ASBAREZ Online [08-17-2004]


1) New Armenian Film Foundation Documentary in the Making
2) Azeri FM Speaks about Planned Moscow Trip
3) Survey Shows 30 Percent Jobless Rate in Yerevan
4) Georgia Insists on Launching Talks over South Ossetia Status

1) New Armenian Film Foundation Documentary in the Making

THOUSAND OAKS–Caravans Along the Euphrates; Anatomy of the Secret Genocide is
expected to be the “crown jewel” of the Armenian Film Foundation’s “The
Witnesses” trilogy project. It will be the culmination of a massive
continuation of the 25th Anniversary of the foundation.
Lead creative production staff met with award-winning director/producer
Dr. J.
Michael Hagopian in Thousand Oaks this week to critique the film-in-process.
Those present included co-producer Glenn Farr–an Oscar-winning master feature
film editor and director; and Carla Garapedian, narrator and co-writer of the
first two Witnesses films, who is a former BBC anchor about to enter
on her own film later this fall. Associate producer and assistant editor
Barbara Gilmore, whose experience includes working as project director and
associate producer on five Armenian genocide documentaries, also was at hand.
After the initial screening, Garapedian said, “Caravans Along the Euphrates,
more than ever, has particularly powerful eyewitness testimony.” Farr stated,
“even the brightest, most rational mind cannot cast aside the history that is
portrayed in this last film of The Witnesses trilogy.”
Several other screenings will be held to solicit input from scholars,
survivors and people from other walks of life before the final production
Incorporated will be a penetrating storyline of survivor accounts selected
from a collection of over 400 interviews. The interviews were professionally
photographed by Dr. Hagopian over a span of 40 years in Europe, Australia and
North America.
Himself a survivor of the genocide, Dr. Hagopian has devoted much of his life
to documenting the legacy of other survivors and those whose lives were
brutally extinguished.
His works have to date amassed over 160 prestigious film awards and prizes
from around the world.
The Armenian Film Foundation now endeavors to raise funds in the Armenian
community to help finance the remaining work on Caravans Along the Euphrates:
Anatomy of the Secret genocide. Completion of the film is targeted for
2005–the 90th commemorative year of the genocide. Support for the first two
films of The Witnesses project, totaling $800,000, was garnered primarily from
the California State Legislature, as well as from foundations and some
individual sources through the efforts of ardent supporter and executive
producer Walter Karabian, Esq. Those who make generous donations to help
finance this project will receive recognition in the credits at the end of
Caravans Along the Euphrates.
For further information on this and other Armenian Film Foundation films and
projects, visit the foundation’s website at , or
call its Southern California office at (805) 495-0717.

2) Azeri FM Speaks about Planned Moscow Trip

BAKU (ZERKALO)–Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who arrived in
on August 17 for a two-day official visit, revealed details about his trip to
“Zerkalo” newspaper shortly before his departure.
Noting that the meeting will mark the first with his Russian counterpart,
Mammadyarov stated that Russia’s involvement in the Mountainous Karabagh
settlement and within the OSCE Minsk Group will be on the top of his meeting
agenda. Mammadyarov said that other issues he will raise during the visit deal
primarily with the economic relations between the two countries.
According to the Azeri minister, Russia, along with the other Minsk Group
chairmen, plays a crucial role in the settlement of the Karabagh conflict and
that regional stability depends on the conflict’s resolution.
“The emergence of political stability and economic development within the
Caucuses is beneficial to all parties interested in the region,” said
Mammadyarov, adding that Russia has “deep” relations with Armenia, although it
has economic interests in Azerbaijan.
“Moving onto Russia’s stance on the Karabagh issue, it must be noted that
there are many in Russia who believe that if their country displays greater
interest in the conflict’s resolution, stability within the Caucuses will be
achieved much sooner,” Mammadyarov stated.
Commenting on the belief held by some in military circles who identify
military action as the only viable solution to the problem, Mammadyarov said:
“I am this country’s Foreign Minister, not the Defense Minister, and I will
struggle to the end in order to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

