Russian Expert Says Armed Conflicts Tough Thing Today


"I think neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia should link the resolution
of NK conflict with armed forces, neither side should take the
initiative," Azerbaijani "" reported Russian expert Stanislav
Belkovski as saying.

"In our days it’s extremely difficult to start armed conflicts
surrounded by powerful states," expert said.

Regarding the rumors that after signing deals with Turkey Russia may
have definite pressure upon Armenia to liberate the lands, Berkovski
said Russia wouldn’t take that kind of responsibility for sure.

Baku’s new image

Baku’s new image

By Sophy Roberts

May 15 2010 00:20 |

Seeking refuge from the freezing winds blowing in from the Caspian, I step
across muddy pavements and through the open doors of a 19th-century mansion
on Vali Mammadov Street in Baku’s Old City, the historic centre of
Azerbaijan’s capital. Inside, the peeling peppermint green walls of the main
stairwell reveal hand-painted murals of women in loose corsetry, showing
lost grandeur from Azerbaijan’s pre-Soviet past.

Like much of the Caucasus, Azerbaijan has suffered from the pressures of its
powerful neighbour, Russia. The Red Army invaded in 1920 and the country
only achieved independence 19 years ago. A Muslim secular country, it is
also squashed between Iran, Georgia and Armenia. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
lie across the Caspian.

Baku can at first seem impenetrably ugly ` the oil rigs scattered across the
barren landscape, the 1950s residential architecture ` but it sequesters
numerous surprises. The city was once elegant, as is shown by the grand,
Beaux-Arts architecture lining Baku Boulevard, the main 3km-long drag
separating the city from the Caspian. These mansions were bankrolled by the
oil barons of the 1900s during the first oil boom when Baku was known as the
Paris of the east, the country’s oil fields then responsible for half the
world’s oil production. There is also beauty in the mix of 11th-century
minarets, 15th-century bathhouses, and intricately carved palaces, mosques
and mausoleums.

With some 1,500 years of architecture on display, the Old City is the
nucleus for Azerbaijan’s nascent tourism industry. It is undergoing a
comprehensive renovation programme, led by an ambitious new mayor.

As well as its history, Baku has a modern energy, with a swathe of recent
openings reflecting the country’s rapid rise to riches. Azerbaijan, with
$7bn in oil revenues in 2009, is forecast to be the world’s third-fastest
growing economy this year.

Chinar Lounge, a lively new Asian-style restaurant, opened in March. Javad
Marandi, managing partner of the owners Pasha, compares it to London
restaurants Zuma, Nobu and Hakkasan. Pasha is also the principal investor
behind Four Seasons Baku, a five-star hotel opening in July 2011, and
numerous upscale office towers and apartment buildings. He is on a mission
to improve standards in the capital. `I hear it said too often about
Azerbaijan, `Oh, it’s good enough for Baku’. But that’s condescending. Why
can’t it be the best?’ says Marandi.

I tour the Old City with Javid Verdiyev, project manager for the restoration
project. On almost every street, he shakes his head at the sight of broken
drains and botched attempts at restoration. The sight of a chipped saucer in
the restaurant where we stop for coffee leaves him agitated. `This is meant
to be the best place in the neighbourhood. And look? Look!’ he exclaims. He’s
embarrassed by the sloppiness. I, however, am rather enjoying the coffee and
warming wood fire.

Not all parts of the city are being swept along by the growing affluence,
with Baku’s old market, the Tara Bazaar, looking as miserable as any chilly,
post-Soviet example you might find from Bishkek to Samarkand ` like Baku,
old Silk Road cities.

Yet Marandi and Verdiyev, like many Azeris, have grand ambitions for the
city. `Optimism is an Azeri quality,’ Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijan’s highly
sophisticated First Lady, tells me when we meet to discuss the changes.
In Baku, strips of upscale boutiques open every week. Development seems to
be all everybody wants to talk about. I hear about the new Zaha
Hadid-designed Cultural Centre, replete with three auditoriums and a museum.
I learn of plans to transform Baku Boulevard into something like the
Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes, flanked with shops, restaurants and
yachts. I visit a suite in the new 128m-tall residential Port Baku Towers
complex; 65 of these apartments have sold in the three weeks since launch,
which includes five penthouses priced between £3m and £5m each.

