Armenpress: Armenian PM, OSCE Secretary General meet in Yerevan


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 18, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has met with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid in Yerevan.

Pashinyan and Schmid discussed the ongoing OSCE PA session in Yerevan, its agenda items, as well as cooperation between Armenia and the OSCE, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a readout.

Issues related to the humanitarian problems of over 100,000 forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing, as well as the Armenian government’s measures in the direction of overcoming these problems were discussed.

Issues pertaining to the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process were also discussed.

The importance of continuing the peace process based on the principles agreed as a result of the May 14 and July 15, 2023 Brussels trilateral meetings was underscored.

Views were exchanged around regional peace and stability, as well as other issues of mutual interest.

Music with meaning: Bar Harbor band plays for Armenian refugee relief

Maine – Nov 16 2023

    By Nan Lincoln | Special to The Ellsworth American

The Kotwica Band will be performing a concert of international folk tunes to benefit Armenian refugees at Saint Saviour’s Church in Bar Harbor Sunday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. Pictured, from left, are: Kevin Stone, Carolyn Rapkievian, David Quinby, David Rapkievian, Eloise Schultz, Frances Stockman and Anne Tatgenhorst.

BAR HARBOR — About 125 years ago, the town of Bar Harbor became galvanized by the plight of the Armenian people, who were being slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands by the Ottoman Turks and forced from their historical homeland, between the Caucuses and the Caspian Sea.

Bar Harbor summer resident Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the declining Ottoman Empire, was the first to sound the alarm about this ongoing genocide. He eventually resigned in protest over what the Turks (eventually joined by the German army at the outset of World War I) were doing in Armenia and the lack of a cohesive, official American response.

In 1897, the Bar Harbor Record reported, “A most interesting lecture was given at the Congregational church by Rev. A. S. Abraham on the Armenian question. The church was filled, and the audience listened with rapt attention to the recitation of the wrongs done the race.”

By 1915, an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians, more than half of the total population living in their ancient homeland, had been massacred and thousands more displaced.

“I am firmly convinced that this is the greatest crime of the ages,” Morgenthau told Congress.

There are some who believe the reluctance of Europe and America to hold the Turks responsible for their war crimes against the Armenians emboldened Hitler to implement his extermination of the Jews. If the world could look the other away at the mass destruction of its oldest Christian nation (301 AD), would it come to the rescue of Europe’s Jewish population? The Holocaust may have been the terrible answer to that question.

If the world’s governments failed to act in time to prevent the Armenian disaster, the American people in big cities and small towns like Bar Harbor did pay attention. According to the Bar Harbor Times, in 1917, the Congregational church donated $91 to Armenian relief; the Sewing Circle voted to contribute its refreshment money, and in 1919, even the Sunday School pitched in $5 a month to support one of the thousands of children orphaned by the Turkish pogroms.

Led by Morgenthau and fellow Bar Harbor rusticator Cleveland Dodge, with the help of author Julia Ward Howe, Charlie Chaplin, child star Jackie Coogan and many others, Americans would raise $116 million in funds and supplies (worth more than $2 billion today).

A century of uneasy peace followed the fall of the Ottoman Empire, including two world wars and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. On the one hand this exacerbated the tension between the Islamic Turks and the Christian Armenians by creating the Turkic state of Azerbaijan on the large oil- and mineral-rich section of historic Armenian lands bordering the Caspian Sea, and on the other hand managed to prevent further mass slaughter (although not deadly pogroms) with its iron-fisted control of the region.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 1991, Azerbaijan became increasingly emboldened to reclaim the region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), an autonomous ethnic Armenian enclave within its borders. In 2020, when the world’s focus was on the COVID pandemic, Azerbaijan launched a major attack on Artsakh, creating a new humanitarian crisis as the ethnic Armenian population fled what they fear will be another genocide.

So once again Bar Harbor and area residents at large are being asked to help as they did a century ago when local church congregations and schoolchildren contributed to Armenian relief.

The Kotwica Band, led by David and Carolyn Rapkievian of Bar Harbor, will be giving a concert to benefit Armenian refugees on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. at St. Saviour’s Church in Bar Harbor (41 Mount Desert St.). The concert will feature music from Armenia and the neighboring countries — Poland, Macedonia, Ukraine, Romania and Greece — where many Armenians settled after the last diaspora.

