Diplomatic Horizons Expand as Azerbaijan and Armenia Set Meeting Amid Long-Standing Dispute

Feb 26 2024
Olalekan Adigun

In a world often clouded by the specter of unresolved conflicts, a beam of diplomatic hope shines through as Azerbaijan and Armenia, two nations divided by a protracted dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, prepare to engage in talks. Announced by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, this impending meeting marks a significant stride towards mending fences and fostering peace in a region marred by decades of intermittent warfare and shaky ceasefire agreements.

The scheduled dialogue between the delegations of Azerbaijan and Armenia unfolds against a complex historical backdrop. The heart of their contention, Nagorno-Karabakh, has been a crucible of conflict, witnessing severe bouts of armed engagements that have not only devastated the landscape but also sown deep-seated animosity between the neighboring nations. The announcement, albeit scant on the specifics, hints at a comprehensive agenda aimed at addressing the underlying tensions and exploring potential avenues for reconciliation.

Contextualizing the significance of this meeting, it becomes apparent that beyond the immediate geopolitical implications, there lies a broader narrative of hope for conflict resolution through diplomatic channels. This engagement is not an isolated event but a continuation of efforts, as evidenced by recent dialogues including a notable encounter between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during the Munich Security Conference.

The path to peace is seldom traversed alone, and in the case of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the international community plays a pivotal role. The meeting between the foreign ministers comes on the heels of facilitated discussions under the auspices of influential leaders and nations. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent involvement, alongside expressions of support from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, underscores the global stakes and the widespread desire for a peaceful resolution. The nuanced dynamics of international politics and diplomacy underscore the complexity of navigating towards peace, with entities like the Council of Europe being criticized for potentially hindering progress through its focus on human rights issues in Azerbaijan.

Yet, as the narrative unfolds, the importance of international mediation cannot be overstated. It offers a platform for dialogue, provides logistical and moral support, and, most importantly, lends legitimacy to the efforts of both nations in seeking common ground. The ongoing negotiations in various Gulf countries further exemplify the multifaceted approach to resolving the dispute, hinting at a cautious optimism for a peaceful future.

As Azerbaijan and Armenia edge closer to their scheduled meeting, the eyes of the world are watching, hopeful yet aware of the challenges that lie ahead. The road to reconciliation is fraught with obstacles, from defining bitter borders to addressing the contentious Meghri corridor issue. Each step forward is a testament to the resilience and determination of both nations to turn a new leaf.

In the grand tapestry of international relations, the meeting between Azerbaijan and Armenia serves as a crucial stitch in mending the fabric of regional stability. While the specifics of the agenda remain shrouded in anticipation, the underlying message is clear: dialogue is the cornerstone of peace. As these nations embark on this diplomatic journey, the world awaits the outcomes, hopeful for a future where the specter of conflict is replaced by the promise of resolution and cooperation.

Putin’s logistics hub in Armenia continues to function

eureporter
Feb 23 2024

On February 18, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated during a meeting with the Armenian diaspora in Munich that Yerevan does not consider itself an ally of Moscow regarding Ukraine. He expressed regret about the inability to influence the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The head of the government of Armenia, a country that became the fourth-largest exporter of semiconductors and other dual-use goods for military purposes to Russia after 2022, referred to the Ukrainian people as "friendly" in his address.

Yerevan has strategically mapped a shift towards the West, while effectively becoming a crucial logistics centre for the Kremlin to circumvent sanctions during the two-year conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In 2022, the small nation of Armenia, boasting a population of 3 million, experienced an unparalleled economic growth of 14.2%. The British newspaper The Telegraph commented on this remarkable development as follows: “But the most absurd is Armenia, whose 13% economic expansion in only 12 months makes it a candidate for third-fastest growing economy in the world.”

