Armenia rejects Azeri proposal to join NATO exercises as observer

Armenia rejects Azeri proposal to join NATO exercises as observer

Mediamax news agency
20 May 04

Yerevan, 20 May: The Azerbaijani side’s proposal to take part in the
Cooperative Best Effort-2004 exercises as an observer does not suit
Armenia, Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan said at a joint
briefing with his Russian counterpart in Yerevan today.

Asked by a Mediamax correspondent, Sarkisyan added that Armenia
had repeatedly expressed its readiness to send a unit for full
participation in these exercises to be held in Azerbaijan in autumn
within NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme.

In turn, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov said that “this is the
first time that he has learnt about the Cooperative Best Effort-2004
exercises”. He added that “we take part in joint exercises with NATO
only if they are of practical benefit to us”.

Armenian lawyer reports mass arrests of opposition members

Armenian lawyer reports mass arrests of opposition members

Aykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
21 May 04

The leader of the International Union of Lawyers, Tigran Ter-Yesayan,
has said that the mass arrests of opposition representatives continued
all over the republic last night. A group of lawyers who assist him
did not manage to give legal advice to arrested opposition activists.

Ter-Yesayan told us that there were many cases when lawyers went
to police stations on request, but did not manage to give legal
advice to arrested people because they had already been sentenced to
administrative imprisonment. This makes us conclude that the court
hearings took place only at the police station.

Asked about his assessment of the mass arrests of opposition activists,
Tigran Yesayan replied: “Such actions by the law-enforcement agencies
are against the law. They are not envisaged in any law. This is
violence which demonstrates the authorities’ biased attitude towards
certain people, groups and even families.” Incidentally, Tigran
Ter-Yesayan is going to send information about yesterday’s arrests
to international organizations and foreign embassies in Armenia.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Russian DM says radar station for Russian military use only

Russian defense minister says radar station for Russian military use only

Associated Press Worldstream
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, Armenia — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said
Thursday that there are no plans to let the United States use its
Soviet-era radar station in Azerbaijan.

“I don’t foresee that,” Ivanov said, after arriving in the Armenian
capital, Yerevan, for a two-day visit. “Even if I had a rich
imagination, I couldn’t foresee that. This station is for the sole
use of the Russian military.”

The Gabala radar station was built by the Soviet military to track
missiles in the southern hemisphere. After the Soviet collapse,
Azerbaijan – which shares a border with Iran to the south – grudgingly
allowed Russia to continue using the station, which is considered a
key part of Russia’s early warning system.

Azerbaijan has sought to develop a good military relationship with
Washington, leading to rumors – denied by U.S. officials – that the
U.S. military might establish a base there.

Meanwhile, Ivanov said that Russia is pleased with its military
relationship with Armenia, which is host to one Soviet-era military
base. Ivanov noted that two Russian Il-76 cargo planes, purchased by
Armenia at internal Russian prices, arrived in the ex-Soviet republic
on Thursday, and that 600 Armenian soldiers were currently studying
in Russian military academies.

Armenia has historically looked to Russia as an economic and political
strategic partner. Their relationship has sometimes angered Azerbaijan,
with which Armenia fought a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

U.S. helps Armenian police with training, Internet access

U.S. helps Armenian police with training, Internet access

Associated Press Worldstream
May 20, 2004 Thursday

YEREVAN, Armenia – The United States plans to grant almost US$2.16
million to Armenia to boost the capabilities of law enforcement bodies
in the former Soviet republic, officials said Thursday.

The program is a cooperative effort between Armenia’s government and
the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and
Law Enforcement Affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said.

Almost US$1.47 million has already been provided to fund four
programs. The programs focus on modernizing police academies by
incorporating new training methods, providing a one year Internet
connection for police offices throughout Armenia, working to prevent
the trafficking of people and helping Armenia develop a modern and
independent forensic laboratory.

The rest of the funding, which will also support the programs, must
still be approved by the U.S. Congress and the top official in the
U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs,
the embassy said.

Armenia is a cash-strapped Caucasus Mountain nation with a population
of 3.3 million.

From the Book of 1000 Tales – Author’s Short Stories ChroniclePersec

PrimeZone Media Network
May 20, 2004 Thursday

>>From the Book of One Thousand Tales – Author’s Short Stories
Chronicle Persecution of Armenian People

MARIPOSA, Calif., May 20, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) — In the early 20th
century, Diana Agabeg Apcar wrote a collection of stories that
revealed atrocities committed against Armenians. From the Book of One
Thousand Tales: Stories of Armenia and Its People 1892 – 1922 (now
available through AuthorHouse) reveals these incredible stories of a
persecuted people and their courage and determination.

