CoE monitor ends fact-finding trip to Armenia

Council Of Europe Monitor Ends Fact-Finding Trip To Armenia
By Gevorg Stamboltsian 15/06/2004 01:47

Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic
June 15 2004

A representative of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly
(PACE) met Monday with President Robert Kocharian and a string of
other senior Armenian officials to wrap up a fact-finding trip aimed
at assessing Yerevan’s compliance with democratic standards set by
the organization.

Jerzy Jaskiernia, the Armenia rapporteur of the PACE’s Monitoring
Committee, is to draft a report on whether the Kocharian’s
administration is following the recommendations contained in the
assembly’s April 28 resolution on the Armenian political crisis. He
left no indications that the report will be as critical of the
Armenian authorities as the resolution. “We will present our findings
in our report. We don’t like to make any comments during the visit,”
Jaskiernia told reporters when asked to comment on his findings.

But in separate comments on Saturday, the official hinted that the
document’s content is likely to be positive for the authorities. “I
think there is an intention by the government to fulfill that
resolution. Several of its elements have already been fulfilled,”
he said, pointing to the release of all senior members of opposition
parties involved in the three-month campaign against Kocharian.

The PACE resolution deplored the government crackdown launched in
response to that campaign. It warned that the Armenian government must
immediately free all individuals arrested for their participation
in the opposition protests and investigate “human rights abuses”
or face the possibility of PACE sanctions next September.

However, the main focus of Jaskiernia’s meetings in Yerevan was the
idea of a referendum of confidence in Kocharian which was floated by
the Armenian Constitutional Court in the wake of last year’s disputed
presidential election. Government officials reiterated their view that
the proposal was not binding for the executive branch and did not stem
from the country’s constitution. Jaskiernia seemed to agree with them.

The opposition leaders, already enraged by Jaskiernia’s repeated
statements that serious fraud reported during the presidential election
did not affect its outcome, reacted with irritation. “Decisions of
the Constitutional Court are not subject to discussion by Armenian
politicians, let alone Jaskiernia,” one of them, Aram Sarkisian,
told RFE/RL.

Artashes Geghamian, another opposition leader who met with Jaskiernia,
complained that the PACE mainly met with various-level government
officials while in Yerevan, arguing that he could have familiarized
himself with their position without leaving Strasbourg. “I warned
him that if yet another subjective monitoring [of the situation] is
carried out, it will further deepen the socioeconomic and political
crisis in Armenia,” Geghamian said.

The opposition also renewed its allegations that the publication
earlier this month in Yerevan of Jaskiernia’s book about the PACE,
which was sponsored by the Armenian parliament, amounted to a political
kickback which was meant to influence the content of his upcoming
report to the Strasbourg assembly. “I don’t think the Armenian public
couldn’t wait to read the book by the PACE rapporteur,” said Victor
Dallakian of the Artarutyun alliance. “I consider that an example
of corruption.”

Jaskiernia has denied any conflict of interest between his PACE
position and the promotion of his writings. He argues that he had no
material gains from the book’s translation to the Armenian language.

Opposition To Continue Rallies

Armenia: Opposition To Continue Rallies
By Ruzanna Khachatrian and Hrach Melkumian 15/06/2004 01:55

Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic
June 15 2004

The leadership of the Artarutyun alliance, Armenia’s biggest opposition
group, reaffirmed on Monday its intention to continue anti-government
demonstrations in Yerevan despite a clear loss of momentum its campaign
for regime change.

The bloc’s leaders said the next rally, scheduled for Wednesday, will
go ahead as planned. But it remained unclear whether the opposition
will urge supporters to march towards President Robert Kocharian’s
residence or elsewhere in the city center. They said the decision
will be made during the protest jointly with their allies from the
National Unity Party (AMK).

The two opposition forces had for weeks been promising to lay siege
to the presidential palace. The first such action ended in violence
on the night from April 12-13 when riot police used force to disperse
a crowd of more than 2,000 people.