3) Survey Shows 30 Percent Jobless Rate in Yerevan

YEREVAN (RFE-RL/CPOD)–A survey of the labor market funded by the European
Union suggests a staggering 30 percent rate of unemployment in Yerevan
which is
three times higher than the figure reported by the Armenian government.
The EU-sponsored Armenian-European Policy and Legal Advice Center (AEPLAC)
randomly interviewed one thousand people in all districts of the capital on
their employment status, professional background and incomes. According to its
researchers, almost one in three respondents said they can not find a job and
half of them have university degrees.
The findings of the poll, made available to RFE/RL on Tuesday, differ
from the official nationwide unemployment rate of roughly 10 percent
by the National Statistical Service. But they are largely in tune with the
estimates of independent economists and analysts. They have long argued
most of
the Armenians out of work do not register with the government’s social
due to meager unemployment benefits and a lack of faith in their chances of
finding a job with state support.
The AEPLAC survey confirms this belief, with as many as 75 percent of those
polled saying that they have never applied to employment centers run by the
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Most of those who have done so do not
expect positive results, the poll shows.
The poll also found that unemployment is particularly high among engineers, a
telling indicator of Armenia’s post-Soviet industrial decline. “The lack of
industrial development means that many engineers can not find work,” said Hayk
Barseghian, a leading AEPLAC analyst.
The AEPLAC, which was set up in 1999 to help Armenia forge closer ties with
the EU, also sought to ascertain incomes of Yerevan-based workers. Based on
respondents’ answers, its survey estimates the average wage in the city at
55,000 drams ($106). The nationwide average measured by official statistics is
40,000 drams.
The poll also found substantial gender inequality in the amount of pay, with
men earning 70,000 drams and women 40,000 drams on average. Finance and
sector employees were found to be the highest paid workforce with 130,000
a month, followed by lawyers who make 91,000 drams. Public sector doctors and
school teachers are in the lowest pay category with salaries averaging 29,000
drams, according to the research.
In related news, a recent survey conducted by the Armenian Center for
and International Studies (ACNIS) showed that 23.8 percent of the 2,021
Armenian adults polled believed that unemployment is the main social danger in
the country, while 22.8 said emigration was the greatest threat.

4) Georgia Insists on Launching Talks over South Ossetia Status

TBILISI (Civil Georgia/AFP)–Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, who met
with the members of the quadripartite Joint Control Commission (JCC), welcomed
the ceasefire agreement reached with the South Ossetian side on August 17. He
added, however, that no significant breakthrough is anticipated without
launching talks over the political status of the breakaway region.
“Establishment of a long-lasting stability and peace in the region will be
impossible without resolving the problem of South Ossetia’s status. We
reiterate our readiness to launch talks over the status,” Zurab Zhvania
said at
a news briefing after the talks with the JCC members.
The conflicting sides agreed during the talks in Tbilisi on a ceasefire,
withdrawal of extra troops from the conflict zone, and securing free movement
of people in the region.
Zhvania also said that the South Ossetian side expressed readiness to release
those three Georgian soldiers, who were detained by the South Ossetian
in early July.
The Prime Minister added that the Georgian side offered the South Ossetian
Russian sides to carry out joint operations against those armed groups, which
according to the South Ossetia are out of Tskhinvali’s control.
“The South Ossetian side claims that there is a certain third force in the
region–armed groups which do not obey Tskhinvali’s orders. Hence, we proposed
to carry out a joint operation to wipe-out these groups, if there is any,”
Zhvania said.
Georgian Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili said on August 16 that Tbilisi
is ready to pull out part of its troops from the South Ossetian conflict zone
granting that the South Ossetian militias stop attacks on Georgian villages
troops stationed there.
“Granting that peace is preserved for three days, the Georgian side will pull
out 30% of its troops deployed at the by-pass roads,” Okruashvili told Rustavi
2 television on August 16. These roads link the Georgian controlled areas with
the Georgian villages North of the capital Tskhinvali.
The Interior Minister said that this proposal has already been approved by
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Meanwhile, Georgian government troops and forces from South Ossetia clashed
overnight, killing a Georgian soldier and wounding three, officials said–as
the most recent ceasefire failed to hold in the region. The crisis has
President Mikhail Saakashvili to call for international peacekeepers, to
provide security for civilians and ensure that conditions for talks on a
permanent settlement are met.
He is appealing for an international peacekeeping force to be sent to South
Ossetia, specifically calling on the US, the European Union, and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to take an active
role “in high level negotiations among the parties directly involved.”
“An international peacekeeping operation that is balanced and takes into
consideration Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic partners should be mandated in South
Ossetia to provide security for the population and ensure the conditions for
political negotiations towards a lasting settlement,” Saakashvili said in an
article in the Wall Street Journal Europe.
Saakashvili claims that as a result of recent actions of his government to
halt smuggling, “the de facto leadership in this lawless region saw their
income threatened and have resorted to violence.”
He said they seek to provoke a confrontation which they hoped will undermine
Georgia’s credibility and standing in the international community–a
confrontation in which Georgian soldiers have died.
The latest clashes have led to a telephone conversation between US Secretary
of State Colin Powell and Sergei Lavrov of Russia, as US diplomats met with
Russian and Georgian officials in an effort to cool tensions. The Moscow
foreign ministry statement did not specify who made the call, but said it
focused on South Ossetia. Repeated clashes have undermined the internationally
brokered ceasefire signed late last week between Georgia, Russia, and South
Ossetia and the OSCE, in an intense drive to defuse the crisis in the region.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress