Armenian, Russian PMs to meet in Moscow on June 9

Armenian and Russian Prime Ministers Hovik Abrahamyan and Dmitry Medvedev will discuss the cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union on June 9, RIA Novosti reports.

“During the meeting the heads of government of the two countries will discuss urgent issues of bilateral trade and economic cooperation and integration within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union,” the source reports.

Armenia’s FC Pyunik win on opening Champions League night

Armenia’s Pyunik recorded their first UEFA Champions League victory since July 2007, although their place in the second qualifying round is far from secure after JosĂ© Hirsch’s 71st-minute reply for ten-man Folgore.

FC Pyunik scored either side of half-time to register a 2-1 victory over 10-man Folgore in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie on Tuesday.

The Armenian side led through Vardges Satumyan and substitute Cesar Romero, but Hirsch’s header, seconds after team-mate Fabio Ceschi had been dismissed, has given the Sammarinese outfit hope of winning a UEFA tie for the first time.

Turkey scrambles tanks to create ‘buffer zone’ on Syria border

Amid talk of a potential Turkish military intervention in Syria, the Turkish military is deploying tanks to the common border to create a “military buffer zone” there, Press TV reports, quoting AFP.

On Monday, Turkish armed forces began amassing near the Turkish border city of Sanliurfa.

The agency said Turkish officials were also discussing the potential intervention.

The planned buffer zone stretches 110 kilometers long and 28 kilometers wide between the southern Turkish towns of Karkamis and Oncupinar.

The forces are deploying opposite the border town of Kobani, AFP said.

European Court reiterates liberation of Lachin was vital: Armenian FM

An an interview with Aravot daily Armenian Foreign Minister speaks about the European Court rulings on Chiragov vs. Armenia and Sargsyan vs. Azerbaijan cases and referred to their possible impact on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Question: Mr. Minister, the first question has somewhat general nature. What is the opinion of the Republic of Armenia on the European Court of Human Rights?

Edward Nalbandian: Armenia highly values the role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the effective protection of the human rights of the 800 million people of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Armenia has always supported the processes and reforms aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and full implementation of the activities of the ECHR.

Question: Ever since the publication of the Chiragov case by the ECHR, Azerbaijan tries to manipulate it, to interpret it in its own arbitrary version, in particular claiming that the Court blamed Armenia for the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories. Is that the case?

Edward Nalbandian: As for the interpretations of Azerbaijan as if the ECHR judgment on the Chiragov vs. Armenia case allegedly refers to the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, it should be stressed that the Judgment of the Court does not contain any such assertion.

Furthermore, in the 168th paragraph of the case the Court reiterated its principled position that this Judgment applies only to the protection of the rights pertaining to the European Convention on Human Rights, and nothing more. As it is mentioned in the case the Judgment refers to the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights on the protection of property, respect for private and family life and effective remedy.

Question: In your comment just after the Judgment was issued you said that the issues related to the right of the refugees and displaced persons to return are integral part of the negotiation process, they can be settled as a result of the comprehensive resolution of the issue. Can the ECHR’s Judgment have an impact on the negotiation process?

Edward Nalbandian: The decision of the Grand Chamber of the ECHR on the admissibility of the case notes that it may be reasonable for applicants to wait for the outcome of political processes such as peace talks and negotiations which, in these circumstances, may offer the only realistic hope of obtaining a solution. At the same time the decision finds that irrespective of the ongoing negotiation process the individuals have the right to pursue the protection of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Azerbaijan notorious of its violations of the human rights does not shay away to exploit for its political calculations the Judgment of one of the most prominent institutions on the human rights protection. Once again Baku tries to present the issues related to the protection of human rights, including the rights of refugees, in its own arbitrary interpretative manner, thus falsifying the whole essence of the Case. The Judgment of the ECHR on the Chiragov case pertains to an individual court case, to the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and cannot have any impact on the negotiation process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution.

Question: Does the Judgment anyhow touch the circumstances that made the applicants leave their homes?

Edward Nalbandian: To the observation of the Armenian side that Nagorno-Karabakh has exercised its right to self-defense, in the paragraph 197 of the Judgment the Court takes note of the claims that the district of Lachin was of military strategic importance and that there was a need to deliver food, medicine and other supplies into Nagorno-Karabakh. In fact the Court takes note that under the conditions of the Azerbaijani aggression the liberation of Lachin had a vital importance for the survival of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh ensuring the access of its population to the essential supplies.

Question: What was the reaction from Baku on the Sargsyan vs. Azerbaijan case?

Edward Nalbandian: You are right, on the same day of the Chiragov’s case Judgment, the Court adopted another Judgment protecting the rights of Mr.Sargsyan who was forcefully displaced by Azerbaijan from the Gulistan village of the Shahumyan region. In both cases the Judgments of the Court are almost symmetrical. In both Cases the Court has registered the violation of the same rights of the Convention. It is noteworthy that Baku tries to circumvent any mentioning of the Sargsyan vs. Azerbaijan case.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the Court makes Judgments on the protection of the rights of the displaced persons. As it is mentioned in the 129th paragraph, the Court examined for the first time the rights of displaced persons in 1996 and later on has had a number of similar cases where it in accordance to the European Convention protected the rights of displaced persons.

Question: Are there any formulations in the Sargsyan vs. Azerbaijan case which, as you mentioned, make Azerbaijan to refrain from mentioning about this Judgment of the Court?

Edward Nalbandian: The 32nd paragraph of the Sargsyan vs. Azerbaijan case notes that in April-May 1991 the USSR Internal Forces and the special-purpose militia units (the OMON) of the Azerbaijan SSR launched a military operation with the stated purpose of so called passport checking. However, that was only the pretext to expel the Armenian population of a number of villages in the Shahumyan region, forcing them to leave their homes and flee to Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia. The expulsions were accompanied by arrests and violence towards the civilian population. In 1992, when the conflict escalated into a full-scale war, Shahumyan region came under attack by Azerbaijani forces. The Armenians in other regions faced the same fate. The ECHR confirms that Azerbaijan exercised violence and expelled the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. In the 216th paragraph of the Case the Court observes again that the applicant is one of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who fled during the conflict leaving property and home behind. Getting familiar with the materials of the Case it becomes clear why Azerbaijan stays silent about this Judgment.

Question: Is it possible to consider the Judgments of the ECHR as interference in the conflict resolution?

Edward Nalbandian: While examining the issues within the Court’s jurisdiction the Court notes in the 216th paragraph of the Sargsyan case that it is the responsibility of the parties to find a political settlement to the conflict. In other words the Court itself underscores that its Judgment is not related either to the settlement of the conflict or to any of its elements and hence once again refutes Azerbaijani falsifications. The Court goes on to state that the comprehensive solutions to such questions as the return of refugees to their former places of residence, or payment of compensation can only be achieved through a peace agreement.

In the paragraph 236 of the Case the Court underlines the importance of the peace process in the framework of the Minsk Group Co-chairs and observes that the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence is one of the elements contained in the Madrid Basic Principles which have been elaborated in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group and form the basis of the peace negotiation. Here again the ECHR reiterates that its Judgment pertains neither to the conflict resolution nor to its elements, including the right to return of refugees and internally displaced persons, which should find their solution within the only internationally mandated framework o
f the conflict resolution – the Co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group.

That the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process runs within the framework of the Minsk Group Co-chairs and has nothing to do with the mentioned Judgments of the ECHR has been once again confirmed on June 22nd in Strasbourg during the Summer Session of the PACE by Igor Crnadak, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Referring to the Chiragov and others vs. Armenia and Sargsyan vs. Azerbaiajn cases he said that the Committee of Ministers monitors the execution of the judgments. At the same time he stressed that the mediation for the settlement of the conflict is done by the OSCE Minsk Group, and the peaceful settlement was a joint commitment by Armenia and Azerbaijan upon accession to the Council of Europe.

However, even after the unequivocal statement of the Chairman of the Committee of the Ministers, Azerbaijan continues to boast that allegedly the Judgment of the Court pertains to the conflict resolution.

Question: What Azerbaijan strives to achieve by such policy?

Edward Nalbandian: The manipulation of the Judgment of the ECHR can harm the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-chairs aimed at the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. By this Azerbaijan again tries to shift the negotiation process of the conflict settlement to other formats, mislead the international community, and undermine the efforts of the Co-chair countries.

Based on its own arbitrary interpretation of the Judgment of the ECHR Azerbaijan already makes statements alleging that the withdrawal of the armed forces will ensure conditions conducive to the return of the refugees and that this issues should in no way be considered as a compromise. Therefore, Azerbaijan by its arbitrary and selective interpretations once again opposes the proposals contained in the five well-known statements of the leaders of the Co-chair countries. Baku forgets that the Co-chairs consider these elements as an integrated whole as any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution. This is another evidence that Azerbaijan is not ready for the conflict settlement based on the norms and principles of the international law and elements proposed by the heads of the Co-chair countries in their statements at L’Aquila, Muskoka, Deauville, Los Cabos and Enniskillen. This attitude of Azerbaijan does not allow reaching a comprehensive settlement, which would also solve the issues of the refugees and displaced persons.

In the absence of any grounds to justify its non-constructive approach opposing the Co-chairs Azerbaijan resorts to falsifications as the last available possibility under its disposal. The exploitation of the ECHR Judgment on the Chiragov case is just the last evidence of this attitude.

Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX dies in Lebanon

Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIXpassed away Thursday after suffering from a heart attack, reports.

The renowned Egyptian patriarch, who resides in Lebanon, is widely known for serving the Armenian community and promoting its interests. The patriarch had visited Armenian communities in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. to boost Armenian catholic schools.

At his request, the archbishop of Mardine Ignace Maloyan, martyr of the Armenian genocide of 1915, was proclaimed blessed by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

The Catholicos Patriarch also sent the first parish priest to Moscow in 2002 in an attempt to begin a new mission among the Armenian Catholics in Russia, following the opening in 1991 of missions inArmenia and Georgia.

Bedros XIX was ordained as a priest in Cairo in 1965. He was known to his perish in Heliopolis as Father Pierre Taza.

In 1999, the 75-year-old succeeded Hovhannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian as the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics and took the name Nerses Bedros XIX after Bishops of the Holy Synod of the Catholic Armenian Synod elected him.

In the same year, the patriarch was enthroned and received the Ecclesiastical Communion from Pope John Paul II.

Senate blocks direct US aid to Kurdish forces

The Senate on Tuesday blocked an amendment that would have allowed the Obama administration to send direct aid to Kurdish peshmerga forces in Iraq, reports.

Senators voted 54-45 on the amendment, from Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) The amendment faced a 60-vote threshold to be attached to the defense policy bill.

The proposal would have granted a temporary authorization for President Obama to give weapons and training directly to the Kurdish forces rather than having to work through the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

Ernst suggested that the measure was a necessary step to help defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS.)

“ISIS is deadly and determined, and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS need weapons as quickly as possible,” she said on Monday afternoon. “We simply cannot afford future delays at this critical moment in the battle.”

Ernst added that her amendment didn’t force the president to directly aid the Kurdish peshmerga forces, but gave him the option to do so.

The Obama administration has pushed back on the proposal, however, with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter saying earlier this year that he opposed the effort.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) backed the administration, saying Ernst’s amendment could unintentionally bolster ISIS.

“It would undermine the authority of the central government,” Cardin said late Monday afternoon. “We need to have a central government that represents all the communities of Iraq.”

Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation set to promote cooperation with Armenian companies

President Serzh Sargsyan received Satoshi Tsunakawa, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation.

The president welcomed the guest and noted that he is happy about the activities carried out by Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation – a leading international healthcare services company – in Armenia and its intention to promote cooperation with Armenian companies.

