ASBAREZ Online [05-16-2005]

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05/16/2005
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1) Armenian, Azeri Leaders Hold Crucial Karabagh Talks
2) Hariri Electoral List Offends Majority of Lebanon’s Armenians
3) Catholicos Aram I President Khatami Meet
4) Iran and Armenia Agree to Build Power Stations on Arax River

1) Armenian, Azeri Leaders Hold Crucial Karabagh Talks

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan spoke for nearly
three hours late Sunday and early Monday in closely watched talks on
Mountainous Karabagh.
Information about the meeting held on the sidelines of a Council of Europe
summit in Warsaw was scarce. Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharian were
reported to approve another series of talks between their foreign ministers
who
have reported progress towards a peaceful settlement in recent months.
According to Azeri sources, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov indicated that
the two leaders discussed a timetable for Armenian withdrawal from occupied
Azeri territories around Karabagh.
However, an Armenian foreign ministry official in Yerevan told Agence
France-Presse that he has no information about such a agreement.
“We are discussing which district should be liberated and when,” Mammadyarov
told Azerbaijan’s ATV channel, according to BBC Monitoring. “They [the
Armenians] agree that all the districts should be returned, however, they are
thinking of a timeframe. There are many issues involved such as the military
issue, the return of refugees, the issue of land mines and the rehabilitation
of the territories.”
Yet another Azeri TV station, ANS, reported the contrary, quoted Mammadyarov
as saying that although Aliyev and Kocharian “did not make a significant
breakthrough” they decided to continue the so-called “Prague process” of
meetings of the two foreign ministers mediated by French, Russian and US
diplomats.
Armenia has not released any details of the Warsaw talks that began at 11
p.m.
local time and continued into early hours of the morning. “The presidents did
not find it necessary to issue any statements to the media after the meeting,”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian said. “There is nothing I can say
about their agreements and discussions. The presidents will do that if they
find it necessary.”
Gasparian said that Aliyev and Kocharian began the meeting in the presence of
the Russian and French foreign ministers as well as the three co-chairs of the
mediating Minsk Group, and then spoke for two hours in a tête-à-tête format.
Speaking to journalists after meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan later on Monday, Aliyev said the two presidents “reviewed” their
positions.
“You know that our foreign ministers often meet and discuss different
issues,”
he said. “We shall not issue a statement for the press today as it is early
yet. I hope that the negotiations will produce results and the issues between
us will be resolved.”
Kocharian did not elaborate, only saying, “I see the prospect for finding a
settlement of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict in the context of respect for
European values,” he said without elaborating in a subsequent speech at the
Warsaw summit.
The Aliyev-Kocharian talks were preceded by Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan
Oskanian’s meeting with the US, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk
Group. Gasparian declined to reveal its details.

2) Hariri Electoral List Offends Majority of Lebanon’s Armenians

BEIRUT (AFP/Aztagdaily)–Saad Hariri, son of the slain former premier Rafiq
Hariri, on Sunday announced his electoral list for Beirut’s three
constituencies in the Lebanese general election due to begin May 29.
Hariri announced 19 candidates for the city’s 19 seats, of which 10
are Christian and the rest Muslim.
These include candidates for the four Armenian seats, but exclude the two
candidates put forth by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), which has
widespread support among Beirut’s significant Armenian minority.
“The list fails to consider the will of Lebanon’s majority of Armenians,”
writes Beirut based Aztag Armenian newspaper “This deprivation of just rights
counters the premise for creating national unity based on a balanced approach,
to include the varies sectors of Lebanon’s communities.
Leading up to the release of the electoral list, ARF officials held several
deliberations with key officials, including Hariri, so that the Armenian
community of Lebanon would be properly represented.
Calling the move “surprising and offensive” the paper also calls into
question
approaches to certain sectors of the Armenian community.
Hariri’s list includes Solange Gemayel, widow of slain president and
Christian
warlord Bashir Gemayel, who will be the only candidate for Beirut’s Maronite
Christian seat, and Shiite movement Hezbollah’s Amin Sherri for one of the two
Shiite seats.
A key ally of Hariri’s father and a former justice minister, Bahige Tabbara,
is to stand for one of six Sunni seats.
Other candidates on the Hariri list are the same as those who stood in the
last elections in 2000 in support of his father.

3) Catholicos Aram I President Khatami Meet

TEHRAN (Combined Ssources)–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I,
met with Iranian president Mohammad Khatami in Tehran on Saturday, and
discussed current world and regional developments.
President Khatami said Iran has consistently been tolerant of different
religions, and that a peaceful coexistence is in place.
The Catholicos described the that co-existence as “among the cherished values
of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He said that religions are currently in
danger and the followers of faiths must emphasize dialogue to strengthen the
role of religion in human life.
Referring to “hidden forces” that seek to disrupt Lebanon’s stability,
President Khatami praised the role of religious and ethnic leaders in
preventing crises. “The Lebanese people must prove to the world they are able
to safeguard stability and security in their country.”
The two leaders also discussed Iran’s position on the Mountainous Karabagh
conflict. Khatami said Iran promotes negotiations, and urges a peaceful
resolution, emphasizing the issue must not be considered as a conflict between
Muslim and Christians. “Territorial problem can be solved through discussions
and logic.”
During his 14-day visit to Iran, His Holiness will tour the provinces of
Isfahan, Markazi, West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan.
Catholicos Aram I arrived in Iran on May 12 to conduct two weeks of official
meetings.
He presided over a special ceremony on May 13 in Tehran’s “Ararat” sports’
complex and dedicated the 10th anniversary of his enthronement and the 75th
anniversary of the establishment of the Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon.
On this occasion His Holiness said: “I renew my vow to continue the
mission of
Antelias dedicated to the church, our nation and our homeland.”
Highlighting the Catholicosate’s mission, he said that Antelias forms
individuals, and enhances spiritual formation, and is also an expression of
the
will to build a homeland and a pioneer in the fight for justice.
“Jubilees are nothing without man’s readiness for devotion. The Catholicosate
of Cilicia, with its brotherhood, seminary, dioceses and structure, flourished
the lives of our church and nation during the last 75 years. One of the first
victims of the Armenian Genocide, the Catholicosate of Cilicia prepared new
manpower and formed spirits as a response to the inhumanness of the
perpetrator
and in place of the ruins and destruction,” said His Holiness.
The ambassador of Armenia to Iran, Iranian deputies, representatives of
organizations and unions, as well as a large number of Iranian Armenians were
present at the ceremony.

4) Iran and Armenia Agree to Build Power Stations on Arax River

TEHRAN (Armenpress)–Iran and Armenia agreed on May 14 to build two power
stations at the border of their two countries, IRNA reported.
The decision was taken at the seventh meeting of the joint technical
commission, and agreed to by Iran’s Water and Energy Resources Company Ira
deputy head for development projects Naser Ne’mati, and Armenian deputy
minister of energy Karen Sarkisian.
“Given the 40-km Iran-Armenia common border across the Arax river, the two
sides decided to use the relevant hydroelectric potential,” Ne’mati said.
According to a report released by the Iran’s Public Water and Energy
Resources
Company PR department, Ne’mati said that the first power station, with a
production capacity of 130 MWs, will be established in Armenia by building an
18.3-km tunnel.
“The second one with a capacity of 140 MWs will be constructed in Iran. A
17.5-km tunnel is required to be set up for the second power station,” added
the report.
The preliminary studies on the first phase of the second project is currently
underway.
Five documents have already been signed and necessary talks on expediting the
settlement of the current problems have been held.

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