Germany hosts the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan for peace talks

Feb 28 2024
Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Germany sought to move forward talks on a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Wednesday, welcoming the two countries' foreign ministers to Berlin.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hosted her counterparts, Armenia's Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijan's Jeyhun Bayramov, at a secluded government villa for what was billed as two days of talks.

The latest talks followed a meeting on Feb. 17 between German Chancellor OIaf Scholz, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Scholz underlined Germany's willingness to help conclude peace talks, along with that of European Council President Charles Michel.

“We believe that Armenia and Azerbaijan now have an opportunity to achieve an enduring peace after years of painful conflict,” Baerbock, who visited both countries in November, said ahead of a three-way meeting. "What we’re seeing now are courageous steps by both countries to put the past behind and to work toward a durable peace for their people."

Armenia and Azerbaijan have a long history of land disputes. The most recent border skirmish left at least four Armenian soldiers dead earlier in mid-February.

Azerbaijan waged a lightning military campaign last year to reclaim the Karabakh region, which Armenian separatists had ruled for three decades.

The region, which was known internationally as Nagorno-Karabakh, and large swaths of surrounding territory came under full control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia at the end of a separatist war in 1994.

Azerbaijan regained parts of Karabakh and most of the surrounding territory in a six-week war in 2020 that ended with a Russian-brokered truce. In December 2022, Azerbaijan started blockading the road linking the region with Armenia, causing food and fuel shortages.

It then launched a blitz in September 2023 that routed the separatist forces in one day and forced them to lay down arms. More than 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled the region, leaving it nearly deserted.

With political momentum from the successful military operation, Aliyev won another term in a snap election on Feb. 7.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have pledged to work toward signing a peace treaty, but no visible progress has been made, and tensions have continued to soar amid mutual distrust.

"Direct dialog like today and tomorrow is the best way to make further progress," Baerbock said.

The Armenians in Ethiopia(Part II)

Ethiopia Observer
Feb 28 2024

As Boris Adjemian’s narration reveals, the Arba Arba Ledjotch (Forty Children), who became the first imperial brass band, were not the first Armenian presence in the country. Armenians had already been established in the royal court for many generations preceding this period. A small Armenian community began to emerge in Ethiopia, particularly in Harar, Dire Dawa, and Addis Ababa, during the late 19th century. As subsequent passages elucidate, the initial families primarily came from the Arabkir region, now part of Turkey. Following the genocide, additional Armenian families migrated to Ethiopia from Ayntab and Cilicia, augmenting the community’s presence in the country.

One name that frequently arises is that of Sarkis Terzian (1868-1915), one of Emperor Menelik’s most renowned Armenian associates. Known as both a smuggler and a merchant, he made his fortune as an arms trader and gained fame by introducing the steamroller, aptly named ‘Sarkis babur,’ into the country. His close relationship with those in power elevated him to a revered status among the descendants of Armenian immigrants to Ethiopia, who regard him as a founding hero. Another notable figure was Dikran Ebeyan, who crafted Emperor Menilek’s crown.

Sarkis Terzian, his wife Vartouhie and their two children, Yervanet et Avedis, 1906

As Professor Richard Pankhurst detailed in his essay, “Menilek and the Utilization of Foreign Skills in Ethiopia,” Dikran, who came from Cairo, was a jeweler by trade. His interest in Ethiopia was sparked “when an Ethiopian pilgrim bound for the Holy Land had stopped in Egypt, bearing a letter from Menelik to the Armenian community, requesting them to send him a goldsmith. The Armenian is said to have made three unsuccessful attempts to reach Ethiopia by way of Massawa, but was each time stopped at the port. Eventually, however, he landed at Tajurah, and proceeded inland to Menilek’s court, where he was never short of work. He produced several crowns for the sovereign and his consort Taytu, among them the crown used in Menilek’s coronation as Emperor in 1889 and another which the Emperor presented to the cathedral of Aksum.”

In one passage of “La fanfare du néguse,” Adjemian elucidates how the Armenian figures employed at the gebbi, the imperial palace, were under the protection of the Ethiopian rulers while upholding a discreet presence. “Contemporary sources only briefly mention their existence, often portraying them solely in the context of their craft or commercial roles. But personal relationships held great significance during this period, at a time when there was not yet a formal Ethiopian government and when, in the words of historian Berhanou Abebe, the realm of “foreign affairs” was, in fact, the emperor’s interactions with foreigners. The protocol was somewhat uncodified at the court of Menelik II, allowing individuals like Dikran Ebeyan, a simple Armenian goldsmith, to mingle with the small society of European diplomats and leverage his interpersonal skills.”

