Armenia works out complimentary foreign policy – Kocharyan

ITAR-TASS News Agency
TASS
June 23, 2004 Wednesday 11:55 AM Eastern Time

Armenia works out complimentary foreign policy – Kocharyan

By Andrei Yarushin

STRASBOURG

Armenia is working out a complimentary foreign policy, Armenian
President Robert Kocharyan said.

Speaking at the summer PACE session on Wednesday, Kocharyan said the
main goal of Armenia’s policy is that the country “is trying to
benefit from settling disagreements between world and regional great
powers and not from their reinforcement.”

“We should bear responsibility for regional stability and join
efforts to settle disagreements and not aggravate them,” the Armenian
president added.

“It is such approach that has allowed us to build trusty relations
with the United States, the European Union and Iran, as well as
strengthen traditional close ties with Russia. We believe in peace
and cooperation in the South Caucasus,” he stressed.

Kocharyan said Armenia “is ready to develop business cooperation with
Turkey without any preconditions. But Armenian-Turkish relations
should not be conditioned by our contacts with the third country –
with Azerbaijan, for example.”

Cinema: Armenia nuova location per Robert Guediguian

ANSA Notiziario Generale in Italiano
June 22, 2004

CINEMA: ARMENIA NUOVA LOCATION PER ROBERT GUEDIGUIAN /ANSA ;
IL REGISTA SI RACCONTA AL NAPOLI FILM FESTIVAL

NAPOLI

(ANSA) – NAPOLI, 22 GIU – Nei futuri programmi del regista
francese Robert Guediguian c’ e’ un viaggio in Armenia, dove
girera’ un film: lo ha detto lo stesso Guediguian che oggi e
stato protagonista della terza giornata del Napolifilmfestival.

Nell’ambito della sezione “Parole di cinema”, ciclo di
proiezioni e incontri dedicati ai protagonisti della
cinematografia internazionale, stamani e’ stata proposta la
visione del film di Guediguian, “Marius et Jeannette”. “La
decisione di lavorare con lo stesso gruppo di attori, ormai
amici – spiega il regista – non e’ stata una scelta. Anche
l’ambientazione geografica, la citta’ che fa da sfondo alle mie
storie, Marsiglia, mi accompagna da sempre, e’ come se fosse un
teatro, un teatro di lusso, che con il suo divenire e i suoi
cambiamenti, modifica e accompagna le tante storie e il loro
camminar con i tempi”.

Guediguian, ha sottolineato l’ importanza della storia, non
dell’ interprete. “Quando scrivo una storia per un film e la
sua sceneggiatura – continua il regista – penso al personaggio e
non all’attore che lo interpretera’, questa decisione e
l’ultimo step da affrontare. Gli attori non partecipano alla
stesura, loro vi partecipano solo in conclusione essendo
comunque un gruppo, che ormai dirigo da 20 anni, e con i quali
raccontiamo la storia della Francia”.

Guediguian ha poi posto l’ accento sull’ indipendenza dei
suoi film. “Sono un regista indipendente – aggiunge – nel senso
che produco i miei film. L’indipendenza ci viene dettata dal
fatto che siamo del tutto autonomi sulle varie decisioni che
gravitano attorno agli aspetti collaterali del cinema. L’essere
produttore, inoltre, penso faccia parte di quest’arte
cinematografica. Anche Fellini aveva la sua casa di produzione,
che pero’ ando’ male”. A chi gli domanda le differenze tra il
cinema europeo ed americano, secondo Guediguian “l’unica cosa
da dire e’ che ogni paese dovrebbe proteggere i propri film, e
l’America che noi intendiamo – aggiunge – alla fine e’ solo
Hollywood. Pasolini avrebbe detto che si tratta di disastro
antropologico”.

Tra gli appuntamenti pomeridiani del Napolifimfestival,
quello con la sezione “Svezia: Non solo Bergman”, con la
proiezione di Narvarande di Jan Troell. (ANSA).

Armenia: the Rich Man’s View

Institute of War and Peace Reporting
June 23 2004

Armenia: the Rich Man’s View

Business venture luring diaspora Armenians to live the good life and
play golf against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

By Alan Tskhurbayev and Sergiu Perju in Yerevan (CRS No. 239,
23-Jun-04)

On the edge of Yerevan with a spectacular view of Mount Ararat, a new
community is being built as a new paradise for the rich and powerful.

Slated to become the first `gated community’ in the south Caucasus,
Vahakni is being designed to combine an Armenian location with all
the comforts available in the West. It will offer high-quality
western-style housing and conveniences to its residents, around three
kilometres from the Armenian capital.