As Deputy Minister of Finance of Armenia Vaan Sirunyan acknowledged on November 27, 2023, the export of goods from Armenia to the Russian Federation increased by 85% in the first 9 months of 2023, with 80% of this increase attributed to re-export. The Jamestown Foundation (USA) analytical centre noted that Armenia's foreign trade turnover grew by 69% after the start of the war in Ukraine, attributing this growth to re-exports from Armenia to Russia. According to a report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, new supply chains were quickly established through Armenia in response to sanctions, with subsequent expansion taking several months. A collaborative statement by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Treasury categorizes Armenia as a hub for third-party intermediaries or transshipment points used to circumvent sanctions and export controls related to Russia and Belarus.

In 2024, despite the public disclosure of Armenia violating sanctions against Russia, the country continues to supply Russia with sanctioned goods without a hiccup. Furthermore, according to the data published on February 17 by Robin Brooks, the director of the Institute of International Finance and a former strategist at Goldman Sachs, "Armenia's exports to Russia have increased by 430% compared to the period before the invasion, indicating the re-export of goods from the EU and China to Russia."

In December 2023 Brooks, who follows this topic closely, was asking “What is Brussels doing?” about EU exports to Armenia increasing by 200% since the invasion. The issue of Armenian re-export has not only attracted the attention of politicians, think tanks and prominent economists but it has also been covered in the international media over the past two years. Here are some examples:-

On 31.03.22 Canadian Geopolitical Monitor noted: “Armenia is the best-placed member of the EAEU countries to help Russia break sanctions.”

On 25.03.23 a major Ukrainian news site Unian reported: "Armenia is becoming an economic rear for the Russians, solving Moscow's problems with the supply of sanctioned goods and weapons to the Russian market."

On 27.03.23 The Bulgarian publication Fakti stated: "Putin's authoritarian regime bypasses the embargoes and trade sanctions imposed by the EU, the USA, and Britain through neighbouring countries… especially Armenia."

On 14.05.23 The Washington Post noted: “The West could turn up the heat on Armenia, from which the re-export to Russia of a range of critical goods, including electronics, has spiked.”

On 12.12.23 Swiss French-language newspaper L'Agefi: "Armenia is directly involved in the re-export of sanctioned goods to Russia."

On 14.12.23 Israeli English-language channel I24: "Armenia is a major hub for supplying goods to the Russian Federation, bypassing Western sanctions, and serving as a base for the military-technical supply of Russian troops."

Armenia holds significant importance for Russia as a crucial transit hub due to the diminishing reliance on other countries for re-exporting sanctioned goods. In May 2023, the French edition of Forbes labelled Armenia as the "primary conduit for evading sanctions" due to the tightening restrictions on deliveries through Turkey and Central Asia. This development emerged after Ankara assured the United States in the summer of 2022 that it would not permit the circumvention of sanctions against Russia on Turkish soil. Consequently, Turkish financial institutions began terminating their collaborations with Russian entities on a large scale. By February 2024, the newspaper "Vedomosti" highlighted that the closure of accounts for Russian companies by Turkish banks, initiated in 2022, significantly escalated.

Central Asian nations faced mounting pressure from the US and the EU to enforce sanctions against Russia following the Ukrainian invasion. Companies in the region ignoring these restrictions found themselves blacklisted by the US. Determined to assess compliance, EU Special Envoy David O'Sullivan embarked on three Central Asian visits in 2023. During his final visit in November, he expressed gratitude for the region's efforts to curb re-exports to Russia. This followed a pledge made by the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan at a Luxembourg meeting with EU representatives on October 23. They committed to assist in thwarting Russia's attempts to bypass the sanctions.

Despite the coverage of the problem of the re-export of sanctioned goods from Armenia to Russia in the world media, the international community fails to act and Armenia gets away with it.

The Croatian publication Net noted back in May 2023 that the US and the EU, while supplying Ukraine with millions of dollars worth of weapons for the war with Russia, for unknown reasons turned a blind eye to the close partnership between Yerevan and the Kremlin. The French edition of  Forbes echoes this sentiment: "If the Western community really wants a quick victory for Ukraine, it must deprive Moscow of this logistical hub as soon as possible." In this regard, the American Jamestown Foundation reported that "no comprehensive investigation" has yet been launched into Putin's logistical hub in Armenia. In April 2023, the British newspaper The Telegraph already called on the West to "toughen relations" with the Kremlin's satellites: "Armenia has no special excuses when it allows itself to act as a transit point (for Russia)."

