Armenia PM signals foreign policy shift away from Russia

DW – Deutsche Welle, Germany
Sept 24 2023

Armenia could become less dependent on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for its security. It could also join the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called his country's security agreements with Russia "ineffective" on Sunday, signaling a potential shift away from Moscow after it refused to intervene in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia had acted as guarantor for a peace deal that ended a 44-day war with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory three years ago, with peacekeepers deployed around the region.

However, Azerbaijan's much larger army was able to overpower ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and capture the enclave earlier this week. The fighting killed at least 200 people, according to Armenian authorities.

"The systems of external security in which Armenia is involved are ineffective when it comes to the protection of our security and Armenia's national interests," Pashinyan said during a televised address to the nation on Sunday.

His comments come as Armenian authorities prepare to accept around 120,000 refugees entering the country from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-dominated alliance of post-Soviet states that pledge to protect each other in the event of an attack. But Russia's armed forces are currently focused on the invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin has in recent days blamed Pashinyan for his handling of the crisis and said it would not intervene because Armenia itself recognizes the disputed region as part of Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan said Armenia must transform its security arrangements "in cooperation with all the partners who are ready for mutually beneficial steps."

"It has become evident to all of us that the CSTO instruments and the instruments of the Armenian-Russian military-political cooperation are insufficient for protecting external security of Armenia," he said.

Pashinyan also said that Armenia should join the International Criminal Court (ICC) — a tribunal which has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March over his actions in Ukraine. Putin has avoided visiting ICC member states since then.

Earlier this month, Pashinyan sent the ICC's founding document, the Rome Statute, to be ratified by parliament.

"The decision is not directed against CSTO and the Russian Federation," he said. "It comes from the interests of the country's external security, and taking such a decision is our sovereign right."

On Sunday, the first group of refugees fleeing Azerbaijan's offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh arrived in the Armenian border town of Kornidzor.

Officials from Armenia's Foreign Ministry were present in the town to register the new arrivals.

The group was composed mainly of women, children and the elderly.

Armenian authorities said a total of 377 people had arrived from the region as of Sunday night.

Azerbaijan has pledged to allow rebel fighters who lay down their arms to go to Armenia via the so-called Lachin Corridor.

zc/jcg (AFP, Reuters)

https://www.dw.com/en/armenia-pm-signals-foreign-policy-shift-away-from-russia/a-66910281

Armenia not planning to seek NATO membership, willing to continue cooperation – Armenian Foreign Ministry

Interfax
Sept 4 2023

YEREVAN. Sept 4 (Interfax) – Nobody in NATO has called on Armenia to join the alliance, while Yerevan stands ready to continue cooperation with the organization, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan said.

"As for the partnership between Armenia and NATO, it has been implemented for quite a few years. We cooperate with NATO in various formats and are willing to continue this process," Kostanyan told journalists on Monday.

Earlier, Gunther Fehlinger, chair of the European Committee for NATO Enlargement called on Armenia to join the alliance. "I call Armenia to join NATO, [Armenian Prime Minister] Nikol Pashinyan. Protect Armenia, President of the United States," Fehlinger wrote on his social media account.

Commenting on this, Kostanyan said that Fehlinger is "not a NATO representative." "He is just the leader of a non-governmental organization whose name contains the word NATO," he said.

https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/94231/

EU strongly believes the Lachin corridor must be unblocked – Michel

 16:37, 1 September 2023

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 1, ARMENPRESS. The EU strongly believes the Lachin corridor must be unblocked, the spokesperson of Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said in a statement on September 1.

The current humanitarian situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly and it is imperative to take steps to address the needs of the local population, Michel’s spokesperson Ecaterina Casinge said in the statement.

Below is the full statement.

“President Michel has continued to be intensely engaged in advancing the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process. His efforts over the past weeks, supported by Toivo Klaar, EUSR for the South Caucasus, have focused as a priority on addressing the humanitarian situation of Karabakh Armenians.

EUSR Klaar and President Michel’s team have been in frequent contact with Baku, Yerevan and representatives of Karabakh Armenians to work out a solution for unblocking access.

The current humanitarian situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly; it is imperative to take steps to address the needs of the local population.

European Council President Charles Michel has proposed a step-by-step approach which would reflect a sequencing in the full-fledged operation of the Lachin corridor and the opening of the Ağdam route.

Sequencing of these steps and the type of cargo that would be delivered by each of these roads, as well as attendant procedures, have been the core of the recent discussions.

The EU strongly believes the Lachin corridor must be unblocked, in line with past agreements and the ICJ Order, and notes that the use of the Ağdam road to provide supplies can also be part of a concrete and sustainable solution to the provision of urgent and daily basic needs. Discussions on these elements had started following the last meeting of the leaders in Brussels on 15 July 2023.

The EU side has also stressed the need for Baku to provide clarity to Karabakh Armenians in terms of procedures for their movements through Lachin corridor to and from Armenia.

In parallel, exchanges have also focused on restoring electricity and gas supplies to Karabakh Armenians as soon as possible.

Beyond the immediate situation, the EU side has stressed the need to address legacies of the conflict to facilitate a long-term sustainable resolution.

Dialogue between Baku and representatives of Armenians living in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast will be essential in this regard. The rights and security of Karabakh Armenians must be guaranteed and discussions on specific modalities should start as soon as possible.

The dialogue between Baku and the Karabakh Armenians needs to strengthen confidence and trust. To this end the EU has provided various suggestions for international support to this process, as well as for engagement on the ground to underpin the implementation of agreements reached.

All the above efforts have only one goal: ensure irreversible normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan for the benefit of all populations on the ground. It is now time for courageous compromise solutions, also in light of today's escalation.

The EU has been engaged with other international actors in these efforts, through regular personal contacts and exchanges of views on how best address the current unsustainable situation.”

AW: ANC of Rhode Island meets with Congressman Seth Magaziner regarding the crisis in Artsakh

ANC-RI members met with Congressman Seth Magaziner to discuss the crisis in Artsakh. Pictured from l. to r.: ANC-RI chair Steve Elmasian, Steve Mesrobian, Congressman Magaziner, Ani Haroian, Berge Zobian and Harout Tashian

WARWICK, R.I.—Six members of the Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island (ANC-RI) met with U.S. Congressman Seth Magaziner (D-RI-2) in his Warwick office on the morning of August 24.

The freshman representative is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and has proven during his short term in office to be a strong ally and friend to his Armenian constituents in Rhode Island.

ANC-RI chair Steve Elmasian began the meeting by thanking Rep. Magaziner for his readiness to meet and discuss the worsening crisis in Artsakh.

ANC-RI member Steve Mesrobian thanked Rep. Magaziner for being a co-sponsor on all three current ANCA-backed House resolutions:

  • H.Res.108 – Condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) and ongoing human rights violations.
  • H.Res.320 – Recognizing the Republic of Artsakh’s independence and condemning Azerbaijan’s continued aggression against Armenia and Artsakh.
  • H.R.2803 – Providing funding for Armenian Genocide education. 

Mesrobian reviewed the rapidly deteriorating situation in Artsakh with the congressman and his district director, Christa Thompson, and asked for the congressman’s help to reach out to both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID chair Samantha Power to fast track emergency humanitarian aid to the besieged Armenian population of Artsakh.

Rep. Magaziner was very aware of the situation and eager to help, repeatedly asking what more he can do to help the citizens of Artsakh.

Congressman Magaziner agreed to speak to the chairs of the Armenian Caucus to request a letter to Blinken and Power as well as to ask the House of Representative leadership for an update on the three open ANCA-backed resolutions.

The Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island (ANC-RI) has worked tirelessly for decades advocating for all issues of concern to Armenians in Rhode Island, the United States, Armenia and Artsakh. The ANC-RI is responsible for the Armenian flag flying at the RI State House and at every city and town in the state on April 24 each year. Additionally, the ANC-RI holds flag raising ceremonies annually in North Providence and Cranston, where local Armenian residents are honored. The ANC-RI also worked with the RI House of Representatives to be the first government body in the world to officially recognize Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).


Armenpress: Azerbaijani military again targets Armenian outposts with cross-border gunfire

 09:38,

YEREVAN, AUGUST 23, ARMENPRESS. The Azerbaijani military has once again targeted Armenian border outposts in the Gegharkunik Province, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

“On August 23, between 01:05 a.m. and 02:00 a.m., Azerbaijani armed forces units fired from fire arms towards the Armenian combat outposts nearby Verin Shorzha,” the Ministry of Defense of Armenia said in a statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over plight of 120,000 people in Nagorno-Karabakh facing food crisis

Associated Press
Aug 17 2023


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday over the plight of the 120,000 people in the Nagorno-Karabakh region that Armenia says are blockaded by Azerbaijan and facing a humanitarian crisis.

Armenia asked for the meeting saying Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia since July 15, had left its people with dwindling food, medicine and electricity.

Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, but the region and substantial territory around it came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces who were backed by the Armenian military in separatist fighting that ended in 1994. Azerbaijan regained control of the surrounding territory in a six-week war with Armenia in 2020, and the Russian-brokered armistice left the Lachin Corridor as Nagorno-Karabakh’s only connection to Armenia.

At the council meeting, many countries urged Azerbaijan to immediately reopen the road, pointing to orders from the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s highest tribunal, and all 15 nations urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a diplomatic solution to their nearly 30-year conflict.

The Security Council did not issue any statement but U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who chaired the meeting, told the Associated Press afterward that “there were strong statements in the council from everyone that the Lachin Corridor needed to be reopened.” That was “the main accomplishment,” she said.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator Edem Wasornu told the council the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only international humanitarian body with access to the area, reported on July 25 that it had been unable to transport food through the Lachin Corridor since June 14 and medicine since July 7.

Wasornu said international humanitarian law requires all parties to facilitate rapid delivery of aid to all people in need, and “it is therefore critical that the ICRC’s delivery of humanitarian relief be allowed to resume through any available routes.”

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan told the council that as a result of the blockade, there is no economic activity in Nagorno-Karabakh, thousands of people are unemployed, stores are empty and women, children and the elderly stand in long lines to be able to buy bread, fruit and vegetables. In addition, he said, Azerbaijan has disrupted the supply of electricity through the only high voltage line between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh since Jan. 9.

Mirzoyan quoted a report from Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, saying “there is a reasonable basis to believe that a genocide is being committed” as a result of the blockade.

“Starvation is the invisible genocide weapon,” he said, warning that “without immediate dramatic change this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks.”

Mirzoyan said preventing such a catastrophe is a duty of the Security Council, which is charged with ensuring international peace and security. “I do believe that this distinguished body, despite geopolitical differences, has capacity to act as genocide prevention body, and not as genocide commemoration when it might be too late,” he said.

Azerbaijan’s U.N. Ambassador Yashar Aliyev responded by “categorically rejecting all the unfounded and groundless allegations on (a) blockade or humanitarian crisis propagated by Armenia against my country.”

He accused Armenia of engaging in a “provocative and irresponsible political campaign” to undermine Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan installed a border checkpoint on the road to safeguard its sovereignty and security and prevent Armenia from using the route “for illegal military and other activities” including rotating its 10,000 military personnel “illegally stationed” in Azerbaijani territory, and transferring weapons and munitions as well as unlawfully extracted natural resources.

He called the genocide allegations false, saying prominent British human rights lawyer, Rodney Dixon, in a preliminary report said there is no foundation for Ocampo’s claim, citing Azerbaijan’s offer to supply good via the town of Aghdam.

Aliyev also held up what he said were photos from social media of people in Nagorno-Karabakh celebrating weddings and birthdays, saying they refute allegations about starvation and a humanitarian crisis.

Aliyev and Mirzoyan blamed each other for so-far failed diplomatic efforts.

The European Union’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Silvio Gonzato, told the council “humanitarian access must not be politicized by any actors,” and the Lachin Corridor must be reopened immediately.

“Azerbaijani authorities bear the responsibility to guarantee safety and freedom of movement along the Lachin Corridor, and to ensure the crisis does not escalate further,” he said.

Life-long educator Houry Boyamian to be honored at ANCA Eastern Region Gala

BOSTON, Mass.—Houry Boyamian, longtime former principal of St. Stephen’s Elementary School in Watertown, Massachusetts, will be honored with the ANCA Eastern Region’s inaugural Excellence in Education Award at the ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund’s 17th Annual Gala, to be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Boyamian will be joined by other award recipients, including Dr. Michael Rubin, who will receive the inaugural Advocacy Award, and other deserving activists and leaders who will receive the ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Awards and Freedom Awards.

Boyamian, who has a French baccalaureate in literature and philosophy from the College Protestant Francais, also holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from St. Joseph University and a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts. She is also a graduate of Nishan Palandjian Djemaran and is fluent in Armenian, English, French and Arabic. 

During her 35-year tenure as the founding principal of St. Stephen’s Elementary School, she launched various initiatives to properly modernize and equip the school with state-of-the-art technology. She fundraised for several expansion projects for the school, including the construction of a preschool building in 1998, a new kindergarten building in 2012, a teacher retention program in 2018, and a new student financial aid program in 2019. Boyamian also introduced new extracurricular activities for students, including chess, art, science, music, robotics and sports, along with a STEM initiative launched in 2011. Under her tutelage, St. Stephen’s became the first Armenian-American day school in New England to be accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in 2003.

As a descendant of an Armenian Genocide survivor, Boyamian has volunteered her time in various development workshops for genocide education, presenting her family history to teach about the Genocide. She also commissioned an English translation of her father Karnig Panian’s memoir of childhood and orphanhood, titled Goodbye, Antoura, published by the Stanford University Press on April 24, 2015. The book has been translated into French, Turkish and Russian and is widely studied by both professors and students in U.S. universities, offering an emotional and lesser-known part of the Armenian Genocide to the world.

“Witnessing the positive changes that the school has undergone throughout the years is largely due to Principal Boyamian’s efforts. Her work speaks for itself as we witness the success of the school, now entering its 39th year with more than 190 students. Her dedication to education and culture also extends beyond the walls of St. Stephen’s, as she is also a champion for Armenian Genocide education,” said Tsoler Avedissian, 17th annual gala committee member and former student of Boyamian.

For Boyamian, her biggest sense of achievement and fulfillment arises from her students – many graduates are active in the New England community in various capacities, serving several Armenian organizations, and have gone on to attend top colleges and universities, becoming successful leaders in their respective fields. 

In recognition of her achievements, Boyamian has received the Mesrob Mashdots medal from the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in 2005 and the Queen Zabel medal from the Armenian Prelacy in New York City, as well as a proclamation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2008. In 2018, she also received a certificate of honor from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.

“This recognition is a testament to her unwavering dedication, visionary leadership and profound impact on shaping the lives of countless Armenian students, including mine. Her commitment to fostering a nurturing and enriching learning environment has left an indelible mark on all of us who had the privilege of being under her guidance. This award not only acknowledges her exceptional contributions but also serves as an inspiration to us all, reaffirming the lasting influence of her legacy in the realm of education in the greater Boston Armenian community,” concluded Avedissian. 

Tickets for the gala, which include a cocktail reception, silent auction and seated dinner can be purchased at www.givergy.us/ancaer. For more information about this year’s gala, visit our website or contact [email protected].

The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region is part of the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots organization, the ANCA. Working in coordination with the ANCA in Washington, DC, and a network of chapters and supporters throughout the Eastern United States, the ANCA-ER actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


The Power of One Dram directed to COAF in July, SOS Children’s Villages Foundation named August beneficiary

 18:02,

YEREVAN, AUGUST 10, ARMENPRESS. Idram and IDBank summed up the results of the next program of The Power of One Dram initiative. The companies report that 3.480.466 AMD was donated to the Children of Armenia Charitable Foundation for payments made through their platforms during July.

The companies also announced the name of next month's beneficiary. During August, 1 AMD will be transferred to SOS Children's Villages Armenian charitable foundation for each client's payment through the Idram&IDBank application, IDBanking.am platform and Idram.am website.

The SOS Children's Villages Foundation is a child-oriented organization whose mission is to help children in difficult life situations. The Foundation operates in two areas: alternative care services, as well as family strengthening services for families with minor children in a difficult social situation. The programs implemented by the Foundation are aimed at improving the child protection system in the Republic of Armenia, ensuring the right of the child to live in a family.

Spartak Sargsyan, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Armenian Charitable Foundation, notes that their cooperation with Idram and IDBank is extremely important for the foundation's mission. “Together we support children, youth and their families who are in a difficult life situation, contributing to the development of communities,” says Spartak Sargsyan.

According to Tatevik Vardevanyan, Head of Communications unit at IDBank, companies appreciate the support to the charitable foundation, as it is one of the key areas of corporate social responsibility.

You can also become a goodwill ambassador by simply making all your payments through Idram&IDBank app, IDBanking.am and Idram.am website without spending any extra AMD.

After all, it all starts with one dram …

COMPANIES ARE CONTROLLED BY THE CBA



Belarus, Armenia discuss cooperation in sport, tourism

Belarus – Aug 8 2023

MINSK, 8 August (BelTA) – The Belarusian Sport and Tourism Ministry played host to a meeting between Belarusian Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk and Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Armenia Karen Giloyan, BelTA learned from the press service of the ministry.

The parties discussed cooperation and exchange of experience in the development of the sport and tourism industries between the two states, and also organization of joint sport events and development of common tourist routes.

Karen Giloyan also praised a high-level organization of the 2nd CIS Games in Belarus.

https://eng.belta.by/society/view/belarus-armenia-discuss-cooperation-in-sport-tourism-160849-2023/