Young Diplomats Demanding for Honour

A1 Plus | 15:44:39 | 11-03-2004 | Social |


Club of Young Diplomats has voiced its outrage concerning the recent
statement of British Ambassador to Armenia denying the Armenian Genocide.

For the sake of the millions martyred in 1915 and their honor the young
people demand the Ambassador to apologize for her insulting and inaccurate

Club urges citizens to contact the British Embassy to express their protest.

For that purpose the young people even suggest help allowing appropriate
text and addresses.

Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter – 03/11/2004


MARCH 5-11, 2004






On March 9, 2004 four public organizations of Armenia – Yerevan Press Club,
Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Civil Society Institute and Caucasian Center
of Peace Initiatives – disseminated a joint statement on the assassination
of Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian by his Azerbaijani colleague in

“We, similarly to all our compatriots, were greatly shattered by the
barbarous murder of Armenia officer Gurgen Margarian by Azerbaijani peer
Ramil Safarov. The tragic incident in Budapest provoke numerous thoughts:
about the hate incitement towards Armenian in Azerbaijan that forms the
moral and psychological ground for such crimes as well as about the
connivance of certain international structures to the destructive policy in
Baku, narrowing down the prospects of dialogue with Armenia.

At the same time the irresponsible statements by several Armenian political
and public figures, the publications in media during the recent days cannot
but cause our serious concern. In particular, the Chairman of the Standing
Committee of Foreign Affairs of the RA National Assembly Armen Rustamian,
during the commemoration action for victims of Sumgait pogroms and the head
of the Parliament faction of Republican Party Galust Sahakian during a
briefing at NA on March 4, speaking about the assassin of Gurgen Margarian,
indulged into unacceptable generalizations to the address of Azerbaijan
nation as such.

These statements by politicians of such a high rank, representing a
governing political coalition, are all the more unacceptable since they can
be qualified as an official position of ours state, can create new obstacles
for the negotiations on the peaceful resolution of Karabagh conflict and the
normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The artificial intensification of anti-Armenian sentiment in Azerbaijan and
its consequences are to be most strongly criticized, but they can in no way
become a justification for dissemination of racist and chauvinist ideas,
alien to our society.

However hard our experiences related to Budapest tragedy are, we call to
display political reticence and hope that common sense and democratic values
will remain guiding for our country”, the statement of the Armenian NGOs


On March 5 the expanded meeting of “Partnership for Open Society” coalition,
uniting over 30 non-governmental organizations, was held. It was devoted to
the draft law on amending the RA Law “On Freedom of Information”, approved
by the RA Government (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 20-26, 2004).

The RA National Assembly deputy, one of the authors of the Law Victor
Dallakian and a representative of “Democracy” NGO Vardan Poghosian noted
that the Law “On Freedom of Information” adopted on September 23 and
enforced since November 14, 2003 is quite progressive and is up to
international standards. Therefore, the amendments approved by the
Government on February 12, when the Law has not been actually applied, are
premature, particularly, since their majority reduced the democratic
potential of the acting legislation. The allusions of the amendment authors
to the controversies within the Law and its contradiction to the RA
Constitution, as quoted in the appropriate resolution of the Government, are

The initiative of the Government to introduce amendments to the Law “On
Freedom of Information” has already received broad negative response both in
Armenia and abroad. The calls to withdraw the governmental amendments were
already voiced by Freedom of Information Civic Initiate, “Article 19” Global
Campaign for Free Expression, Open Society Justice Initiative.

Common amazement is caused by the fact that despite the numerous requests,
neither the RA Ministry of Justice that authored the amendments, nor the
Government presented the official text of the draft approved to the public
organization, despite the numerous requests, thus seriously violating the
principles of freedom of information as such.

As a result of a discussion at an expanded session of the “Partnership for
Open Society” and upon the suggestion of the President of Yerevan Press Club
Boris Navasardian an address to the RA Government was passed, made up of
four main demands:

– To withdraw the draft law “On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the
RA Law “On Freedom of Information”;

– To ensure the application of the RA Law “On Freedom of Information”,
passed in September 23, including the speedy development and adoption of the
appropriate sublegislative acts, not to relate the possible need for the
improvement of the Law to its application;

– Should there be initiatives on amending the law, to broadly discuss them
with representatives of civil society;

– When initiating amendments to the Law, to supplement them by specific and
detailed justification.


On March 4 at the session of the RA Government the Model Procedure for
accrediting journalists in the state administration bodies was approved. The
procedure was developed by the RA Ministry of Justice in compliance with the
requirements of the RA Law “On Mass Communication”, passed in December,

As it has been reported, the discussion of the document with journalistic
associations was rather constructive (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, January
30 – February 5, 2004), however, we are induced to restate our amazement at
the official document being not provided, despite our numerous requests to
do so. This happens to the second legislative initiative of the Government,
related to media activities and cannot fail to alarm the journalistic

When reprinting or using the information above, reference to the Yerevan
Press Club is required.

