ASBAREZ Online [02-24-2005]


1. ANCA Discusses Armenian American Concerns with US Ambassador to Armenia
2. German CDU to Demand Turkey Acknowledge Killings of Armenians
3. Embassy Official Says Congressman Received Payment for Anti-Armenian Speech
4. Putin Firm Despite Bush’s Democracy ‘Concerns’
5. NATO Envoy Discusses ‘Individual Partnership’ with Armenia

1. ANCA Discusses Armenian American Concerns with US Ambassador to Armenia

–Talks include special focus on US policy on the Armenian genocide

WASHINGTON, DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) met this
week with Ambassador John Marshall Evans, the US Ambassador to Armenia.
The meeting, held in the ANCA offices in Washington, DC, was characterized by
a substantive and meaningful exchange on a broad range of issues of concern to
Armenian Americans, particularly US recognition and commemoration of the
Armenian Genocide. Joining Ambassador Evans were Aaron Sherinian, the US
Embassy’s Political Officer and Assistance Coordinator in Yerevan, and Robin
Phillips, the USAID-Armenia Mission Director.
The Ambassador’s meeting with the ANCA followed a two week tour of Armenian
American communities in Boston, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Fresno and Washington, DC. During his presentations in these cities,
the Ambassador spoke with a level of candor on the historical reality of the
Genocide that was specifically welcomed by Armenian Americans.
“We welcomed the opportunity to exchange views with the Ambassador, and value
his insights and clarity regarding our nation’s diplomacy toward Armenia and
the region,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “Along with
those who heard him speak during his public lectures around the nation, we
appreciate the forthrightness of his remarks about the Armenian Genocide. We
take note of the fact they coincide with a new level of awareness within the
Administration, and the American public, regarding the current attitudes in
Turkey toward the United States.”
Commenting in the wake of the Ambassador’s visit, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian
said, “On this 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we urge the Bush
Administration to take the decisive step of breaking with Turkey’s shameful
campaign of genocide denial. The time has come for the US government to adopt
a fresh and positive approach to the Armenian Genocide issue – in terms of
White House and Congressional initiatives – in a manner consistent with our
nation’s moral obligations to truth and justice, and in light of new realities
in the region.”

2. German CDU to Demand Turkey Acknowledge Killings of Armenians

(Bloomberg)–Germany’s main opposition parties, which oppose Turkey’s bid to
join the European Union, plan to submit a motion to parliament calling on
Turkey to acknowledge responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of
thousands of
Armenians in 1915.
The Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian
Social Union, said the Turkish government arrested the Armenian political
in Istanbul in 1915, marking the start of mass deportations and murders in
which as many as 1.5 million Armenians are estimated to have died.
The Turkish government’s refusal to accept responsibility for the crimes
committed 90 years ago “stands in contrast to the idea of reconciliation that
spearheads the shared values of the European Union, which Turkey aims to
join,” said the draft motion, a copy of which was e-mailed to Bloomberg
CDU leader Angela Merkel and CSU head Edmund Stoiber have called for
Turkey to
be allowed a “privileged partnership” with the 25-nation bloc. EU leaders
including German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder agreed two months ago that
should start membership talks in October this year.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper today called the motion an attempt by Merkel to
block the country from joining the EU. The CDU leader has said Turkey isn’t
European enough in terms of its culture and history to join the union.
“It isn’t true that we want to bar Turkey from EU entry with this proposal,
but still we think it’s important to honor the memory of the Armenian
victims,” the CDU’s Christoph Bergner, one of the legislators who signed the
motion, said in a telephone interview.
Germany has a part in the crimes because the government at the time didn’t
to prevent the killings in spite of detailed evidence documented by German
ambassadors in Turkey, Bergner said.
Not all CDU lawmakers back the motion.
“I reject this proposal and didn’t vote for it,” said Volker Ruehe, the
chairman of the all-party parliamentary foreign affairs committee, in an
interview. “I think it will be modified eventually. We’ve no right to thrust
this demand on Turkey.”

3. Embassy Official Says Congressman Received Payment for Anti-Armenian Speech

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)According to the Noyan Tapan News agency, a
of the United States Embassy in Yerevan told Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty
that the Azeri government paid Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) an undisclosed
amount of money in exchange for an anti-Armenian speech he delivered to the
House on Thursday, February 17.
A member of the Committee on International Relations, Burton told members of
Congress, “For years a number of distinguished Members of this House have come
to the Floor of this Chamber every April to commemorate the so-called Armenian
Genocidethe exact details of which are still very much under debate today
almost 90 years after the events. Ironically and tragically, none of these
Members has ever once mentioned the ethnic cleansing carried out by the
Armenians during the Armenia-Azerbaijan war which ended a mere decade ago.
“This savage cruelty against innocent women, children and the elderly is
unfathomable in and of itself but the senseless brutality did not stop with
Khojaly. Khojaly was simply the first. In fact, the level of brutality and the
unprecedented atrocities committed at Khojaly set a pattern of destruction and
ethnic cleansing that Armenian troops would adhere to for the remainder of the
war,” Burton noted during his speech.
The Embassy official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Burton’s
speech comes only two weeks after the government of Azerbaijan officially
retained former Congressman Robert Livingston as a lobbyist. Recently, Burton
supported the January 25 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
resolution, which states that “considerable parts of Azerbaijan’s territory
still occupied by the Armenian forces and separatist forces are still in
control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.”

4. Putin Firm Despite Bush’s Democracy ‘Concerns’

BRATISLAVA (AFP)–During a joint press conference after a summit in the
Slovakian capital Bratislava, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave little
ground to his US counterpart George W. Bush’s concerns that Moscow is
backsliding on democratic values
Though Putin said there could be “no returning” to a Soviet-style government,
Democracy in Russia would develop at its own pace.
“We are not going to make up, to invent any kind of special Russian
We’re going to remain committed to the fundamental principles of democracy
have been established in the world,” Putin said.
“But, of course, all the modern institutions of democracy, the principles of
democracy, should be adequate to the current status of the development of
Russia, to our history and our traditions,” he said through an interpreter.
“Democracies always reflect a country’s culture and customs and I know that,”
said Bush. “But they have certain things in common: they have rule of law, and
protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition.”
“I was able to share my concerns about Russia’s commitment in fulfilling
universal principles,” said the US president, who has been increasingly vocal
in criticizing Putin on the issue.
The Russian president responded, declaring that debating “whether we have
or whether we have less democracy is not the right thing to do,” and
some of Bush’s ideas as things “I will not comment on.”
The two leaders, whose once warm relationship chilled when they broke over
war in Iraq, seemed closer on a range of international issues, agreeing that
Iran and North Korea must not obtain nuclear weapons.
“It is important to neutralize the attempts to proliferate weapons of mass
destruction,” said Putin, who has rejected Washington’s charges that Tehran
seeks nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic program.
But a senior US administration official, briefing reporters on condition he
not be named, acknowledged that the summit had yielded no breakthroughs on
Iran, or on Russian weapons sales to Syria, which Washington wants halted.
The official said Bush and Putin met alone with only interpreters in a
separate room for over one hour of the two-and-a-half hour meeting.
Bush indicated that his personal assessment of Putin had not suffered from
their break over Iraq or a series of steps seen as autocratic, including moves
against the oil giant Yukos, a clampdown on the media, and centralizing
political power in the Kremlin.
“I can tell you what it’s like dealing with the man over the last four years.
When he tells you something, he means it. He asked what some of my concerns
were, and he explained answers,” said the US president.
The White House released a series of joint statements recommitting both
countries to cooperating on energy, fighting nuclear weapons proliferation,
curbing the spread of shoulder-launched rockets, and helping Russia join the
World Trade Organization.
But these mostly focused on existing initiatives, and seemed designed to
reinforce the idea that Washington and Moscow are still working together on
important issues.
Washington and Moscow also agreed to keep working on enhancing security at
Russian nuclear sites–days after a US intelligence report said theft of
radioactive materials from such facilities “has occurred.”
Ahead of their talks, Bush gave his strongest endorsement yet of European
efforts to convince Iran not to develop nuclear weapons and said he hoped
for a
“diplomatic solution” to the dispute.
“We’re more likely to do so when we’re all on the same page,” said Bush, who
in the past has stressed that he cannot rule out using force against Tehran.
Just hours before seeing Putin, Bush seemed to tweak the Russian leader by
predicting that former Soviet republics Moldova and Belarus would embrace
democracy and by praising NATO’s expansion to Russia’s doorstep.
“Eventually, the call of liberty comes to every mind and every soul. And one
day, freedom’s promise will reach every people and every nation,” Bush said in
a speech to thousands of cheering Slovaks packed in a town square.

5. NATO Envoy Discusses ‘Individual Partnership’ with Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A visiting representative of NATO met with President Robert
Kocharian and other top officials in Yerevan Thursday to discuss the
expanding cooperation with Armenia, which will soon be formalized with an
“individual partnership action plan,” or IPAP.
Robert Simmons, NATO’s recently appointed special representative to the South
Caucasus and Central Asia, said the cooperation framework will further boost
what he described as a “very active relationship.”
“We at NATO are very glad that Armenia has decided to begin an IPAP and we
think it will offer a significant step ahead in relations between the alliance
and Armenia,” he told reporters after the talks. “At the core of those is the
fact that Armenia, as a partner, is contributing to NATO activities in the
struggle against the threats we face together: terrorism, proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, failed states.”
The Armenian government set up last year an interagency group tasked with
making proposals and working with NATO officials on the IPAP. Its permanent
representative at the NATO headquarters, Samvel Mkrtchian, said last week that
the action plan will be unveiled “soon.”
A military alliance with Russia has been the bedrock of Armenia’s national
security doctrine since independence, though the Armenian government also
to complement it with closer links with NATO. Meeting with Simmons, Defense
Minister Serge Sarkisian described those relations as “an integral
component of
Armenia’s security” and said Armenia will continue to “deepen” them.
Simmons confirmed that Yerevan itself will decide how far it wants to go in
forging closer ties with the US-led military bloc. “It’s not for us, it’s for
Armenia to decide when they are ready to make their [IPAP] presentation at
and NATO will go through the process of approving that document,” he said.
The envoy also sought to guard against excessive expectations from the plan.
“IPAP is not a magic step that begins a whole bunch of new programs,” he said.
“In fact, there are many ongoing programs in the partnership with Armenia and
IPAP will put them together in a package.”
Neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan have already developed similar individual
plans that put their participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program
on a
higher level. Both countries view NATO membership as a long-term foreign
Simmons reiterated the alliance’s position that while keeping its doors open
to any country that meets its political and military criteria, NATO does not
intend to start accession talks with any of the South Caucasus states in the
near future. “Right now all three countries are trying to make the most of
partnerships that they have with NATO,” he said.
Sarkisian said on Thursday that a key problem hampering Armenia’s cooperation
with NATO is the unresolved conflict over Karabagh. “If we had no unresolved
conflict, we would be able to have a greater participation in [NATO]
he was quoted by his press service as telling Simmons.
Simmons made it clear that the alliance does not aspire to any mediating role
in the long-running Karabagh peace talks sponsored by the Minsk Group of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“We follow those discussions and the [NATO] secretary general has charged me
as his representative to the region to keep him informed of developments in
those discussions,” he said. “But we are not an active participant in the

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) 2005 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.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress