Media advisory: Russian-Armenian cooperation conference

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 4, 2004 Tuesday

Media advisory: Russian-Armenian cooperation conference

Russian Federation Council
Press Service

The Russian Federation Council and the Armenian National Assembly
will hold an international conference in the city of Samara from May
14 to May 15.

The participants in the conference will consider the status and
prospect of development of inter-regional Russian-Armenian

Speaker of the Federation Council Sergey Mironov and Chairman of the
National Assembly Atrur Bagdasarian will open the conference.

Representatives of Russian and foreign mass media, TV and
broadcasting companies are invited to attend the conference.

Journalists’ accreditation will be held by the Federation Council
press service.

Federation Council press service telephone numbers: 292-1877,
292-7525 or 292-5604; fax: 292-4305.

Il trovatore at Covent Garden, London

The Times (London)
May 5, 2004, Wednesday

Il trovatore

by Hilary Finch

Il trovatore. Covent Garden. ***

ELIJAH MOSHINSKY has returned to direct the first revival of his
visually spectacular Il trovatore, new to the Royal Opera two years
ago. With Dante Ferretti (designer for the likes of Pasolini, Fellini
and Scorsese) in charge of the sets, it’s still a banquet for the
eye. Except, that is, for the monochrome landscape images which act
as curtain projections between the overlong scene changes.

Verdi’s four musical canvases -the Duel, the Gypsy, the Gypsy’s Son
and the Punishment -are realised in monumental tableaux, each one
beautifully lit by Howard Harrison. Every entrance in the dark
shadows of the first is framed by a line of lofty pillars; Azucena
and her band of Risorgimento partisans hide out among four massive,
glowing furnaces; exquisite Piranesi-like perspectives of glass and
steel house the convent.

But there’s a price to pay for this visual magnificence. Tableaux
they may be; but Verdi’s are tableaux vivants, and Moshinsky’s
staging, seduced by its own beauty, does too little to empower this
cast beyond formulaic body language. There’s simply too little
impassioned engagement with the music, with each other or with the

This is very much in the nature of the beast. While Moshinsky’s
production admirably realises the form of Verdi’s opera, it can too
easily stifle its beating heart. The individual seems trapped within
the massive set pieces: the emotional charge at the meeting of Di
Luna, Manrico and Leonora in the convent is diffused by the fearful
symmetry of the stagecraft; the sparring of the Count’s leather-clad
soldiers in Part III is almost risibly “choreographed”.

Dwarfed by their environments, a strong new cast stand and deliver
goods of considerable quality. Three Eastern European singers
contribute effectively to Verdi’s dark palette in this opera.

The opening narrative is compellingly and elegantly shaped by the
Ferrando of the Armenian bass-baritone Arutjun Kotchinian. And the
Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli brings menace, if too little ardour
and anger to the role of Di Luna. In the Russian mezzo Irina Mishura,
Azucena, Verdi’s own favourite, has both the high flare of flame and
a dark anguish within her true chest voice. She simply isn’t
exploited enough on stage.

Marco Berti’s coarse-edged and tirelessly robust Manrico and Fiorenza
Cedolins’s Leonora sing feistily, but too seldom to each other.

The Royal Opera Orchestra play superbly for the veteran Verdian
Edward Downes; but on the first night, even he was unable to provide
quite the elan and momentum this show still needs.

Box office: 020-7304 4000

New Minister of Culture Appointed in Armenia

Economic News
May 5, 2004 Wednesday

New Minister of Culture Appointed in Armenia


The other day Ovik Sveyan, Writers Union Secretary has been appointed
Armenian Minister of Culture and Youth, Robert Kocharyan has already
signed the correspondent decree.

Tamara Pogosyan was reportedly dismissed from the post of Minister of
Culture by the presidential decree, according to the Armenian
President press-service.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Money before morality

South China Morning Post
May 5, 2004

Money before morality

The dead, wrote German novelist W.G. Sebald, are forever returning to
us. Unhappily, some governments continue to deny them, in the name of
trade, realpolitik or revisionism. Even as the Dalai Lama was leaving
millions of Canadians light-headed last month with his mantra of
gentleness and compassion, the federal government shrugged off a
genocide. It came after Canada’s parliament voted to recognise the
slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks 89 years ago. One
US president called it “the great crime of the first world war”. But
Canada’s minister of foreign affairs repudiated the vote, effectively
apologising to Turkey, a trading partner. So much for compassion and

“Turkey is an incredibly important country,” wrote columnist Jeffrey
Simpson in the Globe and Mail, the country’s national newspaper.
Parliamentarians, he said, have no business meddling in foreign
policy, especially when it concerns a “disputed” atrocity nearly a
century ago. “Canada should mind its own business,” the headline

“Business” is what this is all about. Canadian companies are trying
hard to sell subway cars and engineering services to Turkey. Hundreds
of millions of dollars are at stake, and a Canadian cabinet minister
warned that the genocide vote could have “negative consequences” on

It is not the first time Canada has put money ahead of morality. A
Canadian oil company operated for three years in Sudan with Ottawa’s
approbation, pumping out profits for a Muslim government that was
bombing civilians in Africa’s longest civil war. And with the Dalai
Lama here seeking support for his people’s struggle against Beijing
rule, Ottawa gave Tibet only the barest official nod. China, of
course, is Canada’s second-largest trading partner. Enough said.

Half a dozen other countries have already recognised the 1915
genocide. They, like the Canadian parliamentarians, felt it was
important to do so because Turkey continues to deny that a genocide
even happened. This denial is offensive to Armenians, and to anyone
who believes that history matters. We deny it at our peril. Hitler
told his generals: “Kill without mercy. Who today remembers the
extermination of the Armenians?”

So why is it important that civilised nations condemn genocides past
and present? “It’s easy for the international community to say,
‘never again’,” says Robert Adamson, of the Global Justice Programme
at the University of British Columbia. “But there has to be some
recognition of what went wrong and who was responsible. People have
to be brought to account for these injustices.” The moral is: if you
ignore yesterday’s barbarity, you risk ignoring what is happening

Armenians protest, demand authporities fulfill Euro recommendations

Associated Press Worldstream
May 4, 2004 Tuesday

Armenians protest, demand authporities fulfill European recommendations

YEREVAN, Armenia

Thousands of Armenians took to the streets Tuesday for the latest in
a series of protests against the government, calling on authorities
to release people who were detained during previous demonstrations
organized by the political opposition in the Caucasus Mountain

Protesters also called on the government to carry out other
recommendations made last week by Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights watchdog. The
assembly urged authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations,
investigate any reported rights abuses and create fair conditions for
the media.

About 8,000 people turned out for the rally, which was not approved
by authorities in Yerevan, whose mayor said frequent rallies and
marches deter investment.

After the rally, several thousand protesters marched toward the
headquarters of the police and chief prosecutor, demanding the
release of opposition activists.

Police forcefully broke up a rally outside the presidential palace on
April 13, detaining more than 100 protesters. Most were released, but
some remained in custody.

Opposition supporters have held several protests this month, calling
for the resignation of President Robert Kocharian.

Kocharian won a second term in presidential elections a year ago that
sparked mass protests, including nearly daily demonstrations between
the first round of voting in February 2003 and the runoff in early
March. Opposition groups alleged widespread violations in both rounds
of the election.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

IMF Approves $15 Million Disbursement to Armenia

Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.
State Department
May 4, 2004

IMF Approves $15 Million Disbursement to Armenia; Fund completes
fifth review of three-year, $100 million program

TEXT: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has completed the fifth
review of Armenia’s economic performance under a three-year program
designed to reduce poverty and spur economic growth, and on May 3
announced another disbursement to Armenia of about $15 million.

The IMF also approved a request to extend the arrangement by seven
months to December 31.

IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman Agustn Carstens
commended Armenia for the “satisfactory implementation of
macroeconomic policies and structural measures” under the program,
which contributed to a strong economic performance in 2003.

Carstens also suggested further measures Armenia should take in its
economic reform program.

Following is an IMF press release with Carstens’ statement:

(begin text)

International Monetary Fund

Washington, D.C.

May 3, 2004


The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today
completed the fifth review of the Republic of Armenia’s economic
performance under a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
(PRGF) arrangement, and approved a request for the extension of the
arrangement by seven months to December 31, 2004. The completion of
the review enables Armenia to draw an amount equivalent to SDR 10
million (about US$15 million).

Armenia’s PRGF arrangement for the equivalent of SDR 69 million
(about US$100 million) was approved on May 21, 2001 (see Press
Release No. 01/25). So far, the equivalent of SDR 50 million (about
US$73 million) have been disbursed.

The PRGF is the IMF’s concessional facility for low-income countries.
PRGF-supported programs are based on country-owned poverty reduction
strategies adopted in a participatory process involving civil society
and development partners, and articulated in a Poverty Reduction
Strategy Paper, or PRSP. This is intended to ensure that each
PRGF-supported program is consistent with a comprehensive framework
for macroeconomic, structural, and social policies, to foster growth
and reduce poverty. PRGF loans carry an annual interest rate of 0.5
percent, and are repayable over 10 years with a 5 1/2-year grace
period on principal payments.

Following the Executive Board discussion, Agustn Carstens, Deputy
Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

“The Armenian authorities should be commended for the satisfactory
implementation of macroeconomic policies and structural measures
under the PRGF-supported program. These policies have contributed to
an improved business environment and a strong economic performance in

“Raising revenues and reforming tax and customs administration remain
critical objectives in the period immediately ahead. The recent
reduction in VAT exemptions and reform of the profit tax are welcomed
steps in this regard, but further efforts are needed to improve the
tax system and generate resources for poverty reduction. In
particular, it will be important to improve the transparency of tax
and customs operations, ensure the equal treatment of taxpayers, and
implement risk-based audit systems. Additional steps are needed in
the medium term to strengthen the overall coherence of the tax system
and the management of the tax and customs agencies.

“Recent increases in bread and utility prices pose the risk of
rekindling inflationary expectations, and the central bank will need
to maintain a tight monetary policy to bring inflation down to its
goal of 3 percent by end-2004. To further develop Armenia’s financial
system, it will be important to build capacity and promote sound
corporate governance in the banking system, and strengthen the legal
framework and the judiciary.

“The recent process of fiscal decentralization has the potential to
improve the quality and efficiency of services delivered by
state-owned noncommercial organizations in the health, water, and
education sectors. Complementary capacity building initiatives and a
properly functioning reporting framework remain essential to ensure
transparency and accountability in the operations of these entities.

“Other structural reforms will be important to sustain growth and
reduce poverty in the medium term. The anti-corruption strategy needs
to be implemented forcefully and in consultation with civil society.
The authorities are encouraged to move forward with their plans to
reform the energy and water sectors, including establishing market
rules for electricity trading, and liquidating the state-owned
company Armenergo,” Mr. Carstens said.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
U.S. Department of State.)

Armenia’s re-election to the UN Commission on Human Rights

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia
to the United Nations
119E 36th street, New York, NY 10016
Tel.: 1-212-686-9079
Fax: 1-212-686-3934
E-mail: [email protected]

May 5, 2004


Armenia’s Re-election to the UN Commission on Human Rights

On May 4, 2004 the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
New York, unanimously re-elected Armenia to the Commission on Human Rights
(CHR). Thus, Armenia will continue its membership in the Commission for
three more years after its current term is over on December 31, 2004. So
far, Armenia has been the only country from the South Caucasus to be a
member of the CHR.

Armenia considers the promotion and protection of all human rights and
fundamental freedoms as a cornerstone for international peace, security
and development. During its ongoing term Armenia is bringing its active
participation to the deliberations of the Commission and has extended its
support and co-sponsorship to more than 150 resolutions adopted by the
CHR. As a newly independent country with only 12 year-old experience in
international affairs, Armenia has been able to formulate a balanced
approach to the country-specific resolutions, taking into consideration
both its national interest and universal values. Given its strong
attachment to the principle of the punishment of the crime of genocide,
Armenia has continuously introduced resolutions signifying the importance
of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide and emphasising the need for its universal application.

Commission on Human Rights, composed of 53 States, is the major UN body to
deal with human rights issues. It is entrusted to elaborate human rights
standards and to monitor their implementation. During its regular annual
sessions the Commission examines a wide range of human rights issues:
civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural
rights. The main themes include the right to self-determination, the right
to development, human rights of women, children, minorities, displaced
persons, etc. The Commission particularly focuses its attention on
violations of human rights in specific countries or territories and on
situations of specific human rights violations worldwide. It considers
such issues as torture and detention, freedom of expression, religious
intolerance, as well as the issues of relationship between globalisation,
poverty, terrorism and human rights.

ARKA News Agency – 05/05/2004

ARKA News Agency
May 5 2004

WB to make serious efforts for improvement of business sphere in

The office of Children of Armenia Fund opened in Yerevan



YEREVAN, May, 5. /ARKA/. WB will make serious efforts for improvement
of business sphere in Armenia, Director of WB Yerevan Office Roger
Robinson stated today. According to him, for improvement of business
sphere Armenia needs to make large amount of works. Robinson said
that the results of the analysis of business atmosphere will be
prepared soon, however it is already obvious that some sphere have
problems. Particularly, businessmen complaint on tax and custom
administration. `Business sphere in the country is improving, however
it does not mean that the process is over’, Robinson said.
Talking about the role of Diaspora in the economy of the country,
Robinson said that recent 5-10 years its contribution in Armenia was
high as in the view of humanitarian aid, so other assistance. L.D.



