Resumption of military actions is dangerous for Azerbaijan

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
April 1, 2004


The chairman of the NKR National Assembly committee of foreign
relationships Vahram Atanessian does not think that after being
elected president Ilham Aliev will carry on with his fathers’ policy.
“I said this on one occasion. The young president does not have
authority in the country as his father used to have, and naturally it
takes time for him to gain self-confidence in the post of president.
I think he will use the time in his favour, that is he will not make
such decisions that may cause shocks in the Azerbaijani republic. On
the other hand, I do not think that father president Aliev was so
peace-loving or was so enthusiastic with the settlement of the
Karabakh conflict as some Armenian politicians often state. In this
respect I do not see any obvious differences in the approaches adopted
by father Aliev and today’s announcements of son Aliev. As to the
economic development of Azerbaijan, I think this is another myth that
is again used in Azerbaijan as a home consumption good. The problem of
export of the Azerbaijani oil today also continues to be under
suspicion. Up today the serious Azerbaijani experts think that
building the whole economy of the country on the export of oil may be
harmful for Azerbaijan in the sense that in case of certain economic
progress it will be a more dependent country than any other country of
the region where the foreign investments are second to the investments
in Azerbaijan. The West, making investments of billions of dollars,
cannot admit the militarist announcements of Azerbaijan.” May the
economic progress enable Azerbaijan to militarize its political,
economic and all the other institutions? “I think no because the West
will be bound to defend all its investments through peace first of
all.” Answering the question of talks in the Azerbaijani political
circles to regulate the problem by use of force, Vahram Atanessian
said, “I do not share the viewpoint that the recent home political
developments in Armenia will be used by Azerbaijan to solve the
problem of Karabakh though military ways, because any escalation in
Armenia and the South Caucasian region on the whole is not favourable
for Azerbaijan as a situation has occurred when all the countries are
interested in promoting peace and not making a step backward.
Azerbaijan may achieve something through talks, I mean compromises
that should be made by both Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan. That the
neighbour countries may make use of the instability of the home
situation of one another, I think that if guarded by this logic since
1994 we have had many occasions to make use of the already unstable
home political situation in Azerbaijan.” In reference to the
negotiations for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, V. Atanessian
mentioned, “In Azerbaijan, Karabakh and Armenia researches are done on
this matter. I think instead of analyses it is necessary to think
about withdrawing the problem from the deadlock situation. There is an
impression that the situation is favourable for all the parties and
the parties themselves do not want to find the clue to the settlement,
so the inertness of the parties also brings about inertness among the
mediators. In my opinion, the cause for the present situation is that
NKR as a party of the conflict was left out of the negotiation
process, and it is time that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan
find a way to liven up the negotiation process. I do not think the
clue to the settlement of the problem is outside the region. We are
still guided by the former stereotypes, that is when the Soviet Union
existed yet, the parties anticipated the reconciling mission of Moscow
but its results became obvious in 1989-1991. Such behaviour of Moscow,
to be frank, provoked an armed conflict. I think that today no
international organization, be it the Council of Europe, the European
Union, NATO or the UN, cannot undertake the mission of reconciliation.
What today takes place in Kosovo is on the responsibility of NATO
which months on bombed Yugoslavia and the UN that is the guarantor of
peace in Kosovo. I think the three conflict parties should assume the
responsibility: NKR, Azerbaijan and Armenia. For example, since 1994
the cease-fire is maintained in the area of the Karabakh-Azerbaijani
conflict, and there are no interested parties here. If the cease-fire
was maintained with the participation of the international
peacekeeping forces, in ten years the cease-fire would be broken at
least ten times.” “I am sure that on the occasion of the tenth
anniversary of the cease-fire the Azerbaijani authorities in the face
of the president of Azerbaijan will stand forth with the willingness
of Azerbaijan to maintain the cease-fire. The probability of
resumption of military actions is first of all dangerous for
Azerbaijan in some respects, and especially, from the point of view of
preserving the political system,” said Vahram Atanessian.


Karabakh sets up “information security” commission

Separatist Karabakh sets up “information security” commission

Mediamax news agency
1 Apr 04


The president of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic (NKR), Arkadiy
Gukasyan, signed a decree today setting up an interdepartmental
commission on information security and TV and radio broadcasting under
the NKR Security Council.

A member of the Security Council and the president’s adviser, Georgiy
Petrosyan, was appointed chairman of the commission, Mediamax’s
correspondent reported from Stepanakert.

International Community Must Remain Engaged in South Caucasus

01 April 2004

International Community Must Remain Engaged in South Caucasus
April 1, Vienna: Stephan Minikes to the OSCE Permanent Council

The international community must remain engaged in helping find solutions to
the “daunting” challenges facing the Southern Caucasus, such as the
conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, said U.S.
Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) Stephan Minikes April 1.

“The stability of this region is vital for all of us,” he said.

In response to an address by European Union Special Representative to the
South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie, Minikes welcomed the EU’s “deeper
engagement” in the region and thanked Ambassador Talvitie’s for his “ongoing
coordination with the OSCE” in the region.

Following are Minikes’ remarks:

(begin text)

United States Mission to the OSCE


As delivered by Ambassador Stephan M. Minikes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 1, 2004

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We would like to welcome Ambassador Talvitie to the Permanent Council and to
thank him for taking the time here to meet with us.

The challenges facing the countries of the southern Caucasus are indeed as
you described quite daunting. In Georgia, a new government is taking the
reins and trying to find solutions to the myriad of political, social and
economic problems. And, as Ambassador Talvitie has noted, the region is
plagued by conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The stability of this region is vital for all of us. The international
community therefore has to remain engaged in helping negotiate resolutions
to these conflicts, to strengthen the representative democracy and in
promoting higher living standards.

The United States welcomes the EU’s deeper engagement in the region through
the appointment of the Ambassador and it was good to hear that the positions
you mentioned – of the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation –
were in line, and it is important that we try to keep it that way. I would
add here that we are pleased to have the opportunity to coordinate
frequently with the Special Representative both here and in the field.

As one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, we appreciate Ambassador
Talvitie’s support for the Minsk Group’s efforts and his contributions
toward confidence building in all three countries where he represents the EU
and we commend his ongoing coordination with the OSCE on the wide range of
challenges that face all of us in the region today.

We therefore wish you well Ambassador Talvitie and we congratulate you on
your work and look forward to continuing our close cooperation with him.

Thank you.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: )

AmCham hosts Business Ethics Roundtable


29th March 2004

American Chamber of Commerce (‘AmCham in Armenia’),
Room 313, Ararat Wing, Armenia Marriott Hotel,
1, Amiryan Street, Yerevan,
Republic of Armenia
Contact: Elen Ghazaryan, Executive Director
Telephone no.: 599187, fax no.: 599191
E-mail: [email protected]

AmCham hosts Business Ethics Roundtable

Yerevan. A Roundtable, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in
Armenia (`AmCham’), took place on March 23rd 2004 in the Queen Erato
Room of the Armenia Marriott Hotel.

The idea of organizing this roundtable was born at the Business Ethics
workshop held on July 30th, 2003, which was attended by many
participants from the private and public sectors and international
organizations. There was a very positive response from the participants
and as a result a working group was formed from those who were
interested in further actions directed towards this mission.

Thus, in order to continue the discussion and to determine the
possibilities of promoting Business Ethics principles in Armenia, AmCham
organised this Roundtable. It was run by Lusine Janoyan, Second
Vice-President of AmCham, who is a Business Ethics trainee and
participant in the program on Business Ethics and Good Governance,
organized by the US State Department of Commerce.

Lusine Janoyan welcomed the participants to the Round Table, inviting
them to work together, set up a committee and decide on future actions.
She asked participants to give their ideas on how to put Business Ethics
into practice. Following very active discussion, participants set up a
committee of four people, with Lusine Janoyan as chairperson, which
would develop and define future activities for the group.

Participants agreed on the following short and long term plans:

a. To develop a universal Code of Business Ethics.
b. To create a library dedicated to the subject.
c. To cooperate with professional associations and NGOs.
d. To organise Business Ethics lectures at universities and other
educational institutions.
e. To create an online website linked with AmCham.

Lusine closed the Round Table with a few words of thanks. The next
meeting of the working committee is scheduled for next week.

AmCham in Armenia is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving
the business environment. It has sponsored many conferences and
workshops, all of which have been successful and well attended.

For further information contact `[email protected]’ or visit our
web-site where more information about our activities will
be found, including information on Business Ethics.

CENN Daily Digest – 03/29/2004

Table of Contents:
1. Environmental Investment Program
2. Six Tones of Seeds Gathered along BTC Pipeline
3. BP Invests $ 4.1 bn in Azerbaijan in 2003
4. Botas to Finish Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Pipeline on Time
5. New Laboratories Open to Control Food Quality
6. Armenian Ministry Denies Reports of “Security Measures” in Nuclear
7. Yerevan Realizes Anti-Russian Gas Project
8. Director of the Center for Pluralism `Inam’ Vahid Gazi Conducted a
Number of Meetings Last Week
9. Summer Course in Environmental Justice at University of Wisconsin


BTC Co has developed an Environmental Investment Program for the three
countries, to go beyond reduction of ecological impacts and bring
additional benefits by supporting projects for the promotion and
conservation of biodiversity with the principles of capacity building /
technology transfer; sustainability; tangible impacts and linkages with
other relevant initiatives.

