Int’l music festival opens in St. Petersburg

INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL OPENS IN ST. PETERSBURG

RIA Novosti, Russia
June 16 2004

ST. PETERSBURG, June 16 (RIA Novosti) – The St. Petersburg’s Palaces
12th international music festival opens in Russia’s northern capital.

Music will be played in the famous palaces of St. Petersburg and its
suburbs, which formerly belonged to the royal family and notable
aristocrats, the Hermitage Theater, Menshikov Palace, Sheremetev
Palace, Smolny Cathedral, Mikhailovsky, Catherine and Peterhof Palaces
and the Lutheran Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.

All in all, 15 concerts will be held during this month. Soloists
and bands from 10 countries, including France, the U.S., Lithuania,
Estonia, Germany and Italy. Among them are the Russian State Academic
Chamber Orchestra conducted by Konstantin Orbelyan, the Five Style
ensemble of Russian folk instruments, Armenian duduka-player Dzhivan
Gasparyan, French pianist Jean-Bernard Pommier, saxophonist Federico
Mondelci, violinist Hillary Hahn, singers Vasily Gerello and Oleg
Bezinskikh.

The concert in the grand hall of the Menshikov Palace, the residence
of the first governor-general of St. Petersburg, on July 15 is the
highlight of the festival’s program. The organizers intend to turn back
to the atmosphere of the 18th century’s gatherings. Germany’s Consul
General Reinhart Kraus, a remarkable viola-player, will participate
in this concert.

The festival will close with a baroque music concert performed by the
Estonian Baroque Soloists and Internationales Ensemble der Akademie
fur Alte Musik on July 19.

The St. Petersburg Palaces festival was founded in 1990 by pianist,
chief conductor and artistic director of the Russian State Academic
Chamber Orchestra Konstantin Orbelyan. The festival’s message is to
remind that St. Petersburg has always been a world music center.

Armenian president welcomes Russian purchase of ailing plant

Armenian president welcomes Russian purchase of ailing plant

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 15, 2004 Tuesday

YEREVAN, June 16 — Armenian President Robert Kocharyan welcomed the
purchase by a Russian company of a controlling stake in the domestic
synthetic rubber plant that faces a financial plight.

Board chairman of the Volgaburmash machine-building enterprise Andrei
Ischuk told Kocharyan Tuesday his company is completing a deal to buy
a controlling interest in the Yerevan-based Nairit chemical enterprise
that produces synthetic rubber.

Kocharyan expressed hope Volgaburmash will be a stable and reliable
partner for Armenia.

Founded in 1936 Nairit faced financial problems and had to periodically
stop production in the past 10-12 years, according to plant director
Sergei Muradyan.

Ischuk said Nairit has all the grounds for profitable production. An
investment program worth several dozen million dollars and a
rehabilitation business plan have already been designed.

World Armenian Congress head calls for Caucasian dialog

World Armenian Congress head calls for Caucasian dialog
By Dmitry Nezdorovin

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 15, 2004 Tuesday

SOCHI, June 15 — Dialog must become a token of peace and accord in
the Caucasus, president of the World Armenian Congress Ara Abramyan
said at the 9th Russian press festival in Sochi on Tuesday.

“The interest of the World Armenian Congress in the Krasnodar territory
is not accidental. The territory has the largest Armenian community,
all in all about 500,000 people,” Abramyan said.

“The World Armenian Congress plans to hold an Armenian-Azerbaijani
youth forum in Sochi in October-November with the support of UNESCO.
The young people will discuss what prevents them from being good
neighbors,” he added.

Chess: Armenians take on world

Armenians take on world
By Malcolm Pein

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON)
June 16, 2004, Wednesday

THE Armenian team scored their first victory over the Rest of the
World at the fifth attempt as world title challenger Peter Leko
defeated Vishy Anand after converting an advantageous rook and pawn
endgame on the 68th move. Leko’s win combined with Smbat Lputian’s
somewhat fortuitous victory over Francisco Vallejo Pons, also in a
long endgame, resulted in a 4-2 win and the score is 16-14 to the
Rest of the World with a game to play.

The contest is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the late
Armenian world champion Tigran Petrosian, whose birthday is today.
Each member of the two teams plays all six of his opposite numbers.

SVIDLER gives up the two bishops to play against Kasparov’s weakened
queenside pawns and care is required. After 17.Qb4 Qxb4 18.axb4 a6
White might try and play f4, e5 and Nf3 when the d4 pawn could become
exposed although 19.f4 0-0-0 20.Nf3 Rd7 seems OK if a little passive
but the bishops could be strong later. Kasparov’s solution creates a
very weak pawn on c5 and Svidler’s pawn to e5 and the sacrifice 23.e6
are designed to free the squares e4 and e5 for White knights from
where they dominate the bishops and pressure the pawns. Kasparov
responds by exchanging one knight and then liberating his king and
white squared bishop with the counter sacrifice 28 c4! Svidler’s c4
and c2 pawns are then so vulnerable and Kasparov’s king so active
only Black has winning chances from that point on. 39.Nf5 Bf7 40.Nxh6
Bxc4 41.Kf2 Kb5 heading for the a3 pawn is good for Black. Svidler
holds the balance by keeping his knight in the centre and 48.f4!
creates counterplay just in time. If 48 gxf4 49.Kf3 Kxc2 50.Kxf4 d3
51.Nxd3 followed by g4, h4 h5 and g5 exchanging the last pawn.

P Svidler – G Kasparov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 d3 Bg7 6 h3 Nf6 7 Nc3 Nd7 8
Be3 e5 9 0-0 Qe7 10 Qd2 h6 11 Nh2 Nf8 12 Ne2 Ne6 13 a3 Nd4 14 b4 Be6
15 bxc5 Qxc5 16 Bxd4 exd4 17 Qb4 b6!? 18 Nf3 0-0-0 19 Qxc5 bxc5 20
Nf4 Bd7 21 e5 Rhe8 22 Rfe1 g5 23 e6! fxe6 24 Nh5 Bh8 25 Ne5 Kc7 26
Ng3 Bxe5 27 Rxe5 Kd6 28 Re2 c4! 29 dxc4 e5 30 Rae1 Re7 31 f3 c5 32
Rb1 Kc6 33 Rb5 a6 34 Rb3 Ree8 35 Re1 Rb8 36 Rxb8 Rxb8 37 Rxe5 Re8 38
Rxe8 Bxe8 39 Ne4 Bf7 40 Nd2 Bg6 41 Ne4 Bf7 42 Nd2 Kb6 43 Kf2 Ka5 44
Nb3+ Ka4 45 Nxc5+ Kxa3 46 Nxa6 Bxc4 47 Nc5 Kb2 48 f4! Kxc2 49 fxg5
hxg5 50 Kf3 Kc3 51 Ne4+ Kc2 52 Nc5 Bd5+ 53 Kg4 Kc3 54 Kxg5 Bc6 55 Kf4
Kc4 56 Ne6 d3 57 Ke3 Kc3 58 Nf4 d2 draw

Kasparov
p p p p p p p p p – p p p p p p p p p l p p e d p b p o p b p p p p p

Svidler

Final position after 58…d2 now 59.Ne2+ Kc2 60.Nd4+ Kc3 61.Ne2+
forces a draw.

AAA: Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Reviews Nomination of Amb

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]
Web:
 
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2004
CONTACT: Christine Kojoian
E-mail: [email protected]

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Reviews Nomination of
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia

Washington, DC -The Armenian Assembly welcomed the Senate Subcommittee on
European Affairs’ consideration Wednesday of John Marshall Evans’ nomination
as the next United States Ambassador to Armenia. Evans is set to replace
Ambassador John Ordway, who has completed his tour of duty. Ordway’s next
assignment will be Ambassador to Kazakhstan.

“We congratulate John Evans on completing the first phase of his nomination
process and look forward to working closely with him in strengthening
relations between our two countries,” said Assembly Board of Directors
Chairman Anthony Barsamian. “It is our strong hope that the incoming
Ambassador will continue community consultations initiated by America’s
first Ambassador Harry Gilmore, and expanded by outgoing Ambassador Ordway.”

Evans’ nomination will next be considered by the full Senate.

During the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Sen. George Allen (R-Va) indicated
that the United States should remain engaged in the South Caucasus and,
should retain “strict parity” with respect to military assistance to Armenia
and Azerbaijan. He also indicated that the US government should do more to
end the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockade of Armenia. Evans, in his prepared
remarks, said he would work to help Armenia continue to build up its
democracy and economy.

In that framework, Evans said, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
presents a unique opportunity for Armenia.

Chairman Allen also asked Evans to comment on the effects of the Turkish and
Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia. Evans responded by saying that opening the
border between Armenia and Turkey would increase Armenia’s trade by an
estimated 50 percent, and also help reduce Armenia’s energy costs.

He said he planned to have frequent discussions with Turkey to encourage
Ankara to open its borders with Armenia.

Chairman Allen also reiterated his wholehearted support of efforts aimed at
opening the Turkish border with Armenia without preconditions.

Since 2002, Evans has served as Russian Affairs Director in the Bureau of
European and Eurasian Affairs. Prior to that post, Evans handled Russian
and Eurasian affairs for four years in the State Department’s Bureau of
Intelligence and Research. From 1997 through 1999, he was head of the OSCE
Mission to Moldova and in the mid-1990s, Evans was principal officer in the
U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Evans joined the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer in 1971. He
served in diplomatic missions in Iran, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, at
NATO headquarters and the Czech Republic.

Born in 1948 in Newport News, Virginia, Evans earned a Bachelor of Arts
degree from Yale College and attended Columbia University Graduate
Facilities. He is fluent in Russian, Czech, French and Farsi. He is married
to Donna Chamberlain who is executive director of the World Affairs Council
of Washington.

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.

NR#2004-056

www.armenianassembly.org

Friends, alumni gather for St. Nersess groundbreaking

PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]
Website:

June 16, 2004
___________________

SEMINARY’S FUTURE FOCUS OF CELEBRATION

By Jake Goshert

They arrived at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary from Philadelphia and New
Hampshire, and everywhere in between. Some special guests flew in from
London, California, and Canada. The crowd of more than 150 included
senior leaders of the Armenian community and energetic toddlers. They
came to the seminary to honor the past by building for the future.

On Saturday, June 12, 2004, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) and President of the
Board of St. Nersess Seminary, presided over a service blessing the
ground and cornerstones of the seminary’s future His Holiness Karekin I
Theological Center and St. Hagop Chapel.

“This is truly an extraordinary day in the life of the Armenian Church.
It is a day of new beginnings. A day of dreams reaching their
fulfillment. A day for setting our sights high, to a beautiful,
promising vision of the future,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian.
“Clearly, it is a day of transforming significance for St. Nersess
Armenian Seminary. It is also a day — I deeply feel — which will have
great and fruitful consequences for the Armenian Church as a whole.
Without a doubt, this monumental new center is our doorway to a bright,
glorious future”

MIND AND SPIRIT

The new Catholicos Karekin I Theological Center, skillfully designed by
architech Armand P. Avakian, will feature a two-story complex which will
include a library that will house the Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Library
collection of books,a high-tech lecture hall, seminar facilities, and
offices.

The St. Hagop Chapel, to be built adjacent to the new academic center,
will serve as a proper place of worship for the seminarians at St.
Nersess.

“I am convinced the Armenian Church has two pillars upon which our
identity rests, and our future rests,” said Fr. Daniel Findikyan, dean
of St. Nersess Seminary. “Our future rests upon our faith, which is
experienced in prayer. Secondly, it rests upon learning and studying
the glorious faith and traditions of our parents, grandparents, and
ancestors. The only road ahead for the Armenian Church in America, is a
road to a church that has in its midst a spiritual and an academic
center.”

The new space is needed at the seminary, which this September will have
12 students, including eight studying full-time as they prepare to enter
the priesthood.

“We are reaching a new level in the vision of Catholicos Karekin I, of
blessed memory. His vision, though, remains our challenge: To raise
knowledgeable, able, and faithful clergy to lead our church,” Fr.
Findikyan said. “We have already begun to produce a generation of
clergy in whom we can be proud, a generation which will inspire people
throughout the world with their faith.”

HONORING A FRIEND

Haig and Elza Didizian, whose ties with His Holiness Karekin I, of
blessed memory, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All
Armenians, go back more than 40 years, personally tended to the
Catholicos during the illness that would ultimately claim his life. It
was during that time that Haig Didizian promised to fulfill Vehapar’s
wish for a theological center of higher education that would benefit all
Armenian clergy.

The Karekin I Theological Center is being funded by Haig and Elza
Didizian, who donated $1.6 million in honor of their late friend the
Vehapar.

“The Armenian Church has always been the strongest force in bringing and
keeping the Armenian community together,” said Mr. Didizian during the
ground blessing ceremony. “This center is a necessity, not a luxury,
for coming generations. Ensuring that Vehapar’s wish would become a
reality is an honor and an act of love.

“We are confident Vehapar’s legacy will prove to be immortal,” Mr.
Didizian added. “Our children and grandchildren will be able to know
him through his writings and recordings and, ultimately, through the
institution we are dedicating today.”

Furthermore, Haig and Elza Didizian, their children Marly, Hagop and
Donna, Chris and Caroline, and Haig’s late brother Setrak Didizian’s
fund, will be joined by Haig’s siblings Mr. and Mrs. Albert and
Dikranouhi Margossian, Mr. and Mrs. John and Mary Aslanian, Dr. and Mrs.
Ara Ankine Dakessian, and Dr. and Mrs. Noubar and Elizabeth Didizian, in
donating $800,000 to build the St. Hagop Chapel in memory of their
father and grandfather, Mr. Hagop Didizian, founder of the family
company, established in 1923, and their mother and grandmother, Mrs.
Khengaper Didizian.

The completion of the St. Hagop Chapel and the His Holiness Karekin I
Thelogical Center is scheduled for the later part of 2005.

Haig and Elza are also the sponsors of the publication of the complete
works of the late Catholicos Karekin I. Three of those volumes have
already been published.

About 100 community leaders attended a dinner hosted by Archbishop
Khajag Barsamian at the Diocesan Center in New York City on Friday, June
11, 2004 — organized by Vicki Hovanessian and emceed by her husband,
Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, a member of the St. Nersess Board who served as
master of ceremonies during the ground blessing service — to pay
tribute to the Didizians. During the dinner, several friends spoke of
the love and generosity of the Haig and Elza Didizian.

“Haig proved he was really a friend of Vehapar, because he has been
doing everything humanly possible to make sure people don’t forget him,”
Mr. Kevork Hovnanian said. “We both believe the church has been our
anchor for 1,700 years, and it is important to have a strong church.
And to have a strong church, you have to have able clergy, which was
Vehapar’s dream. I hope that dream will be accomplished when we see
graduates from St. Nersess who have studied at this library and prayed
at this chapel.”

“When Haig and Elza love somebody their love is limitless,” said Dr.
Haroutune Mekhjian. “Their love to Vehapar was legendary. During his
illness, they moved their home and business from London to New York City
to be with him. Every detail was taken care of. I remember how
tenderly Haig took the glasses of the Vehapar in his hands and gently
cleaned them. It is not surprising Haig and Elza decided to immortalize
our dear Vehapar by being benefactors of this theological center.”

The friends praising the Didizians’ generosity and love towards the
Vehapar, also detailed the immense need for the seminary’s expansion.

“The preparation of Armenian clergy with American backgrounds is
essential for the future of the Armenian Church,” said Mr. Hagop
Kouyoumdjian. “This princely donation is a way to achieve that. I hope
it will become an example for other benefactors.”

During the dinner held in honor of the Didizians, the Primate presented
the pair with the St. Vartan Award for their ongoing generosity and
devotion to the Armenian Church.

“This gift is truly an extraordinary example of the love and respect of
the Didizians,” Archbishop Barsamian said during a special dinner
honoring the Didizians at the Diocesan Center on Friday, June 11, 2004.
“They are true models of the virtues and blessings of the Armenian
Christian way of life. Their love for each other and their family, as
well as for the Armenian Church is beautiful to behold.”

— 6/16/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Haig and Elza Didizian — flanked by Archbishop
Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese and Archbishop Yeghishe
Gizirian, former Pontifical Legate and Primate of the Armenian Church of
Great Britain — break ground on Saturday, June 12, 2004, at what will
soon be the Catholicos Karekin I Theological Center and St. Hagop Chapel
at St. Nersess Seminary in New Rochelle, NY.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Hagop and Christopher Didizian join their parents as
the Primate blesses one of the cornerstones (donated by the Armenian
Mission Parish of Charlotte, NC) for the new center and chapel for St.
Nersess Seminary.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Priests, seminarians, and deacons sing during the
ground blessing service for the new academic center and chapel complex
at St. Nersess Seminary on Saturday, June 12, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (4): A computer-generated view of what the completed
Catholicos Karekin I Theological Center and adjoining St. Hagop Chapel,
designed by architect Armand P. Avakian, will look like when completed.

PHOTO CAPTION (5): More than 150 people join in prayer during the
ground blessing ceremony for the new complex to be built at the St.
Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY.

PHOTO CAPTION (6): Archbishop Barsamian presents Haig and Elza Didizian
with the St. Vartan Award during a dinner at the Diocesan Center in New
York City honoring the couple on Friday, June 11, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (7): Guests look at the architectural drawings of the new
St. Nersess academic center and chapel complex during a dinner at the
Diocesan Center in New York City honoring the benefactors who are
underwriting the construction project, Haig and Elza Didizian.

PHOTO CAPTION (8): Armenian media interview the team from Armand P.
Avakian and Associates, the architects of the Catholicos Karekin I
Theological Center and St. Hagop Chapel to be built at St. Nersess
Seminary, during a special dinner on June 12, 2004, honoring the
benefactors of the project, Haig and Elza Didizian.

PHOTO CAPTION (9): Mr. Hagop Didizian, in whose memory, and that of
Mrs. Khengaper Didizian, the Didizian family is building the St. Hagop
Chapel at the St. Nersess Seminary.

PHOTO CAPTION (10): Mr. and Mrs. Haig and Elza Didizian.

# # #

www.armenianchurch.org
www.armenianchurch.org.

ANKARA: Talking Turkey about Turkey

Talking Turkey about Turkey
By Gerald A. Honigman

KurdishMedia.com
27 May 2004* *

The Turks are upset with Israel these days.

The same folks who have declared over one fifth of their own non-Turk
Kurdish population (over ten million people) to be “non-existent” in
the past (they’re really just “Mountain Turks, don’t you know?) and
have taken steps to outlaw Kurdish language and culture (Arabic is
one of Israel’s two official languages), are allegedly mad at Israel
for going after the Arab terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. These are
the same folks who have killed tens of thousands of Kurds over the
years in the name of their own security, have invaded neighboring
Iraq for similar reasons, etc., etc., and so forth.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the Turks, for the most part at least.
But Turkey’s relationship with Israel must not be an unbalanced
affair…something to use when relations are on the downswing with
Syrian Arabs, for example. Now that they’re again on the upswing,
Ankara needs its excuse to back off from the Jews. Gaza schmaza.

Talk about guts…Ankara complains about Israel not wanting Arabs
turning Gaza into a terrorist base and threatens to withdraw its
ambassador–while Israel has agreed in theory to an Arab state being
set up there–but totally nixed the idea of an independent Kurdish
state being set up in adjacent northern Iraq for its own security
reasons. Think about that for a minute. We’ll return with vengeance
to this point a bit later.

So, it’s time to really “talk turkey,” if you know what I mean. Israel
has neglected a brave people who have helped many Jews in the
past. Just ask the hundreds of thousands in Israel who originated in
Iraq. Israeli leaders have done this largely to not anger the Turks
over this painful issue. So the Turks’ policies towards the Kurds
were treated in a hands off manner.

If the Turks, however, insist on joining the rest of the world in
applying hypocritical double standards towards the Jewish State, the
time has come for certain truths to at long last come out in the open.
So let’s begin…

The ink had barely dried on the exchanged letters between President
Bush and Prime Minister Sharon back in April 2004 over the Gaza
disengagement plan when the State Department masters of foggy
doublespeak began to whittle away at any real progress that may have
been made.

While I welcomed President Bush’s apparently fleeting April2004 remarks
about Israel not having to return to those 1949 U.N.-imposed armistice
lines (and, for the first time, in public, I heard him call them just
that, not “borders”) or not having to consent to national suicide by
allowing millions of real or fudged descendants of Arab refugees a
“right of return” (half of Israel’s Jews originated in “Arab”/Muslim
lands), it could be argued that all of this was very late in the
coming. An earlier dose of these facts of life could have eliminated
the Arab hope of Israel being offered up on a silver platter by its
“friends”–a la Czechoslovakia1938 –and perhaps led them to negotiate
more seriously. I also wish that Mr. Bush would have explained all
of this to much of the world that was watching him on television in
different terms, not simply as “new facts on the ground.”

The territorial adjustments which Israel deserves has to do with
justice…not simply the imposition of power.

The disputed lands in question that Israel came to “occupy” as
a result of renewed Arab hostilities in 1967 (being blockaded–a
casus belli–etc.) were not Arab lands but unapportioned areas of
the original 1920 Palestinian Mandate that all peoples were allowed
to settle in. Top legal scholars such as Eugene Rostow and others
have written extensively about this. Indeed, the League Of Nations
Permanent Mandates Commission and other sources recorded Arabs pouring
into the Mandate from all over the Middle East and North Africa because
of the economic development going on due to the Jews. Any22 nd or23
rd Arab state that might be created — and second, not first, Arab
one within the original 1920 borders of “Palestine” (Jordan emerging
out of the lion’s share in1922 )– must not emerge at the expense of
the security of the sole, miniscule state of the Jews.

So, with all that’s happening with the Iraq mess right now, and in
light of recent developments regarding the Turks, it’s time to put
things into a broader perspective.

Consider, for example, the world wide obsession to create an additional
Arab state (supposedly in the name of “justice”), while Kurds are
still not yet deemed worthy of one. When America finally withdraws
from Iraq, the Arabs will likely take vengeance upon these people
for their friendship and cooperation with Washington.

Now think about this…

Over thirty million Kurds remain stateless today, often at someone
else’s mercy. At a time when much of the world insists that justice
demands that there be yet another Arab state, there is a nauseating
silence–in most of the media, in academia, at the United Nations,
etc.– over the plight of this people.

Spread out over a region which encompasses parts of southeastern
Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other adjoining areas as well, these
modern day descendants of ancient Medes and Hurrians continue to find
themselves in very precarious circumstances.

Kurdish culture and language have periodically been “outlawed”
in attempts to Arabize or Turkify them, and in an age when other
dormant nations/national groups were able to seize the moment with
the collapse of empires, the Kurds were repeatedly denied this chance
by an assortment of so-called “friends” and foes alike.

Having been promised independence after World War I, the Kurds saw
their hopes dashed after the British received a favorable decision from
the League of Nations on the Mosul Question in1925 . Predominantly
Kurdish Mosul and Kirkuk were where much of the oil was located,
and the main arm of British imperial power – the navy – had recently
switched from coal to oil.

The Brits decided that their long term interests involved not angering
the region’s Arabs, who–by their own writings–declared that the
rise of an independent Kurdistan would be seen as the equivalent
of the birth of another Israel. Regardless of scores of millions
of non-Arabs living in the region (including one half of Israel’s
Jews who were from “Arab”/Muslim lands), Arabs declared a political
monopoly over what they regarded as “purely Arab patrimony.” We are
living with the consequences of this mindset today.

Much has been written about America’s abuse of the Kurds, although the
mainstream press, media, academia, and other supposedly “enlightened”
folks have – with some notable exceptions – too often ignored this.

Having stood by our side and aided America continuously over the
decades, the State Department has too often pulled the rug out
from under the Kurds after their immediate “use” was deemed over,
with deadly consequences to this people. And yet, they have remained
strangely loyal to Washington.

While I won’t rehash the disgraceful behavior of much earlier periods,
recent and current policies are sufficient to make the point. And while
I am focusing on America, the rest of the world – for the most part –
has been as bad or worse.

Because America has the power to greatly influence the course of
geopolitics all around the world, my focus is mostly on my own country.
But others–especially Israel, whose people were called to be the
original “light unto the nations”–should pay more attention to this
as well. Regarding the latter, any “help” that Israel might want to
provide might actually, in some ways at least, actually hurt. So this
must be thought out very carefully.

America should always strive to be a shining light. I say this not
out of naivete. America has the power and ability to do this as no
other nation has. All it lacks is the will. And this is largely due
to the clique that runs the Department of State. On the Kurdish issue,
it has assumed Britain’s posture in the post-World War I era vis-a-vis
the Kurds.

Foggy Bottom insists – after hundreds of thousands of Kurds have
been maimed, gassed, and slaughtered in other ways by Arabs just in
Iraq alone over the last several decades (Syrian Arabs have recently
renewed their previous slaughter of Kurds as well) – that Kurds will
never gain independence. The heartland of Kurdistan had been in the
region around oil-rich Kirkuk.

State insists that the Kurds remain part of a united Iraq, regardless
of the bloody consequences this will probably have for them in the
future yet again. And while I hope I’m wrong, I doubt it.

America’s federal dream, while looking good on paper, has largely
been rejected by the Arabs themselves, be they Shi’a or Sunni. The
majority Shi’a, long suppressed by Saddam, now have other plans.

The Shi’a refuse to grant Kurds any control over their own fate,
regardless of any alleged partial federal agreement achieved so
far with America’s continuous prodding. And Arabs, of any stripe,
are still not about to grant Kurds any real equality. A visit to the
Kurdish Media’s website would be very useful to any and all needing
“enlightenment” in these regards. An article posted by Dr. Hussein
Tahiri’s “The Iraqi Shi’ites: When An Oppressed Becomes Oppressor,”
posted March8 , 2004 in is revealing; and the
site has many other informative essays.