At their last rally on June 4 the opposition leaders effectively
abandoned their plans for another “decisive action,” arguing that
they have so far failed to pull crowds big enough to resist security
forces. The move led local observers to conclude that the three-month
campaign to oust Kocharian has failed.

But speaking to RFE/RL over the weekend, the two most popular
oppositionists said they are determined to continue to fight
against what they see as an “illegitimate” regime.” “This is a
difficult process,” Artarutyun’s Stepan Demirchian said. “There may
be different phases, different manifestations. But the process is
certainly irreversible.”

“Illegalities, arbitrary use of force naturally have a depressing
effect on the people. But this does not mean that the opposition
movement is fading away,” AMK leader Artashes Geghamian agreed.

Another prominent opposition figure, Victor Dallakian, said the
opposition made unspecified “tactical mistakes” in its drive for
power, but insisted that its overall strategy of regime change is
justified. But fellow lawmaker Arshak Sadoyan said that the mistakes
were “serious.” He said the opposition should have opted for a more
“muscular struggle” in the face of a tough crackdown unleashed by
the authorities.

Wednesday’s rally is likely to be first opposition action sanctioned
by the authorities. The organizers formally notified the Yerevan
mayor’s office of the planned gathering in accordance with a new
Armenian law. The municipality has voiced no objections yet.

Opposition officials attributed the effective permission to the
presence in Yerevan of a delegation from the Council of Europe.

Palestinian, Israeli girls to model for peace

Palestinian, Israeli girls to model for peace

Daily Times, Pakistan
June 15 2004

Palestinian and Israeli beauties are set to hit the catwalk together
later this week at a beauty contest, which aims at building bridges
between the two estranged communities, organisers told AFP.

Two Arab and 15 Jewish contestants will compete in the Miss Seamline
contest which is to take place in Gilo, a south Jerusalem neighbourhood
built on Palestinian land annexed by Israel after the 1967 Middle
East war, organiser Uzi Nagar said.

Contestants from Gilo, the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem and
the neighbouring villages of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, will enjoy
an evening of Jewish and Arab music before going on stage in a bid
to win a weekend in either Paris or London.

Organisers initially had eight Arab contestants, but the number dropped
to two, Nagar said. One is a 20-year-old Palestinian student of French
from Beit Jala, while the second is a 21-year-old Armenian Christian
from occupied east Jerusalem.

“This is a very special contest which we began organising three months
ago,” Nagar said.

“The aim is to promote dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli girls
through universal means like fashion and beauty,” he said. “It is
for everyone.” afp

8th int’l economic forum opens in St Pete Tuesday

8th int’l economic forum opens in St Pete Tuesday

ITAR-TASS, Russia
June 15 2004

ST PETERSBURG, June 15 (Itar-Tass) – The 8th Petersburg international
economic forum opens here on Tuesday under the motto of “Effective
Economy — Decent Life”. The forum has been organised by the
Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS), the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament
with the participation of the Government of the Russian Federation
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Heads of Government, parliament chiefs, the leaders of international
organisations, and members of the economic and political elites of
a number of countries will attend a plenary meeting, which will be
broadcast in the Internet. A keynote report is to be delivered by
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Participants in the three-day forum are to devote special attention
to matters concerning economic growth and the quality of life
under globalisation conditions, the development of the European
Union’s economic relations with Russia and other CIS countries, the
economic and social reform processes, the development of contemporary
information technologies, the attraction of investments, accession of
new countries to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). These and other
matters will be discussed at both plenary sessions and at the forum’s
26 roundtable meetings, some of which will take place in Moscow.

The forum’s programme also provides for a CIS business congress that
will deal with an analysis of the development of interaction within
the CIS business community, including that concerning support for and
the protection of the interests of small and medium-sized businesses,
the expansion of cooperation in the fair-and-exhibition activities,
deeper interaction between State and public organisations of CIS
countries within the framework of negotiations for accession to the
WTO. At the close of the congress, the participating businessmen are
expected to adopt a Final Statement.

At the Mikhailovsky Manege exhibition center, there will be also
exhibitions-and-presentation of the economic resources of Russia’s
Southern Federal District, the Republic of Armenia, and the Czech
Republic, and an exhibition on the theme of “The Mineral and Raw
Material Resources of CIS Countries”.

ANKARA: Gul: We Must Take Strength From Our Common Heritage …

Gul: We Must Take Strength From Our Common Heritage Which Offers A
Rational And Humanistic Understanding Of The World

Anadolu Agency:
6/14/2004

ISTANBUL – Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah
Gul said on Monday, “as the Islamic countries, we must take strength
from our common heritage which offers a rational and humanistic
understanding of the world.”

Speaking at the 31st session of Islamic Conference of Foreign
Ministers in Istanbul, Gul said, “we meet again at a very crucial
time. The Arab-Israeli conflict with the question of Palestine at
its core is bleeding hopes away. Iraq has yet to show a genuine sign
towards stability. Africa`s problems remain to be solved. Terrorism is
expanding its scope and intensifying in ferocity. Sense of security
is fast diminishing. The continuing political, social and economic
deprivation is bringing greater instability. Those preaching clash of
civilizations are winning more attentive ears. Prejudices, fanaticism
and discrimination are everywhere. And, insecurity is now threatening
a global economic downturn.”

“We, as the Islamic countries, are affected by all these issues
directly. Therefore, we need to rise to the challenge. This is not
a matter of choice; it is a mission dictated by our common heritage
and our deep sense of history. Our task may be difficult. However,
we must not fall to desperation. We must take strength from our common
heritage which offers a rational and humanistic understanding of the
world. This quality of Islamic culture and tradition has produced
remarkable achievements in the past. But it is not enough to content
ourselves with the old times. Our present challenge is to work for
similar achievements today and in the future,” he said.

Gul noted, “it is gratifying to see that many fellow OIC members feel
the need for improved quality of political and social standards.
Even within the past one year, we have witnessed individual and
collective efforts towards this end.”

“There has been an increasing interest both in the West and the
East in Turkey`s experience in harmonizing contemporary values with
the traditional identity. Indeed, human rights, gender equality and
realization of universal standards including the European political
criteria by a Muslim society has been welcomed by all,” he stressed.

Gul listed common values as, “the sovereign nations that make up
the OIC are determined to further the political, economic, social
and cultural progress of their societies; equality and freedom
of their citizens is their cherished principle; transparency and
accountability are guiding principles of good governance; broadening
the representative nature and democratic practices of government is
a constant objective; providing contemporary education to all its
citizens is an essential function of the government; and sustainable
economic and social development should be pursued vigorously and
efforts should be deployed in reducing poverty.”

He enumerated collective efforts as, “the OIC members should assist
each other in their efforts for progress and reform; the OIC,
as an institution, should devise ways and means for supporting the
reforms in a collective framework; also for the purpose of shouldering
these tasks, the OIC needs to make a determined effort to adapt its
secretariat to the growing demands of today.”

“The OIC should develop and increase institutional relations with
other regional organizations such as the Arab League, the Economic
Cooperation Organization, the D-8, the Gulf Cooperation Council,
the African Union, the ASEAN, the European Union (EU), the Council
of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,
and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, for the purpose
of fostering intra and inter-regional cooperation and for drawing
expertise and resources for the OIC members` national projects. These
institutional relations should also help strengthen global harmony
and attract meaningful interest in the settlement of the regional
disputes,” he said.

Gul added, “I also look forward to the convening of the second OIC-EU
joint forum in Istanbul next October. This meeting will take place at
a time when the need for cooperation and mutual understanding becomes
more important than ever.”

GUL: IT IS TIME FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO ENGAGE IN DIRECT
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAS CONTACTS WITH TURKISH CYPRIOTS

Gul said, “the United Nations Settlement Plan was overwhelmingly
rejected by the Greek Cypriot side on April 24, 2004, while the
Turkish Cypriots approved it with a clear majority. This vote has
fundamentally changed the circumstances in Cyprus. The international
organizations and many countries expressed regret over the Greek
Cypriot attitude. They all welcomed the Turkish Cypriots` determination
for the settlement.”