You are welcome to send any comment and feedback about the Newsletter to:
[email protected]

Subscription for the Newsletter is free. To subscribe or unsubscribe from
this mailing list, please send a message to: [email protected]

Editor of YPC Newsletter – Elina POGHOSBEKIAN
Yerevan Press Club
9B, Ghazar Parpetsi str.
375007, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: (+ 374 1) 53 00 67; 53 35 41; 53 76 62
Fax: (+374 1) 53 56 61
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site:

Folk Vanguard in Live Performance

A1 Plus | 17:23:19 | 11-03-2004 | Culture |


On the initiative of Arto-Tunj Boyajyan Armenian Navy Band presents a music
club at Pushkin 3a on March 13. Journalists from European countries are

The Club will be closed on Mondays only. Eminent and worthy musicians will
play on the club stage. The prices for the tickets of concerts of foreign
and local musicians will be different. Music will sound in the club all day
long, and beginning from 8:00 PM groups will perform in live.

According to Arto-Tunj Boyajyan, they want to introduce the present sticking
to roots, so they have called their music folk vanguard.

An Attempt at Our Citizen

A1 Plus | 17:44:24 | 11-03-2004 | Social |


Last night at attempt upon life of Armenian MP Tatul Manaseryan who is in
San Bernardino cell of California was made. A black male prisoner of the
jail attempted Manaseryan’s life. {BR}

The relatives of Tatul Manaseryan held a protest action near the USA Embassy
in Armenia. Manaseryan’s aunt Kima Virabyan assured that Manaseryan had been
arrested baselessly and no accusation had yet been brought over the case.

It is to remind that Tatul Manaseryan was arrested on January 15 in one of
Washington airports. Mrs Virabyan said that the arrest played into the hands
of our Authorities. “They want Tatul to be abroad this period. The first
session was to take place today. But everything was done to drag it out”.

Virabyan said they had come to ask USA Ambassador to support to release
Manaseryan. She stated the reason for oppressing Manaseryan is his activity
in the opposition field.

USA Embassy didn’t receive Manaseryan’s relatives. Armenian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs promised to receive them tomorrow.

Covering Up Potholes Doesn’t Fix Corruption

The Moscow Times
Thursday, Mar. 11, 2004. Page 13

Covering Up Potholes Doesn’t Fix Corruption

By Kim Iskyan

Corrupt activities in the developing world — government ministers
controlling local industry cash cows, traffic cops shaking down random
motorists for a buck or two, tax inspectors squeezing small businesses until
they bleed — tend to be homegrown.

But abuse of power in Armenia is often exacerbated by the misguided and
naive efforts of foreign do-gooders, including wealthy outsiders with a few
teaspoons of Armenian blood.

Take the Lincy Foundation. Back in June 2000, Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan lobbied Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who is of Armenian
descent, for handouts.

Tell us what you want, Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation said, as the candy
cupboard door swung open.

Three years and $165 million later downtown Yerevan has spanking new
sidewalks, bigger highways and fewer potholes. There’s better tourism
infrastructure, and people hit by a 1988 earthquake now have a permanent
roof over their heads.

One of the greatest beneficiaries was Kocharyan, who was happy to take
credit for the improvements during his re-election campaign last year.

Never mind that the money spent amounted to more than twice the total annual
health care budget for 2003. Fresh blacktop is nice, but so are doctors and

And many of the new roads were riddled with potholes in under a year, thanks
to shoddy workmanship by contractors handpicked by the government.

While the Lincy Foundation certainly helped the economy in the short term,
it missed a golden opportunity to try to bring about sustainable, long-term
growth by investing in the country’s economy.

Often, foreign investors in Armenia — usually diaspora Armenians — let
their feelings overrule business sense. They buy into ideas, sometimes sold
to them by selfish and arrogant government bureaucrats, that wouldn’t
warrant a moment’s consideration back home.

Other times, diaspora investors cut sweetheart deals with the government,
thereby destructively promulgating the culture of corruption. Instead of
being a force for change, they sometimes wind up propagating the same old
corrupt system.

Yes, it could be worse. Transparency International ranked Armenia 78th out
of 133 countries surveyed in its Corruption Perceptions Index. This compares
with, say, Russia (86th), or Azerbaijan and Georgia (tied at 124th).

But comparing yourself with some of the ugliest kids on the block doesn’t
make you pretty. And it could be so much better, if only the do-gooders
looked in the mirror once in a while.

