Outside Eye: A non-Armenian’s view of life in his adopted home

ArmeniaNow.com, 2 April 2004

Outside Eye: A non-Armenian’s view of life in his adopted home

By John Hughes
ArmeniaNow Editor

I’ve just returned from Tbilisi, where Georgia’s political air is fresh with
change and promises being fulfilled by an opposition’s hero. Returned to
Yerevan, where the pollution of threat is about as much as this “Opposition”
can muster, relying on names that are now sunk by whatever weight they might
once have carried.

Not since last year’s presidential elections has there been any public
demonstration of discontent against Robert Kocharyan’s government. In his
sixth year at the helm the Ship of State has sailed mostly smoothly, if one
ignores the considerable fact that it has left many behind in its voyage
toward prosperity.

But there is excitement in this capital today. Arrests are being made.
Beatings appear connected to efforts to discourage an uprising. Phrases such
as “change of power” are making sound bites and copy.

Now, the opposition is again doing what it does best: opposing. And
achieving what it does most effectively: nothing.

After failing a year ago to build a platform that supported change, the
opposition is again calling for revolution, with no clear direction toward
which it would lead one.

Let’s say that, like the revolution by their neighbors last autumn, this
opposition charged into Parliament (as they are somewhat subtly threatening)
and took over. Then what?

It’s a question I posed to young, bright friends here – adults who are not
satisfied with current leadership, but who are not inspired by the
opposition’s impotence and inability to unify itself, much less a nation.

One of the twenty-somethings repeated a commonly held view that: “Armenia
doesn’t have an opposition. It only has those who are in power, and those
who were formerly in power.”

And the currently in power must surely realize that last year’s crooked
elections were hardly a mandate of the people, so they appear to be taking
the opposition’s threats seriously, no matter that the growl comes from a
toothless predator.

Government efforts to quell these new rumblings only legitimize so much
empty rhetoric, and reveal the small-mindedness of leaders who probably
should be kicked out, but hold their posts by default.

If you’ve followed previous opinions on this page, you know that views here
have been far from complimentary of the presently empowered. But: Who is
served by a movement in which discontent masquerades as policy?

Left without resistance what would the opposition do?

As close as it came to winning last year’s election was to put up a
candidate who was thought to be a mirror of his adored father but turned out
only to be a shadow. Now he and others of unproven leadership ability are
asking the masses to follow them through the gates of revolt to . . . where?

Georgia ‘s “Rose Revolution” proved that discontent can produce change.
Already, new leadership there is taking action against wrongdoing of the
previous administration.

But among Armenia’s opposition, the goal seems merely to be to empty the
First Chair and then hope for someone to fill it.

Sometime within the coming days, Marshal Baghramian Avenue will be blocked
by villagers bussed in to Yerevan to demand their rights for better
leadership. And they probably deserve it. But there is little reason to
believe that the “Faux Revolution” would achieve anything more than revolt.


AAA: Reference to Armenian Genocide Clouded by Turkish Influence

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]

April 2, 2004
CONTACT: David Zenian
E-mail: [email protected]


Washington, DC — The Armenian Assembly this week called on Secretary of
State Colin Powell to re-examine his Department’s most recent human rights
report on Turkey, clarify repeated incorrect references to the Armenian
Genocide and unequivocally distance itself from the Turkish policy of

Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Barsamian said the Assembly was
“greatly troubled” by the use of the words “alleged” and “allegation” in
contexts which seem “unquestionably influenced by Turkish assuage clouding
State Department reporting.”

“The Armenian Assembly urges you to re-clarify that the use of the words
‘alleged’ and ‘allegations’ … do not reflect an official Department of
State position,” Barsamian said in his letter.

Under Section 2(a) and again under Section 5 of the Department’s report
entitled “Turkey: Country reports on Human Rights Practices for the Year
2003,” the authors of the report spoke of “the alleged genocide of Armenians
under the Ottoman Empire” and “allegations that the Ottomans committed
genocide against Armenians.”