The program is focused on the protection and conservation of rare and
endangered species and also on ecologically important areas. In Turkey,
ecologically sustainable enterprise projects (ESEP) will be developed as
an integral part of most projects and also under a separate key theme
named small grants program. ESEPs are ecology focused income generation
component of the program that support the sustainability of the program
objectives, and also serve to NGO capacity building and to community
needs. Click here for information on the EIP.

Stakeholder dialogue has enabled the identification of key priority
themes for funding under the EIP. Projects for each theme are identified
through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process calling for submissions
under the key priority themes. The first proposal tranche was advertised
in 2003 and proposals evaluated according to pre-set criteria. More
projects will be funded the same way starting from 2004. The EIP budget
allocated for Turkey is US $ 3.3 million to be disbursed to
organizations, in the form of grants.

The RFP process undertaken in 2003 allowed for identification of five
projects for support. Two additional projects are currently under review
and may be awarded in the near future if they demonstrate compliance
with all the required criteria. See `Projects’ menu for information on
the EIP Projects supported by BTC Co

BTC Co’s role is to manage the EIP, including the funds, program
monitoring and communications with interested stakeholders. BTC Co is
also responsible for liaison with the implementing partners including
monitoring of project execution and provision of support and training
for the partners
BTC News Bulletin, March 26 2004


On recommendation of Azerbaijan biologists, 6 tons of wild plants seeds
were gathered along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. These seeds
will be used for restoration of previous plant cover on the territories;
the pipeline passes through, stated representatives of the Institute of
Biology of NAS. The work will be realized by CCIC Company – Bp
AzerTag, March 27, 2004


Investment in BP projects in Azerbaijan, including the
Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli and Shah Deniz fields and the construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, amounted to $ 4.1 bn in 2003, Azer
Zeinalov, director of the BP Baku business center, said at a meeting of
the Caspian Integration Business Club. Of this amount, $ 3.9 bn was
spent on orders from subcontractors, including $ 350 mm — from
Azerbaijani companies.

“Foreign subcontractors that do not operate in Azerbaijan carried out $
1.7 bn worth of orders and foreign companies working in the republic —
$ 1.8 bn, of which $ 800 mm was spent in republic and $ 1 bn — outside
Azerbaijan,” Zeinalov said.

He said that small and mid-sized Azerbaijani companies carried out $ 48
mm worth of orders, state companies — $ 116 mm, and joint ventures — $
191 mm. Zeinalov also said that at the moment over 500 companies provide
subcontractor services for BP projects, of which over 300 are domestic
companies and 200 — foreign companies.
EIN News, March 26, 2004


Turkish state pipeline company Botas plans to complete the Turkish
section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline on time.

“The Turkish side is able to build its section of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline on time, so gas supplies from the Shah
Deniz field will begin in 2006-2007, as expected,” stated
representatives of the Botas head office in Ankara. Participants in the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project said that bad weather in Turkey is delaying
construction work on the Turkish section of that pipeline. As a result,
experts said that the construction delays may push back the launch date
for the pipeline, which would in turn lead to delays for the
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline.

The two pipelines are being built in one corridor, using the same
construction resources. Therefore, construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline can only begin once the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan is completed. The Botas source said that “at the
moment research work is continuing for the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline
project and no deviation from schedule is expected.”

According to plan, the capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, which
stretches 225 km in Turkey, will amount to 30 bn cmpy, Reserves at the
Shah Deniz field are estimated at 625 bn cm of gas and 101 mm tons of
gas condensate. Shareholders in the project to develop the Shah Deniz
field include BP — 25.5 %, Statoil — 25.5 %, LUKAgip — 10 %,
TotalFinaElf — 10 %, SOCAR — 10 %, National Iranian Oil Company — 10
% and TPAO — 9 %.
EIN News, March 26, 2004


According to the information provided through the Ministry of Economic
Development, arbitrary laboratory for technical, chemical, toxicological
and microbiological analysis is functioned at the consumer goods
examination center.

Laboratories equipped with up-to-date technology and devices were opened
in Nakhchivan and Ganja- Gazakh towns.

Laboratory on control food and grains products quality will be created
in Jalilabad region. It will be equipped with up-to-date technology
delivered from Russia, Turkey and Germany.

Another laboratory for food analysis will be opened in Guba-Khachmaz
region, which to play particular role in providing ecologically pure
foodstuff products meeting the international norms of hygiene.
AzrTag, March 27, 2004


The press service of the Ministry of Energy of Armenia has denied rumors
in the press that extraordinary security measures have been taken on the
Armenian Nuclear Power Station since the middle of the last week.