YEREVAN, May, 4. /ARKA/. The ceremony of opening the office of
Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) took place in Yerevan. According to
the COAF Chairman Garo Armen, the organization aims at working out
programs concerning the areas of development of children in Armenia
and alleviating their economic conditions. According to Armen, first
of all these programs concern the children, living in rural areas,
for whom COAF is going to create a simpler access to education and
health systems. He stated that within 2004, COAF together with UNDP
will implement the program in Karakert village (Armavir region)
estimated at about $1 mln. According to Lise Grande, the Resident
Representative of UNDP in Armenia, `UNDP has successfully implemented
some projects aimed at decentralization and development of the RA
communities for the recent years. COAF is going to become such
organization’. COAF NGO was founded in 2000. A.H. -0 –

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

ASBAREZ Online [05-05-2004]


1) Coalition Partners Prepared to Resume Talks with Opposition
2) Kocharian Signs Bill on Public Rallies
3) Aliyev’s View on Minsk Group Becomes Rosy
4) Territories Must Be Returned, Says Balayan
5) Professor Hovanissian Sets the Record Straight
6) Georgian President Imposes Direct Presidential Rule in Rebel Ajaria

1) Coalition Partners Prepared to Resume Talks with Opposition

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian urged leaders of
Armenia’s main governing and opposition parties on Wednesday, to restart talks
on ways of defusing the month-long political tensions in the country.
In a statement, Baghdasarian said he invites the leaders of all parliamentary
factions to attend further “political consultations” that will take place in
his office on Thursday. The statement adds that the Council of Europe’s calls
for a “dialogue without preconditions” between the authorities and the
opposition necessitates resumption of talks.
Opposition leaders indicated their support for renewed talks, also citing the
resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) last week, but insisted that President Kocharian must also become
directly involved in the proposed dialogue.
The first round of talks between the opposition and the governing Armenian
Revolutionary Federation, Orinats Yerkir, and Republican parties broke down
last week.
The leaders of the Artarutyun (Justice) alliance and the National Unity Party
(AMK) announced on Tuesday that they are taking a “ten-day break” in their
campaign of anti-Kocharian street protests, but still insist that dialogue
focus on President Kocharian’s resignation.
The parliament majority rejects preconditions, proposing instead that the
opposition be given say in government policy-making.

2) Kocharian Signs Bill on Public Rallies

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian signed into law a bill passed
earlier by the parliament on the holding of assemblies, rallies, marches, and
Kocharian’s press office said the law strives to ensure rights of citizens to
hold peaceful and unarmed rallies, meetings, processions, and demonstrations,
ensure security of government and public facilities, maintain public order and
physical protection of citizens, as well as their rights and freedoms.

3) Aliyev’s View on Minsk Group Becomes Rosy

BAKU (Armenpress)–In a reversal of previous opinion on the effectiveness of
the Minsk Group, which spearheads the Organization for Security and
Co-Operation in Europe’s (OSCE) efforts to find a political solution to this
conflict, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said that group’s activity is apparent,
and that “the co-chairmen are determined to deal with the problem.”
Aliyev told reporters on Wednesday that process of regulating the Mountainous
Karabagh conflict is underway, though not very actively, and expressed hope
that the efforts of the Minks Group would bring positive results. “If we do
believe this, then negotiations become senseless,” he said.
He said that his meeting with Armenian president Robert Kocharian held in
Geneva and Warsaw were positive and that negotiations between the foreign
ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are also progressing.
Only about a month ago, Aliyev attacked the Minsk Group, saying it has done
“nothing positive” since being set up in 1992.
The two presidents, along with the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen, will meet
again in Strasbourg on May 12.

4) Territories Must Be Returned, Says Balayan

(A1plus)–Shahumyan-Getashen Patriotic Union leader Edik Balayan, said on
Wednesday the Union demands that the issue of liberating Getashen,
and other Armenian villages be raised when negotiating the Karabagh conflict
Citing the fact that 20,000 Armenians were driven from territories bordering
Karabagh, and that 17,000 were driven from their homes to take refuge in
Armenia, he said, “We have no intention to cede our territories and will keep
on struggling to get them back.”