When I eat out, I get a reminder of the challenges Azeris still face if Baku
is to lure high-end tourists. The lukewarm fisinjan, made up of stewed
chicken and pomegranate, is not an easy dish for even adventurous palettes.
Then there is the belly dancer who accompanies the meal. When she wraps a
turquoise scarf around a diner’s neck, I feel like I’m stuck in an
old-fashioned tourist trap. Most visitors are expats working in oil and gas.

The elements are, however, falling into place. As well as the Four Seasons,
Fairmont is opening a five-star hotel next year in the so-called Flame

For now, however, travellers heading to Baku should be open to a country in
flux. There’s plenty of infectious energy, passion and potential in a nation
full of self-belief. Just don’t expect the polished cobbles you’ll find in
the historic quarters of a Budapest or Prague.

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2010.

Public TV to screen "Sumgait, February, 1988: An Ordinary Genocide"

Public TV of Armenia to screen "Sumgait, February, 1988: An Ordinary
Genocide" documentary May 15

16:03 15/05/2010 » Society

The Public TV of Armenia will screen `Sumgait, February, 1988: An
Ordinary Genocide’ documentary Saturday at 10:30pm (local time). It is
part of "An Ordinary Genocide" series.

The film is based on documentary materials, including exclusive video
materials, photo documents, witness evidence, materials on
investigation and legal proceedings, shown for the first time, not
only to unveil the truth on what actually happened in Sumgait but also
to prove that the events were organized by Azerbaijan’s authorities
and special services with participation of the Soviet Union

The initiators of the project call this a film-condemnation of an
offence against the humanity committed by Azerbaijan February 27-29,
1988, a tribute to the victims of the pogroms, as well as an appeal to
the international community to recognize the crime and condemn Sumgait
organizers and committers.

The film aims at putting an end to mass falsifications on Sumgait
events. DVDs of the film have been spread, the Armenian and Russian
versions of the film are available at different websites, currently
it’s being translated into the English, French and Arabic languages.

`Sumgait, February, 1988: An Ordinary Genocide’ is the second film in
this series. `An Ordinary Genocide’ film series has been initiated and
conducted by the `PR and Information Center’ of the Armenian
President’s Administration. The presentation of the first film `Baku,
January, 1990′ was held in January this year. The film has been
translated into different languages and spread on the internet and
through DVDs.


Deputy minister expects tourism to grow by 5-7% this year

Deputy minister expects tourism to grow by 5-7% this year

YEREVAN, May 15, /ARKA/. A deputy Armenian economy minister Ara
Petrosian said today the government expects the number of foreign
tourists visiting the country to grow this year by 5-7%.

Speaking at the opening of the 10-th tourism fair in Yerevan called
the Country of Talking Stones, he said last year was a sort of a trial
for all, and despite the economic downturn the tourist industry
reported a 3% growth, while across the globe it fell by 4%. In the
first quarter of this year the number of foreign tourists increased by
9.4% year-on-year. According to official figures, 93,000 foreign
tourists visited Armenia in Q1, 2010. Their number increased 12 times
since 2000 to record high 575,000 in 2009. -0-

Armenian Diaspora Minister Meets With Belgian Ambassador To Armenia


MAY 14, 2010

YEREVAN, MAY 14, ARMENPRESS: On May 13, Belgian Ambassador to Armenia
Stephane De Loecker was in the Armenian Diaspora Ministry on a
familiarizing visit.

Diaspora Ministry press service told Armenpress that at the meeting
with Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan issues of bilateral interest
were discussed, the interlocutors focused their attention especially
on the issues of the Armenian community in Belgium and its activity.

An agreement was reached to support the implementation of joint
programs, especially the ones on Armenian-Belgian youth exchange.

