Hoffmann hopes German foreign policy in the South Caucasus to be value-based

 17:57, 2 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 2, ARMENPRESS.  Dustin Hoffmann, a German human rights activist , the head of the office and political adviser to German MEP Martin Sonneborn, believes that the European Union has a huge responsibility to support Armenia. He noted with satisfaction that France acted in that regard and helped Armenia in developing its defense capabilities, expressing hope that Germany, which for many years has conditioned its policy in the South Caucasus based on economic interests, will also change its approach.

Dustin Hoffman said  in an interview with Armenpress Brussels correspondent.  

“With Armenia moving away from Russia, the EU has a huge responsibility to support Armenia. It is good to see that France acted further by helping Armenia with what it needed: defense capabilities. I very much hope that Germany will also change its policy regarding the South Caucasus. Due to Germany’s contribution to the Armenian Genocide in 1915, there is a strong moral responsibility to prevent any further escalation. It is important to note that all the failures in the past should not stop the German government from changing its course. Better late than never,” he said.

Referring to the main purpose of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s visit to Armenia, Hoffmann said that in the past, Germany’s foreign policy in the South Caucasus was mainly to Azerbaijan’s benefit.

 “Although Azerbaijan was frequently using military force, Germany deepened the economic relationship with the regime in Baku.  Now when there is a risk of a regional conflict which could involve neighboring states like Iran and Turkey, such an escalation would not be in Germany’s interest because it jeopardizes the region’s stability. Also, Armenia started to move away from its partnership with Russia. Given the West’s current stance towards Russia, there is a strong interest in supporting such developments,’’ said Hoffmann.

Responding to the question about the place of Armenia and the developments in Nagorno-Karabakh in the political agenda of Germany's foreign relations, Hoffmann answered: “In the past, German foreign policy in the South Caucasus was not value-based but instead prioritised economic interests. Also, it seems like there is a lack of understanding of the conflict’s dynamics. Ms Baerbock did not comment on Azerbaijan’s blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh for months, and when she did, it was already too late.’’ 

He also criticized the German Foreign Minister for his speech at the UN Security Council after Azerbaijan’s assault in September when she said that, Baku and Karabakh Armenians have to return to a dialogue”.

According to Hoffmann, such a statement was inappropriate after such a brutal attack by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh.

Speaking about the possibility of the EU imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan, Hoffmann said: “Currently, sanctions are unrealistic because there is no unanimity in the EU. Borrell’s statement of condemnation after Azerbaijan’s aggression was supposed to be a statement of 27 EU member states, which Hungary consequently vetoed. If the EU is not able to condemn Azerbaijan’s aggressions, it is doubtful that there will be consensus on sanctions. This is tragic, especially since the European Parliament already called for sanctions months ago. It is possible that more pressure would have prevented Azerbaijan from resorting to military force. Impunity encourages Baku.’’

 He also stated that the EU's foreign policy related to the South Caucasus has failed: “The EU’s foreign policy regarding the South Caucasus is a major failure. In the recent resolution, the European Parliament expressed it in an unusually blunt way: "The European Parliament expresses deep dissatisfaction at the fact that regular alerts by Parliament regarding the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the risks of a catastrophic outcome have been disregarded,’’he said.

Hoffmann also criticized the European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the signed memorandum on increasing gas supplies from Azerbaijan, although Aliyev’s fondness for military force was not a secret.

Hoffman positively assessed the activity of the EU observation mission in Armenia.

“The EU Monitoring Mission seems to be a success since it can have a deterrent effect and enables accountability for the EU leadership,’’ Hoffmann said.

  Lilit Gasparyan

Sts. Vartanantz Church community raises more than $20,000 for displaced families of Artsakh

Sts. Vartanantz Church Aramian Auditorium, Oct. 28, 2023

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—More than 100 people came together for a sold-out steak dinner in support of the displaced people of Artsakh on Saturday, October 28 at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Providence. Generous community members collectively donated $23,000 to benefit the Armenians of Artsakh through the Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Foundation.

The presence of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, who came to share what he learned about the needs of the displaced during his recent trip to Armenia, along with church pastor Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian and retired pastor Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, lent reverence to the somber evening.

The mural, We are Artsakh, by the Providence Homenetmen

Displayed above the stage was a large mural created by the Providence Homenetmen scouts of tri-colored handprints surrounding an image of the “We Are Our Mountains” monument in Artsakh painted by Anahid Donoyan. “Their hands are reaching out to touch the hands of those children affected by the war and genocide that just took place,” Board of Trustees chairman Levon Attarian explained about the mural’s symbolism. Attarian went on to cite the widely-quoted words by William Saroyan about the growth of community that happens when Armenians come together. “I guarantee you that the Artsakhtsis will build our new Armenia in the coming years,” Attarian said.

Sts. Vartanantz Church Chairman of the Board of Trustees Levon Attarian (Photo: Berge Zobian)

Rhode Island State Senator David P. Tikoian regretted being unable to attend the dinner and sent a message that Attarian read on his behalf. As always, Sen. Tikoian expressed pride in his Armenian heritage and devotion to his community, church and people. “It is beyond comprehension, after 108 years, that Armenians would once again be subjected to an ethnic cleansing. This is not the time to feel beaten down; it’s a time to be what Armenians are known for, being strong and being survivors! My friends, our people need our help now more than ever,” Sen. Tikoian wrote. Attarian concluded the message by announcing Sen. Tikoian’s donation of $500 to the Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Foundation, which is overseeing the distribution of the funds collected by the church.

Before welcoming His Eminence Archbishop Tanielian to speak, Rev. Fr. Nazarian offered his sincere gratitude to the Board of Trustees and the entire community for their support and charitable works. Fr. Kapriel noted that Board Chairman Attarian and Vice-Chairman Arees Khatchadourian had been outside manning the grills and cooking the steaks before coming in and changing for dinner. He also said that the event was the brainchild of Board member Charles Mouradjian. 

Sts. Vartanantz Church pastor Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian (Photo: Berge Zobian)

Archbishop Tanielian, recently returned from Armenia, offered to address the community about his findings upon learning that Fr. Kapriel and the Board were hoping for someone to provide firsthand knowledge of the conditions faced by the Armenians of Artsakh. His Eminence went to Armenia with a delegation designated by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I. 

Archbishop Tanielian said that he’s been to Armenia many times previously, “but this time was the most difficult time.” The delegation visited about 1,000 displaced families who were forced to leave Artsakh. “We were uprooted from our 5,000-year-old land, traditions, sacred churches and more,” he said, stressing that it is heartbreaking to be cut off from your ancestral land.  

His Eminence recounted meeting with men whose fathers had fought and died in the First Artsakh War. “Imagine, Srpazan, now we cannot visit our own fathers’ graves,” they told him. “1915 is not the past. 1915 is the present. It is ongoing, the history of the annihilation of our nation,” Archbishop Tanielian said. “It is very difficult to describe what we witnessed.”

He recounted his message to the displaced families of Artsakh, a message he takes to every parish he visits around the world. “No matter what you lose—house, belongings, family members—no matter what you lose, please don’t lose your faith in God,” he entreated them. “The very center of our existence is trusting in God. When we trust in God, eventually we renew ourselves. Who could have imagined after 1915 that we would create prosperous communities in the four corners of the world? That’s how God works mysteriously.”

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian addressing the community (Photo: Berge Zobian)

He went on to praise the work of the Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Foundation, established by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of blessed memory, which has been in service to the nation for 30 years, taking care of orphans and other charitable acts. Initially, the foundation provided the immediate necessities and distributed 50,000 drams to each displaced family. His Eminence said that much more will be done based on the needs of the people through trusted partners of the foundation, including helping families to have homes in communities together so they stay in Armenia.

His Eminence said they tried to bring the families, who are in such a desperate situation, “a message of faith, hope and love—faith in God, hope for the future and love for our nation.” Archbishop Tanielian thanked the community on behalf of the Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy. “We are one nation, with one vision and one future,” he said. “Our people’s heart is more precious than gold.” 

Pauline Getzoyan is editor of the Armenian Weekly and an active member of the Rhode Island Armenian community. A longtime member of the Providence ARF and ARS, she also is a former member of the ARS Central Executive Board. A longtime advocate for genocide education through her work with the ANC of RI, Pauline is co-chair of the RI branch of The Genocide Education Project. In addition, she has been an adjunct instructor of developmental reading and writing in the English department at the Community College of Rhode Island since 2005.

Government to aim for 7% growth in 2024


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 30, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian government will aim at ensuring 7% economic growth in 2024, Finance Minister Vahe Hovhannisyan told lawmakers Monday.

“Regarding the predictions of economic growth, given the latest developments we believe that in 2023 we will ensure at least 7,2% economic growth. The budget originally forecast 7%. And for 2024 we continue to target 7% economic growth,” Hovhannisyan said.

The services sector will be the moving force of the growth.

Great efforts should be made so that the Armenians of Karabakh want to return there– PM

 23:41, 25 October 2023

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 25, ARMENPRESS. Taking into account the fact of ethnic cleansing, starving people, in fact, forced displacement, very great efforts should be made so that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh would have the desire to return there, if the possibility of this realistically exists.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this in an interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Yaroslav Trofimov.
In response to the question about the future of 100,000 Armenians who had to leave Nagorno-Karabakh, Nikol Pashinyan answered: ‘’There is a short-term future, there is a medium-term future and there is a long-term future. In the short term, our task is to meet the most urgent needs of our compatriots who have become refugees. In the medium term we want them to have decent opportunities for living. Our approach is that if they do not have the opportunity or desire to return to Nagorno-Karabakh, we should do everything for them to stay, live, and create in the Republic of Armenia.’’
The Prime Minister noted: “Their future largely depends on what proposal Azerbaijan will make to them, or what position it will take, or what conditions Azerbaijan will create. And in this regard, will the international community encourage it and what will it support? Taking into account the fact of ethnic cleansing, starving people, in fact, forced displacement, very great efforts should be made so that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh would have the desire to return there, if the possibility of this realistically exists.  There are questions that can even reach a dozen. The first is how realistically this possibility exists, and if it exists, to what extent people will trust this possibility? These are very serious and deep issues.

Armenia does not oppose its ideas of peace to the regional interests of peace: Armenian PM

 23:59, 25 October 2023

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 25, ARMENPRESS. The Republic of Armenia can be peaceful if our region is peaceful. That's why Armenia does not oppose its ideas of peace in any way to the regional interests of peace and does not separate them from them. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this in an interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Yaroslav Trofimov.

Answering the correspondent’s following question: “The international environment has obviously changed in the last three years and in the war in Ukraine, Russia and the USA, together with its allies, are at opposite sides. In your opinion, how did Russia's invasion of Ukraine impact Armenia's security environment?” Nikol Pashinyan expressed his belief  that all the events taking place are interconnected by internal connections, including the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

“ Of course those impacts are very direct and now in the modern world they are felt, visible and significant even thousands of kilometers away, but the events you mention are happening in our region, near our transport routes, or on our transport routes.

But also our reaction to the events is that our region needs peace, and we consider it important to pursue this policy consistently, because you see, there is a very important nuance that I mentioned again in my speech in the European Parliament, which sometimes can remain unnoticed, unrecorded. When we say that we have a peace agenda, the Republic of Armenia can be peaceful if our region is peaceful, there cannot be such a situation that our region is not peaceful, but the Republic of Armenia is peaceful. And for that reason, we do not oppose or separate our ideas of peace from the regional interests of peace in any way. And this is a very important wording, a very important feature that I would like to emphasize,’’ Pashinyan noted.

“If we look at the history of relations between the Armenian people and Russia over the centuries, this tension that we see now, I would not call it break necessarily, but maybe for many people the feeling of being betrayed, how historical is this tension?” asked Trofimov.

You know, if you emphasize the historical context, in that historical context I would not so much emphasize the relations between Armenia, the Armenian people and Russia, as I would emphasize the relations between Armenia and Turkey or between Armenia and the Turkish-speaking peoples of the region, or rather, Armenia's relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Here are all the questions and here are the answers to all the questions. And I bring forward this logic that we should work, first of all, to improve our relations in our region, with whom we have good relations, to make those relations better. We are talking about Georgia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. And with countries, with which we have strained relations or no relations at all,  we should create these relations and try to move forward step by step.

It is a very important circumstance and, frankly speaking, I do not have the answer to that question and I am trying to find the answer to the question what Armenia should do. It is very important to what extent we will be able to formulate regional interests, moreover, in this context, we can understand regional interests a little narrower and a little wider, in the context of the South Caucasus and in a wider context.

Much depends on to what extent we will be able to formulate regional interests, because when there are no formulated regional interests, tensions begin to arise between the interests of sovereign countries, which, if not managed, turn into escalations and wars. But the correct and competent way to manage these tensions is to have an understanding of regional interests, because you know, we cannot make all the countries and peoples of the region to be identical, with identical thinking, identical ideas, perceptions and so on, and there is no need to do that, because what becomes a cause of contradictions can sometimes become a cause of complementarity, not to mention that these cultures, histories, traditions can complement each other.

But it is necessary to find that formula of how to formulate and arrange them so that they do not collide, but complement one another.

In other words, it’s not so that we have defined the task but we cannot solve it, we just have not defined the task, that is, we still do not have the title. Now I think we should have that title and try to create content under that title. 