For the Rapkievians it is personal. Carolyn’s Armenian relatives were among those who fell victim to the Ottoman slaughter, and the horrors they endured are part of her family lore. A photograph of her grandfather’s handsome family is not simply evidence of her Armenian heritage but a memento of loss.

“When the photo was taken, my grandfather Hovnan Okoomian had already been sent to America for safety,” Rapkievian said. “My great-grandparents who are pictured seated in the photo were beheaded in front of the children, and the youngest children were killed along with the eldest sister’s husband. The sisters were taken into a harem and raped.”

She says American missionaries eventually helped her surviving family members escape. U.S. missionaries also helped her then-infant maternal grandmother escape by pretending she was their own child and her mother their maid. Sadly, such horrors are no longer a part of the Armenian people’s past.

“Just this past September,” Rapkievian said, “120,000 people — nearly the entire population of Artsakh — fled across the border to Armenia in an arduous three-day exodus to escape attacks on their villages and towns. These refugees, who left behind their belongings, their livelihoods and their lands, are undernourished and have medical needs.

She said Armenia, now a small democratic republic wedged between modern-day Turkey and Azerbaijan, is a poor country and unable to support a refugee crisis of this magnitude.

Rapkievian hopes people will once again rally to support the Armenian people by attending the Nov. 26 concert.

“We hope they’ll enjoy our music, too,” she added with a smile, picking up her drum to resume the rehearsal.

Carolyn and her husband, David, play a variety of instruments themselves including fiddle, guitar, oud (a precursor of the lute), balalaika and drum; they have recruited button accordionist Kevin Stone of Waterville, bass player David Quinby of Sedgwick and three singers, Anne Tatgenhorst of Winterport, College of the Atlantic grad Eloise Shultz and Conners Emerson School eighth-grader Frances Stockman (whose aunt, the late Kirsten Stockman, co-founded with Tatgenhorst the Maine Women’s Balkan Choir).

Kotwica plans to perform 15 songs that speak of love, loss and yearning.

“Many of the songs have a dual meaning,” Rapkievian said. “For instance the first song, ‘Gorani,’ is Armenian and the words are about the loss of love. But it is also about the loss of a homeland.”

As they practice, one can hear that thread of longing, interwoven into often lilting tunes that beg to be danced to and most often are.

“At this Thanksgiving time we are especially thankful for our town’s support of the Armenian people — both in the past and present,” Rapkievien said. “Our songs and our music have survived, and we are thrilled to be able share them and our story with everyone.

“And, yes,” she added, “there will probably be dancing.”

Citigroup Discriminated Against Armenian-Americans, Regulator Says

The New York Times
Nov 8 2023

The bank agreed to pay nearly $26 million to settle claims that its employees denied an immigrant community in Southern California fair access to its credit cards.

By Emily Flitter
Nov. 8, 2023, 11:33 a.m. ET

Citigroup employees labeled a group of roughly 80,000 Armenian-Americans living near Los Angeles — the largest Armenian community outside Yerevan, the Armenian capital — as “bad guys” and secretly denied them fair access to the bank’s credit card products, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a statement on Wednesday.

The bank has agreed to pay $25.9 million to settle a case brought by the consumer bureau under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the federal law that prohibits banks from discriminating against people based on a host of qualities, including race, national origin and religion. Of the total, $1.4 million will go to the victims of Citigroup’s discriminatory practices, the regulator said. The other $24.5 million is a penalty for the bank’s misconduct.

“Citi stereotyped Armenians as prone to crime and fraud,” Rohit Chopra, the director of the consumer bureau, said in a news conference on Wednesday. “In reality, Citi illegally fabricated documents to cover up its discrimination.”

Mr. Chopra said that Citigroup had been caught violating bank regulations on several occasions. The consumer regulator said Citigroup’s discriminatory practices regarding Armenians were in place from at least 2015 to 2021. “I am concerned about Citi’s longstanding problems when it comes to managing the many parts of its sprawling business,” Mr. Chopra said.

