Nassim Taleb: Painful that Mt. Ararat is in Turkey, Armenia is having territorial reductions, Armenia
Nov 30 2023

It is very interesting to come and see a country that he knows a lot about and whose cultural importance he is aware of. World-famous Lebanese American philosopher, writer, and scientist Nassim Taleb said this during the press conference held Thursday within the framework of the Science and Business Days 2023 conference in Yerevan

Taleb said he has always been interested in genetics. There were three waves related to the migration of Armenians to Lebanon. He lives in the West, naturally, he communicates with the Armenian diaspora there, and we know that the Armenian diaspora has many expert abilities and is very skilled. So, Armenia is somehow a source of inspiration for him, he feels very familiar in Armenia, like at home, Taleb said.

Nassim Taleb, however, speaks with pain about the recent events in Armenia. Today the situation is very sad because we know that during the time of King Tigranes the Great, there was Armenia from sea to sea, as the territory of Armenia reached the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, however, we have constantly seen territorial reductions in Armenia, and this last shock was also severe, said Taleb.

It is painful for Nassim Taleb that Mt. Ararat is currently located in the territory of Turkey. Armenian culture is very widespread, it even reaches Jerusalem, and today we see that even in Jerusalem this territorial reduction is happening. It is very hard that we are witnessing Armenian ethnic cleansing. What should be done? Maybe inform the world more about it, Taleb said.

Hyeminds 2023: A Special Evening in Support of AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School

By Ani Nigoghosian

BOSTON—The AMAA Boston Child Care Committee successfully presented “Hyeminds” as over 130 guests and supporters gathered at the Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley, Massachusetts to benefit and support the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School in Yerevan, Armenia. 

Special guests included Pamela Avedisian, keynote presenters Garen and Emiliya Bagdasarian of APRIS Wines, and a representation of area clergy. Per its website, the “Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School (AHS) is an educational institution that provides outstanding K-12 holistic, tuition-free education in a modern, environmentally friendly building, using state-of-the-art facilities in the low-income southwest Yerevan district of Malatia-Sebastia. AHS was established in 1998 by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) thanks to the vision and generosity of its benefactors, Edward and Pamela Avedisian.”

Event co-chairs Talin Abidian and Cara Haleblian created a beautiful evening of entertainment with a purpose. The event began with a lively cocktail hour, where guests were treated to musical entertainment provided by John Baboian while having the opportunity to view and bid on an extensive variety of silent auction items, including sports memorabilia, a wine-pull including Armenian wines and a variety of Armenia related items. 

The event co-chairs then made introductory statements to set the tone for the event. “Hope comes in a familiar form—the AMAA. The reason why we’re all here is to make a difference, to give hope to all the children in our homeland by making the dream of an education a reality,” they said. “To our generous donors, we’ve been blown away by your gestures of support. Thank you for helping to give our young Armenian thinkers a chance to reach for the stars.”

Event MC Ara Balian introduced Rev. Father Arakel Aljalian of the St. James Armenian Apostolic Church to open the evening in prayer. Laurie Onanian presented a video discussing not just the life of her uncle Ed Avedisian, but his lifetime of philanthropy and dedication to the school, detailing how the school began and its vital role in the lives of the underprivileged children it serves.

Featured keynote presenters Garen Bagdasarian, Founder and CEO, and his daughter Emiliya Bagdasarian, Project Manager, of APRIS Wines, then provided an entertaining and informative presentation of their family’s winery, which was located in the heart of Artsakh. Emiliya spoke on Armenia’s important historical role in the wine industry and how the “terroir,” that is, conditions most conducive for the production of wine, was extremely favorable in Artsakh. Given that Garen Bagdasarian had deep family roots in the area, it was a natural decision to base their winery there. Emiliya described both the joys of their experience in Artsakh, from bottling their wine and seeing it to market, to the happy occasion of celebrating her own wedding at the winery this past summer. However, the sorrow of losing Artsakh hit the family hard. As the waging war grew closer, APRIS lost valued workers, friends and ultimately the winery itself. But hope continues to remain strong in the Bagdasarian family, as Emiliya concluded, “We haven’t given up. We will continue.” 

The ongoing suffering in Artsakh and the need to provide immediate help was a theme that ran throughout the evening. Boston Child Care Committee member Jeanmarie Papelian, Esq. spoke passionately of the school’s response to the developing situation. “Enrollment at the Avedisian School is currently at maximum capacity, with 100-percent of graduates going on to university.” Papelian reported that since the evacuation of Artsakh, the school “has taken on more than 40 students, with plans of taking on even more.”

Hyeminds event guests

Special thanks and grateful acknowledgement are extended to Baboian, photography services donated by Kat and Aram Orchanian (, grand benefactors Pamela Avedisian, John and Michele Simourian and Boston Child Care Committee co-chairs Susan Adamian Covo and Phyllis Dohanian. 

“I am amazed at the power of love, dedication and care that the Boston Child Care Committee pours towards the children of Armenia and Artsakh. Now more than ever, every contribution makes a colossal difference in the lives of these children. Their smiles are our reward, and our love is a reflection from the Almighty,” said Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO.

Ongoing donations are gratefully supported and may be made through the AMAA.

The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) was founded in 1918, in Worcester, MA, and incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 1920 in the State of New York. We are a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Our purpose is to serve the physical and spiritual needs of people everywhere, both at home and overseas. To fulfill this worldwide mission, we maintain a range of educational, evangelistic, relief, social service, church and child care ministries in 24 countries around the world.

Armenia marks new era with French military purchases

Nov 28 2023

By Neil Hauer in Yerevan 

After months of speculation and waiting, Armenia’s growing defence partnership with France finally became tangible this month.

On November 12, reports emerged from Azerbaijani sources allegedly showing French-made Bastion armoured personnel carriers arriving in Georgia, at the Black Sea port town of Poti. The vehicles were reportedly destined for Armenia, as part of the first known shipment of French military hardware to the South Caucasian country in its history. Georgia’s foreign minister then confirmed that the shipment of 20-odd Bastions was indeed destined for Armenia.

For Armenia, this was a significant milestone. After its army was battered in the 2020 Second Karabakh War, and with its traditional supplier, Russia, both unable and unwilling to send arms shipments, Yerevan has been desperately seeking other procurement partners. Now, having already established a working defence procurement relationship with India, Armenia is hoping that the current French shipment is only the first step of a long partnership.

The arrival of the armoured vehicles came after long negotiations.

“It’s a result of at least year-long negotiations, if not more,” says Leonid Nersisyan, a defence analyst and research fellow at the Yerevan-based Applied Policy Research Institute. “I think the process actively started after the 2020 war. Relations between France and Armenia were always at a pretty high level, and now with better Armenia-EU and Armenia-US relations, these kinds of deals became realistic,” Nersisyan said.

The first official announcement of French arms sales to Armenia came on October 23, when the two countries’ defence ministers met in Paris. That deal included the transfer of three Thales-made Ground Master 200 air detection radars, along with a memorandum on the future sale of Mistral anti-aircraft missile systems. There have also been other reports that France has shipped, or will soon ship, 50 units of the VAB MK3 infantry combat vehicle to Armenia.

“France is the sole Western actor that has been adequately assessing the situation on the ground in the South Caucasus,” said Tigran Grigoryan, head of the Yerevan-based Regional Center and Democracy. “In Paris, there is an understanding that Azerbaijan poses a serious threat to Armenia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the only viable approach to mitigate the risk of a new escalation is to assist Armenia in restoring its military capabilities,” Grigoryan said.

The 44-day war with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 resulted in heavy losses for the Armenian side. After losing control of the skies in the war’s opening days, Armenian forces were devastated by Azerbaijan’s high-tech, precision weaponry, most notably the TB-2 Bayraktar drone. The open source blog Oryx, which tracks and confirms losses based on public imagery, counts 1,676 pieces of Armenian military equipment lost during the war, including 255 tanks, 250 towed artillery pieces, and 39 surface-to-air missile systems.

There has been little breathing room in the three years since that war’s end, too. Azerbaijan has maintained a belligerent posture, launching assaults on either Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia proper every year since then. In May 2021, barely six months after the 2020 ceasefire, Azerbaijani troops occupied heights in two border areas inside Armenia proper, followed by an assault into southern Armenia that November.

September 2022 saw a full-scale Azerbaijani offensive into Armenia itself, capturing dozens of square kilometres of territory in fighting that saw hundreds of casualties. Finally, just two months ago, a 24-hour assault by Azerbaijan on besieged Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in the effective destruction of the enclave and the forced displacement of its 120,000 inhabitants to Armenia.

Now, there are real fears that Azerbaijan will again attack Armenia itself. In this fraught environment, bolstering the country’s military has become a matter of crucial importance.

Replacing, not to mention upgrading, these capabilities will be an enormous undertaking. Alongside French systems, Armenia has been establishing a relationship with another up-and-coming player in the arms industry: India.

Following numerous reports of contracts signed in late 2022, a number of Indian systems arrived in Armenia in summer 2023, including the Pinaka rocket artillery platform and the 155mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (of which 90 units have reportedly been purchased). Numerous contracts for small arms from Indian manufacturers have also been signed, while Armenia will reportedly also purchase anti-drone systems from India’s Zen Technologies.

The capabilities of hardware from each country, as well as the relative prices, dovetail in a way that makes it particularly attractive for Armenia as it addresses its many defence needs, analysts say.

“Indian equipment is important because it could be too expensive for Armenia to rearm only on French equipment,” Nersisyan said. “Armenia needs hundreds of pieces of artillery, not 20 French CAESAR [self-propelled 155mm artillery pieces] that could be the same price. But talking about domains like command and control or air defence – these are the areas where you will definitely see the advantages of top Western technologies. So both [France and India] have a role to play for Armenia,” Nersisyan said.

A major hurdle in the sale of Western military equipment to Armenia had always been the country’s close relationship with Russia. As both a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and a signatory to several bilateral defence treaties with Russia, Yerevan had traditionally relied almost exclusively on Moscow for its defence needs. 

But Armenia’s sharp turn away from Russia in the past year or two has reshaped geopolitical realities in the region, analysts say.

“Armenia's attempt to diversify its foreign policy [away from Russia] undoubtedly played a role in facilitating such transactions,” Grigoryan said.

It is meanwhile Russia’s failure to fulfill its arms contracts with Armenia that has led the latter to seek alternate suppliers. Whether due to unwillingness or inability, particularly following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russia has not fulfilled an arms order from Armenia reportedly worth up to $400 million signed in 2021. Yerevan is reportedly attempting to make Moscow return the funds for the already-paid contract, which Russia has so far refused to do.

Many are now wondering if Russia’s time as an active arms supplier to Armenia is over for good.

“It’s a good question,” Nersisyan said on whether Russia may be finished as a supplier for Armenia. “With Armenia’s current foreign policy shifts, that could definitely happen. The several hundred million dollars of supplies [from 2021] have not arrived, for both political reasons and practical causes, namely Russia’s war on Ukraine. Nowadays, Russia is only supplying the countries which are politically very important for them, like India, [and Armenia] is not one of these,” Nersisyan said.

The recent French-Armenian announcements go beyond arms supplies, as well. French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu declared during the October press conference with his Armenian counterpart that France would also “help Armenia train ground defence forces and support the country's efforts to reform and modernise its military.” Paris will also be deploying a military attache to its embassy in Yerevan to aid in coordinating trainings and identifying future areas for defence purchases.

“I think that’s probably even more important than the [air defence] radars,” said Nersisyan, of the French training mission. “The French minister mentioned that [France] will help with both training [Armenian] ground forces and with doing some kind of audit of our air defence capacities, helping to understand how to modernise it. So I think that’s a very high value thing, and hopefully the Armenian side will be open to such advise and consultations and will be ready to accept the necessary [reforms],” he said.

While these are important steps, Armenia’s efforts in rebuilding and upgrading its armed forces are still in their infancy. Far more needs to be done to achieve some sort of parity, or at least credible deterrent, with their adversary, Azerbaijan. Change is happening, but its pace leaves questions.

“Changes [in the military] are happening, but slower than they should, I suppose,” said Nersisyan. “There is a serious need to speed that up, because [Armenia] is under serious pressure now and doesn’t have a lot of time. But I expect more deliveries from France in the near future, and from India as well. Procurement is historically the easy part [of upgrading a military], but reforms in command and control – those are more difficult.”

French disinformation watchdog links Azerbaijan to 2024 Olympic smear campaign

rfi, France
Nov 15 2023

Paris has linked Azerbaijani figures to a disinformation campaign aimed at tarnishing France's reputation as host of the 2024 Olympic Games.

Diplomatic tensions have simmered between France and Azerbaijan of late, with the ex-Soviet country accusing Paris of supporting its arch enemy Armenia and pursuing a policy of "militarisation" in the South Caucasus.

France is pulling out all the stops to host the 2024 Olympic Games, which will take place from 26 July to 11 August.

