Greece seeks to help ally Armenia shift alliances westward to improve EU ties

FOX News
Feb 27 2024
  • Greece has voiced its intention to assist Armenia in shifting alliances towards the West.
  • Armenia, having strong ties with Russia, has faced challenges including a recent border conflict with Azerbaijan.
  • The country participated in joint military exercises with the U.S. and committed to reforms aimed at strengthening ties with the EU.

NATO member Greece said Tuesday it wants to help traditional ally Armenia shift alliances westward, arguing that improved ties with the European Union would boost stability in the troubled Caucasus region.

Armenia, which has close military and trade ties with Russia, is reeling from a border conflict with neighbor Azerbaijan in recent years. Last year, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled from an Azerbaijani military offensive in the breakaway Karabakh region in Azerbaijan to Armenia.

Angering Moscow, Armenia last year held a joint military exercise with the United States and also pledged to speed up reforms aimed at strengthening its partnership with the EU.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitstoakis on Tuesday told his visiting Armenian counterpart, Nikol Pashinian, that his government hoped to assist in that process.

"We fully support Armenia’s orientation toward the West," Mitsotakis said. "It is natural, as a member of the European Union and NATO, that our country is ready to contribute with know-how and experience to building this new liberal democracy."

Pashinian thanked Mitsotakis for his government’s support in forging new EU-Armenia partnership talks agreed on earlier this month that outlined rule-of-law reforms planned in Armenia as well as EU-backed investment programs.

"Our cooperation (with the EU) has already yielded results and I am sure that in the near future, these results will become more visible," Pashinian told reporters.

Homenetmen Leaders Unite in Watertown: Charting The Future of Armenian Youth Programs

Feb 27 2024

On February 19, 2024, a significant meeting took place at the Hairenik building in Watertown, Massachusetts, marking a pivotal moment for the Armenian youth organization, Homenetmen. Vicken Khatchadourian, Razmik Banosian, and Vahe Andonian from the Homenetmen Eastern USA Regional Executive joined forces with Hagop Khatcherian, the Central Executive chairman from Lebanon, and Central Executive member Vahe Tanashian. This assembly was focused on discussing and aligning the organization's mission and outreach programs for the upcoming four years.

The meeting highlighted the organization's resolve to foster Armenian youth development through strategic programs and initiatives. Key discussions encompassed the strengths, challenges, and priorities of the 12 chapters and miavors in the Eastern USA. Among the discussed priorities were completing a regional membership database, developing a youth division, and acquiring a campsite for Homenetmen in the Eastern U.S., all aimed at enhancing the organization's capacity to serve its members effectively.

Attention was also given to the major annual events that form the backbone of the organization's regional outreach, such as the Navasartian Games and Regional Panagoum. These events, celebrated with great enthusiasm and participation, not only strengthen community bonds but also play a crucial role in promoting Armenian culture and heritage among the youth.

The Regional Executive's initiatives are designed to align with and complement the Central Executive's proposed programs, as outlined in their first plenary meeting in January 2024. This collaborative approach underscores a unified effort to advance the Homenetmen's mission and expand its impact on Armenian youth in the Eastern U.S. and beyond.

As this meeting in Watertown folds into history, it represents a step forward in the Homenetmen's journey towards empowering Armenian youth. The concerted efforts of its leaders, both from the regional and central executive branches, promise not only to address current challenges but also to pave the way for a vibrant, engaged, and culturally rich Armenian community.

California Courier-on-line, Feb. 22, 2024

The California Courier Online, February 22, 2024

Despite His Denials, Aliyev is Upset
By International Criticism of Azerbaijan
By Harut
The California Courier

2- Andrew Goldberg's "Armenia, My Home"
Documentary to Air on PBS

3- A day of love, Armenian style

4- Armenia’s Artur Aleksanyan Crowned European Wrestling
Champion for 7th Time


1- Despite His Denials, Aliyev is Upset
By International Criticism of Azerbaijan
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Pres. Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan repeatedly states that he
ignores all international criticisms regarding his violations of the human
rights of his own citizens, war crimes by his soldiers, and ethnic cleansing of
Artsakh Armenians. Aliyev tries to cover up these violations and crimes through
‘Caviar diplomacy,’ by providing billions of dollars in bribes to various
European officials.

Anytime Azerbaijan has a problem with a foreign country,
Europeans institutions or international courts, he puts on a brave face and
acts like nothing has happened. He repeatedly says, “I don’t care who says
what, I will do what I want.”

I would like to cite a recent example of Aliyev being so
bothered by such issues that, rather than ignoring them, has gone to unusual
lengths to resolve them.

This example has to do with France. In recent months, Aliyev
has been quite outspoken with his harsh criticism of French President Emmanuel
Macron for supporting Armenia. Aliyev has refused to meet with Pres. Macron and
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to discuss the Artsakh conflict. Aliyev also
complained about France selling a number of armored personnel carriers to
Armenia. While spending billions of dollars to arm Azerbaijan with the latest
Israeli and Turkish drones and missiles, Aliyev dares to complain about Armenia
procuring a limited number of arms to defend itself.

Late last year, the Azerbaijan-France confrontation got more
heated when Azerbaijan expelled two French embassy officials from Baku and in
return France expelled two Azeri embassy officials from Paris.

The Intelligence Online website reported that, according to
its confidential sources, Azerbaijan’s intelligence services asked Mossad,
Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, to intervene with
France to resolve their outstanding conflicts.

According to confidential Mossad sources, Azerbaijan’s
Foreign Intelligence Service (XKX), led by General Orkhan Sultanov, asked his
counterpart in Israel to intervene with the General Directorate of External
Security (DGSE) of France to deescalate the tension between Baku and Paris.
Azerbaijan indicated that it would not want to worsen the existing dispute.

However, the Azeri effort failed, as Mossad did not transmit
the Azeri request to France, according to Intelligence Online sources. This was
a delicate issue for Israel as it wanted on one hand to preserve its good
relations with Azerbaijan, while on the other hand Israel’s intelligence agency
did not want to attempt such mediation at a time when it was preoccupied with
the conflict in Gaza and other Middle Eastern hot spots.

Intelligence Online reported that Mossad enjoys a high
degree of influence over Baku, since Israel uses the Azeri territory for its
operations in Iran. When Mossad stole Iran’s nuclear documents from Tehran in
2018, Israel’s agents used Azerbaijan’s border to flee from Iran. In return,
Mossad greatly facilitated Azerbaijan’s acquisition of sophisticated weapons
from Israel, which aided Baku, the second largest buyer of Israeli arms, to score
victories in 2020 and 2023 in Artsakh. Just before the attack on Artsakh in
September 2023, Azerbaijan’s security services informed the experts of Mossad
and Unit 8200 (Aman) of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate of their
plans and sought their advice.

According to Intelligence Online, Mossad has in recent years
brought its cooperation with the French External Security Directorate to a
higher operational level, notably on Iran. The French Agency has also been
mobilized over the situation in Gaza.

The new director of French Intelligence Agency, Nicolas
Lerner, met with David Barnea, the director of Mossad when the latter came to
Paris in the last week of January. Attending the closed-door meeting on the
Israeli-Palestinian issue were Abbas Kamel, head of the Egyptian General
Intelligence Directorate (Mukhabarat el-amma); Ronen Bar, head of Shin Bet,
Israel’s Internal Security Agency; William Barnes, head of the CIA; and Qatari

Intelligence Online importantly reported that the CIA let
Baku know that it was not pleased with Azerbaijan’s conflict with French
Intelligence, while France is trying to hinder Moscow in the Caucasus and needs
Azerbaijan’s platform.

Having exposed Aliyev’s deception about ignoring
international pressure on Azerbaijan, my advice to the international community
is to continue pressuring Aliyev to stop his unacceptable behavior. Otherwise,
he will go on with his multitude of ever-increasing violations and crimes,
causing great harm to Azeris and Armenians alike.

Next week, I will expose another one of Aliyev’s efforts to
counter international pressures on Azerbaijan, despite his denials of not
paying any attention to them.


Andrew Goldberg's "Armenia, My Home"
Documentary to Air on PBS

Directed by So Much Film’s Andrew Goldberg and narrated by
Andrea Martin (Only Murders in the Building), the upcoming documentary Armenia,
My Home explores the storied country’s past and present. Through interviews
with familiar faces from the diaspora, archival photographs and rich footage of
the nation known for fusing the East and West, the doc delves into the
modern-day Republic of Armenia’s unique cultural tapestry, which spans
thousands of years.

TV Real Weekly spoke to Goldberg about what prompted the
film, sifting through mountains of history for what shines through, the
partnership between So Much Film and PBS and more. Armenia, My Home is set to
bow on PBS stations on February 23.


3- A day of love, Armenian style

Gyumri, ARMENIA – Newlyweds in Gyumri, Armenia got all fired
up about their traditional spring event, Trndez.

The whole town has been preparing for a few days now for the
big firelit night held February 13th in celebration of prosperity, love, spring
and renewal.

Trndez is an Armenian apostolic holiday, where newlywed
couples traditionally jump above a bonfire for a long and prosperous marriage.

A few hundred people gathered on Vartanants Square, the
central square of Gyumri, at 5 p.m. and formed a circle around a big pile of
hay. As more people joined, old women, parents and their children threw flower
crowns and other plants on top of the hay.

“It’s meant for happiness in the family and health for the
following year,” said Tamara Hovannissian, an Armenian language teacher in Gyumri,
who attended the event.

Hovannissian said the flowers and plants might be a reminder
of the olive branches that were brought with Jesus to the temple of Jerusalem
40 days after his birth, according to Armenian apostolic belief.

She also said that normally, families get those flowers
during Easter of the previous year. They keep them in their house all year and
burn them on Trndez to keep sicknesses away.

At 5:40 p.m. the crowd was split in half to make way for the
priests coming from the Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God, on Vartanants

A compact horde of eager old women quickly followed them to
get closer to the center of the circle. A few unfriendly looks and irritated
Armenian comments later, everyone was ready for the ceremony.

Children were placed on the inner circle, holding each other
by the pinkie.

The priests sang and read the prayers to the sound of the
cathedral bells. Separated into two groups with different attire, they spun
around the hay as they recited prayers.

“It does not symbolize anything” about the meaning of the
mysterious choreography, said Hovannissian, who is an Armenian and French
language teacher in Gyumri.

Women, men and children all made the sign of the cross in
unison all throughout the ceremony.

One of the priests then took a long torch, lit it with a
candle and then ignited the hay all over. As it caught fire, the crowd seemed
to reorganize itself.

All decked out in green t-shirts made for the occasion,
members of Hrayrk, a traditional dance group based in Gyumri, came to the front
with loud enthusiastic shouts. Music seemed to start blurting out from the
ground. The front-liners of the circle started dancing around a blaze that
reached about two meters higher than them.

Temperature rose as fast as spirits as children and young
people started to dance and shout.

But as people kept spinning, they grew dangerously close to
the fire and a group of men urged the crowd to keep away.

And then the fire started turning into ashes. The dances
stopped and the women rushed to the fire to light candles from the flames and
to collect the ashes.

“The light is illumination,” said Varduhi Harutyunyan, a
local holding a candle to her heart.

Harutyunyan, who was born and raised in Gyumri, explained
that Trndez is celebrated “40 days after the birth of Jesus Christ” when he
was, according to Armenian apostolic belief, taken to the temple of Jerusalem
and purified.

“We also do it on Christmas Eve,” she said, which in Armenia
is celebrated on January 5th.

“The ashes are for under the trees and flowers,” said
Harutyunyan, “for blessing the plants and for a good harvest.” They are meant
for “unity, no war, and peace in the world.”

Candles like hers – held inside a Coca-Cola plastic bottle
cut in half – were sold around the square by local residents.

The crowd, which had scattered across the square, came back
together to start the jumping part of the ceremony. Children, couples,
grandparents and toddlers started jumping in pairs and creating a human tunnel
with their arms for following jumpers.

New couples and newly married people are most likely to jump
over the fire, said Arsen Sahakyan, who works at a marketing and creative lab
in Gyumri.

Locals believe that the couples who got married that year
should jump over the fire to be happy, healthy, blessed and purified.

“During the wedding, it makes it so it brings happiness,”
said Hovannissian. She added that “it’s mandatory” for the fire to touch the
couple’s legs while they are jumping, for it to bring happiness.

Matthew Elyan, an Armenian American who was present at the
ceremony, said he once celebrated Trndez in Los Angeles, where he is from. He
remembered jumping over a fire in what was “similar to a marshmallow stove.

“Actually jumping over the fire is not really common,” Elyan
said, of celebrating Trndez in Los Angeles. “We have to change that. We’ll buy
some more stoves.”

Trndez wasn’t always celebrated as it is today though, said

When Armenia became Christian, the church reclaimed this
tradition to mark a clear break with pre-fourth century polytheistic customs.

“They had a mission to kill other religion stuff,” Sahakyan
said. “They started to jump over the fire to say that ‘we are over that other

Instead, Trndez used to be a pagan celebration for the god
of fire in ancient polytheist Armenia.

Back then, Sahakyan said, there was “no jumping, just


4- Armenia’s Artur Aleksanyan Crowned European Wrestling
Champion for 7th Time

Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler Artur Aleksanyan beat Russia’s
Magomed Murtazaliyev in the finals of the European Wresting Championships in
Bucharest, Romania, becoming the champion for the seventh time.

Aleksanyan made it to the finals, defeating Belarusian
Abubakar Khaslakhanav in the semi-finals with a score of 5 to 1. He started the
competition, beating Beitula Kaisdagin of Turkey 9 to 1, and in the
quarterfinals he won а 8 to 3 victory over Dutch Tyrone Stenkerburg.

Earlier, member of the Armenian national team Malkhas Amoyan
was crowned European champion for the third time in his career, achieving a 7
to 0 advantage in the finals over the world bronze medalist, two-time European
vice-champion, Turkish Yunus Basar.


California Courier Online provides readers of the Armenian News News Service with a few of the articles in this week's issue of The California Courier. Letters to the editor are encouraged through our e-mail address, . Letters are published with the author’s name and location; authors are required to disclose their identity to the editorial staff (name, address, and/or telephone numbers for verification purposes).           

Zelenskyy’s Anticipated Visit to Armenia: A Diplomatic Gesture Amidst Regional Tensions

Feb 24 2024

In the world of international diplomacy, every move is a message, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's planned visit to Armenia is no exception. As the buzz around this significant diplomatic engagement grows, so do the implications for regional dynamics and alliances. With preparations underway and the exact date still under negotiation, the anticipation of Zelenskyy's arrival in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, is palpable.

According to Armenian media outlet, citing European Pravda as its source, the visit is currently in the preparation stage. While the specific details of the agenda remain shrouded in mystery, the significance of such a visit cannot be understated. It's a gesture that carries weight in the delicate balance of international relations, especially in a region as complex as the South Caucasus. The Armenian Foreign Ministry, while not confirming the specifics, has indicated that high-level visits are announced in due time, keeping the aura of anticipation alive.

The potential visit comes at a time when Armenia's relations with its long-time ally Russia are experiencing strains, notably due to differing stances on the Ukraine conflict. Armenia's outreach to Ukraine, including the provision of humanitarian assistance last year, symbolizes a nuanced foreign policy approach. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's statements in recent interviews with Bloomberg and France 24, emphasizing Armenia's independent stance regarding the Ukraine war, further illustrate the evolving dynamics within the region.

Such a visit by Zelenskyy to Armenia could therefore be seen as a bold diplomatic maneuver, potentially angering Russia. The visit also signifies a strengthening of ties between Ukraine and Armenia, two nations navigating their paths amidst regional pressures and shifting alliances. The dialogue between Pashinyan and Zelenskyy, initiated on the margins of a European Union summit in Granada, Spain, last fall, sets the stage for deeper cooperation and mutual support.

