Works On "Nubarashen Pesticide Dump Neutralization" Program Launched


MAY 17, 2010

YEREVAN, MAY 17, ARMENPRESS: Within the framework of the 49 000 USD
provided by the UN FAO the works of the first round of the "Nubarashen
Pesticide Dump Neutralization" program have launched, head of the
population and territorial protection department of the rescue service
of the Emergency Situations Ministry Hovhannes Yemishyan told today
the reporters, informing that currently works on rendering harmless
the open pesticides, burying them, water removal, drying, flattening,
fencing are in process. In future the territory will be controlled by
relevant guard service. After the mentioned works the ministries of
healthcare, agriculture, nature protection and emergency situations
and international experts will carry out joint works on monitoring
of atmosphere, water and land. After that program of further activity
will be worked out and presented to the Armenian government.

Head of the Nature Protection Ministry’s dangerous wastes and
materials management department Anahit Alexandryan said that the
council of specialists together with project of assessment of the
impact of pesticides on the environment have developed a relevant
concept on removing and eliminating. Though, according to Alexandryan,
the removal of pesticides in the mentioned quantity the specialists
consider more dangerous and expensive. After discussing and agreeing
the issue the council is planning to apply to the Russian Federation
which has relevant devices of eliminating the pesticides.

Armenia, NATO Review Growing Cooperation

May 15, 2010 Saturday

Armenia : Armenia, NATO Review Growing Cooperation

NATO’s top governing body reviewed growing cooperation with Armenia
during an annual meeting with key members of the Armenian government
that was held at the NATO headquarters in Brussels late on Wednesday.

Addressing the North Atlantic Council, Armenia s Foreign Minister
Edward Nalbandian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian reportedly
reaffirmed their country s commitment to pursue closer ties with the
Western alliance.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, they briefed the body
representing the 28 NATO member states on the current status of
Armenia s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with the alliance
and the resulting defense reforms carried out by Yerevan. A ministry
statement issued on Thursday said they also answered numerous
questions from council members relating to Armenian foreign policy and
recent developments in the region.

On behalf of their states, the ambassadors of NATO member states
voiced support for Armenia s steps aimed at the establishment of
peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus, read the
statement. They also expressed their satisfaction with the results of
the IPAP, it said.

The cooperation framework launched in 2005 commits the South Caucasus
state to implementing defense reforms aimed at bringing its armed
forces into greater conformity with NATO standards and practices. The
IPAP also envisages greater Armenian participation in NATO-led
multinational missions and military exercises. The Armenian military
most recently hosted such drills in late 2008.

In addition, Armenia is a member of the NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, having deployed a
40-strong army detachment near the northern Afghan city of Kunduz
earlier this year. Another 70 Armenian soldiers have been serving
under NATO command in Kosovo.

Ohanian arrived in Brussels from Berlin where he attended earlier this
week a meeting of the defense ministers of 15 nations that make up the
German-led ISAF units stationed in northern Afghanistan.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry cited NATO s Deputy Secretary General
Claudio Bisogniero as again thanking Yerevan for the Afghan mission at
a separate meeting with Ohanian and Nalbandian held earlier on
Wednesday. It said Bisogniero highly appreciated progress registered
in a number of areas of cooperation with Armenia.

Ministers Nalbandian and Ohanian reaffirmed Armenia s readiness to
continue the mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO, added the
ministry statement. The NATO headquarters issued on statements on the
Brussels meetings.

Armenian leaders have repeatedly made clear that despite their desire
to forge closer security links with the West, Armenia has no plans to
seek NATO membership and will remain a part of the Russian-led
Collective Security Treaty Organization in the foreseeable future.

Silva Harotonian, Alamhooli Cellmate: Learned About Life from Shirin

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
May 15 2010

Silva Harotonian, Alamhooli’s Cellmate: I Learned About Life from Shirin

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran interviewed Silva
Harotonian, who shared a cell with Shirin Alamhooli for several months
at Evin Prison’s General Ward and Ward 209. She told the Campaign that
she learned about life from Shirin and is shocked by the news of her
execution. `After my father’s death, this is the worst news I have
ever had to hear.’