Located in the Ararat valley with the legendary peak in full view,
the 160-hectare housing development is the brainchild of Vahak S.
Hovnanian, a United States millionaire of Armenian extraction, who
owns the construction company Hovnanian Ltd.

`When Armenia gained independence, my first instinct was to build a
city here for Americans from the diaspora to return to,’ explained
Hovnanian. `The idea was to lure people back to their historical
homeland.’

Asked whether for him Vahakni meant business, money, or a personal
dream come true, Hovnanian said it was `a bit of each’.

`First of all, it’s business, but to me, this is a prime opportunity
to create more jobs for Armenia. I have always wanted to help my
people,’ he told IWPR. `If successful international entrepreneurs
move here from abroad, that means millions in direct investment.’

The development, under construction since last year, will consist of
upwards of 500 homes. Of an estimated 25 US million dollars earmarked
for the project, five million has already been invested in
infrastructure. So far only 20 homes have been sold and there is no
final construction date for the community.

`Of course there will be a certain isolation from the rest of
society, a big difference in living standards inside and outside the
community,’ conceded Karekin Odabashian, managing director of the
project.

`But Vahakni is in itself a lifestyle, which makes it different from
others. It is not true that housing here will only be available to
the privileged classes. Everyone is welcome – our prices are quite
normal for Armenia, on a par with apartment prices in prestigious
downtown neighbourhoods of Yerevan. But I always say that Hovnanian
Ltd is building more than just housing, we are building a way of
life.’

In fact, the `Hovnanian lifestyle’ is well out of reach of most
people in Armenia, where it would take someone earning an average
salary many lifetimes to be able to afford Vahakni’s real-estate
prices.

Those who have heard of Vahakni shrug it off as a place for the
fabulously rich. Suren Mikoyan, a taxi driver, said, `Every time I
drive by Vahakni, I look at these huge houses and feel depressed. It
seems to me that a whole different breed of people live there.’

Many of those `different’ people are expatriate Armenians. So far, 20
homes at Vahakni have been reserved for Armenians from France,
Canada, Russia, Switzerland and the UK.

Prospective buyers are free to choose from a great variety of layout
options, or even design their future home themselves with the
assistance of an architect. All homes will be fitted with security
systems, central heating, and fire alarm systems, as well as garages
and basements.

The majority of prospective residents are business people, something
which places high security requirements on the community. The only
vehicle entrance to Vahakni is guarded 24 hours a day.

`Security is one of the main reasons why I decided to move here,’ a
Canadian citizen who lives at Vahakni told IWPR, requesting
anonymity. `Back in Canada, the streets are not safe for my small
children. In that sense, Vahakni is ideal, and Armenia, I think, is a
great place to raise your children. There are security systems here,
but you can’t see them.’

Some residents are taking extra security precautions of their own.
Some have requested no photographing or videotaping around their
homes.

Other facilities intended for Vahakni include an international
school, a day clinic, a fitness centre – and Armenia’s first ever
golf club.

Vahak Hovnanian has high hopes for golf in the Caucasus, which he
says is both an art and a good way of doing business. `Golf is a
disease, and an infectious one, too. It’s a solitary sport: there’s
only you, your ball and your club. Playing golf is like painting a
picture.’

Perhaps not as perfect a picture as the view of Mount Ararat from the
golf course.

Alan Tskhurbayev and Sergiu Perju, from Moldova and North Ossetia
respectively, are graduating journalism students from the Caucasus
Media Institute in Yerevan.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenian officers attending NATO conference in Baku

Interfax
June 23 2004

Armenian officers attending NATO conference in Baku

YEREVAN. June 23 (Interfax) – Two Armenian Defense Ministry officers
are taking part in the NATO conference in Baku, following
Azerbaijan’s promises to ensure their security, the Armenian Defense
Ministry’s press service told Interfax.

“The country hosting [the NATO conference] has pledged to ensure the
security of the two Armenian officers in Baku,” the press service
said.

Armenia’s concerns were sparked by a Tuesday rally by the
Organization for the Liberation of Karabakh. Some 40 members of the
group, protesting the presence of the Armenian military men in Baku,
tried to break through the police cordon to enter the Europe Hotel,
the venue for the NATO conference.

Delegations from NATO’s 24 member-nations are taking part in the
conference, which is aimed at preparing the Cooperative Best Effort
04 exercises. These military exercises will be held in Azerbaijan in
September.

ASBAREZ Online [06-23-2004]

ASBAREZ ONLINE
TOP STORIES
06/23/2004
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1. Opposition, Reforms, and Karabagh, All in A Day’s Address to PACE
2. KLO Activists Face Criminal Charges
3. Armenia Won’t Abandon Cooperation with NATO
4. European Court Condemns Turkey
5. Azeri Sniper Kills Armenian Soldier
6. Council of Europe Ends Monitoring of Turkey

1. Opposition, Reforms, and Karabagh, All in A Day’s Address to PACE

STRASBOURG (RFE/RL)–In his speech to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary
Assembly (PACE) on Wednesday, President Robert Kocharian said that the
Strasbourg-based body should not have had to discuss the political
confrontation in Armenia last April, and defended his administration’s
response
to the opposition calls for resignation.
“I regret that some of our deputies drew the PACE into that discussion,” he
said. “I am convinced that the Council of Europe is not the best place to
settle scores between the government and the opposition. All of that must be
done in our own parliament.”
Kocharian described the Armenian opposition’s push for power as an awkward
attempt to replicate neighboring Georgia’s November “Rose Revolution” that was
welcomed in the West. “The Armenian opposition failed to take into account the
fact that Armenia’s economy, unlike Georgia’s, is developing dynamically; its
government is quite efficient and its democratic achievements are propped
up by
institutional structures, including police, which are able to maintain public
order,” he said.
In its April 28 resolution on Armenia, PACE said that the Kocharian
government’s reaction to the opposition protests was “contrary to the letter
and the spirit” of its values, and threatened to impose sanctions unless
reforms were undertaken by the September PACE session.
The Armenian leader, making his second appearance at the Council of Europe
since Armenia joined it in January 2001 emphasized the opposition’s rejection
of calls for political dialogue by the parties of the governing coalition.
“Those proposals remain in force, but they must be discussed in parliament,
not
in the street,” he said.
The Armenian authorities’ compliance with the resolution was discussed
earlier
this week by the PACE’s Monitoring Committee. Its rapporteur on Armenia Jerzy
Jaskiernia, is due to submit a final report on that in time for the assembly’s
next session in September. The committee has also been monitoring the
fulfillment of Armenia’s broader membership commitments to the Council of
Europe.
“Armenia has already fulfilled the vast majority of obligations assumed in
connection with its accession to the Council of Europe,” Kocharian declared,
adding that the remaining ones will be honored “by the end of this year.”
Armenia is going through “an active process of the formation of civil
society,”
he said.
The 20-minute speech was followed by a question-and-answer session. The two
PACE parliamentarians representing the Armenian opposition boycotted the
speech
and were not on hand to pose questions. Azeri and Turkish lawmakers, however,
grilled the president.
Asked by one of the Azeri parliamentarian whether he had any role in the war
over Mountainous Karabagh, Kocharian replied, “Yes, I took part in the war. My
children were hiding in a basement for three years and had no childhood. I am
proud of my participation in the war.”
Kocharian told another Azeri that his country would have regained most of its
territories around Karabagh had it accepted two international peace plans put
forward in 1998 and 2001, and stressed that Karabagh has never been apart
of an
independent Azerbaijan state and should remain outside of Baku’s control.

2. KLO Activists Face Criminal Charges

BAKU (ANS/Baku Today)Azeri law-enforcement authorities have charged five
members of the Karabagh Liberation Organization (KLO) with hooliganism after
their arrest on Tuesday for disrupting a NATO planning conference being
held in
Baku. The group was protesting the participation of Armenian officers Colonel
Murad Isakhanian and Senior Lieutenant Aram Hovannisian.
KLO leader Akif Naghi is reportedly among those arrested after the group
slipped away from police guarding the conference site, and succeeding in
smashing a glass wall of the conference hall.
KLO deputy chairman Barat Imani told the Turan news agency its protests were
not limited to the above disruption, but that a KLO member succeeded in
entering the conference site after the NATO session was in progress, and
announced: “You are sharing this hall with Armenian officers–aggressors,
terrorists, and occupiers. The participation of representatives of
aggressor-states in a NATO event conflicts with NATO policies. No one had the
right to invite them to Baku, and if they have dignity, they must leave
Azerbaijan.”
KLO had warned authorities earlier that they would take drastic measures if
the Armenian officers were allowed to attend the meeting to discuss the
NATO-led military exercise to be held in Azerbaijan this September.
Azerbaijan’s foreign affairs ministry meanwhile dismissed a statement by
parliamentary speaker Murtuz Aleskerov, that the Armenian officers had arrived
in Baku secretly.
A statement by foreign ministry said the arrival of Armenian officers had
been
officially announced by deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov.

3. Armenia Won’t Abandon Cooperation with NATO

YEREVAN (AFP/Armenpress)–Responding to whether Tuesday’s attack by the
Karabagh Liberation Organization, in protest of Armenia’s participation at a
NATO planning conference Baku, affects Armenia’s participation in upcoming
NATO
events, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hamlet Gasparian said that
though the act justly caused concern, Armenia will participate in the June 28
NATO summit in Istanbul.
Gasparian stressed the incident was the logical consequence of the Azeri
leadership’s position and policy [on Armenians], that affects all facets of
Azeri society and hinders Armenian-Azeri dialogue.
“Despite these obstacles, Armenia is resolute to continue its cooperation
with
NATO and participate in NATO-organized joint military exercises and other
events–including the Istanbul Summit.”
Meanwhile, Turkey is on high alert to ward off any threat to next week’s NATO
summit in the country’s biggest city that has long been a playground for
Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants, far-left guerrillas, and armed Kurdish
rebels.
Massive security measures are in place for the June 28-29 summit and Turkish
authorities say they have received no serious threat of a terrorist attack
against the meeting which will be attended by US President George W. Bush and
other Western leaders.
There have been a number of small bomb attacks in Istanbul in recent weeks,
and other cities, similar to those carried out in the past by left-wing
militants.
In the run-up to the NATO summit, Turkish security forces have detained
dozens
in security sweeps against several outlawed groups.

4. European Court Condemns Turkey

(VOA NEWS)The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for its
treatment of two men detained in 1995 for their alleged ties to a Kurdish
rebel
group. The court announced its decision in the case of Abdulrezzak Aydin and
Abdullah Yunus on Tuesday.
Doctors found the two men were physically abused while in Turkish police
custody after a police raid against the Kurdistan Workers Party.
The European court ruled that Turkey had failed to fulfill its obligation to
protect individuals while in the custody of police officers. It awarded
each of
the men approximately 27,000 dollars for damages and legal fees.

5. Azeri Sniper Kills Armenian Soldier

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A forty-seven-year-old Colonel from Armenia’s armed
forces Radik Avetissian was shot and killed by sniper fire in Armenia’s
northeastern Tavush region that borders the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Breaches of the cease-fire agreement are registered periodically in the area,
which is a contact line between Armenian and Azeri armed forces. An escalation
of tensions on the border was discussed at the recent Prague meeting between
the foreign ministers of the two countries.

6. Council of Europe Ends Monitoring of Turkey

STRASBOURG (ARMENPRESS)The Parliamentary Assembly decided on June 22 to end
the
monitoring of Turkey, declaring that the country had “achieved more reform
in a
little over two years than in the previous decade,” and had clearly
demonstrated its commitment and ability to fulfill its statutory
obligations as
a member state of the Council of Europe.
However, the Assembly resolved to continue “post-monitoring dialogue” with
the
authorities on a twelve-point list of outstanding issues. In a resolution
adopted by 141 votes to 8, the parliamentarians welcomed the adoption of
important changes to the Constitution in October 2001 and May 2004, as well as
abolition of the death penalty, “zero tolerance” towards torture and impunity,
the lifting of many restrictions on freedom of expression, association and
religion, the abolition of the state security courts, and the granting of
certain cultural rights to Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin.
Presenting the report, co-rapporteur Mady Delvaux-Stehres said, “This
decision
is a mark of our trust in the Turkish authorities that they will continue to
make progress. It is also a mark of trust in Turkey itself.”
In a separate vote, the Assembly also welcomed the “significant progress”
made
by Turkey in implementing decisions of the European Court of Human Rights,
including payment in the Loizidou case, but cautioned that some of the cases
outstanding were still not settled or only partly so. In its resolution, the
Assembly urged Turkey to take eight further steps to help prevent fresh
violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Arm.-Am. Committee for Just Settlement Criticizes NY Life Settlement

June 23, 2004 07:38 PM US Eastern Timezone

Armenian-American Committee for a Just Settlement Criticizes Proposed
Settlement in Armenian Genocide Insurance Case

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 23, 2004–When a proposed
settlement of a class action lawsuit against New York Life by heirs of
unpaid Armenian Genocide insurance claims was announced recently,
attorney Mark Geragos was quoted in news reports as saying “(New York
Life) really stepped up to the plate and did what was right.” After
analyzing the proposed settlement, Ben Nutley, a Beverly Hills
attorney specializing in class actions, commented: “The only plate
that New York Life may have stepped up to is the dinner plate of
Geragos and the other plaintiff lawyers involved in the case.”

Geragos and the other three attorneys in the case will earn $4 million
— $1 million for each of their firms — while each family of a
policyholder stands to receive about $3,000, on average. “This is
probably the largest single fee of their careers for a civil matter of
this type, yet there remain substantial questions about whether they
have handled this case properly, and whether they should be entitled
to that fee,” said Nutley.

Nutley’s law firm, Kendrick & Nutley, has appeared on behalf of
several heirs of policyholders, and has challenged the adequacy of
notice in the case. In papers filed May 13, 2004, the firm pointed out
several problems with the notices that, by law, the parties must
disseminate in order to notify heirs of the proposed settlement. Among
other things, the filing charges that the notice program was
inadequate because it did not comply with federal law, omitted large
segments of the Armenian community from notice, and failed even to use
the term “Armenian Genocide” in the title and text of the notice. The
Honorable Christina Snyder, the United States District Court Judge who
is in charge of the case, is presently considering that motion.

But in legal documents filed in response to the motion, Geragos, who
is an Armenian-American, defended New York Life’s omission of the term
“Armenian Genocide” from the proposed settlement. Geragos stated that
including the word “Genocide” in the notice would be “confusing” and
“misleading” to class members. Nutley countered that the explanation
does not make sense. “The members of this class-action suit are full
or part Armenian. I’ve yet to meet anyone with a drop of Armenian
blood who didn’t understand the significance of that term. To say that
they would be confused is insulting. On the contrary, it would have
attracted the attention of far more potential class members.”

Judge Snyder will also decide whether to approve the terms of the
proposed settlement itself in a hearing presently set for July 30,
2004. Nutley’s firm filed a formal objection to the settlement, and is
planning to appear at the hearing to urge the court not to approve
it. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, New York Life has
agreed to pay $20 million: $4 million will go to the attorneys; $3
million will go to Armenian charities; between $2 million and $6
million will go to administrative costs; and depending on how much is
spent in administration, between $11 million and $7 million will go
the families of policyholders. If New York Life’s predictions are
accurate, the heirs of the 2,400 actual policyholders will share in
the balance ($7 million) depending on the face value of their original
policy.

Under this scheme, depending on the size of a policyholder’s surviving
family, the value of the policy, and the number of heirs who claim, a
typical heir will receive a little more than a few hundred dollars. By
comparison, Geragos and the other plaintiff lawyers have agreed to
give Martin Marootian, one of the named representative plaintiffs in
the case, $250,000. Nutley said that strongly suggests that the
plaintiff lawyers tried to buy Marootian’s approval of the proposed
settlement. Nutley added that federal case law will not sanction such
a “supersized” award to a named plaintiff, and that Judge Snyder has
already indicated that she is not bound to approve the award of money
to Marootian or the other named plaintiffs.

According to Nutley, the settling parties have not adequately
explained why the amount going to the heirs is so small. After filing
the case, the plaintiffs’ lawyers had claimed that the case was worth
nearly $3 billion in today’s dollars. Nutley said the lawyers should
explain that discrepancy, and have not yet done so. “After 90 years,
and 1.5 million lives lost, is this it for the Armenians? I don’t see
how any Armenian can feel either vindicated by this result or
confident that justice has been done,” said Nutley, who is not
Armenian but whose firm has argued for transparency and accountability
in class actions. “Putting aside the technical, financial and legal
defects in this settlement, this case is also unique in its symbolic
importance to Armenians generally. For them, justice should not just
be done, but be seen to be done.”

For further information, go to or call
626-240-0247.

www.justsettlement.com

Iran, Armenia Call for Expansion of Mutual Ties

Persian Journal

Iran News
Iran, Armenia Call for Expansion of Mutual Ties

Jun 24, 2004, 04:32

Head of Armenian presidential office Artash Tumanyan and his entourage
conferred here Tuesday with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on issues
of mutual interest, IRNA reported.

According to the Information and Press Bureau of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Armenian minister of energy along with the country’s
deputy minister of transportation and telecommunication were also
present in the meeting. At the meeting, the two sides reviewed
expansion of economic and commercial cooperation. Describing the
current level of political relations as satisfactory, Kharrazi voiced
satisfaction over the outcome of Iran-Armenia Economic Commission
meeting and hoped to witness further expansion of economic and
commercial cooperation to a desirable level.