I cannot boast of the fact that we are doing this work in the region to a sufficient extent, but I think that if we stay within the framework of those agreements that are already known and about which I have spoken, the chances that something similar will happen will increase,'' the Prime Minister said.

Pashinyan congratulates Czech Prime Minister on National Day


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has congratulated Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala on the Czech National Day.

"I warmly congratulate you on the national holiday of the Czech Republic,” PM Pashinyan said in a letter addressed to PM Fiala published by his office. “I am pleased to note the activation of interstate relations between Armenia and the Czech Republic in the current year. I fondly remember our meeting and constructive discussion within the framework of my official visit to the Czech Republic in May of this year. I highly appreciate the Czech Republic's support for democratic reforms in Armenia, as well as for the process of establishing and strengthening peace and stability in our region. Taking this opportunity, I wish new successes to you, and peace and prosperity to the friendly people of the Czech Republic,” the Armenian PM said.

Armenia is committed to peace agenda in the region: Deputy Speaker of Parliament


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 26, ARMENPRESS. Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Armenia Hakob Arshakyan gave a speech at the 147th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The full speech is presented below:

“Madam President,

Excellences, heads of the Parliaments

Fellow parliamentarians,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to thank our Angolan hosts for the excellent organization of the Assembly and warm hospitality extended to all delegates.

The 16th goal of sustainable development is dedicated to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

However, ongoing, and new violent conflicts around the world are derailing the global path to peace and achievement of Goal 16. Alarmingly, the year 2022 witnessed more than 50 per cent increase in conflict-related civilian deaths – the first since the adoption of Agenda 2030.

High level of armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development.

Dear Colleagues,

While speaking about peace and justice let me address the situation in the South Caucasus region.

On 19 September unfortunately Azerbaijan launched one more large-scale aggression against the people of Nagorno Karabakh violating international law and the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020 which they signed.

The military attack showcased that the goal was to finalize the ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population from Nagorno Karabakh, as well as involving the Republic of Armenia into a new war. The aggression resulted in hundreds of victims and injured, including civilian population, women and children. Over one hundred thousand people were forcibly displaced from Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia.

It is sad, extremely sad, that despite hundreds of alarms, decisions of the International Court of Justice, resolutions of the European Parliament, PACE and the parliaments of individual countries, appeals of executive bodies, the international community, we all were unable to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The attack followed more than nine months of blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia and the rest of the world. Blockade affected electricity, gas, food and medical supplies, emergency healthcare. The International Court of Justice made two rulings on lifting the blockade and opening the Corridor. However, these rulings were never implemented by Azerbaijan. This was the prelude to the ethnic cleansing that reached its aim in the following days.

The government of Armenia and people did everything to receive and shelter more than 100,000 Armenians – victims of the ethnic cleansing in Nagorno Karabakh. We could receive them due to the people of Armenia and democracy.

People, because sometimes they did not wait for what the government would do. They provided their forcibly displaced compatriots with essential goods and temporary shelter. And the democracy, because due to Democracy and open economy non-corrupt government we had enough economy growth to support 100,000 people of Nagorno Karabakh.

We are grateful to our international partners, which have already made and/or will continue to make allocations aimed at overcoming the humanitarian crisis caused by the forced displacement of Nagorno Karabakh Armenians.

Around 150km square still stands occupied by Azerbaijan due to aggression against internationally recognized sovereign territory Armenia.

Armenia does not have territorial claims to its neighbors, Armenia is committed to peace agenda in the region. Armenia’s position is to establish peaceful relations based on the mutual recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

Armenia and Azerbaijan should open their roads for each other, border and other relevant control services should operate, based on the jurisdiction, sovereignty, and legislation of the countries. This should be done based on the principle of reciprocity and equality: Stretching from East to the West, the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, North to South, from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea. We name this project the Crossroads of Peace.

Armenia is ready to ensure the safety of cargo, vehicles, people, pipelines, electric lines in its territory, because the Crossroads of Peace implies the passage of pipelines and power lines as well. We call on international partners to take part in this large-scale project.

The peace agenda in our region does not have an alternative. We are committed to the path of democracy to achieve a stable and lasting peace. We are resolute in our choice and are looking forward to the support by our international partners.

Thank you very much for your attention.”

Armenian Cultural Student Association hosts speaker panel to discuss historical context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

University of Virginia
Oct 18 2023
By Caroline Hagood

October 18, 2023

The Armenian Cultural Student Association hosted a speaker panel Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss the historical context of the century-long tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, following Azerbaijan’s recent reclaim of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region. The panel included Politics lecturer Dr. Yuri Urbanovich, History Prof. Chris Gratien and History Prof. Kyrill Kunakhovich. 

