Construction of oncology center starts in Stepanakert

The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund has begun the construction of a state-of-the-art oncology center in Stepanakert. The project is sponsored by the fund’s French affiliate, with additional financial support from the government of NKR.

Having laid the foundations, crews are now building the ground floor of the facility, which is located on the same campus along with the Stepanakert Republican Hospital and the Stepanakert Policlinics. The Oncology Center of Stepanakert will comprise three floors, with a total area of close to 2,520 square meters, and will be connected to the Republican Hospital via the ground floor.

The center will offer the full complement of oncological diagnosis and treatment services, with the exception of radiotherapy. According to Dr. Armen Hayriyan, NKR’s top oncologist and executive director of the Oncology Center, annually more than 700 cancer patients receive inpatient care at the center’s old building, which is a run-down, 1960s structure sorely lacking modern amenities. Given the old facility’s limited capabilities, Dr. Hayriyan says, many patients opt to receive treatment in Yerevan or even abroad.

Currently a staff of medical professionals are being to receive advanced training in France. “The new Oncology Center is poised to be one of the best in the region,” Dr. Hayriyan says.

The center will comprise general and clinical-pathomorphology laboratories; X-ray, mammography, and MRI departments; and departments of surgery and intensive therapy, including chemotherapy. The facility will have 35 patient beds.

The French-Armenian community continues to sponsor major health and education projects in Armenia and NKR alike. They include the Zangezur Cardiology Center, in Armenia’s Goris Region; and the Yeznik Mozian Vocational School, in Shushi, a critically needed, ultra-modern institution which officially opened its doors some weeks ago.

Armenian President offers condolences over deadly blast in Turkey

President Serzh Sargsyan has sent a letter of condolence to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the Republic of Turkey over the that occurred in Ankara in October 10.  The incident left a few dozen innocent people dead and more than a hundred injured.

The RA president has strongly condemned terrorism with all its expressions.

“Please accept my condolences over the incident. I wish steadfastness and strength of spirit to the victims’ relatives, and a speedy recovery to the injured,” reads the Armenian president’s condolence letter.

Regional developments favorable to Armenia: Ara Papian




The past summer was significant from the point of view of regional developments, says Ara Papian, Head of the Modus Vivendi Center. He considers the current conditions in the region are most favorable for Armenia, but doubts we’ll be able to draw benefits.

“What’s happening in the region today is advantageous to Armenia,” Papian told a press conference today. Among the benefits Papian noted the situation in Turkey (with the Kurdish movement and the perspective of creation of a new state), the elimination of sanctions against Iran and its access to the international market.

“Leaving aside the joint programs Armenia and Iran can implement in the future, the decreased oil prices are already favorable. Azerbaijan will be finally smashed, if the price per barrel goes below $20.  “Less money, less weapons,” Ara Papian said. He also predicted serious economic and political problems for the neighboring country.

Along with the decreased oil revenues, Azerbaijan is aware that it has time until yearend to solve issues by force, the expert said, adding, however, that resumption of war is unlikely.

“Azerbaijan is almost confident it won’t succeed, while the losses may exceed the expectations,” he said.

“We have a favorable geopolitical situation, one that Armenia has not seen for decades, but my concern is that we’re not going to draw benefits from it due to domestic political issues and because we are not ready,” Papian concluded.

Papian soothed all those worried about the activity of the Islamic State. “ISIS will hardly reach the borders of Armenia. There are a number of interested states and nations along that route struggling against the group.”

Azerbaijan uses TP-107 rocket launchers to shell Armenian positions

The Azerbaijani side used artillery weapons of different caliber as it continued the intensive shelling at the line of contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan August 24-25.

Aside from 60, 82 and 120 mm mortars, the rival used Turkey-made TP-107 reactive rocket launchers, the NKR Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The front divisions of the NKR Defense Army resorted to retaliatory measures to pressures the activeness of the rival.

EEU to start free trade zone talks with Damascus after Syria crisis ends

The  Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Syria will start talks on a common free trade regime after the end of the country’s civil war and internal violence, a representative of the union’s regulatory body said Tuesday, Sputnik reports.

Syria’s Prime Minister Wael Nader Halqi told Sputnik earlier in the day his country was considering membership in the EEU with its free customs zone. Syria has been torn apart by a civil war since Arab Spring uprisings ripped through the region in 2011. According to the UN, the humanitarian crisis is currently the world’s most severe, with over 220,000 people killed and over 11 million displaced.

The representative from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) told RIA Novosti that Syria had already finalized consultations with the four EEU member states.

“Consultations have been concluded. All EEU countries were very positive about the proposal [to create an EEU-Syria free trade zone]. We are anxious to have the political situation in Syria stabilized to go ahead with negotiations.”

The Eurasian Economic Union is aimed at streamlining the movement of goods, services, capital and labor between Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The government of Kyrgyzstan has recently signed an accession treaty but the motion has yet to be ratified by all member states.

Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Humam Jazaeri spoke about his country’s readiness to join the EEU in early 2015.

100 Lives: Nominations open for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity

Nominations are now open for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a new annual international humanitarian award to be given to a person or a group of people who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive. From July to October, a designated portal on will allow individuals to submit nominations for candidates they believe have overcome great personal challenges to make an exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.

To evaluate the submitted nominations, the Aurora Prize has gathered together an acclaimed group of people to serve on its Selection Committee, including Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel, Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former Australian Foreign Minister and President and CEO of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney. All of them are accomplished in a diverse range of fields, but are united in their commitment to the principles of humanitarianism.

“We are calling for nominations of lesser known yet inspirational stories of courage and intervention,” said Aurora Prize Co-Founder, Ruben Vardanyan. “We want to honor those who risk their own safety because of a heightened sense of humanity and responsibility and support life-saving causes in a tangible way.”

The Aurora Prize is the philanthropic vision of Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, the co-founders of 100 LIVES, an initiative expressing gratitude to the individuals and institutions whose heroic actions saved Armenian lives during the Genocide 100 years ago. 100 LIVES seeks to share remarkable stories of saviors and survivors and celebrate the strength of the human spirit. Together they are seeking to build a humanitarian movement by drawing attention to the issues faced by the world’s most vulnerable and reward individuals and organizations that work to address those issues in a  substantial and consequential manner.

“Sadly, tragic issues and events continue to plague the world’s populations,” said Aurora Prize Co-Chair George Clooney. “This Prize seeks to draw the world’s attention to some of the remarkable efforts being undertaken to help save the world’s most vulnerable from humanitarian crises happening around the globe.”

The winner will be honored with a US$100,000 award, as well as a US$1,000,000 grant to be donated to a charitable organization that inspired their work. This is consistent with the spirit of the Prize and allows the recipient to continue the cycle of giving. Nominations may span a broad range of sectors in the non-profit field, including economic development, public health, law, government and education.

“The Aurora Prize is designed to make a real difference to the causes that motivate people to risk their health, liberty, reputation, or livelihood to help others to survive and thrive,” said Aurora Prize Co-Chair Elie Wiesel. ”What distinguishes this Prize from others is the legacy this award will create through investing in the organizations that inspire acts of humanity.”

Mr. Clooney will present the inaugural Aurora Prize to the winning recipient during a ceremony to be held April 24, 2016 in Yerevan, Armenia.

The international community has to unite efforts to prevent new crimes against humanity: Armenian FM

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian‬‘s interview with Brazilian newspaper “‪‎Estadão‬

“Estadão”: I would like to ask you at the beginning with the more general question, I think this is the main question right now. It is regarding the 100-years Anniversary of Genocide. So, I’d like to ask you how important was this date, this time for the efforts of international recognition of Genocide?

Edward Nalbandian: The main message of the commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide is “Never again”. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is important not only for Armenia or the Armenian nation, it is important for the international community to prevent new crimes against humanity, new genocides. And that’s why the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, as well as other genocides is of utmost importance. Maybe it would be possible to prevent other crimes against humanity if the Armenian Genocide was duly recognized and condemned hundred years ago.

“Estadão”: You think something we’ve seen already nowadays could be avoided?

Edward Nalbandian: Yes, I think so. After the Armenian Genocide the world witnessed Shoa, Genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, other places. The international community has to unite efforts to prevent new crimes against humanity. On March 27th the new resolution on Genocide prevention, initiated by Armenia, was adopted in the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, co-authored by 72 countries, including Brazil. And the resolution passed by consensus. Almost every two years we are initiating such resolutions with the aim to consolidate different mechanisms of prevention. It is important that the resolution was adopted on the eve of the commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

This April the European Parliament adopted a special resolution on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide with a strong message. This was not the first time that the European Parliament recognizes it, but the new resolution contains a very clear and strong message to Turkey to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples.

It is very important that new countries are recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Here I would like to emphasize very important steps made by Germany and Austria: the first on the level of President and second on the level of Parliament. I mean statements of German President and the Austrian parliament, not only recognizing the Armenian Genocide, but also mentioning their part of responsibility for what has happened 100 years ago. While Germany and Austria are talking about their part of responsibility, Turkey – the successor of the Ottoman Empire continues to its policy of denial.

“Estadão”: In this context we have this resolution from the Brazilian Senate.

Edward Nalbandian: Very important one. It is the first step and we hope that it will be completed by other steps to recognize the Armenian Genocide on the State level in Brazil.

Here, I’d like to stress the importance and moral significance of the statement made by his Holiness the Pope on the Armenian Genocide during the special Mess organized in Holy See this April. Then just after the Mess, the journalists asked me how I would comment on the reaction of the Turkish Government, I didn’t know yet about their reaction because I was at the mess. And I asked back the journalists what was their reaction. They said Turkish side criticized harshly…

“Estadão”: As usual.

Edward Nalbandian: I said: it is the problem of Turkey, not of His Holiness. His Holiness is representing 1bn. 200 m. Catholics of the world, he is a spiritual leader of this very important part of the world population. Ankara is criticizing the European Parliament, because of its resolution on the Armenian Genocide, is calling back its Ambassadors from those countries, which recognized the Armenian Genocide, as they did after Brazilian Senate’s resolution.

“Estadão”: Yes, and you think that this has some political change right now with Turkey. Do you think this will affect somehow, have some effect, some impact for Armenia, if the…

Edward Nalbandian: You know, by the initiative of our President we started very important process of normalization of our relations with Turkey. We had several rounds of negotiations and we came to the agreement on two documents – two protocols, which were signed in Zurich on October 10th, 2009.

But the Turkish side rejected to ratify and to implement those two protocols. And the position, the stance of the international community was and is very clear, that the ball is in the Turkish court. You have to respect the main principle of the international relations – the principle of pacta sunt servanda – you have to respect reached agreements and to implement them. The Turkish side made step back. What will happen in the future? I’m sure that sooner or later, of course, we have to turn the page together…

“Estadão”: Sure.

Edward Nalbandian: ...But not with the policy of denial. It is very clear, that Armenia will never question the fact of the Armenian Genocide and the importance of its recognition. Look how many countries and how many international organizations recognized the Armenian Genocide. And Turkey is pretending that it was not happened, that it was not genocide.

“Estadão”: Is the same position for years?

Edward Nalbandian: Unfortunately, yes.

“Estadão”: You were in Damascus. I’d like to ask you regarding Syria, Diaspora, Armenian-Syrian Diaspora. I know there is a… Can you comment a little bit on how is the situation of Syrian-Armenians?

Edward Nalbandian: Armenians in Syria are a part of the Syrian people, which is in a very difficult situation today. And I think in order to find a way out of this situation it is essential, first of all, to stop military hostilities, secondly to conduct a dialogue between all political groups in Syria without exclusion, third, to respect the rights of the minorities, including the Christian minorities, including the Armenian minority, fourth – to unite efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist groups. Terrorism in the Middle East with so called ISIS, Al-Nusra, other groups represents real danger not only for minorities, Christians, but in general for the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. The international community must to join efforts in their fight against terrorism.

“Estadão”: Right now the government has dealing with the situation that there are lots of Syrian-Armenians, the diaspora coming back to Armenia, right?

Edward Nalbandian: Yes, we have about 14000 Syrian-Armenians now in Armenia. In some other countries you may have much more refugees, but for small Armenia it is a very big number.

And of course we are trying to help those who are coming to Armenia. But still we have many Armenians, tens of thousands living in Syria, including in Aleppo. It is very difficult to say the exact number. That’s why our Consulate General has never stopped to operate in Aleppo and now it is the only diplomatic mission working there. Of course we have also our Embassy in Damascus.

Our information on what is going on in this country comes not only through our Embassy and Consulate General but also from Armenians living in Syria.

“Estadão”: Regarding the diaspora, now I would like to change for Russia. There is very important community of Armenians in Russia as one of the main community. I would l
ike to ask you if the last few months or … since the Crisis in Ukraine and US and also European sanctions against Russia that it has been affecting its economy. I would like to ask if Armenia, Armenian economy have been somehow affected by the consequences of this economic situation in Russia?

Edward Nalbandian: When we talk about the consequences, we have to say that there are consequences not only on Russia, and those countries, that have strong economic relations with Russia, but also on those, who decided to impose sanctions against Russia, all they are affected.

We consider that all issues should be treated and addressed through dialogue, through negotiations, not through using force, including economic coercion.

On Diaspora. Yes, we have very big Armenian community in Russia, about 2 and half million. We have about 500.000 Armenians living in Ukraine as well.

“Estadão”: Regarding another neighbour of Armenia, how would I say, a friend country. Yesterday I saw lots of tracks with Iranian license plates on the way to Tatev – in the South. There are lots of good economic ties with Iran. So I would like to ask you in your view, in Armenian government’s view, how do you see, how do you expect the deal regarding Nuclear Problem of Iran? How do you see this deal with Iran?

Edward Nalbandian: Armenia was among first, if not the first country, which welcomed the framework agreement on Iranian Nuclear issue, negotiated by Iran and 6 countries and we hope very much that the solution could be found until the end of this month as it is expected or in the nearest future, and will bring a comprehensive settlement of this issue which will be in the interests of not only of Iran and neighboring countries, but also entire region and even wider. So we hope very much that the solution could be found and the countries of the region could have more possibilities for economic and trade relations.

“Estadão”: I have talked to some people here and I met very interesting historian, Professor in Armenia. He was talking to me, explaining to me regarding to the Genocide the role of the people who fight in the Genocide in self-defense in some places against the Ottoman troops like in Van, in Musa Ler… He was telling me that to suggest also when we remember the Genocide and the Genocide victims also remember those who play role in self-defense. How do you see how the Government see this request to change the name of remembrance of victims also for remembrance of victims and heroes. Is something working on this?

Edward Nalbandian: Our Church, Armenian Apostolic Church decided to canonize the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide this April 23rd on the eve of the Centennial and we consider the victims of the Armenian Genocide as martyrs, as saints. Of course, our nation remembers its heroes.

“Estadão”: I would like to ask you about the relationship with Brazil. Which points, which issues are more important by now between bilateral relationship and where do you expect to be more expanded, to become bigger the relationship?

Edward Nalbandian: I think that we have a big potential to be explored by our joint efforts, but I don’t think that much has been done till now.

We have an embassy since 2011 in your beautiful country and you have the Embassy in Armenia since 2006. We have established also a Consulate General in San Paolo since 1998. We paid several visits from Armenia, including on the level of the President, on the level of the chairman of the Parliament, on the level of different ministers, including of Foreign Affairs. I visited your country for the inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff in January 2011. And of course, I had an opportunity also to meet with my colleague former Foreign Minister. He promised to visit Armenia but that never happened.

“Estadão”: And now?

Edward Nalbandian: We hope very much to expand our bilateral cooperation. We hope to consolidate the legal framework of our relations. The volume of our economic and trade relations is small. With many countries, which are several times smaller than Brazil we have much more trade and economic exchanges.

We hope very much that from the Brazilian side also some concrete steps will be done to enhance, to deepen our cooperation and partnership in all possible fields. From our side we are very interested and we expressed our interest many times and as a Foreign Minister I could confirm again that we are looking forward to have really strong partnership with Brazil. We have more economic and trade cooperation with Argentina, than with Brazil. Geographically we are far from Latin America, but geographically Argentine is not much closer, than Brazil.

“Estadão”: Especially considering the size of the Armenian community in San Paolo in Brazil, it is the second one in Latin America.

Edward Nalbandian: Yes, this is also an important factor. Armenian community is playing a bridge role in our relations and could play more active role in deepening our cooperation in different dimensions. There are tens of thousands of Armenian living in Brazil, most of them in San Paolo. Two third of our people lives in in hundred countries of the world Armenia is a small country in this geographical part of the world, but we have many Armenians all over the world, we have hundred “Armenias” in the world.

Belgium’s Socialist Party files motion for resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide

The Socialist Party (PS) group of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives Wednesday filed a motion for a resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Belgian La Libre reports. 

With this resolution the “Socialist Party and all its MPs give a clear signal of their position on the Armenian Genocide,” while advocating rapprochement between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.

In this proposal, the Parliament “considers that the tragic events between 1915 and 1917, for which the government of the Ottoman Empire is responsible, should be classified as genocide.”

The recognition by the Parliament does not, however, entail legal consequences, notes the PS group.

The Chamber is not intended to replace court to rule on the legal characterization of those events. “It poses a solemn political act of recognizing that due to their nature and their specificity, the massacres of which the Armenians were victims fit the definition of genocide contained as defined in the 1948 Convention,” the resolution reads. It also encourages national and international courts to rule on the subject.

The authors of the resolution file their initiative in “a spirit of support and friendship for Turks and Armenians.”

They also highlight the efforts made within Turkish civil society on this issue.

The resolution has been signed by signed by MP of Turkish descent Özlem Özen, as well as Stéphane Crusnière, Philippe Blanchart and Gwen Grovonius.

Professor Taner Akçam, a leading international authority on Armenian Genocide, lectures in Antelias

On Tuesday evening His Holiness Aram I presided over a special event on the Armenian Genocide organized by the communication department of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. Professor Taner Akçam, Professor of History and the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, spoke on the topic, “The Armenian Genocide research, findings and current challenges.“ A large number of clergy, academics, students and members of the community attended the lecture given by the Turkish scholar at the Cilicia Museum Hall in Antelias, Press Service of the Catholicosate of Cilicia reports.

Very Rev. Sipan Kechedjian introduced Professor Akçam as a Turkish intellectual who teaches, publishes and openly discusses the Armenian Genocide. In his lecture, Professor Akçam spoke of the contribution that Armenian and non-Armenian scholars have made to the historical study of the Armenian Genocide and discussed his extensive research on the Ottoman archives. He stated that the Armenian Genocide was premeditated and well planned by the Turkish authorities of the time and that the First World War had provided the appropriate context and the time to the Turkish Authorities to execute their plan. He concluded his lecture by stating that there is a crying need for new historical research on the Armenian Genocide, and he encouraged Armenian youth to become actively involved in this research.

Following a question/answer period, His Holiness Aram I concluded the evening by thanking Taner Akçam for his courage and commitment to the Armenian Genocide and also for accepting to join the team of experts who filed the lawsuit with the Constitutional Court of Turkey on 27 April 2015, demanding the return of the property of the See of Cilicia in Sis. Stating that he shares Professor Akçam’s concern to have more youth interested in the history of and research on the Armenian Genocide, His Holiness Aram I announced his determination to assist interested candidates.

ANCA presses Obama Administration for action on Syrian Armenians

Armenian Americans are calling on the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to take urgent action to address the pressing humanitarian crisis facing the Syrian Armenian community, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Taking action via the ANCA’s website, local advocates are encouraging their elected officials to respond to two sets of priorities.  The first, in Syria, is for the U.S. government to ensure that international aid actually reaches Armenians and other at-risk populations. Gaps in the delivery of assistance have left many communities – particularly minority populations – outside the stream of international relief supplies and support.  The second, in Armenia, is for the Administration to provide direct U.S. support and facilitate increased international aid for Armenia’s refugee and resettlement programs.  Armenia has, to date, received only very limited international aid for rental subsidies, social services, work-training, health care, and other basic needs.
U.S. assistance to Syrian Armenians has consistently been part of the ANCA’s ongoing dialogue with the Obama Administration on a broad range of Armenian American priorities.  In Congress, the ANCA continues to raise the issue in the run-up to Senate and House passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 foreign aid bill.  ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations earlier this year detailing Armenian American concerns.  The House version of the measure, adopted by the Appropriations Committee earlier this month,  spotlights the broader need to provide humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees.  The ANCA is currently working with Senate Appropriations Committee members to address the Syrian crisis as well as expand assistance to Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia.  Committee consideration of the measure is expected in July.  Armenian Americans can take action by sending an ANCA webmail to legislators by visiting .