Alen Simonyan, Speaker of the UK House of Lords discuss sectoral cooperation issues

 18:20, 7 June 2023

YEREVAN, JUNE 7, ARMENPRESS. The President of the National Assembly of Armenia Alen Simonyan met with Lord McFall, the Speaker of the UK House of Lords. The Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia Ruben Rubinyan also took part in the meeting.

Reference was made to 30-year achievements of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the further work to be done aimed at boosting bilateral ties. The interlocutors discussed the opportunities of deepening and expanding the profile cooperation and the upcoming programmes. The steps directed to the advancement of the joint agenda were considered as key ones.

The sides highlighted the development and expansion of bilateral cooperation, exchanged ideas on the Armenian-British inter-parliamentary relations. In this context the activeness of the coordinated work of friendship groups was underscored.

Canberra Lit Up in Armenian Tri-Colours to Celebrate 105 Years of First National Independence

CANBERRA: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) reports that Australia's national capital is marking the 105th Anniversary of the Independence of the First Republic of Armenia with a light tribute of the country’s tricolours onto several iconic buildings in Canberra.

On 28th May 2023, the Old Parliament House, National Carillon and John Gorton buildings were illuminated in red, blue and orange from 5:00pm until 11:00pm (AEST) after arrangements were made by the office of the ANC-AU and the local ANC-AU Canberra Branch.

This is the second year in a row Australian landmarks were lit up in the nation’s capital with the colours of the Armenian flag on the occasion marking a critical date in Armenia's calendar.

Referred to as Republic Day or Mayis 28, the annual holiday in the Republic of Armenia marks the anniversary when Armenian civilians, including women and children, rose up after only three years following the Armenian Genocide, to defend what would have been a fatal Turkish advance on the nation's dreams of statehood.

The deeds of many heroes led to a successful defence in the battles of Sartarabad, Ghara Kilise and Pash Abaran, which led to the declaration of the First Armenian Republic and an end to over seven centuries of occupation by foreign rulers.

Despite the Republic lasting three years, it was one of the first democracies in the world to elect women to parliament, established the nation's state university, and ensured a legacy that allowed for the Republic of Armenia to exist today.

ANC-AU Executive Director Michael Kolokossian thanked the team at the National Capital Authority for joining the Armenian-Australian community in Canberra and across the country in marking this momentous occasion.

Two Armenian soldiers detained after allegedly crossing into Azerbaijan


Armenian and Azerbaijani posts by the Sotk gold mine. Image via TASS.

Baku accused two Armenian soldiers of crossing the border into Azerbaijan on Friday to mount ‘sabotage’ operations. Following the soldiers’ detention, Yerevan accused Baku of abducting the two soldiers inside Armenian territory.

On 26 May, Azerbaijan’s State Border Service announced that they had detained two Armenian servicemen, Harut Hovagimyan and Karen Ghazaryan, in Azerbaijan’s southwestern district of Zangilan.

The border service has claimed that the two soldiers were members of a larger ‘sabotage group’ whose other members were able to avoid capture by taking advantage of the local terrain.

The following day, the state border service and the General Prosecutor’s Office stated that Hovagimyan and Ghazaryan were charged with illegal smuggling of arms and ammunition, illegal possession of weapons, terrorism, participating in actions aimed at inciting national enmity, and illegal border-crossing.

Armenia’s Ministry of Defence was quick to deny carrying out sabotage operations in Azerbaijan, stating that the two soldiers were transporting food to combat positions on Armenia’s southern border with Azerbaijan. 

Armenia’s Investigative Committee accused Azerbaijan of abducting the two servicemen from Armenian territory.

Last month, two Azerbaijani soldiers entered Armenia after reportedly getting lost due to poor visibility near the country’s border with Nakhchivan.

The two Azerbaijani soldiers were detained a week apart and stand accused of illegally crossing into Armenia. One of the two soldiers is additionally accused of murdering a 56-year-old security guard in Syunik.

No agreed peace treaty version so far, says Pashinyan


YEREVAN, MAY 29, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has commented on the likelihood of signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan during the upcoming five-sided meeting in Chisinau on June 1.

Commenting on discussions whether or not a peace treaty could be signed during the June 1 meeting, Pashinyan said: “We still haven’t received Azerbaijan’s comments regarding our proposals sent before the Washington [talks]. If I recall correctly, that was already the fourth editing of the peace treaty. We have conveyed the fourth version, and as of this moment we haven’t received their comments. Thus, as of this moment I can say that there is no agreed upon draft that could be possible to sign.”

