ASBAREZ Online [11-01-2004]


1) French Armenians Challenge Turkey’s EU Bid
2) ARF Armenia Convention Elects Body
3) Vatican Hesitant on Turkey’s EU Bid
4) Puzant Granian Passes Away
5) TV Blacked Out in Abkhaz Crisis
6) Abkhazia Says Georgia Poised for Armed Invasion

1) French Armenians Challenge Turkey’s EU Bid

MARSEILLE (AFP)–France’s Armenian community said on Friday it would appeal to
President Jacques Chirac to prevent negotiations on Turkish membership to the
European Union until Turkey acknowledged responsibility for the genocide of
The group’s attorney Philippe Krikorian said it would lodge an appeal before
the nation’s highest administrative tribunal, the Council of State, requesting
that Chirac oppose the start of such talks.
The subject of the Armenian genocide has sparked Turkish and Armenian
sensitivities for nine decades, with Turkey consistently refusing to
acknowledge that genocide had occurred in 1915-1917 when up to 1.5 million
Armenians died.
Turkey says that between 250,000 and 500,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks
were killed in civil strife during World War One, when the Armenians rose up
against their Ottoman rulers.
The French parliament passed legislation in 2001 stating that genocide had
occurred, thereby causing hard feelings in relations with Turkey.
Organizations, which represent some 450,000 French citizens of Armenian
origin, wished to protest against Chirac’s “willingness not to subordinate the
opening of negotiations to the prior admission of the Armenian genocide,” said
Last month the European Commission recommended a start to membership
negotiations with Turkey, which has been lobbying for many years to join the
European Union.
Jean-Pierre Berberian, spokesman of a Marseille-based Armenian group, noted
that an EU summit would make the final decision in December on whether to
Fifty days ahead of that date, it was time to “denounce the violation by the
French government of the terms of the resolution passed on June 18, 1987 by
European Parliament and of French legislation of January 2001 recognizing the
genocide of 1915,” said Berberian, spokesman of the Euro-Armenia group, and a
Marseille city councilor.
Chirac has indicated his support for a start to talks, but many in his ruling
party, in the opposition, and among the French public are against Turkey’s EU
“Not only is Jacques Chirac acting in violation of the law, he is doing so
against the will of a majority of French who are opposed to Turkey’s
membership,” said Berberian.
The text of the 2001 legislation passed by parliament here said France
“publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915,” but did not explicitly
identify Turkey as responsible for the deed.

2) ARF Armenia Convention Elects Body

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) of Armenia
elected its Supreme Body (SB) at its 8th Convention held October 29-31 in
Jermuk, Armenia.
The new body includes Armen Rustamian, Mikael Manukian, Levon Mkrtchian,
Tedevosian, Spartak Seyranian, Hamlet Abrahamian, Bagrat Sargsian, Ashot
Papazian, and Vlad Kochunts. Rustamian will serve as SB representative.

3) Vatican Hesitant on Turkey’s EU Bid

VATICAN (–The Vatican has not yet offered any official
statement on
the prospect of Turkey’s entry into the European Union, but believes that the
union should cover Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” according to
Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo.
In a lengthy interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, the Vatican’s
Secretary for Relations with States did observe that if Turkey enters the
European Union, the government of that predominantly Muslim country will be
obliged to fulfill the same political criteria as all other member-states,
including the guarantee of religious freedom. And that guarantee, the
archbishop added, should be “not only ensured in the constitution,
and administration, but also protected concretely and effectively in the
Archbishop Lajolo stressed that “the Holy See is not afraid of enlarging
Europe.” He pointed out that in the past the Vatican has supported the
application of Eastern European countries for EU membership. In determining
which states should enter the Union, he said, “The decisive point is that the
new Europe should have a deep internal cohesion.”
The archbishop said that European leaders should “pay more attention” to
countries that have already indicated a desire to join the Union, such as
Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. These countries, he
observed, are clearly aligned with Europe’s cultural tradition.