Turkey’s Involving In Karabakh Peace Process Does Not Meet Russia’s


2010-05-14 13:21:00

ArmInfo. "Turkey’s involving in the Karabakh peace process does not
meet Russia’s interests," Ruben Safrastyan, Professor, Director of
the Oriental Studies Institute at the National Academy of Science
told media on Friday.

"Hypothetically if Turkey is directly involved in the Karabakh
peace process, it will mean for Russia that its regional rival is
involved in the process. At the given moment Russia is the only
country in the region to participate in settlement of the Karabakh
conflict and Turkey’s joining the process does not meet Moscow’s
interests," Sarfrastyan said. In addition, the expert said that the
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have repeatedly come out against Turkey

Czech PM To Visit Armenia


MAY 14, 2010

Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Fischer will make a two-day
working visit to Armenia May 17-18.

Governmental press office told Armenpress that within the framework of
the visit the Czech prime minister will take part in the Armenian-Czech
business forum, will meet with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan,
His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, NA Chairman
Hovik Abrahamyan and Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

The Czech prime minister will also visit Tsitsernakaberd and put
wreath at the memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Western Prelacy News – 05/14/2010

May 14, 2010
Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate
6252 Honolulu Avenue
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Tel: (818) 248-7737
Fax: (818) 248-7745
E-mail: [email protected]


On Sunday, May 16th, 2010, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian,
Prelate, will preside over Divine Liturgy at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood
and deliver the sermon.
Following the service, the Prelate will preside over the opening of
the newly constructed youth center adjacent to the church.
In the evening the Prelate will deliver the invocation at the A.R.S.
Centennial Gala Banquet. Executive Council members will also be in


On Saturday, May 15th, the third annual Orthodox Day of Praise will
take place at St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church in Santa Monica,
with the participation of youth from the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox
The gathering will begin with Divine Liturgy, followed by brunch,
after which members of each church will sing hymns in their respective
The event serves to unite members of the Orthodox faith and
celebrate and praise God through singing.
Members of the Prelacy "Lousavorich" youth choir, led by Very Rev.
Fr. Barthev Gulumian, will participate in the event.


On Thursday, May 13th, 2010, the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord
Jesus Christ was celebrated with Divine Liturgy followed by the traditional
luncheon. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over
Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale which was celebrated by Rev.
Fr. Avedis Torossian. Pastor of St. Gregory Church of San Francisco Very
Rev. Fr. Vaghinag Meloian delivered the sermon.
The traditional luncheon, which is organized each year by the
Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary, followed at Anoush Restaurant in Glendale, with
the participation of the Prelate, clergy members, and nearly 300 guests.
This year’s luncheon was hosted by Mrs. Taline Amroyan.
Master of Ceremonies and Ladies Auxiliary member Mrs. Hourig
Abdulian welcomed the guests then invited the Prelate to deliver the
invocation. The Prelate commended the Ladies Auxiliary members for
organizing this traditional event and expressed his thanks and appreciation
to Mrs. Amroyan for hosting the luncheon. In honor of the "Year of the
Armenian Woman", the Prelate conveyed his well wishes to all the women
present, exalting their invaluable role in our individual and collective
Very Rev. Fr. Vaghinag Meloian spoke about the meaning and
significance of the Feast of Ascension and the religious and national
traditions associated with this feast.
Guests also enjoyed a performance by singer Gagik Badalyan,
participated in the traditional casting of lots and collectively sang
traditional Hampartsoum songs.


On Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, the annual Prelacy clergy conference
which traditionally takes place on the eve of the Representatives Assembly,
was held at the Prelacy "Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian" Hall. The
conference was presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian,
Prelate, with the participation of the clergy order.
The day began with Evening and Morning Services at the "St. Dertad
and St. Ashkhen" Chapel, followed by a spiritual meditation by Very Rev. Fr.
Barthev Gulumian in which he reflected on a passage from the Gospel of
Matthew on the importance of ministering and preaching the word of God.
The conference convened at noon with opening remarks by the Prelate
who commended the service and devotion of the clergy members, and wished
success to the day’s proceedings.
The election of the officers followed, with Archbishop Tabakian
elected as the Chairman and Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian as the Secretary.
Archbishop Tabakian thanked the Prelate for the opportunity to participate
in the conference and extolled the importance of clergy members working
together as members of one family to achieve success in our service.
During the first session the Religious Council report which will be
presented at the Representatives Assembly was analyzed by the participants
and revised accordingly.
After lunch the second session convened with a lecture by Very Rev.
Fr. Muron Aznikian on the calling of clergy and the importance of properly
performing the rites and rituals of the Armenian Church.
A discussion on activities anticipated for the upcoming year then
took place, including the celebration of the "Year of the Armenian Woman",
followed by the election of religious delegates to the Representatives
Assembly and the drafting of suggestions to present to the upcoming
The conference closed with the Prelate’s concluding remarks and


In preparation for the 38th Representatives Assembly which will
convene at the Prelacy on May 14, 2010, by the invitation of H.E. Archbishop
Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and the Executive Council, on the evening of
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, Pastors and Boards of Trustees of Prelacy Churches
gathered at the "Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian" Hall to discuss the
general activities as well as the concerns of their respective parishes.
Central Executive member Mr. Khajag Dikijian also participated in the
The meeting opened with the Prelate’s invocation, after which the
Prelate and Executive Council Chair Dr. Garo Agopian welcomed the
representatives and briefed them on the purpose of the meeting.
Subsequently, one by one the Chairman or Board of Trustees
representative of each church were invited to report on the past, present,
and future activities of their churches and challenges they face.
After the presentations, the representatives had the opportunity to
discuss issues of concern to all parishes and to share their experiences and
offer suggestions to one another.
At the conclusion the Prelate commended the service of the Pastors
and Boards of Trustees and wished them success in their future endeavors.
The meeting closed with the benediction by the Prelate and the singing of
the Cilician anthem.


On Sunday, May 9th, 2010, St. Mary’s Church in Glendale
ceremoniously celebrated its 35th anniversary with Episcopal Divine Liturgy,
ordination of acolytes and stole bearers, and a gala banquet in the evening.
The day began with Divine Liturgy celebrated by H.E. Archbishop
Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate. During the service, the Prelate ordained
acolytes stole bearers, and advised them of the responsibilities and
obligations they now bear as acolytes. After placing a stole on their left
shoulders, the Prelate blessed them, thus ending the ordination ceremony.
His Eminence then delivered the sermon, in which he referenced the
invaluable service the church has been providing to the community over the
past 35 years, and turning to the newly ordained acolytes, urged them to
carry out their new responsibilities and obligations faithfully and serve
their fellow man with love and devotion. In honor of Mother’s Day, the
Prelate congratulated all the mothers in attendance, commending them for
their role and contribution in our individual and collective lives.
In the evening the Prelate attended the 35th anniversary banquet
which was organized by the Pastors and Board of Trustees. The banquet,
which was held at Palladio banquet hall, was hosted by the hall’s owner Mr.
and Mrs. Avedis and Hasmig Keshishian.
Pastors Reverend Fathers Vazken Atmajian, Ardak Demirjian, and
Gomidas Torossian collectively delivered the invocation and blessed the
tables, after which Master of Ceremonies Mr. Larry Zarian welcomed the
guests and invited Mrs. Rima Boghossian to give a brief background on the
history of the church.
Singer Gagik Badalyan then entertained the guests with a set of
traditional and popular songs.
Following the cultural program, Chairman of the 35th anniversary
committee Mr. Garo Eshgian delivered remarks on behalf of the committee,
thanking sponsors and guests for their encouragement, participation, and
contributions to the realization of the church’s mission. A video of the
history of the church and its achievements in the past 35 years followed.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairman Mr. Zareh Markarian also
addressed the guests, thanking all those who volunteer their time and
resources for the advancement of the church.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Zareh Markarian then
presented church secretaries Mrs. Anoush Garabedian and Mrs. Houri
Babahekian with plaques for their years-long service, and the pastors with
mementos in appreciation of their leadership and service to their flock.
In his remarks, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian highlighted the church’s
role in the community and congratulate them on their 35th anniversary.
Prior to the lighting of the ceremonious candles, Rev. Fr. Vazken
Atmajian conveyed his well wishes to all the mothers in honor of Mother’s
Day, after which bouquets of flowers were presented to the grand benefactor
of the church Mrs. Hilda Der Minassian, Tufenkian School benefactor Mrs.
Savey Tufenkian, and Palladio banquet hall owner Mrs. Hasmig Keshishian.
Fr. Vazken then called the banquet sponsors to gather for the candle
lighting ceremony. The symbolic 36th candle was lit by Mrs. Hilda Der
To conclude the program, the MC invited the Prelate to convey his
blessings and remarks on this joyous occasion. His Eminence first and
foremost congratulated the St. Mary’s Church family on this joyous occasion.
He exalted the vision and dedication of the founding members, commending all
the volunteers of the church who have followed in the footsteps and example
of the founders, and wishing them new successes as they labor for the
splendor of the church. The Prelate then awarded letters of commendation to
Mr. Zareh Markarian, Mr. Sahak Kazangian, Mr. Hrair Balian, Dr. Khatchig
Rechdouni, Mr. Vaghinag Babaian, Mr. Ruben Gourjian, and Dr. Hagop Der
Megerdichian for their years-long service and commitment to the progress of
the church.
The celebration came to a close with the cutting of the 35th
anniversary cake.