PM Pashinyan is scheduled to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, together with the French and German leaders and the President of the European Council on June 1 in Chisinau.

Pashinyan hopes for continuation of normalization process with Turkey


YEREVAN, MAY 29, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said he hopes that the Armenian-Turkish normalization process will continue normally after the presidential election in Turkey.

“We hope that after the presidential election in Turkey we will be able to continue the process of normalizing our relations with Turkey normally. This is also one of the highly important items on our agenda,” Pashinyan told lawmakers at a joint committee session for preliminary debates of the 2022 government budget report.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected to a third term after defeating his opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a runoff election on Sunday.

Erdogan secured 52.14% of the vote while Kilicdaroglu’s garnered 47.86%, Turkish Supreme Election Council chairman Ahmet Yener told reporters.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Erdogan on his reelection.

The Deadly Gap: Genocide Education and Artsakh’s Right to Survival

Papik and Tatik, Artsakh – (Photo: Eric Nazarian)

Special Issue: Genocide Education for the 21st Century
The Armenian Weekly, April 2023

Genocide education can have many purposes. Whatever the level and type of education (elementary school, graduate school, public education through events or museums), the most essential purpose cuts across all forms: to foster a conceptual framework in members of society that is sensitive to genocide in general and helps those members perceive emergent or occurring genocides when there is enough time to do something about them, especially cases that are being ignored or misconstrued by the media, political leaders, academics, and others. It should equip people with tools to recognize and reject denialism.

The stakes can be very high. Effective genocide education in the 1970s and 1980s could have supported a North American and European population that was ready to recognize the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda for what they were and were committed to stopping them as soon as possible. It would have prepared that population for the denials, obfuscations and political maneuvering that in actual history meant the deaths of hundreds of thousands unnecessarily. 

With this in mind, I turn to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). The facts are simple. As Soviet Interior Minister, Stalin put the Armenian area within the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, but gave it autonomy, as part of his architectural destabilization of minority groups in the Soviet Union as a means of ensuring all groups’ reliance on Moscow. Over the next six-plus decades, Azerbaijan made a major effort to de-develop Artsakh and reduce its Armenian population. By the mid-1980s, the Artsakh Armenian situation grew so dire that independence was the only path to survival. In 1988, this movement was met with wide-scale violence and repression of Armenians, including two massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijani cities outside Artsakh. With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan launched a military attack on Artsakh in order to ethnically cleanse it of Armenians. Armenians resisted and by 1994 had reached a stalemate, with Artsakh in Armenian hands. The situation was relatively stable until the September 2020 invasion of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, with the results we are all familiar with. Most notable of the current facts is that Turkey was a full and decisive participant in the war, which was executed by a combined Turkish-Azerbaijani military force and extensive weapons, logistical and financial support from Turkey (for instance, in supplying thousands of mercenaries from among radical Islamists in Syria and Libya).

Why does genocide education matter in this case? Even if one looks at the facts, they do not convey the seriousness of Azerbaijani intentions and the potential impact for Armenians.  Proper genocide education includes both specific knowledge of the Armenian Genocide and an understanding of the processes that lead to genocide, how to evaluate genocidal rhetoric and intent and more. If education about the Armenian Genocide and genocidal processes were firmly in place in 1988, in 1991 and especially in 2020, then the well-funded and effective Azerbaijani disinformation campaign presenting itself as a victim and Armenians as demonic perpetrators would have been met with genuinely critical evaluations rather than almost mechanical parroting by political leaders and media outlets. The propaganda of think-tank journalists such as Thomas de Waal would have been met with skepticism rather than the credulity that has greeted his biased writing even in Armenian circles. Most importantly, the active military participation of Turkey in killing 5,000 Armenians, including many civilians, and drone attacks on civilians across Artsakh would have been met with international outrage as a reinitiation of unrepentant Turkey’s 1915 genocidal project, instead of being completely ignored and even supported in many circles. The clear statements from Turkish and Azerbaijani leaders of the intent to eliminate Armenians, not just from Artsakh but from the entire region, would not have been dismissed with the “politicians will be politicians” mantra or that such extreme rhetoric is just for domestic consumption and doesn’t really confirm in no uncertain terms genocidal intent. The brutality of attacks on Armenian civilians in conjunction with this rhetoric, and a proper framework for understanding Turkish-Azeri-Armenian relations, would have made it impossible not to see these as clear steps on the path to genocide, which would have triggered early-warning mechanisms and global attention to stop the impending genocide against Armenians. A blockade “[d]eliberately inflicting on the [the Armenians of Artsakh] conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” (Method c of genocide execution as defined in the UN Genocide Convention) would be recognized as an act of genocide without any question.

