ASBAREZ Online [07-06-2004]

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07/06/2004
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1- ANCA Welcomes Sen. Kerry’s Choice for Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee
2- Pilgrimage to Seremjian Memorial
3- First Convention of European Armenians to Take Place at European Parliament
4- ARF’s Nalbandian at Spanish Socialist Party Congress
5- Bolshoi Star Baritonist Pavel Lisitsian Dies at 93
6- Oskanian Discusses Karabagh on Russia Visit

1- ANCA Welcomes Sen. Kerry’s Choice for Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee

WASHINGTON, DCThe Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today welcomed
the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s announcement of
Senator John Edwards (D-NC) as his Vice-Presidential running mate.
“The ANCA welcomes John Kerry’s choice of John Edwardsa friend of
Armenian-Americans in North Carolina and around the nationas his
running-mate,”
said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The contrast between Senator
Edwards and sitting Vice President Dick Cheney could not be more stark. John
Edwards has consistently taken a stand for Armenian issues, while Dick
Cheneyas
Chairman of Halliburton and later as Vice Presidenthas consistently, often
stridently, opposed issues of concern to Armenian American voters.”
Sen. Edwards, currently finishing his first term in the Senate, has been a
staunch supporter of Armenian-American concerns. In 2002, he cosponsored
S.Res.307, marking the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the
Genocide Convention. He was an original cosponsor of a similar bill currently
in Congress, S.Res.164, spearheaded by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine
(D-NJ), which currently has 39 cosponsors.
During his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Edwards met
with ANCA activists in May of 2003, at a private reception held in Los Angeles
in his honor. There, ANCA-WR chairman Raffi Hamparian and board member Steven
J. Dadaian discussed issues of concern to the Armenian-American community with
Edwards. Hamparian spoke to the Senator about Turkey’s illegal blockade of
Armenia, to which Edwards responded that the “wrongful blockade” must end,
stressing that America has to stand behind Armenia and let its neighbors know
that “We [America] stand fully behind Armenia.” In a statement before
reception
attendees, Edwards explained that it is in America’s interest to recognize the
Armenian Genocide and added that “It is the just thing to do. It is about time
we [Americans] recognized it.”
Sen. Edwards’ positions on Armenian-American concerns contrasts sharply to
Republican vice-presidential nominee Dick Cheney’s record. During his years
serving in the US Congress, Cheney voted against resolutions commemorating the
Armenian Genocide both in 1985 and 1987. In 1995, he joined the Halliburton
Company, an oil and energy services corporation, and after his appointment as
chairman of the board in 1996, worked extensively with the government of
Azerbaijan in oil exploration ventures. He was a vocal advocate of efforts to
repeal restrictions on US aid to Azerbaijan despite that country’s ongoing
blockades of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh. In a keynote speech at a
US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) conference on February 18, 1997,
Cheney stated: “I must also say that I believe that our current policy
prohibiting
US assistance to Azerbaijan is seriously misguided. In my experience, this
kind
of unilateral sanction, based primarily on US domestic political
considerations, is unwise. Such a policy limits US influence in any given
situation, and in this case, it reduces rather than enhances the prospects for
ultimately resolving a very complex and important set of regional issues.”
In 1997, Cheney, who was a member of the USACC “Honorary Council of
Advisors,”
was awarded its “Freedom Support” award, for his “outstanding services to this
organization [USACC] as well as contribution toward promoting peace,
democracy,
freedom and economic development in Azerbaijan and a closer cooperation
between
the United States and Azerbaijan.”

2- Pilgrimage to Seremjian Memorial

PLOVDIV–Organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) youth of
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a pilgrimage to the monument to Bedros Seremjian, Onnig
Torosian and others heroes took place on June 29 in Plovdiv.
Seremjian headed a mixed Armenian-Macedonian group in 1901 to battle Turkish
troops in the Turko-Bulgarian border region, before they were captured and
hanged in Adrianople (Edirne). Seremjian also took part in the small
battles of
Van, Shadakh, and was one of the most active and popular members of Bulgaria’s
ARF.
Pilgrims included citizens, friends and relatives of the heroes, and
representatives of sister organizations, including the Homenetmen scouts, and
Bulgarian unions.
ARF’s Vachagan Giligian recalled Seremjian’s last words: “Yes, I am a
revolutionary, but don’t forget that, today, I represent an ideology. Do you
think that it is possible to hang an ideology at the gallows?”
The ceremony ended with the singing of “Verkerov Li,” a nationalistic song
dedicated to Seremjian.

3- First Convention of European Armenians to Take Place at European Parliament

BRUSSELS–The first Convention of European Armenians will be held October
18-19
at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Organized by the European
Armenian Federation, the pan-European meeting will serve as a forum to share
ideas and concerns on important topics for Armenian communities across Europe.
European citizens of Armenian descent now number more than two million. Most
immigrated in large waves as a result of the genocide perpetrated by Ottoman
Turkey, the outbreak of war in the middle-east during the 1970s, and the fall
of the Soviet Union. Though well-integrated in the economic, social, and
cultural life of their new countries, they have kept their identity and their
interest in Armenian issues.
The convention will allow participants to discuss a number of issues to
recent
geopolitical events and socio-economic developments. More specifically, the
convention will focus on Armenian culture and identity in Europe, EU-US
relations, and the enlargement of the EU.
“All European-Armenian associations, groups, and organizations are invited,
regardless of their political or and religious affiliations,” stated Hilda
Tchoboian, chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation. “Through the first
European Convention, we are not seeking to establish a superstructure that
would replace the various organizations that deal with European-Armenian
issue.
Rather, we want to create a framework for free expression that will allow
various positions and opinions to emerge.”
For more information about the conference visit