Rather than imposing limitations on the collaboration between Armenia and Russia, which goes against the interests of Washington and Brussels, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) declared on February 17 that it would provide $15 million to Yerevan. Interestingly, the USAID announcement highlights that these funds are intended to "diminish Armenia's economic reliance on Russia."

Armenia still seeks extradition of Azeri suspected war criminal after Russia released him

 11:37,

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. Russian authorities contacted Armenian police in the afternoon of February 21 to notify about the arrest of Kamil Zeynalli, the Azeri national wanted by Armenia on suspicion of war crimes committed during the 2020 war.

Despite Armenia having confirmed the arrest warrant for Zeynalli, the Russian authorities apparently set him free after a brief detention in Moscow.

In response to the Russian authorities’ notification, Armenia immediately confirmed that the Azeri national is on its wanted list. “Despite the reports about the wanted man’s release, the ministry of internal affairs has initiated the preparation of a package of documents envisaged by the extradition procedure, which will be submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia for conveying it to the Russian law enforcement authorities with the purpose of carrying out the required actions for organizing the future extradition process,” Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Narek Sargsyan told Armenpress.

Russian authorities released Azerbaijani national Kamil Zeynalli after briefly detaining him at a Moscow airport on February 21 pursuant to an Armenian international arrest warrant.

Kamil Zeynalli’s lawyer Alekber Garayev told Azeri media that his client is wanted by Armenia under Article 135 (crimes against humanity), 147 (mercenaryism) and 149 (aggression) of the Armenian Criminal Code.

Other media reports said Zeynalli is also wanted under Article 140 (war crimes committed through prohibited methods of warfare).

Zeynalli is on Armenia’s interstate wanted list, Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Narek Sargsyan told Armenpress on February 21.  “The mentioned individual is on the interstate wanted list on a murder charge,” he said. He did not elaborate.

Although initial media reports said the Azeri national would face a Russian court on February 22, he then flew to Baku and gave a press briefing in the airport.

According to unconfirmed media reports, Kamil Zeynalli is suspected of war crimes committed during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war when he fought from the Azeri side against Armenian forces, particularly of killing and beheading an elderly civilian hostage. According to the media reports, Zeynalli is a recipient of Azeri medals for his military service.  According to the reports, the man is now a 'blogger' and a ‘fitness trainer’.

Fwd: Waters Edge Wineries Introduces Armenian Wines To Urban Drinkers

Forbes
Feb 15 2024

Waters Edge Wineries Introduces Armenian Wines To Urban Drinkers

Hudson Lindenberger

The next time you go out to eat at a nice restaurant, ask your server if they offer any Armenian wines. The odds are high that they won't even know what an Armenian wine is and even higher that it won't be on their wine list. Yet, it's just that mysteriousness that motivated one expanding winery concept to put a selection of Armenian wines at the forefront of a new initiative designed to drive sales and land new customers.

When Ken and Angela Lineberger, the founders of Waters Edge Wineries, rolled out their concept of an urban micro-winery franchise in 2004, they knew they were introducing the public to a different idea. By transplanting a winemaking facility into the heart of urban neighborhoods, they could make wine accessible, much like craft beer had done decades earlier with their brewpubs. Drinkers could meet with local winemakers on site and dive into different styles of wine.

These days, there are fifteen Waters Edge Wineries spread across the U.S. in locations as diverse as Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to Findlay, Ohio. Combining elements of a traditional winery experience with a popular wine bar bistro concept, they offer wines made on-site. Blended with juice sourced from well-known wine regions in the United States and internationally, consumers can imbibe popular wine styles on-site and purchase bottles for home.

