Prime Ministers of Armenia, Georgia hold phone conversation


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 23, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Pashinyan held a phone conversation with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, the PM's Office said.

The Prime Minister of Armenia once again congratulated his Georgian counterpart on the occasion of assuming the high position and wished him success.

The interlocutors attached importance to the further development and deepening of bilateral relations and expressed readiness to cooperate closely in this direction.

Prime Minister Pashinyan invited Prime Minister Kobakhidze to pay an official visit to the Republic of Armenia. The Prime Minister of Georgia accepted the invitation.

A Clash of Narratives: Macron’s Comments Spark Controversy in Azerbaijan-Armenia Relations

Feb 22 2024
Mahnoor Jehangir

In a world where diplomacy delicately balances on the edge of a knife, words can either bridge divides or deepen them. Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron found himself at the heart of a controversy that has stirred the already turbulent waters between Azerbaijan and Armenia. His comments on the return of Karabakh Armenians, intended or not, have ignited a fervent response from the Western Azerbaijan Community, leading to accusations of him being 'more Armenian than the Armenians themselves' and labeling his remarks as 'ridiculous'. This incident not only highlights the fragility of post-conflict relations but also raises questions about the role of international actors in regional disputes.

The crux of the matter lies not just in Macron's comments but in the deeper, historical grievances between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Western Azerbaijan Community's reaction is a testament to the enduring pain of displacement and the yearning for a return to their ancestral lands in Armenia. Their call for a mutual return underscores the complexity of reconciling with the past while navigating the present. The emphasis on a mutual return is a plea for equity and acknowledgment of suffering on both sides, challenging Macron's narrative and questioning the impartiality of international involvement.

France's involvement in the Azerbaijan-Armenia normalization process has been met with skepticism and dissatisfaction from the Azerbaijani side. Accusations of a dishonest approach by France have led to a recommendation that France should remain silent on the matter, a statement that underscores the perceived bias and missteps in diplomatic engagements. This dissatisfaction is not isolated but reflects a broader concern with the Brussels track of negotiations, where Baku has sensed a pro-Armenian bias and provocative statements from European leaders, including Macron. The Western Azerbaijan Community's critique of France's role encapsulates the broader challenges of mediating peace and reconciliation in a context where historical grievances and national identities are deeply intertwined.

The controversy surrounding Macron's comments and the subsequent response from the Western Azerbaijan Community highlight the precarious nature of the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia. While the European Union, with France as a key player, has been instrumental in fostering dialogue, the current impasse raises critical questions about the future of engagement. Azerbaijan's economic and strategic dependence on Europe, particularly in areas of energy and transport, juxtaposed with the potential risks of disengagement, underscores the need for a balanced and impartial approach in securing peace and stability in the region. The ongoing negotiations between Baku and Yerevan, amid these diplomatic frictions, reaffirm the importance of maintaining collaborative ties for the sake of regional and international security.

Armenia, Azerbaijan plan new meetings on level of foreign ministers and deputy PMs


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 21, ARMENPRESS. Armenia and Azerbaijan plan to hold new meetings on the level of foreign ministers and deputy prime ministers, Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan has said.

He said that the peace treaty remains a priority for Armenia.

Speaking at a press briefing, Grigoryan said the agreement on the new meetings was reached in Munich after PM Pashinyan and Azeri President Aliyev’s meeting. “The issue is being discussed, but at this moment there is no clear information on the date and location of the meeting,” he said.

Armenia remains committed to the peace agenda and will consistently advance it, Grigoryan added.

Armenia’s economic growth forecast: 8% with favourable conditions, 4% otherwise. Opinion

Feb 21 2024
  • Yerevan

Armenia’s economy

If the situation in Armenia develops positively, then in 2024 the country could anticipate economic growth ranging between seven to eight percent. But if not, it might only reach three to four percent,” economist Tatul Manaserian suggests.

The government believes it can achieve 7% economic growth. However, Manaserian reminds that when analysing the country’s economy, several factors should be considered, and not all of them may have a positive effect.

Among the positive ones, in his opinion, is the agreement to establish a free economic zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Armenia. Signed late last year, this agreement could bring real benefits to the Armenian economy in 2024, Manaserian thinks.

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At the end of 2023, the finance minister stated that if current trends persist, growth exceeding 7% could be recorded.

Last year, the service sector and an unprecedented construction boom accounted for a significant economic growth.

However, experts warned that agriculture is in a dire state, industry is in decline, and the recorded economic growth in the country is not stable. If the external factors that led to the growth change, the country will face serious problems.

The Eurasian Development Bank forecasts economic growth in Armenia in 2024 at 5.7%, the International Monetary Fund at up to 5%. According to the World Bank’s forecasts, growth will be 4.7%, while UN experts estimate it at 5.2%.

The Central Bank of Armenia expects the country’s economy to grow by 6.1% this year. However, the government expects a higher result.

An economist Tatul Manaserian, the director of the research centre “Alternative”, believes that several conflicting trends may influence the development of Armenia’s economy this year.

The main driving force could be the realisation of the country’s competitive advantages. Growth is possible through the utilisation of real opportunities arising from the establishment of a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union. It is also important to maintain active relations with Russia and other countries of the Eurasian Union.”

In Manaserian`s opinion, effective economic management and utilizing the potential of the Armenian diaspora are important as well.

Manaserian believes that Armenia’s economic growth will heavily depend on geopolitical factors, and they could change in a way that leaves the economy without growth engines.”

He thinks that economic growth will be conditioned by:

  • Strengthening domestic demand;
  • Inflow of transfers;
  • Stimulating tax and budgetary policies.

Traditional growth in services, information technology, real estate, finance, and tourism will play a significant role. However, this might not be enough without reforms and improvements in the industrial and agricultural sectors.

Among external factors, developments in the Chinese economy and the war in Ukraine are significant. These and other external factors could also impact the exchange rate of the Armenian dram.”

Asbarez: ‘Odes of Saint Nersess the Graceful: Annotated Translation’ Now Available on Amazon

"Odes of Saint Nersess the Graceful: Annotated Translation" book cover

NEW YORK—Tarkmaneal Press announced the release of “Odes of Saint Nersess the Graceful: Annotated Translation” by Matthew J. Sarkisian and Jesse S. Arlen. The volume is the second in the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center’s series Sources from the Armenian Christian Tradition and is available for purchase on Amazon.

St. Nersess the Graceful (Nersēs Shnorhali, 1102–1173 A.D.), = from 1166 until his death in 1173, was one of the great figures of the medieval Armenian Church. His most popular work is the prayer of twenty-four stanzas commonly known as “With Faith I Confess” (“Havadov Khosdovanim”), which has been translated into more than thirty languages. He was also a prolific author and composer of hymns and other poetic works, many of which remain little known today. This volume presents the Armenian text and an English translation of sixty of St. Nersess’s liturgical odes (tagh), fifty-eight of which have never been previously translated into English. These profound songs of praise were composed to enhance the celebration and reflect on the mystery of the various feasts and commemorations that make up the Christian liturgical year. The translation is accompanied by an introduction and extensive annotation, which brings to light the Biblical, theological, and poetic features of these literary treasures, making them accessible to the general reader in the twenty-first century.

Tarkmaneal Press was founded in 2024 by Matthew J. Sarkisian and Jesse S. Arlen with thegoal of bringing bilingual editions of classical Armenian texts with annotated English translations available to a wide audience. Sarkisianis a self-taught translator of Classical Armenian who lives in the Binghamton, New York area. He previously collaborated with Jesse Arlen on an annotated translation of an Armenian prayer scroll (hmayil), published in 2022 by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center. Arlenis the director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center at the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University. He has published a number of studies on late antique and medieval Christian spirituality and monastic literature.

“St. Nersess Shnorhali, Nersess the Graceful, belongs to the rank of those Church Fathers and Doctors who rightfully can be declared “the lyre of the Holy Spirit.” One of the earliest European Armenologists, the Jesuit Fr. Jacques Villote, admiring the sublime touches of heavenly inspiration emanating from Shnorhali’s verses, called his poetic masterpiece — named in Armenian Յիսուս, Որդի (Jesus, Son) from its incipit — ‘The Divine Elegy.’ Nersess Shnorhali is one of the most exceptional figures in the history of the universal Church for more than one reason, but above all for his passionate search for the unity of the Church, and for his deep understanding, in the wake of St. Gregory of Narek, of the fragility, the conventionality, the inadequacy of human language in speaking of Divine mystery. The Odes in this volume, masterfully translated and commented upon by Matthew J. Sarkisian and Jesse S. Arlen, are among the most vibrant, genuine, and touching expressions of Shnorhali’s spirituality,” said Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, Emeritus Professor of Armenian Studies, Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.

“St. Nersess Shnorhali’s hymns are known for their literary beauty and spiritual sublimity. Sarkisian and Arlen convey both aspects in their mellifluous translation. The substantial annotation they provide further defines their mastery of the classical text,” said Abraham Terian, Emeritus Professor of Armenian Patristics and Theology, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.

“Thanks to Jesse Arlen and Matthew Sarkisian for this carefully prepared labor of love and learning. They have curated for us a trove of lesser-known, spiritual gems from the vast storehouse of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s writings,” said Roberta Ervine, Professor of Armenian Christian Studies, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.

Russia calls for Armenia-Azerbaijan de-escalation


MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed ‘deep concern’ Wednesday over what it described as military ‘incidents’ on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on February 12-13, when 4 Armenian soldiers were killed and another wounded when their position in Syunik came under cross-border Azeri gunfire.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing that Armenia and Azerbaijan should refrain from any actions that would escalate the situation.

‘We are calling on Baku and Yerevan to display restraint and make steps for de-escalation,’ she said, calling on the sides to resolve disputes peacefully. She added that the countries should adhere to the 2020-2022 Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan trilateral statements. ‘We are convinced that territorial disputes should be resolved as part of the work of the bilateral commission on delimitation,’ Zakharova added.

Armenian government plans to buy former French president’s Paris mansion for embassy


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 15, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian government plans to buy a €23,000,000 building in Paris which was once the private mansion of the late ex-President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The building will house the Armenian embassy in France.

The mansion is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

The decision on approving the purchase is included in the February 15 Cabinet meeting agenda.

In accordance with an agreement between the government and the seller, the government must pay 10% of the total amount as a prepayment. The Cabinet meeting’s item is on approving the provision of 2,3 million euros for the prepayment.

Brussels hosts EU-Armenia Partnership Council meeting


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS. The fifth meeting of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council is underway in Brussels.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Josep Borrell, the Vice President of the European Commission, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy are participating in the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting includes a wide range of issues: the implementation process of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, including the reforms implemented in Armenia and their results. The prospects of deepening the Armenia-EU partnership in various fields will also be touched upon, taking into account the current priorities and existing challenges. The security situation in the South Caucasus and regional issues will also be discussed.

Defense Ministry investigates alleged opening of fire by Armenian guards on Kapan- Zangelan section


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 12, ARMENPRESS. The information disseminated by the Azerbaijani media regarding the alleged  opening of fire by the Armenian guards on the Kapan-Zangelan section of the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border on February 12 is being investigated, the Ministry of Defense said.

"Written orders from the superior command clearly define the circumstances under which a serviceman, assessing the situation, can and/or is obliged to make a decision to open fire. According to preliminary information, such a situation did not occur in this area on February 12. If this is confirmed, those responsible for violating the order will be held accountable," the ministry added.