4- ARF’s Nalbandian at Spanish Socialist Party Congress

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member and
ARF’s representative in the Socialist International (SI) Mario Nalbandian, was
among 120 guests at the 36th congress of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party
(PSOE) that convened in Spain on July 2-4.
Nalbandian had the opportunity to meet with PSOE leadership and
representatives of other Socialist parties on the sidelines of the congress.
The ARF recently became a full-fledged member of the SI and has boosted
relations with the PSOE in recent years.
The Congress of the 125-year-old party re-elected Prime Minister Jose
Rodriguez Zapatero for a new four-year term as secretary general. Zapatero,
the
only candidate running for the position, garnered 96 percent of the 972 votes
at the party congress.
Zapatero, 43, became Spain’s prime minister after his victory in the March 14
general elections.
Addressing the Congress, Zapatero encouraged party members to sustain unity.
He was first elected as the PSOE secretary general in April 2000.

5- Bolshoi Star Baritonist Pavel Lisitsian Dies at 93

After a lengthy illness baritonist Pavel Lisitsian, who once lead the Bolshoi
Opera for over twenty-five years, died at the age of 93 at his summer home in
Russia.
Lisitsian was born into an Armenian working-class family and seemed destined
to work in a factory. His vocal talents became so evident, however, that he
began to take singing lessons, and eventually entered the Leningrad
conservatory in 1932, while still working as an electric welder.
Graduating from the conservatory, Pavel, like many other budding singers,
signed with Leningrad’s experimentalist Maly Opera Theater. After a brief
stint
there, he moved on to join an opera company in the Armenian capital Yerevan
and, in 1940, he was admitted to the venerable Bolshoi Opera.
“He was full of kindness and optimism, and had the ability to see the bright
aspects of life. . . Nature endowed him with a velvet baritone tinged with
subtle overtones conveying joy, tears, pain and happiness…” says
Daughter Karina Lisitsian.
Less than a year later, German troops crossed the Soviet border, and
Lisitsian
immediately volunteered to join a team of musicians performing at the
frontlines and in military hospitals in Moscow.
“We gave 72 concerts in just 26 days performing three to four times a day,
sometimes right under enemy fire,” he later recalled.
He played a total of about 500 concerts during the war.
“I sang many Russian, Armenian and Georgian folk songs,” he had said. “There
were people of many nationalities fighting at the frontlines and they really
enjoyed them.”
After the war there was no stopping Lisitsian’s fast growing fame. He sang at
every single premiere the Bolshoi, including one of his all-time bests–the
part of Germon in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.
“Dad wasn’t one of those typical vocalists who used to take a two-days rest
before a performance–speaking to no one so as not to strain their voice. I
remember how on the eve of the premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Sadko,’ dad
spent
the whole afternoon in his vegetable garden, digging the earth, and planting.
He then ladled a pot of icy water out of a well, drank it, and went off to the
premiere,” recalls his daughter.
In 1966 Lisitsian quit the Bolshoi to make way for the young new talents
eager
to take center stage.
Lisitsian became one of the first Soviet soloist to perform at the La Scala,
Metropolitan-Opera and New York’s Carnegie Hall. For nearly a quarter of a
century he conducted master-classes in Germany and he also ran a vocal studio
at the Moscow Philharmonic Society. Lisitsian’s pedagogical career was,
perhaps, more versatile than even his concert activity.
He consulted young singers absolutely free of charge, only to gain energy and
vitality from the lessons.
“I want my students to be more than just good singers,” he said. “I want them
to be educated, intelligent, and capable of fulfilling their ideas on stage.
Opera singing is too complicated a profession to be taken lightly.”
Many of his student became laureates of international competitions.
Lisitsian spent his long life filled with love for art and Dagmara
Dolukhanova, his wife of over six decades. Three of his four children became
singers and his family joined him to form the “Lisitsian Quartet.”
A superb interpreter of Armenian (folk) songs, he became one of the most
popular singers of the Soviet Union and was recognized by the government as
the
“People’s Artist of the USSR.”

6- Oskanian Discusses Karabagh on Russia Visit

MOSCOW (RFE/RL)–The Mountainous Karabagh conflict and economic issues were
key
during Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s talks with senior Russian
officials in Moscow on Tuesday.
Oskanian met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and high-level
lawmakers during his visit to the Russian capital.
“We discussed the Karabagh problem and can talk about some positive movements
there,” Lavrov told a joint news conference with his Armenian counterpart. He
cited the recent series of meetings between the Armenian and Azeri foreign
ministers as well as the “more active” work of the Russian, French and US
co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group.
Both Lavrov and Oskanian would not go into details of their discussions on
Karabagh. The latter said only that he is “very satisfied” with the results of
the talks. “This shows that the agenda of our dialogue is quite extensive and
deep.”
A separate statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Oskanian briefed
Lavrov on his trilateral meeting in Istanbul last week with the Azeri and
Turkish foreign ministers.
The statement said Russian-Armenian commercial ties was another major
topic of
the Moscow talks, with both sides agreeing on the need for “restoring
transportation means” between the two allied states. “The Russian side
promised
to keep the issue at the center of its attention,” it said.
Oskanian was also cited as calling for a “prompt revival” of the five
state-run Armenian enterprises that were handed over to Russia last year as
part of a swap agreement to settle Yerevan’s $100 million debt to Moscow.
This was Oskanian’s first official visit to the country since becoming
Armenia’s foreign minister in 1998.
Lavrov, who was the Kremlin’s longtime representative to the United Nations
before becoming foreign minister recently, used the opportunity to reveal his
ethnic Armenian roots to journalists. “I have Armenian blood,” he announced.
“My father is an Armenian from Tbilisi.”

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