Referring to their shared experiences during their detention,
Harotonian said: `The judge who issued Shirin’s death sentence is the
same judge who sentenced me to three years in prison`Judge Salavati.
The Judge kept saying that [Shirin’s case] was not serious. No, it
isn’t that serious. Then they gave her the death sentence. This
sentence was from the lower court. It hadn’t even been confirmed or
appealed¦Shirin had a two-year sentence. I mean according to the law,
she had to serve her two-year prison term. Her execution should have
happened only if the Appeals Court upheld that sentence. Shirin was
arrested on 26 May 2008, one month before me.’

Remembering Shirin Alamhooli who was executed last Sunday she said:
`What I saw from Shirin during our time together and I will always
talk about it anywhere is that during my 11-month imprisonment, she
was my guardian angel. She used to give me a lot of hope. She told me
that the world is a good place and people aren’t really that bad, and
that if a mistake has happened there will be a reprieve for sure. `Be
hopeful; if your interrogator doesn’t get it, someone else will.’ She
was so hopeful. She became literate in a short time and she helped
others, too. We were together in Ward 209 for one month. Then we were
separated. I stayed and Shirin was moved to the General Ward. When I
was transferred to the General Ward, too, there she was, the same
person. She was the type of person everybody loved.’

About Shirin Alamhooli’s character, Harotonian said: `She was a very
quiet kid, an introvert. She never ever believed in injustice and kept
saying, `It’s not like that.’ She never talked about these things.
Other than this, she had suffered a lot in her life. She was born in a
deprived region in a small town, where women’s rights were violated
[all the time]. If she stepped over the border and came back, this
must have been accidental. Shirin was a victim. This much I know.’

Describing her feelings after she heard news of Shirin Alamhooli’s
death, she said: `I can’t define it precisely. I lost my father eleven
years ago. That was the most painful day of my life. After my father’s
death, this is the worst news I have ever had to
hear. Even the hard days of my imprisonment were not as bitter as
hearing news of Shirin’s death. I still can’t believe this happened.’

Harotonian said: `I used to give her a lot of hope. She was full of
energy. She was always making fun of life and kept saying that there
must be some justice somewhere and that things couldn’t stay like this
forever. I kept giving her hope. I don’t know what to tell you. I have
a lot of memories of her. I learned a lot from her. She didn’t have
any school training but she was extremely hardy. She was really
emancipated. She respected everyone just as they were. I was impressed
because I went to college and traveled a lot, but this girl from a
deprived region taught me about life. Nobody in my life taught me
about life like Shirin did. It is such a pity that such a person who
could have made the world a better place for living has stopped
breathing. I don’t know, I’m so disappointed about God’s justice.’

News Background:

Silva Harotonian, 33, is an Iranian-Armenian who worked for an
international NGO, IREX, in Iran, in the area of health care for
mothers and babies. Intelligence forces arrested Ms. Harotonian on 26
July 2008 at about 6:00 p.m., along with Arash Alaei. After searching
her home, the intelligence officers took her to Esteghlal Hotel for
interrogations. She was asked about the health care project she was
working on and pressured to admit that the project was a cover for
political activities instigated by US government. Silva’s disagreement
for making such admission led to her transfer to Ward 209 of Evin
Prison by her two interrogators who introduced themselves as `Haj
Ahgaee,’ and `Aghaye Doctor.’

lva-harotonian-alamhoolis-cellmate-i-learned-about -life-from-shirin/

‘Baku Must Take Back Karabakh,’ Says Azerbaijani Consul General

‘Baku Must Take Back Karabakh,’ Says Azerbaijani Consul General

13:20 – 15.05.10

The settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be possible to
resolve in case Turkey and Azerbaijan are unified, Azerbaijani
newly-appointed Consul General Hasan Sultanoglu Zeinalov said,
reported by local Turkish news agency Anadolu.

"We must not forget Karabakh, and, of course, we must get it back. And
that is possible in case Turkey and Azerbaijan are unified. The
Karabakh issue will be resolved by the solidity of the fraternal ties
between Turkey and Azerbaijan," said Zeinalov.

Speaking about the Armenia-Turkey relations Zeinalov said that
Armenia, which insists upon the opening of the Armenia-Turkey border,
wants to spoil the Turkish-Azerbaijani fraternal relations.