According to the regulator, Citi employees pegged the community, in Glendale, Calif., as a group whose members were likely to rack up huge debts and then flee the country. They warned new hires not to give credit card applicants with Armenian-sounding last names that ended in “ian” or “yan” the same rates that other customers received, and in some cases urged them to reject these applicants altogether.

The people affected by the bank’s practice were not applying for Citigroup-branded cards; they were seeking cards offered by retailers, like Home Depot and Best Buy, that were underwritten by the bank. Eric Halperin, the consumer bureau’s enforcement director, said during the news conference that Citigroup was still trying to identify how many people were affected by the discrimination, but so far regulators had identified “hundreds.”

Karen Kearns, a spokeswoman for Citigroup, said in a statement that the bank had been “trying to thwart a well-documented Armenian fraud ring operating in certain parts of California,” and that “a few employees took impermissible actions.”

According to regulators, Citi managers knew excluding Armenians was illegal and warned employees “not to discuss it in writing or on recorded phone lines.” Even so, regulators found evidence of Citi employees discussing over email how to cover up their denial of applicants from Glendale.

“It’s been a while since I declined for possible credit abuse/YAN — gimme some reasons I can use,” one employee wrote to another in 2016, seeking advice on how to tell a potential customer that a credit card application had been denied without revealing the real reason, according to the consumer bureau.

“We sincerely apologize to any applicant who was evaluated unfairly,” Ms. Kearns said. “Following an internal investigation, we have taken appropriate actions with those directly involved in this matter, and we promptly put in place measures to prevent any recurrence of such conduct.”

Emily Flitter covers finance. She is the author of “The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America.” More about Emily Flitter

Aram I serves as Guest Chaplain of U.S. House of Representatives, calls for U.S. support to Nagorno-Karabakh refugees


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 10, ARMENPRESS. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia has called for American leadership in aiding Nagorno-Karabakh’s 100,000 forcibly displaced persons, during discussions with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and a dozen U.S. Representatives, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Aram I was on Capitol Hill at the invitation of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and served as Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

After a meeting in the Capitol with Speaker Johnson, Rep. Schiff, and U.S. House Chaplain Rev. Dr. Margaret Grun Kibben, His Holiness Aram I offered the opening prayer at the November 10 U.S. House of Representatives session. In his prayer, he noted, “Help us, God of Mercy, remember in our prayers more than one hundred thousand Armenian refugees who were recently forced to leave Nagorno Karabakh, their centuries old homeland…” The prayer was televised on CSPAN and streamed live on the ANCA’s social media channels.

In remarks on the U.S. House floor, Rep. Schiff welcomed His Holiness Aram I to Congress, noting that “his unwavering commitment to the values of faith, community, and compassion embodies the spirit of our vibrant Armenian community.” Rep. Schiff went on to stress that His Holiness Aram I’s “support for humanitarian issues, advocacy for human rights, engagement in several educational and cultural initiatives, and promotion of interfaith understanding have left an indelible mark making the world a better place for all.”

Following the prayer, His Holiness Aram I met with Speaker Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), at a reception hosted by the ANCA. His Holiness also met separately with Rep. Jerry Carl (R-AL). The Armenian pontiff praised members of the Congressional Armenian Staff Association in attendance, for their efforts to educate elected officials on Armenian American concerns.

Prior to leaving the Capitol, His Holiness Aram I led fellow clergy in a moving rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, sung in Armenian in the Congressional Prayer Room near the rotunda in the United States Capitol.

During his visit to the U.S. Capitol, Catholicos Aram I was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; His Eminence Archbishop Papken Tcharian, Prelate of the Canadian Prelacy; His Grace Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate of the Western U.S. Prelacy; Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy; Very Rev. Fr. Hovagim Panjarjian, head of the Catholicosate Media Department; Very Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aprahamian, head of the Middle East and Christian-Islam dialogue section of the Ecumenical Department of the Catholicosate; Mr. Stepan Der Bedrosian, co-chair of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate; Leaders of the Executive Councils of the Eastern U.S. Prelacy, Western U.S. Prelacy, and Canadian Prelacy; as well ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and members of the ANCA Washington DC Staff.