Although fictional, the tales are based on real events that happened
during a dark time in world history. The horrors that took place in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries were largely ignored by the
world, permitting the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire to
cleanse Asia Minor of millions of Armenians. There is speculation
that this global indifference made way for Hitler’s Holocaust and
Hideki Tojo imposing force on many races in the Pacific.

Apcar never set foot in her beloved homeland of Armenia, but One
Thousand Tales reads as if she trod every inch and scrutinized every
face. The stories came from the mouths of survivors, who spoke with
Apcar after their arduous journey to Japan by way of the
TransSiberian Railway and other primitive modes of transportation.
With eloquence and vivid detail, she captured their joys, pain, and
unwavering faith. The stories describe locations that still exist
today, and a map of Asia Minor at the beginning of the book further
helps readers to place these historic and tragic events.

Born in Rangoon, then British East India, now Yangon, Myanmar, Apcar
lived her later years in Yokohama, Japan where she died in 1937. A
keen businesswoman, she assisted her husband in a prosperous trade in
Japan. She wrote 13 books, numerous pamphlets and papers that were
widely read in her lifetime. She corresponded with many noted
personalities in the academic, political and business world. Apcar
served as Consul to the Republic of Armenia, making her the first
woman to serve in a diplomatic capacity. This position enabled her to
provide assistance to hundreds of refugees fleeing Turkish and
Russian oppression, providing the stories for One Thousand Tales. The
manuscript for this book was discovered among family papers by her
granddaughter, Lucille Apcar, who realized the importance of sharing
these stories with the world.

AuthorHouse is the world leader in publishing and print-on-demand
services. Founded in 1997, AuthorHouse has helped more than 18,500
people worldwide become published authors. For more information,

EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Promotional Services Department
Tel: 800-839-8640 ext. 244
Fax: 812-961-3133
Email: [email protected]
(Please provide a street address for review copies.)

Europe exerts influence on region,

Europe exerts influence on region, conflict – separatist Karabakh spokesman

Golos Armenii, Yerevan
20 May 04

In an interview, separatist Nagornyy-Karabakh presidential advisor
Manvel Sarkisyan tells the De-Facto news agency about his view of
the new European-influenced politics of the South Caucasus. In
the ideological vacuum that followed the break-up of the USSR,
he says it is Europe that is now assessing and becoming involved
in the region. The Europeans’ view is that territorial claims and
ethno-political history can be destructive and that settlement of
conflict in the region should be based only on the principles of
“human rights and legality”. Following is a report from a De-Facto
news agency report in the Armenian newspaper Golos Armenii on 20 May
headlined “The human factor is a priority”

An interview with the NKR president’s advisor on political issues
Manvel Sarkisyan. He said that “symmetrical” assessments of the Minsk
Group have been revoked.

[De-Facto correspondent] Mr Sarkisyan, you have recently taken part in
a seminar in Stepanakert [Xankandi] dedicated to the 10th anniversary
of the cease-fire in the Karabakh conflict zone. Its theme – “European
integration as a guarantee of peace and stable development”, could not
help but become a reason of public interest, raising many questions
that are topical for the region as a whole, as well as for the Karabakh
settlement. How can you explain such an active introduction of European
structures into the political life of the region recently?

[Manvel Sarkisyan] After the USSR collapsed the nations of the South
Caucasus region, that started construction of independent states, did
not immediately understand their basic psychological and political
state. The ideological vacuum, that appeared against the background
of the collapse of communist ideology, immediately meant that since
proclaiming independence, national policy found itself under the
strong influence of the ethno-political ideas.

The Urgent desire of the nations to build a national state according
to their ethno-political traditions finally turned into bloodshed and
conflict. On the other hand, a gap appeared between the tendencies
to international integration and an age-long desire of the nations
to have independence. This widening gap had a destructive effect on
the regional processes. The situation created big complications for
Europe, which from the very beginning had declared this region in
its zone of interest. In addition, incompatibility of the political
outlook of the South Caucasus nations with the established values
and norms of the European political world, formed the attitudes of
European politicians towards the countries of the region.

The most typical European assessments is perception of the region as
“territorial illegality where the dictator’s power was established
on ethnic lines”. By the way, such assessments are not concerning
only the unrecognized states, but also the three recognized states.

[Correspondent] Let us nevertheless agree that there is truth in
these assessments, and it is not quite correct to accuse Europeans
of biased views. Naturally, a certain reaction to this should be
expected from the side of the political elite of the region. Was it
adequately accepted in the region?

[Sarkisyan] During the last two years the South Caucasus countries have
felt the real affect of the political factor of Europe. Just at that
time the European structures, first of all PACE, was determining the
course of many domestic political events in all the countries of the
region. As for the political elite of these countries, which always see
“Moscow’s hand” everywhere, they suddenly found themselves something
unusual for them – the interference of the European structures in
their interior affairs. The local politicians could not understand
whole range of changed realities in the region.

Insight, that gave birth to some confusion, came during last year’s
presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as during
a changing of power in Georgia: it became clear that a new player had
entered the game – United Europe. A flow of harsh European resolutions
with strict assessment of the authorities actions and with no less
harsh demands, caught the political elite unaware. New rules of the
play have appeared that had to be taken into account. Along with
it they understood that Moscow, which was the traditional “owner
of state” in the region, is also starting to take these rules into
account, especially now that it is becoming more and more difficult
to explain its actions in the South Caucasus.

The relations of the region with Europe have become clear in connection
with the decision of the European Union to involve 10 new members
and an announcement about a project “New neighbours” of Europe. The
prospect of the future sight of integration of the South Caucasus
region into the European political space has become realistic. At the
beginning of this summer it will become clear if an agreement on “New
neighbours” of Europe will be adopted, and what they specifically mean
by this grandiose political project. Political regimes of the countries
of the region come across an increasing flow of demands stemming
from Europe. Testing, harsh rules and unusual values of the political
world that is attractive but has not yet fully disclosed itself.

[Correspondent] As the South Caucasus politicians start to try on
the suits made according to European designs, what can they and the
countries of the region expect from further development of events?

[Sarkisyan] It is not accidental that the first forms of established
relations of Europe with the countries of the region had a form of
uncompromising diktat in all the areas, though formally these relations
are called monitoring. It is not accidental either, that along with
practice of the legal ideas and norms being introduced into internal
life of the countries of the region, the European countries started
dealing thoroughly with the conflict zones in the South Caucasus. The
ethno-political traditions are the most destructive in the sphere of
conflict. And conflicts restrain not only economic development of the
region but also a process of state construction in the conflicting

It is not difficult to notice that the policy of the United Europe
towards the countries of the region has the following four strict

cultivation of the European forms national legislation and stimulation
of the constitutional forms of domestic political relations;
stimulation of inter-parliamentary relations; development of business
at a regional scale; looking for means of conflict settlement on the
principles of human rights and legality.

Let us also add a strategic programme of attraction of the armies of
the region into joint international security programmes (“Partnership
for Peace”) – the purpose of the United Europe will become more clear:
to remove the ethno-political ideas from the national policy of the
regional countries. And this means that a traditional perception of
the national interests in the region may be changed substantially. It
is evident that the Western world will do everything to radically
transform the South Caucasus region. At the same time the opportunities
for choice for the countries of the region have reduced.

[Correspondent] A time has come to ask the main question: how can be
the Karabakh conflict settled against this background?

[Sarkisyan] What I said makes the Karabakh issue clear and the
conflict with Azerbaijan remains one of the key problems of the
South Caucasus. After the cease-fire the status-quo in the conflict
zone remains against a background of diplomatic settlement, within
the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. In spite of the absence of
progress in the matter of a settlement, the Minsk Group has managed to
fulfil one of its important missions – preservation of the cease-fire
regime. But at the same time a “philosophy” of settlement, taken from
the very beginning, that makes an accent at a priority of territorial
component of the conflict, remains. The package as well the stage by
stage projects of settlement were based on the matter of control over
the territory of Nagornyy Karabakh and adjoining territories.

Since 2003 the Karabakh problem has become one of the main problems
of the Council of Europe. It was then that the first PACE rapporteur
on Nagornyy Karabakh was appointed. Later rapporteur were also
appointed in the European parliament. The PACE rapporteur Terry
Davies visited the region in the spring of 2003, but he did not dare
to visit Nagornyy Karabakh. That time he said that he would assess
the Minsk Group activity, that is, he made us understand that the
European initiative has its ideas about this conflict zone, that
differ from ideas of the Minsk Group.

Soon it became clear what he meant. In January 2004, in one of the PACE
resolutions the following wording appeared: “Nagornyy Karabakh and
other occupied territories of Azerbaijan”. This formula demonstrated
a sharp changing of positions of the European countries in assessment
to the key aspects of the Karabakh problem. I would like to point out
that in the resolution of the European parliament dated 11 March 1999,
they demonstrated a more balanced approach. Furthermore it became
evident that the even-handed assessments of the Minsk Group were
fully revoked in the European approaches.