“OIC Secretary General Dr. Belkeziz reported that the international
community, and the Muslim countries in particular, should work
together to address the plight of the Turkish Cypriots by supporting
them materially and politically. Also, the first ever official visit
of the OIC Secretary General on May 28, 2004 to the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus was most timely and meaningful. I commend this
action of solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots,” he stressed.

Gul noted, “The United Nations Secretary-General, in his recent report,
calls on all states to cooperate both bilaterally and in international
bodies to eliminate restrictions and barriers that have the effect
of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development.”

“Now it is high time for the international community to give full
backing to the Turkish Cypriots by engaging in direct economic,
commercial, social and cultural contacts with them. The EU and the
United States have already taken some steps with a view to putting
an end to the isolation of Turkish Cypriots,” he emphasized.

Gul added, “our current meeting is an opportunity for this organization
and the Islamic World to extend full support to Turkish Cypriot Muslim
brothers, so as to put an end to their isolation.”

GUL: IRAQ REMAINS INSECURE AND VOLATILE

Gul said, “Iraq now has an interim government that will assume
sovereignty by the end of this month. We wish this government to be
successful. We wish they prove to serve the collective interests of
the Iraqi people in their entirety. We wish they remain conscious
that the source of legitimacy of this interim government ultimately
lies with the people.”

“I commend Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Advisor of the United
Nations Secretary General, is helping move forward the transition in
Iraq. I hope the United Nations will be able to play its independent
and effective role in assisting the Iraqis in institution-building
and election preparation in the months ahead,” he said.

Gul stressed, “Iraq meanwhile remains insecure and volatile. Violence
and terror in Iraq need to be dealt with. This is essential for the
transformation and the rebuilding of the country. The international
community should support the Iraqi people in this process. It is a
moral obligation for us. It is also an investment for regional peace
and stability. In this respect, we welcome the unanimously adopted
UN Security Council resolution 1546.”

“The neighboring countries of Iraq have supported this country`s
free and peaceful future since the onset of the Iraqi crisis. This
continuing joint initiative is a great asset for the integrity and
the stability of Iraq,” he said.

Gul added, “the OIC has a meaningful role to play in Iraq.
Furthermore, UN Security Council Resolution 1546 calls upon
international and regional organizations to contribute to Iraq`s
stability. Therefore, we should elaborate on ways on how to assist
the political process as well as the humanitarian needs in Iraq.
Turkey, during its Chairmanship of the ICFM, will pay particular
attention to this point.”

GUL: I BELIEVE FULL SUPPORT WILL BE EXPENDED TO IHSANOGLU

Gul said, “Ihsanoglu has long been a household name for our
organization as the successful director general of IRCICA. I do not
need to repeat here what we all already know about this professional,
academic and administrative credentials. I am confident that the will
have more to offer as the Secretary-General of the Organization.”

“My government has an increasing interest in revitalizing the OIC
and its Secretariat. The OIC needs to continue to move forward as an
institution. We want to contribute to this in every possible way we
can. It is in this spirit that my Government has decided to nominate
a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the OIC,” he noted.

Gul said, “Turkey will do its utmost over the next year as the Chairman
of the ICFM to rise up to the challenges facing the Organization. We
are confident that we can count on your full support.”

“The question of Palestine has become even more acute over
the past year. Violence claimed many more innocent lives. The
destruction brought by the policies of Israel deprived thousands
of more Palestinians of even minimum requirements for living. The
Palestinian Authority remains mainly incapacitated. Turkey has
all along stated that the employment of terror, suicide missions,
targeted assassinations and deliberate destruction can bring no good
to any party either now or in the longer run. I would like to draw
the attention of the international community once more to the urgency
of the solution of this problem which, coupled with the situation in
Iraq, continues to undermine global peace and harmony,” Gul noted.

Abdullah Gul stressed that, “in this regard, I commend the initiative
taken by Malaysia, the OIC Summit Chairman. The Special Ministerial
meeting held last April has led to a well-organized diplomatic
activity. The OIC Ministerial delegation, including Turkey, has thus
far met three of the four Quartet partners. Our message to the sponsors
of the road-map has been clear. The OIC will actively stand behind
genuine movement towards settlement, and the OIC will be watchful of
all concerned parties.”