While the formula for a summer 2004 handoff of American power to an
Iraqi government looks reasonable– again, on paper–the reality
is likely to be something far different. I hope I’m wrong, but my
opinions have something to do with tigers changing their stripes or
leopards changing their spots. And those tigers and leopards are very
old and entrenched ones, indeed.

The same State Department – which fought President Truman over
America’s recognition of a reborn Israel in 1948 – insists that there
be no partition of Mesopotamia/Iraq. Britain had earlier received
the Mandate for Mesopotamia at the same time it received the Mandate
for Palestine in the post-World War I era. But, unlike Palestine,
which would undergo a number of partitions in attempts to arrive at
a compromise solution between Arab and Jew, a much larger Mesopotamia
was somehow declared to be incapable of doing this for its Kurds.

After World War I, the British were given control of previous Ottoman
territory. Of this vast area, a small piece – they called it Palestine
– was intended for the Jews. In1922 , Colonial Secretary Churchill
chopped off roughly80 % of Palestine, and handed it over to its
Hashemite Arab allies. Purely Arab Transjordan – today’s Jordan – was
thus born. Arabs rejected another partition in 1947 which would have
given them roughly half of the20 % of the land that was left. President
Bush and State today insist that Arabs will get another state, their
second one in “Palestine.”

The main reason put forth for why Mesopotamia/Iraq is incapable
of this sort of partition is the potential for instability it will
cause in the region. Not only will the Arabs be miffed at someone
else gaining national rights in “their” region, but the Turks, in
particular, will supposedly have a fit due to their own large and
suppressed Kurdish minority.

While a strong Turco-American alliance is worthy of support, the
Turks are wrong on this matter, and too many have allowed them to
get away with this for too long. While it is understandable that
they’re nervous about the potential problems, this does not give
them the right to have a veto power over the plight of some thirty
million long-oppressed and abused Kurds. Again, think of the irony
here regarding Ankara’s “concerns” over rejectionist Arabs, who could
have had their additional state decades ago had they just not continued
to work towards the destruction of the sole Jewish one.

An independent Kurdistan set up in northern Iraq – under the right
conditions – might actually be a blessing for the Turks. Those Kurds
– like those Jews, Greeks, Armenians, etc. – wishing to live in an
independent state could migrate to it. An arrangement could also be
made whereby the oil wealth of the area could be shared with the Turks
as well, since they feel they got robbed via the earlier decision by
the League of Nations on the Mosul Question.

Putting things into the broader perspective, consider the following
facts:

The CIA’s Fact Book on the Internet shows Israel to have a population
of roughly 6 million people, of whom about20 % are Arab. Among the
latter are some very hostile elements. Israel’s territory is about20 ,
770sq Km.

Turkey has a population of about 68 million people, of whom about 20%
are Kurds. Turkey’s territory is about780 , 580sq Km. About38 Israels
would fit into Turkey.

Despite Israel’s small size, Foggy Bottom has no problem demanding that
Israel allow the creation of another Arab terrorist state, dedicated
to its destruction, right in its backyard. State continues to ignore
proclamations by even so-called Arab “moderates” that Oslo and all
other such “peace initiatives” are but “Trojan Horses,” steps along the
way in the Arabs’ post-‘ 67destruction in phases strategy for Israel.

Now, how will the fifth of miniscule Israel’s population that is
Arab react to this adjacent potential development? And how will the
majority of Hashemite Jordan, which is also mostly Palestinian Arab
(however you define that, in that many, if not most, “Palestinians”
entered Mandated Palestine from elsewhere in the region during the
Mandatory Period), react to this? Arafat’s boys had already tried
a takeover of Jordan in1970 . They were crushed in King Hussein’s
“Black September.” And Israel’s mobilization in the north sent a
message to the PLO’s Syrian allies at the time as well. Yet the Foggy
Folks seem not to be worried about any destablizing effects here.

The same hypocrites who declare that Israel must grossly endanger
itself so that yet another Arab state might be born insist that Kurds
must remain forever stateless because of some problems their freedom
might cause to a Turkey nearly forty times Israel’s size in territory
and over eleven times its size in population, and with the same80 %
to 20% mix of potential “headaches.”

There’s no defense for this. An ex-State Department career person
contacted me after one of my earlier articles. In our subsequent
correspondence, he told me to just accept the fact that the Kurds
will never be allowed their state, while attacking me, of course,
for my reservations over what State has in store for Israel. He even
brought up the subject of “dual loyalty.” I asked him if he would
say that to some 60 million or so – if not more – Christians who are
saying the same thing that I am. No answer – pathetic.

Regardless of America’s good intentions (and we were correct in ridding
the land of Adolf, I mean Saddam), it’s likely that Iraq will become
even more of a mess – rather like Yugoslavia with the death of Tito,
though I really don’t like mentioning him and Saddam in the same breath
– and more costly over time. Entrenched Arab attitudes – centuries
old – are not likely to change regarding their relationships with
their conquered, non-Arab populations. Any of the latter that have
not agreed to the forced Arabization process – be they Kurd, Jew,
Berber, Black African, Copt, Lebanese, etc. have had major problems
to contend with, often deadly ones.

Asking Kurds to forsake the creation of their one, sole state for the
pipedream of an egalitarian Iraq is a travesty of justice if ever
there was one. Regardless of their religious coloration, the vast
majority of Arabs are in no sharing mood when it comes to questions
about what they see as “purely Arab patrimony.” They’re the rulers,
the rest are the ruled. Period…

Again, when America leaves Iraq, as it will sooner or later, the
backlash will once again fall on the people who supported us the
most–the Kurds. We have left them holding the bag too many times
already.

Think about how the course of history may have been changed if an
Israel existed prior to the Holocaust. You read about the problems with
the Shi’a above. Saddam’s regime was largely Sunni-supported. Abu Musab
Zarqawi, of al-Qaida fame, wrote a letter that was recently intercepted
by U.S. forces in Iraq. He’s the guy who is believed responsible for
the recent slaughter of Shi’a in Baghdad and Karbala. In the letter
he listed four enemies. America, of course, was No.1 . No. 2 is the
Kurds. Here’s what he says about them: They are “…a lump in the
throat and a thorn whose time to be clipped has yet to come.”

Now, while Foggy Bottom demands some two dozen states for Arabs
and actually encourages the good cop/bad cop team of Arafat and
Hamas/Islamic Jihad by at least some of its actions, double standards,
and doublespeak, we all need to think harder about the direction we
want the greatest country on Earth – The United States of America –
to follow regarding the fate of our strangely loyal friends, the Kurds.

