ECMI: Defusing interethnic tensions in Javakheti Region

The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)
Schiffbrücke 12, D · 24939 Flensburg, Germany, [email protected]
Tel: +49 (0) 4 61 – 1 41 49 – 0
Fax: +49 (0) 4 61 – 1 41 49 – 19

ECMI Newsletter No. 33
Spring 2004

We introduce. Defusing interethnic tensions and promoting
regional integration – the Javakheti Region of the Republic of

In November 2003, ECMI was granted funding for its project on “Defusing
interethnic tension and promoting regional integration – the Javakheti
Region of the Republic of Georgia”. By establishing a network consisting of
civil society actors that includes representatives for most ethno-religious
groups as well as government officials in two predominantly Armenian
districts in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti Province, the project seeks to
improve inter-ethnic relations, to broaden the consultative process of
decision-making, and to increase effective public participation and public
awareness on local governance. The project will promote regional integration
of the region by involving province and state level policy-makers in the
network, thereby creating firmer links between regional actors and central
levels of authority. In conjunction with the network, the project will
enhance the capacity of less advanced regional communities through capacity
building training and community mobilisation efforts in order to encourage
broad participation in the consultative process.

The project grants, amounting to 35,000 EUR by the Danish Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and 35,000 EUR by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
has been provided to cover the initial 3 month project phase. Due to the
revolutionary events in Georgia in November 2003, the initiation of the
project was postponed to February 2004.

We hope you enjoyed this thirty-third issue of the ECMI Newsletter,
and we hope you will remember to tell interested colleagues about it.

If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement of this
newsletter, please contact William McKinney at:
[email protected]

UCLA AGSA hosts academics to discuss research in Armenian Studies

MARCH 05, 2004

UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association
Graduate Students Association
c/o Armenian Graduate Students Association
Kerckhoff Hall Room 316
308 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Contact: Gevork Nazaryan
E-mail: [email protected]

UCLA AGSA hosts academics to discuss current research in Armenian Studies

The UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association held the second annual,
international Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies at UCLA on
Friday, February 20, 2004. It drew numerous academics and students from
UCLA as well as local universities who enjoyed presentations on themes from
Classical Literature, the Contemporary History and Politics of
Transcaucasia, Modern Literature, as well as Armenians and Education Issues
in the USA. “I found putting the colloquium together to be a most rewarding
experience and the day itself was not only informative and academically
stimulating, but exciting as well,” remarked Ani Moughamian, a UCLA
graduate student in the School of Education and Project Director of the
2004 colloquium. “We really brought a great group of students together from
so many different places and it was a thrill for me to see how successful
the colloquium was this year in terms of scholarship and camaraderie
between students.”

“It was a pleasure to be able to attend such a wonderful event. The AGSA
members did an excellent job and the colloquium has developed in so many
ways since last year. I can only expect its continued growth in the coming
years and the UCLA AGSA is happy to provide the foundation for the creative
and ambitious graduate students of this and future organizing committees,”
commended Haig Hovsepian, Executive Officer of the UCLA AGSA. He also
expressed his thanks to Dr. Peter Cowe (Professor and holder of the
Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Language and Literature) for his participation
in the organizing committee. “Dr. Cowe helped make the 2003 colloquium a
reality and continued to provide a professional experience for the 2004
organizing committee in its efforts to put together a quality event.”

The first panel of the morning session featured Andrea Scala (Austria) and
Lilit Hovsepyan (Armenia) who presented their works regarding texts by John
Chrysostum and Gregory of Narek, respectively. Andrea hails from the
Armenology community of Italy where, since submitting his abstract in
response to the 2004 call for papers, he received his degree from the State
University in Milan. For Lilit, it was the first time presenting her work
in an academic conference outside of the Republic of Armenia. She happily
relayed that “… it was a good chance to come into contact with other
people [in the field], to make friends, and learn much about the students
and educational system at UCLA.” She also noted that her participation in
the colloquium and the colloquium itself has received positive support and
feedback from her colleagues in Armenia. She looks forward to more graduate
students presenting their work in the coming years.

Leading off the second panel of the day, Ohannes Geukjian (Peace Studies –
University of Bradford, UK) presented a paper on the historical and
territorial dimensions of the conflict in Artsakh. He was joined by Asbed
Kotchikian, a political science doctoral student from Boston University,
who delivered a lecture on the perceived roles of Russia and Turkey in
Georgian and Armenian foreign policy.

“I was excited both about the geographical range of participants in this
year’s colloquium as well as the diversity of disciplines which they
represented within the broad field of Armenian Studies,” expressed Dr.
Peter Cowe. “This is a real indication of the growth and expansion of our
field and is very stimulating.”

His sentiments were echoed by Talar Chahinian, a UCLA graduate student in
the Department of Comparative Literature, who presented her work on
French-Armenian writers in the years immediately following the Armenian
Genocide. “It is very exciting to see graduate students from different
countries and across various disciplines coming together… The colloquium
did a great job of providing a forum for these different voices and also of
providing a space for community building among the participants.”

Talar was joined by fellow UCLA graduate student Tamar Boyadjian (Near
Eastern Languages and Cultures) who presented her latest work exploring the
use of natural imagery by late-19th and early-20th century Armenian poets.
Rounding off the third panel on modern literature was Karen Gharslyan of
the Bryusov State Linguistics University (Armenia) who compared the
literary perceptions of Giambattista Vico and James Joyce as it related to
the Biblical Flood, Noah and his descendent, as well as the role of the
Armenian people in this beginning of humanity.

Though the day’s program was nearing its end by the end of the fourth
panel, the question and answer session that followed was no less energetic
than those that preceded it. Artineh Samkian who presented on the topic of
language use in Armenian private schools expressed her appreciation of the
dialogue between academics in the audience. “I received some important
comments and constructive criticism that will help me to better shape my
project in its ‘final’ state.” Artineh, UCLA graduate student in the School
of Education was joined by Ani Moughamian and Yeprem Mehranian (University
of Massachusetts, Amherst). Whereas Ani presented data on the literacy
achievement of Armenian-American learners of the English Language, Yeprem
delved into the issue of the search for identity and the negotiation
between that of being Armenian and American.

Ramela Grigorian, a graduate student from the Department of Art History at
UCLA noted that a number of this year’s participants had indicated that
they would be returning to their home institutes and students as well as
colleagues to excitedly inform them about the colloquium and the active
Armenian studies community. “How wonderful that a symposium like this has
the power to inspire! I do hope to see more members of the community attend
the conference next year!”

With only a week to rest, the organizing committee is already back to work
and is in the process of drafting the next year’s call for papers. The UCLA
AGSA looks forward to February 2005 and hosting the next Graduate Student
Colloquium in Armenian Studies.

———- Attachment # 1 of 1: 2004 GSCiAS Photographs (3) ———-

– 1 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 1 – Caption: Andrea Scala (right – State University of Milan, Italy) and
Lilit Hovsepyan (left – Abovian State University, Armenia) field questions
from the audience following the first panel of the morning on classical

– 2 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 2 – Caption: Members of the audience during the third panel on modern

– 3 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 3 – Caption: UCLA AGSA general member, Ani Nahapetian moderates the
question and answer session following the fourth panel of the day
(Armenians and Education Issues in the USA). Seated from left to right are
Ani Moughamian (UCLA), Artineh Samkian (UCLA), and Yeprem Mehranian (U
Mass, Amherst).

Swingin’ Armenia


New York Post

March 9, 2004 — NIGHT has fallen upon the cradle of civilization, and
high above the city of Yerevan, in the shadow of Mount Ararat, the new
Armenia is swinging drivers.

