EU Ambassador Maragos expresses condolences on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the Sumgait massacre


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 27, ARMENPRESS. Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia Ambassador Vassilis Maragos has expressed his condolences to those who lost their relatives and friends as a result of Azerbaijani atrocities in Sumgait 36 years ago.

“I express my deep condolences to all those who lost relatives and friends 36 years ago in Sumgait. We all need to continue with strongest efforts to achieve reconciliation and a sustainable, lasting peace in order to make sure that such tragedies never happen again ," Ambassador Maragos said in a post on X.

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the Sumgait pogroms, which have become one of the most tragic and hideous pages in the recent history of the Armenian people. From February 27 to 29, 1988, in the city of Sumgait, located just 40 kilometers from Baku, with the criminal connivance and even at the direction of the Azerbaijani authorities, mass pogroms against the Armenian population took place, accompanied by murders, torture and other atrocities.

Armenia and Germany Forge Stronger Ties: A Commitment to Democracy and Peace in the South Caucasus

Feb 26 2024
Momen Zellmi

On a brisk Monday in Yerevan, the halls of the Republic of Armenia National Assembly (RA NA) were abuzz with the anticipation of a significant diplomatic engagement. Alen Simonyan, the speaker of the RA NA, welcomed a delegation led by Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the German Bundestag. This meeting was not just a formality but a testament to the enduring friendship and cooperation between Armenia and Germany, an alliance that has grown only stronger in the face of regional challenges.

The crux of the meeting was to affirm the stable development of Armenia's friendly relations with Germany. Simonyan expressed gratitude for Germany's unwavering support of democratic reforms in Armenia, a journey that has seen significant strides since 2018. He highlighted the importance of enhancing parliamentary cooperation through mutual visits, a gesture that underscores the deep-rooted connection between the two nations. The meeting also served as a platform for Simonyan to acknowledge German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's pivotal role in fostering peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a commendation that speaks volumes about Germany's commitment to stability in the South Caucasus.

Winkelmeier-Becker, on behalf of the German delegation, reaffirmed their dedication to supporting Armenia's democratic institutions and the broader quest for peace in the region. The discussions ventured into the consequences of Azerbaijan's aggressive policies, notably the issue of Armenian prisoners of war, a topic that remains a sore point in the Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. The meeting was not just about reaffirming existing ties but also exploring avenues to deepen Armenia-Germany and Armenia-EU relations further, enhance security in the South Caucasus, and address other significant matters impacting the region.

The dialogue between Simonyan and Winkelmeier-Becker was a clear indication of the mutual interest in not only maintaining but also expanding the scope of cooperation between Armenia and Germany. As both nations look towards a brighter future, the emphasis on democratic values, peace, and stability in the South Caucasus remains paramount. This meeting, rich in diplomatic goodwill, sets the stage for a continued partnership that could play a crucial role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the region.

As Armenia and Germany chart their course in these turbulent times, their collaboration stands as a beacon of hope for not just their citizens but for the broader international community. The commitment to democracy, peace, and security is a shared vision that promises to transcend beyond diplomatic engagements, fostering a more stable and prosperous South Caucasus.

France Arms Armenia With Cutting-Edge Air Defense Radars & Missiles; Fills Russian Void In The Country

Feb 24 2024


The French have stepped in to take the position that Russia once held in Armenia. With its recent delivery of military equipment, France has strengthened its ties with Armenia – a move that comes on the back of a “large-scale conflict” that went in Azerbaijan’s favor.  

The French Defense Minister,  Sébastien Lecornu,  traveled to Yerevan on February 22 in light of reports that Armenia is finally set to take delivery of the military equipment that was promised by France last year.

In October 2023, a deal was reportedly signed by the Armenian Defense Ministry and the French defense group Thales for the purchase of three cutting-edge GM-200 radar systems. The ceremony was attended by Lecornu and his Armenian counterpart Suren Papikian.

At that time, Sebastien Lecornu announced that France had decided to assist Armenia in strengthening its air defense capabilities by selling three radars and reaching an agreement to supply Mistral anti-air missiles in the future.

A “letter of intent” on the prospective transfer of French short-range surface-to-air missiles to Armenia was signed by the two ministers in October.

Later, it was revealed that France would also arm Armenia with 50 armored personnel carriers to bolster its ground forces. The carriers would provide Armenian armed forces with high-level protection and multi-mission capabilities.

By December, the first 24 Bastion carriers ostensibly headed for Armenia were seen in the port of Poti, Georgia. Neither side has confirmed the Bastion delivery so far.

ACMAT Bastion – Wikipedia

According to reports in local French media, the three GM-200 radars and French night-vision equipment pledged by the French Macron administration were scheduled to be shipped to Armenia on February 22. The Armenian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has refused to comment on these reports.

The delivery of GM200 radars would be significant as they can simultaneously identify and track warplanes, drones, and even rockets within a 250-kilometer radius, making them a valuable tool for air defense troops.

With the lingering threat of Azerbaijan’s deadly drone attacks, the deployment of these radars would bolster Yerevan’s defense. France, incidentally, sent Ukraine two of these systems a year ago, where they have proved their combat efficacy.

Lecornu emphasized on February 21 that French arms deliveries to Armenia were “purely defensive while making an obvious allusion to the possibility of an attack by Azerbaijanis on Armenia when he told the French channel RTL that the nation was facing “major security challenges.”

Lecornu and Papikian are expected to meet on February 23. The head of the defense and security committee of the Armenian parliament, Andranik Kocharian, did not rule out the possibility that other agreements between France and Armenia would be inked as a consequence of their discussions. Kocharian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, “Armenia seeks to acquire weapons of very high quality from multiple sources.”

Though the decision to diversify defense imports was triggered by Russia’s failure to provide the country with ordered weapons worth around US $400 million, it is now also influenced by Armenia’s obvious decoupling from Russia and the Russian-led Central Security Treaty Organization (CTSO) security bloc.

Armenia has reportedly withdrawn from the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told France 24 in an interview.

“In our opinion, the agreement on collective security about Armenia was not implemented, especially in 2021-2022, and this cannot go unnoticed. We are freezing our participation in this agreement. Let’s see what happens next,” he said.

Armenia has charged Moscow and the CSTO with breach of duty on several occasions. Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of the Armenian Security Council, stated in January that the republic “has no expectations” from the Collective Security Treaty Organization because it did not receive sufficient support in September 2022, the period of “large-scale conflict.”

The prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, declined to attend the CSTO meeting on November 23 in Minsk.

The six states that make up the CSTO are Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Regarding Armenia’s potential membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that Moscow would communicate with its friends in Armenia as well as CSTO.

Over the past year, Armenia has nearly doubled its defense acquisitions. The amount spent has increased to $1.5 billion from roughly $700 million to $800 million in 2022.

France and Armenia have traditionally shared strong diplomatic ties, as the former is home to a large Armenian diaspora. France has backed Armenia politically thus far. However, there has been a shift in its policy as Yerevan seeks to diversify its imports, and Paris is looking to expand its military exports to partners.

Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher – Wikipedia

Armenia has also inked several defense contracts worth at least $400 million with India since September 2022. A deal was made between Armenia and India to purchase PINAKA multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRL), anti-tank munitions, and ammunition worth US $250 million.

As previously reported by EurAsian Times, Armenia also contracted to buy India-developed Zen Anti-Drone System (ZADS), which is a Counter Unmanned Aerial System (CUAS).

The acquisition of these sophisticated arms from France and India comes on the back of a protracted conflict with Azerbaijan. France’s show of support and pledge of arms sale was preceded by Azerbaijan declaring victory after a swiftly executed military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, the main bone of contention and a “frozen conflict” between the two bitter rivals.

Armenia’s main source of weaponry and ammunition has historically been Russia. But Yerevan has been showing interest in looking for new armament suppliers as the relationship with Russia deteriorates and it becomes more involved in the protracted conflict with Ukraine. France is effectively filling the void left by Russia.

In the latest battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the two Caucasian neighbors, which broke out on September 19, Azerbaijan declared victory over the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh a day after going on the offensive. Although peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia are being discussed, the latter is not ready to let its guard down yet.

UCI to Host Event Dedicated to French Resistance Fighter Missak Manouchian

“In the footsteps of Missak Manouchian: Armenian Poet in the French Resistance” flyer

The University of California, Irvine Center for Armenian Studies will honor Missak Manouchian on Wednesday, March 6 with its program “In the footsteps of Missak Manouchian: Armenian Poet in the French Resistance.”

Missak Manouchian (1906-1944) was an Armenian Genocide survivor, poet, communist activist, and defender of liberty who joined the French Resistance during World War II, resolutely leading a group of fighters against occupying Nazi forces. Manouchian, along with many

members of his group, was sentenced to death by a German military court and shot by firing squad on 21 February 1944. In honor of his sacrifice, he entered France’s Pantheon mausoleum, along with his wife Mélinée Assadourian — also part of the Resistance — thus becoming both the first foreign and communist members of the Resistance to be honored in the Pantheon.