Russian President’s Statement Following Talks With Turkish Counterpa


President of the Russian Federation website
May 12 2010

Press Statement following Russian-Turkish Talks May 12, 2010 Ankara

Gul,ladies and gentlemen,

Today is indeed a special day in Russian-Turkish relations, and
it continues the large amount of work accomplished recently, the
meetings we have held, and the visit that Mr President made to
Russia last year. Mr President, I want to start by thanking you
for the reception accorded the Russian delegation and myself here,
on hospitable Turkish soil.

We had the opportunity yesterday to discuss a wide range of issues
in an informal setting. We discussed international issues above all,
but also spoke about our bilateral economic ties and discussed the
development of our political systems. We went through practically
everything on the very wide-ranging agenda of Russian-Turkish

Our relations have undergone radical change over these last
years, and today we really can say that we now have strategic and
very diverse ties that reflect practically every aspect of our
lives. Several significant agreements were signed here just now,
laying good foundations for cooperation in the transport sector,
and in law enforcement, which is very important too, given that both
of our countries face all manner of threats, including terrorism. We
signed agreements that expand opportunities for higher education. A
whole series of other important agreements were signed during the
first meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council, which has been
established specially to support the dialogue between our countries.

We really do have excellent opportunities for developing our economic
cooperation. Our trade relations are recovering quite fast from
the effects of last year’s crisis. I have already cited the figures
today. Over the first two months of this year our bilateral trade
increased by more than a third. If this pace continues, by the end
of the year we should reach the level we had in 2008. The ambitious
goal of tripling our bilateral trade that my colleague, President Gul,
spoke about is looking more and more realistic. Perhaps this figure
of $100 billion per annum still seems rather hard to attain at the
moment, but I think that, overall, this is a goal we can achieve. If
we reach this level it will serve as an example for all of Europe.

I remind you that the Russian Federation’s bilateral trade with the
European Union currently comes to around $200 billion. It stood at
$250 billion before the crisis. Comparing these figures and the goals
we have set, this is good reason for us to work hard and good reason
too for the European Union to reflect on developing its relations
with Russia and Turkey.