Men and women, bathed in flood light, stand in a row. They’re hitting
balls far down the immaculately kept range, toward the summit of a
mountain where, in biblical times, Noah’s Ark ran aground.

This is the only golf course in the Caucasus, brought to you by G. K.

Hovnanian, part of the family that brought us New Jersey’s finest
planned communities.

Across town and high in the hills, glasses clink and subdued voices
fill the dry night air. They’re coming from the patio of the Avan
Villa, one of two small hotels recently opened here by New Yorker
James Tufenkian, a purveyor of Oriental rugs.

And meanwhile, on a side street off of Republic Square, Yerevan’s best
restaurant, Dolmama’s, is closing up for the evening.

Owner Jirair Avanian is another New Yorker. He formerly owned the
Abovian Galleries, which hawked German impressionistic art to East
Siders back in the 1980s.

Armenia is reborn, and its diaspora has given it inspiration – and

(MGM Grand CEO Kirk Kerkorian sent millions toward rebuilding.)
Tufenkian is putting carpet-makers to work, and Hovnanian wants to
sell houses. His Yerevan Estates development calls for 600 or more

Here in this spot of land, smaller than the state of Maryland, the
very old and the very new sit practically on top of each other, which
always makes for interesting traveling.

An afternoon spent sipping coffee in one of Yerevan’s myriad new cafes
gives way to an evening of quiet along Lake Sevan, where fishermen
gather at day’s end to pull in the nets, as they have for centuries.

But you don’t have to swap locations to see centuries meet. Spend a
Sunday at the Geghard Monastery, founded in the 4th century, high atop
the Azat River gorge. Being here is to watch history come to life.

Teenagers bring lambs to the slaughter, old men share glasses of red
wine and smoke cigarettes, mothers pray. Outside the walls, old women
sell bread and fruit leather.

Eat it down by the river, where, perhaps, a small child will ask to
exchange rings, and you start talking with people who have relatives
in Glendale, Calif., Armenia’s other holy city, and you didn’t even
realize how bizarre it all was until long after it was over.

David Landsel

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM,
are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Armenia posts deflation of 0.6% in Feb

09.03.2004 09:02:00 GMT
Armenia posts deflation of 0.6% in Feb

Yerevan. (Interfax) – Consumer prices in Armenia fell 0.6% in
February, owing to a seasonal drop in prices for food and tobacco and
a 0.1%-decrease in service charges, the National Statistical Service
told Interfax.

Nonfood prices were unchanged in February, the service said.

Armenia had inflation of 2.5% in January 2004 and 8.6% in the whole of
2003. The government is targeting inflation of not more than 3% this
year as a whole.

Lecture & Perf by Lebanese-Armenian promoting understanding in ME

FeaturesDS 09/03/04
Lebanese-Armenian who works to promote understanding of the Middle Eastern
diaspora Center hosts lectures and performances that explore this issue

By Nana Asfour
Special To The Daily Star

`I’m a real diasporan person,’ declares Lebanese-Armenian Anny
Bakalian, as she sits, cross-legged, at her office at the City
University of New York, overlooking the Empire State Building in New
York City.

`I like being a diasporan,’ she adds laughing. `It gives you this
ability, this mobility, and it gives you choice.’

In that sense, Bakalian, who left her native Lebanon 23 years ago, is
perfectly suited for her position as the associate director of the
Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC).

The center, after all, was created to, among other things, promote the
understanding of the Middle Eastern diaspora. As such, it has hosted a
series of lectures and performances that explore this issue.

Last year, MEMEAC organized a talk by historian Akram Khater about
Lebanese immigrants, and a presentation of Kathryn Leila Buck’s
one-woman show, `I Site, ‘ about growing up multi-cultural.

Under Bakalian’s helm – and that of Mehdi Bozorgmehr and Beth Baron,
MEMEAC’ s co-directors – the center has become one of the leading
venues in New York for Arab, Armenian and Iranian cultural events and

`We’ve done a lot in the two-and-a-half years we’vebeen in operation,’
Bakalian says. `I really think we’ve been very successful.’

