Eurovision 2017: Germany’s Levina sings Armenian song Kakavik – Video

Levina, Germany’s representative for Eurovision 2017, has shared a Video of her singing the Armenian song “Kakavik.”

Levina accepted a challenge from Armenia’s entrant Artsvik, who sang the German song “Das Wandern ist des Müllers Lust” earlier.

On Tuesday Artsvik announced she’ll continue to pull the past into today by recording a series of covers of traditional songs.

She uploaded a short clip, where she revealed how the Eurovision 2017 theme “Celebrate Diversity” inspired her to launch the series of covers. She’s also challenging artists from around Europe to perform their own covers of Armenian folk songs of their choice.

UAE’s Ocean Holding LLC to invest $100 million in Armenia’s solar energy sector

The Armenian Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources and the Ocean Holding LLC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the Development Foundation of Armenia reports.

The cooperation will work towards developing the renewable energy sector in Armenia and will enable the Ocean Holding to make investments in solar energy projects.

Starting this year, Ocean Holding intends to invest 100 million USD in solar photovoltaic power plants in Armenia and operate them using the best technology available to the sector.

In return, the Ministry pledges to create favourable conditions for Ocean Holding. The investments will be made in several phases.

“Armenia has created favorable conditions for renewable energy; the country has invested its entire toolset to boost the sector. The Government continues to seek new opportunities to increase energy security to ensure supply, energy efficiency, new investments, new technologies, regional cooperation and a sustainable infrastructure,” Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources Hayk Harutyunyan said at the Armenia-UAE investment forum in Abu Dhabi.

Artsakh reports 550 shots from Azeri side overnight

The Azerbaijani forces used firearms of different calibers,including sniper rifles, as they violated the ceasefire more than 30 times at the  line of contact with Karabakh forces last night, firing over 550 shots in the direction of the Armenian positions, Artsakh Defense Ministry reports.

The Azeri forces used Instiglal and SVD sniper rifles in the  eastern direction and a 82 mm mortar in the northeastern direction of the line of contact.

The front divisions of the NKR Defense Army keep the situation under control and confidently continue with their military duty, Artsakh Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Armenia disapproves of Azerbaijan’s arms purchases from Russia

Armenian Foreign Minister has said  Armenia disapproves of arms purchases by Azerbaijan from Russia and intends to maintain a “balance of forces” in the region.

Armenia disapproves of arms purchases by Azerbaijan from Russia and intends to maintain a “balance of forces” in the region, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan told .

“Of course we cannot like the fact that Azerbaijan buys weapons from our ally, which puts a lot of effort to preserve peace and stability in our region, including in cooperation with Armenia, as co-chair of the Minsk Group,” Nalbandyan said.

Nalbandyan, commenting on what he classified as an “arms race” between the two countries, said “we have to make every effort to maintain a balance of forces in the region and prevent further escalation.”

Israeli Consul not allowed to see Alexander Lapshin

Russian and Israeli diplomats are working to get permission to see Alexander Lapshin, Member of Knesset Kseniya Svetlova told .

She said “even his current location is unknown. The Israeli Consul is not allowed to see him.”

“The Israeli Consulate is working on that. I know that the Russian Consulate is also trying to get access to him,” Svetlova said.

The lawmaker voiced concern over the fate of the blogger.

ANCA statement on White House immigration executive order

The Armenian National Committee of America on Monday issued the following statement regarding the January 27, White House Executive Order on immigration, titled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”.

The complete text of the ANCA statement is provided below.

ANCA Statement on the White House Immigration Executive Order

The Armenian National Committee of America remains engaged and concerned regarding the developing situation surrounding the White House’s January 27th immigration Executive Order, both at the level of U.S. policy and in terms of this action’s impact on Armenian individuals and families.

As has been widely reported, the Executive Order, titled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” places restrictions on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

This travel ban has been applied to refugees and visa holders from these designated countries as well as to those with green cards who already have permanent residency or other legal status in the US. The ban, initially in effect for a period of 90 days, may become permanent. We have witnessed uneven and inconsistent enforcement of the order, reflecting apparent confusion among government officials and within the travel industry. The federal courts have issued a stay on the enforcement of the order, but the extent of this legal action, and how it will affect non-U.S. citizens, remains unclear. Future Congressional and court action may also influence how non-U.S. citizens and their families are impacted.

As the ANCA continues to engage relevant stakeholders – including Congress and the White House – we offer the following recommendations:

1. The ANCA encourages Armenians whose relatives or friends have been detained at U.S. ports of entry or who have been blocked from re-entry to the U.S. to contact us immediately at [email protected] or (202) 775-1918. Please be prepared to share basic information, including a description of the situation and the name of any legal counsel. (This information will remain confidential.)

2. Until there is greater clarity regarding the full legal scope and nature of these restrictions, the ANCA recommends that Armenians from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, who are not U.S. citizens, refrain from leaving the U.S., due to the increased risk that they will be denied re-entry, regardless of their immigration status.

3. The ANCA is regularly consulting with civil and legal rights organizations for the most up to date information on this unfolding situation and will provide community updates, as they become available.

As Americans of Armenian heritage – a community of proud immigrants, many descended from the families of Armenian Genocide survivors with roots in Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries cited in this order – we remain deeply concerned by the moral, legal and humanitarian implications of these new restrictions. We will act vigilantly to protect the human and legal rights of Armenians harmed by this executive order. As a matter of public policy, we are communicating our concerns, on a bipartisan basis, with both houses of Congress and the White House. Consistent with our mission, we will remain vigilant in protecting the welfare of our community and advancing our shared interest in a strong Diaspora, a secure Armenia, a free Artsakh, and a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.

Russian, Armenian PMs to discuss integration cooperation within EAEU

Integration cooperation between Russia and Armenia within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be in focus of talks between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Armenian counterpart, Karen Karapetyan, who arrives in Moscow on Tuesday at the invitation of the Russian government.

The agenda of the talks will include issues of Russian-Armenian cooperation in the area of trade-and-economic relations, and in such sectors as energy, transport, the humanities.

The two prime minister will also discuss the implementation of joint investment projects, the press service of the Russian government said, TASS reports.

The talks are expected to yield a number of intergovernmental and inter-ministerial documents.

Armenian Assembly highlights policy issues for Secretary of State nomination

As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met to consider President-Elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Nominee Mr. Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) highlighted key policy issues in a letter sent to Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD).

“We need a Secretary of State committed to strengthening the permanent bonds between Armenia and the United States, two countries that share common values and beliefs, and who will see in Armenia, which remains an island of stability, a vital ally in the region,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said in their letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “United States-Armenia relations have been consistently characterized by friendship and reciprocity and an active Armenian American community strongly supports further expanding the United States partnership with the Republic of Armenia,” they added.

Assembly Co-Chairs highlighted several areas of concern, including Azerbaijan’s flagrant violations of the 1994/5 cease-fire agreement with respect to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, intentionally escalating the violence as pressure for Armenian concessions and launching a 4-day war last April.

“Such behavior makes it clear that Azerbaijan cannot be trusted to honor its commitments and must be held accountable for its egregious human rights violations,” the Co-Chairs said in the letter. “All Americans should be deeply troubled by…reports of Azerbaijan’s ISIS-inspired mutilations of civilians and beheadings of soldiers.”

“Now is the time to strengthen the OSCE process and ensure vigorous U.S. engagement to bring about a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy, rule of law, and self-determination,”  they continued.

Barsamian and Krikorian also noted the Assembly’s concerns with respect to Turkey’s more than 20-year blockade of Armenia and its ongoing campaign of genocide denial. “Within Turkey, its treatment of minority communities, repression of basic freedoms, ties to ISIS, and its ongoing failure to return confiscated Armenian churches as well as its continued denial of the Armenian Genocide remain troubling trends,” Co-Chairs Barsamian and Krikorian stated.

In his opening statement, Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson said that “Our approach to human rights begins by acknowledging that American leadership requires moral clarity. We do not face an ‘either or’ choice on defending global human rights. Our values are our interests when it comes to human rights and humanitarian assistance…But our leadership demands action specifically focused on improving the conditions of people the world over, utilizing both aid and economic sanctions as instruments of foreign policy when appropriate.”

Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have a history of human rights abuses, especially in recent reports by international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Helsinki Commission. America and its next Secretary of State need to uphold America’s core values and protect fundamental freedoms and human rights.

As the confirmation process continues, the Assembly will continue to advance key priorities and look for ways to further expand U.S.-Armenia relations.

Parliament Vice-Speaker meets with Head of the Armenian Diocese of Tehran

Vice-Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Edward Sharmazanov met with the Head of the Armenian Diocese of Tehran Sepuh Archbishop Sargsyan at the National Prelacy of Iran.

During the meeting the interlocutors highlighted the unique role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in preservation and spreading of Armenian identity, spiritual, moral and national values.

“The role of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church is unique in the life of the Armenian people and particularly in the life of the Iranian Armenians. Today, in the world of challenges we should remain faithful to our spiritual and national values,” Sharmazanov said.

In the course of the meeting the interlocutors highlighted the strengthening of the Armenia-Diaspora-Artsakh unity.

CSTO says concerned by provocation against Armenia

“The CSTO Secretariat was worried to learn about the armed incident near the village of Chinari in the Republic of Armenia,” CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha said in a statement.

“We consider these actions on the territory of a CSTO member state as a provocation, especially against the background of a rather serious incident in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic with application of heavy weapons and armored vehicles in April this year,” Bordyuzha said.

“It seemed that considering the efforts taken by both parties, as well as the leaders of a number of countries, the process of settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue could finally proceed more actively,” the Secretary General said.

However, he said, the recent reports from the region on the ceasefire violations, especially the recurrent incident on December 29 that resulted in the death of servicemen, cause serious concerns,” he said.