Calling the two sides relations as very significant, he expressed the
hope that both sides would take more firm steps to broaden economic
cooperation. He said the two sides’ economic cooperation would help
restore regional security. The Armenian envoy, for his part, described
bilateral economic activities as `fruitful’ and said the already
reached agreements between the sides would have positive impacts on
mutual relations.

Implementing macro-economic plans will have positive results on ties
between the two countries as well as those in the region through the
restoration of security and stability in the region, he said adding
that the countries in the region through a sincere cooperation can
prevent the interference of foreigners and their influence on regional
developments. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a stabilizing force in
the region, he noted. North-Corridor is a strategic project in which
Iran plays a very significant role, he concluded.

Connecting Georgia with Turkey

The Georgian Messenger
Wednesday, June 23, 2004, #115 (0639)

Connecting Georgia with Turkey
By M. Alkhazashvili

The possible construction of a railway connecting Georgia and Turkey
creates new prospects for the two countries as well as for the transit
function of the South Caucasus as a whole. If the project goals of an
inexpensive, efficient, international transit route are achieved, the
turnover of goods on Georgia’s railways will sharply increase. But
before any of this can happen, Georgia needs to mobilize a vast sum of
money.

President Mikheil Saakashvili discussed the issue of constructing a
Georgia-Turkey railway during his May visit to Turkey. When he
traveled to Tbilisi on June 14-15, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev
also expressed his support for the project.

Two possible routes for the Georgia-Turkey railway are under
discussion: Kars-Akhalkalaki, which has been on the drawing board
since the Shevardnadze administration, and Rize-Batumi, which
Saakashvili was able to propose following the fall of Aslan
Abashidze’s regime in Adjara. Although the Kars-Akhalkalaki plan is
more familiar and well studied, its construction faces numerous
challenges due to the jagged mountainous terrain of the region. This
project requires not only the construction of a 35km stretch from
Akhalkalaki to Kurtkale on the Georgian-Turkish border and a further
92km line from there to Kars, but also the upgrade of the existing 160
km single line branch from Akhalkalaki to Tbilisi. The Rize-Batumi
option may thus prove the more viable.

If a railway connecting Georgia and Turkey is created, the South
Caucasus’ role as a transit corridor between Europe and Asia will
greatly increase and bring tremendous profits. But given the $700-800
million cost of the project, finding the financing necessary for this
project will be a stiff challenge for the government, even if
Azerbaijan and Turkey allot significant sums towards the project.

The idea of constructing a Georgia-Turkey railway has caused great
concern in Armenia, which feels itself even further isolated from
regional transit projects. It should be pointed out that in the Soviet
period, there existed a railway connecting Turkey with the South
Caucasus – the Kars Gyumri line – but owing to the Karabakh conflict
and the less than cordial relations between Armenia and Turkey, it has
been out of operation for more than a decade. A few days ago reports
surfaced that Turkey may open its border with Armenia and restore
Kars-Gyumri. Clearly, if this is true, the issue of constructing a
Georgia-Turkey line will all but be removed from the agenda. But it
remains to be seen whether there is any real prospect for the
restoration of Kars-Gyumri or whether this report was merely a
reaction to the Georgia-Turkey railway idea.

They Already Got Their “Right of Return”

Israel National News
They Already Got Their “Right of Return”
by Steven Plaut
Jun 23, ’04 / 4 Tammuz 5764

Try to imagine what the world would be like if Israel had granted the
“Palestinian refugees” who fled from Israel in 1948-49 the right to return
to Israel. Not to the West Bank. Not to the Gaza Strip. But to Israel within
its pre-1967 borders.

Imagine a situation in which Israel agreed to allow tens of thousands of
Arabs who fled from the battle zones of the Israeli War of Independence the
possibility of returning to Israel, in many cases to the very homes they had
abandoned during the fighting. Imagine how the same world, currently
obsessed with achieving a “right of return” for “Palestinian refugees” were
forced to acknowledge that Israel had already granted the possibility for
tens of thousands of these refugees to return to Israel, in many cases
decades ago. What would the world then have left to bash Israel about? What
would the anti-Semites have left to scream about, or the crowd claiming to
be “anti-Zionists but not anti-Semites”, who only enjoy seeing “Zionist”
children mass murdered, or the self-hating leftist Jewish anti-Semites?

Well, hold on to your shtreimel, because I have a whopper of a revelation to
make to you. Israel did grant the “Palestinian refugees” the right to return
to Israel!

