ASBAREZ Online [08-26-2004]


1) Aram I Meets with South Korea President
2) ANCA Eastern Region to Expand Operations to New York City
3) US-Educated Officer Promoted To Head Georgian General Staff

1) Aram I Meets with South Korea President

SEOULReceiving His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia,
members of World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee and Korean
church leaders in Seoul on 24 August, South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun
expressed his strong appreciation to the World Council of Churches (WCC) and
the ecumenical movement for its “fundamental assistance” in support of human
rights and democratization in his country. He has also welcomed the
contribution of the churches to promoting a peaceful reunification of divided
The president, who worked as a human rights lawyer defending pro-democracy
labor rights activists before taking up political office, was involved in the
National Council of Churches (NCCK) human rights program. The contact with
and the churches “opened my eyes to human rights and justice issues,” he
WCC moderator Catholicos Aram I underscored how the Christian
understanding of
reconciliation was closely linked to unification and the overcoming of
division. “We are called by God in Jesus Christ to strive for reconciliation
and unity in all its forms. The WCC is committed to working with all people of
goodwill to overcome the barriers which divide our societies,” he said.
The commitment of the WCC to the reunification of Korea was echoed by the
organization’s general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia. “WCC stands for
de-nuclearization and disarmament in the Korean peninsula based on a
agreement by all parties as a foundation of peace, and will continue to
a policy of dialogue and exchange,” he said.
During an exchange with executive committee members, president Roh Moo-hyun
also expressed his support for the invitation of the Korean churches and of
NCCK to host a future WCC assembly in Korea. The WCC general secretary thanked
the president and said that the “WCC hopes and prays that an assembly would be
possible in a united Korea in the near future.”
The WCC executive committee will issue a statement on Korea at the end of the
week that will express its serious concern about the human rights and
humanitarian situation in North Korea, and will outline ongoing ecumenical
efforts for the peaceful reunification of the divided country.
The WCC executive committee is meeting in Seoul between August 24-27 on the
invitation of NCCK and the Korean churches.

2) ANCA Eastern Region to Expand Operations to New York City

WATERTOWNThe Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region
of Directors announced the establishment of a new office in New York City and
the hiring of ANC activist Doug Geogerian as the region’s new Executive
“With close to 20 local ANCs and working with countless activists in 31
on the East Coast, we feel it is important for us to expand our operations to
give the Armenian American community additional resources to rely on,” stated
ANCA Eastern Region Chairman Dikran Kaligian. “With New York City being the
media and financial center of the world, an important hub for academia and
culture, and home to the headquarters of the United Nations, various NGO’s and
several Armenian-American institutions, we feel that this is an important and
necessary step.”
“We are also excited to have Doug joining our staff. As an active and
committed member of the Armenian American community, he brings experience,
energy, and dedication to his position as Executive Director,” continued
Kaligian. “Doug will greatly assist the ANCA continue its work to further
promote important issues of concern to Armenian Americans,” concluded
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to begin working at the Armenian
National Committee of America,” stated Geogerian. “The task ahead promises to
be exciting and, at the same time, challenging. I look forward to working with
our local chapters and activists to help advance our interests at the local,
state and federal level.”
Geogerian earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages and Literature at
the University of Chicago in 1990 and was awarded a Masters of Education at
Harvard University in 1992. After pursuing advanced study at Teachers College
of Columbia University, Geogerian joined the faculty of a leading progressive
New York City high school whose mission was to engender critical thinking
skills in the minds of underprivileged youth. He has been a teaching
professional in the New York City public school system for the last twelve
A prominent activist in the New York ANC, Geogerian has facilitated various
public forums, planned Genocide commemorations, met with members of Congress,
and organized demonstrations for the advancement of the Armenian Cause.
Current ANCA Eastern Region Director Arin Gregorian will be stepping down at
the end of August to pursue career interests in the Boston area. “Arin has
served as Director for three years, and his dedication and commitment have
contributed immensely to the success of the work we do in the Armenian
community,” stated Kaligian. “We wish him great success in his endeavors.” The
Watertown, Massachusetts ANCA Eastern Region office will remain open and

3) US-Educated Officer Promoted To Head Georgian General Staff

TBILISI (Combined Sources)–Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told a
government meeting on Wednesday that he had promoted deputy chief of the
General Staff Vakhtang Kapanadze to head the General Staff.
Kapanadze’s predecessor, Givi Iukuridze, “has done his best,” Saakashvili
said. “He graduated from the Frunze Academy in Russia. However, we are
a new army which must meet NATO’s standards and so appointing US-educated
people to key positions in the General Staff,” he said.
Mamuka Nikolaishvili and David Nairashvili have been appointed deputy chiefs
of the General Staff, Saakashvili said.
President Saakashvili also said that Georgia is to establish a reserve army
comprised of part-time soldiers.
“These forces will comprise all Georgian citizens who are physically fit to
perform these duties,” Saakashvili told a Cabinet session held in Batumi on
Georgia, whose relations with neighbor Russia have deteriorated recently over
the breakaway region of South Ossetia, already has a conscription army like in
Russia. But it was unclear as to whether Saakashvili’s plans include mandatory
terms of service in the new reserve army for the wider population or for those
who have already completed their initial conscription service in the regular
Georgia does not want a war and is not preparing for it, but “the need to
protect the country is relevant today and will be relevant in a decade or a
century,” he said.
“As a state we are ready to provide all people with uniforms and weapons,
should it prove necessary. But they will be kept at police stations. Every
reservist will undergo training once or twice a year in order to put on a
uniform and study the mobilization plan,” the president said.
Reservists will be trained to deal “with both defense issues and emergency
situations that might take place in the country,” Saakashvili said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry describes Georgian leaders’ statements saying
Tbilisi is on the verge of war with Russia as irresponsible.
The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, “Tbilisi’s recent statements
contain militarist rhetoric. But their latest statements are lack a sense of
proportion and irresponsibility at any level–personal or state one.”
“The absurdity of these statements is obvious. Recently the entire world has
been promised to expose bodies of dead Cossacks. But these confirmations have
become groundless,” the statement says.
“Due to the failure of the military adventure in South Ossetia Georgia’s
social and economic problems have become more evident. It would be
necessary to
concentrate efforts on the solution to this problem and not to aim them at
searching for a ‘non-existing external enemy’ or upsetting the work of the
Russian Embassy in Tbilisi,” the ministry stressed.
Moscow “is seeking to help the Georgian people improve normal life.” The
Foreign Ministry urges Georgia “to react on constructive initiatives, which
have been recently presented to Georgia’s leadership in order to improve
relations.” “There is no reaction on these initiatives. Any talks on helping
hand of friendship cannot replace it,” the statement says.
In related news, the Interior Department deputy chief in Tskhinvali, Nodar
Dzagoyev, was killed on Wednesday, and authorities have opened an
to discover if foul play was behind the death.
“Investigators are looking into all possible murder scenarios, including a
terrorist act,” said Robert Guliyev, Interior Minister of the unrecognized
South Ossetian republic.
The minister also told Interfax that two Tskhinvali residents were detained
and heavily beaten in the Georgian village of Kekhli last night.

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2004 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

ASBAREZ provides this news service to ARMENIAN NEWS NETWORK members for
academic research or personal use only and may not be reproduced in or through
mass media outlets.