ASBAREZ Online [01-31-2005]


1) OSCE Mission Inspects Occupied Azeri Lands
2) European Armenians Denounce Removal of Armenian Genocide from German

3) Wales Community Commemorates 90th Anniversary of Genocide
4) Armenian Dram Again Rising against Dollar

1) OSCE Mission Inspects Occupied Azeri Lands

STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)–Officials from the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) began on Monday, a first-ever international
inspection of Armenian-controlled Azeri territories around Karabagh, aimed at
investigating Baku’s allegations that they are being illegally populated with
The fact-finding team, led by a senior German Foreign Ministry official Emily
Habber, and accompanied by the French, Russian, and US co-chairs of the OSCE’s
Minsk Group visited the Kelbajar district west of Karabagh before arriving in
Stepanakert later in the day. They met there with Mountainous Karabagh
President Arkady Ghukasian.
“We have heard many interesting details and I am confident that those details
will help us assess the situation correctly,” Habber told local journalists
afterward. Stating that their mission is technical and not political, she said
the OSCE mission will spend ten days traveling around the occupied lands and
submit a report to the Minsk Group later on.
The fact-finding mission was sent to the region as a result of a compromise
agreement between the conflicting parties and the mediators that prevented a
vote in the UN General Assembly on an Azeri draft resolution that condemned
decade-long occupation of the seven Azeri districts seen by the Armenians as a
vital buffer zone guaranteeing Karabagh’s security. The resolution was
by many Islamic nations but the United States, Russia, and France warned that
it would hamper their peace efforts.
Meeting with the OSCE officials, Ghukasian reaffirmed that his government is
not encouraging the resettlement of Armenian families in those areas and said
those Armenians who have moved there since the 1994 ceasefire are mostly
refugees from Azerbaijan. Ghukasian also urged the visitors to inspect
Azeri-controlled areas of Karabagh that were formerly populated with

He expressed hope that the mission’s report would contribute to forming a
constructive environment for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, as well as
conclusively dismiss the false claims of Azerbaijan.
The OSCE delegation held talks with Azeri officials in Baku before traveling
to Karabagh via Armenia.

2) European Armenians Denounce Removal of Armenian Genocide from German

BRUSSELS(Combined Sources)–Reacting to the eastern German state of
Brandenburg’s removal of a reference to the Armenian genocide from a German
school curriculum, the European Armenian Federation denounced the unacceptable
attitude of the state, expressing that the decision of the local German
authorities is symptomatic of a lack of courage by a certain segment of
European leaders in dealing with this critical issue.
Following extensive pressure from Turkish authorities, the German state of
Brandenburg eliminated half a sentence on the Armenians included in ninth and
tenth grade history classes after a Turkish diplomat complained to state Prime
Minister Matthias Platzeck, the newspaper Die Welt reported.
Prime Minister Platzeck is a member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social
Democrats (SPD). Schroeder is a strong supporter of Turkey’s bid to become a
member of the European Union.
The Federation explained that this position only encourages Turkey to export
its denialist propaganda to Europe. It continued to deplore the deep
consequences of the complicity between and European leaders and Turkey’s
historical revisionists on the European project.
“How can we believe the goodwill statements made by German leaders when they
allow genocide denial to be instilled in the minds of the German children?”
asked Hilda Tchoboian, chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation. “The
90th anniversary of the Genocide must mark the end of European complicity, as
shown by its silence during the extermination of the Armenians. We call upon
all German political leaders to turn this regrettable initiative into an
act of
justice best representing this great nation,” said Tchoboian.
Brandenburg was the first German state in 2002 to include the Armenian
genocide in its teaching guidelines. In October 2004, however, the
Ministry of
Education reversed a decision calling on Bochum’s Institute for Genocides and
Diasporas to prepare a book on the Armenian Genocide. The book would have been
the first of a series of three on genocide related issues and collective
violence in the twentieth century. The order was cancelled by incoming
of Education Holger Rupprecht (SPD), at the request of Prime Minister
who had succumbed to Turkish lobbying efforts.
Bochum University’s Director of the Institute for Genocides and Diasporas,
Prof. Mihran Dabag, denounced the decision, stating, “The Armenian genocide is
inseparable from European remembrance. It is the first genocidal
achievement of
our common history.” He continued to argue that, “At the very time when the
world commemorates the victims of the Nazi camps, our country must, if we are
sincere in our fight against negationism, and give a firm answer to Turkey’s
denial. The Brandenburg government must reconsider its decision and carry out
its genocides teaching project.”
The Potsdam government’s announcement provoked a chorus of protests in German
television news shows and dozens of print articles, available on the European
Armenian Federation’s website– Policy-makers from throughout
political spectrum denounced the unacceptable position of the state.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which serves as junior coalition
in Brandenburg’s government, is infuriated over the change to the state’s
schoolbooks. “The impression created is fatal,” said Sven Patke, the state CDU
secretary general.
The head of the Central Committee of Armenians in Germany, Schavarsh
Ovassapian, told Die Welt the move was “a scandal.” “It is depressing, if
what’s in schoolbooks in Brandenburg can be dictated from Ankara,” he said.

3) Wales Community Commemorates 90th Anniversary of Genocide

LONDON (Combined Sources)–On Wednesday, January 26, the 90th anniversary of
the Armenian genocide was marked at a commemoration held at the “Temple of
Peace and Health” in Cardiff, Wales. Organized by the Welsh Center for
International Affairs (WCIA), the event also commemorated the Holocaust
perpetrated by the Nazi regime, and was attended by a number of government
representatives, including the First Minister of the National Assembly of
Wales, Rhodri Morgan.
The commemoration drew the attention of the British government, which listed
it on the website government sponsored site
dedicated to the National Holocaust Memorial Day.
During the commemoration, Jenny Randerson, a senior figure of the Welsh
Liberal Democrats and a former minister in the Assembly, spoke about the
Republic of Turkey’s denial of the 1915 genocide and its policy of exerting
pressure on all those who affirm the genocide. Randerson has been harassed by
the Turkish government since 2001, when she made her first public statements
about genocide.
Established in 1973, the WCIA is organization dedicated to promoting world
peace, securing human rights, and educating the public about atrocities of the

4) Armenian Dram Again Rising Against Dollar

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The US dollar fell against Armenia’s national currency, the
dram, despite the dollar’s rally in world financial markets this month.
The dram gained 5 percent in value against the dollar over the past 10 days,
approaching its three-year high registered in the middle of December. It was
trading at an average of 473 against $1 on Monday, with a 20 percent increase
in value from a year ago.
The trend is surprising given the almost 5 percent increase in the dollar’s
value against the euro since the beginning of this month. Some economists
speculate that the Central Bank is artificially bolstering the dram in an
effort to benefit importers of key commodities.
The Central Bank argues, however, that the stronger dram is the result of
increased cash remittances from Armenians working abroad. An estimated amount
of at least $760 million was sent to Armenia last month through banks and wire
transfer networks.
The bank’s chairman Tigran Sarkisian insisted that the strong dram is a
positive for the Armenian economy because of resulting low levels of
“The dram’s strengthening has had a major restraining impact on the prices of
imported goods,” he said in late December.

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