Recognizing that consumer buying preferences had shifted coming out of the pandemic towards premium brands with authentic stories, Waters Edge decided in 2023 to lean into a new offering. They would bring in collections of wines from small family-owned producers across the globe that highlight both well-known regions and ones off the beaten path. While its debut was from an area wine lovers know well, Tuscany, Italy, its next offering of a selection of Armenian wines brings one of the world's oldest and least-known grape varieties to the heart of America.

"Part of what we offer our consumers is the story behind the wine; they get an up-close education of what it takes to make a great wine in our urban wineries. That's part of what makes us so different; we transport people to wine country," says Mark Mitzenmacher, director of operations for Waters Edge Wineries. "So, when we were introduced to the story of Armenian wines, we knew that it was something we wanted to promote to our consumers."

A mountainous country wedged between Turkey, Georgia, Iran, and Azerbaijan, Armenia has a long history with wine. Its first grapes are said to have been planted by Noah after his ark came to rest there, and the world's oldest wine-producing facility from 4000 BC is in the country. For most of its history, winemaking flourished in its rich volcanic soils. That vibrant wine culture waned during the Soviet era when the country was incorporated into the USSR, and production pivoted to Brandy.00:

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Following its independence in 1991, Armenian winemaking slowly regained its footing. In the last decade, it has just started to gain attention from the international wine community. Much like countries like South Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand, areas that were only somewhat recently "discovered" by drinkers, Armenian wine can surprise with each sip.

Waters Edge Wineries rolled out four Armenian wines across its locations: Areni/Sireni blend, Areni Reserve, and Voskehat. Areni, an ancient grape variety more than 6,000 years old with vines over 120 years old, is Armenia’s signature grape. A light to medium-bodied red wine reminiscent of Pinot Noir, it presents flavors of cherry, currants, black pepper, and cranberry. Sireni wines are deeply colored, full-bodied, and rich in flavors. Voskehat, known as 'golden berry,' is an indigenous variety akin to Chardonnay with vines that have endured for over 250 years.

For the first round of Armenian wines, the company brought in 16,000 bottles through a partnership with Storica Wines, a distributor dedicated to introducing them to the U.S. market. Priced between $40-60 per bottle, the wines allow Waters Edge to offer its customers a chance to try something exotic and different with a rich story behind it. It is a point of differentiation that the company hopes will help it drive traffic by bringing new consumers to its micro-wineries. Plans are to continue offering wines from the country for the next several years.

"Just being able to be part of introducing these wines to the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's rare to find wines of this quality that are relatively unknown," says Mitzenmacher. “By introducing people to Armenian wines and their culture, we hope to help resurrect a region rich in winemaking history that deserves its place back on the world stage. So far, our customers love them and love hearing the story behind them."

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Ex-Minister of Economy of Armenia is under house arrest: corruption scandal

Feb 16 2024
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Ex-Minister of Economy indicted

Former Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan has been placed under house arrest for two months, as decreed by the anti-corruption court. “I intend to appeal this decision,” remarked the ex-minister during the courtroom proceedings.

Kerobyan tendered his resignation merely two days prior, and he was summoned for interrogation yesterday, subsequently being detained by law enforcement authorities.

As per the assertions of the former minister’s legal counsel, he stands accused of abuse of power “in collusion with a group of officials.” Vahan Kerobyan asserts his innocence. The defense contends that “the basis for the accusation is flimsy, relying largely on conjecture.”

The investigative committee has disclosed certain particulars of this criminal investigation, which was instigated on January 31. Presently, there are eight individuals implicated, five of whom are Ministry of Economy personnel, including Kerobyan. The allegations revolve around improprieties purportedly committed during the tender process for procurement services essential to the Ministry of Economy.


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Prior to the Anti-corruption Court’s announcement of its decision, Vahan Kerobyan engaged with journalists. He stated that he perceived no political undertones in the situation and proceeded to elaborate on his resignation. Specifically, he mentioned crafting a resignation letter at the behest of the head of the prime minister’s staff.

“Their dissatisfaction stemmed from my performance,” remarked the former minister.

In response to inquiries regarding his rapport with the prime minister himself, he expressed gratitude to Nikol Pashinyan for their collaborative endeavors. On February 14, when announcing his resignation via Facebook, Kerobyan also extended thanks to the prime minister for “the opportunity to serve the country.”