5) Professor Hovanissian Sets the Record Straight

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Professor Richard Hovanissian blasted Moscow-based political
analyst Andranik Migranian, during a Wednesday press conference organized to
announce an upcoming conference about factors in regulating Armenian-Turkish
relations. The conference of mostly well-known scholars is to take place in
Yerevan, May 6-7, at the National Academy of Sciences.
Migranian, a member of the now dissolved Turkish Armenian Reconciliation
Commission (TARC), in addressing the break-up of the Commission, said that
played a great role in getting the New York Times to lift its long-standing
policy against the use of the term “Armenian Genocide.”
“We must speak well of the dead [TARC]–as the Commission played a great role
lately in getting the influential American [newspaper], the New York Times, to
allow usage of the word genocide when referring to [the Armenian] Genocide,”
Migranian asserted.
Hovannisian, who holds the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern
Armenian History at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the
of numerous publications relating to the Republic of Armenia, responded
saying that the Commission had absolutely no influence on the New York Times
“I know the Turkish members of that Commission; they all categorically
represent the Turkish Government,” Hovannisian said, adding that he does not
expect definite results from the upcoming conference, as the views of genocide
scholars and analysts will not necessarily correspond.

6) Georgian President Imposes Direct Presidential Rule in Rebel Ajaria

TBILISI (Combined Sources)–Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili imposed
direct presidential rule over the separatist region of Ajaria, amid a tense
standoff with the province’s renegade leader Aslan Abashidze.
“I am introducing direct presidential rule in Ajaria,” the Georgian president
said in a nationally televised address.
Saakashvili pledged to guarantee the safety of Abashidze and his team if the
renegade leader bowed to pressure and resigned.
“I take upon myself full responsibility and give a guarantee of safety to
Aslan Abashidze, but only if he voluntarily leaves his post. I am also
guarantees to Abashidze’s family. If they wish to remain on Georgian territory
then they will have full guarantees for their safety,” Saakashvili said.
The Georgian president said that he contacted Washington and Moscow to see if
they were willing to offer Abashidze asylum.
“I spoke with President (Vladimir) Putin and the White House and asked
them to
give political asylum to Abashidze and his family. We have not yet received an
answer to that question, but we have said that we would not seek their
extradition back to Georgia to stand trial.”
“We are ready to be magnanimous in victory and forgive everything but the
to disarm has arrived,” he said.
Georgian government spokesman Guga Sulkhanishvili said on Wednesday, that a
top Russian official is flying to Georgia for talks on the crisis in Georgia
rebel region of Ajaria. “The Secretary of the Russian Security Council Igor
Ivanov…will fly to Tbilisi and will hold talks with the government of
Ivanov was Russian foreign minister until he was switched to head Putin’s top
security body in a government reshuffle in March. He played a key role in
mediating a confrontation in Georgia last November which culminated in the
resignation of veteran leader Eduard Shevardnadze.
Crowds of protesters in the port of Batumi, their ranks swollen by uniformed
policemen and state media workers who switched sides to join a 5,000-strong
rally against the rebel leader, pointed to Abashidze’s fast crumbling
As the groundswell of protest rose, the Georgian government said Ajaria’s
Black Sea oil port at Batumi had been planted with explosives and the
consequences could be catastrophic.
Abashidze’s resignation would underpin Georgian president Mikhail
Saakashvili’s popularity and authority.
Saakashvili, who came to power after a revolution last year, has made reining
in rebel regions a priority, ordering Abashidze to reform or stand down.
“You have two or three hours to obey the president of Georgia and avoid
bloodshed,” Security Council head Vano Merebishvili told state television.
Unlike the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ajaria has never
sought formal independence from the government but is outside government
Georgia ordered Abashidze to bow to central rule by May 12, after his local
militia blew up bridges linking Ajaria with the Georgian heartland.
Abashidze, 65 and in power for the past 14 years has so far, ignored all
for his resignation and instead has reinforced a state of emergency, closing
universities and sending police to disperse demonstrations.

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ANKARA: No Expectation From Turkey re Recognition Of Greek Cypriots

Anadolu Agency
May 5 2004

Turkey: There Shouldn’t Be Any Expectation From Turkey About
Recognition Of Greek Cypriot Side

ANKARA – There should not be any expectation from Turkey about
recognition of the Greek Cypriot side, Turkish Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Namik Tan said on Wednesday.

Tan said in a weekly press conference, ”we have done everything for
a solution (in Cyprus). There shouldn’t be any expectation from
Turkey. What the other sides have done or will do should be

The fact that Greek Cypriots had been internationally recognized was
a reality, Tan said.

Tan stated that Turkey would continue to recognize Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

”We will consider developments in the following months and we will
evaluate the issue with all its legal and political aspects,” Tan

When he was recalled about the news that Azerbaijani representatives
in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (COEPA) did not join
the voting on TRNC saying that ”it might cause recognition of Upper
Karabakh”, Tan said that Azerbaijani representatives had clearly
stated the reason of their attitude.

Tan added that Turkey continued to exchange views with Azerbaijani
authorities on the issue.