ANCA calls on Obama Administration to end silence on Aliyev’s aggression

Within 24 hours of making a nationally-broadcast hate speech publicly laying claim to all of Armenia and Artsakh as Azerbaijani land, President Ilham Aliyev’s armed forces launched a cross-border attack from Nakhichevan on Armenia that took the life of Armenian soldier Arman Mayisi Yepremian.

“The facts here are crystal clear, as is the pattern of destructive behavior that the Obama Administration is enabling by refusing to confront President Aliyev’s aggression,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “On June 25th, Aliyev openly telegraphed his cross-border attack into Nakhichevan with a nationally-broadcast speech claiming all of Armenia as Azerbaijani land.  A day later, having heard only silence from the international community, he acted out his threat, killing Arman Yepremian. Today, he stands emboldened – even encouraged – by the failure of the U.S. and our OSCE partners to forcefully push back against his escalating aggression.”

In a nationally televised June 25th speech marking the opening of a new naval command center, President Aliyev laid claim on all of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, stating: “Nagorno-Karabakh is native Azerbaijani land. The Azerbaijani people have lived on this land for centuries, and have created there. The historical monuments in the land once again show, it is our historical and ancestral land. Not only Nagorno-Karabakh is ours, even the present-day Armenia was established on historical Azerbaijani lands. We all know that very well. The world already knows it. Erivan Khanate, Sevan, Zangezur are our historical lands, and we go back to those lands and the return of Azerbaijanis.”

The U.S. government has yet to criticize either Aliyev’s remarks or condemn the killing of Yepremian.  Aliyev’s attack, consistent with his speech, targeted the territory of the Republic of Armenia, far from the borders of Nagorno Karabakh.  This brazen move came at the tail end of the Baku2015 games, a multi-billion dollar enterprise that sparked global criticism of Azerbaijan’s increasingly aggressive crackdown on dissenters, international NGOs, human rights groups, and the media.

Working hours of Stepantsminda-Lars checkpoint extended

Armenia and Georgia have reached agreement to extend the hours of operation of the Stepantsminda-Lars checkpoint from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.

The move aims to ensure the uninterrupted export of agricultural products from the Republic of Armenia.

Armenian Minister of Transport and Communication Gagik Beglaryan negotiated the issue with Georgian counterparts upon the instruction of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan.

Time for Azerbaijan to return to reality: Armenian FM

Armenian and Czech Foreign Ministers Edward Nalbandian and Lubomír Zaorálek discussed a wide range of issues on bilateral agenda, including the political dialogue, cooperation within international organizations, the legal framework, trade and economic relations.

The parties attached importance to the reciprocal visits and development of inter-parliamentary ties.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Minister Nalbandian referred to the process of settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

He said “Azerbaijan uses the Nagorno Karabakh conflict to justify its authoritarian system and violation of human rights.”

He added, however, that the world is sick of Azerbaijan’s use of oil dollars. “A vivid example was a recent resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where Azerbaijan failed,” he said.

“I think it’s time for Azerbaijan to return from the virtual world of oil and khavier to reality,” Nalbandian stated.

Armenian DM attends NATO meeting on Afghanistan

On June 25 the delegation headed by Armenian defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan participated in the meeting of Defense Ministers of the countries contributing to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

The Defense Ministers of NATO partner countries discussed the progress of NATO mission in Afghanistan, the political and security situation in the country. The participants decided to start the second stage of the mission on May 1, 2016. The NATO presence will be restricted to capital Kabul and its neighborhood.

Minister Nalbandian reiterated Armenia’s commitment to contribute a 131-member group until the end of the mission.

Within the framework of the visit Minister Ohanyan participated in ministerial consultations organized by Germany, where the strategy of the mission was discussed.

The same day Seyran Ohanyan met with Georgia’s newly elected Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli. The parties discussed the perspectives of defense cooperation and exchanged views on issues of international and regional security.

Reports in Turkey reveal Armenian ancestry of newly elected MP

Reports in Turkish media reveal the Armenian ancestry of a newly elected MP.