With the help of a grant from the Ford Foundation, MEMEAC came into
being in September 2001, merely one week before the attacks on the
World Trade Center.

At the time, Bakalian was a volunteer; she was in between jobs, having
recently moved to New York from Baltimore, Maryland, where she had
been teaching sociology for the past 10 years.

She had met Bozorgmehr a few years earlier and when he asked her to
come and help out, she happily obliged.

`When we started out, we were in a tiny cubicle downstairs, we didn’t
have any windows, and we were barely managing,’ Bakalian says.

`Then September 11th happened. What timing! Right after that, the
demand for Middle Eastern studies and for the diaspora became very

MEMEAC, which was conceived as the first center of its kind to combine
studies of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American, now saw its
role taking on greater importance.

Immediately thereafter, reports of violent attacks on Arab-Americans
and Muslim-Americans began to fill the newspapers and the
airwaves. Wishing to investigate the backlash, the National Science
Foundation (NSF) sent out applications for short-term grants.

`Mehdi and I talked about it and said, â=80=98Shall we go for
this?’ In three days, we wrote a proposal and sent it. In less than
three hours, we heard that they were funding it, which was extremely

Ever since, Bozorgmehr and Bakalian, whose volunteer stint quickly
grew into a full-time position, have been working on the NSF project,
studying how Middle Eastern and South Asian American support
organizations responded to Sept.

11, 2001.

`We have already conducted 7,500 interviews and we’re now slowly
getting the results out,’ Bakalian says.

Bakalian’s responsibilities at MEMEAC have continued to grow over the
last two years. Between planning events and lectures, organizing
conferences (such as one on race and slavery between the Middle East
and Africa which is scheduled for April), doing research for the NSF
grant, and trying to create a BA in Middle East studies at the City
University of New York, she has little timeto do anything else, let
alone travel.

This might explain why Bakalian has not been back to Lebanon since
April 2001. `It’s a long trip,’ she says. But there is another reason
why she doesn’t often visit: not much remains of the Lebanon she knew.

`On the one hand, it’s very interesting to go back and try to figure
out, where was this? Where was that?’ she says. `On the other hand, I
am very saddened by the fact that the middle class no longer exists,
that there is so much poverty. There needs to be a middle class in
order to have a stable society. I’ m also still distressed by how
parts of Lebanon are now a solid block of concrete. There’s no urban
planning, no sense of esthetics. What has happened to all the
villages?’ Bakalian was born in Beirut in 1953 to first-generation
Armenian parents. She came into adolescence at a time when Beirut was
in its glorious prime, and she has fond memories of the city of her

`Baalbek was a fantastic thing: Being 18, 19, or 20 at the time
andseeing LaMama experimental theater, or Ella Fitzgerald – it was
exceptional,’ she says.

She attended the American University of Beirut and graduated in 1973
with a bachelor’s degree in sociology (`I’m a very proud AUB alumni,’
she professes). For her Master’s she traveled to England, then she
returned to Lebanon in the summer of 1975. She had hoped to find work
but Beirut was now embroiledin war.

`I was dodging bullets for a while,’ she says. Finally, shelanded a
part-time teaching position at AUB’s off-campus program, and that
opened the doors for more work opportunities. But the war continued to
escalate and, eventually, she followed in the footsteps of the hoards
of Lebanese fleeing the city.

In 1981, she moved to New York to pursue a doctorate at Columbia

For her thesis she toyed with the idea of going back to Lebanon to
write about professional women – `I’ve always been interested in
women’s issues,’ she says – but she feared that the fighting might
prevent her from completing her dissertation.

In the end, she opted to stay put, in the US, and to write a book
about Armenian-Americans. `I realized nobody had done anything about
it so I said to myself, let me do it,’ she says.