[Correspondent] What do the European structures offer in an
exchange? What is the principle difference of their proposals?

[Sarkisyan] First of all I should say that the activity of the European
structures in the matter of the Karabakh conflict settlement has
risen sharply since the beginning of 2004.

[Passage omitted: Sarkisyan says that representatives of all the
political structures of the United Europe have started visiting the
region. If earlier they were avoiding direct meetings with the NKR
leadership, this time they were searching them out. The names of
officials are mentioned and the dates of their visit to the NKR.]

More over, the British “Linx” public organization started acting on
the region. It declared its main mission – activity on stimulation
of the societies of the conflicting countries to contacts.

Just at that period the key principle in the position of the
European structures was displayed. The formula of Terry Devis –
“I am not interested in territories, I am interested in people”,
has become an expression of a fundamentally new approach of Europe to
the conflict, an approach which may be called “humanitarian”. Further
activity on the matter of a settlement has confirmed the fact that
in their approaches they follow just these principles, based on the
principle of “human rights and legality”.

It is clear that the Minsk Group approach, which is usual for the
political elite of the region, and gives priority to the territorial
aspects of the conflict situation, has been rejected forever. So,
activation of the European structures in the matter of the settlement
of conflicts in the South Caucasus region has radically changed the
politics of the Karabakh problem. It has become evident that the
challenge of conflict settlement has been connected with the general
complex of problems of political development in the South Caucasus
region. A universal approach has been displayed towards all the key
issues of the region: state building, development of democracy,
economic and political integration. The era of a “traditional”
geo-political approach towards the region has been ended.

CIS defence ministers agree on WMD, air defence system

CIS defence ministers agree on WMD, air defence system

ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow
21 May 04

Yerevan, 21 May: The defence ministers of CIS countries have supported
the initiative of the Russian Foreign Ministry to coordinate the
positions of the CIS states on the issues of non-proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov, who chaired the meeting,
said that the participants of the session “unanimously supported
the proposals to coordinate the positions of our countries on this
essential international issue”.

When summing up the meeting of ministers, Sergey Ivanov announced that
a great deal of attention was paid to the issues of the functioning
of the CIS unified air defence system. Yet another important and
effective measure for perfecting multilateral cooperation in this area,
he said, “will be the adoption of a targeted programme for ensuring
the comprehensive countering by the armed forces of the CIS of the
forces and means of an aerial attack” by a potential enemy. “Its draft
was approved today and will be sent to the council of the heads of
government of the CIS countries,” the minister noted.

According to Sergey Ivanov, the participants in the meeting took
important decisions on joint actions on operational preparations of
the armed forces of the CIS for 2005, on organizing the activities of
collective forces to maintain peace in the CIS, increasing the safety
of air force flights, creating a unified communications system and
improving cooperation on hydrometeoroligical support.

The meeting of defence ministers was attended by all CIS countries,
with the exception of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

The defence ministers were today received by Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan. As the chairman of the session, Sergey Ivanov briefed the
president on its results. He stressed that the decisions adopted
at the meeting “will facilitate the strengthening of security and
stability in the entire space of the CIS”.

Sergey Ivanov, who arrived in Yerevan on a working visit, yesterday
held talks with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan. “Yet
another important step has been taken on the way towards deepening the
Russian-Armenian strategic partnership, the security of our countries
and the maintenance of peace and stability in the Transcaucasus,” he
said when summing up the results of the meeting with his counterpart.

BAKU: Azeri spiritual leader denounces “destruction of shrines” in I

Azeri spiritual leader denounces “destruction of shrines” in Iraq

ANS TV, Baku
20 May 04

(Inserting missing words “religious rites” in third paragraph. A
corrected version of the item follows:)

[Presenter] The chairman of the Board of the Muslims of the Caucasus
[BMC], Sheikh ul-Islam Allahsukur Pasazada, issued a statement on the
destruction of the holy shrines of the Muslims in military operations
in Iraq.

[Correspondent over video of Pasazada] The destruction of the holiest
shrine of the world Shi’is, the Imam Ali mosque, by US troops, should
not only worry the Muslim states.

[Pasazada] In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. We
would not like it if our shrines were the targets of fire, and were
destroyed or damaged. I am calling on both sides, the Western states,
if they want to earn the respect of the Muslim world, and restore
democracy there, they should those religious rites and holiest shrines
[as received – changes tack] because, today Imam Ali [the Lord of
the Faithful, the first Shi’i imam] not only belongs to Shi’is, he
is the greatest pearl for the world. Pasazada considers that what is
going in Iraq is also affecting Azerbaijan’s interests.