The implications of Zelenskyy's visit extend beyond the bilateral relationship between Ukraine and Armenia. It sends a strong signal to the international community about the potential for new alliances and partnerships in the face of traditional geopolitical blocs. For Armenia, it's an opportunity to assert its sovereignty and diversify its diplomatic engagements. For Ukraine, it represents a chance to solidify support and gain a strategic foothold in the South Caucasus.

As the preparations for this landmark visit continue, the eyes of the world will be on Yerevan, watching as two leaders navigate the complex web of international diplomacy. The outcomes of this visit could redefine regional alliances, offering a new narrative in the ever-evolving story of international relations.

Book Giving Day at the Yerevan Brandy Company


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 19, ARMENPRESS.  Following a well-cherished tradition, the Yerevan Brandy Company celebrated Book Giving Day on February 19. Each year, the company gives a new twist to the holiday; this year, in collaboration with Newmag Publishing house, it organized a literary contest open to all employees, the press service of the company said. 
The competition's results were announced during an awarding ceremony held at the ARARAT Museum of the Yerevan Brandy Company on February 19.
Participants recorded remarkable results, with several securing top positions in the literary competition. Hasmik Yeganyan, Anahit Gasparyan, Svetlana Hambardzumyan, Madlena Khachatryan, Manvel Tumanyan, Nelly Ghazaryan, Sergey Ghaltakhchyan and Aleksander Davtyan won the prize places.
The contest, comprising 15 questions, covered a wide range of topics including the literary works of authors from various countries and eras, as well as their influence on other art forms. One of the constituent parts of the contest was Armenia's rich history and culture, featuring several questions specifically focusing on how the country has been portrayed by renowned writers worldwide.
"An idea will never evolve into a tradition without widespread enthusiasm and support. The tradition becomes a real Value through the people who share and follow it. I am thrilled to see the Book Giving Day has become another cherished tradition and shared moment of Conviviality at the Yerevan Brandy Company, marked by the team's keen participation and by impressive outcomes achieved," noted Serge Khachatryan, Chief Operating Officer of the Yerevan Brandy Company.
“We are delighted that the Yerevan Brandy Company celebrates Book Giving Day not by simply gifting each other books but also by showcasing rather a creative approach. This year was unique with its encouragement towards critical thinking. Indeed, we are pleasantly surprised by both active participation and in-depth knowledge of those who took the prizes," highlighted Artak Aleksanyan, Founder & CEO of Newmag publishing house.

Armenia’s PM: ‘We are not Russia’s ally’ in war against Ukraine

Feb 12 2024
Feb 11 (Reuters) – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview published on Sunday that his country was not Russia' ally in its war against Ukraine, but stressed its military cooperation projects were not directed against any single country.
Pashinyan also said he hoped that Armenia's neighbour and longstanding rival, Azerbaijan, remained committed to the conclusion of a durable peace treaty despite statements by its president about demarcating borders.
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought two major wars in the past 30 years over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The region has long been recognised as part of Azerbaijan and Azeri troops secured full control over it last September.
Pashinyan has said in recent months that Armenia could no longer rely on Russia to ensure its defence needs as his country had not secured the help it had needed from Moscow.
In his remarks to Britain's Daily Telegraph, Pashinyan said he had said from the outset of Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine that it could not stand alongside Moscow as an ally.
"I said, in the Ukraine situation, we are not Russia’s ally. And that’s the reality," Pashinyan told the daily.
"But I want to also tell you that with the U.S. or France or other partners, our security cooperation is not targeted against our other security sector partner."
He said Armenia was approaching the notion of relationships on its security alliances "by utmost transparently speaking with our partners about their shared agendas".
And Armenia, he said, had no intention of considering membership of NATO — as Ukraine has reaffirmed and Russia has denounced as unacceptable. Nato membership "is not a question we have discussed or are discussing".
He repeated that Armenia was considering whether to stay in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
On the prospects for a long-term peace deal with Azerbaijan, Pashinyan said "the basic architecture" of an agreement had been reached last year "and at the end of last year, it seemed to us that we were very close, finally, to a final text of agreement".
But Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, re-elected in a landslide last week, raised questions in a January interview by saying his troops would not pull back from border areas. He also dismissed the use of Soviet-era maps in talks as he said territorial concessions had been made to Armenia last century.

Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Diane Craft

Turkish Press: Armenian leader says Yerevan, Baku agreed on ‘architecture, principles’ of peace treaty

Yeni Şafak
Turkey – Feb 12 2024

Armenian leader says Yerevan, Baku agreed on 'architecture, principles' of peace treaty

Pashinyan says Yerevan‘s decision to diversify its relations in security sector consequence of previous relationships not addressing its needs

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that Yerevan and Baku have agreed on the "architecture and principles" of a peace treaty, as the two neighbors continue talks on normalizing their relations.

“The architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon … but from the beginning, Azerbaijan three times refused to participate in negotiations in different formats, after which presidential elections in Azerbaijan were scheduled,” Pashinyan said in an interview with The Telegraph aired on Sunday, the transcript of which was shared by Pashinyan's office.

The Armenian leader said that he assumed that they would be able to finalize an agreement after the presidential election in Azerbaijan “if there is political will.”

He further said Yerevan “has the political will” to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan based on previous agreements between the two countries.

He said he has neither denied nor rejected cooperation with Russia in general and particularly in the security sector.

“What does this mean? Does this mean that we are going to break our security relationship with Russia? No, it doesn't mean that, but it means that in the field of security, we are preparing and are ready, and we are discussing and working to establish relations, for example, with the European Union,” Pashinyan went on to say.

He added that Armenia's security relations with the US, France, India or the EU are not directed against Russia, but rather “a consequence of the reality that the security relationships we used to have in the past do not address our security needs.”

He also denied discussions on NATO membership, saying that Armenia is “at least a de jure member of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization)."

Armenia's ties with the EU are deepening and that it is ready to be “as close to the European Union as the European Union deems it possible,” he added.

Pashinyan went on to neither confirm nor deny that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be arrested should he visit Armenia, commenting on a question on whether Yerevan will do so after having formally joined the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as of Feb. 1.

“There are various opinions and legal analyzes on that topic, and in particular, the lawyers who say that the current heads of state have immunity, insurmountable immunity, due to their status are not just a few. I mean, it's a legal issue, not a political issue that I have to discuss and respond to,” he said.

Hungary’s stance highly important in terms of strengthening Armenia-EU ties, says Deputy FM


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 12, ARMENPRESS. The diplomatic relations between Armenia and Hungary are now fully restored after President Vahagn Khachaturyan’s official visit to Hungary on February 5-7, Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan has said.

“We didn’t have any high-level visits to Hungary for more than eleven years, and with this visit, we can say that the Armenian-Hungarian diplomatic relations are fully restored,” Hovhannisyan told Armenpress, describing the trip as comprehensive.

“I’d like to mention the importance which we attach to this in terms of partnership with the EU. Hungary will assume the EU presidency in July, and from this perspective Hungary’s stance is very important in terms of deepening and enhancing our partnership with the EU. Besides, a number of important sectoral cooperation directions were discussed,” Hovhannisyan said, pointing out the talks involving Healthcare Minister Anahit Avanesyan, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Artur Martirosyan with their counterparts, as well as discussions with lawmakers.

The Deputy FM said that given the Hungarian side’s interest, Armenia presented the Crossroads of Peace project.

“Hungary attaches importance to energy and transport projects in the South Caucasus, not only with Armenia but also with our neighboring countries. I think that all these issues were important for us and the visit served its goal,” Hovhannisyan said.

Hovhannisyan said that the Hungarian side regrets for what happened in the past and has done several steps to restore the diplomatic relations.

“Hungary provided support to the Gurgen Margaryan School, supported in the issue of release of prisoners of war, sent humanitarian aid during the pandemic. All of this shows that the Hungarian side regrets for the pain caused in the past and tries to restore the relations based on the existing rich historical ties. Hungary is home to one of the oldest Armenian communities. The Armenian community in Hungary enjoys a number of privileges: they have representation in parliament, and the Armenian church in Budapest has been restored. Hungary’s very sensitive approach towards Christian minorities also matches our approaches. All of this created the grounds to believe that there was a sincere desire to overcome that painful chapter and move forward,” Hovhannisyan said.

Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Hungary were severed in 2012 by then-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan after Hungary extradited Ramil Safarov, the convicted murderer of an Armenian officer, to Azerbaijan. Armenian military officer Lt. Gurgen Margaryan was murdered by Azerbaijani military officer Ramil Safarov during a February 2004 training course organized by NATO in Hungary. Gurgen Margaryan was asleep in his room when Safarov attacked him with an axe. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Hungarian court. However, in 2012 Hungary extradited Safarov to Azerbaijan upon Baku’s request, where he was pardoned.  On the same day, then-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan severed diplomatic relations with Hungary.

10 years later, in 2022, Armenia and Hungary to restore diplomatic relations.

AW: ANCA calls for passage of Lawler-Pallone-Bilirakis-Amo Bill to stop military aid to Azerbaijan

House Foreign Affairs Committee member Mike Lawler (R-NY) with ANCA Board member Ani Tchaghlasian, ANC Artsakh’s Gev Iskajyan, and ANCA’s Tereza Yerimyan and Alex Galitsky during a Capitol Hill meeting focusing on Artsakh justice and Armenia security. Rep. Lawler introduced H.R.7288, blocking U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Michael Lawler (R-NY) joined with a bipartisan group of Armenian Caucus colleagues in introducing the “Armenian Protection Act” (H.R.7288) – a bill, strongly supported by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), aimed at stopping U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan. Its Senate counterpart (S.3000), spearheaded by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), was adopted unanimously last year.

The ANCA has launched a nationwide grassroots action campaign – – to expand congressional support and fast-track consideration of the Armenian Protection Act (H.R.7288).

ANC Artsakh’s Gev Iskajyan joins ANCA Board members and staff at a meeting with Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), stressing the need for Azerbaijan sanctions, including passage of H.R.7288

Representative Lawler co-authored this legislation with Armenian Caucus co-chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and fellow first-term legislator Gabe Amo (D-RI). If and when adopted and enacted into law, the Lawler-Pallone-Bilirakis-Amo Bill will tighten the existing statute restricting U.S. aid to Azerbaijan – Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act – substantively limiting the authority of the president to waive its full enforcement.

“For decades U.S. presidents have recklessly waived statutory restrictions on military aid to Azerbaijan’s authoritarian regime – materially aiding and morally emboldening both its 2023 ethnic-cleansing of Artsakh and its ongoing illegal occupation of Armenian territory,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We thank Representatives Lawler, Pallone, Bilirakis and Amo for their principled leadership in restoring long-overdue congressional oversight of military assistance to Azerbaijan. We stand behind this and other legislative initiatives – from Section 907 and 502B-related measures to Magnitsky and Leahy sanctions – to hold Azerbaijan’s Aliyev regime accountable for its violations of international law,” concluded Hamparian.

Rep. Lawler, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was adamant about the need for clear Biden administration action to stop bolstering Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian attacks. “Over 100,000 Armenians were targeted, abused and displaced by the government of Azerbaijan when they fled Nagorno-Karabakh in recent months,” explained Rep. Lawler. “There is no question of Azerbaijan’s aggression, yet President Biden continues to turn a blind eye.” He continued to note: “It’s simply unacceptable for the U.S. to be funding Azerbaijan’s campaign against the Armenian people. The Armenian Protection Act will put a stop to the Biden administration’s funding of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian regime and desire for regional dominance.”

Rep. Pallone stressed the need for Azerbaijani accountability for the genocide against Artsakh’s indigenous Armenian population. “President Aliyev broke international law when he ordered his deadly assault of Artsakh last September and still has not faced any meaningful consequences from the international community. World leaders failed to stop his genocidal campaign that has displaced 120,000 Armenians from their historic homeland even though his belligerent rhetoric and troop movements made it clear an attack was imminent,” stated Rep. Pallone. “It’s far past time for the United States and our allies to take serious actions that will prevent even more death and destruction at the hands of Aliyev and provide the safety and security in the region that Armenia needs to thrive as a democracy. The Armenian Protection Act will finally hold the Aliyev regime accountable, halt any further U.S. security assistance until they end their destabilizing actions in the region, and require proof that they can be a trustworthy party in peace negotiations moving forward. I call upon House leadership to take up this common sense legislation and pass it immediately.”

Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan shares the latest developments in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s genocide of Artsakh Armenians with Rep. Gabe Amo (D-RI), a lead cosponsor of the Armenian Protection Act (H.R.7288)

Rep. Bilirakis stressed the importance of passing the measure. “Given the political and humanitarian crisis that has resulted from Azerbaijan’s recent aggression toward neighboring Armenia, it is unconscionable that U.S. tax dollars are going to support this brutal regime. Those dollars could better be used here at home,” said Rep. Bilirakis.

“We must send a clear message to the government of Azerbaijan and our partners around the globe that the United States will not stand for unprovoked attacks on the Armenian people,” said Congressman Amo, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “We cannot allow the government of Azerbaijan to get a free pass for their brutal military aggression and blockades against the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation to show that the United States stands with the people of Armenia and will not accept Azerbaijan’s assault on Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Both Presidents Trump and Biden – counter to the spirit and letter of Section 907 – chose to materially arm and morally embolden Azerbaijan’s aggression and eventual genocide against the indigenous Armenian Christians of Artsakh. The Lawler-Pallone-Bilirakis-Amo Bill will – by reaffirming this statute – help restore the Constitutional role of Congress in setting U.S. military aid policy and ensuring appropriate oversight and accountability of U.S. security and military assistance programs.

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

ANCA Glendale Endorses Ardy Kassakhian For Glendale City Council Re-Election

Ardy Kassakhian

GLENDALE — The Armenian National Committee of America – Glendale Chapter announced its endorsement of Ardy Kassakhian for re-election to the Glendale City Council. Following a rigorous review process, ANCA Glendale recognizes Kassakhian’s unwavering commitment to the community and his vision for a brighter future for Glendale.

“ANCA Glendale proudly stands behind Ardy Kassakhian’s re-election bid for Glendale City Council. Ardy’s unwavering dedication to our community, coupled with his proven track record of effective leadership as City Clerk, make him the clear choice to represent the diverse voices of Glendale,” said ANCA Glendale Chairperson, Lucy Petrosian.

Throughout his tenure as Glendale’s City Councilmember and as former Mayor, Kassakhian has exhibited a profound understanding of the city’s dynamics and challenges. His platform prioritizes crucial issues such as affordable housing, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Kassakhian’s plans align closely with the values and aspirations of ANCA Glendale and the broader community.

“We believe Ardy will continue to champion the values and priorities that matter most to our residents, ensuring a brighter future for all,” added Petrosian.

ANCA Glendale’s endorsement underscores Kassakhian’s track record of collaboration and his commitment to improving the lives of Glendale residents. Through his advocacy and leadership, he has fostered positive change and earned the trust of the community.

As Glendale prepares for the upcoming municipal elections, ANCA Glendale urges voters to support Ardy Kassakhian for re-election to the Glendale City Council. Together, we can build a stronger, more vibrant future for our city.

ANCA Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of Glendale’s Armenian American community. Through grassroots activism and public policy initiatives, ANCA Glendale promotes civic engagement and strives to enhance the quality of life for all residents of Glendale.

Ardy Kassakhian grew up in Glendale after his family moved here in 1985. He attended Glendale public schools and holds a B.A. from UCLA and a Masters in Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University. In 2020, Kassakhian ran and was elected to the City Council where he served as the chair of the Housing Authority and as Mayor from 2022-2023. Kassakhian organized the city’s first housing summit which invited staff and policy experts to share ideas and experiences to help address the region’s critical housing shortage and affordability challenges. He is Glendale’s representative to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Chair of the California State New Motor Vehicle Board. He currently is an adjunct faculty member at Glendale Community College, teaching political science and government. He lives with his wife Courtney and their young son in the Pelanconi neighborhood of Glendale.

Ardy Kassakhian is seeking to serve a second term on the Glendale City Council. Two council seats are up for election in the March 5, 2024 Municipal Election which will take place at the same time as the statewide Presidential Primary.