In Response to Aliyev, Yerevan Says it Has Not ‘Canceled or Rejected’ Border Demarcation Meeting

The Armenia-Azerbaijan border


Armenia said on Wednesday that it continues to remain committed to implementing the agreements reached between the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, and stressed that it has not “canceled or rejected” any meeting on the demarcation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement reaffirming its willingness to advance the provisions of the said agreements in response to remarks made by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan who accused Yerevan of deliberately delaying the process by canceling the first meeting of the commission tasked with addressing the delimitation and demarcation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“The Armenian side remains committed to the implementation of the agreements. Accordingly, the Armenian side has not cancelled or rejected any meeting,” Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan said in a statement on Thursday.

“Within the framework of the agreements reached between the leaders of the two countries in Sochi and Brussels, the Armenian side continues to be ready to launch the work of the commissions,” added Hunanyan.

Armenia’s National Security chief Armen Grigoryan said at a press briefing on Thursday that the delimitation and demarcation commission’s meeting has not taken place yet because what he called a “technical” agreement had not been reached by the sides.

A technical agreement presumably will lay the parameters of the said talks, as well as the basis on which the negotiations would advance.

“We expect the delimitation and demarcation process to take place within logical parameters emanating from the two statements,” said Grigoryan, referring to a separate statement that addresses the opening of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Archbishop Anoushavan re-elected as Prelate at National Representative Assembly

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — The National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy was hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia from May 12 to 14, 2022. On Saturday, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan was re-elected as Prelate for another four-year term. 

“I would like to thank you all for trusting me to serve as Prelate for a second term,” Archbishop Anoushavan said in a brief address to the Assembly after the election. “Together, we will carry out all the programs proposed at the NRA.” 

He also stressed that the parishes, the Prelacy and the Catholicosate were united in their vision, which was a source of strength for all of them. “May God always protect the Armenian church and the Eastern Prelacy of the United States, along with all its structures and sister organizations.”

National Representative Assembly, May 2022

Earlier on Saturday, there were elections for the religious and lay councils. Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church (Watertown, MA) and incumbent and Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian of All Saints Church (Glenview, Il.) were elected to the religious council. Dr. Raffi Manjikian, John Kulungian, Aram Hovagimian (incumbents), Aram Sarafian and Richard Kanarian were elected to the lay council.

The theme of this year’s assembly was “Fortifying Foundations for the Future.” Sarafian and Janet Haroian were elected to serve as chairpersons of this year’s assembly. Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian was the Armenian secretary; Dr. Nyree Bedrosian was the English secretary. Words of welcome were offered by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of the host parish, as well as by Michael Injaian, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, who addressed the audience in a videotaped message, stressed that the church is not an organization, but a mission: outreach, through which it fulfills its nature. The Prelacy’s projects are community-based, and the challenge, His Holiness said in his address, is “how you can make this interaction more relevant, more dynamic and more impact-making.” The role of the clergy is to take the church outside its walls to the people, he said. It is indeed through community-oriented pastoral engagements and social service that the church becomes a living reality in the lives of the people, His Holiness added.

In his keynote address, Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, thanked the Philadelphia community for hosting this year’s assembly. His Eminence spoke of challenges facing the church, saying: “As we leave the pandemic behind, one of the priorities of our Prelacy as well as individual parishes should be to reach out and to welcome the faithful.” He expressed his hope that the panels convening during the assembly “will pave the road to a stronger and brighter Prelacy.”

National Representative Assembly, May 2022

Armenian Embassy in Sweden hosts “Armenian Highland” presentation

Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian (center), holds a copy of The Armenia Highland book. He is flanked by Robert Kurkjian (left) and Matthew Karanian.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The Armenian Embassy in Stockholm hosted a reception for Pasadena author-photographers Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian earlier this month. The event was sponsored by Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian and was conducted under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.

The reception was preceded by an illustrated presentation by Karanian and Kurkjian, who spoke about efforts to preserve Armenian cultural heritage in Western Armenia. They also spoke about current conditions in Artsakh.

Kurkjian and Karanian illustrated their presentation with photography from throughout the Armenian Highland – images that they created during more than 20 years of field research.