The program will include a reading of his last letter to his widow and a talk by Professor Daniel Brunstetter (UCI Political Science Department), followed by a Q&A session.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Center for Citizen Peace Building, Department of History, Department of European Languages and Studies and the UCI Armenian American Alumni Chapter.

Defense Minister chairs consultation with top brass


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. Minister of Defense Suren Papikyan has chaired a consultation with the Ministry of Defense top officials and military commanders.

Before discussing the agenda items, Minister Papikyan congratulated the recently appointed military officials on assuming duties.

“A number of issues pertaining to the ongoing work in the armed forces were discussed during the consultation,” the Ministry of Defense said in a readout.

Papikyan issued relevant assignments and directives to the officials.

Armenia establishes defense attaché positions in NATO and OSCE missions


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 15, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian government adopted a decision at the February 15 Cabinet meeting on establishing the positions of defense attaches in its missions to NATO and the OSCE.

The position will no longer be regulated under the law on civil service.

The measure will regulate the appointment of defense attaches to international organizations.

The Ministry of Defense will nominate candidates for the positions in accordance with the regulations of the law on diplomatic service and the law on military service and the status of servicemen, which will ensure higher efficiency and professionalism.

Video Interview: "Armenia, My Home" ’s Andrew Goldberg

Feb 14 2024

Video Interview: Armenia, My Home’s Andrew Goldberg

2 hours agoAlexa Alfano

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.

It’ Not Just Armenia’s Constitution that Baku Wants Changed. There Are Other Documents

The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia

Last week President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan said that Armenia must change its constitution in order to make peace with Azerbaijan. Now official Baku is claiming that it is not just the Constitution, but there are other documents that are problematic.

Aliyev and his government want the Armenian Constitution changed because its preamble calls for the unification of Armenia and Artsakh, as stated in the country’s Declaration of Independence.

Elchin Amirbayov, Azerbaijan’s senior envoy for special assignments who has been closely involved in the negotiations, told RFE/RL’s Joshua Kucera that there are several other instances where Armenia’s claim on Artsakh appear in Armenia’s formal statements and legislation.

For example, he said, when Armenia’s legislature ratified the 1991 Alma Ata accords, which accepted Soviet republic borders as the borders of the newly independent states, lawmakers added language saying that it did not apply to Artsakh.

Amirbayov also called attention to language on the Armenian Foreign Ministry website saying that Nagorno-Karabakh is “an integral part of historic Armenia,” and recent Armenian filings in the European Court of Human Rights that imply a claim on Azerbaijan.

“We have pointed the attention of the Armenian side to those facts many times, during our [in-person] negotiations, but also through different exchanges of comments,” Amirbayov said. “And the Armenian side acknowledges that this is the fact, but nothing is being done…. When they try to cheat, if I may use the word, if they try to put all the blame and the responsibility on our shoulders, and at the same time in the back of their minds still having these territorial claims against us, it’s not going to work,” he added.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has alluded to the process Amirbayov described. “As part of the peace process, each side has noted problems in the other’s legal framework and informed it about that, and both sides have provided relevant clarifications,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on January 25. “There will definitely be such discussions.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday again made his case to parliament for the need to change Armenia’s Constitution. In doing so he said that if Armenians are guided by the Declaration of Independence then peace would not be possible. This and other such statements have angered opposition lawmakers and activists, who claim that Pashinyan’s push for a new constitution is meant to appease Baku and by extension Ankara.

Government extends intensive gardening loan subsidy program

 12:10, 8 February 2024

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian government on Thursday extended by 2 years the subsidy program designed for launching intensive gardens.

The program’s original deadline was 2023 but it will function until the end of 2025.

Over the course of five years since its launch, contracts on establishing a total of 7,000 hectares of intensive gardens were signed , and over 100 billion drams was invested in the sector, according to Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan.

Several technical improvements have been made in the program.

Armenia, Switzerland hold political consultations

 13:44, 7 February 2024

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 7, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian and Swiss foreign ministries have held political consultations in Yerevan, the Armenian foreign ministry said in a press release.

Armenia was represented by Foreign Ministry Department of Europe Director Samvel Mkrtchyan and Switzerland was represented by Swiss Foreign Ministry Eurasia Division Director Muriel Peneveyre.

“The parties were pleased to note the high level of political dialogue between Armenia and Switzerland and discussed a broad range of issues pertaining to the bilateral relations agenda. Both sides underscored the need for developing the existing cooperation in the economy, high-tech, culture, tourism and other sectors,” the foreign ministry said in a press release.

The effective partnership in international platforms and possibilities for mutual support within this framework were also discussed.

The Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process was also discussed. Mkrtchyan presented the Armenian government’s Crossroads of Peace project. Views were exchanged on regional and international security issues.