The press service of the Ministry stated that the Armenian Nuclear Power
Station would be refueled again in summer.
Noyan Tapan News Agency, March 25, 2004


On March 23, 2004 Armenian Minister of Electric Energy Armen Movsiyan
announced at a session of the country s Government that Iran-Armenia
pipeline which construction is planned to be finished in the beginning
of 2005 will be prolonged through the Georgian territory, than by the
bottom of the Black Sea to Ukraine and then to Western Europe. Thus, the
gas of Iran and Turkmenistan will be supplied to countries of the EU
passing Russia. As a result the Russian budget will lose several billion
dollars every year. So, the most reliable partner of Russia in the
Caucasus Armenia is realizing what the US has not been able to do: it
creates an alternative route of gas export from Central Asia to the
RIA OREANDA, March 25, 2004


Vahid Gazi met with an American independent expert Pam Flowers arrived
in Azerbaijan with the goal of getting acquainted with NGOs and activity
principles of NGOs in the framework of the project of BP titled
`Increasing of abilities in a civic society’. In the course of the
meeting Vahid Gazi informed the guest on nine-year activity of the
Center, as well the situation of civic society in the country, and news
in this sphere. Exchange of opinion took place on the activities could
be done by BP in the field of development of democracy and civic society
and recommendations were given related this issue.

On March 25 Vahid Gazi met in `Inam”s office with the representative of
International Church Organization for Development and Cooperation in
Holland Lisette Vandervel. Discussions concerning social and political
situation in the country, problems of democracy and civic society, local
NGOs and their activities, as well the perspectives of participation of
public organizations in solution of Garabagh conflict took place during
the meeting. The questions that interested the representative of the
organization beginning new activity in Azerbaijan were responded.

On March 26 the executive director of Human Rights House Foundation of
Norway Mrs. Maria Dahle visited the Center for Pluralism `Inam’. Mrs.
Dahle wishing to create `Human Rights’ House in our country interested
in `Inam’ opportunities in assisting to foundation of this House. Mrs.
Dahle noted about discussions to be held also with other public bodies
and state organs and informed that such bodies have been set up up to
date in Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Poland, Norway and other countries.
Vahid Gazi expressed that this initiative will be met with great
interest in society and the activity of this body will contribute
greatly to enlightenment in the sphere of human rights in the country.

Inam Center for Pluralism

June 21 – July 11,2004
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Three-Week Summer Field Course for College Students and High School

A course for college students and high school teachers to examine major
societal concerns:
§ environmental protection
§ public health
§ social justice
§ race and poverty

The environment is where we live, work and play; justice involves making
environmental decisions democratically and with community empowerment.
In this three-week, three-credit summer class we examine issues that lie
at the intersection of major societal concerns regarding social justice,
environmental protection, and health. Approximately half of the class
days consist of field trips to communities in Wisconsin and Chicago that
are impacted by landfills, sewage treatment plants, and industrial
facilities; some of these are Superfund sites.

Classroom days will be devoted to readings, videos, and discussions,
which ill cover the history of the environmental justice movement and
its connections to the civil rights and anti-toxics movements; case
histories covering political, legal, economic, scientific, and health
aspects; critical evaluation of demographic and socioeconomic evidence
for inequitable location of hazardous waste sites; global environmental
justice; and the future of the environmental justice movement.

All participants will keep a journal. High school teachers and regular
college students will team to develop a curriculum unit in their area of

Course readings include Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental
Quality; From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the
Environmental Justice Movement; Ecocide of Native America; Garbage Wars;
Tilting at Mills; Exporting Harm.

Instructor: Professor Herb Wang

Enrollment begins March 29

New reentry and continuing UW-Madison students will be notified of
summer enrollment times. The schedule is also published in the
UW-Madison Summer Bulletin Register for Institute for Environmental
Studies 400 or College of Letters and Science Interdisciplinary Studies

For more information
Contact:Professor Herb Wang
Department of Geology and Geophysics
1215 W.Dayton St.
Madison,WI 53706-1692

E-mail [email protected]
Phone 608/262-5932;
Web site

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

Tel: ++995 32 92 39 46
Fax: ++995 32 92 39 47
E-mail: [email protected]

U.Mich: An International Conference on The Church of Armenia

Armenian Studies Program
University of Michigan, International Institute
1080 S. University
Suite 2660
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Phone: 734/615-4304
Fax: 734/763-9154
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Julie G. Septrion, Program Coordinator

ANN ARBOR, APRIL 1-3, 2004

An international conference entitled “Where the Only-Begotten
Descended: the Church of Armenia through the Ages,” will be held at
the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Some forty papers, by experts
from Armenia, Europe and the USA, will highlight certain aspects of
the history, dogma, rites, literature and religious, social and
political role of the Church of Armenia, and the nature and extent of
the relations this 1700-year-old national church has had with other
Christian Churches as well as Zoroastrianism and Islam. The
conference is sponsored by Mike and Shirley Kojaian and the Alex and
Marie Manoogian Foundation.

The Church of Armenia has fashioned the Christian Armenian
tradition and, until recently, has been nearly its sole custodian.
There is no adequate history of this venerable tradition; and no
comprehensive history of the Armenian people can be written without a
history of its oldest and most influential institution. It is with
the express purpose of filling this gap that this international
conference is being convened. The proceedings will be published as an
outline of a history of the Church. It is hoped that both the
conference and the volume will inspire further research leading to
even better histories of the Church of Armenia herself and the
Armenian people.

The conference has been organized by the Armenian Studies
Program at the University of Michigan, and will be held in Ann Arbor,
April 1-3, 2004. The sessions have been arranged chronologically and
thematically and will meet from 9:00am to 5:00pm on each of the three
days. At 7:00pm on the evening of April 1, Dr. Robert W. Thomson,
Calouste Gulbenkain Professor Emeritus of Armenian Studies, Oxford
University, will deliver the keynote lecture on “The Armenian
Tradition of Biblical Commentary.” This lecture is at the same time
the fifth in the newly-inaugurated “Michigan Lectures in Early Judaism
and Christianity” series. It will be followed by a public reception.
For the benefit of those who might be able to attend, the sessions on
April 1 will be held at Shorling Auditorium (School of Education) and
those on April 2 and 3 at The Alumni Center, Founders Room. For more
information, please contact Julie Septron ([email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>_), tel. 734/615-4304.

ASBAREZ Online [03-17-2004]


1) EU-Armenia Parliamentary Commission Reaffirms Necessity of Nuclear Plant
2) Regulation without Karabagh Impossible Says Ghukasian
3) Spain’s New Prime Minister Thanks ARF Bureau
4) Oskanian to Meet with Guliyev in Prague
5) Soprano Arpine Pehlivanian Passes Away
6) Georgian President To Meet Rebel Region Leader

1) EU-Armenia Parliamentary Commission Reaffirms Necessity of Nuclear Plant

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The 6th session of the European Union-Armenia
Parliamentary Cooperation Commission held in Yerevan, March 15-16, discussed
the shutting down of Armenia’s nuclear power plant.
The sides agreed that in its current state, the plant poses serious dangers.
On the other hand, its closure would require that an reliable alternative
energy source exist to guarantee engery security for Armenia.
The commission reafirmmed that the nuclear power plant be shut down, but that
an alternative reliable, secure energy source replace it.
“There are many ways to do this, but the future will show which way is the
most optimal for Armenia,” stated commission chair Armen Rustamian.

2) Regulation without Karabagh Impossible Says Ghukasian

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) President Arkady
Ghukasian called on OSCE’s visiting chairman-in-office, Bulgarian Foreign
Minister Solomon Passy to create an opportunity for direct dialogue between
and Azerbaijan, stressing the necessity of MKR’s involvement in the
process and willingness to enter negotiations without preconditions.
The meeting took place in Yerevan on Wednesday, where MKR Foreign Minister
Ashot Ghulian and MKR permanent representative in Armenia Arman Melikian were
also part of the discussion.
Passy said that the quick and uniterrupted restoration of dialogue between
sides is crucial and that he will exert all efforts toward that goal.
Ghukasian said that dicussions included not only the political process to a
resolution, but also a potential legal one. “I am confident that a legal
package would promote political regulation. I believe the OSCE acting chairman
agreed, but it is clear the OSCE is complicated mechanism: all 55 member
countries have the right to exercise a veto. . . In any case, we must work and
we are ready to work and are confident that our position is very
Asked by reporters about MKR’s role in the regulation process, Ghukasian said
Karabagh is a full-fledged participant in the conflict, as confirmed by the
1994 Budapest Summit. “The president of Azerbaijan also participated in
Budapest sessions and agreed with this. This is no longer a topic for
discussion. . . I assure that Mountainous Karabagh will be involved in the
process of talks as a full-fledged participant,” stressed Ghukasian “Without
Karabagh, the issue will not be regulated.”