(The second installment of three book description to be published over the month.)

Macron calls on Baku to ensure safe, unimpeded return for those wishing to return to Karabakh


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 21, ARMENPRESS. French President Emmanuel Macron, during a joint meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for media representatives, called on Azerbaijan to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice on November 17, 2023, according to which Azerbaijan must ensure the safe and unimpeded return of those who left Nagorno-Karabakh after September 9, 2023, and wish to return.

"We call for the implementation of the decision of the International Court of Justice on November 17, 2023. According to this decision, Azerbaijan must ensure that those who left Nagorno-Karabakh after September 19, 2023, and wish to return, can do so safely, unimpeded and expeditious manner," Macron said.

Azerbaijani citizen detained in Moscow at Armenia’s request, quickly released

Feb 21 2024
  • JAMnews
  • Baku

Azerbaijani blogger detained in Russia

Kamil Zeynalli, a prominent blogger and fitness trainer from Azerbaijan, was detained in Russia. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia has placed him under international search on charges of “murder”. Curiously, on the same day of his detention, he was released.

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Zeynalli said that the following day was slated for a court hearing.

“According to international conventions, if the detainee is sought by a hostile country, he cannot be extradited there. Since there has been no peace treaty signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Russia cannot, under any circumstances, hand him over to Armenia,” stated the blogger’s lawyer.

Kamil Zeynalli has been placed under international search on charges of “murder” and is suspected of beheading an elderly individual in Karabakh during the 44-day war, as reported by Armenian sources, citing the press service of the Armenian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In October 2020, during the second Karabakh war, Kamil Zeynalli was arrested in Azerbaijan for 10 days for “posting information prohibited for dissemination on the Internet” and “violating the requirements of the martial law regime”.

In December 2020, after the 44-day war, Kamil Zeynalli was arrested again. This time he was arrested for 30 days for attempting to illegally enter the Kelbajar district, which was recently liberated from occupation.

A few hours after his arrest, Kamil Zeynalli’s lawyer announced that he had been released and would soon return to Baku.

France inducts Resistance hero Manouchian into Panthéon

Feb 21 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron led a ceremony Wednesday honouring Missak Manouchian, a stateless poet of Armenian origin who died fighting the Nazi occupation during World War II. Manouchian becomes the first foreign Resistance fighter to enter France's Panthéon mausoleum for national heroes.

The belated honour to Missak Manouchian has been seen as long overdue recognition of the bravery of foreign communists – many Jewish – who fought the Nazis alongside French Resistants.

"Jewish, Hungarian, Polish, Armenians, communists, they gave their lives for our country," President Emmanuel Macron said this weekend.

"It's a way of ensuring all forms of internal Resistance enter (the Panthéon), including some too long forgotten," he told communist newspaper L'Humanite.

The bodies of Manouchian and his wife Mélinée, also a member of the Resistance, will be transferred from the Parisian cemetery where they were buried together to the Panthéon.

The names of 23 of his communist comrades-in-arms – including Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Romanian fighters – will be added to a commemorative plaque inside the monument.

Baker – the first black woman to receive the honour – had been awarded French nationality before the war.

Last year the president said Manouchian would receive the honour too, paying tribute to his "bravery" and "quiet heroism".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Turkish Press: Munich hosts key peace commitment between Armenia, Azerbaijan

Feb 17 2024
Breaking news  |

Editor : Selin Hayat Hacialioglu
2024-02-17 15:00:15 | Last Update : 2024-02-17 16:22:13

In a significant development reported from Munich, Germany, the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have committed to resolve their differences peacefully.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced this pledge following a tripartite meeting that included himself and the leaders of the two countries.

The meeting involving Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev allowed Chancellor Scholz to encourage a swift conclusion to the ongoing peace talks.

During the meeting with Armenia's President Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev, Scholz encouraged both sides to rapidly conclude the peace talks, according to a statement issued by the chancellery.

"The chancellor praised pledges from both sides today to resolve differences in opinion and open questions exclusively through peaceful means and without the use of force," added the statement.

This commitment marks a pivotal moment in the relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have historically been at odds.

The Munich meeting's outcomes offer a hopeful prospect for the future of both nations, signaling a potential end to longstanding tensions. The emphasis on peaceful dialogue and resolution could pave the way for a more harmonious coexistence, benefiting Armenia and Azerbaijan and contributing to broader regional stability.