Soon after, she settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where she taught
sociology at a small liberal arts college. She remained there for 10

Living in New York – whose cosmopolitanism and chaos Bakalian likens
to Beirut – and working at MEMAC, where she gets to use her many
languages and engage on a daily basis with fellow diasporan, Bakalian
feels that `thingshave come around full circle for me.’ Although she
misses her native country,Bakalian would never consider leaving
America for good.

`To be honest as a single woman, it’s much more liberating to be in a
place like this. No one here says min beit min inti? (What family do
you belong to?), or Inshallah nifrah minneki (May we celebrate your
wedding day). Here, at least, you can have an identity of your own.’
She pauses for a moment, trying to think of a further explanation,
then says, `I like it here too much.’

Newsletter from, date: 02-03-2004 to 10-03-2004

[09-03-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
————————————————- ———————
Source : Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter (Armenia)

On March 9, 2004 4 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 Budapest.

`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 Airmen 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

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 are our experiences related to Budapest tragedy, 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 says.

[08-03-2004 ‘Region’]
Source : “Turkish Daily News” newspaper (Turkey)

U.S. Department of State senior Turkey desk officer Larry Silverman
said Turkey’s European Union membership was one of greatest priorities
of the U.S. administration.

Speaking at a meeting of the American-Turkish Association of
Washington DC (ATA-DC), Silverman said Turkey is expecting a blunt,
not a conditional, “yes” at the EU summit scheduled for December 2004
and added that recent signals from the EU reflected an inclination in
that direction. Silverman noted that Turkey played a key role in
policies on a wide range of issues regarding energy, terrorism,
economic development, human rights, the Middle East, Central Asia and
the Caucasus and said, “Turkey’s success is of special importance to
the whole world.”

Silverman also praised recent reforms in Turkey, saying, “Turkey has
realized such reforms that it has even gone further than us on some
issues. For instance, if we wanted to join the EU, we wouldn’t be able
to do that because we have the death penalty in our laws. However,
Turkey has abolished the death penalty as part of the reforms its
Parliament has passed.”

He said Turkey had passed these reforms since they were to the
advantage of the country rather than for the purpose of joining the

Turkey’s Parliament has recently legislated a series of democratic
reforms including limiting the power of the military, abolishing the
death penalty and granting greater rights to its Kurdish citizens and
it is expecting to get a go-ahead from the EU in December.

[05-03-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
Source : “Echo” newspaper (Azerbaijan)
Author: T. Tushiev

For conducting international chess tournament on the occupied
territory of Azerbaijan and will convene its extraordinary
presidential council in Baku

“In case of Armenia’s conducting international chess tournament on the
territory of Mountainous Karabagh, World Chess Federation (FIDE) will
certainly apply sanctions against this country. The type of the
sanctions to be applied will be determined by us in the near future’,
FIDE Vice-president, Co-chairman of Georgian Chess Federation, Zurab
Azmayparashvilli stated in his exclusive interview to `Echo’
commenting on the plans by the Armenian side to conduct a sport event
on the occupied territory. In his opinion, if the international
tournament in Khankendi nevertheless takes place, FIDE will accept the
suggestion of the Azerbaijani side `about conducting in Baku FIDE
extraordinary presidential council whose agenda will include the issue
of preventing similar incidents’.

Previously, our newspaper already reported that according to the
information provided by Armenian media, `Mountainous Karabagh (MKR)
government’ and President of Yerevan Chess Academy, Smbat Lputian
intend to conduct in Khankendi international tournament of 13-degree
complexity devoted to 75th anniversary of Tigran Petrosian, 9-times
world champion. Initially it was reported that the participation of
strongest chess players from a number of countries is planned. Later
it became known that chess players from Georgia, Iran, Switzerland and
Latvia really intend to participate in the Khankendi event. The
organizers of the competition also invited as a commenter 10-times
world champion, Boris Spassky who in 1996 deprived the Armenian gross
master of the universe best chess player title. At present Spassky
lives and works in France.

`I found out about possible conducting of the tournament only on March
3′, Azmayparashvilli says, `I was extremely interested in this
information since organizing an international tournament on the
occupied territory of Azerbaijan cannot be accepted by FIDE, and the
latter will not consider this competition as an international
tournament. We have already informed FIDE President Kirsan
Ilyumjinov. I am sure heads of the federation are unanimous with the
position of Azerbaijani side’.

FIDE Vice-president stated that international federation never
interfered in politics, `since all chess players should always be
beyond politics’. Each national federation has a right to conduct a
competition on the territory of its own state. In the current
situation, Azerbaijan has not informed FIDE about conducting a
tournament on its territory, whereas it is common knowledge that
Mountainous Karabagh is an integral part of Azerbaijan’.

Azmayparashvilli stated that FIDE is really concerned over possible
organization of a tournament. `At present we are clarifying the
details. On March 3 representatives of the Armenian Federation tried
to contact me. Today (yesterday – T. T.) I will try to contact them to
make clear the position of FIDE on this issue. Certainly, we cannot
prohibit Mountainous Karabagh to conduct any competitions on its
territory but these events cannot be granted international status’.

According to Azmayparashvilli, in case of conducting the tournament,
FIDE will not accept the results of this competition, that is, the
tournament participants will not be able to get rating scores. It
means that their participation in the tournament will prove
useless. `If Armenia’s participation in organizing the tournament is
confirmed, FIDE will immediately apply sanctions against this

FIDE Vice-president also commented on possible participation of
Georgian chess players in the Khankendi tournament, in particular one
of the strongest young chess players of Georgia, Bakhadura Jobava. `He
is a young chess player, absolutely far from politics and does not
have any idea of the current political situation in the region’, Zurab
Azmayparashvilli holds, `When heads of Georgian Chess Federation were
notified of his participation, we immediately contacted the chess
player and strongly recommended not to visit Khankendi. Otherwise, the
Georgian Federation promised to apply sanctions against him. I think
Jovaba will make the right decision’.

In his turn, President of Azerbaijani Chess Federation, Milli Mejlis
deputy Aynur Sofieva noted to `Echo’ that our country has already
taken certain measures on preventing organization of this
competition. `Today (yesterday – T.T.) we sent out notes of protest to
chess federations of those countries whose sportsmen intend to
participate in this tournament’, Sofieva stated. `Besides, we intend
to turn to the heads of French Chess Federation and request to keep a
reputable person like Boris Spassky, 10-times world champion far from
this venture’.

According to the head of Federation, FIDE’s authorization is required
for conducting international tournament in any country. `I may assert
that FIDE will never grant authorization for conducting a similar
competition on the territory of an unrecognized entity like `MKR’,
Aynur Sofieva said. `I am confident no international tournament will
be conducted in Khankendi but even if it takes place, we will not
tolerate it, filing a protest to FIDE. FIDE will inevitably apply
sanctions against Armenia afterwards.

Sofieva is confident that FIDE will also consider the 13-degree
complexity factor of the tournament. If a tournament of such high
level of complexity was conducted somewhere we would be notified
beforehand’, Aynur Sofieva said. `FIDE itself is not aware of this
tournament, and it is not organized under the aegis of this
organization. 13th category is a myth spread by Armenia to attract

The statements by the head of our Federation and FIDE Vice-president
were also confirmed by Vice-president of national chess federation,
Fayik Gasanov, who is at the super tournament in Linares (Spain) these
days as an assistant of chief arbiter. `We were notified that Armenian
Federation concealed the fact of conducting this tournament from
FIDE. As soon as international federation found out about it, the
response came out immediately’, Fayik Gasanov stated in the phone
conversation with `Echo’. `In case of holding international tournament
in Khankendi, we intend to convene extraordinary session of FIDE
presidential council at which we will discuss possible options of
preventing future attempts of the Armenian side to conduct any chess
events on the Mountainous Karabagh territory. Previously FIDE
repeatedly turned to us with a proposal to convene in our capital
presidential council of international federation. At present, the time
has come to put an end to illegal actions by Armenia’. According to
the head of press service of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and
Tourism, Ragif Abbasov, FIDE charter stipulates that any international
chess tournament, and 13-degree complexity in particular, should be
included in the official calendar. `This tournament is not included in
FIDE calendar since this tournament is not official and the
participation of foreign chess players may only have a private
status’, Abbasov holds. `It is not for the first time that Armenia
tries to conduct a similar competition on the occupied territories of
Azerbaijan. As a result, Armenians will just force international
organizations to apply sanctions against them’.

`One should not trust the information about conducting the so-called
international tournament in `MKR’, head of press service of Foreign
Affairs Ministry, Merin Mirza declared to `Echo’. `It is essential to
find out in what category will foreign chess players participate in
the tournament. I am confident that their participation will be of
private nature, which means they will not represent the countries of
their residence. In case their participation is of official nature,
MFA response will be immediate and appropriate. In the first place, we
will apply to the governments of those countries who have
sportsmen-participants in the tournament and afterwards will file a
protest to international organizations’, head of MFA press service

Yerevan Press Club of Armenia, ‘Yeni Nesil’ Journalists’ Union of
Azerbaijan and Association of Diplomacy Correspondents of Turkey
present ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkey: Journalist Initiative-2002’
Project. As a part of the project web site has
been designed, featuring the most interesting publications from the
press of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey on issues of mutual
concern. The latest updates on the site are weekly delivered to the

Trust Referendum is To Take Place

A1 Plus | 17:15:54 | 09-03-2004 | Social |


Considering the application of presidential candidate Stepan Demirchyan on
declaring invalid the elections, on April 16, 2003 Constitutional Court
decided to leave unchanged CEC decision, simultaneously suggesting
Parliament and Armenian President to hold a Trust Referendum within a year.

The above decision of CC became a subject of discussions. “All the opponent
stances saying CC exceeded its commission while making the decision are
senseless”, Stepan Safaryan, expert of Armenian Centre of National and
International Studies, says.

According to Safaryan who was the guest of “Political Debate Club”, “CC was
obliged to finally settle the conflict but it just offered a mechanism for
the problem solution”.

The expert says the reason for this is that CC hasn’t enough and appropriate
powers and it couldn’t assess the volumes of vote frauds and the
consequences of them on the election results.

He also said like any other CC decision the one for Trust Referendum is
final, too, and is subject to obligatory implementation.

Kocharyan Accepted Hungary’s Condolences

A1 Plus | 14:58:31 | 09-03-2004 | Official |


New Hungarian Ambassador to Armenia Ferentc Contra /residence in Moscow/ has
today presented his credentials to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.

On behalf of the Hungary Government Ambassador expressed condolences over
murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest on February 19.

In his turn Robert Kocharyan voiced confidence that the law-enforcement
bodies of Hungary will display the necessary consecution and the criminal
will be punished under the stringent law.

Stating that Hungary will become an EU member in May, Ambassador Contra said
that his country is ready to stimulate intensification of cooperation
between Armenia and European Union as far as possible.

Equatorial Guinea Says Arrests ‘Mercenaries’

Equatorial Guinea Says Arrests ‘Mercenaries’

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

DAKAR, Senegal (Reuters) – Some 15 suspected mercenaries have been
arrested Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil
producer, after a widespread clampdown on foreign nationals, the
government said Tuesday. “Some 15 mercenaries have been arrested here in
Equatorial Guinea and it was connected with that plane in Zimbabwe. They
were the advance party of that
group,” Information Minister Agustin Nse Nfumu told Reuters.

Zimbabwe seized a U.S.-registered cargo plane Sunday evening which the
government has said was carrying 64 suspected mercenaries and a cargo of
military gear.

The minister said the group of 15 was made up of white South Africans,
black South Africans of Angolan origin, a German and others from
Kazakhstan and Armenia.

He said the suspected mercenaries had arrived in the former Spanish
colony, which borders Gabon and Cameroon, in December and were picked up
late Monday evening. He said some of them had been “presented to the
diplomatic corps.”

Equatorial Guinea said Monday its security forces had been chasing down
illegal immigrants since Saturday night and detained a number of people.
Residents said the swoop had been unusually severe with heavily armed
troops roaming the streets.

The clampdown comes amid growing tensions within President Teodoro
Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s family, whose members hold most top positions in
the country, and speculation among exiled opposition politicians that a
coup was in the offing.

Equatorial Guinea’s information minister said Obiang would address the
nation on state media at 8 p.m.

AAA Annual Board of Trustees Meeting Builds on Decades of Progress

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]

March 9, 2004
CONTACT: Christine Kojoian
E-mail: [email protected]


Delray Beach, FL – Building on more than three decades of activism, the
Armenian Assembly of America held its annual Board of Trustees Weekend March
6-7 in Delray Beach, Florida. Assembly leaders, members and supporters
from across the nation attended, participating in business meetings,
question and answer sessions and social events.

Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues member Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL)
and former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Richard Harpootlian,
also a new Assembly Fellow Trustee, were among the featured speakers.

In a major announcement, Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian said
that he is renovating a three-story historical building he gifted to the
Assembly to house its Yerevan offices and that the premises, located near
Republic Square, should open in two years.

Board of Trustees President Carolyn Mugar said of Hovnanian’s most recent
philanthropy: “This action is another example of his generosity, passion and
vision in support of the Assembly’s mission.”

A full day of highly successful business meetings at the Delray Beach
Marriott, the site of all weekend events, gave participants the opportunity
to voice their thoughts and views on the Assembly’s future direction and
relations with other non-partisan Armenian organizations. Hovnanian
underlined the importance of building on the working relationship with the
Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the Eastern and Western Diocese
of the Armenian Church, and the cooperation between the organizations in the
Assembly’s upcoming National Conference and Banquet in Washington, DC.

Another weekend highlight was the passing of the baton from outgoing Board
of Directors Chairman Peter Vosbikian to the incoming Chair Anthony
Barsamian, who formerly served as vice chair.

Vosbikian said he leaves confident in Barsamian’s leadership. “Anthony and I
have been working side by side over the past twelve months and I can assure
you he has already hit the ground running,” he said.

Vosbikian also saluted outgoing and longtime Board of Directors members
Edgar Hagopian of Michigan and Sam Hagopian of Texas, who he said never
hesitate “to do what is right for the people of Armenia and Karabakh.”
Vosbikian also acknowledged Dork Alahydoian and Flora Dunaians, both of whom
were not present, for their years of service on the Board of Directors.

Assembly leaders also helped welcome several new members to the Board of
Directors including Bryan Ardouny of Montana, Berge Ayvazian of
Massachusetts, Corinne Heditsian of Rhode Island and Lisa Kalustian of

Also of special interest was a presentation by Assembly Life Trustee Dr.
Noubar Afeyan, who spoke about an exciting new project, dubbed “Armenia
2020.” The purpose of the project, which has already invested $2 million
in research, polling and review meetings, is to develop possible scenarios
for Armenia’s long-term economic development.

As is customary, the weekend closed with a Saturday night banquet where
Assembly Fellow Trustee Hovsep Hovsepian donated an 85-year-old hand-drawn
silk map of historic Armenia, a family heirloom, to the Armenian Genocide
Museum and Memorial (AGMM).

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


Photograph available on the Assembly’s Web site at the following link:

Caption: Assembly Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian, right, and
incoming Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Barsamian, left, presenting a
plaque to outgoing Chairman Peter Vosbikian in appreciation for his
outstanding service to the Assembly.