Both sections cited gross violations of human rights in Turkey, including a
demand by the Turkish Ministry of Education that fifth and seventh-grade
students, including Armenians, prepare a one-page essay – in the words of
the State Department report – “arguing that allegations that the Ottomans
committed genocide against the Armenians are ‘baseless.’ ”

The report was released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
and submitted by the Department to Congress by the department of State on
February 25, 2004.

Barsamian said while as far back as 1982 the State Department had clarified
similar language by adding a footnote to explain that it was “not intended
as statements of policy of the United States … Nor did they represent any
change in U.S. policy,” similar errors appeared in the Department’s most
recent human rights report on Turkey.

“In fact,” Barsamian said in his letter to Powell, “prior to 1982, the
Department of State squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and
recommended that Turkey acknowledge the crimes against humanity.”

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


Editor’s Note: Attached is the text of the Assembly letter to Secretary of
State Colin Powell.

April 1, 2004

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) is greatly troubled by the references
made to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 as “alleged” genocide or
“allegations” of genocide in the report entitled: “Turkey: Country Reports
on Human Rights Practices For the Year 2003,” which was released by the
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and submitted to Congress by
the Department of State on February 25, 2004.

Specifically, under Section 2(a), the report states:

In June, authorities arrested and indicted teacher Hulya Akpinar for
comments she made during a conference in Kilis Province on the alleged
genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire. Prosecutors also charged six
other teachers for following Akpinar out of the conference. Akpinar was
temporarily dismissed from duty following her arrest. A Kilis court
acquitted Akpinar and the other six teachers in December [emphasis added].

Furthermore, under Section 5: National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities, the report

In April, the Education Ministry issued a circular urging all schools to
have their fifth- and seventh-graders prepare a one-page essay arguing that
allegations that the Ottomans committed genocide against Armenians are
“baseless.” The country’s Armenian schools were included in the
distribution. Leaders of the ethnic Armenian community criticized the
measure, saying it put psychological pressure on Armenian students. The
Ministry also asked schools to organize conferences on the issue, and
police arrested seven teachers for comments made at one such conference (see
Section 2.a.) [Emphasis added].

As you can imply, in Section 2(a), the wording of the paragraph is
unquestionably influenced by Turkish assuage clouding State Department
reporting. The use of the word “alleged” in this paragraph could not have
been “accurate and objective,” and may have been a reference to how the
Turkish government framed the issue and do not reflect U.S. policy.
Moreover, in Section 5, by not putting the word “allegations” in quotations,
you have given credence to Turkish claims, and thus again clouding the
“accurate and objective” reporting of the Department of State.

In response to the August 1982 Department of State Bulletin in which the
State Department used the word “alleged” four times in references to the
1915 Armenian Genocide, the September 1982 and April 1983 Department of
State Bulletin, under the “Editor’s Note,” retracted those statements
confirming that they “were not intended as statements of policy of the
United States. Nor did they represent any change in U.S. policy.”

Both then-Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Lawrence S.
Eagleburger, and then-Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Department
Spokesman, John Hughes, “reemphasized” the “aberration” and reaffirmed to us
that “[p]olicy statements which are a part of the public record remain there
and speak for themselves.”

This April 24th will mark the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of
1915, an incontestable historical fact, during which 1.5 million
(three-fourths) of the Armenian people living in the Ottoman Empire were
“exterminated” en masse and the few that remained (half a million) were
uprooted from their homelands of more than 2,500 years and deported under
extreme conditions into exile. The U.S. Archives is replete with Department
of State documents describing the premeditated “race extermination” of the
Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-23. Moreover, there is the
fact that the Armenian Genocide was soon thereafter confirmed by yet another
branch of the U.S. Government, in Senate Resolution 359 dated May 13, 1920,
in which it resoundingly stated: “the testimony adduced at the hearings
conducted by the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other
atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered.” Finally, on
January 28, 1975, a Joint Resolution by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of America, H.J. Res. 148, designated
April 24, 1975, as “National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man.”

In fact, prior to 1982, the Department of State squarely acknowledged the
Armenian Genocide and recommended that Turkey acknowledge the crimes against
humanity. This position was again clouded by Turkish influence on
Department of State employees who are in charge of preparing reports on the
Armenian Genocide.