Source: Newsroom

Armenia’s identity yesterday and today

Feb 15 2024
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Behind the ongoing discussions in Yerevan on whether to change the constitution, along with the national symbol and anthem, there is not only the Nagorno Karabakh issue. At stake is above all the affirmation of the 'duty to pursue the interests of the entire Armenian world', which risks looking at the history of the past rather than the interests of the citizens of Armenia today. The knot of relations with Moscow.

Yerevan (AsiaNews) – Discussions continue in Armenia over whether the constitution should be changed, along with the national symbol and anthem, following proposals made by Prime Minister Nikol Pašinyan. The deputy of the majority party of the Civil Accord, Vaagn Aleksanyan, commented in an interview with Ota on the opposition's accusations that the current leadership intends to "distort the identity of the Armenian people". In his opinion, 'very deep dimensions of our life are at stake in this debate, which we must address together, otherwise we will not be able to move forward'.

There are several elements that need to be clarified, Aleksanyan insists, both in the text of the constitution and in the very symbolism included in the national coat of arms, with the shield between the eagle and the lion (wisdom and pride) representing Mount Ararat with Noah's ark on top (the biblical mountain now in Turkish territory) and the rest of the territory sinking into the waves of Lake Sevan below. He observes that 'it is certainly not a positive identity to have a people living underwater in a foreign land'. The paintings on the sides of the mountain present with images of plants and animals the four kingdoms of Armenian history, the Bagratids, the Aršakids, the Artašesids and the Rubenids, of which the present population now knows very little.

Today's Armenia is in fact just a peripheral remnant of the ancient kingdom, the first Christian state in history, then almost completely annihilated by the Ottoman Turks until the genocide in the early 1900s, and saved substantially by the support of the Soviet Russians. Aleksanyan is convinced that 'we must understand our identity today, it is neither necessary nor possible to do so in a few days, but we must at least start talking about it'. The loss of the Artsakh conquered by the Azeris is one of the triggers for this new realisation, along with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine itself.

In this sense, it is important to clarify the proposal to remove from the constitution the reference to the Declaration of Independence, which states in practice that 'the Republic of Armenia as a state has the duty to pursue the interests of the entire Armenian world', making it very difficult to define what the interests of the many Armenians living in Russia and Ukraine, not to mention the disputed territories with Azerbaijan, are. He is convinced that 'Armenia's constitution must be about the interests of the people living in Armenia'.

One of the most heated aspects of the debate concerns the claims of Baku's president Ilham Aliev, to whom Prime Minister Pašinyan would like to submit. For Aleksanyan, 'it is a strange statement, whereby first Pašinyan says he wants to change the constitution, then the opposition says he wants to do it at Aliev's behest, and only at the end does Aliev say: yes, I want you to change the constitution'. Indeed, it is not clear what Aliev's wish consists of, except for the references to Nagorno Karabakh, which are not explicit anywhere in the text.

According to Pašinyan, Armenia must become 'a competitive and autonomous country in the new geopolitical conditions', and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan also called it 'an exaggeration' to consider the process of regulating Armenian-Azerbaijani relations as the sole cause of the amendment to the state's basic law. In addition to the rhetorical skirmishes with Azerbaijan, with which tensions continue to remain very high, with constant episodes of local conflicts on the borders, the issue of the 'new identity' affects the relationship with Russia in even deeper ways.

In Pašinyan's recent interview with The Telegraph, which is also fuelling discussion and controversy, the premier stated that 'relations with Moscow should no longer be one of stable alliance, but of simple partnership, as with the United States and the European Union'. A stance far more radical than local issues, severing bridges with Armenia's ancient and recent past.


Turkish Press: Azerbaijan criticizes EU activities in Armenia

Feb 12 2024
Politics  |

Editor : Sanem Topal
2024-02-12 16:50:51 | Last Update : 2024-02-12 17:16:34

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the European Union's Ambassador to Baku, Peter Michalko, according to a statement released by the ministry.

The statement shared that Michalko was informed of serious concerns regarding the activities of EUMA in Azerbaijan, contrary to the agreements initially reached.

The statement said that Michalko was briefed on significant concerns regarding the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) activities in Azerbaijan, which were deemed to be diverging from the agreements initially reached.