We know how devastating the results have been of the lack of proper genocide education on the fate of Artsakh Armenians. Let us hope that in the future more effective genocide education will prevent these harms to Armenians and other future groups subjected to the risk of genocide.

Henry C. Theriault, Ph.D. is currently associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Worcester State University in the US, after teaching in its philosophy department from 1998 to 2017. From 1999 to 2007, he coordinated the University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights. Theriault’s research focuses on genocide denial, genocide prevention, post-genocide victim-perpetrator relations, reparations and mass violence against women and girls. He has lectured and appeared on panels around the world. Since 2007, he has chaired the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group and is lead author of its March 2015 final report, Resolution with Justice. He has published numerous journal articles and chapters, and his work has appeared in English, Spanish, Armenian, Turkish, Russian, French and Polish. With Samuel Totten, he co-authored The United Nations Genocide Convention: An Introduction (University of Toronto Press, 2019). Theriault served two terms as president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), 2017-2019 and 2019-2021. He is founding co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Genocide Studies International. From 2007 to 2012 he served as co-editor of the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ peer-reviewed Genocide Studies and Prevention.

Mr. Prime Minister, please don’t sign away our dignity

I never thought the day would come that I would witness the ceding of historic Armenian land (the ancient province of Artsakh) to a barbaric oppressor. My generation has debated the loss of Western Armenia, Cilicia, Kars, Ardahan, Nakhichevan and initially Artsakh from a “call for justice” perspective. We weren’t there when these travesties of justice occurred. I can only imagine the anguish of our ancestors in 1920 when they were literally forced to sign the Treaty of Kars, reducing Armenia to its current size and trading a loss of sovereignty to prevent continued Turkish genocide. The logic was Soviet oppression and a better alternative than annihilation under the advancing Turkish nationalists (Kemal) and a new state of Tartars called Azerbaijan. One hundred years later, Armenia is still under duress and finding few allies; the logic is the same. Let’s sacrifice Artsakh so the 29.8 square kilometers survives in the current Republic. 

We have experienced manic extremes of joy and depression in the last 35 years. The miracle of liberating Artsakh inspired Armenians everywhere as the first instance of reclaiming lost land in a century. We were long on brave military resources and short on governing capability. For all our enthusiasm and rhetoric, Armenia never recognized Artsakh, and the population remained relatively flat. Millions in investment were supplied by the diaspora and Armenia, but we fell behind the curve militarily and diplomatically. We allowed the false narrative of Azeri “territorial integrity” to prevail over the “self-determination” of the Armenians. With a duplicitous and vile neighbor in Azerbaijan violating ceasefires and engaging in territorial incursions, we failed to build up our military to defend our borders. This is the number one priority of a sovereign nation. With the criminal behavior tolerated by a self-indulgent world, we absorbed the crushing blow in the war of 2020. Following that defeat, we descended into a defeatist nation of victims. Losing a war should be viewed as a chapter in the book, but never the last chapter. We pushed for the recognition of Artsakh but refused to recognize it ourselves. We avoided the recognition to prevent war, but war was constant. We played by the rules set down by Russia and the OSCE, but Azeri aggression was never identified as the responsible source. We were allocated equal blame. Finally, we have arrived at the “peace agenda” era but have offered up major concessions, such as recognizing Azeri territorial integrity without reciprocation. This is not a negotiation. It is a waiting game by the Azeris until they receive unconditional surrender. Proponents of the peace agenda have stated that the position of recognizing Azeri territorial integrity for the “rights and security” of the Artsakh Armenians and peace for the Republic of Armenia is the practical and correct approach. Perhaps, but who will guarantee the “rights and security” of Artsakh? Without any definition, it is comparable to no legal status for Artsakh for 35 years of dialogue. It became an enabler for Azeri aggression. The genocidal intent of the Azeris is clear. The Russians have violated their own brokered trilateral agreement of November 2020 by failing to enforce peace in Artsakh. The Europeans and United States? They will never commit the resources needed to keep the fox out of the henhouse. Ask the Georgians about the support in 2014 from the West; Georgia is much more important to the West than Armenia. 

The summation of the current “negotiation” is clear; Armenia is offering major concessions, and Azerbaijan has offered nothing. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has repeated his offer of recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan several times with slightly altered detail. His latest statement this week explicitly states Artsakh in the Azeri territorial recognition plan, almost as if repeating it will finally bring force to a reciprocal statement from Azerbaijan. No such luck. The Armenian strategy is a reasonable one if dealing with a good faith negotiating partner. Azerbaijan is the polar opposite. Their objective is to “integrate” the Armenians into Azerbaijan. This is diplomatic language for cultural deprivation, forced migration and ethnic cleansing. The UN Charter calls it genocide. The other mistaken assumption is that ceding Artsakh will bring peace to Armenia. This is based on satisfying Aliyev’s demands and that the West will back any territorial attacks on Armenia proper. Aliyev has an insatiable appetite for oppressing Armenians. He has established a racist narrative to build support at home. It should sound familiar. The Ottoman Turks used the same approach to fire the Turkish and Kurdish commoners and divert attention from their woeful policies. Aliyev has publicly stated many times that Syunik (Zangezur) and all of Armenia are “western Azerbaijan.” The West will only offer words of protest, and we know where that has taken us. There are no surprises here. The enemy is predictable. Our resolve is not. Tragically, the people of Artsakh disagree with how they are being represented. Armenia’s approach will leave little for Artsakh and Baku to discuss.

The enemy is predictable. Our resolve is not.

We still have to sign an agreement. With all positioning rhetoric aside, any agreement signed by the prime minister has to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court and the Parliament. In the 1980s, drug problems were raging in America. Solutions were short, and lives were being destroyed. The First Lady at the time, Nancy Reagan, sponsored a major national anti-drug campaign called “Just Say No.” Many people thought it was an oversimplification of a complex problem. There was one message, however, that did take hold. We are responsible for our lives, and the decision to engage in drugs is usually one that we make for ourselves. Her message was to seize control of your life through education, career development and sustaining interpersonal relations in order to develop the armor needed to resist the temptations of drugs. Armenia is still the party that has to agree. They may be pressured, coerced and deceived, but it is their decision. Once Armenia signs and ratifies an agreement with Azerbaijan, it will be nearly impossible to abrogate. Most agreements are broken through overt military action. It is doubtful that Armenia would engage in unilateral aggression. The Europeans and the United States are anxious for Armenia to sign and pat themselves on the back for diplomatic victories. Justice has little to do with any of these discussions. Self-interest is in control. Armenia needs to seriously think about an agreement that in practice serves its self interests. Today’s framework does not in my view.

I have heard a great deal about Armenia’s lack of leverage due to their loss in 2020. Losing never deterred Aliyev, and he has yet to be punished for thousands of violations and ignoring the International Court of Justice ruling demanding the opening of the corridor. Some of the leverage we lack has to do with our confidence and defending “red lines.” We are a defeated nation only if we believe that to be true. When you publicly cede Artsakh, the argument against aggressive negotiations loses credibility. Just what are Armenia’s “red lines”? It sounds like “security and rights” for Artsakh and recognition of Armenia’s 29,800 square kilometers are the two major ones. If that is true, Armenia cannot continue to show more of its cards (concessions) until Azerbaijan acknowledges these two “red lines.” Anything less puts Armenia in a spiral. Just how does the Armenian government define “rights and security?” Empty promises from Azerbaijan? If Armenia does not negotiate with the “red lines” as “must happens,” then they will be viewed as temporary positions. Armenia seems to be relying on Azerbaijan either recognizing Armenia’s territory or by default publicly denying their commitment to peace. The assumption would be that the West would then pressure Azerbaijan. The West is very interested in an agreement but has shown no interest in enforcement. Over the last 30 years, every time Azerbaijan made outrageous threats or violated agreements, the third party mediator tolerated their behavior to draw them back to the negotiating table. Mediators realize it takes two parties for an agreement. Why can’t Armenia leverage their role as one of the two parties to secure concessions that are necessary and reasonable?

Why is Armenia so anxious to publicly repeat their concessions on territorial integrity? Pashinyan has specifically stated that Armenia will recognize the territory of Azerbaijan as the 86.6 thousand square kilometers, which includes Artsakh, agreed to at the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991. This document was the basis for establishing post-Soviet borders and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is incorrect to state that Alma-Ata included Artsakh since Artsakh had legally sought reunification with Armenia, and the status was contested at that time. At worst from the Armenian perspective, it is still unresolved. During the immediate time of the Alma-Ata Declaration, Artsakh defended itself from the Azeri military response, and sovereignty was established. Artsakh did not transfer to Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union dissolved. The inclusion of Artsakh in Azerbaijan is based on an entirely false premise. That being said, legality and morality do not seem to be the criteria of this process. It is driven by power, leverage and self-interest. What can practically be done at this point? Armenia must continue to articulate its “redlines” of “rights and security” for Artsakh. They must be specifically outlined and enforced with a defined guarantee. The Artsakh Defense Army will be a point of contention, but Armenia has no right to insist on disarming the population. This must be included in the definition of “rights and security.” This will be challenging given Aliyev’s appetite for total capitulation, but nevertheless is a must. Armenia needs to convince the mediating parties that without this guarantee, the Armenians will be subjected to genocide. The second redline is the recognition of Armenia’s borders on the Soviet-era maps of 29.8 thousand square kilometers. This cannot be based on mutual respect, since there is none. Third party multinational peacekeepers must be stationed for a number of years. Without these fundamental objectives delivered, the Armenians will lose more than Artsakh and Armenia. Our dignity, the foundation of our motivation and will as a nation will be damaged. This is the wall that we must defend. Please do not sign this away.

Stepan was raised in the Armenian community of Indian Orchard, MA at the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Executive and the Eastern Prelacy Executive Council, he also served many years as a delegate to the Eastern Diocesan Assembly. Currently , he serves as a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired executive in the computer storage industry and resides in the Boston area with his wife Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer teacher of Armenian history and contemporary issues to the young generation and adults at schools, camps and churches. His interests include the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports and reading.

Sports: Former Cage Warriors champ Christian Leroy Duncan gets second UFC test, fights Armen Petrosyan

Story by Nolan King,George Garcia

Former Cage Warriors champion Christian Leroy Duncan has his second UFC fight. He’ll take on Armen Petrosyan.

The middleweight bout is scheduled for the UFC on ESPN 46 card June 17 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Two people with knowledge of the matchup recently informed MMA Junkie of the booking but asked to remain anonymous because the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

Duncan (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made his highly-anticipated promotional debut at UFC 286. The bout ended in disappointing fashion after Dusko Todorovic suffered a fight-ending knee injury. Duncan was declared the winner by TKO just 92 seconds into the bout.

Petrosyan (7-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) most recently competed in October when he defeated AJ Dobson by unanimous decision. The victory came on the heels of a split decision win over Gregory Rodrigues and a unanimous decision loss to Caio Borralho.

With the addition, the UFC on ESPN 46 lineup for June 17 includes:

Jared Cannonier vs. Marvin Vettori Joaquim Silva vs. Arman Tsarukyan Raoni Barcelos vs. Miles Johns Alessandro Costa vs. Jimmy Flick Tereza Bleda vs. Gabriella Fernandes Kleydson Rodrigues vs. Tatsuro Taira Modestas Bukauskas vs. Zac Pauga Nicolas Dalby vs. Muslim Salikhov Denys Bondar vs. Carlos Hernandez Nikolas Motta vs. Manuel Torres Daniel Argueta vs. Ronnie Lawrence Josh Fremd vs. Roman Kopylov Christian Leroy Duncan vs. Armen Petrosyan

Lachin Corridor should be opened – OSCE MG Russian Co-chair




YEREVAN, MAY 10, ARMENPRESS. On May 10, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan met with Igor Khovaev, the Russian Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the special representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for supporting the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

As ARMENPRESS was informed from the Security Council of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan and Igor Khovaev discussed the latest developments in the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Secretary of the Security Council presented to the interlocutor the positions of the Armenian side on a number of issues of the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

Referring to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, the parties stressed that the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should be respected and protected. The Russian side emphasized that the Lachin Corridor should be opened and operate within the framework of the November 9 tripartite declaration.