Contemporaneously and more importantly, the International Center for
Transnational Justice (ICTJ), which was asked to determine the applicability
of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention to the Armenian Genocide,
released a report finding that the 1915 mass slaughter of Armenians fits the
legal definition of genocide. One of the key findings in the ICTJ report
concluded that “the Events, viewed collectively, can thus be said to include
all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention,
and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other
people would be justified in continuing to so describe them.”

Finally, as part of the groundbreaking conference held in September 2000 by
the Library of Congress and the Armenian National Institute in cooperation
with the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the prestigious Cambridge University Press,
early in 2004, released a vital new publication, entitled America and the
Armenian Genocide of 1915, covering all facets of the leading American
response to the Armenian Genocide, which encompassed the first international
human rights movement in American history.

On this upcoming solemn occasion, the Armenian Assembly urges you to
re-clarify that the use of the words “alleged” and “allegations” in the
above mentioned Department of State report do not “reflect an official
position of the Department of State,” and further urges you to displace
error with truth: that the Armenian Genocide is not an “allegation” but is
an irrefutable historical fact, unwavering to political vicissitudes.


Anthony Barsamian
Board of Directors
Armenian Assembly of America


Glendale: GUSD rejects longer break

Glendale News Press
March 26 2004

GUSD rejects longer break

School board drops three-week winter holiday idea from 2004-05 school
year calendar proposals.

By Gary Moskowitz, News-Press

NORTHEAST GLENDALE – A surge of disapproval from local parents about
a proposed three-week winter break has encouraged Glendale school
board members to drop the idea.

The school board submitted two 2004-05 school year calendar proposals
to the Glendale Teachers Assn. for consideration, and neither
includes a three-week winter break.

A three-week winter break would have included the Jan. 6 Armenian
Christmas. About 35% of the district’s 29,200 students – more than
10,000 students – are of Armenian descent, and most of them do not
attend school Jan. 6, officials said.

Since the Glendale Unified School District earns about $25 per
student per day in state Average Daily Attendance funds, the district
lost more than $250,000 on Jan. 6 because so many students did not
show up for class.

Several parents, during recent board meetings, said they were
“disappointed” and “dismayed” because the board did not consult with
parents’ groups about extending the winter break and shortening the
summer one.

“The feedback I’ve received, from about 160 people who have been
e-mailing me, is that they didn’t like that proposal,” board
President Pam Ellis said. “I don’t think they liked their children
going to school longer because they wanted longer summer vacations. I
think we need to move on this because people need to make their
plans. [The proposal] seemed to be too close to a sacred thing.

“If I could wave my magic wand, we would start after Labor Day next
year, but it would be my wish that over the next several years we
start in August, so students can finish the semester before winter
break. One of the problems people have is that kids come back from a
break and go right into final exams,” Ellis said.

Both calendar proposals submitted by the board include giving all
students and employees the day off Jan. 6.

Both proposals also include giving students the day before
Thanksgiving off, which the district’s current calendar does not
include. Students always get the day after Thanksgiving off, and the
proposals would continue that.

Students would make up for the extra days off either at the beginning
or the end of the school year, officials said.

The difference between the two proposals is the school year start
date. One proposal is to start the year before Labor Day, and the
other is to start school after the holiday. The district started the
2003-04 school year on a scattered schedule Tuesday and Wednesday
after Labor Day. The district opened the year on two days because of
teacher training sessions that could not be rescheduled.

School board members are expected to vote on the calendar at
Tuesday’s board meeting, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at district
headquarters, 223 N. Jackson St. The teachers’ union plans to vote to
approve the calendar sometime in April.

The board and the union need to vote to approve the school year

A survey of teachers in the union showed that about 63% were in favor
of starting after Labor Day, and about 37% were in favor of starting
before, said Sandy Fink, the union’s president.

“Academically, it’s better for kids to start earlier so they have
more time to prepare for exams,” Fink said. “Some parents were
concerned about their kids coming to school in August at schools
without air conditioning. It’s hard for kids to concentrate when it’s
110 degrees and there is no air conditioning. I think teachers would
prefer taking exams before winter, that way kids can be done and
enjoy their vacation. We basically have decided to keep the calendar
about the same next year, and we’ll have to revisit this again.”

About Key West Agreements

A1 Plus | 22:12:41 | 22-03-2004 | Official |


On Monday, Armenian Foreign Ministry’s Press Secretary Hamlet Gasparyan,
answering De Facto news agency journalists’ questions, expressed hope the
talks on Nagorno Karabakh would continue from the point they were

Upon his returning from international conference in Bratislava Azeri Foreign
Minister Vilayat Guliev said in Bratislava he had demanded his Armenian
counterpart Vardan Oskanyan to show him a document on Key West agreements
and added if the documents isn’t signed there can be not a word about any

“We are happy that Azeri Foreign Minister admitted the fact that there is a
written document on some accord reached in Key West though it isn’t signed.
We have repeatedly said there is a document made up by OSCE Minsk Group’s
co-chairs and grounded on negotiation between the two countries presidents.
We are summing up that the issue on whether the document exists or not is
closed”, Gasparyan concluded.

Signed it or not – the document exists, said the Press Secretary and added
as Azerbaijan admits the fact of agreements reached, we hope the talks will
resume from the very point they was interrupted.


Event To Benefit The Armenian American Wellness Center In Armenia

March 19, 2004
Embassy of the Republic of Armenia
2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20008
Tel: 202-319-1976, x. 348; Fax: 202-319-2982

Armenian Parliamentarian Hranush Hakobian Participates In An Event To
Benefit The Armenian American Wellness Center In Armenia

On the evening of February 28, approximately hundred and fifty people
gathered at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to hear from Hranush
Hakobian Ph.D., member of the Armenian Parliament and chair of the Standing
Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Issues of the National
Assembly of Armenia, in a tribute to the Mothers of Gyumri.

The event was sponsored by The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, H. E.
Amb. Arman Kirakossian, and the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc.
(AACA) in support of the life-saving work of the Armenian American Wellness
Center (AAWC) in Armenia in its mission to save, prolong and improve the
lives of women in Armenia through early detection and treatment of their
breast and cervical cancer.

Since Armenia’s independence in 1990, Hranush Hakobian has served four terms
as a member of the National Assembly of Armenia. Ms. Hakobian holds a Ph.D.
in Law, a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the Yerevan State University,
and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the Academy of Political
Sciences in Moscow. She has also briefly studied International Law in the
United States. She has served Armenia in several capacities, including
Minister of Social Security (1996- 1998) and Chair of the Standing Committee
on Health, Social Services, and Ecology of the National Assembly
(1994-1996). She has authored 85 laws on issues concerning women, children,
health, privatization and human rights in the Armenian Parliament.

M.P. Hakobian is in the United States as the official guest of the Armenian
American Cultural Association, Inc., the US sponsoring organization of the
Armenian American Wellness Center, which is a humanitarian health project in
Armenia. As a volunteer, she serves as Co-President of the Wellness Center,
along with Rita Balian, and together they are responsible for the
operations, development and expansion plans of the Center.

Sonia Crow, the vice president of AACA, served as emcee for the evening.
“This event is being held as a tribute to the Mothers of Gyumri. Gyumri is a
city which is still struggling to overcome the devastating effects of the
1988 earthquake. AAWC’s Monthly Medical Missions have been extended to
encompass the women and mothers of Gyumri. Living in a high health care risk
zone, the women of Gyumri are subjugated to severe stresses and diseases,
among which are breast and cervical cancer. The children of Gyumri (ages 6
to 13) have joined forces with us at the AACA/AAWC by producing these
paintings displayed on the walls which are for sale today. The proceeds will
go towards continuing to provide life-saving medical services to their
mothers during AAWC’s monthly missions.” She also announced that an
anonymous donor would match all the funds raised on that day. Then she
invited the Ambassador to the podium.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Arman Kirakossian introduced M.P. Hranush
Hakobyan saying, “From the very first days of Armenia’s independence,
Hranush Hakobian has committed herself to improving the Armenian State
through her capacity as a member of the National Assembly. Apart from her
active public service, Hranush Hakobian finds time to help Armenian women
through her work with the Armenian American Wellness Center.” Ambassador
Kirakossian closed his remarks by expressing the Embassy’s and his personal
appreciation of Hranush Hakobian and Rita Balian for their tireless work on
behalf of the women of Armenia and wished them further success in their
future endeavors in helping saving lives of mothers.

M.P. Hranush Hakobian then took the podium. “The most serious problem facing
Armenian women today is poverty and the polarization between the rich and
the poor,” said Ms. Hakobian, “yet one of the ways we can fight poverty is
by providing women with access to modern health care facilities, and this is
the reason why we founded the Armenian American Wellness Center.”

“The Armenian people are held up by four pillars: the first pillar is the
Armenian language; the second is the Armenian Church; the third is the
Armenian culture; and the fourth pillar is the Armenian family, of which the
mother plays the predominant role. Therefore it is of vital importance that
we, as Armenians, ensure the health and well-being of our mothers and
sisters in Armenia in order to guarantee a productive future for Armenia.”
Hakobian concluded her remarks by saying, “I believe that when Armenians are
healthy, Armenians are wealthy and happy, and this will lead to a strong and
secure Armenia.”

The event also included a musical program organized and coordinated by Leon
Khoja-Eynatyan, faculty member at the prestigious Levine School of Music in
Washington, DC. The program consisted of three musical pieces, the first of
which was from Armenian American composer Alan Hovhaness and was performed
by Nayiri Poochikian on violin, Virginia Lum on piano, and Leon
Khoja-Eynatyan on percussion (marimba). This was followed by a piece from
Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu and performed by Mrs. Poochikian and her
daughter Hoorig on violin with Ms. Lum on piano. The final piece of the
program was from Japanese composer Keiko Abe and was performed as a solo by
Mr. Khoja-Eynatyan, along with the performer’s own improvisation. The
musical program, especially the final piece, was received with great

AACA President and Co-founder Rita Balian then gave closing remarks,
commenting on AACA’s vision for the future of the AAWC. “I began this
project seven years ago with the goal of taking one mammography unit over to
Armenia to aid in the prevention of breast cancer. With the help of Hranush
and as a result of the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with
the AAWC/AACA, we have since seen our goal of one mammography unit evolve
into a state of the art Wellness Center for diagnostic and preventative
health care with two satellite clinics. As we look to the future and begin
our renovations of the building donated to us by the Armenian government, we
envision a modern health care center that focuses not only on the health of
our mothers and sisters in Armenia, but a health care center that will help
to improve and prolong the lives of the entire family. I would like to thank
everyone who has ever donated a “gift of hope” or volunteered his or her
time to our noble cause. I would also like to thank all of out committee
members who have helped to make this event benefiting the mothers of Gyumri
such a great success.”

The guests were then invited to participate in a raffle by giving a “gift of
hope,” a donation which will be used to provide free mammograms and pap
smears to women at the Wellness Center. The winners received boxes of
chocolate which were specially created with the AAWC logo through a business
and philanthropic partnership between the AAWC and the Grand Candy Company
of Armenia. One raffle winner also went home with a very special painting
from one of the children of Gyumri.

In attendance at the event were Armenian Ambassador to the U.S, H.E. Arman
Kirakossian and his wife, Susanna; former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia H.E.
Michael Lemmon and his wife Michele; Donna Dowsett-Coirolo, Armenian Country
Director from the World Bank; USAID Team Leader for the Caucuses, James
Watson and his wife Susan; Joseph Simone, the Founder of the International
Spirit of Life Foundation, along with his wife Osa; Gerald Hill, Director of
Global Outreach for Disease Management from Capital Technology Information
Services, Inc.; Barbara Brocker and Suzanne Grinnan from the American
International Health Alliance; from International Relief and Development,
President and CEO Arthur Keys and his wife, Jasna Basaric-Keys, Director of
Public Health for IRD; and many members of Washington’s Armenian American