He said, “inspired also by the Arab Peace Initiative, based on the
wise ideas of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the OIC can
oversee the process to achieve the two-state solution between Israel
and Palestine. We can do the same for Israel`s peace with Syria and
Lebanon, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. This
can be achieved through the OIC mechanisms already available. Thus,
the OIC, from its political and moral high ground, can offer full
normalization and cooperation in the region.”

-AFRICA-

Gul said, “Africa needs our particular attention. The longstanding
problems of economic development, health and famine continue to
undermine the nations of this continent. Regional conflicts make their
challenges even more difficult. The need to support sustainable
development and social progress in Africa is an international
responsibility of which we need to take our share.”

-AFGHANISTAN-

“Concerning Afghanistan, we are pleased that the Bonn process is
being implemented successfully despite difficulties. Adoption of the
new constitution is an important step towards the establishment of a
new political structure in Afghanistan. With the upcoming elections
in September, a new chapter will be opened. To maintain the pace
of this progress, Afghanistan needs the continued commitment of
the international community. Turkey will continue its support to
Afghanistan,” Gul noted.

-JAMMU AND KASHMIR-

Foreign Minister Gul said “we remained concerned by the ongoing
situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Its people have already suffered
greatly. This question undermines the stability of the whole region.
We look forward to a peaceful solution to this question through
dialogue, on the basis of international legitimacy. The human rights
of the Kahsmiri people should be fully respected and their will
honored as mandated by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The recent moves made by both Pakistan and India and the process of
“composite dialogue” have increased our hopes. We commend Pakistan
for its continued efforts to sustain this dialogue. We wish to see
these efforts will be crowned with success this time.”

-AZERI-ARMENIAN CONFLICT-

Gul stressed that the Azeri-Armenian conflict still stands as
one of the principle obstacles to regional stability, prosperity
and cooperation in Southern Caucasia. The time has come to find a
peaceful solution to this conflict within the territorial integrity
of Azerbaijan. The Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories
has to be brought to an end. This is in the interest of the regional
countries as well as the international community. Turkey is ready to
play its role in settling this issue.

“International terrorism is widening its reach and increasing in
ferocity. It continues to claim lives and hopes around the world.
Terrorism has not religion, ethnicity or culture. It is an affront
to the humanity. Therefore, it must be fought back resolutely,”
he pointed out

-MUSLIM MINORITY-

“For many years, the OIC has been monitoring the conditions of the
Turkish Muslim minority in Western Thrace. This minority has vested
rights based on bilateral agreements and international instruments.
However, they are not yet able to enjoy these basic minority rights
to the full extend. The OIC therefore needs to continue to follow
the Turkish Muslim minority`s plight closely. I hope my Government`s
improving relations and dialogue with Greece will also contribute to
the betterment of this minority`s conditions,” Gul stated.

-ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES OF OIC-

“The economic and commercial activities of the OIC constitute one
of the main pillars of our cooperation. The Standing Committee for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), chaired by the President
of Turkey, has been a highly effective instrument in this respect. And
this year marks the 20th anniversary of its inception. A special
meeting of Ministers of Economy and Trade will be organized to mark
this and to evaluate the perspectives of further economic-commercial
cooperation among us,” Gul said.

Gul emphasized, “this year, we are also pleased to see the Framework
Agreement for the Trade Preferential System among the Member Countries
of the OIC coming into force. This is indeed a landmark. The Trade
Negotiating Committee formed under this agreement has also held its
first meeting recently in Turkey.”

“In this respect, I would also like to express my Government`s
continued support for the activities of the two successful subsidiary
organs of the OIC hosted by Turkey, namely IRCICA and SESRTCIC,”
he noted.

Gul said, “I tried to address a number of major issues for our
organization. Many more vital matters constitute part of our agenda.
Dealing with these requires year-round dedication and hard work. That
is where the role of the Secretariat becomes crucial.