"Of course, I do not exclude the opening of not only the
Armenia-Turkey, but also the Armenia-Azerbaijani borders in the
future. But the borders will be opened in case those territories are
given back [to Azerbaijan], after the Armenians will recognize
Turkey’s border.
Otherwise the opening of the border gate [with Turkey] runs counter
not only to Azerbaijan’s, but also to Turkey’s rights," said Zeinalov,
recalling the much-trumpeted statement by Ankara that the
Armenia-Turkey border will not open unless the Karabakh issue is

Eva Rivas Will Have a Magic Show in Oslo

Eva Rivas Will Have a Magic Show in Oslo

13:51 – 15.05.10

The Armenian delegation will leave for Oslo, Norway, on May 17 to
participate in the Eurovision 2010 Song Contest, Dianna Mnatsakanyan,
Advisor on Special Projects to the Director of Armenia’s Public TV,

The first rehearsal of Eva Rivas representing Armenia in Eurovision
will take place at 8 am on May 18. The show is already ready, and all
the details are already known, though Mnatsakanyan did not elaborate,
firstly because it would be a violation of the rules, as she put, and
secondly, it would not be interesting to watch the contest knowing the
details in advance.

However, Mnatsakanyan provided with some general details that
would neither violate the rules nor make the further watching of the
show less interesting: Rivas’s show will be dramatized and has a
little surprise in store. It will include some elements of jugglery on
the scene. Light colors will prevail on her dress together with
apricot colors.

Dianna Mnatsakanyan also said that Rivas has in the framework of her
promo tour visited and have performance in Russia, Ukraine, Greece,
Cyprus, German, and Belgium. She is also expected to participate in
the solo concert by Armenian singer Arman Hovhannisyan in Lyon,

Eva Rivas will present Armenia with her Apricot Stone on May 27 in the
second semi-final in the Eurovision Song Contest.

EU Encourages Turkey And Armenia To Remain Committed To Normalizatio

13.05.2010 17:10

"EU’s job is not to judge history. EU’s job is to maintain peace,"
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and ENP Stefan Fule said in response
to the question whether the EU recognizes the Armenian Genocide.

Fule said EU was a project aimed at peace, democracy, stability and
prosperity in the continent.

He said EU encourages Turkey and Armenia to remain committed to
normalization process, recalling that the Union called on the
two countries to ratify protocols in a reasonable time frame and
implement them.

Fule added that full normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations
would contribute to security, stability and cooperation in the South
Caucasus. He said vision, courage and dialogue was needed to overcome
past pains.

RA National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan Receives The Members O


National Assembly
May 13 2010

On May 12 the Speaker of the RA National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan
received the members of the Polish-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship
Group of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland led by the Senator
Lukasz Abgarowicz.

Hovik Abrahamyan expressed his condolences on the occasion of the
death of the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and the Polish
high-ranking officials and parliamentarians in plane crash and in
the name of the Armenian people and RA National Assembly conveyed
the fraternal support to the friendly Polish people.

Lukasz Abgarowicz thanked for the attitude that the Armenian people
showed during the days of tragedy, noting that the Speaker of
RA National Assembly was one of the unique high-ranking political
figures, who despite the hard climatic conditions could take part in
the mourning ceremonies.

Positively assessing the high level of the existing political dialogue
between Armenia and Poland, as well as all the existing preconditions
for the further development and deepening of bilateral relations,
both in bilateral and multilateral formats, the RA National Assembly
Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan noted that as Speaker of the Parliament he
would do everything in order to more develop the relations. In his
words, in bilateral political, economic and cultural development the
expanding of the inter-parliamentary ties also has its unique place
in the rapprochement of relations between the two nations. In this
respect, Hovik Abrahamyan highly assessed the visit of the delegation
of the Polish-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group to Yerevan. He
expressed conviction that the sides would retain and deepen the rates
of the inter-parliamentary contacts.

The Head of the Polish-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group of
the Polish Parliament, Senator of Poland Lukasz Abgarowicz said that
they would invite the members of the Armenia-Poland Parliamentary
Friendship Group of the Armenian Parliament to visit Poland. He
expressed his wish to more deepen not only Poland-Armenia, but
also European Union-Armenia relations. In his turn Hovik Abrahamyan
considered important the necessity of rapprochement and efficiency
of cooperation between the permanent representations and official
delegations of Armenia and Poland in European structures, the UN
system and other international instances.