The roadmap for Kurdistan is long overdue. And if the Turks can join
the Arab chorus in favor of terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction,
then it’s time for Israel to reconsider its silence regarding the
Kurds as well.

http://kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1994
www.KurdishMedia.com

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06/16/2004
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1) MCA Proposal Sets Sights on Reconstruction of Rural Infrastructure
2) Armenia Remains on Tier 2 Human Trafficking Watch List
3) Georgia Demands Russian Pull out of Peacekeepers from South Ossetia
4) Armenia Takes on World, Losing by a Point
5) Armenian Opposition Halts Protest Campaign

1) MCA Proposal Sets Sights on Reconstruction of Rural Infrastructure

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Prime Minister Andranik Markarian said on Wednesday the
Armenian government will finalize by the end of next month its program
proposal
for funding under Washington’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program.
Markarian spoke after chairing the first meeting of an ad hoc commission of
senior government officials tasked with assessing the country’s urgent needs,
discussing possible ways of meeting them with MCA funding, and submitting a
relevant plan to the US.
Under the terms of the MCA, Armenia and 15 other developing nations selected
by the US government last spring, must specify the amount of funding they
require for proposed programs. Top executives from the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC), which runs the program, visited Yerevan late last month for
the first discussions on the subject with Armenian officials.
They made it clear that the aid allocation to Armenia is not a forgone
conclusion, but will depend on the quality of the proposals.
Speaking to journalists, Markarian said that the government would like to
primarily spend the MCA funds on the reconstruction of the battered
infrastructure of the country’s impoverished rural regions that have hardly
benefited from recent years’ economic growth–specifying the rebuilding of
schools, countryside roads, and irrigation networks. “All of these programs
must be in line with our [12-year] poverty reduction strategy,” he said.
Asked how much the Armenian side expects to get from the MCC, he said: “It is
too early to talk about sums. According to our preliminary estimates, however,
[the government will ask for] between $500 million and $600 million in the
next
five years.”
Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian came up last week with an
even
more ambitious aid target: $700 million, of which $100 million should be made
available as early as this year. But he was more cautious and vague in his
comments on Wednesday. “Even [the MCC] doesn’t know what will happen,” he
said.

Khachatrian reiterated that request for proposals from Armenian
non-governmental organizations are being sought, but that only two have been
received.

2) Armenia Remains on Tier 2 Human Trafficking Watch List

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia was once again included in this year’s US State
Department report on human trafficking.
In the department’s fourth annual Trafficking of Persons Report, released
Monday, Armenia was among 42 nations listed on the Tier 2 Watch List.
Countries are classified into three categories, of which Tier 3 is the least
favorable. Armenia moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 last year after it made a
number
of reforms. US officials have indicated that Armenia may be placed in the Tier
1 category if a sweeping crackdown is initiated.
The State Department report notes that Armenia serves as both a source and a
transit country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation to the
United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Russia, Greece and other European countries. The
report also adds that the trafficking of persons to be used as labor has
become
an increasingly significant problem.
The government of Armenia does not currently comply with the minimum
standards
set for the elimination of trafficking.
It is, however, making a significant effort to do so. Cooperation between
police and NGOs have increased the number of investigations, and provided
police with a greater understanding of international and domestic sources of
trafficking. The report also touched upon the improved efforts of law
enforcement agents in assisting trafficking victims by referring them to
care-providing NGOs.
Prevention activities increased during the reporting period, and were
highlighted through the use of media. The National Police were featured in
several training films and TV shows on trafficking, and the Ministry of
Education approved anti-trafficking educational lectures for secondary and
university students. In January of 2004, the government approved an
anti-trafficking national action plan for 2004-2006. The government
contributed
the equivalent of $11,000 of its own funds to support the work of the National
Anti- Trafficking Commission, with foreign donors providing the remaining
funds. The government’s Department for Migration and Refugees conducted
extensive outreach on migration issues, which prevented a significant
number of
individuals from succumbing to trafficking, according to an independent
survey.

3) Georgia Demands Russian Pull out of Peacekeepers from South Ossetia

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–Russia denied sending troops or military
hardware to
Georgia’s restive South Ossetia province, after Tbilisi sent a letter of
protest to Moscow on Sunday about a column of trucks and military vehicles
that
drove from Russia into the separatist Georgian region that seeks to be a part
of Russia.
Georgia’s State Minister for conflict resolution Goga Khaindrava, urged
Russia
on Tuesday, to withdraw its peacekeeping forces from the South Ossetian
conflict zone.
“We [Georgia] can freely control the situation in breakaway South Ossetia.
The
Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the conflict zone 12 years ago, but they
are no longer necessary, since they choose not to perform their functions,”
Goga Khaindrava said at a June 15 news briefing.
According to Georgian officials, the convoy of more than 15 trucks crossed
from Russia’s North Ossetia region on Friday into Georgia’s breakaway South
Ossetia. Some of the trucks were carrying troops, missile launchers, automatic
rifles, and other weapons. Russia’s Defense Ministry and South Ossetian
officials have denied any cross-border military movements, but the
president of
the breakaway region, Eduard Kokoity, said a “humanitarian column” had entered
South Ossetia, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.
A Russian military official in North Ossetia said food, fuel, spare parts,
and
other supplies had been sent to Russian peacekeepers serving in the region.
Following Khaindrava’s allegations, the OSCE Mission in Georgia monitored the
situation in the South Ossetian conflict zone on June 12 and “found no
evidence” of any military vehicles in the Tskhinvali area.
Asked whether Tbilisi is considering the possibility of military force in
Abkhazia or South Ossetia, Georgia’s recently appointed defense Minister
Georgy
Baramidze said it would be the most undesirable option. “We will be doing
everything to avoid the military solution. There are many mechanisms
available–political, economic, and social. At the same time, we must be ready
for all kinds of “surprises,” he said.
As for the withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Batumi and
Akhalkalaki, Baramidze said though the issue is important, improved
Russian-Georgian bilateral relations are not tied to the issue.

4) Armenia Takes on World, Losing by a Point

A HEROIC COMEBACK BY THE PETROSIAN TEAM IN THE FINAL TWO ROUNDS FELL A POINT
SHORT. ANAND-KASPAROV WAS ONE OF SEVERAL SHORT DRAWS IN THE FINAL ROUND.
VAGANIAN HAD THE ONLY WIN OF THE ROUND, AN IMPRESSIVE BIND AGAINST ADAMS.
GELFAND, ONCE PETROSIAN’S STAR PUPIL, BATTLED HARD FOR THE FULL POINT AGAINST
BACROT TO NO AVAIL.

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–In what commemorated the 75th anniversary of the
late Armenian world chess champion Tigran Petrosian, a dynamic
tournament–Armenia vs. the Rest of the World team, began on June 10 in Moscow
and ended on June 15, with the World Team defeating the Petrosian Team 18.5 to
17.5.
The tournament matched the best of Armenia against a team of international
stars. Each of the six team members played everyone on the other team for a
total of 36 games.
The best of Armenia’s powerful chess players made up the Armenian team–1999
World Championship runner-up Vladimir Akopian, feared Bundesliga warrior
Rafael
Vaganian, and experienced international Smbat Lputian. Tiny Armenia has the
second-highest number of players participating in the 2004 FIDE world
championship in Libya this month–seven. The rest of the Armenian team either
had connections to Armenia or Petrosian himself. Garry Kasparov’s mother is
Armenian and he has always been claimed by that chess-mad nation. Peter Leko
married an Armenian, named Petrosian (no relation). His wife Sofia is the
daughter of Armenian chess Grand Master Arshak Petrosian, who is also his
trainer and will be the coach of the Petrosian team in Moscow.
The World all-star team was composed of Anand, Svidler, Adams, Bacrot,
Vallejo, and van Wely.
It was a valiant effort, but the Petrosian team fell short by the thinnest
possible margin at the end. After looking overmatched in the first half, the
“friends of Armenia” squad didn’t lose a game in the final two rounds and
almost climbed back from a four-point deficit. It was a great match, and it
was
fitting that the Petrosian Memorial was a team event. Tigran Petrosian
consistently put up phenomenal scores in team events throughout his career. An
incredible six times he got the best score in the Olympiads playing for the
USSR over a 20-year span.

5) Armenian Opposition Halts Protest Campaign

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian opposition officially ended, with a rally late
Wednesday, its unsuccessful spring campaign for regime change.
“The first stage of the opposition movement is over,” a leader of the
Artarutyun alliance Albert Bazeyan, said during a concluding speech. He said
Artarutyun and its principal ally, the National Unity Party (AMK), need
time to
consider new methods of waging political struggle.
Other opposition leaders cited external factors such as the ongoing peace
talks on Mountainous Karabagh and the upcoming discussion of the situation in
Armenia at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to justify
their
decision.
Some opposition leaders admitted privately, however, that their two-month
drive for President Robert Kocharian’s resignation has lost momentum. They
said
further anti-government rallies are thus unlikely to be held in the summer
months. The AMK and Artarutyun bloc had earlier repeatedly postponed a promise
a repeat of similar “decisive” actions.

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ANCA: Sen. Allen Urges “Strict Parity” in U.S. Military Aid DuringC

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet:

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

SEN. ALLEN CALLS FOR “STRICT PARITY” IN U.S. MILITARY AID TO
ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN DURING CONFIRMATION HEARING FOR U.S.
AMBASSADOR TO ARMENIA

– Nominee Stresses Ties to Armenia, Willingness to Work with
Armenian Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator George Allen (R-VA), in his capacity as
chairman of the Senate panel holding a confirmation hearing earlier
today for the next U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, stressed that in
order “to ensure that the United States remains an honest peace
broker, I believe it is essential that we maintain strict parity
with regard to foreign military financing or FMF funding” to
Armenia and Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of
America (ANCA).

The statement comes in response to President Bush’s Fiscal Year
2005 budget proposal, which would break the agreement to maintain
military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The budget,
released on February 2nd, proposes $2 million in Foreign Military
Financing for Armenia and $8 million for Azerbaijan.

The proposal contradicts the agreement struck in 2001 between the
White House and Congress to maintain parity in U.S. military aid
levels to Armenia and Azerbaijan. This understanding, which was
shared with representatives of the Armenian American community
during a February 21, 2002 meeting with National Security Council
officials, resulted in equal levels of military aid being
appropriated to these two nations in Fiscal Years 2002, 2003, and
2004. This parity contributed meaningfully to stability in the
Caucasus.

Since the release of the President’s budget, the Armenian American
community has participated in ANCA WebFax, letter writing and phone
campaigns, urging the House and Senate Appropriations panels to
ensure continued military aid parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan. In
a recent memo to key Senate and House members, ANCA Government
Affairs Director Abraham Niziblian argued that, “a tilt in military
spending toward Azerbaijan would destabilize the region,
emboldening the new Azerbaijani leadership to continue their
threats to impose a military solution of the Nagorno Karabagh
conflict. More broadly, breaching the parity agreement would
reward the leadership of Azerbaijan for walking away from the OSCE
Key West peace talks in 2001, the most promising opportunity to
resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict in nearly a decade.”

——————————————————————-
Nominee John Marshall Evans Pledges to Work to Strengthen U.S. –
Armenia Bilateral Relations
——————————————————————-

Career Foreign Service Officer John Marshall Evans, in his oral
testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stressed
his commitment to “working with this and other relevant Committees
of the Congress, with the Armenian people, the Armenian Government,
and with the Armenian American community to further the foreign
policy goals of the United States.” He went on to note the U.S.
commitment to strengthening democracy and economic prosperity in
Armenia. Citing the recent announcement of Armenia’s eligibility
for Millennium Challenge Account funding, Evans noted that the move
“presents a unique opportunity for our two countries to strengthen
our bilateral cooperation while meeting some of today’s most
difficult challenges head on.”

During the question and answer period, Sen. Allen asked Evans to
comment about the effectiveness of U.S. assistance to Armenia.
Evans noted that reports using non-U.S. indicators measuring the
democratic and economic progress of Armenia show that, “we are
making progress and we are trying to quantify it as effectively and
scientifically as we can.”

In response to a question on the debilitating effects of the
Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia, Evans stated that
“the estimate is that were the border for Turkey to be reopened, it
could make as much as a 50% difference in Armenia’s trade
situation.”

“We want to thank Senator Allen for his forceful defense of
maintaining strict military aid parity between Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Keeping our military assistance packages to these two
nations at equal levels will contribute to regional stability,
restrain the increasingly violent rhetoric of the Azerbaijani
leadership, and ensure that the United States can continue to act
as an impartial mediator in the Nagorno Karabagh peace process,”
said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We would
also like to express our appreciation to John Evans for his
willingness to follow in the tradition of past ambassadors to
Armenia – Harry Gilmore, Michael Lemmon, and John Ordway – in
working closely with the Armenian American community on the full
range issues on the U.S.-Armenia agenda.”

John Marshall Evans joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1971. He
has held posts in Iran, Czechoslovakia, Russia and with the OSCE
among other positions. He currently serves as Director of the
Office of Russian Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian
Affairs in the State Department, with the rank of Minister-
Counselor.

During the confirmation hearing, other candidates presenting
testimony included Mr. Charles P. Ries, nominated for U.S.
Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and Mr. Tom Korologos,
nominated for U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.

During the hearing, Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) urged both Evans and
Reis to make a special effort to learn Armenian and Greek,
respectively, in an effort to better communicate with their
counterparts in their upcoming posts. Sen. Sarbanes had met
privately with all three candidates prior to the confirmation
hearing.

Full Senate confirmation of all three candidates for
ambassadorships is expected soon.

The complete text of Mr. Evans’ oral testimony, as well as, the
question and answer session dealing with Armenian American concerns
follows. The complete written testimony presented by Evans to the
Senate panel will be available soon.

#####

===================================================================
Selected Statements from the Senate Foreign Relations Confirmation
Hearing for John Marshall Evans, Nominated to Serve as U.S.
Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia
===================================================================

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) – [during his opening remarks]:
—————————————- ——————————————–
I have long believed that the United States must remain engaged in the
South Caucasus remnants of the former Soviet Union. Ongoing
conflicts and corruption in this part of the world remain a great
concern to both regional and global stability. Particularly, I have
had a long-standing interest in Armenia and the history of the
Armenian people; understanding that the relations, though, between
Armenia and Azerbaijan continues to be tenuous and a very fragile
peace exists. To ensure that the United States remains an honest
peace broker, I believe it is essential that we maintain strict
parity with regard to foreign military financing or FMF funding to
both nations. I also remain concerned that the continuing
blockades of Armenia are obviously troublesome. Our government, in
my view Mr. Ambassador, when you are confirmed, our government
needs to do more to compel Turkey and Azerbaijan to fully end these
blockades and the negative effects these have on the Armenian
economy.

————————————————————————————————–

Mr. John Marshall Evans [Oral testimony before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee]:
————————————————————– ————————————

Mr. Chairman, we and the Armenians are no
strangers to each other. Many Americans are, of course, of Armenian
background, and if you read my full statement you will know that I
have learned that there was an Armenian at the Jamestown settlement
as early as 1619.

We have interacted, we and the Armenians, over many years in good
times and bad. Americans sympathize deeply with the plight of
those Armenians who suffered and perished in the declining years of
the Ottoman Empire. Thousands of Armenians have come to our shores
and enriched our country in a myriad of ways. In 1988 when a
terrible earthquake struck Armenia, it was only natural for the
United States to react immediately with rescue teams and
reconstruction assistance. I am very proud to have been heavily
involved in that effort, serving as Deputy Director of the Soviet
desk at the State Department.

Today, the Republic of Armenia and the United States face many
shared challenges. Terrorism and political and economic
instability are our common enemies. The U.S. aims to promote
security, stability, democracy and prosperity in the Caucasus. We
are helping Armenia build a new society based on democratic
principles and the rule of law. Recently Armenia was selected as a
potential recipient of a Millennium Challenge Account grant. I
believe this presents a unique opportunity for our two countries to
strengthen our bilateral cooperation while meeting some of today’s
most difficult challenges head on.

Mr. Chairman, if confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working
with this and other relevant Committees of the Congress, with the
Armenian people, the Armenian Government, and with the Armenian
American community to further the foreign policy goals of the
United States.

Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned earlier, I have served previously in
Tehran, Prague – twice actually in Prague – Moscow, and St.
Petersburg as well as the NATO headquarters in Brussels, and in the
OSCE system. I also spent a semester at the Woodrow Wilson center
reading Ottoman History. So I think, in a sense, I have been
circling around Armenia for some time. If confirmed, I will do my
very best, to learn some of that most difficult, but as I
understand, beautiful language. I am very grateful to Senator
Sarbanes for his moral support in emphasizing the importance of
this and I certainly will report what you said to the State
Department.

Question and Answer Session during the Senate Confirmation Hearing:
——————————————————————————————————

Sen. George Allen (R-VA): I would like to ask you Mr. Evans, the
US has provided assistance to Armenia, been a strong supporter as
have certainly a majority of this Committee – are strong supporters
of assistance to Armenia. Could you assess how this assistance to
Armenia has furthered the interest of the United States?

Mr. John Marshall Evans: It’s important to keep in mind what our
goals are. Our goals in the South Caucasus are to create
conditions of stability, security, growing prosperity, and also
growing democracy. We’ve spent cumulatively about $1.5 billion, I
believe now. There is a very fine report that came out in January
on the current state of our assistance. What it shows is that we
are now trying to graph the effectiveness of our system using
indicators that are independent of the U.S. government. So we use
economic indicators derived from the EBRD on one axis and we use
Freedom House indicators on another axis. And if you look at the
development of Armenia, it’s a bit of a sigmoid curve. There was
constant movement up on the economy. There have been some zig-zags
on democratic development. But the overall movement is in the
right direction and I very much recommend the full report to you
and your staff. We are making progress and we are trying to
quantify it as effectively and scientifically as we can.

Sen. Allen: Would you comment then on the effect of the closed
borders on Armenia. You mentioned that the economy is going in the
right direction, but so far as the closed borders of Turkey and
Azerbaijan [. . .] What is your perspective?

Mr. Evans: A glance at the map makes it very clear that Armenia is
in a very difficult position and must depend on being a
transportation corridor. Armenia sits right in the South Caucasus
between Iran and Turkey and Azerbaijan and Georgia and two of its
four borders are currently closed, as you mentioned, those with
Turkey and Azerbaijan. The estimate is that were the border for
Turkey to be reopened, it could make as much as a 50% difference in
Armenia’s trade situation. . . . No one knows precisely, but that
is a pretty good estimate. It also would have a huge effect on
reducing Armenia’s energy bill, because at the moment, the single
source of natural gas, for example, comes from Russia and a lot of
gasoline is trucked into Armenia, so the energy costs are very
high. We are frequently in conversation with our Turkish
colleagues trying to persuade them that the time is come to open
the border with Armenia, which would also be a very good thing for
the Eastern Provinces of Turkey.

Sen. Allen: Thank you and you will certainly have this Senator’s
support to encourage Turkey to reopen that border without
preconditions.

#####

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

www.anca.org

Opthalmologists at Old People’s home

OPHTHALMOLOGISTS AT OLD PEOPLE’S HOME

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
June 6 2004

The charity foundation “Armenian Ophthalmologic Project” continues
the program “Light to Armenian Eyes” in Artsakh. Recently the
specialists visited the center of socially insecure pensioners.
During the examination they found out that more than half of the
50 old people living in the center suffer from eye diseases. They
will receive corresponding medical treatment. Four people will be
operated on at the movable eye clinic. This kind of undertakings of
the ophthalmologists will continue. 

LAURA GRIGORIAN