According to a report from state digital watchdog Viginum, seen by media outlets this week, an investigation was launched in late July after "several visuals calling for a boycott of the 2024 Olympics" were widely shared on X (formerly Twitter).

Viginum – France's service for Vigilance and Protection against Foreign Digital Interference – alleges the campaign featured images of riots, the city of Paris and also the logo of the Olympic Games, and involved three official X accounts of the games and two hashtags #PARIS2024 and #BOYCOTTPARIS2024.

On 26 and 27 July, more than 1,600 posts accompanied by these visuals or hashtags appeared on X.

Around 90 accounts appear to be behind these posts "suggesting artificial amplification", the report states. 

  • France's Macron says there 'can be no Russian flag' at Paris Olympics

Viginum added that 40 of them were created in July 2023 and only published content calling for a boycott of the Paris Games.

The probe also revealed that of these 90 accounts, "a significant proportion had at least one link to Azerbaijan" such as a photo featuring the Azerbaijani flag, Azerbaijani locations, or excerpts from speeches of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Misspelled place names – Bordo instead of Bordeaux or Monpelye instead of Montpellier – were another "marker of inauthenticity", the report said.

The watchdog has also identified an account at the origin of the online content targeting the Games.

The account @MuxtarYev published 15 visuals calling for a boycott, which were then amplified by inauthentic accounts and picked up by X accounts linked to Azerbaijan – a pattern that "reinforces the hypothesis of a coordinated manoeuvre", Viginum said. 

Created in June 2023, the @MuxtarYev account claims to be located in Azerbaijan. 

The name Muxtar Nagiyev and the account's profile photo coincide with the identity of the chairman of the Sabail district organisation of the New Azerbaijan party, the ex-Soviet country's ruling party.

According to the report, Azerbaijani national Orkhan Rzayev, who runs two companies including Mediamark Digital, could also be linked to the smear campaign.

At the time of the smear campaign, France had repeatedly criticized Azeri authorities over the blocking of the Lachin corridor, the key road that links Armenia to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

Asbarez: Armenia Proposes Border Delimitation Talks with Azerbaijan

The Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it was ready to “re-engage” in talks with Azerbaijan, a day after Baku called for direct — one-on-one — peace negotiations with Yerevan. At the same time, a senior member of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s party said that Yerevan is inclined to continue talks with Baku through the European Union’s mediation efforts.

In calling for direct talks with Armenia, Baku also said the meetings can be held on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.

In its statement on Wednesday, Armenia’s foreign ministry stressed that official Yerevan is ready to re-engage in negotiations, having as a basis “mutual recognition and respect for each other’s territorial integrity without ambiguities, implementation of the further border delimitation based on the [1991] Alma-Ata Declaration and the latest legitimate Soviet maps, the unblocking of the region’s infrastructures based on the principles of full respect for the sovereignty, jurisdiction, reciprocity and equality of the states.”

It said that “despite all the complications and challenges” official Yerevan sees “a real possibility of establishing peace between the two countries, which can be realized if there is political will on both sides, and the Armenian side has that will.”

Armenia’s foreign ministry challenged Baku saying “one of the expressions of this will is also the fact that Armenia proposed to Azerbaijan to hold a meeting of border delimitation commissions on the state frontier between the two countries.”

Azerbaijan has been avoiding Western-mediated talks and backed out of two scheduled meetings, one in Washington this week and another in Granada, Spain last month.

“Those five-way [Granada] and three-way [Washington] meetings had previously been agreed upon, and Yerevan considered it to be more efficient to present [its latest proposals] to Azerbaijan during those meetings,” Armenia’s foreign ministry said.

“Nevertheless, in order to prevent attempts to deadlock the negotiation process and achieve lasting peace in our region, the Republic of Armenia constructively conveyed its observations on the [draft] agreement,” the statement said.

The foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that it had submitted it sixth draft of proposals on a peace deal to Baku.

Sargis Khandanyan, who represents Pashinyan’s Civil Contract faction and heads the parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission, told’s Armenian Service Wednesday that the main principles for Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization were agreed upon by the parties in July when the latest round of EU-mediated talks was held between Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

“Based on this logic, it is necessary to ensure the continuity of those negotiations and continue meetings at the level of the countries’ leaders through the mediation of the European Union, in particular, European Council President Charles Michel,” Khandanyan said.

“But we saw that Azerbaijan rejected both meetings that were scheduled in Granada and Brussels. Nevertheless, Armenia continues to adhere to this logic and wants to achieve settlement within this framework,” Khandanyan added.

The property deal that could threaten Armenian land in Jerusalem, Australia
Nov 22 2023

In the Old City of Jerusalem, 80 kilometres from the war in Gaza, another religious conflict is taking place. An Australian property developer, aided by a group of armed Jewish settlers, has attempted to occupy a prized piece of land in the Armenian Christian quarter. Even though a deal to build a hotel was overturned, Armenian families are threatened with eviction from homes their community has held for centuries. 

Bedross Der Matossian grew up in the Old City. He’s now a professor and expert in genocide studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

We attempted to reach out to developer Danny Rothman of the Xana group, with no response.

Listen to the program at

Nagorno-Karabakh: What Next?

Nov 9 2023

Hrair Balian


On Sept. 19, while world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York deliberated about international cooperation, rule of law, human rights, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, halfway around the world, in the mountains of the South Caucasus, an Azerbaijani offensive set the stage for the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their ancestral land of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The 24-hour military offensive was preceded by an Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin Corridor, which connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and is vital for the supply of essential goods. Over the course of nine months, the blockade resulted in severe shortages of food, medicine, electricity, and fuel. Azerbaijan repeatedly ignored calls from the international community, including the International Court of Justice, to reopen the corridor and end the siege.

Populated by ethnic Armenians, Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Following a 1994 ceasefire that ended a bloody war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, the Russian Federation, and the United States — hosted talks between the two countries. The disputed territory was self-governed for the next 30 years but continued to be internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

In 2007, an OSCE mediation effort produced the original set of Basic Principles to end the conflict on the basis of an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh, providing guarantees for security and self-governance until the drafting of a comprehensive final settlement. The Basic Principles are grounded in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 — namely, non-use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

Within 10 days of the Sept. 19 Azerbaijani offensive, over 100,000 Armenians fled Nagorno-Karabakh and found refuge in neighboring Armenia. By the time the first U.N. mission in 35 years of violent conflict arrived in Stepanakert, the capital of the enclave, only between 50 and 1,000 ethnic Armenians remained in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the U.N.

In Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, the shock of losing Nagorno-Karabakh brought angry protesters to Republic Square, who demanded to know the culprits responsible for the debacle.

Fingers pointed first to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for essentially abandoning Nagorno-Karabakh. Next to blame were Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Russian peacekeeping forces for standing aside and even tacitly approving Azerbaijan’s offensive. Western institutions and governments, particularly the U.S. and the European Union, were on the blame list as well for failing to deter Azerbaijan’s aggression.

But what can be done now to prevent a further escalation of the conflict while the international community’s attention is diverted to the latest war between Israel and Hamas?

Protection of Refugees

Urgent humanitarian needs in Armenia must be addressed first. The 100,000 refugees there need shelter, food, health care, schooling, and emotional support to preserve a modicum of dignity. They must be designated as “refugees,” and the UNHCR must be invited to provide urgent assistance. Armenia needs international support to care for the refugees, and the international community has a responsibility to provide protection and aid to them.

Additionally, the refugees’ right to return to Nagorno-Karabakh must be preserved. However, the hollow rhetoric and bare minimum terms Azerbaijan has offered for the return of Armenians are insufficient. Concrete measures must be established for Armenians to enjoy meaningful autonomy and minority rights under international monitoring and protection. Moreover, it is incumbent upon the international community to ensure that the homes and belongings these refugees abandoned are not destroyed, confiscated, looted, or otherwise damaged.

The 50 to 1,000 Armenians left in Nagorno-Karabakh — most of them elderly, sick, or injured, according to the U.N. mission — must be provided protection by the deployment of international eyes and ears, human rights monitors, and reporters. These monitors must be allowed to visit remote areas of the enclave where rumors of massacres and mass graves have emerged, before the evidence is destroyed.

Beyond the urgent humanitarian needs, Armenia also needs massive international economic assistance. Otherwise, the country risks succumbing to internal turmoil.

Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (POWs)

 According to Azerbaijan’s prosecutor general, 300 former authority leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh are wanted for alleged war crimes committed during the three wars unleashed on the enclave. Already, some have been detained, humiliated in front of cameras, and transferred to Baku prisons.

These leaders must be freed immediately, at the very least as a confidence-building measure. The international community — in particular the U.S. and the EU as mediators, as well as the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries — has an obligation to persuade Azerbaijan to free them unconditionally. Additionally, during the September assault, Azerbaijan detained several Armenian prisoners of war, who joined the unknown number of POWs that have remained in Azerbaijani custody since the 2020 war. Now that the war is over, the POWs must be freed immediately in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Robust Border Monitoring

A robust monitoring mission, larger than the current EU mission, must be deployed urgently along the entire border of Armenia and Azerbaijan to prevent further aggression from the latter. The 25-year OSCE experience with mediation between Armenia and Azerbaijan could help complement the EU monitoring mission. In this context, it would be important for the OSCE to adopt a budget and decide by consensus to assume a role here.

The mission must ideally have security enforcement powers. The alternative to monitors with enforcement powers is arming Armenia with defensive weapons to remedy the asymmetry of forces and prepare for a potential Azerbaijani offensive in southern Armenia. Currently, Armenia cannot stand against the vastly superior armed forces of Azerbaijan, which has received supplies from Russia, Belarus, Turkey, and Israel.

Need for Impartial Mediation

The U.S. and the EU have expressed regret and disappointment for the failure to restrain Azerbaijan. It is too late for such regrets in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, time is of the essence for political support to Armenia.

For the past year, the U.S. and the EU have mediated peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Following the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh, two priority points of contention remain between the two countries: (1) delineating Armenia’s borders with Azerbaijan before the latter uses force again to pursue irredentist claims on sovereign Armenian territories, and (2) blocking Azerbaijani demands, supported by Turkey, to connect eastern Azerbaijan with its landlocked Nakhichevan exclave — an autonomous republic that is part of Azerbaijan but not connected to the mainland — via a “corridor” through the Syunik region in southern Armenian.

Azerbaijan bases its demand on Article 9 of the agreement that ended the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, that agreement is null and void following Azerbaijan’s resumption of war on Sept. 19. Any such passage through sovereign Armenian territory must be subject to negotiations and mutually beneficial agreement.

Since 2022, U.S. and EU mediators have supported Azerbaijan’s interpretation of international norms regarding Nagorno-Karabakh’s status, disregarding the evolution of relevant laws in recent cases for Kosovo and East Timor that argued in favor of self-determination when minority rights are breached. This happened largely due to growing Western dependence on Azerbaijan for gas supplies.

Moreover, because of these hydrocarbon interests and the West’s failure to impose consequences, including economic sanctions, for repeated Azerbaijani infringements against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s hereditary President Ilham Aliyev has felt empowered to use aggression, signaling that power counts more than international norms. To do no further harm, future Western mediation between Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot continue the same favoritism.

Beyond the U.S. and EU mediation, Russia has also convened summits between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are ongoing in various formats. Considering Russia’s tacit acquiescence with the Azerbaijani aggression, Armenia is a reluctant participant in these meetings. The U.S. and the EU must mitigate in deeds and not just rhetoric the risks inherent in this rival mediation process.

Beyond the immediate mediation needs, reaching an end of conflict and sustainable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan requires measures to address a legacy of conflict and abuse that have caused deep wounds in both countries.


*Hrair Balian has practiced conflict resolution for the past 35 years in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. He has served in leadership positions with the U.N., OSCE, and NGOs, including the Carter Center (Director, Conflict Resolution, 2008-2022). He has taught conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation at Emory University’s School of Law (2008-2018) and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs (2023).


Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan eulogizes late Ambassador Christian Ter-Stepanian in Paris

 14:35, 9 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 9, ARMENPRESS. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, who is now in Paris for the UNESCO General Conference, attended a ceremony commemorating Christian Ter-Stepanian, the late Permanent Representative of Armenia to UNESCO.

Ter-Stepanian died on November 7 at the age of 72.

Foreign Minister Mirzoyan delivered a eulogy for Ter-Stepanian at the commemoration ceremony.

“It is with heavy heart that I am paying tribute in memory of Permanent Representative of Armenia, our dear colleague His Excellency Mr. Christian Ter Stepanian who passed away on November 7 at the age of 72.

Ambassador Ter-Stepanian was a prominent diplomat, who made a great contribution to the establishment of the system of the Diplomatic Service of Armenia and proudly represented our country in various international fora.

Christian Ter-Stepanian dedicated the last years of his life to promoting the core values and principles of UNESCO and strengthening Armenia’s cooperation with the Organization.

As the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister of Armenia to the International Organization of Francophonie, Ambassador Ter Stepanian played an invaluable role in advancing Armenia’s ties with the Francophonie and its member states.

The 30 year-long professional career of Christian Ter-Stepanian was marked with dedication, professionalism and tireless work in serving Armenia and promoting its national priorities and international cooperation. A brilliant person and a good friend for many diplomats, currently present here, he will be remembered by the diplomatic community.

I extend my deepest condolences to Ambassador's family members, relatives and all those who mourn his loss,” Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said.

Asbarez: Catholicos Aram I Raises Ethnic Cleansing of Artsakh’s Armenians with House Speaker Mike Johnson

His Holiness Aram I led Armenian clergy and lay leaders from the Prelacies of Eastern US, Western US, and Canada in meetings on Capitol Hill.

Highlights Plight of Artsakh Armenians in Opening Prayer of U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON – His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on Thursday called for American leadership in aiding Artsakh’s 100,000 Armenian Christian refugees, during discussions with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and a dozen other members of Congress, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We warmly welcome His Holiness Aram I’s constructive consultations with Congressional leaders – among them Speaker Johnson and former Speaker Pelosi,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “A global ambassador for Armenian aspirations and inter-faith understanding, His Holiness represents a powerful voice for justice in Washington and in capitals around the world.”

Aram meets with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, Rep. Adam Schiff, and US House Chaplain Rev. Dr. Margaret Grun Kibben, prior to offering today’s opening prayer Aram I speaking with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Rep. Anna Eshoo and His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian look on

The Armenian pontiff 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 today’s 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.

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.

Aram I led Armenian clergy and lay leaders from the Prelacies of Eastern US, Western US, and Canada in meetings on Capitol Hill Aram I with Members of Congress, Armenian clergy and lay leaders from the Prelacies of Eastern US, Western US, and Canada, and ANCA advocates. Aram I led Armenian clergy in singing a moving rendition of The Lord’s Prayer in Armenian at the Capitol Prayer Room, adjacent to the rotunda.

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.

His Holiness Aram I arrived in Washington, DC earlier this week, the first stop in his visit to the Eastern Prelacy, continuing his mission to revitalize Diasporan life through the various fields of activity of the Cilician Catholicosate prelacies.

Asbarez: Schiff Resolution Seeks Sanctions against Azerbaijan for Illegally Holding Armenian Prisoners

Measure Urges President Biden to Secure Release of Prisoners; Cut All Military Aid to Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced legislation today demanding Azerbaijan’s immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war, captured civilians, and political prisoners, including Artsakh government officials illegally detained during Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing last month, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

The resolution specifically calls on the Biden Administration to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on Azerbaijani government officials responsible for the illegal detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing of Armenian POWs. It also reiterates Congressional calls for the enforcement of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. military and security assistance to Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally release all illegally held Artsakh officials, prisoners of war, and other detainees, not in barter – as part of Baku’s cruel commodification of human suffering – but rather in compliance with its own obligations under international law,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “We thank Congressman Schiff for introducing this measure and look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to see this measure adopted on an urgent basis by the full House of Representatives.”

“Azerbaijan is already guilty of grave atrocities committed during the recent war, and the continued illegal detention of Armenians compounds the problem. Azerbaijan’s treatment of these prisoners, including torture and killings, is heartbreaking and a direct threat to international law and order,” said Rep. Schiff. “My resolution urges the American government and international community to stand up to these gross human rights violations being perpetuated against the Armenian community by the Aliyev regime and return these prisoners back to their families.”

The resolution condemns Azerbaijan’s illegal detention of Artsakh civilian and military officials held as political prisoners: former Artsakh presidents Arkadi Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan, and Arayik Harutyunyan, former Artsakh Foreign Minister David Babayan, Speaker of Artsakh’s Parliament Davit Ishkhanyan, former Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan, and former Artsakh military commanders Levon Mnatsakanyan and David Manukyan.

Rep. Schiff’s resolution builds on similar legislation he and the Congressional Armenian Caucus led in 2021 (H.Res.240), which garnered broad bi-partisan support.  The resolution’s call for U.S. sanctions on Azerbaijani leaders and enforcement of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan echoes bipartisan legislation (H.Res.108 / H.R.5683) and multiple Congressional letters to the Biden Administration which has garnered the support of over 100 Congressional leaders