Let us back up a bit. In 1947-48, the United Nations proposed partitioning
“Palestine” into a Jewish and an Arab state of approximately equal sizes.
The Jews accepted the plan, and the Arabs rejected it. When the British
Mandate over “Palestine” was ended under the UN decision, the Arab states
attacked the newborn state of Israel, tried to annihilate it and its
population, and at the same time gobbled up most of the territory that the
UN had allotted to become a Palestinian Arab state.

The territory that became Israel had never been a Palestinian Arab state,
ever. Most of the Arabs in “Palestine” had migrated in from neighboring Arab
countries after the 19th-Century start of the Zionist Jewish immigration,
taking advantage of the influx of capital, the availability of jobs and of
services, like hospitals. In other words, the Arabs of “Palestine” in 1948,
exactly like the Jews, were by and large people from families who had been
in the country for three generations or less.

During the fighting in the 1948-49 war, thousands of Arabs living in the
territory that became Israel fled. The main reason they fled was that they
understandably wanted to put some distance between their families and the
battle zones. At the same time, they were ordered by the Arab political
leadership to leave the territory of Israel. Why take my word on this?
Listen to Arab sources:

“The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes
temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies.”-
Falastin (Jordanian newspaper), February 19, 1949

“The Arab governments told us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out,
but they did not get in.” – from the Jordanian daily A-Difaa, September 6,
1954

“The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the
Zionist tyranny, but instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate
and to leave their homeland.” (emphasis added) – Abu Mazen, erstwhile “Prime
Minister” of the Palestinian Authority, in “What We Have Learned and What We
Should Do”, published in Falastin Al-Thawra, the official journal of the
PLO, in Beirut, March 1976.

And there are scores of other Arab sources confirming this.

So, how many Arabs fled? The number has become enormously distorted over
time by the Bash-Israel Lobby and by Arab propagandists and their
apologists, who usually claim between 500,000 and a million. A more
realistic estimate is between 300,000 and 450,000, based in part on Arab and
UNRWA sources themselves
(). Most of these refugees
ended up in some of the twenty-two sovereign Arab states, including those
Arab countries from which they had migrated into “Palestine” in the late
19th and early 20th centuries in the first place. In other words, the
“refugees” went back to their earlier homelands in Lebanon, Syria and
Jordan. It was a sort of “right of return.”

At the same time, the Arab states carried out a near-total ethnic cleansing
of around a million Jews, who had been living in those lands since Biblical
days, in many cases, before these states had Arab populations
(). The Jews from Arab countries
left behind far more property than did the Palestinian Arab refugees
(). Most of these Jewish
refugees were resettled in Israel.

In the years immediately after World War II, there were more than 50 million
refugees: Poles, Germans, Indians, Pakistanis, Hungarians, Chinese,
Japanese, Koreans, etc., etc. They were all long ago resettled and
forgotten, all except for the “Palestinian refugees”. How come?

Because for decades, the Arab aggressor states found it convenient to
utilize the “refugees” as a political and military weapon against Israel,
not only of propaganda and spin, but of terrorism
(). “Palestinians”
inside Arab states were trained as terrorists and sent out to murder. At the
same time, there was enormous incentive for the Arab locals in the countries
into which the refugees had entered to pretend also to be “Palestinian
refugees” ().
After all, the UN and other agencies were handing out free food and perks to
anyone pretending to be a refugee from “Palestine”. (For further information
and documentation, see )

Unlike all those many millions of other people considered refugees in the
late 1940s, the “Palestinians” were the only ones for whom the “right of
return” to their previous homes was considered an entitlement. The reason
was not a selective affection for Palestinians, but a selective hostility
towards Israel and Jews. Those demanding the wholesale “return” to Israel of
Palestinian “refugees”, including the countless thousands of
non-Palestinians pretending to be Palestinian refugees, had one goal in
mind, the eradication of Israel.

Israel would have been insane to allow itself to be inundated with real and
make-pretend Palestinian “refugees”, this in a tiny sliver of land the size
of Maryland, at the same time that the 22 Arab states have territory-galore
stretching from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Central Asia. The
Palestinian Arabs and their sponsors had tried to annihilate Israel and
failed. Just like the infant United States, which refused to allow any of
the tens of thousands of Tory Loyalists expelled by the patriots to “return”
to the United States after the War of Independence, Israel was entirely in
its rights to refuse to allow the “return” of masses of “Palestinians”,
whose migration was being demanded by those seeking to liquidate Israel via
a demographic flooding.

There is just one little wrinkle though.