The interlocutors also touched upon the economic relations. The RA
National Assembly Speaker expressed hope that after the presidential
elections in Poland it would be possible to hold an Armenian-Polish
Inter-Governmental Commission sitting and a business forum, around
which an agreement had been reached with the Prime Minister of Poland
Donald Tusk during the latter’s visit to Armenia. Hovik Abrahamyan
noted that as parliamentarians they would seek to make closer the
relations of the governments. Lukasz Abgarowicz said that one of
the goals of their visit was also to study the possibilities and
perspectives of the development of the relations. The issue of opening
the Warsaw-Yerevan direct flight was highlighted.

The sides also touched upon the Armenian-Turkish relations and the
NK problem. Presenting the processes of signing the Armenian-Turkish
protocols and the consequences following it the RA National Assembly
Speaker said that from the beginning bringing various pretexts and
reasons, connecting the protocols with the NK conflict, delaying
their ratification, Turkey was impeding the process of the relations’
normalization. The proposal of such preconditions is unacceptable
for Armenia. And the President of our country signed a decree on
suspension of the ratification procedure of the protocols. Armenia
by now is not going out of this process and expects that Turkey will
show a will of constructive approach.

Regarding the Nagorno Karabakh issue Hovik Abrahamyan said that the
Nagorno Karabakh could not be part of Azerbiajan, the security of
the Nagorno Karabakh people would be guaranteed. The NK issue must
be solved within the OSCE Minsk Group framework, and Armenia does
not observe mediation of any country.

According to Lukasz Abgarowicz, Poland believes that the Nagorno
Karabakh issue and the establishment of the Armenian-Turkish relations
are separate problems, and they must not connect with each other. He
noted that eventually Turkey should recognize the fact of the Armenian
Genocide, highly assessing the steps taken by the President of Armenia
towards the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

Child Abuse Plea: Ex-Teacher Pleads Guilty, But Avoids Other Charges

Gayane Abrahamyan

ArmeniaNow reporter
News | 13.05.10 | 14:40

On prosecution’s demand Avagyan is facing 1.5 years’ imprisonment
for child abuse.

SOS for Campaigner: "Whistleblower" sees accusatory finger pointed
at her From slander to justice: teacher in Yerevan accused of sexual
harassment will face court

A former teacher of Yerevan’s boarding school has pled guilty to
"obscene acts" against underage students and now faces 18 months
in prison.

During a court trial on Wednesday, Levon Avagyan, whose actions
were described by the prosecutor as pedophilia, also asked for a
"speedy trial" amid protest from some of the victims who consider
such an imprisonment term too mild a punishment for "a person who
has committed repugnant acts for years."

Avagyan stands accused of committing obscene acts accompanied with
violence which calls for maximum punishment of three years in prison
(part 2 of Article 142 of Armenia’s Criminal Code).

"Since he has admitted his guilt and has shown repentance, an
accelerated trial procedure will be applied and the sentence cannot
exceed two thirds of the maximum sentence provided for this crime,"
Karen Badikyan, the counsel for the prosecution, told ArmeniaNow.

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the victims has raised objections, saying
that strict punishment is applied for pedophiles all around the world,
with capital punishment even used in certain instances.

Avagyan, a 59-year-old former Armenian language and literature teacher,
had worked at the school for children with special needs in Yerevan’s
southern suburb of Nubarashen for 25 years before retiring following
a sex abuse scandal last year. His former and [then] current students
claimed that during that period he would abuse them not only sexually,
but also physically.

Police opened a probe into student claims after a civic activist
alerted media about alleged abuse at the school in late 2008. Police,
however, cleared Avagyan of wrongdoing last summer and instead turned
against the whistleblower, Mariam Sukhudyan, accusing her of false
denunciation. Investigators closed the case against Sukhudyan, accused
of slander, only in March (shortly after she received a Woman of
Courage award from U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch). The
case by then again had turned against the former teacher.