Mehmet Ali Aslan elected to the Turkish Parliament from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) refused to utter the words “Great Turkish nation” at the oath-taking ceremony at the Grand National Assembly.

The MP said “The Great Nation” instead and was required to repeat the oath under the pressure of some MPs.

Reports in Turkish media reveal that Aslan is of Armenian descent, reports.

Russia’s Putin to visit Pope Francis June 10 at the Vatican

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Pope Francis on June 10 at the Vatican, with conflicts in Syria and Ukraine likely to top the Holy See’s agenda, the Associated Press reports.

Putin last called on Francis on Nov. 25, 2013.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Thursday the meeting would take place in the afternoon of June 10; Putin is expected to visit Russia’s pavilion at the Expo world’s fair in Milan, where June 10 has been slated as Russia’s national day.

Robert Guediguian’s Armenian Genocide film at Cannes 2015

French-Armenian director Robert Guediguian takes on the Armenian genocide and the campaign of vengeance against Turkey in a film that goes in unexpected directions.

The ripple effects of the Armenian genocide on subsequent generations are felt in Robert Guediguian’s drama set during the wave of militant attacks in Europe in the 1980s, according to

Cannes regular Robert Guediguian, the social-realist chronicler of working-class Marseille, reconnects with his paternal roots in Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad, an impassioned but long-winded consideration of the Armenian genocide’s lasting impact on the displaced generations that followed. The film benefits from detailed historical background and an engrossing establishing section that seeds a sense of bitter injustice passed on from survivors to their descendants. But contrived plotting, unidimensional characters and lack of economy weigh down the drama.

The clunky English-language title comes from the lyrics of a 1980 hit by French pop songstress France Gall. But the source material is an autobiographical novel by Spanish journalist Jose Antonio Gurriaran, who was semi-paralyzed in a bomb blast planned by militants from the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) in Madrid in 1981. During his recovery, he researched the Ottoman Empire’s extermination and removal of Armenians from their homeland during World War I, a crime against humanity still officially denied by Turkey. As a result, Gurriaran became an activist for international recognition of the Armenian genocide.

US election observers say Artsakh vote was fair, transparent

Asbarez – A delegation of United States election observers traveled to Artsakh in early May to closely observe what resulted in a successful and democratic parliamentary elections.

The delegation was  comprised of elected officials Andreas Borgeas from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, Gail Pellerin the Santa Cruz County Clerk, experts Karin Mac Donald Director of the UC Berkeley Election Administration Research Center, Kristen Abajian from the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative and Peter Abajian from Paros Foundation, as well as Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA WR) Board Member Nareg Kitsinian and Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan.

“The electoral process in this Republic is fair and transparent,” stated Nareg Kitsinian, Esq., board member of the ANCA-WR. “As election observers, we witnessed an organically high voter turnout as the citizens believe it is of paramount importance to the continued independence of the Republic that they fought for. As a testament to the Republic’s commitment to the democratic process, this election was conducted with a distinguished level of integrity that would parallel any democratic country in the western world.”

The traveling delegation also used the opportunity to meet with the government’s leadership prior to the election to understand the methodology and process of the elections.

During a meeting with the Chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission, Srbuhi Arzumanyan, the U.S. observation team was able to understand the process of the election and the structure of the polling locations. Observers were particularly impressed by the number of poll workers required at each polling location. During a given election, there are nine poll workers assigned to a location and all must undergo seven days of training in order to qualify as a poll worker. The poll worker positions are not all stipend, rather, the people of Artsakh see this as an important part of their civic duty.

Following the meeting with Central Election Commission, the delegation had the honor of meeting with President Bako Sahakyan where they expressed their gratitude on being invited to observe the election and offer their guidance to further improve the process. The President expressed his and the people’s willingness to hear their recommendation and further assured the observers that they would witness a transparent election.

The delegation also had the opportunity to meet with the Speaker of the Artsakh Parliament, Ashot Ghoulyan and Prime Minister Arayik Harutyuyan to get their perspective on how the election process had changed since the presidential election in 2012. During these meetings they also had the unique insight on how the role the political parties in the country played in affecting voter turnout.

Finally, in meetings with the Republic of Artsakh’s Human Right’s Defender, Yuri Hayrapetyan, observers voiced their concerns over accessibly issues for voters with disabilities. Mr. Hayrapetyan was open to their recommendations and concerns noting that the country is still in the process of making the polls more accessible to those who are physically handicapped.

In a preliminary report issued after the election, the University of California Election Observation and Technical Assistance Team as “a fair, accurate, and transparent election process.”

As observers they also noted that women in Nagorno-Karabakh were equal participants in the elections in every aspect including participating as voters, poll workers, party representatives, government officials, and candidates. “I am impressed how Artsakh conducted its national elections consistent with international standards, I think there are lessons we in the U.S. can learn from them, especially in terms of voter turnout and civic engagement,” commended Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Burgeas.

Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin has offered to continue collaboration to develop the process of elections in the Republic, “I found the election in Nagorno-Karabakh to be fair, accurate, secure, and transparent. The commitment of the voters and poll workers would rival any country. The citizens of this democratic republic are very engaged as demonstrated by the 70.6% turnout in the May 3 election.”

“As someone who has participated in elections in the United States as a poll worker, a member of a campaign, and as a candidate, I am impressed by the level of commitment the people of Artsakh have for their elections,” noted ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “The level of dedication observes witnessed during these elections are representative of the strength of democracy and the commitment to sovereignty the people of Artsakh practice. We in the U.S. can learn from their example in better exercising our right to vote,” she added.

According to NKR Central Election Commission, 70.6% of voters came out for the sixth parliamentary elections of the country,, during which 33 members of parliament were either re-elected or newly elected for a ten-year term. Approximately one hundred and six international observers from 30 countries gathered in the Artsakh Republic to monitor the vote. Observers from the European Union, United States and countries like Zimbabwe and Israel were present. For the first time in Artsakh’s election history, the elections were also observed by scholars and experts from Brazil and Mexico.

American observers say impressed by Karabakh elections




American observers say they are impressed by the parliamentary elections held in Nagorno Karabakh.

Karin Mac Donald, Director of the Election Administration Research Center at Berkeley University, said they have followed the whole process of elections and witnessed transparent, free and fair elections, corresponding to all international standards.

According to Christian Abajian from the David University, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic showed its commitment to democratic processes, which is important from the viewpoint of human rights. He said they will include technical recommendations in the final report, which will help ensure greater turnout at the elections.

The American observers say the elections in Nagorno Karabakh were conducted as in democratic countries. They will present the impressions in their country and will ask for support to greater democratization in Nagorno Karabakh.

U.S. Ambassador Mills marks World Intellectual Property Day at the Microsoft Innovation Center

The U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard M. Mills, Jr., visited the Microsoft Innovation Center to highlight World Intellectual Property Day, a day celebrated annually to mark the founding of the World Intellectual Property Organization, otherwise known as WIPO, in 1970. In addition to touring the center and the Armenian National Engineering Lab (ANEL), the Ambassador spoke with a group of IT startups and students and delivered remarks.

In his remarks, Ambassador Mills highlighted the importance of public/private partnerships such as the one between Microsoft, USAID and the Government of Armenia. “In addition to contributing greatly to developing innovative solutions and technologies, Microsoft in Armenia also contributes to the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). These types of partnerships unite all the stakeholders and act as an effective platform for addressing such challenges as protection of intellectual property rights, in addition to designing and implementing common IPR strategies that will be beneficial for all the parties involved,” he stated.

While annual monitoring by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) shows that the piracy rate in Armenia has been slowly decreasing, it remains very high – 86% as of 2013.  An increased commitment to the protection of IPR across all sectors – the government, businesses and private consumers – is essential to enable Armenian entrepreneurs to better capitalize on the potential of their intellectual property, and thus help grow Armenia’s economy.