Kim Iskyan, a freelance journalist and consultant based in Yerevan, Armenia,
contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.

UNDP and ROA Govmt Joint Effort to Fight AIDS in Uniformed Services

United Nations Development Programme Country Office in Armenia
14, Karl Liebknecht Street, Yerevan 375010, Armenia
Contact: Aramazd Ghalamkaryan
Tel: (374 1) 56 60 73
Fax: (374 1) 54 38 11
E-mail: [email protected]

Yerevan, Armenia
11 March, 2004


Today, the Government of Armenia and the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) launched the HIV/AIDS and Uniformed Services
project. Mr. Norair Davidyan, Minister of Health of the Republic of
Armenia and Ms. Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident
Representative, presented the initiative to the mass media and
colleagues, and then signed the Agreement.

The overall objective of the project is to support the implementation
of the National Programme on HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Republic of
Armenia by: a) providing technical support to the National
Inter-Ministerial Council on HIV/AIDS Prevention; b) strengthening the
capacity of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice and the
Police in prevention activities; c) developing national strategies to
address HIV/AIDS in penitentiaries, police units and the military; d)
raising awareness on HIV/AIDS and related issues, particularly among
recruits and demobilised soldiers.

According to Ms. Grande: `UNDP has been assisting the national
authorities to advocate and fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in
the country since 1998. This project is supported by the UNAIDS
Programme, a very unique UN body, which was established to combat
HIV/AIDS globally. Capacity building of the key ministries, as well as
raising the public awareness of HIV/AIDS are the most important
components of this project, and we are confident that under the
leadership of the Ministry of Health, we will make this initiative a

Mr. Davidyan noted: `Although Armenia is not considered to be such a
high risk country in terms of HIV/AIDS as some other countries in our
region, we clearly perceive that if proper and timely preventive
measures are not undertaken, our Republic will soon face a dangerously
high rate of HIV/AIDS. In this respect, this unique project, which
will target very specific groups of population, has special importance
for the present and the future of Armenia.’

Country Background: As of February 1, 2004, 254 HIV carriers were
registered in Armenia including 198 cases among men, 51 cases among
women and three cases of HIV infection among children. The majority of
HIV carriers, 80 percent, are between 20-39 years old and approximately
half of all registered cases are reported in Yerevan. The most
prevalent two modes of HIV transmission are intravenous drug use and
heterosexual practices. An estimated 2,500-2,600 people are possibly
living with HIV/AIDS in the country. In April 2002, the Government
adopted a National Programme on HIV/AIDS Prevention.

UNDP is the UN’s global development network. It advocates for change
and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help
people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries,
working with them on their own solutions to global and national
development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on
the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.

For further information, please contact Mr. Aramazd Ghalamkaryan, UNDP
Armenia, at [email protected]

Zoryan Lecture by Harutyun Marutyan

Zoryan USA
Tel: 617-669-7639
[email protected]
Zor [email protected]

Northeastern University Armenian Students Association an Zoryan
Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research & Documentation present:
The Genocide and Armenian National Identity Changes During the
Karabagh Movement (1988-1990) A lecture by Prof. Harutyun Marutyan

In his presentation, Dr. Harutyun Marutyan describes how, in the case
of the Karabagh Movement, historical memory played an instrumental and
positive role, particularly in the process of the liberation of
Armenia from the Soviet regime, and in the building of an independent
state aspiring to democratic values and the creation of a civil

Through the examination of posters and banners of the Karabagh
Movement, Dr. Marutyan explains how the mechanism of historical
memory functioned in the Movement. These posters represented “images
of identity” and serve as an index of the collective understanding of
the Movement by its participants. Changes in these images directly
echoed changes in the situation.

Dr. Harutyun Marutyan is a Social/Cultural Anthropologist, Senior
Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in the
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia and is also Visiting Professor
of Anthropology at Yerevan State University. Currently, Dr. Marutyan
is Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Anthropology Program, MIT.

Lecture will take place Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 6:00 p.m.
Dodge Hall, room 173
Northeastern University
324 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA
Free Admission

Corruption Godfathers

A1 Plus | 20:38:00 | 11-03-2004 | Politics |


“The non-elected president and defense minister fond of card playing are at
the head of corruption in Armenia, in other words, Karabakhi clan chiefs who
in fact keep all the profitable spheres under their control.

It’s ridiculous when Robert Kocharyan speaks about the misuses of Lincy Fund
activity in Gyumri. Why doesn’t he find by what means his son drinks
champagne at $1000? And those absorbed in corruption create an imitation of
preventing corruption”, Viktor Dallakyan says.