3) Spain’s New Prime Minister Thanks ARF Bureau

YEREVAN (YERKIR)– Spain’s newly elected prime minister José Luis Rodríguez
Zapatero, in a letter thanked Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau
representative Hrant Margarian, both for the party’s condolences and
congratulations, reported the ARF press service.
In a March 12 letter, the ARF Bureau conveyed condolences and offered support
after the Madrid bombings, and on March 15, congratulated Zapatero for his
party’s victory in the parliamentary election.
Zapatero said that his wish is that his party’s victory will serve to benefit
the international community. “Now more than ever, we need to restore dialogue
and multilateral cooperation in order to change cultural and economic
inequality, which gave rise to terrorist attacks,” Zapatero’s letter
Zapatero is the Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party,
which has established close ties with the ARF, since the latter became a
of the Socialist International recently.
Zapatero, who became the youngest member of Spanish parliament in 1986, is
considered moderate, adhering to a more social democratic ideology than
socialist. His right-hand-man is the Galician member of parliament, Jose

4) Oskanian to Meet with Guliyev in Prague

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian announced on Wednesday that
he will meet with his Azeri counterpart later this month for talks, which
should finally clarify whether Baku is ready to revive agreements on Karabagh
reached three years ago.
Oskanian said the meeting will take place in Prague on March 29 in the
presence of the American, French, and Russian mediators leading the Minsk
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He said he hopes
Azeri Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev will officially state “from which point
Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations.”
Guliyev said last month that Baku reserves the right to restart the peace
process “from scratch,” again denying any major understandings reached by the
Armenian and Azeri presidents in Paris and the Florida island of Key West in
2001. The statement came after Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s remarked that he
is not in a hurry to embrace a compromise deal because he believes the
Armenians are more interested in a quick solution to the Karabagh dispute than
his oil-rich nation.
Oskanian again warned that Aliyev will have to negotiate only with the
Karabagh Armenians if he finally decides to walk away from the agreements
reached by his late father and predecessor Heydar and Armenia’s president
Robert Kocharian.
The announcement of the Prague meeting came at a news conference that
Oskanian’s talks with the OSCE’s visiting chairman-in-office, Bulgarian
Minister Solomon Passy. Passy also met with Kocharian and Prime Minister
Andranik Margarian as, well as the president of Mountainous Karabagh Republic
Arkady Ghukasian. The Karabagh conflict was a major topic of the discussions
during which the sides reportedly agreed that “there is no alternative but a
peaceful settlement”
Speaking in Baku on Tuesday, Passy said that the OSCE will continue the
mediation but added that the responsibility is on Armenia and Azerbaijan to
the dispute “with mutual compromises.”
“The OSCE is not capable of miracles and can’t impose a ready solution,” he
said. “History teaches us that with conflicts time always works against us.
later a solution is found, the more painful it may be for the people of the

5) Soprano Arpine Pehlivanian Passes Away

On March 16, Diasporan soprano Arpine Pehlivanian, passed away after
a long term illness. Her dedication to the world of music and her contribution
to the preservation of Armenian musical heritage are part of the legacy she
leaves behind.
She performed in over 800 concerts in Europe, the United States, Canada, the
Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. Her Carnegie Hall debut was
in 1974. She has performed in most of the internationally known concert halls,
including the Parisian Salle Pleyel, the Salle Gaveau and the Spendiarian
House in Yerevan, Armenia. Her recordings include The Artistry of Arpine
Pehlivanian, (1982 Arzach Productions) Armenian Sacred Music, (1986 BLM
Studios) Armenian Romance Songs, (1997 Hamazkayin) and Armenian Art Songs and
Live Concert.
The lyrico-coloratura soprano earned the highest honors in her field
advanced diplomas in voice and (Summa Cum Laude) from the Lebanese National
Conservatory of Piano. She studied piano under the tutelage of Michel
Cheskinoff, St. Petersburg, American composer Anis Fuleihan, and voice with
Alvarez Boulos, London. Four years of additional study with La Scala soprano
Antonia Perazzi prepared her for the Chigiana Academy in Siena, Italy, where
she earned Diplomas di Merito in Opera Interpretation under Gino Bechi, Vocal
Chamber music under Giorgio Favaretto and Opera Direction under Bruno Rigacci.
The National Symphony of Lebanon appointed Pehlivanian official soloist, a
position she held for 18 years along with academic duties at the Lebanese
Conservatory of Music where she was both a Professor of Voice and Piano and
Director of Opera Interpretation Studies. During that period she was awarded
the Cilician Great Cross with the rank of Knight, the Lebanese National
Said-Akl Cultural Award, and the Syrian Educational Ministry’s Gold Medal.
Pehlivanian, who consistently championed professionalism and artistic
interpretation in the rendition of the Armenian Art Song, was the first singer
from the Diaspora to be invited to perform leading roles with the Spendiarov
Opera House in Yerevan, receiving rave reviews. Called the Ambassadress of
Armenian Song, she premiered the works of many Middle Eastern and Armenian
composers including the American, British, and Middle Eastern premieres of
Khatchaturian’s Agh Tamar.
As concert artist and teacher, she was awarded the Bronze Halo Award (1983)
from the Southern California Motion Picture Council for her contribution to
arts, and the Music Teacher’s Association of California Service Award (1987),
for her contributions to the American Community. She was also a member of the
National Association of Teachers of Singing.
In 1999, the Armenian community in Los Angeles joined together to pay tribute
to the Nightingale of the Armenian Diaspora for her forty years of service in
both the artistic and the academic domains. At her Fortieth Jubilee the late
Karekin I, Catholicos of all Armenians, bestowed on her the most coveted Sts.
Sahag and Mesrob Medal of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, Armenia. Catholicos
I of the House of Cilicia honored the singer with the first ever Dame of
Cilicia Medal, to be given to women of distinction.
Funeral services will take place on Saturday, March 20, 10:30 am, at the Holy
Cross Church of Montebello.