[Pasazada] There is a cemetery and currently military operations
are underway near it, tanks are around, there is destruction, may
be, there Azeris lay there too, there lie the tombs of our greatest
ancestors. If we speak about Karbala, we should also think of [Azeri
poet of 16th century, Mahammad] Fizuli.

[Correspondent] The sheikh fears that the Iraqi people, waiting for
democracy, may be facing a blood-stained democracy and this gift may
rebound on the coalition forces.

[Pasazada] Together with the killings of people, people’s confidence
is also lost, i.e. those forces which say I want to come with democracy
[changes tack], every such bullet means a weakening of democracy. Every
bit of damage, every single bullet, fired at the shrines of Imam Ali,
Prophet Husayn, every single step against it [changes tack], I call
it a stick democracy.

[Correspondent] The chairman of the Board of the Muslims of the
Caucasus (BMC), Sheikh ul-Islam Allahsukur Pasazada, has already spoken
to the US ambassador to Azerbaijan about these issues. He called on the
coalition forces to observe peace and the Muslims to show solidarity.

[Pasazada] There is another point that worries me deeply. The voice
of these democracies is coming from Iraq, it may come from Syria
tomorrow and other places. Because its foundation was laid in Xocali
[Azeri settlement razed to the ground by Armenian and Russian troops
in 1992]. However, there was no support from the Arab states, they
did not say that I missed such [tragedy] in Xocali and it hit you. Now
we do not know whom it will hit after Iraq.

[Correspondent] The sheikh added that together with the holiest
shrines, Iraq is in need of repair, both from statehood and a spiritual
point of view.

Zamina Aliyeva, Elxan Huseynov for ANS.

BAKU: Washington not to hamper US companies working in Karabakh,envo

Washington not to hamper US companies working in Karabakh, envoy says

Ekspress, Baku
21 May 04

Text of Alakbar Raufoglu report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekspress on
21 May headlined “Are the politics and trade separate?”, subheaded
“Washington does not intend to prevent the US companies working in
Nagornyy Karabakh”

Washington is not going to apply economic sanctions against US
companies operating in Azerbaijan’s occupied territory of Nagornyy
Karabakh, US ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish has told a news
conference on the results of the US-Azerbaijani intergovernmental
working group yesterday [20 May]. According to him, the US government
believes in independent trade and “we do not support imposing any
trade restrictions on independent countries”.

At the same time, the ambassador said if Washington applied sanctions
against Nagornyy Karabakh, then those sanctions had to be addressed
to Azerbaijan, since US laws had not experienced the application of
sanctions against any autonomous establishment.

For this reason, US companies can continue their activities in
Nagornyy Karabakh.

The ambassador, who declined to answer questions about the recognition
of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity by Washington, said: “It is not
worth speaking about politics in such issues. We support efforts on
the Nagornyy Karabakh resolution. The US government wants to see a
lasting, but just solution to the problem.”

Thus, Harnish thinks that the operation of foreign companies in
Nagornyy Karabakh is a “trade issue” and this should not be confused
with political processes. From this viewpoint, the ambassador recalled
the proposal to open borders between Turkey and Armenia advanced by
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during his visit to
the region last month.

“He said that borders should be opened so that trade relations can
be established,” the ambassador said and added that he was against
the presentation of the US companies’ operation in Nagornyy Karabakh
as a success of the USA.

Harnish said that the USA wanted to show once again its close relations
with Azerbaijan in the economic sector and that “an intergovernmental
agreement was achieved on the preparation of new programmes”.

It is interesting that the USA can easily confuse “trade relations”
with politics when this is beneficial for it. For instance, when
Washington applies sanctions against numerous countries in the world,
it bans private companies from keeping ties with those countries.

BAKU: Azerbaijan refuses to attend CIS sitting in Armenia

Azerbaijan refuses to attend CIS sitting in Armenia

Bilik Dunyasi news agency
21 May 04

Baku, 21 May: Azerbaijani representatives will not take part in a
sitting of the council of the heads of CIS Chambers of Commerce and
Industry which is due in Yerevan on 2 June. The leadership of the
Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce and Industry officially notified
the council of its decision not to take part in events held on the
territory of the enemy state, the chamber said.

[Passage omitted: Issues related to business information exchange
will be on the sitting’s agenda]