Greeks may give control over ArmenTel

Pan Armenian News
March 11 2004


The new Greek Government may sell its share of the OTE Company
possessing the 90% of ArmenTel.

”New Democrats” won the Parliamentary elections in Greece. After 10
years of governing the socialists became opposition. Change of the
government will not lead to serious changes in the foreign policy of
the official Athens, according to political observers. However, the
neighbors of Greece will feel those changes. Armenia as well.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ It’s evident that despite the informal alliance
between the socialists and the communists (which form the third
biggest faction in the parliament), the conservatives will form the
Cabinet of Ministers independently. Greece is suffering a serious
economic crisis and the new democrats believe its solution is the
”total privatization”. Leaders of the conservative party have
always stated their intention to sell the state share of OTE Company
holding the 90% of the shares of the Armenian telecommunications’
monopolist ”ArmenTel”. OTE used to be a state enterprise once but
then the 65% of its shares were sold. However, the government
continues to be the biggest shareholder of the company.

The shares of OTE hold by the state probably may be sold this year.
It is supposed that he privatization of the company will take 8-10
moths. So, next year ArmenTel may have a new shareholder. ”France
Telecom”, ”Telecom Italia”, the British `Cable & Wireless’ and
even the Turkish ”Turk Cell”, which is the biggest operator in
Azerbaijan and works also in Georgia, have shown interest towards the
privatization of the company.

The new holder of the biggest share of OTE will have to decide
whether to remain in the Armenian market of telecommunications or
not. The nowadays administrators of OTE has already started the
process of sale of ArmenTel’s shares. They started to negotiate with
Russian Rostelecom in autumn 2003. The negotiations were delayed
because of the elections but the privatization process may continue.
It is natural that in order to have a full control over the process
of privatization the Minister of Communication of Greece may change
the OTE administration. This will lead to change of ArmenTel’s
administration. So, the terms of depriving the monopoly on mobile
communication will be probably discussed with other people. While the
Executive Director of the company, Georgios Vasilakis, will evidently
have to leave the country.

Obiang ‘will eat my testicles’

News24, South Africa
March 11 2004

Obiang ‘will eat my testicles’

Malabo – A plot to abduct the president of the small, oil-rich west
African nation of Equatorial Guinea was unveiled on national
television on Wednesday by the alleged leader of a group of
mercenaries, apparently a 48-year-old South African.

“It wasn’t a question of taking the life of the head of state, but of
spiriting him away, taking him to Spain and forcing him into exile
and then of immediately installing the government in exile of Severo
Moto Nsa,” said the man, introduced as Nick du Toit.

Malabo called on Wednesday for the extradition of Moto, who tried to
mount a coup against Obiang in 1997 from Angola and recently set up a
government in exile in Spain.

“The leader of this mercenary operation whose aim was to topple the
current government had been recruited by the “escapee” from
Equatorial Guinean justice Severo Moto Nsa for a sum of $10m,” the
state radio said.

But Moto denied any involvement in the alleged plot. Severo Moto “has
at no time left Spain,” said a statement issued by his government in

Moto also went on the offensive, telling Spanish radio station Onda
Cero that Obiang was an “authentic cannibal” who “systematically eats
his political rivals.

“A while back he paid millions to those they call marabou (sorcerers)
to tell him if his power base was safe. They told him that to keep
his grip on power he had to kill people close to him.

Wants to eat my testicles

“Obiang wants me to go back to Guinea and eat my testicles. That’s
clear,” he told Onda Cero.

An earlier radio report had described du Toit as a “trafficker in
arms and diamonds”. It added that the rest of the 15 were from
Angola, Armenia, Sao Tome and Principe and South Africa, as well as
one German citizen.

But a South African diplomat based in neighbouring Libreville said he
had no knowledge of Du Toit’s background.

Du Toit said on television: “The group was supposed to start by
identifying strategic targets such as the presidency, the military
barracks, police posts and the residences of government members.”

“Then it was supposed to have vehicles at Malabo airport to transport
other mercenaries who were due to arrive from South Africa.

“But at the last minute, I got a call to say that the other group of
mercenaries had been arrested in South Africa as they were preparing
to leave the country.”

An Equatorial Guinean envoy was dispatched to Nigeria on Wednesday
for talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s junior foreign
minister Saidu Balarabe Samaila said on Wednesday.

Samaila also confirmed that Nigeria’s embassy in Malabo had been
surrounded by Equatorial Guinean soldiers with the consent of
Nigerian officials, and that around 150 Nigerian citizens had taken
shelter there.

Last year when the leader of another oil-rich Gulf of Guinea island
nation – President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome – was overthrown
in a coup, Nigeria took a leading role in returning him to power.

Edited by Trisha Shannon