In closing remarks, prosecutor Badikyan described Avagyan as "cruel
and callous" and that he was known to whip children who misbehaved
using "special devices" for punishment.

Hasmik Sinanyan, 17, a victim in the case, also confirms that Avagyan
used physical violence and insists that this circumstance should be
considered in determining his ultimate sentence.

"In the event of a speedy trial, during which witnesses are not
questioned, a case is not examined properly, victims cannot tell about
what their [preliminary] testimony does not contain, that is about
instances of physical violence, which was of a recurrent nature. Based
on this the charge should be re-qualified and a stricter sentence
should be determined," attorney Hayrapetyan told ArmeniaNow.

Former students of Avagyan, who are not recognized as victims in the
current proceedings, also tell about abuse and violence used by the
former teacher.

1989 graduate of the Nubarashen School Gayane Sargsyan, 37, told
ArmeniaNow that Avagyan would subject his students to brutal beating
during the years of her studies.

"Avagyan was on night duties, he would wake up girls at night and
would take them to the boys’ wing and would force them to do squatting
exercises for hours. When we could take no more, he would hit us in
the stomach, knocking us unconscious. Further, he would hit us for
what he thought was pretence, would pour water on us so we come to
our senses and proceed with the punishment. Once he hit one of the
children so violently that the girl hit her head against the heating
system radiator and lost consciousness," said Sargsyan about her and
others’ ordeal while at Nubarashen.

Despite objections from the victims’ side, the court decided to apply
a speedy trial procedure and postponed the trial until May 19.

WB Hosts Fourth Donors’ Coordination Meeting


May 13, 2010 – 16:06 AMT 11:06 GMT

The World Bank hosted the Fourth Donors’ Coordination Meeting on
Transport Perspectives in the South Caucasus on May 12-13, 2010. The
participants of the Meeting were the Government Officials from the
three South Caucasus countries, as well as of all the donors involved
in the transport sector (EU, EBRD, Council of Europe, BSTDB, EIB,

The Armenian delegation was headed by the Minister of Transport and
Communication Manuk Vardanyan, the Azerbaijani delegation was headed
by Musa Panahov, Deputy Minister of Transport. Georgian Minister for
Infrastructure and Regional Development Davit Tkeshelashvili led the
Georgian Government delegation.

"Today’s donor meeting is very important for Georgia and for all
participating parties as it is a step forward for coordinated
cooperation between the governments of the South Caucasus
countries and International Financial Institutions in the transport
development sphere," said Davit Tkeshelashvili, Georgian Minister
for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Similar to the three previous Coordination Meetings held in Paris,
the overall objective of the meeting was to encourage better donor
coordination in the transport sector in the South Caucasus, share
views among donors on the current state of the transport sector and
related policy matters, and discuss issues and strategy going forward
with the governments of the three countries.

"The objective of this particular meeting was to maximize development
impact of donor programs through their better alignment with respective
national programs and strengthened donor coordination. It provided
an opportunity for the top government officials in this particular
sector to present their national programs, clarify investment needs
and promote new project ideas for donor support," said Asad Alam,
World Bank Country Director for the South Caucasus.

Presentations were made by the respective government representatives
on Transport Program and Strategy in their countries. Each donor
also presented their country programs and the alignment with the
Government needs. The meeting was also an opportunity to share best
international practices and this year’s presentations focused on Road
Maintenance Funding and Organization and Road Construction Quality
Assurance issues.

"This meeting is extremely useful for Armenia, as it offers a chance
to seek regional possibilities, as well as to know what each of
our countries is doing in the transport sphere. We hope that our
cooperation in this area will continue", said Manuk Vardanyan,
Minister of Transport and Communication of Armenia.

"Development of international transport corridors and integration
with European and Asian structures is of particular importance under
current circumstances. This meeting allows the participating countries
and donors to exchange views on these and other issues of common
interest, and discuss further cooperation in the transport sector,"
said Musa Panahov, Deputy Minister of Transport of Azerbaijan.

During discussions, Donors agreed that transport investments are
important for the three South Caucasus countries for their medium
and long term competitiveness and overall development. Efficiency
and sustainability of investments were essential for lasting results.

Participants agreed that the meeting was important in better addressing
the very large investment needs in the South Caucasus transport sector.