Serzh Sargsyan expressed the hope that Mr. Tsunakawa’s visit will give impetus to the promotion of collaboration and inclusion of new dimensions and programs therein. The Armenian president underscored that he remembers with pleasure his visit to Japan in 2012 during which he had the chance to visit the Toshiba Science Museum which was very impressive.

The Armenian president attached importance to the active work of the Japanese and Armenian embassies to boost Armenian-Japanese relations in various spheres.

At the meeting, the president introduced the guest to the favorable business and investment climate in Armenia and the conditions therein to attract foreign investments which Toshiba might also be interested in.

Satoshi Tsunakawa expressed satisfaction with the fact that Toshiba Medical Systems continues to expand its activities in Armenia and stressed that his company will keep on supporting the development of healthcare in Armenia. He mentioned that the company is also interested in some other dimensions making up a part of the company’s activities; e.g. nuclear energy, seismology, as well as cooperation development and exchange of experience with Armenia.
The RA president and the president of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation attached great value to the work and development of cooperation aimed at the provision of quality services through the use of modern technologies and, hence, at the protection of human health and the increase in living standards.

Eurovision 2015 First Semi Final tonight: Armenia performs second

The First Semi-Final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest takes place tonight, 19th of May, live from the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.

Sixteen songs will participate in the first Semi-Final, and professional juries in each of the participating countries, as well as in Spain, Austria, France and Australia, voted on yesterday’s dress rehearsal. They account for 50% of the overall total.

Each jury member ranks all the songs in the show by judging each song, each jury member should focus on the vocal capability of the artists, the performance on stage, the composition and originality of the song, and the overall impression by the act.

The EBU’s televoting partner Digame will merge the points given by the jury and the televoters tonight per individual country. If there is a tie between two or more songs between jury votes and televotes, then the song gaining the most televotes will be ranked higher.

Armenia is represented by Genealogy, a band that consists of six singers who were internally selected by the Public Television of Armenia to sing Face The Shadow in Vienna, a powerful anthem about peace, unity, and love.

The Contenders

  1. Moldova: I Want Your Love sung by Eduard Romanyuta
  2. Armenia: Face The Shadow sung by Genealogy
  3. Belgiumm: Rhythm Inside sung by LoĂŻc Nottet
  4. The Netherlands: Walk Along sung by Trijntje Oosterhuis
  5. Finland: Aina Mun PitÀÀ sung by Pertti Kurikan NimipÀivÀt
  6. Greece: One Last Breath sung by Maria Elena Kyriakou
  7. Estonia: Goodbye To Yesterday sung by Elina & Stig
  8. F.Y.R. Macedonia: Autumn Leaves sung by Daniel Kajmakoski
  9. Serbia: Beauty Never Lies sung by Bojana Stamenov
  10. Hungary: Wars For Nothing sung by Boggie
  11. Belarus: Time sung by Uzari&Maimuna
  12. Russia: A Million Voices sung by Polina Gagarina
  13. Denmark: The Way You Are sung by Anti Social Media
  14. Albania: I’m Alive sung by Elhaida Dani
  15. Romania: De La Capat sung by Voltaj
  16. Georgia: Warrior sung by Nina Sublatti

Iran, Georgia, Armenia to exchange electricity

Iran’s deputy energy minister says Iran, Georgia and Armenia will soon start trilateral cooperation on electricity exchange, Press TV reports. 

“Through Armenia, we can have energy exchange with Georgia,” Hooshang Falahatian said in a Monday meeting with his Georgian counterpart Mariam Valishvili in Tehran.

The Iranian official also reiterated that, if necessary, Tehran is ready to invest in Georgia’s energy sector and build power plants and electricity transmission lines in the former Soviet Union republic, IRNA reported.

Falahatian also pointed to the planned construction of a170 kilometer transmission line in Armenia and said after the completion of the project, which will take two years, Iran will be able to have power exchange with Tajikistan.