Russia says it removed military equipment of peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh for planned repair

 15:09, 7 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 7, ARMENPRESS. The Russian Ministry of Defense has said that it has completed the rotation of personnel of the peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the transfer of weapons and military equipment to Russia for planned repair.

In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry also said that its peacekeepers in NK ‘continue to fulfil their objectives.’

The Russian peacekeepers have closed one more observation post in the Shushi region, it said. “Overall, 10 observation posts and 16 temporary observation posts have been closed since September 19,” the ministry said.

Avoiding another war in the former Soviet Union

Oct 31 2023

GEOPOLITICAL TANGLE — For weeks now, there have been warnings that yet another bloody war could break out on the edge of Europe — pushing the U.S. and E.U. further into a geopolitical tangle with Russia. Now, all eyes are on the South Caucasus to see whether a decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan can be averted, or if it will be added to the growing list of geopolitical hotspots that require attention from the West.

While the standoff has flown below the radar amid growing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo; as well as war between Russia and Ukraine and Hamas and Israel, the space sandwiched between Russia and Iran has become increasingly tense. Washington and Brussels have laid out clear red lines that have since been crossed. And there’s a growing suspicion that peace isn’t in Moscow’s best interests.

Last month, Azerbaijan launched an offensive to take control of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, with thousands of troops and tanks pushing forward under the cover of heavy artillery fire. Within 24 hours, taking heavy casualties on the front lines, the ethnic Armenian authorities had surrendered, effectively ending thirty years of de facto independence since a war that followed the fall of the Soviet Union.

More than 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes with what few possessions they could pack into cars, buses and even open-topped construction trucks. Few think they’ll ever be able to return, despite Azerbaijan’s promises of “reintegration.” And the Armenian government has accused Azerbaijan of carrying out ethnic cleansing in the region, with concerns of more aggression to come.

While the U.S. and E.U. have condemned the use of force, they’ve been unwilling or unable to take a tougher stance. Azerbaijan is a close partner of both critical NATO ally Turkey and of Israel, and has also stepped up exports of natural gas to Europe as part of efforts to wean the continent off Russian fossil fuels. On top of that, Azerbaijan maintains it was only acting to take control of its internationally-recognized territories, and insists that makes it an entirely internal issue.

But concerns have been growing that Azerbaijan could be planning an invasion of Armenia itself to seize a strategically important transport route that would link it up with Turkey — known as the Zangezur Corridor. Armenia’s new ambassador to the E.U, Tigran Balayan has said his country expects the attack “within weeks.”

Now though, both Azerbaijan and Armenia are saying a long-awaited peace deal could be done over the next few months instead. Speaking to POLITICO, Azerbaijani foreign policy chief Hikmet Hajiyev insisted there was no plan for a confrontation and that the corridor project “has lost its attractiveness for us” because of alternative routes through neighboring Iran.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, meanwhile, said last week that a final ceasefire could be signed soon — and unveiled a “Crossroads for Peace” project designed to bolster transport links with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The move would be a major blow to Russia, which still has troops patrolling Armenia’s closed borders — once the frontier between the Soviet Union and NATO. With talk of peace in our time, Pashinyan has even hinted it might be time to tell Moscow’s military to leave once and for all.

The efforts to secure a diplomatic settlement would also be touted as a win in Washington and Brussels, despite the mass exodus and shattered lives as a result of last month’s war. Behind the scenes, Western diplomats have been fighting to avoid a repeat of the violence and prevent the worst case scenario from coming about.

And, at a time when Russia is reportedly seeking to stretch the West thin between conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and in Africa, it would be a rare moment where calmer heads prevailed and chaos could be averted. Only time will tell if that’s the case — but both Armenia and Azerbaijan are, for the moment, optimistic.

Armenpress: Armenian FM, newly appointed ambassador of Canada meet


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 18, ARMENPRESS.  On October 18, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan received Andrew Turner, newly-appointed Ambassador of Canada to Armenia on the occasion of handing over the copies of his credentials, the foreign ministry said in a readout.

