ASBAREZ Online [07-14-2004]


1. ANCA Joins Washington, DC Protest to Stop Genocide in Sudan
2. Karabagh’s Inclusion in Peace Negotiations up to Sides, Say OSCE Mediators
3. Armenian Official Meets with MCC, Details Work on MCA Proposals
4. Georgia Urges West to Help Resolve Regional Crisis
5. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Clarifies Armenia’s Decision to Criticize OSCE

1. ANCA Joins Washington, DC Protest to Stop Genocide in Sudan

“When human lives are in jeopardy, there should be outrage.”
–New York Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) who was arrested during
demonstration at Sudanese Embassy.

WASHINGTON, DC–Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) staff and
activists joined with Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and leading African
American and human rights activists at a demonstration on Tuesday outside the
Sudanese Embassy calling for US and international pressure to end the genocide
in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The protest, organized by the Sudan Campaign, featured the arrest of
Congressman Charlie Rangel, a senior New York legislator who serves as the
Ranking Member on the influential US House Ways & Means Committee. He was
arrested for trespassing by the police after stepping to the door of the
Embassy. He was released within hours from a Washington, DC jail after paying
bail of fifty dollars. Former member of Congress and current president of the
National Council of Churches Robert Edgar, was
arrested at the Sudanese Embassy, on Wednesday.
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, Government Affairs Director Abraham
Niziblian and the ANCA “Leo Sarkisian” Internship program participants, led by
Director Arsineh Khachikian, joined the noon-time protest which included some
hundred and fifty activists and representatives from a diverse coalition of
Sudan Campaign partner organizations including the Congressional Black Caucus,
Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House, Institute on Religion and
Democracy, American Anti-slavery group, Wilberforce Project, and Christian
Solidarity International, among others.
“We marched today, in the name of all Armenians, to do our part to help end
the cycle of genocide,” said Hamparian. “As the descendants of survivors of
the Armenian Genocide, we bear a special burden to fight intolerance and to
demand moral leadershipand decisive actionfrom our government to prevent
hundreds of thousands of deaths in Darfur.” Niziblian, in an interview with
Associated Press (AP), was quoted as saying that, “A lot more people should be
protesting and taking to the streets now.”
The Sudan Campaign is led by Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, co-founder of the
Congressional Black Caucus, and Joe Madison, a civil rights activist and radio
personality in the Greater Washington, DC area. The group has been holding
noon-time protests in front of the Sudanese Embassy for the past month, during
which several leading human and civil rights activists have been arrested.
During his remarks, Madison announced that he is launching a hunger strike
until the Sudanese government takes action to end the obstruction of
humanitarian assistance from reaching hundreds of thousands in need in Darfur.
Over the past month, the ANCA has called attention to the atrocities in Sudan
through a series of letters to Congressional offices, urging them to take a
stand to stop the cycle of genocide through support of Congressional
initiatives regarding Sudan as well as for the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193,
S.Res.164), which reaffirms US commitment to the principles of the Genocide
Convention. On June 23, Niziblian participated in a press conference organized
by the Congressional Black Caucus and Africa Action. The ANCA has urged
Armenian Americans to add their names to the Africa Action petition drive for
Sudan, by visiting
Some 30,000 have already perished over the past 18 months in Darfur, Sudan,
with approximately one million forced to flee their homes. If the Sudanese
government does not allow for the distribution of international humanitarian
assistance, the death toll could rise to 350,000, according to conservative

2. Karabagh’s Inclusion in Peace Negotiations up to Sides, Say OSCE Mediators

YEREVAN (Noyan-Tapan/RFE-RL/Yerkir)–In a press conference held on
Wednesday in
Yerevan, OSCE’s Minsk Group mediators announced that they would not bring any
new proposals for the conflicting sides. “I did not think the Minsk Group
should make new proposals. We are working with the sides to help them find
practical and stable solutions to the problem,” explained US Co-chair Stephen
Speaking about the possibility of Karabagh’s participation in the peace
negotiations, the mediators made clear that the conflicting parties themselves
must decide.
“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the responsibility for
the Karabagh settlement lies with the sides. We leave the question of
Karabagh’s inclusion in the talks to the sides. They must solve and specify
this problem by themselves,” said Mann.
After meeting with the co-chairs in Stepanakert on Tuesday, Mountainous
Karabagh Republic president Arkady Ghukassian emphasized that no final
settlement of the conflict is possible without Karabagh’s full
participation in
French co-chair Henry Jacolin meanwhile said that it is not the OSCE and its
Minsk Group that have exhausted all resources to resolve the conflict, hinting
rather that the conflicting sides have done so. “This is a good format of
negotiations, although it has been criticized a lot. The format is fully
acceptable for the Armenian president,” Jacolin said.
Last month the OSCE co-chairs held another round of negotiations in Prague
between Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers trying to break a deadlock.
The Russian co-chair Yuri Merzlyakov rejected the criticism of the “Prague
Process,” saying that the initiation of the Prague talks between the Armenian
and Azerbaijani foreign ministers would not necessarily mean that the
presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan are less interested in resolving the
“The meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Warsaw made possible
the Prague meetings between co-chairs and Foreign Ministers of Armenia and
Azerbaijan,” said Merzlyakov.
The Russian co-chair also did not rule out that the next meeting between
Kocharian and Aliyev could be held in September when leaders of CIS meet

3. Armenian Official Meets with MCC, Details Work on MCA Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC (Embassy of Armenia)–Chief Economic Adviser to the
President of
Armenia, Vahram Nercissiantz, and Armenian Ambassador to the US, Dr. Arman
Kirakossian met with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Paul V.
Applegarth on Tuesday to present Armenia’s progress in targeting for MCC
The MCC is a US government corporation designed to work with some of the
poorest countries in the world to administer funds from the Millennium
Challenge Account (MCA) designed to help poor countries spur the economic
growth and attract the investment necessary to further development. Congress
has appropriated $1 billion for the MCC for this fiscal year. Armenia was
deemed eligible, along with 15 other countries, to apply for development aid.
Nercissiantz, who serves as the deputy chairperson of an ad-hoc coordinating
group for MCC Armenian Program, said it had met with national and local
Armenian NGO’s, experts, and other concerned parties, to solicit advice,
develop public awareness, and to target the directions for developmental
assistance under the terms of MCA.
Nercissiantz said that a draft proposal would be complete by the end of
for approval and formal submission to the MCC for consideration in September.
Applegarth stressed the need for proposals to address issues on strengthening
democracy in Armenia, and asked about details of consultations with interested
Nercissiantz noted that all groups involved–government agencies, NGOs, and
experts, have agreed to target poverty reduction in Armenia’s rural areas by
promoting economic growth.
The program foresees their greater integration in Armenia’s economy, and
increasing economic opportunities for rural and small farming communities.
A significant by-product of such economic empowerment, Nercissiantz said,
is a
strong local self-governing system and civil society in Armenia.
The program proposal to the MCC will, therefore, likely include, but not be
limited to, rehabilitation of rural roads and transport infrastructure; soil
amelioration (drainage and desalination); improving irrigation system; and
investing in the social infrastructure.
Nercissiantz stressed that Armenia’s Government will adhere to MCC’s
that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and
social policies that promote economic growth.