Israel did let the Palestinian refugees return. Tens of thousands of them
were quietly allowed to return to Israel, in many cases to their original
homes, once the fighting in 1949 subsided. Many continue to be admitted
today within the framework of “family reunification” agreements.

>From 1948 until 2001, Israel allowed about 184,000 “Palestinian refugees” or
their families to “return” to Israel proper (Jerusalem Post, January 2,
2001; see also Ha’aretz, December 28, 2000). These are in addition to about
57,000 Palestinians from Jordan illegally in Israel, towards whom the
authorities are turning a blind eye (Ha’aretz, April 4, 2001). They are not
migrating to the West Bank, not to Gaza, but to Israel inside its pre-1967
“Green Line” borders. In the Camp David II meetings in 2000, Israeli leftist
Prime Minister Ehud Barak rather insanely offered to allow another 150,000
“refugees” to enter Israel as part of a peace accord. The PLO’s response was
to launch pogroms and four years of atrocities, because the number was
finite. (See also )

The demand for a “right of return” by Palestinians to Israel is no doubt the
most absurd political demand floating anywhere around the planet. There is
already an Arab state in two thirds of Mandatory Palestine, named Jordan,
and most of its population is Palestinian Arab. The Oslo Accords and
Israel’s Camp David II offer would have created a second Arab state in
Palestine, in the West Bank and Gaza, as part of a comprehensive peace
settlement. Any “Palestinian” from anywhere could have moved to “Palestine”
or to Jordan, within the framework of such a peace, the same way any Jew who
wishes to may immigrate to Israel, or any Armenian may immigrate to Armenia,
and Greeks from the Greek Diaspora are automatically welcomed in Greece.

The PLO and the Islamofascist states backing it demand that in addition to
establishing a second Arab state in Palestine within the framework of any
peace settlement, Israel itself must also be converted into a third Arab
Palestinian state, via unlimited massive immigration of people claiming to
be Palestinians. Benjamin Franklin, who opposed granting even a dime in
compensation to the Tory refugees expelled from the United States during the
War of Independence, would be splitting his sides laughing.

But the most Orwellian absurdity of all is that Israel long ago did grant
the right to “return” to Israel itself to tens of thousands of “Palestinian
refugees”. Did this earn Israel the world’s gratitude for its uniquely
generous gesture? Did the world denounce the Arab fascist states who ignored
this generosity, and continued to seek Israel’s destruction militarily and
the genocide of its population? Do today’s bleeding hearts and recreational
compassion posturers, pretending to feel uncontrollable pain and caring for
Palestinian refugees, even know about the limited “right of return” granted
by Israel over the past decades?

Hindus have never been returned to Pakistan, Moslems from Pakistan have not
been returned to India, ethnic Germans were not returned to their pre-war
homes in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia or Romania, Japanese have not been
returned to Manchuria, Greeks have not been returned to Anatolia, Jews have
not been compensated for the billions they left behind when ethnic cleansing
of Jews in Moslem countries took place, and Tory Loyalists were never
returned to New England. But tens of thousands of “Palestinian refugees”
were granted by Israel what none of these others received.

It is time to say enough is enough. The only remaining reasonable plan
regarding those still claiming to be “Palestinian refugees” is simply –
“Foggedaboutit.”

http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~samuel/refugees.html
http://www.ajds.org.au/mendes_refugees.htm
http://jewishrefugees.org/JusticeForJews.htm
http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~peters/resettlement.html
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=8650
http://arabterrorism.tripod.com/FAQ/refugees.html.
http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/immigration-oslo.html.

Officials of Armenia and NKR Denied

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
June 23 2004

OFFICIALS OF ARMENIA AND NKR DENIED

Top officials of Armenia and Nagorni Karabakh denied the news that the
American co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Stephen Mann during his
latestvisit to Yerevan (June 3) unofficially discussed with the
president of Armenia the question of returning three regions
controlled by the Karabakh armed forcesto Azerbaijan as a manifestation
of good will. In particular, in the interviews to the radio station
`Liberty’ this news was denied by the prime minister of Armenia
Andranik Margarian and foreign minister Vardan Oskanian, as well asthe
speaker of the National Assembly of Nagorni Karabakh Oleg Yessayan. ‘I
do not think that such discussions ever took place,’ stated Oleg
Yessayan and added that `if Karabakh did not agree to return five
regions for opening the railroad Yerevan-Baku, it would be naiv to
think that Karabakh would agree to return the three regions’.

PANARMENIAN.
23-06-2004