Congratulating the Аmbassador, Minister Mirzoyan expressed confidence that as the first resident Ambassador of Canada to Armenia, with his activities, he will give a significant impetus to the Armenian-Canadian friendly relations, which are already developing on good bases, and to their further strengthening and deepening. In this context, the importance of the decision of Canada to open an Embassy in Yerevan was mutually highlighted, which indicates the mutual willingness to expand the dynamically developing Armenian-Canadian agenda in different directions.

Ararat Mirzoyan emhpasised that Ambassador Turner assumed his mission during a very challenging period for Armenia. The importance of strong support to democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia was emphasised. Views were exchanged on the process aimed at establishing stability in the region and current main issues.

Touching upon the regional security situation, Minister Mirzoyan stressed the need to name what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh by its exact definition, to adequately meet the primary needs of more than 100,000 Armenians forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing policy, as well as addressing their rights.

During the meeting interlocutors also emphasised the importance of mutual high-level visits.

Issue of Karabakh conflict completely settled

MEHR News Agency, Iran
Oct 17 2023

TEHRAN, Oct. 17 (MNA) – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has stated that the subject of the Karabakh conflict is finally closed.

"The issue of the Karabakh conflict has been settled for good. <…> This is a great joy," he said at a meeting with representatives from the Fuzuli District in Karabakh, TASS reported.

Azerbaijan regained full control of its territory of Karabakh last month after conducting an operation.

Authorities in Baku have repeatedly said they will protect the rights and ensure the security of Armenian residents in Karabakh in accordance with Azerbaijan's law.

The EU invited the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia for peace talks in Granada, Spain, on Oct. 5, but Baku declined because France and Germany were opposed to Turkey's participation.


Armenia Stands Alone

TGP – The GeoPolitics
Oct 4 2023

zerbaijan has brilliantly completed in one single day its military campaign to restore the country’s full control over Karabakh, thus effectively ending 30 years of separatism there. The region was home to approximately 100,000 ethnic Armenians, who refused to disarm after the “44-day war” back in 2020. This latest “one-day” conflict could initiate challenging peace negotiations for Armenia with Azerbaijan.

Another option though, if Armenia further fails an agreement to provide Zangezur pass for Azerbaijan to its exclave Nakhichevan (please see map) – then this might trigger another military escalation between the two countries, which considering the on-going war in Ukraine will be hard to be stopped either by the EU, US, or Russia (the latter has its military base in Armenia). Another geopolitical outcome could be that final resolution of separatism in Caucasus could trigger cascading resolution of several other frozen conflicts in Georgia and Moldova, instigated with the Russian involvement from the 1990s to 2008.

On Sept. 20, 2023, after massive shelling of separatist military targets, more than 200 Armenian separatists were killed and 400 to 700 wounded, air defense and other military facilities were destroyed in the first few hours according to Azerbaijani sources. Azerbaijan has lost 191 soldiers and militias. Further resistance was recognized as futile, and the Armenian separatists agreed to an unconditional ceasefire and disarmament. The parties started negotiations, and a humanitarian corridor was opened for civilians wishing to leave the war zone, which according to the latest data provided by Armenia has already been used by 100 thousand people, or almost all Armenian population in Karabakh. According to UN observers, there were no cases of ethnic cleansing registered.  The Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh was asked not to leave the places of permanent deployment during the hostilities in order to avoid casualties, which they took advantage of and their further peace-keeping mission in Azerbaijan hardly makes any sense.

As Azerbaijani media later reported, the parties agreed on “70% of the issues” during the negotiations, and we could assume that the remaining 30% is the disagreement on the Zangezur corridor from Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan region.

The vital for Azerbaijan Zangezur pass was part of the agreements achieved following the 2020 year’s 44-day war. However, Armenia now again seems unwilling to give in, which is indirectly confirmed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that Armenia is not a party to the conflict between the Karabakh separatists and Baku. However, opening this corridor to Nakhichevan is a key condition for Azerbaijan to normalize relations between the two countries and, if unresolved, inexorably threatens a new round of hostilities between the two countries, the readiness for which Azerbaijani President Aliyev has already spoken about in recent speeches.