The Armenian American Wellness Center, previously known as the Armenian
American Mammography University Center, was established in April 1997 by
Founding President and CVO (Chief Volunteer Officer), Rita Balian, with the
overwhelming contributions and assistance of hundreds of donors, volunteers,
U.S. medical teams, corporations, institutions, and the U.S. and Armenian
Governments and their respective embassies. The AAWC has screened over
53,000 women, and has helped to save, improve and prolong the lives of over
1,200 women through early detection and treatment of their breast and
cervical cancer. The Center was initially established in Armenia as a
response to the alarming increase of breast cancer cases and the critical
need for accurate and early detection of the disease. In January 2002, with
the addition of gynecology and pathology departments, the Mammography Center
was renamed the Armenian American Wellness Center to better reflect the
range of services it now provides.

A satellite clinic was opened in the suburbs of Yerevan in April 2000.
Among the recent achievements of the Wellness Center is the opening of a
second satellite clinic on July 6th, 2003, in the town of Gavar located in
the Gegharkunik Province of the Lake Sevan Region. In addition to
mammography and basic gynecological services, the Gavar Clinic will also
provide American style primary health care services for the entire family.
The AAWC, with its Yerevan Clinic and two Satellite Clinics, now has a total
staff of 36 people, most of who have received additional training in US
medical institutions and provide high quality clinical services to their
patients. Since the establishment of the AACA, its overhead expenses have
not exceeded 3% of its total grassroots fundraising.

For more information on the Armenian American Wellness Center, interested
persons should contact AACA, Tel: 703-416-2555 or e-mail: [email protected]


OSCE chairman’s remarks give no prospect of Karabakh settlement

OSCE chairman’s remarks give no prospect of Karabakh settlement – newspaper

Aravot, Yerevan
18 Mar 04

Text of Tigran Avetisyan’s report in Armenian newspaper Aravot on 18
March headlined “Is the NKR ignored?”

Today it may be reasonably said that the OSCE, which took the role of
key mediator in the Karabakh settlement, has finally and
unconditionally recognized only Armenia and Azerbaijan as the parties
to the conflict. Yesterday during a joint news conference of the OSCE
chairman-in-office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi, and
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan, journalists asked the same
questions in different ways. The goal was to clarify how Mr Pasi sees
the role of the NKR in the negotiating process on its destiny. All was
in vain. Replying to all the cunning and not so cunning questions, the
OSCE chairman-in-office said almost the same thing: “The problem may
be settled only by the efforts of Armenia and Azerbaijan.” The only
exception in this “strategy” was that Solomon Pasi reported on his
meeting with the NKR president, Arkadiy Gukasyan, saying that he is
well informed about the fears of the Karabakh party.

As for the rest of Pasi’s remarks on the NKR conflict settlement, they
were as old as the conflict itself. Let us present some of them: “In
Azerbaijan as well as in Armenia I have seen a great desire and
readiness for a peaceful settlement,” “The OSCE cannot offer a ready
prescription to the parties to the conflict, it can only support
them,” etc.

As for the Armenian foreign minister, the latter was not original in
his answers either. They again touched on the decision of the new
leadership of Azerbaijan to start the negotiations from scratch and
Oskanyan again said that there had been definite agreements and if
Azerbaijan intended to start everything from a blank sheet, in that
case it should negotiate with the Karabakh party. Vardan Oskanyan
confirmed the information published in the Azerbaijani press that on
29 March he and his Azerbaijani counterpart would meet in Prague with
the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. “At that time we shall try to
clarify once again from what point Azerbaijan intends to continue the
negotiations,” the Armenian foreign minister said. It seemed that in
trying to justify the naive and predictable answers of Solomon Pasi on
the format of the negotiations, Vardan Oskanyan said that in the end
there is truth in his words and “each of you can draw his own

Let us try to draw our own conclusion. Taking into account Arkadiy
Gukasyan’s statements immediately after his meeting with the OSCE
chairman-in-office that without the participation of Karabakh the
problem will never be settled, as well as taking into account that
today the key theme of conversation between Armenia and Azerbaijan has
turned to zero, in that case we can give up for lost the possibility
of an NKR settlement for a long time.

NK officials reiterate the need for new negotiation format

March 16 2004


YEREVAN, MARCH 16, ARMENPRESS: Nagorno Karabagh parliament
chairman Oleg Yesayan and foreign affairs minister Ashot Ghulian met
today with Ursula Schleikher, head of a European Union’s delegation
that has arrived in Armenia to attend the 6-sixth session of
EU-Armenia parliamentary commission. The meeting was held at Karabagh
representation in Yerevan and was focused mainly on ways of resolving
the ongoing conflict.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Ghulian said Karabagh
speaker has once again repeated that the conflict could be resolved
only with participation of its representatives in the talks, as “its
population’s security and future are on stake,” but added that
Karabagh’s desire to reshape the format of negotiations is not
sufficient. “Azerbaijan is trying now to complicate the negotiation
process and it is hard to mention a concrete date when Karabagh may
be involved in them,” he said.
According to Ghulian, Europe’s willingness to assume a bigger role
in the regulation of the conflict is the evidence of its growing
interest in the region, confirmed also by appointing a Special
Representative of the EU for the South Caucasus, “but so far the
EU-South Caucasus partnership has not gone beyond the boundaries of
economic and humanitarian aid.”
Admitting that the talks are in a deadlock, Karabagh foreign
minister said there are indications of new upcoming contacts between
Armenian and Azeri officials and only after these meetings one can
say if there is a progress.

Group addresses letter to Sec. of State for foriegn affairs of UK

March 16 2004


YEREVAN, MARCH 16, ARMENPRESS: Dr. Tessa Hofmann, the chairperson
of Working Group Recognition – Against Genocide, For International
Understanding, addressed a letter to the Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom Mr. Jack
Straw. Referring to the interview of Mrs. Thorda Abbott-Watt, the
ambassador of the United Kingdom in Armenia, in which the ambassador
stated that the case of the Armenian Genocide did not correspond with
the UN Genocide Convention, Tessa Hofman stated that “Mrs.
Abbott-Watt is wrong in doubting that this case did not correspond
the UN Genocide Convention.”
“She may not know that the author of this convention Mr. Raphael
Lemkin, drafted it on the empirical base of both the Armenian and the
Jewish Genocide as case studies during the World War I and World War
II. Mr. Abbot-Watt may also be ignorant of the joint statement of May
27, 1915, in which the governments of Britain, France and Russia
warned the Ottoman government to held its members personally
responsible for the crimes committed on the Armenian citizens of the
Ottoman Empire. In this statement the killings of the Armenian
population were categorized, under the terms of contemporary law, as
a crime against humanity and civilization”.
The letter also says that “Mrs. Abbot-Watt is obviously not
qualified as a scholar of genocide research. Otherwise she would know
that the denial of genocide is considered as an integral part of the
crime and its final stage. Sadly, Mrs. Abbott-Watt herself
contributes to the crime of denial, thus keeping painfully alive the
trauma of the Armenian nation and upsetting all others, who are aware
of the consequences of genocide denial”.
Dr. Tessa Hofmann also stressed that “as an international NGO,
which is focusing on the recognition of denied genocide crimes, we
will urge you to re-consider whether it is advisable that Mrs.
Abbott-Watt, who is ignorant of basic facts of legal history and
international relations and who makes repeated incompetent and
offensive statements, may continue her diplomatic career in a
country, where half of the population descends from survivors of

If There Weren’t For Petrossian


Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)

