Armenian opposition leader vows to respond in kind to force

Armenian opposition leader vows to respond in kind to force

A1+ web site
6 Apr 04

At a press conference given by the National Unity Party today,
Artashes Gegamyan answered questions from reporters.

[Unspecified journalist] What kind of assistance do you expect from
the Council of Europe, the USA and Russia?

[Gegamyan] Armenia is a member of the Council of Europe and the
OSCE. These organizations have adopted the Geneva Convention on Human
Rights and Basic Freedoms which has been signed by Armenian President
Robert Kocharyan. We hope those countries will tell us and urge us to
honour what we have signed.

[Journalist] What will the National Unity Party do, if all the roads
leading to the city and the Freedom Square are blocked on 9 April?

[Gegamyan] The same as yesterday, I can only see a geometric
progression of things. At least 11 political parties, nine of which
are members of the Justice bloc, will join us.

[Journalist] However, what will you do if the rally does not take

[Gegamyan] Don’t worry, they simply don’t not know that we knew about
everything well in advance. I don’t know why but I think Robert
Kocharyan will tender his resignation within the next few days.

[Journalist] Have you discussed the question of giving guarantees to

[Gegamyan] Your question is rather tricky. We give guarantees to any
citizen provided he has not committed any crimes. The law will prevail
in the country.

[Journalist] What do you mean when you say that the authorities rely
on criminal elements?

[Gegamyan] Open the second page of Aravot [Tomorrow] newspaper, look
at the picture of Gro from Artashat, who is not an academician but a
criminal element.

[Journalist] It is expected that more people will turn up [for rally]
on 9 April. Do you think, eggs will again be thrown?

[Gegamyan] Certainly, they will without fail try to stir up mass
disorder. We shall do everything we can to avoid that. By doing so
they will further incite the situation. If people before were more or
less apathetic and indifferent, since yesterday they have been feeling
quite angry. Students, for example, were not at all allowed to attend

[Journalist] Have the authorities taken any steps to meet you?

[Gegamyan] No, there was no such initiative. Only what you already
know. I mean yesterday’s statement by the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation – Dashnaktsutyun.

[Journalist] Does that mean that you are planning to avoid
disturbances on 9 April?

[Gegamyan] We will respond in kind. We shall use words in response to
words, but if they resort to force, we shall respond in kind.

[Journalist] This is what they want.

[Gegamyan] That is right, but [Defence Minister] Serzh Sarkisyan and
[President] Robert Kocharyan see only blood, although hardly anybody
saw them in battlefields.

[Journalist] Do you have any statements from embassies? Do you know
their reaction?

[Gegamyan] Yes, do not worry, justice will prevail.

[Journalist] What will you do, if suddenly someone opens fire in the
air and panic starts. Have you drawn up any mechanisms as it is
difficult to guide panic-stricken people?

[Gegamyan] Yesterday standing in between blocked roads, I told people
that loathsome persons might fire. Naturally, I will go first.

[Journalist] Will Robert Kocharyan not fire on people?

[Gegamyan] He will do worse. He will rouse the feeling of fear in
people. This is more dangerous than firing in the sky. Do you think a
man from Dilizhan was injured incidentally in the rally? By this, they
plant fear in parents so as they do not let their children out of home
in the future.

[Journalist] It was broadcast yesterday that the opposition had
destroyed cameras. Why did you do that?

[Gegamyan] This despicable lie was circulated by Aylur [TV]. If
someone dares to “sneeze” at Public TV’s camera, a criminal case would
be brought against him. Aylur is guided by the principle of Goebbels’
propaganda: one should circulate mean lies to be believable.

[Journalist] Will there be a procession on 9 April?

[Gegamyan] The Justice bloc and the National Unity Party are currently
planning to hold a meeting on 9 April.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Kocharian meets with rural community leaders

April 7 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 7, ARMENPRESS: Armenian president Robert Kocharian
met today with around 20 heads of rural communities who arrived in
Yerevan from across the country, to discuss, as Kocharian’s press
office said “the current state of things in their communities and
their problems and hear their views about what the government should
do to help resolve them.”
Kocharian was also quoted as saying that the country has all
possibilities for sustainable and effective development. He added
that the improved local-self management legislation is a good tool to
foster larger involvement of rural communities in development
Community leaders were reported to condemn opposition’s attempts
to artificially stir up strained domestics situation, pledging their
support to all programs of the president aiming at sustainable
development of the country.
The president and community leaders exchanged their views on a
wide range of problems, which are of great concern for rural
settlements. President Kocharian also vowed tax privileges to farmers
whose orchards were destroyed by snaps of cold that descended on
Armenia lately.
President Kocharian had another working meeting today with health
minister Norayr Davidian, who briefed him on what has been done in
this sector in the first three months of the year and on future

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

US to replace Minsk Group co-chairman

April 7 2004


BAKU, APRIL 7, ARMENPRESS: US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno
Harnish, was quoted by local news agencies as saying that his
government will replace the current US co-chairman in the OSCE’s
Minsk group. Harnish announced the news during a Tuesday meeting with
Azeri defense minister Safar Abiyev, saying that US Secretary of
State’s senior adviser for the Caspian basin issues, Steven Mann,
will take over the chairman’s post to succeed Rudolph Perina who has
been the third US chairman of the Minsk group, succeeding to Linn
Pasko and Carry Cavanaugh.
OSCE’s Minsk group was established to facilitate a peaceful
solution to the Karabagh conflict.
The United States, Russia and France are the chairmen of the group
coordinating mediation efforts.
Harnish was quoted as saying that the replacement is to give a new
impetus to the talks for a quick and long-lasting solution. Abiyev
reiterated that a “just solution is possible if all occupied Azeri
lands are liberated and given back,” adding also that Azerbaijani
army is prepared to develop military cooperation with the USA.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Divide and Conquer? The Russian Plan for Ownership of The Caspian


Boston College International and Comparative Law Review
Winter, 2004

By Ben N. Dunlap (FNa1)


The search for alternative sources of oil has renewed U.S. interest in
the Caspian Sea. Bordered by Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and the Central
Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea contains
up to thirty-three billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The legal
status of the Caspian has remained unresolved since the collapse of
the Soviet Union, however. In the early 1990s Russia joined with Iran
to argue for common ownership of the sea by all five states, aiming
for veto power over Western involvement in the region. Now, Russia
argues for dividing the seabed (and the oil and gas underneath it)
into national sectors, while leaving most of the surface waters for
common management and use. The Russian solution offers political and
economic benefits to both Russia and the United States in the short
run, but may be an unsound basis for long-term stability in the
Caspian region.


Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United
States, fears about U.S. dependence on Persian Gulf oil have
intensified. (FN1) With three-fifths of the world’s oil reserves
concentrated in the Persian Gulf, the United States and other Western
nations have increased efforts to ensure the continued availability of
oil elsewhere in the event of a catastrophic terrorist attack or a
destabilizing conflict in the region. (FN2) As a result, the search
for alternative sources of oil has renewed U.S. interest in the
potentially oil-rich Caspian Sea. (FN3) Bordered by Russia,
Azerbaijan, Iran, and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea contains an estimated seventeen to
thirty-three billion barrels of proven oil reserves. (FN4) In the
early 1990s, U.S. oil companies Amoco and Chevron pioneered the
development of Caspian oil reserves off the coasts of Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan. (FN5) The U.S. government championed the construction of
a new oil pipeline to bypass Russia and Iran by transporting Caspian
oil to Western markets via Azerbaijan and Turkey. (FN6) Uncertainty
about the Caspian’s legal status, however, has hindered development of
the sea’s oil reserves. (FN7) Soviet-Iranian treaties governed the
Caspian’s use in the Soviet era, but since the breakup of the Soviet
Union in 1991, the new Caspian states have failed to agree on how to
divide its vast resources. (FN8) In the early 1990s, Russia joined
with Iran to argue for common ownership of the sea by all five states,
aiming for veto power over Western involvement in the region. (FN9)
Now, Russia argues for dividing the seabed (and the oil and gas
underneath it) into national sectors, while leaving most of the
surface waters for common management and use. (FN10) More importantly,
Russia has signed bilateral treaties with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan,
effectively dividing the northern part of the seabed 7 into Russian,
Azerbaijani, and Kazakhstani national sectors. (FN11) Iran insists
that the old Soviet- Iranian treaties are still in force and refuses
to sign or recognize any bilateral treaties carving up the sea until a
new multilateral convention is concluded by all five Caspian
states. (FN12)

This Note examines Russia’s proposed solution for the Caspian’s legal
status and its implications for U.S. interests in the region. Part I
provides a brief history of Caspian oil and an overview of post-1991
attempts to resolve the Caspian’s legal status. Part II discusses
proposed legal solutions, with special attention to Russia’s proposal
and its legal validity. Part III analyzes the implications of
Russia’s proposed resolution for Russia, Iran, and the United
States. Part IV concludes that the Russian solution offers political
and economic benefits to both Russia and the United States in the
short run, but may be an unsound basis for long-term stability in the
Caspian region.


A. Short History of Caspian Oil

Caspian oil fields began producing oil near Baku, Azerbaijan in 1871
and accounted for half the world’s still limited production in
1900. (FN13) The Soviets expanded their extraction operations, but
never fully explored the 700- mile-long Caspian Sea for new oil
fields, in part because they lacked the technology to exploit
effectively the reserves they found. (FN14) Following the breakup of
the Soviet Union in 1991, discovery of significant oil reserves in the
Caspian basin cast the region in a new light. (FN15) Early estimates
were as high as 659 billion barrels, or two-thirds of the world’s
known reserves. (FN16) Most of the oil discovered is located off the
coasts of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. (FN17) Azerbaijan
8 and Kazakhstan, in particular, have concluded deals with foreign oil
companies to extract Caspian oil and transport it to world
markets. (FN18) Firms in the United States have acquired seventy-five
percent of Kazakhstan’s onshore Tengiz oil field, while a consortium
including Italy’s ENI, British Gas, ExxonMobil, France’s TotalFinaElf,
and Royal Dutch Shell is developing the newly discovered offshore
Kashagan field. (FN19) British Petroleum (BP) is leading the
Azerbaijan International Operating Company’s efforts to discover,
extract, and transport oil located off Azerbaijan’s coast. (FN20)
Chief among those efforts is the construction of a new pipeline from
Baku, Azerbaijan, through Tbilisi, Georgia, to Ceyhan, Turkey, which
U.S. policymakers hope will serve as the main export pipeline for
Caspian oil. (FN21)

In addition to U.S. and Western European firms, Russia’s largest oil
company, LUKoil, is currently a consortium member in Kazakh extraction
and transport projects and is negotiating a possible investment in the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. (FN22) Until recently, LUKoil also
held a stake in a sizable Azerbaijani oil field. (FN23)

B. Caspian Geopolitics

Drawn by cheap oil and the Caspian’s strategic location at the
crossroads of east and west, regional and world powers have converged
on the Caspian region to stake out and defend their political and
economic interests. (FN24) In particular, the United States, seeking
to diversify its energy supply and bolster the independence of the
former Soviet states in the region, has been adamant in its support
for multiple pipelines to transport Caspian oil to Western markets.
(FN25) U.S. policies for Caspian oil development benefit primarily
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and United States’ 9 NATO ally, Turkey, by
routing the BTC pipeline through those countries. (FN26) The BTC
pipeline will also benefit Kazakhstan if plans to export Kazakhstani
oil through it come to fruition. (FN27) As a result, throughout the
1990s, U.S. pipeline diplomacy alienated Russia and fueled Iran’s
fears of a long-term U.S. presence in the region that would exclude it
from any future development of Caspian oil. (FN28)

The strategic importance of the Caspian is underscored by security
concerns in the region. (FN29) To the northwest, Russian forces
continue to battle separatists in Chechnya. (FN30) To the west, an
uneasy peace holds in Nagorno-Karabagh, the predominantly Armenian
enclave in Azerbaijan that was the scene of horrific ethnic warfare in
the early 1990s. (FN31) To the east, Tajikistan suffered a protracted
civil war in the 1990s. (FN32) Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan both have
faced incursions by Islamic militant terrorists in recent
years. (FN33)

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been particularly
concerned about nonstate actors and the threat of terrorism in the
Caucasus and Central Asia. (FN34) Proximity to the markets of Europe
and Iran and the porous borders of the former Soviet states make the
Caspian a convenient conduit for narcotics produced in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, and for weapons destined for sale to terrorists and
insurgents throughout Central Asia. (FN35) U.S. policymakers also fear
that the Caspian could become a smuggling route for weapons of mass
destruction. (FN36)

C. Legal Status of the Sea

1. UNCLOS and the Law of Inland Lakes Neither the international law of
the sea nor the law of inland lakes applies directly to the Caspian
Sea. (FN37) The Caspian is landlocked and has traditionally been used
only by the states that border it. (FN38) It is therefore unlike the
waters governed by the law of the sea, which are open to navigation by
all states. (FN39) Yet, its size, salt water, and hydrocarbon- rich
seabed also distinguish it from most lakes under international
law. (FN40) Both the law of the sea and the law of lakes have been
useful, however, in shaping the solutions that the littoral states
have advocated. (FN41)

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
essentially provides for the extension of a maritime state’s land
borders 200 miles into the sea. (FN42) The first twelve miles are
equivalent to a state’s sovereign territory on land, while the
remainder is the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in which the state
enjoys exclusive fishing and mining rights. (FN43)

Application of UNCLOS to the Caspian Sea would be complicated by the
sea’s dimensions, since the EEZs of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, for
instance, which are situated less than 400 miles apart across the sea,
would overlap. (FN44) In such cases, boundaries are usually drawn at a
point halfway between the two coastlines. (FN45) Thus, UNCLOS would
provide for division of the water and seabed into national sectors
roughly proportional to the length of each maritime state’s
coastline. (FN46) According to one calculation for such a division,
Kazakhstan would 1 control 29.9% of the Caspian; Azerbaijan, 20.7%;
Turkmenistan, 19.2%; and Russia and Iran–only 15.6% and 14.6%,
respectively. (FN47)

Not surprisingly, in the 1990s Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan argued in
favor of applying UNCLOS to the Caspian Sea, aiming to push ahead with
big oil projects off their coasts. (FN48) In recent years, however,
they have come to support the Russian proposal, which incorporates the
UNCLOS concept most important for their interests–division of the
seabed into proportional national sectors. (FN49) If the Caspian were
treated as a lake, ownership of its mineral resources would not differ
substantially from an arrangement under UNCLOS. (FN50) Rather, the key
difference would lie in the use of its surface waters. (FN51) The
surface waters of international lakes, unlike those of seas, can be
used exclusively by the states bordering them. (FN52) Russia has
borrowed this principle for the “common waters” element of its
proposed solution. (FN53)

2. Soviet-Iranian Treaties and the “Condominium” Principle

Much of the current legal dispute regarding the Caspian focuses on
treaties signed in 1921 and 1940 by the Soviet Union and Iran. (FN54)
The treaties provide for exclusive use of the Sea by the Soviet Union
and Iran, but cover only fishing and navigation rights, not mining
rights. (FN55) The 1940 treaty further stipulates a ten-mile fishing
zone extending from each state’s shoreline. (FN56)

Iran argues that the Soviet era treaties provide for common management
of the seabed and waters outside the ten-mile zone, according 2 to the
“condominium” principle. (FN57) Under such an arrangement, any oil
exploration and drilling operations undertaken in the Caspian would
have to meet the approval of all the bordering states. (FN58) As a
result, Iran suggests that Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan
should suspend their oil and gas producing activities in the Caspian
until a new multilateral agreement is reached. (FN59) Russia also
argued for this approach in the early 1990s, but it has recently begun
supporting a division of the seabed and common management of the
surface waters. (FN60)

3. Recent Developments: Russia’s Proposed Solution In 1998, Russia
moved closer to the Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani positions by accepting
division of the seabed into proportional national sectors, but still
insisted on common management of the surface waters. (FN61) In the
spring and early fall of 2002, Russia signed agreements with
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan recognizing national sectors based on lines
drawn in the middle of the sea halfway between each state. (FN62)
Russian diplomats have also succeeded in persuading Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan to support Russia’s “divided bottom, common waters”
position in multilateral negotiations on the sea’s status among the
five states. (FN63) Thus, there is now general agreement among Russia,
Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan on both the principle and the method of
dividing rights to the seabed and the oil beneath it. (FN64) For
Russia, coming to advocate this position has meant dropping any
“Soviet” claims to the oil-rich areas off the coast of Kazakhstan and
Azerbaijan, and giving up its struggle to block the BTC oil
pipeline. (FN65) 3 Russia has made these concessions for several
reasons. (FN66) Most significantly, under President Vladimir Putin’s
leadership, Russia has become more engaged in the negotiation process
and sought to maximize Russia’s share of economic wealth and
diplomatic influence in the Caspian. (FN67) Also, Russia has repaired
its pipelines to Western markets, built a new pipeline that bypasses
the troubled republic of Chechnya, and completed a joint project with
Kazakhstan to transport oil through a new pipeline that crosses
Russia. (FN68) Furthermore, Russian oil companies, such as LUKoil,
have pushed the Russian Foreign Ministry to make a deal with Russia’s
neighbors so that they can proceed with their own extraction
activities in the Caspian. (FN69) LUKoil is already working in
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and in new oil fields discovered off
Russia’s Caspian shores. (FN70) Russia has also proposed an oil
export deal with the United States and become a partner in the
U.S.-led “war on terror.” (FN71)

In contrast to Russia, Iran has shown little willingness to
compromise. (FN72) In addition to common management of the entire sea
and seabed, Iran’s negotiators have proposed an alternative solution:
division of the sea into five equal national sectors (twenty percent
each)–a position which none of the other states supports. (FN73)
Moreover, Iran has recently attempted to force concessions from the
other Caspian states by demonstrating its potential as a
spoiler. (FN74) In July 2001, an Iranian gunboat chased two BP survey
ships from a disputed oil field in the southern Caspian. (FN75) BP
immediately suspended all activity under its contract with Azerbaijan
in the disputed oil field. (FN76) Both the United States and Russia
protested the Iranian action. (FN77) The July 2001 incident
underscored Iran’s isolation, and events since then have demonstrated
the extent to which the other Caspian 4 states have aligned themselves
with Russia. (FN78) Following the unsuccessful April 2002 Caspian
Summit in Turkmenistan, at which Iran alone insisted on an equal
division of the sea, President Putin ordered large-scale military
exercises on the Caspian for August 2002. (FN79) Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan also took part in the exercises, but Iran was pointedly
excluded. (FN80)


A. Russia’s Legal Arguments

Russia’s current legal argument regarding the status of the Caspian
Sea can be described as a “divided bottom, common waters”
approach. (FN81) Russia advocates dividing the seabed into national
sectors corresponding roughly to the amount of shoreline controlled by
each state, but leaving the surface waters, outside a fifteen-mile
territorial band, to be managed by all the states in common. (FN82) To
resolve disputes arising over claims to overlapping oil fields, Russia
proposes developing sharing agreements on a bilateral basis. (FN83) To
codify this argument permanently, Russia has concluded bilateral
treaties with its neighbors, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. (FN84) These
treaties cover the northern part of the sea, effectively dividing it
into Russian, Azerbaijani, and Kazakhstani national sectors. (FN85)
The legal effect of these bilateral treaties in the absence of a new
multilateral convention is not entirely clear, since it hinges on
whether the old Soviet-Iranian treaties remain in force, as Iran
argues 5 they do. (FN86) If the Soviet era treaties dissolved along
with the Soviet Union in 1991, or if they never effectively governed
ownership of the Caspian, then the new bilateral treaties between
Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan should be governing law in the
Caspian. (FN87) If, however, the old Soviet era treaties are still in
force, then Iran may have a legal foothold for its argument that no
new bilateral treaties are valid in the absence of a new multilateral
agreement. (FN88)

B. Iran’s Legal Arguments

Iran contends that the 1921 and 1940 Soviet-Iranian treaties will
remain in force until a new multilateral convention is agreed upon by
all five littoral states. (FN89) Furthermore, Iran demands that any
new multilateral agreement provide for common management of both the
surface waters and the seabed, or, alternatively, for division of the
sea into equal national sectors–twenty percent each. (FN90)

Iran’s legal argument concerning the treaties has four main
weaknesses. (FN91) First, it gives great weight to general
Soviet-Iranian treaties that make little mention of the Caspian, and
are completely silent about division or ownership of the
seabed. (FN92) Second, it argues for a common ownership regime of the
Caspian’s resources when in fact such a regime is not explicit in the
treaties. (FN93) Such a common ownership regime would, therefore, have
to be inferred, but neither the Soviet Union nor Iran treated the
Caspian as joint property during the Soviet era. (FN94) Third, the
Soviets engaged in oil extraction activities outside the ten-mile
exclusive fishing zone stipulated in the treaty, with no objection
from Iran. (FN95) Some have suggested that Iran’s silence about de
facto divisions during the Soviet era should preclude it from raising
objections 6 to national divisions today. (FN96) Finally, Iran has
refused to recognize the continued validity of the 1921 and 1940
treaties in other areas they governed, such as security. (FN97)


A. Implications for Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan

If Russia’s proposed solution becomes codified as international law–
either as a system of bilateral agreements, or as the basis for a new
Caspian convention–Russia will likely be the biggest winner for
several reasons. (FN98) First, playing a visible role in securing a
legal regime will allow Russia to be seen as a stabilizing force in
the region. (FN99) Second, Russia’s close cooperation with Azerbaijan
and Kazakhstan on this narrow legal question will facilitate
reciprocal cooperation from those states on problems Russian leaders
care deeply about, such as the instability in Chechnya. (FN100) Third,
division of the seabed into national sectors helps influential Russian
oil companies to pursue development of recently discovered reserves in
the Russian sector, as well as to engage in joint activities with
Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani counterparts. (FN101) Finally, the “common
waters” approach will give Moscow a free hand to patrol the Caspian
and fight what it calls crime and terrorism as it deems
necessary. (FN102)

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have traditionally been cautious in their
bilateral relations with Russia regarding the Caspian. (FN103)
However, the chief advantages of the Russian solution for Azerbaijan
and Kazakhstan are the clarity of sovereign rights, and, at least in
the short 7 run, cooperative relations with their Russian
neighbor. (FN104) Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan would no doubt prefer a
multilateral legal regime codifying the seabed boundaries, which would
make abrogation by any one party more difficult. (FN105) Nonetheless,
given their interest in securing their rights sooner rather than
later, and Iran’s intransigence, a system of bilateral treaties may be
the best solution Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani leaders can hope for at
the present time. (FN106)

B. Implications for the United States

The “divided bottom, common waters” approach offers several benefits
for U.S. interests. (FN107) The chief priorities of U.S. policy toward
the Caspian region continue to be the security of energy transport
routes, independence of the former Soviet Caspian states, and
isolation of Iran. (FN108) A Caspian legal regime that creates
definite boundaries and gives each border state sovereign control over
the resources in its national sector will favor these
interests. (FN109) A multilateral agreement based on clear national
sectors for the seabed and common management of most of the surface
waters would also be an encouraging sign for U.S. investors in the
region. (FN110) The actual borders would have to be drawn, and
disputes resolved over overlapping claims to oil and gas fields lying
between two sectors, but the series of bilateral agreements already in
place would help demarcate borders. (FN111) The U.S. government has an
additional stake in the success of some Caspian investment projects,
having provided risk insurance to the corporations investing in the
BTC pipeline through U.S. government financial institutions, including
the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the
Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). (FN112)

The United States also has important security concerns in the Caspian
region with regard to its “war on terror.” (FN113) Russian
predominance in the Caspian region may have distinct advantages for
the United States in this respect. (FN114) Both the United States and
Russia, for instance, have strong interests in keeping terrorists away
from pipelines and oil-rigs, although they may disagree on the best
means for doing so. (FN115) Moreover, Russia’s security interests will
ensure its engagement in the region for the foreseeable future, while
Russia’s proximity to and familiarity with the region make it better
positioned than the United States to act on issues of mutual
concern. (FN116)

Nevertheless, for the long run, the United States should consider
carefully the implications of Moscow’s taking on a role as a
unilateral military and police power in the Caspian. (FN117) Such a
course may be expedient while U.S. and Russian interests overlap, but
it will be difficult to intervene if Russian leaders begin to act on
interests that conflict directly with those of their neighbors and
partners. (FN118)

C. Implications for Iran

For Iran, the Russian-backed, “divided bottom, common waters” approach
offers several disadvantages. (FN119) First, it will deny Iran key
economic opportunities. (FN120) The plan effectively excludes Iran
from any significant development of the Caspian’s oil and gas, since
the fourteen percent share that would be allocated to Iran contains
the least proven oil and gas reserves and the deepest water. (FN121)
Meanwhile, proactive treaty- making by Russia, Azerbaijan, and
Kazakhstan is rapidly closing off Iran’s ability to bargain for things
it desires most, such as securing support for a future oil export
route south through its territory. (FN122)

9 Second, Iran also fears instability in the region. (FN123)
Specifically, Iran has concerns that any strengthening of Azerbaijan
will embolden Iran’s significant ethnic Azerbaijani population,
possibly leading to political and social upheaval in the northern
parts of the country that border Azerbaijan. (FN124) Furthermore,
Iran’s feelings of insecurity may be exacerbated by tacit U.S. support
for Russia’s legal solution for the Caspian. (FN125) The possibility
of a large U.S. military presence on Iran’s border, depending on
future events in Iraq, will heighten feelings of insecurity in Tehran.

Iran may yet win some concessions in a final agreement on the
Caspian’s status, but given the current situation, that scenario looks
unlikely. (FN127) In the absence of a multilateral agreement involving
all five Caspian states, it is difficult to see how the bilateral
treaty system created by Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan will
prevent further conflict arising over the disputed oil fields in the
southern part of the sea. (FN128) If Iranian leaders decide they have
nothing to lose, they may seek to disrupt other states’ activities in
the Caspian. (FN129) Iran would not have to engage in actual
hostilities to have an impact on the economic activities of the
Caspian states. (FN130) As the BP incident proved in July 2001,
foreign oil executives have a low tolerance for political uncertainty
in the region. (FN131)


Russia’s proposal for resolving the Caspian’s legal status is likely
to emerge as the defining legal framework for the sea–either as part
of a new Caspian convention or as a system of bilateral treaties. As
such, Russia’s plan offers important benefits to both Russian and
U.S. economic and political interests in the short term. However, it
may be an unsound basis for long-term security and strategic
interests. In particular, future events in Iran and Russia may have a
profound impact on the viability of the Russian-proposed solution.

Developments in Iranian domestic politics could affect Iran’s
willingness to recognize a Caspian treaty regime that excludes its
interests. The power struggle between President Mohammed Khatami’s
moderate administration and the hard-line clerics who control Iran’s
foreign policy raises questions about the possibility of a leadership
change and its effect on Iran’s relations with its Caspian neighbors.

Another potential problem with Russia’s proposed legal regime is that
its success or failure is directly linked to the maintenance of good
relations among the Caspian states. Neither Russia’s rapprochement
with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, nor its antiterror partnership with
the United States is a significant departure from the country’s
Russia-first foreign policy. Rather, both developments indicate a
pragmatic approach to pursuing Russia’s national interests. As those
interests change in the coming years, they will likely diverge from
the interests of their neighbors and those of the United States.

The “divided bottom, common waters” approach is essentially a
political solution to a legal problem. In the next several years, it
will help foster cooperation and get the oil flowing. In the longer
run, however, a number of events, such as leadership changes in Russia
or Iran or new trouble in Chechnya, may undermine the political
foundation of any agreement based on the Russian plan.

(FNa1). Ben N. Dunlap is the Solicitations and Symposium Editor of the
Boston College International & Comparative Law Review.

(FN1). Addicted to Oil, THE ECONOMIST, Dec. 15, 2001, at 9.

(FN2). Id.; A Dangerous Addiction, THE ECONOMIST, Dec. 15, 2001, at

(FN3). See Michael Lelyveld, Caspian: Presidents Launch Construction
of Oil Pipeline, RADIO FREE EUROPE — RADIO LIBERTY (Sept. 18, 2002),
(hereinafter Lelyveld, Presidents Launch Construction); Lucian
Pugliaresi, Energy Security: How Valuable is Caspian Oil?, Caspian
Studies Program (Jan. 2001),

(Aug. 2003)
(hereinafter D.O.E., CASPIAN SEA REGION).

(FN5). See Fiona Hill, Pipeline Dreams in the Caucasus, in CAUCASUS
(hereinafter Hill, Pipeline Dreams).

(July 2002)
(hereinafter D.O.E., EXPORT OPTIONS); Lelyveld, Presidents Launch
Construction, supra note 3.

(July 2002) (hereinafter D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES).

(FN8). See id.; see also Geoffrey Kemp, U.S.-Iranian Relations:
Competition or Cooperation in the Caspian Sea Basin, in ENERGY AND
Menon eds., 2000) (hereinafter ENERGY AND CONFLICT); Peter Rutland,
Paradigms for Russian Policy in the Caspian Region, in ENERGY AND
CONFLICT, supra, at 177.

(FN9). See D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7; see also Kemp, supra
note 8, at 148-49; Rutland, supra note 8, at 177.

(FN10). Vystuplenie Prezidenta Rossii V.V. Putina na vstreche glav
prikaspiiskikh gosudarstv (Russian President Vladimir Putin, Address
at the Summit of Caspian Heads of State), available at
(Apr. 23, 2002) (hereinafter Putin Address).

(FN11). See D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7; Sergei Blagov,
Kazakhstan Pushes for Trilateral Caspian Deal, ASIA TIMES ONLINE,
Oct. 10, 2002, at
Blagov, Kazakhstan).

(FN12). See D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7.

(FN13). See Hill, Pipeline Dreams, supra note 5; Bruce R. Kuniholm,
The Geopolities of the Caspian Basin, 54 MIDDLE E. J. 546 (2002),
LEXIS, Nexis Library, Magazine File.

(FN14). D.O.E., CASPIAN SEA REGION, supra note 4.

(FN15). See Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN16). Id.

TABLES, at http:// (July

(FN18). D.O.E., CASPIAN SEA REGION, supra note 4.

(FN19). Jan H. Kalicki, Caspian Energy at the Crossroads, FOREIGN
AFFAIRS, Sept.-Oct. 2001, LEXIS, Nexis Library, Magazine File.

(FN20). Id.

(FN21). See id.; D.O.E., CASPIAN SEA REGION, supra note 4.

(June 2002)
(hereinafter DEP’T OF ENERGY, KAZAKHSTAN); Michael Lelyveld,
Iran/Azerbaijan: U.S. Rejects Military Involvement in Caspian Dispute,

(June 2002)

(FN24). See generally Kuniholm, supra note 13; Robert Ebel & Rajan
Menon, Introduction to ENERGY AND CONFLICT, supra note 8, at 4-10.

(FN25). Ebel & Menon, Introduction, supra note 24, at 5.

(FN26). See id. at 8-9.

(FN27). See id.

(FN28). See id.; Kemp, supra note 8, at 158.

(FN29). See Ebel & Menon, Introduction, supra note 24, at 7.

(FN30). The Lost Cause of the Caucasus, THE ECONOMIST, Nov. 2, 2002,
at 25.

(FN31). Ebel & Menon, Introduction, supra note 24, at 7.

(FN32). Lena Jonson & Roy Allison, Central Asian Security: Internal
and External Dynamics, in CENTRAL ASIAN SECURITY: THE NEW
INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT 13- 14 (Lena Jonson & Roy Allison eds., 2001).

(FN33). Id.

(July 26, 2002) (hereinafter
D.O.S., PRESS STATEMENT); B. Lynn Pascoe, Security, Stability,
Prosperity: Engaging the Eurasian Front-Line States, Remarks Delivered
at the International Conference on Central Asia and the Caucasus, Yale
Center for the Study of Globalization, at
(Sept. 20, 2002).

(FN35). Martha Brill Olcott, Drugs, Terrorism, and Regional Security:
The Risks from Afghanistan, Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Judiciary

(Mar. 13, 2002).

(June 6, 2002); Kalicki,
supra note 19.

(FN37). See Brice M. Clagett, Ownership of Seabed and Subsoil
Resources in the Caspian Sea Under the Rules of International Law,

(1995); Bernard H. Oxman, Caspain Sea or Lake: What Difference Does It


(FN 38). See Clagett, supra note 37; Oxman, supra note 37.

(FN39). See Clagett, supra note 37; Oxman, supra note 37.

(FN40). See Oxman, supra note 37.

(FN41). See id.

(FN42). See Clagett, supra note 37.

(FN43). Faraz Sanei, Note, The Caspian Sea Legal Regime, Pipeline
Diplomacy, and the Prospects for Iran’s Isolation from the Oil and Gas
Frenzy: Reconciling Tehran’s Legal Options with Its Geopolitical
Realities, 34 VAND. J. TRANSNAT’L L. 681, 790 (2001).

(FN44). See Clagett, supra note 37.

(FN45). See id. The exact method of division was disputed even after
UNCLOS, however, particularly by states that were not parties to the
convention. See id.

(FN46). Sanei, supra note 43, at 790.

(FN47). Clagett, supra note 37.

(FN48). See Kamyar Mehdiyoun, Current Development, Ownership of Oil
and Gas Resources in the Caspian Sea, 94 AM. J. INT’L L. 179, 183, 187

(FN49). See Ministerstvo Inostrannykh Del Rossiiskoi Federatsii,
Departament Informatsii i Pechati, Interviu spetsialnogo
predstavitelia Prezidenta Rossii po uregulirovaniiu statusa
Kaspiiskogo moria, zamestitelia Ministra inostrannykh del V.I.
Kaliuzhnogo (Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dep’t of Information
and Press, Interview of the Special Representative of the President of
Russia for Regulation of the Status of the Caspian Sea, Deputy Foreign
Minister Viktor I. Kalyuzhny), at (May 23, 2002)
(hereinafter Kalyuzhny Interview).

(FN50). See Clagett, supra note 37.

(FN51). See Oxman, supra note 37.

(FN52). See id.

(FN53). See id.; Lelyveld, Russia: Will a New Formula for Sharing
Caspian Riches Work?, RADIO FREE EUROPE–RADIO LIBERTY (Nov. 28,
2001), at http://
Lelyveld, Sharing Caspian Riches).

(FN54). D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7; see Sanei, supra note 43,
at 768-87.

(FN55). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 769-70.

(FN56). Id.

(FN57). See Abbas Maleki, Caspian Sea and Foreign Policy of Islamic
Republic of Iran, JOMHURI ESLAMI (Tehran), Oct. 23, 2001, at 3,
http:// Iran’s Share of the Caspian Sea
(Interview with Mehdi Safari), TEHRAN PERSIAN DAILY, Apr. 18, 2002, at
2, http:// (hereinafter Safari
Interview). See also generally Clagett, supra note 37; Oxman, supra
note 37 (describing the “condominium” principle in international law).

(FN58). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87; Safari Interview, supra
note 57.

(FN59). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87; Safari Interview, supra
note 57.


(FN61). Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 187.

(FN62). Steven Lee Myers, Carving Up the Caspian, N.Y. TIMES,
Sept. 24, 2002, at A13; Blagov, Kazakhstan, supra note 11.

(FN63). Lelyveld, Sharing Caspian Riches, supra note 53; Kalyuzhny
Interview, supra note 49. Turkmenistan favors division of the seabed
into national sectors, but is unwilling to commit to the method of
division proposed by Russia. See Kalyuzhny Interview, supra note 49.

(FN64). See Kalyuzhny Interview, supra note 49.

(FN65). See Carol Saivetz, Caspian Geopolitics: The View from Moscow,
7 BROWN J. WORLD AFF. 53, 54-55 (2000).

(FN66). See Fiona Hill, Russia: The 21st Century’s Energy Superpower?,
20 BROOKINGS REV. 28 (2002) (hereinafter Hill, Superpower).

(FN67). See Saivetz, supra note 65, at 57-59.

(FN68). D.O.E., EXPORT OPTIONS, supra note 6; Kalicki, supra note 19.

(FN69). See Hill, Superpower, supra note 66.

KAZAKHSTAN, supra note 22; see Hill, Superpower, supra note 66.

(FN71). See Brenda Shaffer, The U.S. Needs Russia to Help Contain
Iran, L.A. TIMES, Feb. 21, 2002, at 13.

(FN72). See Maleki, supra note 57.

(FN73). See id.

(FN74). Michael Lelyveld, Caspian: A Delicate Balance Prevails, RADIO

(hereinafter Lelyveld, Delicate Balance).

(FN75). Id.

(FN76). Id.

(FN77). Id.

(FN78). Jean-Christophe Peuch, Caspian: ‘Militarization’ of the
Sea–Myth or Reality?, RADIO FREE EUROPE–RADIO LIBERTY (June 10,
2002), at

(FN79). Id.

(FN80). Michael Lelyveld, Russia: Are Moscow’s War Games in Caspian
Muscle Flexing?, RADIO FREE EUROPE–RADIO LIBERTY (Aug. 7, 2002), at

(FN81). Putin Address, supra note 10.

(FN82). Michael Lelyveld, Caspian: Russia Proposes Wider Offshore Zone
for Dividing the Sea, RADIO FREE EUROPE-RADIO LIBERTY (Aug. 28, 2002),

(FN83). See Kalyuzhny Interview, supra note 49.

(FN84). See Blagov, Kazakhstan, supra note 11; Michael Lelyveld,
Caspian: Azerbaijan, Iran Seek New Phase in Border Dispute, RADIO FREE
EUROPE-RADIO LIBERTY (June 18, 2002), at

(hereinafter Lelyveld, New Phase).

(FN85). See Blagov, Kazakhstan, supra note 11; Lelyveld, New Phase,
supra note 84.

(FN86). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 777-80, 786-87.

(FN87). See id.

(FN88). See id.

(FN89). Maleki, supra note 57, at 3.

(FN90). Id.

(FN91). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN92). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN93). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN94). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN95). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN96). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89; Clagett, supra note
37. But cf. Sanei, supra note 43, at 786-87.

(FN97). See SHAFFER, supra note 60, at 63 n.46.

(FN98). See Kalyuzhny Interview, supra note 49; Hill, Superpower,
supra note 66.

(FN99). See Saivetz, supra note 65, at 59.

(FN100). See Sergei Blagov, Russia’s Asian Policy Gains Momentum, ASIA
TIMES ONLINE, Nov. 14, 2002, at
Asia/DK14Ag01.html (discussing Kazakhstan’s cooperation with Russia in
counterterrorist operations); Daan van der Schriek, Moscow Hostage
Crisis Encourages Closer Russian-Azerbaijani Relations, at

(Oct. 30, 2002) (discussing Azerbaijan’s clamp-down on Chechen
activity in its territory and the recent Azerbaijani-Russian

(FN101). See Hill, Superpower, supra note 66.

(FN102). See Peuch, supra note 78.

(FN103). See generally Hooman Peimani, Russia Navigates Another
Caspian Rapid, ASIA TIMES ONLINE, Oct. 8, 2002, at

(FN104). See Blagov, Kazakhstan, supra note 11.

(FN105). See, e.g., Peimani, supra note 103.

(FN106). See Blagov, Kazakhstan, supra note 11.

(FN107). See Michael Lelyveld, U.S.: Official Disputes Iranian Success
with Caspian Project, RADIO FREE EUROPE — RADIO LIBERTY (Oct. 18,
2002), at

(FN108). See Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN109). See id.

(FN110). See D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7; Michael Lelyveld,
Iran/Azerbaijan: U.S. Rejects Military Involvement in Caspian Dispute,

(hereinafter Lelyveld, Caspian Dispute).

(FN111). See D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7; Lelyveld, Caspian
Dispute, supra note 110.

(FN112). See Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN113). See Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones, U.S. Engagement
in Central Asia and the Caucasus: Staying Our Course Along the Silk
Road, Remarks at “Central Asia: Its Geopolitical Significance and
Future Impact” Conference, University of Montana, at
(Apr. 10, 2003).

(FN114). See D.O.S., PRESS STATEMENT, supra note 34; Lelyveld, Caspian
Dispute, supra note 110.

(FN115). See D.O.S., PRESS STATEMENT, supra note 34; Lelyveld, Caspian
Dispute, supra note 110.

(FN116). See, e.g., Saivetz, supra note 65, at 58-59.

(FN117). See generally Jonson & Allison, supra note 32; Kemp, supra
note 8, at 148-49.

(FN118). See Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN119). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 824; Maleki, supra note 57;
D.O.E., LEGAL ISSUES, supra note 7.

(FN120). See D.O.E., CASPIAN SEA REGION, supra note 4.

(FN121). Id.

(FN122). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 832.

CHALLENGE OF AZERBAIJANI IDENTITY 1-7 (2002); Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN124). See SHAFFER, supra note 123, at 1-7; Kuniholm, supra note 13.

(FN125). See Kemp, supra note 8, at 158.

(FN126). See Sanei, supra note 43, at 824.

(FN127). See Mehdiyoun, supra note 48, at 188-89. But cf. Sanei, supra
note 43, at 786-87.

(FN128). See Peimani, supra note 103.

(FN129). See id.

(FN130). Lelyveld, Delicate Balance, supra note 74.

(FN131). See id.

Copyright – 2004 by Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

ASBAREZ Online [04-07-2004]


1) New Karabagh Envoy for US, Abiyev Ties Unstable Armenia to Renewed War
2) ANCC, Canadian Foreign Ministry Reps Take-up Timely Issues
3) Krakow Armenian Officials Tell Turkey to Keep Distance on Monument Issue
4) Russian Official Injured in Georgia Explosion
5) Fierce Fighting Sweeps Iraqi Cities

1) New Karabagh Envoy for US, Abiyev Ties Unstable Armenia to Renewed War

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The United States will soon appoint a new chief
negotiator in
the long-running international efforts to resolve the Mountainous Karabagh
conflict, official Azeri sources revealed on Wednesday, citing the US
ambassador in Baku.
Azeri news agencies quoted Ambassador Reno Harnish as telling Defense
Safar Abiyev on Tuesday that Steven Mann, Washington’s special representative
to the Caspian Sea region, will soon take over as the new US co-chair of the
OSCE Minsk Group. Harnish said he hopes that the appointment will give new
impetus to the stalled Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. No other details were
In his current capacity, Mann has for years focused on the development of
Azerbaijan’s and Kazakhstan’s Caspian oil and natural reserves by Western
multinational companies. He also successfully lobbied on behalf of the US
government for the ongoing construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
that will pump Azerbaijani and possibly Kazakh oil to the Turkish
The multibillion-dollar oil projects, seen as reducing the ex-Soviet states’
dependence on Russia, have been a key motive for the close US involvement in
the Karabagh peace process. The Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact around
Karabagh lies only several dozen kilometers south of the nearest section of
future pipeline.
Meeting with the US envoy, the Azerbaijani defense chief accused the Armenian
side of trying to “obstruct” the $2.5 billion work on the pipeline.
Abiyev also claimed that rising political tensions in Armenia make a renewed
war in Karabagh more likely. “Should the government lose control over the
domestic situation, a war may break out,” he said. As a defense minister, I
this and warn the public. We must be always ready to defend the territorial
integrity of our state.”
The US State Department has not yet officially announced Mann’s upcoming
appointment. An Armenian diplomatic source suggested that the information
provided by Harnish was not meant for publication by the Azeri government.
The current US co-chair of the Minsk Group, Rudolf Perina, has held the post
since September 2001. Perina and his Russian and French counterparts were due
to preside over an important meeting between the Armenian and Azeri foreign
ministers which was scheduled to take place in Prague late last week. The
were canceled at Baku’s request.
This was followed by the weekend dismissal of Vilayat Guliyev, Azerbaijan’s
tough-talking foreign minister. Azerbaijani commentators said Guliyev’s
replacement, career diplomat Elmar Mamedyarov, will be more pliant to
Ilham Aliyev.

2) ANCC, Canadian Foreign Ministry Reps Take-up Timely Issues

OTTAWA–Representative of Canada’s foreign ministry and Armenian National
Committee of Canada (ANCC) met on April 2 at the ministry building in Ottawa.
ANCC representatives, Chairman Jirayr Basmadjian, and Toros Dimitian held a
two-hour meeting with the ministry’s Director General David Preston, and Peter
Curtis who heads Canada’s Armenia relations office.
Although ANCC representatives stressed the importance of current government
efforts to create dialogue between Canada’s minorities, they nevertheless
expressed concern about the timing of move that coincides with the vote in the
Canadian House of Commons on the Armenian Genocide.
Efforts for potential dialogue–presumably between all minorities–could
possibly overshadow the motion on the Armenian Genocide due for a vote in late
Although the Canadian government opposes the use of the word “genocide,”
explained Preston, it also opposes a vote against motion, and will allow each
member of its party to rule their conscience on the issue.
ANCC representatives detailed the necessity of establishing a Canadian
in Armenia, considering the vast Canadian Armenian community.
They also covered the political situation in the Caucasus, specifically the
absurdity of attempts to regulate the Karabagh conflict without the
participation of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) in negotiations.
Though the meeting participants did not agree on all matters, they
nevertheless agreed that the talks were constructive and beneficial.
Preston and Curtis requested a follow-up meeting in the near future with ANCC

3) Krakow Armenian Officials Tell Turkey to Keep Distance on Monument Issue

YEREVAN (Arminfo)–A Monument to the Victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915
has been erected in Krakow, Poland, and will officially be unveiled on April
There has been some degree of controversy surrounding the monument, with the
Turkish embassy in Poland repeatedly coming out against the use of the word
“Genocide” on the Monument.
Not surprised by the move, Armenia’s ambassador to Poland Ashot Hovakimyan,
said the time will surely come for Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide,
and suggested that a monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian
be erected in Istanbul.
Hovakimyan thanked Krakow authorities for their ability to brave the
of protests by Turkish diplomats, and expressed confidence that the incident
would not bring about a cooling off of Turkish-Polish relations. “The more
Poland knows about Turkey, the better,” Hovakimyan added.
The Archimandrite of the Krakow Monastery Tadeush Isakakyan-Zaleski, in an
open letter to the Turkish Ambassador, stated that any self-respecting
historian could not but confirm the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide,
and that disputes around the word “Genocide” are senseless. He also asked the
Ambassador to stay out of the issue.

4) Russian Official Injured in Georgia Explosion

TBILISI (AP)–The commander of Russian forces in the former Soviet republic of
Georgia was injured in a bomb blast Tuesday night, officials said Tuesday.
Gen. Alexander Studenikin was taken to a hospital with injuries that are not
believed to be life-threatening, Georgian deputy prosecutor Kakha Koberidze
Koberidze said the blast occurred as the general walked to his home from the
Russian troops’ headquarters in the capital Tbilisi, on territory under
control. He said preliminary information indicates it was set off by remote.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Studenikin was injured in an
the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Russia maintains two bases and about 5,000 troops in Georgia as holdovers
the Soviet era when the republic was a key element in the Kremlin’s military
strategy. It has about 150 tanks, 240 armored vehicles and 140 artillery
on the bases.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia withdrew troops from two other
bases, and Georgia has been pushing for the withdrawal of the remaining two.
Moscow has said the withdrawal could take from seven to 11 years, but Georgia
has pressed for complete pullout in three years.
The Georgians have been nervous that Moscow might use the bases to support
defiant leader of Ajaria, the Black Sea province which has been reluctant to
cede any powers to Georgian central authorities. One of the Russian bases is
located in Ajaria.
Despite the tensions over the bases, Russia-Georgian relations have shown
signs of thawing since Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was elected in
January, after Eduard Shevardnadze resigned under pressure of mass public
Georgian Security Council secretary Vano Merabishvili said he suspects those
developments could be behind the bombing.
“I think that this has happened because there’s been an improvement in
relations recently between Georgia and Russia and our enemies don’t like warm
relations between our countries,” he said.
Koberidze said the explosion would be investigated jointly by Georgian and
Russian authorities.

5) Fierce Fighting Sweeps Iraqi Cities


FALLUJA (Reuters)–US-led forces are battling Sunni Muslim guerrillas and a
spreading Shi’ite uprising, as Iraqi anger was inflamed by a blast in the
grounds of a mosque that witnesses say killed 25 people.
In the last three days 35 American and allied soldiers and at least 200
have been killed in some of the heaviest fighting since the fall of Saddam
Hussein nearly a year ago.
The spiraling two-front war, with new flashpoints flaring across the country
as backers of radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr take up arms, is calling
into question US plans to transfer sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30.
US President George W. Bush–campaigning for re-election in November with
opinion polls showing plunging support over Iraq–held phone talks with close
ally Prime Minister Tony Blair, but officials dismissed any suggestion of a
But some countries with troops in Iraq signaled the situation was growing
serious. Ukrainian troops pulled out of the eastern city of Kut after clashes
and regrouped at a base camp. Japan said its troops would suspend
reconstruction work in Samawa, in the south, because of security concerns.
Battles raged between US Marines and guerrillas in the Sunni towns of Falluja
and Ramadi west of Baghdad.


A US military spokesman said there were five Marine “casualties” in
Falluja on
Wednesday, but it was not clear if any had been killed.
In Falluja, witnesses said the office of a Muslim organization in the grounds
of a mosque was hit by a rocket. Local residents said at least 25 people were
A US official at the Pentagon said a bomb had been dropped but “did not hit
the mosque–that was made very clear to us”.
In a small alleyway in the back streets of Ramadi, a dozen Iraqis crouched on
the floor of a house, sheltering from gunfire as Marines and masked insurgents
fought outside.
In a room close by, women and children were crying.
Mosques broadcast calls for a holy war against US troops, blasts echoed
the town and black smoke rose from a building blocks away.
Twelve Marines were killed on Tuesday in a seven-hour battle in
Ramadi–one of
the costliest single losses for US forces since the war that toppled Saddam
began last March.
A US soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad on
Wednesday, bringing to 443 the number of US troops killed in action in Iraq
since last year’s invasion.
Since Sunday, clashes across Iraq have killed 33 US troops, a Ukrainian
soldier and a Salvadoran soldier.


The US military launched a major operation this week to secure Ramadi and
Falluja, where four US private security guards were killed last week and their
bodies set ablaze and mutilated by a jubilant crowd of Iraqis.
North of Baghdad, a US helicopter landed after being hit by gunfire. The US
army said there were no casualties.
Followers of Sadr have fought running battles with US-led forces in the
southern cities of Nassiriya, Amara, Kut, and Kerbala.
An aide to Sadr told a news conference some US soldiers had been captured in
the fighting.
“Some tribes have captured some occupation forces on the streets,” Qays
al-Khazali told a news conference in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf.
US military spokesman, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, said US-led forces
would destroy Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia and that the cleric would be arrested.
“In the central and southern regions of Iraq the coalition and Iraqi security
forces are conducting operations to destroy the Mehdi Army,” he said.
The upsurge in violence has prompted critics of Bush to suggest US forces
a Vietnam-style quagmire.
Bulgaria summoned ambassadors of the United States, Britain, Spain and Poland
to the foreign ministry on Wednesday asking for back-up for 450 Bulgarian
soldiers stationed in Kerbala.
The base has come under attack several times by Shi’ite militiamen, and a
Bulgarian civilian truck driver was killed in an attack on a convoy in
Iraq on Tuesday.
Sadr has appealed to all Iraqis, whatever their religion, to help expel the
US-led occupying forces.
“This insurrection shows that the Iraqi people are not satisfied with the
occupation and they will not accept oppression,” he said in a statement on
Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Wednesday condemned the
way US-led forces were tackling the uprising and called for calm on all sides
and an end to violence.
Bush has vowed the campaign by Sadr’s supporters would not derail
“We will pass sovereignty on June 30,” he told a rally in Arkansas on
“We’re not going to be intimidated by thugs and assassins.”
A US opinion poll on Monday showed support for Bush’s handling of Iraq at a
new low of 40 percent, with 44 percent wanting US troops withdrawn.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Aid distribution

Azat Artsakh, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
April 4, 2004


Ten years ago the German organization “Image of Hope” started its
humanitarian mission in Artsakh. Cooperating with the Orthopedic
Prosthesis Center after C. Cox, the organization distributes
humanitarian aid, food and clothes, to the parentless children of the
republic. The center of prosthesis recently organized another action
of distribution of aid. According to the director of the center Levon
Babayan, presently 69 parentless children are registered in the
republic, of which 40 in the capital. The mentioned children are under
constant state care. On March 31 the direction of the center visited
the regions of the republic to deliver the aid to the children. The
organization “Image of Hope” implements humanitarian programs in
almost 50 countries of the world.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

New structure

Azat Artsakh, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
April 6, 2004


On April 1 NKR president Arkady Ghukassian signed a decree according
to which the interdepartmental commission of the Security Council of
NKR on information security and radio-telecommunication was
established. Member of the Security Council, advisor of the NKR
president Georgy Petrossian was appointed chairman of the commission.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Sylvie Vartan: 2004 ou l’annĂ©e du grand retour

Edicom, Suisse
5 Avril 2004

Sylvie Vartan: 2004 ou l’annĂ©e du grand retour
par Rachid Aouli

PARIS (AP) – Après un silence radio de quelques annĂ©es et de brèves
incursions au cinéma, 2004 marque le grand retour de Sylvie Vartan.
Avec d’abord un retour en chansons et un nouvel album sobrement
baptisé «Sylvie» (Mercury/Universal) dans les bacs depuis ce lundi,
en mĂŞme temps que le premier extrait «Ce n’est pas rien».
C’est en musique que Sylvie Vartan fait son retour sous les feux de
la rampe avec un album enregistré en Italie et à Los Angeles. Réalisé
par Paul Manners, qui a oeuvré pour Kelly Joyce ou Tina Arena,
«Sylvie» a également fait appel pour les textes et les compositions à
de jeunes talents, parmi lesquels Frédéric Lô, Laurent Marchet ou
Daran. Beaucoup plus connu, son fils David, né en août 1966 de son
union avec Johnny Hallyday, signe un texte, «Au rythme du coeur».
Egalement publiĂ©e lundi, une autobiographie intitulĂ©e «Entre l’ombre
et la lumière» (Editions XO). Sylvie Vartan, icône des années
«yé-yé», y raconte une enfance vécue, malgré les difficultés, dans
l’amour d’une famille attentionnĂ©e, entourĂ©e de parents très soudĂ©s
et d’un grand-père francophile averti.
Sa mère hongroise, son père bulgare d’ascendance armĂ©nienne, tous
deux voulaient le bonheur de Sylvie sur cette terre d’accueil
qu’Ă©tait la France. Le père, tout artiste qu’il Ă©tait, avait mĂŞme
accepté un emploi de tripier aux Halles à Paris, tandis que la
famille vivait dans une petite chambre d’hĂ´tel.
Mais qui dit nouvel album dit aussi nouveau spectacle: c’est Ă  partir
du 28 septembre que Sylvie Vartan foulera à nouveau la scène du
Palais des Congrès de Paris pour douze représentations
exceptionnelles dans une mise en scène de Walter Painter.
Et si Sylvie Vartan n’a jamais cachĂ© son goĂ»t pour les mises en scène
sophistiquĂ©es des «shows» Ă  l’AmĂ©ricaine, c’est tout naturellement
qu’elle exposera Ă  partir du 16 octobre et jusqu’au 27 fĂ©vrier 2005
au Musée parisien de la mode Galliera ses plus belles robes de scène.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Glendale: Giovanni, Arash and the tunnel

Glendale News Press
March 20, 2004

Giovanni, Arash and the tunnel


The ordeal is almost over. This is the last of three parts sparked by
a quote by Malcolm X: “The only thing I like integrated is my coffee.”
I took the analogy further in describing my high school’s racially
divided social scene: “Milk producers, coffee growers and sugar
planters rarely came together to produce a smooth cappuccino.” Readers
have been inquiring about the true identity of these categories; my
response has been consistent: “They are irrelevant.” It is the late
1970s; I live in Sacramento, and being an Armenian is still

Giovanni was one of my buddies on the soccer team. As far as I knew,
he was the only Italian at our school. He was a product of a broken
home and a jet-setter father. The most exciting things in his life
were his athletic involvements and his sweet girlfriend, Karen. And
she was the envy of everyone, including the football team’s
quarterback, Kenny. She was a victory for all of us on the unglamorous
soccer team.

Karen had a sweet way of filling the family void in Giovanni’s
life. She was one of the rare sweethearts who actually made and
delivered sandwiches for her boyfriend after each and every soccer
match. My Italian mate was smitten.

Giovanni was popular among “sugar planters” and enjoyed all the
benefits of having a solid peer group. One problem: Giovanni’s friends
did not approve of Karen. So one day, after a brutal two-hour soccer
practice, Giovanni broke down in tears. His intensity suggested that
his sobbing was not a product of his howling misses in front of the
empty net during scrimmage; he had broken up with Karen. His official
reason: “Hmmm ’cause I am stupid, man, just stupid.”

Translation: “Sugar planters” did not approve of her. My opinion:
“Dumb move.”

Dumb got even dumber. Within a week Giovanni had a new girl from the
more accepted scene, and within a month, she was pregnant. Beautiful
an expectant father at the green age of 17. My Dodo bird curiosity
immediately kicked in, and I posed the obvious question to his friend,
Joaquin: “I personally have not seen this contraption with my own
eyes, but isn’t there something called contraception in this country?”
Dodo bird received his answer in the form of “Hush that is against the
teachings of the church.”

The grand lesson is quite clear, but allow me to be redundant. Lesson
No. 1: Peer pressure can lead to losing your hot girlfriend,
especially if your homies are involuntarily single throughout high
school. Lesson No. 2: If you are going to be selective in following
the teachings of Christ, pick and choose wisely.

Arash was one of three Iranians at our school. Thanks to him and his
monthly “Animal House” toga parties at his bachelor pad, I enjoyed a
decent level of popularity. In spite of my superior looks, as well as
my lack of a unibrow and a thick black mustache, our classmates could
not tell us apart. They would often thank me for being invited to the
toga bashes.

Arash’s gatherings could not have come at a better time, considering
we were privileged to have experienced all the ill effects of the
Iranian hostage crisis. But no one dared to openly get on our wrong
side, as they feared being axed from the guest list. In exchange, we
were denied entry to gatherings on a couple of occasions, but no
worries, no resentments; we had a firm grip on our own social life.

In addition to being quite popular with the girls, Arash had a
beautiful girlfriend named Kelly. I could safely say Arash was one of
the biggest party animals at our school, and enjoyed all the freedoms
American society offered and tolerated. At the same time, he was
supportive of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

I posed a question to him once about this contradiction: “Would you
like a brutal spanking from a bearded official every time you were out
with Kelly?” His response: “That system is good for those people. I
don’t have to like it to support it.” He went as far as inviting me to
his pad to have his extremist roommate preach to me the virtues of a
fundamentalist revolution. From that day on, our friendship was on

I am almost certain Arash eventually made a U-turn on his views. Like
most Iranian students of that era, his anti-Shah, pro-democracy
tendencies were temporarily allied with pro-revolution sentiments. His
preaching roommate was a different story, however. He went on to
benefit from the American educational system, only to go back and help
coin the term “Great Satan” for America.

Lesson No. 1: What’s not good for you is probably not good for others,
either. Lesson No. 2: Hypocrisy runs rampant in the world. Lesson
No. 3: Revolutions can mess up good friendships.

High school was my landing ground in America; sink or swim were my
only choices. I left home at 14, traveled above gray waters, trekked
through a jet engine-noise tunnel surrounded by dark clouds, and
emerged in an entirely new universe. The tunnel was then sealed.

Everything before the tunnel is surreal, but intact. Everything after
the tunnel is real yet artificially detached from the past.

The bridge is still under construction.

PATRICK AZADIAN lives and works in Glendale. He is an identity and
branding consultant for the retail industry. Reach him at
[email protected].

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Statement of National Press Club on Violence Against Journalists

A1 Plus | 15:20:31 | 06-04-2004 | Politics |


That disgustful action was directed against speech freedom aiming to hamper
unbiased information in Armenia and to reflect the reality in the anomalous

National Press Club condemns the violence demanding the Authorities and the
law-enforcement bodies who neglected their professional obligations to take
urgent steps to punish the pogrom-makers and to exclude such accidents in
the future or else violence may spread among our public.

In the 21st century speech freedom has no alternative in Armenia, too, and
the Armenian journalists must strive for it. NPC calls upon its colleagues
who abet the thugs by distorting what happened, to respect their
professional duty.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress