CIS “Defense 6” supports joint efforts by int’l community v terror

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 12 2004

THE CIS “DEFENCE SIX” SUPPORTS JOINT EFFORTS BY THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY AGAINST TERRORISM

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Nikolai Bordiuzha, Secretary General
of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO: Russia,
Byelorussia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Tadzhikistan) supports
joint efforts by the international community against all
manifestations of terrorism.

“International terrorism has committed another crime – this time
against the inhabitants of Madrid. The tragedy of March 11, like the
events of September 11, 2001 in New York, like terrorist attacks in
Asia, confirms that every terrorist action is a link of a single
chain” – Bordiuzha pointed out in his statement concerning the bloody
attack in Madrid.

According to him, international terrorism can re-form swiftly and it
is ready to deal one blow after another in any region of the globe.

“To oppose this evil the international community must unite its
efforts, create the atmosphere of aversion and intolerance to
terrorism in any of its forms and manifestations” – the CSTO General
Secretary emphasized.

Bordiuzha reminded that the Collective Security Treaty Organization
had “made repeated statements in support of a concerted effort by
states and international organizations in order to give an adequate
repulse to terrorism and extremism”.

“We confirm the CSTO’s unchanged readiness to make a constructive
contribution to the struggle against terrorism” – Bordiuzha said.

Russian nationals in Armenia to vote at presidential elections

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 12 2004

RUSSIAN NATIONALS IN ARMENIA TO VOTE AT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

YEREVAN, March 12, 2004. (RIA Novosti) – Ten polling stations will be
open in Armenia for Russians wishing to vote at the Russian
President’s elections on March 14, the Russian Embassy to Armenia
said on Friday.

Two polling stations will be open in Yerevan (one in the embassy and
the other in the Kanaker military camp where a Russian military unit
is deployed).

There will be five polling stations in Gyumri (three at the 102nd
Russian military base, one in the Consulate General and one at the
headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service border guard
detachment). Three polling stations will be open in Armavir, Artashat
and Megri where Russian border guards are deployed.

According to the Russian Embassy, about 8,000 Russian nationals
living or staying in Armenia will be able to vote at the elections.

The voting will take place from 8.00 a.m. until 8.00 p.m. local time.

Armenia can help Georgia’s relations with Russia

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 12 2004

ARMENIA CAN HELP GEORGIA’S RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

YEREVAN, March 12, 2004 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia is trying to improve
its relations with Russia today, and Armenia can promote this process
because it has close and friendly relations with Russia, Georgian
President Mikhail Saakashvili said in an interview with the Second
Channel of the Armenian television and the Azg newspaper before his
departure for Armenia.

“We have long-standing ties and a common historical background with
Armenia. Besides, Armenia is the most acknowledged country of the
region. Armenia has maintained friendship with the West and Russia
for many years. All this should serve the interests of the entire
region,” the Georgian president said.

At the same time, Mr. Saakashvili stressed that Georgia was ready to
take an active part in the establishment of effective relations
between Armenia and Turkey.

In his opinion, Turkey is well aware that relations with Armenia
should be developed for the sake of peace in the region.

“I think not only Armenia can promote relations between Georgia and
Russia, but Georgia as well can assist Armenian-Turkish ties,” said
Mr. Saakashvili.

The Georgian president will visit Armenia on March 12-13.

Georgia poaches foreign minister

Sydney Morning Herald
March 12 2004

Georgia poaches foreign minister

President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia has chosen France’s
ambassador in Tbilisi to be his foreign minister, saying he had
cleared the appointment with the French President, Jacques Chirac.

Mr Saakashvili said Salome Zurabishvili, a descendant of a
19th-century Georgian writer, Niko Nikoladze, was a diplomat of
international standing whose family had migrated to France early in
the 20th century.

He told a news conference on Thursday that he believed the
appointment was “unprecedented in the history of diplomacy”.
Diplomats are normally expected to remain loyal to their own country
and not take up jobs in foreign governments.

He said he would grant Ms Zurabishvili, 51, Georgian citizenship in
addition to her French passport, a dual status the constitution
allowed in special circumstances.

Ms Zurabishvili has worked in the US, the European Union and NATO and
headed the international department of France’s national security
general secretariat until taking up her post in Georgia.

After the fall of communism many people whose families had migrated
to Western Europe and the US returned to their eastern European
roots. An American lawyer, for instance, served for a short time as
foreign minister in Armenia in the 1990s.

Mr Saakashvili, 36, is a US-trained lawyer who led a bloodless coup
in November that brought down the veteran leader Eduard Shevardnadze,
a former Soviet foreign minister.

Mr Saakashvili won a landslide election victory in January and
promised to integrate the republic into NATO, the EU and the European
mainstream.

Almost everybody who went to the polls voted for him, after he had
led what he called the Rose Revolution – the peaceful removal of Mr
Shevardnadze from the presidency after 12 years.

The young new president can answer questions in rapid-fire English,
Russian and French as well as Georgian.

Georgian armenians take part in Iranian armenians spring games

IRNA Iran
March 12 2004

Georgian armenians take part in Iranian armenians spring games

Isfahan, March 12, IRNA — Head of Isfahan`s Ararat Sports Club
Robert Shyjanian told IRNA of Friday the the Georgian armenians will
take part at the 13th Athletic Competitions of the Iranian armenians.

Shyjanian added, “The Georgian armenian athletes will participate
with one five-member team at the Iranian armenians` spring games,
competing only in track and field competitions.”
The five-day 13th Athletic Competitions of the Iranian armenians,
sponsored this year by Isfahan`s Ararat Sports Club will begin on
March 18th.
The games, also known as the Iranian armenians spring athletics,
are held in two main sections of men and women`s athletes, in which
the athletes compete in football, basketball, field and track,
volleyball, and table tennis contests.
The men`s games include football, basketball, table tennis and
field and track events, and the women`s games include basketball,
volleyball and field and track competitions.

NGO presents Torture prevention and victims rehab in Georgia

Batumi News, Georgia
March 12 2004

NGO presents `Torture prevention and victims rehabilitation in
Georgia’

The NGO `Ex Political Prisoners for Human Rights’ presented the EU
financed project on `Torture prevention and victims rehabilitation in
Georgia’.

N. Kakabadze, leader of the organization, told journalists the
project stands as more significant presently than it was during the
forerunning Govt.

When we were working on the project it was very up – to time and of
paramount importance.

The outlook of the recent developments makes it stand as even more
important. Presently, the torture cases have take shape of a routine
and frequency exceeds indices for 2003, Kakabadze said. Kakabadze
said the organization’s watchdogs visited the pre-trial detention
cells, and held seminars for policemen. The watchdog reported on the
torture cases, bringing instances over 20 unwarranted acts of the
policemen.

Kakabadze points to the absence of fundamental human rights’ defense
basis in Georgia; absence of the adequate political, social and
psychological environment and commitment to the task to reach the
strategic goals: to have the independent and unbiased court, NGO-s –
free from prejudice, and to uproot venality among state officers,
power avidity among high ranks, oppression of the independent mass
media and social assistance to the poverty – stricken state.

Leader of the NGO laid stress to the dramatic dwindle of the number
of NGO-s is dwindling.

“NGO-s are either politicized or keep indifference. Georgia had
better image compared with Azerbaijan and Armenia with its freedom
and independence of the NGO activities; We can not boast the same
however’, – Kakabadze said.

Kakabadze pointed to the cases of independent media oppression:
`Banning programs in various TV companies which were tribunes for
democracy is diminishing of independence rate”- Kakabadze warns.

Saakashvili arrives in Armenia

ArmenPress
March 12 2004

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN ARMENIA

YEREVAN, MARCH 12, ARMENPRESS: On March 12-13, 2004, the President
of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili paid an official visit to the Republic
of Armenia by an invitation extended to him by the President of
Armenia Robert Kocharian. The delegation of the Georgian president
consists of Georgian ministers for energy, infrastructures and
development, members of Georgian parliament, representative of
Georgian president in Javakheti province, other officials, reporters.

After a ceremony of greeting, held at the residency of Armenian
president, the private conversation between the two presidents was
held, which was followed by the enlarged Armenian-Georgian
negotiations.
The Presidents of Armenia and Georgia noted the high level of
relations between Armenia and Georgia, which are based on the
centuries-old friendship between the Armenian and Georgian people,
reported the press office of the Armenian president. During the
negotiations, the sides discussed the current state and the future of
the bilateral relations, as well as some current international and
regional issues of mutual interest. The Presidents of Armenia and
Georgia reiterated their determination to continue to strengthen the
friendly relations and to develop mutually beneficial cooperation
between the Republic of Armenia and Georgia.
The parties noted that the large number of existing bilateral
agreements and documents is aimed at deepening the mutually
beneficial cooperation across the whole spectrum of bilateral
relations. Both presidents of Armenia and Georgia expressed
satisfaction with the fact that, during the visit, they exchanged the
ratification documents of the October 23, 2001 Agreement on
Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Security between the Republic of
Armenia and Georgia, thus reiterating Armenia’s and Georgia’s desire
to provide a fresh impulse to the further development of extensive
cooperation and friendly relations based on mutual respect and
consideration for each other’s interests.
Having emphasized Armenia’s and Georgia’s commitment to
integration with European institutions, the parties noted the need
for closer cooperation in their relations with the European Union, as
well as within the framework of the UN, the Council of Europe, the
OSCE, the CIS and other universal and regional international
organizations.
The Presidents of Armenia and Georgia reiterated their readiness
to cooperate more actively within the framework of the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation organization and noted the importance of closer
cooperation in various regional initiatives, such as TRACECA and
INOGATE.
Taking into consideration the obligation to address various modern
challenges and threats, such as international terrorism, organized
crime, weapons and drugs trafficking, the sides noted the need for
increasing the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral
cooperation and coordinating the joint efforts in those areas. The
presidents noted that it is possible to create a favorable climate
for resolving the conflicts in the region by deepening the regional
cooperation and bridging the interests of the countries of the
region. They reiterated once again their commitment to the principle
of non-interference with each other’s internal affairs, mutual
respect for self-rule, territorial integrity and inviolability of
borders, as well as respect for basic human rights and liberties.
The Armenian side expressed confidence that the constitutional
changes, the reforms in the Executive and Legislative branches of
power and the March 28, 2004 parliamentary elections in Georgia are
aimed at strengthening the democracy and stability and ensuring
economic development in Georgia, which is not only in Georgia’s
interests, but also in the interests of Armenia and the region as a
whole. The Parties noted the special role of the high-level
Armenian-Georgian political dialogue in ensuring the dynamic and
constructive nature of the bilateral relations. Kocharian and
Saakashvili emphasized the importance of continuing to strengthen the
inter-parliamentary ties, and noted the need for deepening the
bilateral ties on all levels. They noted the need for regular
consultations between the executive and legislative branches of power
in both countries.
The sides noted the need to make the work of the Armenian-Georgian
intergovernmental committee on economic cooperation more active, and
expressed confidence that the committee’s productive work would
promote bilateral trade, cooperation in various sectors of the
economy and mutually beneficial cooperation in transport and
communication programs, in tune with international standards and
economic realities. The parties reiterated the need to continue the
work on demarcation of the state border between the Republic of
Armenia and Georgia.
The visit took place in a constructive, cordial and friendly
atmosphere. The President of Georgia expressed his gratitude to the
Armenian side for the constructive dialogue and hospitality, and
invited the President of the Republic of Armenia to pay an official
visit to Georgia at any convenient time.

6th session of EU-Armenian parl coop commish to be held in Yerevan

ArmenPress
March 12 2004

6-th SESSION OF EU-ARMENIAN PARLIAMENTARY COOPERATION COMMISSION TO
BE HELD IN YEREVAN MARCH 15

YEREVAN, MARCH 12, ARMENPRESS: The sixth session of EU-Armenian
parliamentary cooperation commission will open in Yerevan on March
15, to be moderated by Armen Rustamian, the chairman of an Armenian
parliament committee on foreign relations and Ursula Schleikher
(People’s Party of Europe, Germany).
EU representatives will meet the same day with parliament speaker
Arthur Baghdasarian and heads of parliament factions and also with
the chairwoman of the pan-Armenian Hayastan Fund Naira Melkumian.
Germany’s ambassador to Yerevan, Hans Wulf Bartels, who represents
Ireland, the EU presiding country, the head of the European
Commission Delegation to Georgia and Armenia, Torben Holtz and other
EU ambassadors to Armenia will hold a news conference and meet later
with Vladimir Pryakhin, the head of the OSCE in Yerevan.
The session will continue March 16. EU representatives will also
meet with Karabagh parliament speaker Oleg Yesayan, US and Russian
ambassadors to Armenia, the protector of human rights Larisa
Alaverdian. On March 17 EU representatives will be received by
president Kocharian, foreign minister Oskanian and prime minister
Margarian.

Kazakhstan shocked by brutal murder of Armenian officer in Budapest

ArmenPress
March 12 2004

KAZAKHSTAN SHOCKED BY BRUTAL MURDER OF ARMENIAN OFFICER IN BUDAPEST

YEREVAN, MARCH 12, ARMENPRESS: Foreign minister of Kazakhstan,
Kasimzhomart Tokaev, sent a letter to his Armenian counterpart Vartan
Oskanian to convey his condolences over the brutal murder of an
Armenian officer, Gurgen Margarian, by an Azerbaijani classmate on
February 19 in Budapest.
“The news about the gruesome murder of the Armenian officer in
Budapest has shocked Kazakhs. We condemn the barbaric act of violence
and think that such crimes cannot be justified,” the message runs.

Uruguay parliament recognizes Armenian genocide

ArmenPress
March 12 2004

URUGUAY PARLIAMENT RECOGNIZES ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

YEREVAN, MARCH 12, ARMENPRESS: The lower chamber of Uruguay’s
parliament approved a bill on March 10, which indirectly recognizes
the Armenian Genocide. The bill calls for April 24 to be “the
commemoration day of Armenians martyred in 1915,” and obligates the
state owned media to “cover those events” on that day.
There is no reference to “genocide” in the wording of the bill,
though parliament speeches in favor of the bill did not avoid calling
the genocide, a “genocide.” The resolution will become a law with the
president’s signature.
In 2000, Uruguay’s Senate unanimously passed a resolution marking
“April 24 a national day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide.”
In 1965, the Armenian National Committee of Uruguay advanced the
passage of an Armenian Genocide resolution in Uruguay’s
parliament–to mark the first time a country officially recognized
the genocide of Armenians.
At the time, the author of that resolution Senator Dr. Alberto
Sid, said that the bill aimed to register Uruguay’s official position
on the Armenian Genocide as a crime against humanity.
Interestingly, the world’s first April 24 demonstration also took
place in Uruguay, in 1964.