Young chess-player from Armenia, international master Tigran
Petrossian is also among the participants of the international chess
tournament devoted to the 75th anniversary of Tigran Petrossian, the
ninth champion of the world. The father of the young chess player was
a big fan of chess and deliberately named his son after Tigran
Petrossian so that he become a chess-player. Tigran has played chess
for 15 years, since he was five. Now he is a third year student at the
Yerevan Institute of Physical Training. “I have devoted my life to
chess and as I have already achieved certain success, the way I chose
has meaning,” says Tigran Petrossian. In reference to the tournament
the young chess-player says, “The participants are very strong, the
leading grand masters of the world are playing, almost all the grand
masters of Armenia are present. I cannot recall a similar tournament
in the past years in Armenia. The tournament is organized on a high
level. All of us realize that nowadays it is not easy to organize such
a tournament, especially if foreign chess-players are invited, which
also requires considerable financial means. I would like to mention
that the presence of the former champion of the world Boris Spassky is
a great honour for all of us.” Following all the games, we tried to
find out the reason why Tigran Petrossian lost in the second round. In
the game with the representative of Latvia grand master Yevgeny
Sveshnikov Tigran had a favourable position.In reference to this game
the young chess-player mentioned that he hurried with one move which
unfortunately resulted in losing the game. Unfortunately because
during the whole game he improved his position and besides Sveshnikov
had a problem with time. “I hope this defeat will not have a negative
effect on my further games. In such cases I try to get my mind off the
previous game otherwise I will not be able to continue the struggle.”


Canadian Diocese: Primate of Javakheti in Montreal

Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada
Contact; Deacon Hagop Arslanian, Assistant to the Primate
615 Stuart Avenue, Outremont-Quebec H2V 3H2
Tel; 514-276-9479, Fax; 514-276-9960
Email; [email protected], Website;

Primate of Javakheti in Montreal

On Tuesday, 2 March 2004, Very Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan, Primate
of Javakheti met with the representatives of the Montreal Armenian
Community in the Diocesan Dikran Garibian Hall. Father Babgen Salbyan
talked about the current situation in Javakheti and the expectations
of the Armenian Community from both Armenia and Diaspora.

Afterwards, at St Gregory the Illuminator’s Marie Manoogian Hall, Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan made a presentation on the current
situationin Javakheti, the needs and expectations of Javakheti
Armenians; discussions focused on the policy of the Georgian
government towards Javakheti and matters related to the role and
mission of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church. Donations, for a total
of $12.000 were made to Javakheti Armenians by the faithful of the
Canadian Armenian community. On this occasion, Bishop Bagrat
Galstanian, Diocesan Council members and the Clergy extend their
sincere thanks and gratitude for the donors.

The following day, Bishop Bagrat Galstanian accompanied by Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salbyan and Mr. Hagop Amirianpaid a short visit
to the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Ottawa and met with the
Ambassador, His Excellency Ara Papian and the staff of Armenian
Embassy. Discussions focused on the issues related to Javakheti
Armenian community, Armenian Apostolic Church and Motherland Armenia.

Feast of Saint Vartan and His companions in the Canadian Diocese

On Sunday February 29 2004, the feast of St Vartan the Warrior and his
companions was marked at St Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral
organized by cultural unions and political parties of the Armenian
community of Montreal. His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian presided
over the ceremony. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Primate of
Javakheti, the Very Reverend Father Babgen Salpyan.

This year, the Diocesan Primate suggested that each of our church’s
feast days will be given an appropriate meaning and
content. Accordingly, St Vartanank was declared as the BLESSING DAY OF
since his first day as Primate, Serpazan has paid special attention to
the rejuvenation of the spiritual life in our Diocese.

Over 800 faithful attended the ceremony. Representatives of the unions
and parties who were escorted to the altar by the AGBU Armenian Scouts
renewed their vow to serve the Armenian people and the Armenian
Church. In his sermon, Bishop Galstanian said “Today, we are called to
serve the Armenian Church, Motherland Armenia and our beloved
people. Today my heart is full of joy witnessing the unity of our
people as it was in the Battle of Avarayr”. Serpazan thanked and
expressed his appreciation to the members of the organizing committee
and the faithful; he then introduced the Primate of Javakheti Very
Reverend Father Babgen Salpyan, who in turn thanked Bishop Bagrat for
inviting him to visit the Canadian Diocese.

Following the service, the guests attended a special cultural program
designed by the organizing committee with the participation of the
studentsof Alex Manougian Armen-Quebec School, Bolsahay Cultural
Association and Diocesan Youth Council members.

Divan of the Diocese