World Bank to extend Armenia $250 mln

World Bank to extend Armenia $250 mln

Interfax
June 15 2004

Yerevan. (Interfax) – The World Bank will extend Armenia up to $220
million under an aid strategy for 2005-2008, and more than $30 million
under loan programs, Vigen Sargsyan, the communications officer of
the Yerevan office, told the press.

Armenia can count on receiving up to $220 million if the country’s
economic reform indicators remain high. If reform is only satisfactory,
Armenia could receive up to $170 million and if the pace of reform
is low, the country can expect no more than $90 million.

World Bank specialists said that reform in 2003 was carried out
according to high reform indicators, Sargsyan said.

June 15 2004

8th int’l economic forum opens in St Pete Tuesday

ST PETERSBURG, June 15 (Itar-Tass) – The 8th Petersburg international
economic forum opens here on Tuesday under the motto of “Effective
Economy — Decent Life”. The forum has been organised by the
Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS), the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament
with the participation of the Government of the Russian Federation
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Heads of Government, parliament chiefs, the leaders of international
organisations, and members of the economic and political elites of
a number of countries will attend a plenary meeting, which will be
broadcast in the Internet. A keynote report is to be delivered by
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Participants in the three-day forum are to devote special attention
to matters concerning economic growth and the quality of life
under globalisation conditions, the development of the European
Union’s economic relations with Russia and other CIS countries, the
economic and social reform processes, the development of contemporary
information technologies, the attraction of investments, accession of
new countries to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). These and other
matters will be discussed at both plenary sessions and at the forum’s
26 roundtable meetings, some of which will take place in Moscow.

The forum’s programme also provides for a CIS business congress that
will deal with an analysis of the development of interaction within
the CIS business community, including that concerning support for and
the protection of the interests of small and medium-sized businesses,
the expansion of cooperation in the fair-and-exhibition activities,
deeper interaction between State and public organisations of CIS
countries within the framework of negotiations for accession to the
WTO. At the close of the congress, the participating businessmen are
expected to adopt a Final Statement.

At the Mikhailovsky Manege exhibition center, there will be also
exhibitions-and-presentation of the economic resources of Russia’s
Southern Federal District, the Republic of Armenia, and the Czech
Republic, and an exhibition on the theme of “The Mineral and Raw
Material Resources of CIS Countries”.

Kerkorian’s girls to use fortune for good works

KERKORIAN’S GIRLS TO USE FORTUNE FOR GOOD WORKS

New York Post, NY
June 15 2004

June 15, 2004 — The big plan behind Kirk Kerkorian’s busy deal-making
is to amass a $20 billion fortune for his two daughters to spend on
bettering the world.

Kerkorian, who turned 87 a week ago, is expected to expand his $5
billion personal fortune by as much as another $15 billion with two
major deals now under way: the Mandalay casino merger and the sale
of his MGM studios.

The thrice-married Kerkorian recently stepped up contributions to
a charitable foundation he founded in 1988 – the Lincy Foundation,
named after his two daughters, Linda and Tracy.

His business holding company, Tracinda Corp. is also named after the
daughters, both from his second marriage in 1954 to Jane Maree Hardy.

Tracinda supports the foundation with as much as $40 million a year
in direct donations.

Their family foundation has awarded hundreds of millions to a wide
range of humanitarian efforts around the world, in areas including
health, education, athletics and global economies.

One favorite cause is rebuilding the economy of Armenia, Kerkorian’s
homeland. The foundation, headquartered on South Rodeo Drive in
Beverly Hills, has awarded more than $165 million alone in support
to Armenia’s government and economic organizations.

Kerkorian has placed some of his trusted executives on the foundation
board to protect its assets, which exceed $220 million, according to
recent filings.

Tax experts say Kerkorian’s estate would be spared heavy taxation by
making endowments to the foundation. Paul Tharp

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenian foreign minister and US Secretary of State discuss Karabakh

Armenian foreign minister and US Secretary of State discuss Karabakh in USA

Noyan Tapan news agency
15 Jun 04

Yerevan, 15 June: Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan who is
in USA on two-day working visit, met US Secretary of State Colin
Powell on 14 June. The heads of the Armenian and the USA foreign
political administrations discussed a number issues concerning the
prospects of development of bilateral relations, recent processes
in the region, the Armenian-Turkish relations and settlement of
the conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh. In particular, they also touched
upon the problem concerning about Armenia’s participation in the US
“Millennium Challenge” programme, the importance of this programme for
the development of economy and democracy in Armenia was also outlined.

The same day Vardan Oskanyan met the US president’s national security
adviser, Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen Hadley. The issues
concerning, in particular, regional security, the forthcoming NATO
summit in Istanbul and settlement of confrontation in Nagornyy Karabakh
were discussed.

The Armenian foreign minister made a speech the same day, at the
Centre For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and touched
upon foreign political problems of Armenia and issues of ensuring
the regional security.

The press service of the Armenian Foreign Ministry told Noyan Tapan
news agency that the meetings with American congressmen and senators
and also representatives of American Armenians’ organizations and
the American press have also been scheduled.

Council of Europe should urge Armenian opposition back to parliament

Council of Europe should urge Armenian opposition back to parliament – paper

Ayots Ashkar, Yerevan
15 Jun 04

Text of Artak Grigoryan report by Armenian newspaper Ayots Ashkar on
15 June headlined “What do we go to Strasbourg with?”

The upcoming visit [23-24 June] of President Robert Kocharyan to
Strasbourg and his speech at the PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe] session will be a special conclusion to the
process of the fulfilment of our country’s obligations towards the
Council of Europe and on the whole of Armenia’s integration into
European structures.

What balance of achievements and shortcomings will Armenia submit
to Strasbourg? Are they enough to keep the rating and authority of
our country at a high level and to make integration into European
structures irreversible? Especially now that, thanks to the efforts
of the opposition, the Council of Europe has in fact put forward
new demands.

The calm and balanced steps taken by the authorities recently show that
the opposition is losing. The reason is obvious: Armenia is fulfilling
its new demands point by point. For this reason the opposition’s modus
operandi of avoiding dialogue and banking on a parliamentary fight is
becoming strange. Let us recall that one of the main demands of PACE
was to start dialogue. It turns out that the PACE demands are a compass
for the activity of one sector of the Armenian political field, the
authorities, but for the opposition they are a means to put pressure
on the authorities. It has become obvious that, notwithstanding the
problem of the fulfilment of Armenia’s obligations towards them, the
European structures have become a tool for the radicals in forming
a negative image of our country.

We think that after all this our president may calmly leave for
Strasbourg and present specific information about the fulfilment
of PACE’s demands, as well as the process of fulfilling Armenia’s
long-term obligations towards the Council of Europe. One thing is
evident: in terms of meeting our country’s commitments to European
structures, the authorities are ahead of the opposition in all senses.

During the president’s upcoming visit to Strasbourg, the existence of
such serious pre-conditions will allow the last “European card” to be
snatched from the hands of the radical opposition. The time has come
for Europe to keep parity on the fulfilment of its decisions and to
put pressure not only on the authorities, but also on the opposition,
demanding that it come back to parliament and finish jointly the
process of fulfilling Armenia’s obligations towards the Council of
Europe. Because a successful ending of this process is favourable,
not only to Armenia, but also to Europe.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

`Shield’ Cashes Out

Hartford Courant , CT
June 15 2004

`Shield’ Cashes Out
Evidence Is Gone, But Threats Remain

– Roger Catlin

The millions of dollars that Det. Vic Mackey and his L.A.P.D. Strike
Team seized from the Armenian mob and decided to keep (for police
work as well as pension enhancement) has been more of a curse than
a blessing on “The Shield.”

Now they’re on the Armenians’ hit list even as their own department
is closing in. To free the team from the pressure, Curtis “Lemonhead”
Lemansky (played by onetime Central Connecticut State University
football star Kenneth Johnson) took it upon himself to burn nearly
all of the cash last week.

But that just leaves the Strike Team members at each other’s throats
as their problems continue to surround them in tonight’s gripping
third season finale on FX at 10.