“Due to numerous differences, I’ve contemplated stepping down on multiple occasions during this tenure, yet I prioritized my professional duties over personal matters to maximize my contribution to the country,” he articulated. However, he refrained from delineating the nature of the disputes under discussion.

According to the investigative committee, the case revolves around abuses committed during a tender announced to establish a Bank for state investment projects in 2022. Four organizations submitted applications to participate, of which two, namely company “S” and foundation “H,” progressed past the preliminary stage and engaged in the competition.

As per the official statement, law enforcement agencies conducted an investigation, including covert operations, with the involvement of employees from the National Security Service in operational search activities.

“It came to light that a group of officials from the Ministry of Economy, driven by a predetermined bias to ensure company “S” as the victor of the tender at any cost, collaborated with the company’s director and employees, who were part of the [criminal] group, to undertake actions aimed at eliminating company “S”’s competition.”

Furthermore, alterations to the tender’s conditions during the process rendered the documents submitted by the “H” fund incompatible, resulting in the exclusion of the company from participation. The Ministry of Economy specified a budget of approximately $300 thousand for establishing the bank. However, despite this, company “S” was declared the winner of the tender, offering its services for $700 thousand.

“It was also discovered that an employee and the director of company “S,” aware of the company’s guaranteed victory in the tender and exploiting the absence of genuine competition, inflated the project’s cost by an amount equivalent to $50 thousand. Consequently, the company, which initially requested $1 million (over 392 million drams), was declared the tender’s winner,” reported the investigative committee.

Foundation “H” was only recognized as the tender’s winner a year later, through a court decision dated June 20, 2023. The Investigative Committee further states that even after this ruling, “an individual holding a senior position within the ministry instructed their deputy, the head of the relevant department, to submit a budget request amounting to 400 million drams to the Ministry of Finance for the acquisition of the project [from company “S”], which was carried out.”

Law enforcement agencies declare that these actions resulted in significant harm to the state and the legitimate interests of the “H” foundation.

Consequently, five employees of the Ministry of Economy and three representatives from the Synergy company have been charged in connection with this case.

Earlier, Deputy Minister of Economy Ani Ispiryan was dismissed from her position and subsequently detained in connection with this case. Also facing charges in the same case are the founder and director of Synergy company, Ashot Hovhannisyan, along with an employee of the organization, Lily Mkryan, and a former employee, Ani Gevorgyan. The arrest of Ani Gevorgyan garnered significant attention in society due to her relation as the wife of the brother of the Armenian parliament speaker.

As a precautionary measure, the court ordered house arrest for Ani Ispiryan, while the other three were remanded into custody. Members of the ruling Civil Contract faction petitioned the prosecutor’s office to reconsider the preventive measures.

On February 12, the preventive measures against Synergy employees Ani Gevorgyan and Lily Mkryan were altered. The prosecutor directed the investigative body to implement “combined alternative preventive measures” for them, including bail, travel restrictions, and surety. The company’s founder, Ashot Hovhannisyan, remains incarcerated.

Prior to his resignation, the Minister of Economy remarked that imprisoning officials on unsubstantiated charges would “cripple the state system.”

“If a person hasn’t been caught stealing… We receive inquiries from agricultural departments: how can we continue our work knowing that our honest efforts might be penalized? I believe we need a cultural shift. We must assess whether we sometimes allow room for errors. Although in this instance, I’m confident there were no significant errors,” Kerobyan stated.

Prospects of return of the Armenian population to Karabakh under discussion-Zakharova

 18:26,

MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. Preparations for the next Russian-Azerbaijani contacts continue regarding the activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing Wednesday.

"Among the issues discussed are the prospects of the return of the Armenian population to Karabakh, with proper provision of their rights and security, the organization of joint patrols, the protection of monuments of cultural, historical and religious heritage," said the official representative of the Russian MFA, adding that the contacts are formed on a constructive basis and have a periodic nature.

Azerbaijani Press: Media: Weapons and ammunition purchased by Armenia do not meet quality standards

Report, Azerbaijan
Feb 15 2024

The weapons, ammunition and equipment purchased by Armenia from India, France and other countries do not meet quality standards, Report informs referring to the Armenian publication “Past.”

“The radar devices purchased from France do not meet the requirements, and the French side does not sell missiles to Armenia designed to destroy targets detected by these devices. As for military vehicles purchased in France, their low quality has been mentioned more than once, which is also evidenced by refusal of the Ukrainian side to supply them,” reads the article.

As for the purchase of weapons and ammunition from India, according to military experts, the Armenian army lacks the experience and necessary skills to operate them.

The leader of the All-Armenian Front movement, former Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan, recently spoke about the low quality of weapons supplied from these countries. He said that a number of contracts he signed for the purchase of weapons have already been canceled by the current authorities. This includes a contract with Serbia for the purchase of weapons and ammunition worth several hundred million dollars.

Thus, the publication notes that the recent statement by the current Minister of Defense of Armenia Suren Papikyan that the army is provided with the necessary weapons through purchases from India, France and other countries is an attempt to mislead the Armenian society.

“He is trying to impress the Armenian society with such statements that the army is allegedly arming itself with modern weapons and ammunition by refusing Russian supplies,” the article says.

A Glimpse Into St. Garabed Church of the Desert

The St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert in Palm Desert, California


BY CATHERINE YESAYAN

A few years ago, as we were driving on Monterey thoroughfare in Rancho Mirage towards Palm Desert, my eyes suddenly caught a lonely church standing on the right side of the road surrounded by sand dunes. From its architectural structure, I figured that the lonely church must be Armenian—and indeed it was. I was puzzled to see a pristine Armenian church in the middle of the desert. 

About a month ago, in an Armenian online publication, I read that the St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert will be celebrating the 12th Anniversary of its Consecration on January 14. I thought that would be a good excuse to make plans to visit Palm Springs and, in the meantime, visit the church and get some information to whip up a brief column.

Through the church website, I was able to contact Parish Pastor Deacon Gevork Gevorkian. I informed him that I was planning on visiting the church. 

I asked a friend of mine to accompany me to Rancho Mirage to visit the church, and she was happy to join me. It was around noon when we arrived.

I couldn’t help but notice that the parking lot was quite full. My mind drifted to the “Field of Dream” movie— from which we learned the slogan: “If you build, they will come.” I thought of all the Armenians that would be living in this desert community. Later, I learned that there is an estimated number of around 700 Armenian families in the area.

The weather couldn’t have been any better. The sun was up, and the temperature hovered in the low 70s. A large pathway, lined with mature palm trees, led to the entrance of the church. It was a picture-perfect sight.

As we entered the church, I was surprised to see it was packed with parishioners. There were only a few seats available, and a few people were lined up against the walls.

On that day, Western Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was invited to lead the Divine Liturgy. The service lasted much longer than usual, as they ordained David Gevorkian to the holy order of the Diaconate—to become a deacon.

After the liturgy was complete, while I exited the church I saw a table where they were offering coffee and baked goods. There I met Hasmik Barsamian, who had baked all of the sweets. She explained that she was a part of the church’s women’s committee. I also had the chance to chat with a few other people to gather all the information I needed.

Baked goods offered to parishioners after Sunday service at St. Garabed church

Before I go further, I’d like to tell you about the Coachella Valley, which encompasses the Greater Palm Springs area. In 1990s, the Armenian leaders of Rancho Mirage in the Coachella Valley got together and decided to build a church. The plans to build a new church were submitted in 2009 and construction began soon after. Finally, the church was consecrated and anointed on January 7, 2012.

Before the construction of the church, the Armenians of the Palm Desert area, for years, attended church services either by traveling to Los Angeles or San Diego, or renting a dining hall in Rancho Mirage. 

For the last 12 years, the Parish Council of St. Garabed church has been very active within the community—serving as a space for both religious and nonreligious functions. Every year on Veteran’s Day, the church parish organizes the Armenian Cultural Festival. This year, about 3,000 people enjoyed Armenian food, music, dance, and culture. Guests from various surrounding towns, and some even further from Los Angeles and San Diego, often visit the festival. The event has become an annual, popular tradition.

The Kirkjan Family Hall, which is adjacent to St. Garabed Church

A few hundred feet away from the church entrance, there’s the Kirkjan Family Hall where the local community holds different events, such as New Year’s Eve celebrations. On the day of our visit, right after the liturgy, Deacon Gevork Gevorkian invited us to attend the banquet luncheon, held at that Family Hall. However, due to time constraints, we were unable to attend.

The Ladies’ Society members provide coffee and sweets to parishioners during the fellowship hour, which is held after Sunday services. The church also offers Sunday School and Armenian language classes on Saturdays.

Catherine Yesayan

Archbishop Derderian has called the St. Garabed Armenian Church a “crowning jewel.” I attest that the Church of the Desert can be one of the most treasured gems of the Western Diocese.

Catherine Yesayan is a regular contributor to Asbarez, with her columns appearing under the “Community Links” heading. She can be reached at [email protected].




Armen Yeganyan appointed Armenia’s Ambassdor to Colombia

 18:45,

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 12, ARMENPRESS. At the proposal of the Prime Minister of Armenia, Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan has signed a decree on appointing Armen Yeganyan concurrently as the Ambassador of Armenia to Colombia, the presidency said.

Yeganian is already serving as Ambassador of Armenia to Brazil.

His respective diplomatic residence will continue to be in Brasília , the capital of Brazil.

Armenian Armed Forces Celebrate 32nd Anniversary, Reiterate Sovereignty Pledge

Feb 12 2024
Momen Zellmi

In a gathering that brought together representatives from the US Department of Defense, State Department, Military Diplomatic Corps, and a delegation from the Kansas National Guard, the Armenian Embassy in the United States hosted a reception to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Armenian Armed Forces. This event, held on , served as a testament to the enduring partnership between Armenia and the United States, as well as a reaffirmation of Armenia's commitment to protecting its sovereignty.

The reception featured speeches by the Armenian military attaché to the US, the Armenian Ambassador to the US, and the US Deputy Secretary of Defense. Each speaker emphasized the importance of the Armenian Armed Forces in maintaining peace and stability in the region, as well as the strong ties between the two nations. The atmosphere was one of unity and strength, as guests paid tribute to the sacrifices made by Armenian soldiers in defense of their homeland.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan underscored the importance of a strong and combat-ready army for the Republic of Armenia. "We have a sovereign right to have a strong and combat-ready army to protect our territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, and statehood," he stated emphatically. Pashinyan also highlighted Armenia's recognition of the territorial integrity of all countries in the region, expecting the same recognition in return.

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Addressing recent statements made by the President of Azerbaijan regarding the Armenian armed forces, Pashinyan emphasized that as long as Azerbaijan does not announce its withdrawal from the Sochi and Prague statements, it is clear that both Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other's territorial integrity based on the 1991 Alma-Ata declaration. This call for respect and diplomacy reflects the ongoing efforts by Armenia to maintain peace and stability in the region, even in the face of challenges.

Armenia's Unwavering Commitment to Sovereignty

As the Armenian Armed Forces mark their 32nd anniversary, the Republic of Armenia remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting its territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, and statehood. By fostering strong partnerships with nations such as the United States, Armenia continues to demonstrate its dedication to peace and stability in the region. The recent reception at the Armenian Embassy in the United States served as a poignant reminder of the strength and unity that underpin Armenia's efforts to safeguard its sovereignty.

In the words of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, "We have a sovereign right to have a strong and combat-ready army to protect our territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, and statehood." This conviction, echoed by Armenian leaders and reaffirmed through events like the recent reception, stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Armenian people and their unwavering commitment to their homeland.

https://bnnbreaking.com/international-affairs/armenian-armed-forces-celebrate-32nd-anniversary-reiterate-sovereignty-pledge