6) Georgian President To Meet Rebel Region Leader

BATUMI (Reuters)–The leaders of Georgia and its rebellious Ajaria region
agreed on Wednesday to meet to defuse a crisis, which has strained ties with
Georgia’s giant neighbor Russia.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who swept to power in a popular
revolution last year, has been locked in conflict with the leader of
Ajaria Aslan Abashidze, accusing him of hindering free parliamentary elections
due in 11 days.
Saakashvili and Abashidze are due to meet on Thursday in the regional capital
Batumi, a Black Sea port near Turkey, the Ajarian leader told reporters, after
seven hours of talks with Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze.
Georgia’s location on Russia’s southern border and work on a key Western oil
pipeline running through it has focused the attention of both Moscow and
Washington on the country.
Forces loyal to Abashidze prevented Saakashvili from entering Ajaria over the
weekend. The president responded by slapping economic sanctions on the region,
cutting rail and road access to Ajaria, closing its airspace, and blocking its
For his meeting on Thursday, Saakashvili will cross the same road checkpoint
where Abashidze’s troops fired a warning shot at his convoy on Sunday, a
presidential spokesman said.
“I am a supporter of the idea that all issues should be solved not by using
force but in a human fashion,” Abashidze told reporters in Batumi, where
soldiers and masked armed loyalists patrolled the streets and waterfront.


“We have to do everything to make sure tomorrow’s meeting is meaningful,”
Burdzhanadze, a Saakashvili ally, adding that the blockade might “no longer be
an issue” after the talks.
The blockade has stopped oil shipments from a 200,000 barrel per day terminal
at Batumi.
Burdzhanadze previously played a key role in persuading pro-Russian Abashidze
to allow presidential elections in Ajaria in January that resulted in a
landslide victory for Saakashvili, a 36-year-old nationalist backed by the
United States.
Ex-Soviet Georgia has had uneasy relations with its old colonial master,
Russia, for most of the 12 years since the Soviet Union collapsed–often
arising from Georgian suspicions that Moscow was trying to profit from
autonomous movements.
In an unannounced exercise, a Russian military base near Batumi fired rounds
of tank shells into the sea on Tuesday where the Georgian coastguard was
Russia has urged Saakashvili to find a peaceful way out of the current crisis.
But its tacit sympathy for Ajaria became clear when Moscow’s flamboyant mayor
Yuri Luzhkov–a powerful politician at home–flew in on Tuesday to show
solidarity with Abashidze, causing consternation among Georgian officials.
Luzhkov, who has business interests in the construction industry, is a close
associate of Abashidze and Moscow building firms have picked up many lucrative
contracts in Ajaria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov showed some unease over Luzhkov,
dodging a direct question on his exact mission.
He said Luzhkov was there in an “inter-regional” context, adding: “Given
Luzhkov’s efforts have the support of the Russian leadership.” He said
indications that Saakashvili would meet Luzhkov offered hope for a solution.
The parliamentary elections on March 28 are a rerun of a poll last November
when veteran leader Eduard Shevardnadze was still in power. That vote was
widely seen as rigged.
Allies of Saakashvili are expected to do well and to support his efforts to
cut corruption, unite the divided Caucasus nation of around 4.5 million
and press for Russia to withdraw from two military bases.
Georgia has two openly separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where
Tbilisi no longer exerts any control.

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ANCA-WR: U.S. Representative Howard Berman Signs Genocide Postcards

Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918 Fax: 818.246.7353
[email protected]

For Immediate Release: March 17, 2004

Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian 818.500.1918


Van Nuys, CA– Members of the East San Fernando Valley Armenian
National Committee and the ANCA-Western Region met with United States
Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) to discuss issues of concern to the
Armenian-American community and to urge the Congressman to challenge
Genocide deniers in Washington, D.C.

The meeting took place in Congressman Berman’s district office and
included the participation of East San Fernando Valley (ESFV) ANC
members Alice Chalian, Aram Kaloustian, Avo Ovayan and local ANC
chairman Garbis Hindoyan. ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian, ANCA-WR
staff Ardashes Kassakhian and Kris Demirjian also participated in the

`We were pleased to share with Congressman Berman the concerns of the
tens of thousands of Armenian-Americans who live in his Congressional
District,” commented ESFV-ANC Chair Garbis Hindoyan. `I am also
pleased that the Congressman understands that we are a major and
growing political presence in the San Fernando Valley,’ he added.

The ANC activists thanked Congressman Berman for his support of
Armenian issues. ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian briefed Congressman
Berman on current legislation that would permanently normalize
U.S. trade relations with the Republic of Armenia and discussed the
importance of challenging Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide.
During the meeting, Hamparian voiced the ANC’s concerns about the
influence and access that the Republic of Turkey has through hired
lobbyists in Washington, DC. The Congressman acknowledged this fact
and assured the ANCactivists that he would stand up to lobbyists who
denied the Armenian Genocide.

The Congressman accepted an invitation to visit the Ferrahian Holy
Martyrs Armenian School, which is located in the Congressman’s
District, for a breakfast with community leaders.

ESFV-ANC Chair Garbis Hindoyan presented Congressman Berman with a
copy of Peter Balakian’s best selling book `The Burning Tigris:
TheArmenian Genocide and America’s Response.’ The book chronicles the
greatest humanitarian aid effort by the United States, during which
millions of dollars were raised to help the victims of the Turkish
massacres of Christian Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

In addition to receiving the book, Congressman Berman added his name
to the growing list of elected officials who are participating in the
ANCA Nationwide Genocide Prevention Postcard Campaign.

Congressman Berman represents California’s 28th Congressional
District, which spreads from the northern San Fernando Valley, where
it takes in the small city of San Fernando and includes the
communities of Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, Van Nuys, and North

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

Editor’s Note: Photo Available Upon Request
Photo Caption: (From Left to Right: Avo Ovayan, Kris Demirjian, Raffi
Hamparian, Garbis Hindoyan, Rep. Howard Berman, Aram Kaloustian, Alice
Chalian and Ardashes Kassakhian)

Georgian president denies having sheltered Chechen rebels

Georgian president denies having sheltered Chechen rebels

March 8, 2004, Monday 5:15 PM Eastern Time


Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Monday that Georgia has
never given transit to Chechen rebels at a news conference that kicked
off his 48-hour visit in France

“I proposed (to Russian President Vladimir Putin last February) to
carry joint patrols along the border” to make sure that Chechen rebels
do not cross from Georgia into the Russian separatist republic,” he

He had also suggested that Russian representatives be stationed at
Georgian border posts for a limited period of time to verify that
Georgia was not granting visas to foreigners who would fight the
Russians in restive Chechnya.

“I get the feeling that the Russian military needs excuses to explain
to Putin why they couldn’t control Chechnya,” Saakashvili said.

Moscow accused Tbilisi of giving shelter to Chechen separatist
fighters. The dispute has created tension between Moscow and Tbilisi.

Saakashvili has promised to change his predecessor’s ” dangerous”
policy allowing Chechen rebels to take refuge in Georgia, shortly
after he was elected president on Jan. 4 after ousting ex-President
Eduard Shevarnadze.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced last Friday that
“dozens of foreign terrorists” killed by Russian forces in Chechnya
carried Georgian passports.

Georgia borders Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Armenian leader calls for repair of roads with Georgia

Mediamax news agency, Yerevan, in English
10 Mar 04

Armenian leader calls for repair of roads with Georgia


Today Armenian President Robert Kocharyan received in Yerevan Georgian
ambassador Nikoloz Nikolozishvili, who is finishing his diplomatic
mission in Yerevan and has already been appointed as the Georgian
president’s representative in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti
inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians.

At the meeting, Robert Kocharyan and the ambassador stated the
importance of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s official visit
to Armenia to start on 12 March, the presidential press service told
Mediamax today.

The sides also discussed the situation in the region of
Samtskhe-Javakheti. Nikolozishvili told the Armenian president that
he had already been to the region and considered his priority task to
pay more attention to socio-economic problems of its population.

In this respect, Robert Kocharyan stated the importance of repairing
the highway connecting Samtskhe-Javakheti with Armenia.