ASBAREZ ONLINE [06-21-2004]

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06/21/2004
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1. Oskanian Holds ‘Useful’ Talks with Azeri Counterpart
2. Vartan Gregorian Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
3. Baku-bound Armenian Officers Arrive
4. KLO Threatens Armenian Officers in Baku
5. Oskanian Discusses Positive Effects of Turkish Blockade

1. Oskanian Holds ‘Useful’ Talks with Azeri Counterpart

PRAGUE (RFE-RL)After a meeting in Prague on Monday with his Azerbaijani
counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov, Vartan Oskanian noted that the talks were
“useful” for the long-running international efforts to resolve the Mountainous
Karabagh conflict.
“The process is continuing. I cannot state at this point that we have reached
any concrete agreements. However, we find the overall course positive,”
Oskanian commented shortly after the meeting, which included the participation
of the French, Russian, and US mediators of the OSCE Minsk Group
Although Oskanian did not provide any new details about the ongoing peace
negotiations, he did confirm Mamedyarov, who earlier stated that the two sides
have begun considering the option of combining the resolution strategies
utilized by both sides of the conflict. Reports have made clear that the
Azerbaijani side wants a “step-by-step” plan that would indefinitely put
off an
agreement on Karabagh’s status, while the Armenian side remains resolute in
its
desire of a single “package” accord.
“The course and nature of the negotiations is such that one should really opt
for a synthesis of the two different positions,” Oskanian said. But he added
that Karabagh’s statusthe bone of contentionmust somehow be addressed under
any
compromise arrangement. “That synthesis should not be radically different from
our emphasis on Karabagh’s status,” he stated.
Oskanian once again denied speculations of the imposition of a US-backed plan
that requires the hand-over of three of the seven Armenian-controlled
districts
around Karabagh. “There is no concrete proposal. There are just general
discussions and nothing is being imposed on any of the parties,” he said,
commenting on his high-level talks in Washington earlier this month.

2. Vartan Gregorian Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC–(Combined Sources)–George W. Bush announced on Friday that
Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will be
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United State’s highest civil
award. The award was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize
civilians for their service during World War II, and it was reinstated by
President Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service.
“We are greatly pleased to see Vartan Gregorian’s years of public service and
tremendous contributions to the field of education recognized by President
Bush
with the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram
Hamparian. “Armenian Americans join today with Armenians around the world in
honoring Dr. Gregorian’s scholarship and many achievements in world of
learning, his truly tireless leadership in the civic life of the United
States,
and, of course, his abiding devotion to his Armenian heritage.”
Born in Tabriz, Iran, Gregorian received his elementary education in Iran and
his secondary education in Lebanon. In 1956 he entered Stanford University,
where he majored in history and the humanities, graduating with honors in
1958.
He was awarded a PhD in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.
A former university professor who has taught European and Middle Eastern
history at San Francisco State College, the University of California at Los
Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin, Gregorian joined the
University
of Pennsylvania faculty in 1972 and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History
and professor of South Asian history. He was founding dean of the Faculty of
Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years
later became its twenty-third provost until 1981. That year, Gregorian assumed
his position as president of the New York Public Library, an institution
with a
network of four research libraries and eighty-three circulating libraries.
Prior to his current position with the Carnegie Corporation, which he assumed
in June 1997, Gregorian served for nine years as the sixteenth president of
Brown University following his appointment to the position in 1989.
The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Gregorian was awarded
the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1986 and the American Academy of the
Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts in 1989. In
1998, President William Jefferson Clinton awarded him the National Humanities
Medal.
Gregorian joins His Holiness Pope John Paul II, American entertainment icon
Doris Day, entrepreneur Estee Lauder, famed golf champion Arnold Palmer and
eight other distinguished men and women in receiving the prestigious award.
Bush will honor the recipients at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, June
23.

3. Baku-bound Armenian Officers Arrive

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–In their second attempt to participate in a NATO
conference Armenian officers Murad Isakhanian and Aram Hovhannissian
arrived in
Baku, on Monday to take part in a June 22 NATO conference within its
Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
Armenian officers were not able to attend the first NATO planning conference
in Baku last January after Azerbaijan blocked their arrival.
Defense Ministry spokesman Seyran Shahsuvarian said the two army officers
boarded a Baku-bound plane in Tbilisi after being formally allowed to enter
the
country by the Azerbaijani embassy in Georgia’s capital. The Armenian mission
in Tbilisi confirmed that they were issued a special “written permission” on
June 11, to attend the conference.
Armenia has repeatedly stated its intention to take part in the exercise and,
under the PfP rules, does not need Azerbaijan’s consent for doing that.
“I am ready to go there even if they kill me,” said Colonel Murad Isakhanian,
one of the two Armenian officers attending the NATO seminar shortly before
flying to Baku. “I am a military officer and must obey orders,” he added.
According to Shahsuvarian, responsibility for ensuring their security
primarily lies with NATO.

4. KLO Threatens Armenian Officers in Baku

BAKU (Baku Today)–The Karabagh Liberation Organization (KLO) lashed out at
Azerbaijan’s high-ranking foreign ministry officials, as well as some local
human rights activists and celebrities for “falling victim to Armenian
policies.”
KLO accused Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his deputy Araz Azimov of
“making irresponsible and illogical” statements in approving the planned visit
of Armenian military officers to Baku for a June 22 preparatory conference for
military exercise to be held in Azerbaijan in September under NATO’s
Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
Mammadyarov and Azimov apparently told the local media that since the
conference is a NATO organized event, it would be unwise on the part of
Azerbaijan to create obstacles for the Armenian officers.
“By making irresponsible and illogical statements, Mammadyarov and Azimov
have
demonstrated that are ready to go for concessions on the Karabagh issue,” a
statement by KLO read.
“They invite and express readiness to sit down at the same table with the
Armenian officers who have slaughtered more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis, occupied
our territories, and now continue murdering our soldiers and officers,”
continued the statement, vowing to take radical action to stop the entry of
Armenian officers.
“The Karabagh Liberation Organization believes that these people have been
trapped by the Armenian Diaspora and they have becomeā€¦participants of a vast
plot against Azerbaijanā€¦ But we will not allow this treacherous design to be
carried out,” the statement added.

5. Oskanian Discusses Positive Effects of Turkish Blockade

WASHINGTON, DC–Turkey’s economic blockade of Armenia has had an unexpected
positive effect on the economy, said Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan
Oskanian,
in a June 17 interview with The Washington Times.
Oskanian said the Turkish embargo, imposed on Armenian since the early 1990s,
has forced Armenia to diversify its economy
“We are developing and developing well. We are more efficient, more
effective,” he told Washington Times correspondent Tom Carter in an interview
at the Armenian Embassy last week.
“We have strengthened our [information technology] industry. We have
diversified into diamonds and jewelry: things that can go out on satellite or
in small pouches on airplanes.”
Oskanian met with Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice and a host of Congressional members during his brief working
visit.
The foreign minister stated that Armenia was gratified for being selected as
part of the Millennium Challenge Account, which will give the country
access to
US financial aid in the next three to five years.
“There are billions of dollars available, which will be extremely valuable to
our economy,” noted Oskanian, predicting that his country will continue to
liberalize the economy, invest in “human capital” and improve human rights and
the rule of law.
Oskanian said Armenia supported the US-led effort to liberate Iraq, although
it did not provide troops. Armenia granted permission for coalition planes to
fly over its territory and is prepared to send a specialist team to help
remove
land mines.
The minister also said Armenia’s relationship with the European Union
improved
this week when the union welcomed Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia under its
“neighborhood policy,” which aims to encourage ties with the European bloc.
However, he added that the designation does not guarantee membership.

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