4. Georgia Urges West to Help Resolve Regional Crisis

LONDON/MOSCOW (Interfax/Reuters)–The president of Georgia said on
Wednesday he
believed a mounting crisis in the breakaway region of South Ossetia could be
resolved in about six months if the West put pressure on Russia.
“There should be continued pressure from the West and we must make Russia
realize we will not be pushed around,” Mikhail Saakashvili said during a visit
to London which has included a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“I am sure within six months or more these few thousand people (in South
Ossetia) will be fully integrated (into Georgia).”
Saakashvili has made restoration of central power over restive regions a key
policy plank since his landslide election victory in January.
He has since succeeded in removing a local strongman in Ajaria on the Black
Sea. But bringing back into the fold mountainous South Ossetia and Abkhazia,
also on the Black Sea, is certain to be a much tougher task.
Stability in the Caucasus region is critical to Western interests as a major
pipeline is being built through Georgia to transport oil from the Caspian Sea
to the Mediterranean.
South Ossetia’s co-chairman of the Joint Control Commission on the
settling of
the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, Boris Chochiyev, said on Wednesday that all
sides present at the Commission’s session in Moscow are currently preparing
their versions of the session’s final protocol.
“Currently, the Russian, North Ossetian and the South Ossetian sides are
working on the project, but the final protocol can only be approved if the
Georgian side takes part [in the production of the final protocol],” Chochiyev
told journalists.
He said that the Russian, North Ossetian and South Ossetian chairmen of the
commission have doubts about the return of Georgian State Minister on
Separatist Conflicts Goga Khaindrava, who left the session.
Representatives of North and South Ossetia, Georgia and the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are taking part in the Joint Control
Commission’s session.
Tension in South Ossetia, where separatists broke away from central control
after a conflict in the 1990s, has increased in recent weeks.
Russia accuses Georgia of violating a 1992 deal overseeing a truce and of
trying to trigger a new military confrontation. Georgia in turn accuses
peacekeepers in the region of siding with separatists and of trying to arm
The situation came close to a climax last weekend when Russians said
peacekeepers in the area had the right to use force to impose peace and
Georgians said they were prepared to resort to arms to repel Russian
Saakashvili said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice had helped ease the situation by speaking to Russian
President Vladimir Putin. And he acknowledged the EU had spoken up for

“I wouldn’t expect Britain to have a confrontation but it is a matter of
part of a multilateral mechanism,” he said.
Britain’s Foreign Office said: “We support the territorial integrity of
Georgia and support the OSCE in its mediation efforts.”
Saakashvili said 160 British military staff were helping to train the
army and had taken part in joint exercises. US forces have also been involved
in training.
The president said signs of Georgia’s closer ties with the West and NATO had
prompted Russia to stir up tension in South Ossetia. Moscow, he said, had no
strategic interest in the region.
“South Ossetia is not the price Georgia is willing to pay for anything, for
closer relations with NATO,” said Saakashvili.

5. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Clarifies Armenia’s Decision to Criticize OSCE

YEREVAN (ARMENPRESS)In response to reporter inquiries as to why Armenia joined
Russia and seven other countries in accusing the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of unjustly meddling in their internal affairs,
Hamlet Gasparian, a spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, said the
Armenian government, like the other signatories, has a number of reservations
about the activities of the OSCE and some of its bodies.
Gasparian explained that the decision was not made overnight and that the
government had been discontent with various aspects of the OSCE for a
number of
years. He said that similar criticism had been made by Armenia and other CIS
member countries during official OSCE discussions aimed at improving the work
of the organization.
“The signatories of the statement are full members of the OSCE and have the
right to express their opinions with regard to any aspect of OSCE’s activity
for the sake of its improvement,” Gasparian stated. He clarified some of
failures, including, the use of double standards, biased assessments of OSCE
monitoring missions and the explicit violation of the balance between the
organization’s “three dimensions.”
Despite the criticism, Gasparian noted that Armenia will remain committed to
the responsibilities it assumed within the OSCE framework. “Armenia remains
committed to all its obligations and is dedicated to this organization’s
values, and defends the principle of solidarity among all its members,” he
The statement released last week was not signed by Azerbaijan, prompting
reporters to speculate about the negative affects Armenia’s stance may have on
the Mountainous Karabagh settlement. “It should be noted that the issues
in [the statement] have no relation at all to the regulation process, nor to
the work of the OSCE Minsk group and its co-chairmen,” Gasparian stated.
The spokesman said that according to Azeri media sources, Azerbaijan declined
to sign the statement when other CIS countries refused to incorporate wording
it had suggested. He made clear that Azerbaijan has often criticized OSCE and
its Minsk group.


Council of Europe Says No Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan

STRASBOURG (ARMENPRESS)In a report released on July 13, Council of Europe
Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, noted that virtually all persons
to be political prisoners in Azerbaijan have either been released or retried.
The report was compiled and published by Professors Stefan Trechsel and Evert
“This demonstrates the good cooperation established with the Azerbaijani
authorities; it also illustrates the usefulness of the work of my experts
[Trechsel and Alkema]. The procedure established was indeed confidential and
quite lengthy but it allowed for possible settlements to the satisfaction of
all those concerned.” In appreciation of their efforts, Schwimmer last week
awarded both Trechsel and Alkema the Pro-Merito medal.