Furthermore, the statement highlighted that Michalko was briefed on the widespread misuse of EUMA as a "propaganda tool against Azerbaijan," which contradicts the objectives stated for contributing to regional stability and building trust between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The statement reminded that various EU officials and unofficial delegations have been observed using binoculars to observe the Azerbaijan border under the EUMA framework. It was conveyed to the EU that these visits have transformed into a form of "binocular diplomacy," used to spread hatred against Azerbaijan and promote baseless anti-Azerbaijan sentiments. 

Michalko was informed in the statement that such alarming activities do not align with the objectives of EUMA as a neutral actor contributing to trust and confidence-building.

The statement also reminded the EU to take all necessary measures to avoid any activities that may impact Azerbaijan's sovereignty, territorial integrity, or legitimate security interests.

Armenpress: PM Pashinyan comments on delay in Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. The architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon but Azerbaijan has been refusing to participle in negotiations, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan has said in an interview with The Telegraph when asked on the Armenian-Azeri talks and why the process is delayed.

“First of all, it should be noted that the principles of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon in three international formats. The first took place in 2022. On October 6, during the quadrilateral meeting held in Prague, which was attended by the President of France Emmanuel Macron, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and me, and we, after long discussions, adopted a joint statement in which the following principle is recorded: Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other's territorial integrity based on the 1991 Declaration of Alma-Ata.

“What does this mean? The Declaration of Alma-Ata is about the following and it was signed by 12 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. By signing that declaration, they recorded several things. First, the Soviet Union ceases to exist and these republics, becoming sovereign states, recognize each other's territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and sovereignty. And thus, with the Alma-Ata declaration, the existing administrative borders between the republics of the Soviet Union become state borders. I say this because it is recorded in the Alma-Ata declaration that these republics accept the existing borders, that is, whatever border existed at that moment, they recognize the inviolability of those borders.

“And of course, there is a very important nuance here that I want to emphasize, the Alma-Ata declaration and the packages related to the Declaration were ratified by the Armenian parliament in 1992, the Azerbaijani parliament ratified it later. Many events took place after the signing and ratification, but in this context it is very important to record that in Prague on October 6, in the presence of the President of France and the President of the European Council, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in fact, after all those events, reaffirmed that they recognize each other's territorial integrity on the basis of the Alma-Ata Declaration.

“And the second important point is that the Alma-Ata declaration should become the basis for the demarcation and delimitation of the borders between the two countries. This is also a very important principle, which in this context means that in the process of demarcation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, no border has to be created, but the borders confirmed and reaffirmed by the Alma-Ata declaration should be expressed on the ground, on maps.

“This is the first fundamental agreement. After that, on October 30, the trilateral statement of the President of Russia, the President of Azerbaijan and myself was signed, in which Armenia and Azerbaijan acknowledged in a written statement that they recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty and declare that they refuse to use force and the threat of force, and all issues will be resolved through negotiation. This agreement also became the basis for the formation and formulation of the third fundamental principle, which means that the opening and unblocking of regional communications, and the opening of roads for each other will take place within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries, and this principle, together with the previous two principles, was recorded based on the results of the trilateral meetings held in Brussels on May 14 and July 15. Moreover, everything I'm talking about are public documents.

“What does all this have to do with your question? And the connection is that, essentially, the architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed upon, and at the end of last year it seemed to us that we were very close to finally agreeing on the text of the final treaty, but from the beginning, Azerbaijan three times refused to participate in negotiations in different formats, after which presidential elections in Azerbaijan were scheduled. And, in fact, we are still on this point, and I assume that after the presidential elections, we will be able to achieve implementation of these points, if there is political will. I can record that the Armenian government, as before, has the political will to precisely go for peace in our region and to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan based on the above-mentioned agreements,” Pashinyan said.

“…the fact that we have lost so much time is not a very positive sign, because you see, on June 1, a five-party meeting was held in Chișinău with the participation of the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany, the President of the European Council, the President of Azerbaijan and me, and where an agreement was formulated and it was published in a written form that the next meeting in that same format would take place in Granada in autumn 2023. But Azerbaijan, in fact, refused to participate in that meeting, where in that context it was formulated that the next meeting would take place at the end of October, in Brussels, in a trilateral format. Azerbaijan again refused to participate in that meeting. And if we add to this the events that took place in Nagorno Karabakh, first military strikes were carried out against Nagorno Karabakh and, in fact, Nagorno Karabakh was completely depopulated as a result of ethnic cleansing,” Pashinyan added, emphasizing that “when we put these events side by side, in Armenia, for example, there are analysts who believe that all this means that Azerbaijan is retreating step by step and abandoning the agreements reached on international platforms and between us.”