We discussed a wide range of issues today. We examined individual
aspects of our economic cooperation, and these discussions will
continue with the Prime Minister. But I want to say that no matter
which field we look at, we have taken our cooperation to a new level,
whether in the energy sector, including oil and gas and nuclear
energy, the transport sector (we just signed agreements here), and
tourism, in which we will take a big step forward today, opening
up new opportunities for developing tourism through our decision to
abolish visas for each other’s citizens. This is really a historic
event. Then we also have a great number of cultural and humanitarian
projects that also add to this visit’s results.

Yesterday and today, the President and I concentrated on international
issues. Russia and Turkey are working together to maintain global
and regional stability. Sitting in the President’s office just now
we spoke about the fact that the Black Sea countries themselves, and
above all the region’s two biggest countries, Russia and Turkey, bear
direct responsibility for the situation in the region. In this regard
I want to say once again that we are ready to keep working in this
direction. We must observe in full the international laws in place,
including the well-known Montreux Convention, and take a friendly
line on intra-regional ties, but as I said, the main responsibility
lies with our countries, with the countries of the Black Sea region.

We discussed efforts to counter threats and prevent extremism
and terrorism, and we will do everything we can to improve
cooperation between our law enforcement agencies, military agencies
and intelligence services, because these threats are not abstract
issues for our countries but, sadly, are absolutely real, and we find
ourselves at times having to take tough measures to deal with these
dangers, and will continue this combat.

We share very close views on the Middle East peace process. I arrived
in Ankara from Damascus. We spoke about how to perhaps make this
process more active, make some innovative moves, and I made a number of
proposals to the President. I think that we all need to keep working
in this direction because there has been something of a slowdown in
the process of late, and this is having an impact on the situation in
the Middle East and on living standards there. The situation in Gaza
is in such a state now that it is close to humanitarian disaster,
and even if we cannot solve all of the problems right away, we at
least need to make every effort to get the various countries that
share a sense of responsibility for the development of events in the
region to work on these issues more effectively, so as to bring us
closer to actual solutions and decisions.

We discussed the situation in Iraq yesterday and spoke too about
the situation in Iran. We share the view that international efforts
are required in this region. Our position on Iran is clear. On this
matter we share a similar view to that of Turkey. We discussed the
need to undertake all necessary efforts to stabilise the situation
and incite Iran to take a constructive line, while at the same time
emphasising the need to resolve this problem through peaceful means.

Russia and Turkey share an interest in consolidating stability in
the Caucasus region, including by settling the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. The Russian Federation will continue to work on advancing
this process, using its influence and every possibility available
to it. Of course, we will consult on these issues with our Turkish
partners too.

We discussed issues in the Balkans and also spoke about the problem
of a settlement in Cyprus. We agreed to continue our contacts and
cooperation on these European matters, including with regard to the
Russian Federation’s initiative on the European Security Treaty. The
President sent me his comments on the draft treaty proposed by Russia,
and I am very grateful to President Gul for the attention he has shown.

Once more, I want to thank the President for this trusting, friendly
and constructive dialogue that began with our informal meeting and
continued during our talks today. I stress the fact that partnership
between our countries is fully in keeping with our peoples’ interests
and is an important stabilising factor in our region and on the
international stage in general.

Modernization Of Railway Substation In Town Of Spitak Completed


2010-05-13 11:18:00

ArmInfo. Modernization of the railway substation in the town of Spitak
has been completed, the South Caucasus Railway (SCR) CJSC Service of
Electrification and Power Supply, told ArmInfo.

The railway substation did not operate after the disastrous earthquake
in 1988. Modernization was launched in Dec 2009 and completed in
Apr 2010. SCR CJSC acquired and installed the following equipment to
modernize the substation: potential transformer, high-speed breakers,
isolated switches, interrupter unit, and various relays.

Communications have been modernized as well. A total of 4.2 million
rubles were invested in modernization of the substation.

South Caucasian Railway CJSC is the subsidiary (100%) of the Russian
Railways CJSC. The contract of concession of the Armenian Railroad
CJSC for 30 years with a 10-year renewable period was signed in
Yerevan on February 13 2008.