The region of the Armenian Highland includes the lands of today’s Republic of Armenia, Artsakh and the vast region that is today known as Western Armenia. Karanian’s field work in Western Armenia was part of his effort through the Historic Armenia Project to document the Armenian cultural artifacts that survived the Genocide. Kurkjian’s work, meanwhile, was focused on Artsakh.

Together, Karanian and Kurkjian have published seven books about Armenian history and culture. Their most recent title The Armenian Highland showcases a part of ancient Armenia that has rarely been seen since 1915 and is the first historical guide to the region.

“We can’t preserve our history if we don’t know our history,” said Karanian. “That’s what this project is all about.” 

Kurkjian and Karanian also presented the Armenian Highland in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 8 at an event hosted by the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia. The event was attended by members of Copenhagen’s active and thriving Armenian community.

Robert Kurkjian presenting to members of the Armenian community of Sweden

Armenian Embassy in Sweden hosts “Armenian Highland” presentation

Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian (center), holds a copy of The Armenia Highland book. He is flanked by Robert Kurkjian (left) and Matthew Karanian.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The Armenian Embassy in Stockholm hosted a reception for Pasadena author-photographers Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian earlier this month. The event was sponsored by Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian and was conducted under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.

The reception was preceded by an illustrated presentation by Karanian and Kurkjian, who spoke about efforts to preserve Armenian cultural heritage in Western Armenia. They also spoke about current conditions in Artsakh.

Kurkjian and Karanian illustrated their presentation with photography from throughout the Armenian Highland – images that they created during more than 20 years of field research.

The region of the Armenian Highland includes the lands of today’s Republic of Armenia, Artsakh and the vast region that is today known as Western Armenia. Karanian’s field work in Western Armenia was part of his effort through the Historic Armenia Project to document the Armenian cultural artifacts that survived the Genocide. Kurkjian’s work, meanwhile, was focused on Artsakh.

Together, Karanian and Kurkjian have published seven books about Armenian history and culture. Their most recent title The Armenian Highland showcases a part of ancient Armenia that has rarely been seen since 1915 and is the first historical guide to the region.

“We can’t preserve our history if we don’t know our history,” said Karanian. “That’s what this project is all about.” 

Kurkjian and Karanian also presented the Armenian Highland in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 8 at an event hosted by the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia. The event was attended by members of Copenhagen’s active and thriving Armenian community.

Robert Kurkjian presenting to members of the Armenian community of Sweden

Armenian Embassy in Sweden hosts “Armenian Highland” presentation

Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian (center), holds a copy of The Armenia Highland book. He is flanked by Robert Kurkjian (left) and Matthew Karanian.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The Armenian Embassy in Stockholm hosted a reception for Pasadena author-photographers Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian earlier this month. The event was sponsored by Ambassador Alexander Arzoumanian and was conducted under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.

The reception was preceded by an illustrated presentation by Karanian and Kurkjian, who spoke about efforts to preserve Armenian cultural heritage in Western Armenia. They also spoke about current conditions in Artsakh.

Kurkjian and Karanian illustrated their presentation with photography from throughout the Armenian Highland – images that they created during more than 20 years of field research.

The region of the Armenian Highland includes the lands of today’s Republic of Armenia, Artsakh and the vast region that is today known as Western Armenia. Karanian’s field work in Western Armenia was part of his effort through the Historic Armenia Project to document the Armenian cultural artifacts that survived the Genocide. Kurkjian’s work, meanwhile, was focused on Artsakh.

Together, Karanian and Kurkjian have published seven books about Armenian history and culture. Their most recent title The Armenian Highland showcases a part of ancient Armenia that has rarely been seen since 1915 and is the first historical guide to the region.

“We can’t preserve our history if we don’t know our history,” said Karanian. “That’s what this project is all about.” 

Kurkjian and Karanian also presented the Armenian Highland in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 8 at an event hosted by the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia. The event was attended by members of Copenhagen’s active and thriving Armenian community.

Robert Kurkjian presenting to members of the Armenian community of Sweden

Armenia, Azerbaijan still far away from agreement, EU’s Borrell says

Panorama
Armenia –

EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell welcomed the meeting of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council on Wednesday.

“This is done in a difficult situation. We know how the war in Ukraine is affecting the whole world, and in particular the region. But it is also a moment to continue working on reforms and to fully develop this comprehensive and enhanced Partnership Agreement,” the official said in his remarks ahead of the meeting.

He praised EU-Armenia relations as “very good”, at the same time stressing the need for further reforms.

“And this meeting will be a good occasion to encourage Armenia to continue in the European path, to continue working in order to fulfill all the purposes and objectives of this Partnership Agreement,” Borrell noted.

Asked which sort of security guarantees the EU can provide to the people who are living in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) if Armenia and Azerbaijan finally reach an agreement, the top diplomat said: “Well, we really would appreciate a lot if this agreement could be reached. And we have been engaged with the two parties in order for them to really look for this agreement with the best will. We are far away from that yet. But if this happens, the European Union will provide any help that we can in order to support the implementation of the agreement.”

Artsakh ombudsman: Azerbaijan deliberately hides true number of Armenian captives

Panorama
Armenia –

According to the data confirmed by Azerbaijan, 38 Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian captives are currently held in Baku, Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Gegham Stepanyan said in the country’s parliament on Thursday.

However, the ombudspersons of Artsakh and Armenia as well as human rights organizations have proofs of 80 more people being held in Azerbaijani captivity, the ombudsman said, noting that Azerbaijan does not confirm the data.

“This suggests that Azerbaijan is deliberately hiding the real number of captives," Stepanyan stressed.

Of the 38 prisoners, 35 are soldiers and 3 are civilians who were captured after the 9 November 2020 statement. 19 civilians are reported missing. There are people among them, whose capture can be confirmed by facts, he noted.

All 38 were convicted in Azerbaijan on trumped-up charges, the ombudsman said.

Turkey blocks negotiations of Finland and Sweden on NATO membership. DPA

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YEREVAN, MAY 18, ARMENPRESS. The Turkish authorities have blocked the launch of talks of Finland and Sweden on NATO membership, ARMENPRESS reports DPA agency informed, citing its sources.

According to DPA, the North Atlantic Alliance was scheduled to consider on May 18 the applications submitted by Finland and Sweden, which would be considered the beginning of the process, but due to Ankara's position, the talks did not take place. The Turkish side has made it clear that at present it cannot approve the start of those talks.

On May 18, the Ambassadors of Finland and Sweden formally submitted their applications to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to join the alliance.

Asbarez: ANCA-WR Announces Endorsements Ahead of 2022 Primaries

A list of the ANCA-WR’s 2022 Primaries Endorsements

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region has announced its full list of endorsements ahead of the upcoming primary elections.

As a part of the endorsement process, the ANCA-WR Board works in conjunction with its local chapter constituents to carefully review each incumbent’s track record and each new candidate’s responses to a written questionnaire. Interviews are then conducted to determine which candidates are best able to serve the needs of the Armenian-American community. ANCA-WR endorsements are based largely on the candidate’s preparedness and ability to address issues ranging from justice for the Armenian Genocide, promoting Armenian Genocide education in public schools, support for the independent Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, and local community needs.

The ANCA-WR encourages all eligible Armenian-American voters to register and vote in the primary elections.

The California primary will be held on June 7. California residents should visit the Elections and Voter Information page for questions or call the ANCA-WR office at 818-500-1918 for more information.

Primary elections will also be held in Oregon on May 17th, Nevada on June 14th, Colorado on June 28th, and Arizona and Washington on August 2nd. A full list of primary dates can be found on the HyeVotes website.

For information on voter eligibility, voter registration, and the candidates, please visit the website.

A list of the ANCA-WR’s 2022 Congressional Endorsements

The full list of the ANCA-WR’s primary endorsements is as follows:

California

U.S. Senate

  • Alex Padilla (D-CA)

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Jared Huffman (CA-02)
  • John Garamendi (CA-08)
  • Josh Harder (CA-09)
  • Nancy Pelosi (CA-11)
  • Barbara Lee (CA-12)
  • Kevin Mullin (CA-15)
  • Anna Eshoo (CA-16)
  • Ro Khanna (CA-17)
  • Zoe Lofgren (CA-18)
  • Jimmy Panetta (CA-19)
  • Jim Costa (CA-21)
  • David Valadao (CA-22)
  • Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
  • Julia Brownley (CA-26)
  • Judy Chu (CA-28)
  • Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
  • Adam Schiff (CA-30)
  • Brad Sherman (CA-32)
  • Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)
  • Norma Torres (CA-35)
  • Ted Lieu (CA-36)
  • Linda Sanchez (CA-38)
  • Ken Calvert (CA-41)
  • Nanette Barragan (CA-44)
  • Mike Levin (CA-49)
  • Juan Vargas (CA-52)

California Governor

  • Gavin Newsom

California Lieutenant Governor 

  • Eleni Kounalakis

California Attorney General

  • Rob Bonta

California Insurance Commissioner

  • Ricardo Lara

California State Controller

  • Ron Galperin

California State Senate

  • Lily Mei (SD-10)
  • Daniel Hertzberg (SD-20)
  • Maria Durazo (SD-24)
  • Ben Allen (SD-26)
  • Bob Archuleta (SD-30)

California State Assembly

  • Jim Patterson (AD-08)
  • Mia Bonta (AD-18)
  • Phil Ting (AD-19)
  • Diane Papan (AD-21)
  • Evan Low (AD-26)
  • Vince Fong (AD-33)
  • Suzette Valladares (AD-40)
  • Chris Holden (AD-41)
  • Luz Rivas (AD-43)
  • Laura Friedman (AD-44)
  • Jesse Gabriel (AD-46)
  • Blanca Rubio (AD-48)
  • Mike Fong (AD-49)
  • Eloise Gomez Reyes (AD-50)
  • Rick Chavez Zbur (AD-51)
  • Lisa Calderon (AD-56)
  • Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (AD-57)
  • Anthony Rendon (AD-62)
  • Al Muratsuchi (AD-66)
  • Randy Voepel (AD-75)

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 

  • Hilda Solis (District 1)
  • Henry Stern (District 3)

Los Angeles County Assessor

  • Jeffrey Prang

Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education

  • Kelly Gonez
  • Dr. Rocio Rivas

Mayor of Los Angeles City

  • Kevin De Leon

Los Angeles City Controller

  • Paul Koretz

Los Angeles City Attorney

  • Kevin James

Los Angeles City Council

  • Gilbert Cedillo (District 1)
  • Bob Blumenfield (District 3)
  • Sam Yebri (District 5)
  • Monica Rodriguez (District 7)
  • Mitch O’Farrell (District 13)
  • Tim McOsker (District 15)

Glendale City Council

  • Ara Najarian
  • Vrej Agajanian
  • Elen Asatryan

Glendale City Clerk

  • Greg Krikorian

Glendale Unified School District Board of Education

  • Dr. Armina Gharpetian
  • Shant Sahakian
  • Lerna Amiryans

Glendale Community College Board of Trustees

  • Dr. Armina Hacopian
  • Yvette Vartanian Davis
  • Ann H. Ransford

Nevada

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Dina Titus (NV-01)
  • Susie Lee (NV-03)
  • Steven Horsford (NV-04)

Nevada Secretary of State

  • Gerard Ramalho

Clark County Sheriff

  • Kevin McMahill

Las Vegas City Council

  • Victoria Seaman

Arizona

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
  • David Schweikert (AZ-06)
  • Debbie Lesko (AZ-08)

Colorado

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Diana DeGette (CO-01)
  • Joe Neguse (CO-02)
  • Jason Crow (CO-06)

Oregon

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Washington

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
  • Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
  • Adam Smith (WA-09)

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots organization in the Western United States and working with its network of local offices and chapters throughout the region, the ANCA-WR ensures that the concerns of the Armenian American community are heard in the halls of government. All members of the community who are U.S. citizens are encouraged to support the Armenian Cause by voting in each election.

The Heart that Rests in the Highlands

Saroyan’s urn being handed to Writers Union president Vardges Petrosyan, as members Hrachya Hovhannisyan, Vahagn Davtyan, Mkrtich Sargsyan and others look on. (Photo provided by Weekly contributor Jane Partizpanyan)

In 1982, a year after William Saroyan’s death on May 18, a Moscow airport was filled with solemn chaos as members of the Writers Union of Armenia prepared to receive the precious ashes of the great Armenian American writer.

Led by playwrights Aramashot Papayan and Perch Zeytuntsyan, a select group of writers made the journey from Armenia to Russia to receive the urn of Saroyan and bring it back to the city of Yerevan for its interment. A year before, the other half of Saroyan’s ashes had already been buried in Fresno, California. 

“I felt this was a really heavy responsibility, to take this man’s ashes to Armenia,” said the editor-in-chief of the Armenian Observer, Osheen Keshishian, during a 1991 interview for Armenian International Magazine. “We were worried that the urn was going to be lost or stolen. We stayed overnight in Moscow, and I slept with the urn under my bed.”

During the period of the Soviet Union, foreign visitors had to fly into Moscow, which was the capital of the Soviet government, to be searched and granted access, as free travel in and out of the USSR was banned without express permission. For this reason, bringing Saroyan’s urn to its final resting place in Armenia was a difficult journey.

Keshishian was one of three men assisting in transporting Saroyan’s ashes from California to Armenia. They traveled from the United States to Canada, making their way then to Moscow before finally landing with the sealed metal urn in Yerevan.

According to a report by Tony Halpin for the 1991 My Name is Bill issue of Armenian International Magazine, more than 10,000 people had gathered at the airport in Yerevan in anticipation of their arrival. Due to heavy rain and hail, their flight was delayed six hours, dwindling the crowd down to 2,000 people.

Upon his arrival in Yerevan, Keshishian presented the urn to Vardges Petrosyan, the Writers Union president. Writers began to gather around, paying their respects and momentarily holding the urn before passing it on to the next person.

“They just wanted to handle it for a second,” said Keshishian. “Some people started to cry. Some people were in shock. It was an unbelievable scene.”

The urn was then transported by motorcade to the Writer’s Union building as hundreds of people outside of the airport watched.

On May 29, 1982, the burial of Saroyan’s ashes was held at Komitas Pantheon, which is the burial site for Armenia’s greatest intellectuals and artists. Approximately 50,000 people were in attendance. Even the former Soviet Armenian president, Karen Demerdjian, had flown in from Moscow just for the funeral and flew back to Russia immediately after. 

Hundreds of Armenians laid flowers and wreaths at Saroyan’s gravesite, flooding a portion of the pantheon.

“They loved him because he was down-to-earth,” said Keshishian.

Playwright Aramashot Papayan holding the urn of Saroyan in the airport of Yerevan, Armenia. (Photo provided by Weekly contributor Jane Partizpanyan)

My great-grandfather Aramashot Papayan was deeply affected by the loss of Saroyan; he considered Saroyan a dear friend and his brother from Bitlis. It was a deep honor for him to be the leading writer, along with Perch Zeytuntsyan, who flew to Moscow to retrieve Saroyan’s ashes. But he never bragged about being part of the select few; it was a very personal and quiet experience for him.

“He [Papayan] was sad and talked about him a lot,” said my uncle Vahagn Papayan when I asked him about his grandfather’s reaction to Saroyan’s death. “I didn’t know about his flight to Moscow. I was less than 10. I think that was the first time I learned about Saroyan, and everyone was telling all these stories.”

Within several reports about Saroyan’s will, Saroyan had expressly stated that his heart should be buried in Armenia, while the rest of his ashes were to be buried in Fresno, California. He also had stated that if Bitlis was ever liberated from occupation, his ashes from Fresno should be transferred to his parents’ house, which according to stories passed down in my family, he had been able to locate due to the in-depth stories of Bitlis that Papayan’s mother Grap would share with him.

Forty-one years later, Armenians all over the world still mourn the loss of the great William Saroyan. He was an imaginative and larger-than-life novelist, playwright, short story writer and artist. 

He truly carried Armenia in his heart wherever he went, seeking to bring the motherland recognition and respect on the global platform. As recompense for faithfully keeping his homeland in his heart, Armenia now carries the ashes of his heart within her arms, because whether metaphorically, or quite literally, his heart was, and still is, truly in the highlands.

Jane Partizpanyan is a journalism and public relations major at California State University, Northridge. She works as a contributing writer for the Daily Sundial. She's also a public relations coordinator at the Agency 398 PR firm and a published poet.