Susanna Kharatyan, ACSA president and third-year College student, said the panel event was organized because of the importance for the University community to talk about the Nagorno-Karabakh situation, considering how underrepresented the conflict is at the University. 

“It is a very controversial topic, but I think it's important for us to create a space where we could get professors to talk about the topic and raise awareness,” Kharatyan said. 

Azerbaijan’s military captured the Nagorno-Karabakh region Sept. 19, which for the last several decades was under the control of a separatist, de facto government. Since then, over 100,000 Armenians have been displaced from the region.

Dozens of students showed up to the event, hosted in the Student Health and Wellness Building, to listen to the panelists present on the conflict’s historical context from the perspective of their various academic disciplines and specialties. The presentations were followed by audience questions at the end. 

Gratien, whose specialty is migration and the Middle East, focused on the displacement of Armenians, emphasizing the cultural significance and symbolism of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“100,000 people leaving what they consider ancestral lands, leaving villages that have been there for a very long time, is a very big deal in world historical terms,” Gratien said. “It means losing everything.”

Gratien also said the current displacement is particularly traumatic because it is not the first time Armenians have been displaced on mass scale, referring to the Armenian Genocide in 1915 where nearly 1.2 million Armenians died in a conflict with the Ottoman Empire. 

Urbanovich then provided the historical context of the regional dispute in the context of relations with Russia. Urbanovich said, in his opinion, it is doubtful to expect military intervention in the region from Russian forces or Western forces.

Kunakhovich also discussed the geo-political background of the dispute and explained how control of the territory has changed over the last two centuries. After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the Soviet Union controlled the Nagorno-Karabakh region for most of the 20th century, until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the area became contested again between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

“We see the ethnic cleansing and un-mixing of populations that has been a consistent trap throughout the century,” Kunakhovich said. 

One audience member asked if the panel believed that there would be more presence from the United States in the conflict if Turkey was not a member of NATO, referencing Turkey’s support of the Azerbaijan military in the recent attack. Kunakhovich said he did not, considering how difficult it is to maintain American public support in more strategic zones. 

“It seems very hard for me to imagine the U.S. wanting to exercise much direct presence,” Kunakhovich said. 

Kharatyan said though the current situation is a deeply emotional and personal issue for many Amenians, she hopes they can work towards a more harmonious future through communication.

“We hope to humanize rather than politicize,” Kharatyan said. “We firmly believe that advocating for peace and the wellbeing of innocent civilians transcends any political boundaries or ideologies.” 


AW: ANCA testimony calls for an end to Israeli arms sales to Azerbaijan

ANCA Programs Director Alex Galitsky offered ANCA testimony urging America’s next Ambassador to Israel to advance U.S. interests by working to end Israeli arms sales to Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), in testimony submitted this week to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called upon America’s next ambassador to Israel to advance U.S. interests by working to end Israeli arms sales to Azerbaijan and encouraging Israel to join with the U.S. government and the American people in recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

In testimony submitted by Programs Director Alex Galitsky, the ANCA explained that up to 70-percent of Azerbaijan’s arsenal is sourced in Israel, and that these weapons – among them illegal cluster munitions, missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles – played a central role in Azerbaijan’s subjugation and ethnic cleansing of Artsah (Nagorno-Karabakh), and the perpetration of war crimes against Artsakh’s population, including targeting civilian infrastructure, churches, schools and medical facilities.

“As a party to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resolution process, the United States has a responsibility to ensure that our military partners are not undermining long-term prospects for peace by pouring fuel on raging regional fires,” stated Galitsky. He further stressed that the U.S. must ensure that “any Israeli military technology that is jointly developed with or subsidized by the U.S. is not used in a way that further undermines U.S. interests, promotes regional instability or violates international law.”

Regarding the Armenian Genocide, the ANCA urged that Israel Ambassador-designate Jacob Lew “impress upon the leadership of Israel, a nation of genocide survivors, the moral imperative of ending its denial of the Armenian Genocide and joining with the American people in honest recognition and remembrance of this crime.” As U.S. Treasury Secretary during the Obama administration, Lew led a U.S. delegation to Armenia on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015.

The ANCA testimony went on to note that our U.S. ambassador should raise with the Israeli government the growing number of violations of the rights of Armenians and other faith-based and ethnic groups in Jerusalem. According to U.S. State Department human rights and religious freedom reports, “numerous cases of extremists spitting on and physically assaulting Christian clergy and pilgrims – including Armenians.”

“Such hate crimes need to be confronted wherever they take place,” stated Galitsky.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.