction of Airport Terminal to Take Zvartnots to New Heights

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Construction of a new terminal at Armenia’s main
international airport began on Monday by the Argentine Corporacion America
Company managing the project.
Representatives of the Argentine company and Armenian government ministers
inaugurated the start of construction, describing it as the first stage of the
reconstruction of Zvartnots airport, which is to conform to international
standards with the completion of the project. The airport’s commercial
Juan-Pablo Guechigian, said the project would cost at least $42 million.
Justice Minister David Harutiunian, who oversees project implementation, said
the new three-story building is slated for completion by 2007, and added that
its ground floor, available for passenger use, will be ready at the end of
year, as well as construction of the upper floors.
Argentinean Armenian Eduardo Eurnekian, who operates 33 airports across South
America, owns Corporacion America which signed a 30-year management contract
with the Armenian government in December 2001 and took over Zvartnots several
months later.
Officials in Yerevan said earlier that the reconstruction will enable
Zvartnots to handle at least 1.2 million passengers a year. Up to 800,000
people presently arrive at and depart from the airport each year. Eurnekian
reportedly looks to transform the airport into a major transit hub for
long-haul flights between Europe and Asia.

4) Farewell to Former President Ronald Reagan

(VOA)–A week of remembrances for former President Ronald Reagan began on
Monday, when his remains arrived at his presidential library in Simi Valley,
There, the body will lie in repose for two days, while mourners pay last
respects to the 40th US president, who died Saturday at age 93, of pneumonia
after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
On Wednesday, Mr. Reagan’s body will be flown to Washington ahead of a state
funeral on Friday.
President Bush has declared Friday a national day of mourning.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev are among the prominent figures planning to attend Friday’s
state funeral for Ronald Reagan at Washington’s National Cathedral.
The former British leader has given up public speaking after a series of
strokes, but will deliver a videotaped eulogy recorded several months before
Reagan’s death.
Reagan and Thatcher were close friends, politically united by their dislike
for communism.
Gorbachev forged a relationship with the late president during summit
in the final years of the Cold War.

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