The Zangezur transportation route existed in the Soviet era in the form of a railroad and highway route but was dismantled by Armenia in the 1990s after the First Nagorno-Nagorno-Karabakh War, disrupting logistics and communications between Azerbaijan and its exclave. Following the first hostilities in the 1980’s over 300.000 Azeries left Armenia, and almost 500.00 from Karabakh captured by Armenian forces and separatisits, thus turning themselves into fugitives, they had to flee to  safety in Azerbaijan, with many registered cases of mass killings by Armenian militia registered at this time, over 2.000 still missing. Today Azerbaijan wants to fully restore the corridor in Zangezur region, which was previously inhabited by Azeries and this would also provide it the shortest route to Turkey.

The restoration of the corridor, although it would have positive economic benefits to land-locked Armenia itself, was strongly opposed by Iran, declaring it would intervene in case of military action by Azerbaijan. However, after Turkey and, unexpectedly for many analysts, Pakistan, stated that Iran should not interfere in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Iran walked back its rhetoric

One key roadblock to Azerbaijan restoring the corridor militarily is that it is located within Armenia’s internationally recognized borders. If Baku was to send troops, it should formally trigger common defense treaty between Armenia and Russia. However, the 5,000-strong Russian contingent in Armenia is insufficient to confront Azerbaijan’s 60,000-strong force, which has significantly improved its combat capability over the past three years, while the Armenian forces have not recovered. Last week’s results showed that both these factors make it impossible to confront Azerbaijani forces, and there is no hope for effective help from the West, which is busy with the war in Ukraine.

Again, there is an active position of Turkey in this issue on the side of Azerbaijan, and the West itself is likely to be interested in squeezing Russia and its base from the South Caucasus. In fact, popular resentment by Armenians at Kremlin’s non-involvement in the last war and loss of Karabakh, will most probably instigate Armenia leaving its military alliance with Russia.

In fact, Armenia now finds itself in a geopolitical stalemate and strategic dead end. Turkish President Erdogan visited Baku recently and possibly discussed a formal meeting of the leaders of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, which should resolve the issue of the Zangezur corridor. Otherwise, if such resolution fails then another military escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be almost imminent. Aliyev has already demonstrated twice successful utilization of a unique historical opportunity (the 44-day war broke out amid the pandemic lockdown) and he is unlikely to miss Armenia’s current isolation and weakness this time either.

Another important geopolitical consequence of successfully ending Karabakh separatism by Azerbaijan, could be unfreezing of other similar problems, namely in neighboring Georgia and Moldova. Their situations though differ from each other and have their own peculiarities. Georgia’s military capabilities are disproportionately lower than Azerbaijan, which spent almost $3 billion per annum on military build-up over the last ten years, or almost 5% of its GDP, while Georgia spends only $0.5 billion, or less than 2% of its GDP and has to face Russian forces, which on the other hand are much weaker due to war in Ukraine. Another point to consider is that the current Georgian government does not appear to be ready to escalate tensions with Russia in order to restore its territorial integrity over its break-away separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The situation in Moldova is no radically different in terms of its military capabilities, but Russia’s weakening leaves their 2.000 strong contingent in Dniestr without any back-up and there is no doubt that the West is likely to provide all the necessary military assistance to Moldova to eliminate the last hotbed of Trans-Dniestr  separatism in Eastern Europe.

[Photo by, via Wikimedia Commons]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

Kuat Dombay

The author is the Director at the Center for Central Asia Studies “C5+” and a former career diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakhstan. His diplomatic postings included Kazakh embassies in Seoul, New Delhi and London.

Turkey’s demands on shutting down Armenian nuclear power plant are inappropriate and outdated – lawmaker

 14:59, 3 October 2023

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 3, ARMENPRESS. Turkey’s demands on Armenia shutting down its nuclear power plant are ‘inappropriate and outdated’, Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Sargis Khandanyan has said.

“Armenia has its strategy around energy security. Such demands are inappropriate and outdated. Armenia will proceed in a way that stems from our energy security,” the MP said, adding that there’ve been numerous such demands.

He said that the whole world is shifting to atomic energy regarding hydrocarbon reserves.

Turkey has appealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency with a request on shutting down the Armenian nuclear power plant.

However, just last year the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said he was pleased to see the safety and security improvements made to the Metsamor Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.