4) Puzant Granian Passes Away

Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, along with the Western Prelacy
Religious and Executive Councils extended their sorrow at the loss of the
intellectual, writer, literary critic, and national servant Puzant Granian who
passed away on the morning of Saturday, October 30.
Granian, who was born in Cilicia in 1912, lived in Alexandria, Egypt before
moving to Los Angeles. His dedication to his nation and people spans his
service to the Armenian community of Egypt to his commitment to the Western
Puzant Granian, who assumed the chairmanship of the first Western Prelacy
Executive Council, continued his selfless service for decades, not only to the
Western Prelacy, but also affiliate groups, and partook in many General
Assemblies of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. He leaves behind a rich
literary legacy.
A national funeral will take place on Tuesday, November 9, 11AM, at the Rose
Hills Cemetery’s Memorial Chapel in Whittier.

5) TV Blacked Out in Abkhaz Crisis

(BBC)–The government in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has taken the
sole television station off the air amid a mounting political crisis.
Its prime minister said he was blacking out broadcasts while the authorities
restored order at the station, where the opposition has mounted pickets.
The opposition is outraged by Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba’s decision
to call a repeat election.
It insists that its candidate, Sergei Bagapsh, won the poll on October 2.
But his main rival, Raul Khajimba, disputed the ruling, and the election was
later declared invalid by the supreme court and a new vote ordered.
Bagapsh’s election team has refused to accept that decision, and he has been
preparing for his inauguration.
For months, Khajimba, a former prime minister, was groomed by Moscow to
the future president of Abkhazia.
Electoral officials alleged pressure from Bagapsh supporters.
But official results showed he had lost.
He asked for the recount but the result was still the same and Bagapsh
remained the winner.
The army has been put on high alert as officials in Abkhazia allege
Georgia is
massing troops at the border and is preparing to invade.
But locals say there are no troops there.
In the beginning of the 1990s, Abkhazia fought a vicious war with Georgia and
has since struggled to recover.
It was once Georgia’s most prosperous Black Sea province, a place known as
Riviera of the Soviet Union.
The international community does not recognize its independence.
For years, Russia has been Abkhazia’s only lifeline and a major influence on
local life and politics.
Analysts say that electing a man Moscow did not support could result in
serious civil unrest for the troubled province.

6) Abkhazia Says Georgia Poised for Armed Invasion

SUKHUMI (Interfax)–The defense minister of the Georgian breakaway region of
Abkhazia, Vyacheslav Eshba, on Saturday cited “accurate information” that
“Georgian armed forces are being concentrated” near the Abkhaz border and said
they were getting ready to invade Abkhazia.
Eshba told Interfax he had alerted the Abkhaz armed forces.
“The Abkhaz Defense Ministry is seriously concerned about the military and
political situation that has been taking shape around Abkhazia over the past
few days,” he said.
“The Georgian leadership is not abandoning its plans for revenge and is
to take advantage of the internal disunity in Abkhazia, entertaining a plan
the solution of the so-called ‘Abkhaz question,'” Eshba said.
“We possess accurate information that Georgian armed forces are being
concentrated in western regions of Georgia that border Abkhazia. Their purpose
is to invade our republic and destroy Abkhaz statehood,” he said.
“The Abkhaz Defense Ministry asserts that all attempts to use the complicated
political situation in Abkhazia in Georgia’s interests will be cut short. The
Abkhaz forces have been alerted on my orders,” the minister said.
“I am sure that the Abkhaz people will be united in this situation. The armed
forces of the republic, together with the people, will give an appropriate
rebuff to the aggressor,” he said.
“I am sure that, at this moment of a real threat, all disputes will be pushed
far into the background, as has always been the case in our history,” Eshba
“This statement and the measures that are being taken by the Abkhaz Defense
Ministry have nothing to do with the internal political situation in
the minister said. “The Abkhaz armed forces have never interfered in any
internal political processes in Abkhazia nor will they do so,” he said.
Meanwhile, Georgian Minister for Separatist Conflicts Giorgi Khaindrava
any plans for a military invasion of Abkhazia.
He dismissed Eshba’s words as “completely absurd.”
“We have not recognized, nor will we recognize, as legitimate any
elections in
Abkhazia that are carried through by the separatist authorities, but it has
been important for us to find out the opinion of the Abkhaz people on their
current leaders, and so the Georgian leadership has not been interfering in
current events in Abkhazia,” Khaindrava told reporters.
He reiterated that Georgia was determined to seek negotiated settlements to
its conflicts with Abkhazia and another breakaway province, South Ossetia.

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