Azeri Opposition Party Demands New Presidential Election

BAKU (ARMENPRESS)Last Saturday, the main Azeri opposition party, Musavat
(Equality), released a statement in which the demand for new presidential
elections was made. The statement, which was adopted at the party council’s
session, accused the Aliyev family and its allies of “usurping” power by
rigging the October 15, 2003 presidential elections through fraud and
Another statement by the Musavat party demanded the immediate release of over
100 opposition activists that were convicted shortly after the election. With
several of its leaders on trial, the party also expressed its concern that
Musavat members will not receive fair trials under the present judicial

United States Cuts Off Aid To Uzbekistan

WASHINGTON DC (EURASIANET.ORG)The United States has announced that it will
withhold millions of dollars in security and economic assistance to
citing “disappointment” over Tashkent’s human rights practices. Human rights
advocates have praised the US decision, expressing hope that it increases the
pressure on Tashkent to implement long-promised reforms to improve
civil-society conditions in the country.
American law requires the US State Department to review the democratization
performance of aid recipients. In Uzbekistan’s case, Secretary of State Colin
Powell decided that Tashkent is not fulfilling the terms of a 2002 Strategic
Partnership Framework agreement that mandated “substantial and continuing
progress” on democratization, a July 13 State Department statement said. As a
result of Powell’s decision to deny certification, Uzbekistan could lose up to
$18 million in aid, the statement added.
In recent years, Uzbekistan has faced sharp criticism from human rights
over the government’s clampdown on freedom of speech and religious expression.
Human Rights Watch has estimated that roughly 7,000 independent Muslims have
been improperly imprisoned. The crackdown intensified this spring after
Tashkent was rocked in late March by clashes between Islamic radical
and security forces. In addition to human rights transgressions, Uzbek
authorities have frustrated US and European officials by failing to fulfill
economic reform commitments.
The Uzbek government has made “encouraging progress over the past year” in
human rights sphere, the State Department statement noted. However, the
country’s overall performance could not justify certification, it added. In
country report on Uzbek human rights practices, released in early 2004, the
State Department characterized the country as “an authoritarian state with
limited civil rights.”

24 People Die in Iran Road Accident

TEHRAN (ARMENPRESS)Twenty-four people died and 13 others were injured when
driver of a heavy truck smashed into a passenger bus on a road in southern
Iran. The accident occurred shortly before dawn between the towns of Darab and
Fasa in the Fars province. “The driver had fallen asleep and lost control,” a
police official was quoted as saying.
Iran’s roads are already considered to be among the most dangerous in the
world. More than a quarter of all cars on the road are over 20 years old.
to 100,000 people have died in road accidents in the past five years. 25,772
individuals were killed during the one year period between March 2003 and

Engineering University Introduces Religious Counseling

YEREVAN (ARMENPRESS)The Armenian Church has accepted an invitation from the
state-run Yerevan Engineering University to provide religious counseling
sessions to its students. The university has designated a room in which
students will be able to hold private discussions with clergymen. The church
announced that it is ready to establish similar programs at other

Pyunic FC Beats Pobeda of Macedonia

SKOPJE (ARMENPRESS)On Tuesday night, Armenian champions FC Pyunik moved into
the second qualifying round after a 3-1 victory over FC Pobeda of Macedonia.
Edgar Manucharyan of Pyunik dominated the field, scoring two goals and
assisting Zhora Hovhanesian for a third.

Senior Military Officer’s Son Fights with US Citizen

YEREVAN (RFE-RL)The Interior Ministry press service confirmed on July 13 that
Arsen Harutyunyan, the 30 year old son of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mikael
Harutyunyan, attacked David Becker (29) on July 10 in the “Bunker” club in
downtown Yerevan. Police officials confirmed that Backer has appealed to the
central department of the police complaining that someone named Arsen beat him
severely, causing injuries. Officials also said that according to Becker,
Harutyunyan attacked two women.
General Mikael Harutyunyan refused to comment on the incident. “It would be
improper for me to comment,” the general said, adding that his children were
brought up properly.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress