ANC Fresno Mobilizes Demonstration to Encourage Speaker Dennis Haste

Armenian National Committee, Central California
Post Office Box 626
Fresno, California 93709

May 27, 2004
Contact: Rich Sanikian

Armenian National Committee, Central California Mobilizes Demonstration
to Encourage Speaker Dennis Hastert to Act on Genocide Resolution

On Friday May 28, 2004, US Speaker of the House of Representatives
will be attending a political fundraiser for California Senator Ray
Ashburn at Pardini’s on Shaw and Van Ness Avenues. From 11:30-12:30
p.m., the Armenian National Committee (ANC), Central California will
organize a protest demonstration to urge Speaker Hastert to bring
House Resolution 193 (HR 193) to a floor vote.

An ongoing ANC national postcard campaign sent Speaker Hastert and
Majority Leader Bill Frist 100,000 signed postcards urging them to
take action. Unfortunately, it has been over a year and the resolution
has not been brought up for a vote in the House.

If the House and Senate leaderships do not schedule votes on their
respective Genocide Resolutions, this human rights legislation will
die with the end of the Congressional session this November.

House Res.193 is a Genocide Resolution marking the 15th anniversary
of the U.S. implementation of the United Nations Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. This landmark Convention,
adopted by the UN in 1948, specifically identifies genocide as a
crime under international law. The legislation cites the Armenian
Genocide as an example of past genocides along with the Holocaust,
the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides.

In Fresno alone, this postcard campaign has been endorsed by Fresno
County Supervisor Juan Arumbula; Fresno Councilmen Henry T. Perea,
Brian Calhoun, Tom Boyajian; Councilwoman Cynthia Sterling, Mike
Villines, and Former Senator Jim Costa. Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is
also a strong supporter of the postcard campaign along with many
state officials throughout California.

The Central California ANC hopes Speaker Hastert realizes the
importance of House Res.193 in Fresno as well as across the nation,
where thousands of victims of various ethnic backgrounds settled after
the genocidal attacks of their oppressors. It is hoped that Speaker
Hastert and Majority Leader Frist move in a positive direction to
bring this important bill for a vote in the House.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

EU halts EUR100m aid to Armenia in nuclear row

EU halts EUR100m aid to Armenia in nuclear row

The Irush Times
Saturday May 29, 2004

ARMENIA: Alarmed at the potential for another Chernobyl-type
nuclear accident, the European Union has frozen ?100 million of
grant aid to this small state in the Caucasus following the refusal
of the government here to agree to a date for closure of an ageing
Russian-built nuclear power plant sited in one of the world’s most
active seismic zones.

[CENN] 68 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin (English Version)

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

68 Electronic Bulletin:
Caucasus Environmental News

Dear Colleagues! Dear Reader (DR)!

Welcome to the May issue of the Caucasus Environmental News electronic
bulletin prepared by participants of the Caucasus Environmental NGO
Network (CENN).

You are welcomed to share with us your opinions about the CENN bulletin.
If you have any comments or questions, we will be happy to consider and

Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.


Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and the production of our
electronic bulletin – Caucasus Environmental News have been funded by
the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


We are happy to inform you that current number of CENN members
constitutes of 6764!
Thanks for your interest in CENN!


1. Announcements
1.1. Request for proposals (RFP) management of small grant programme for
NGO capacity building along the SCP and BTC pipeline routes theme of the
environmental investment programme
1.2. Invitation for bids (IFB)
1.3. Project on the Plant for Extraction the Sand-Gravel (along the
Tbilisi-Rustavi Highway, by the side of the Right Bank of the River
Mtkvari) and Producing form this material Construction materials
1.4. EIA Report of the “Project on Processing of the Samshvilde Dacite
Deposit Tetritskaro Region” by the “Georgian Geological and Mining
National Company” Ltd.
1.5. EIA Report of “Project on the Cement Granulating Mini Enterprise in
Kaspi Region” by the “AKO” Ltd.
1.6. EIA Report of ” Project on the Technological Plan of the
Development of the Exhausted Granite in Tetritskaro Region. ” by the
“Bemi” Ltd.
1.7. EIA Report of ” Project on Development of the Inert Materials
Deposit in Tetritskaro” by the “Bemi” Ltd.
1.8. EIA Report of “Project on Development of the Sand-Gravel Deposit in
Tbilisi. ” by the “Inmjmshen” Ltd.

2. News from Georgia
2.1. BTC progress report
2.2. Environmentalists: BTC left communities in the dust
2.3. Leopard spotted in Georgia
2.4. Government puts the breaks on logging
2.5. BTC Co. happy with pace of pipeline construction
2.6. Meeting at the Bolinsi PEIC
2.7. 51 globally threatened species get new lease on life in the

3. News from Azerbaijan
3.1. Kazakhstan joining to BTC to discus in late May
3.2. WB to allocate $14-15m for oil-spoiled regions
3.3. First International conference on Caspian ecology
3.4. International organizations launch initiative in southern Caucasus
on link between environment and security
3.5. Shah Deniz- phase-2 start linked to gas sale agreement
3.6. Biodiversity Day Marked

4. News from Armenia
4.1. Iran, Armenia sign agreement on gas main construction
4.2. EBRD, WB and USAID to set up fund for providing Armenia with
alternative energy sources
4.3. Armenian environmentalists’ bid to preserve green territories
4.4. EBRD insists on closure of Armenia’s nuclear power plant

5. International News
5.1. Turkey to develop nuclear energy
5.2. Joint meeting to help achieve biodiversity target in Europe
5.3. Course on international environmental law making and diplomacy
5.4. Stockholm Convention on POPs to become international law, launching
5.5. Results of the children’s creative competition “World of Water
through the Eyes of Children 2004” declared in Estonia

6. Calendar (International)
6.1. Preparatory process to Tbilisi conference (Kiev+1)
6.2. The 30th Congress of the International Geographical Union
6.3. International Conference “Integrated management of natural
resources in the transboundary Dniester river basin”
6.4. The renewable energy & energy efficiency meeting place



For Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline and Southern Caucasus Pipeline

Operated by BP
Issuance Date: 24 May 2004
Closing Date and Time: 12:00 noon Tbilisi time 12 July 2004

BP, acting as Operator for and on behalf of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
Pipeline Company (BTC) and the South Caucasus Pipeline Company Ltd.
(SCP), is seeking applications from qualified national and international
organizations to identify and implement projects under one of the key
priority themes identified by BTC and SCP as part the “Environmental
Investment Programme” (EIP) for the projects.

The Principal Objective of the EIP is the delivery of actions that are
of benefit in the promotion and conservation of biodiversity. The EIP
is divided up into a number of different themes, which were identified
during a process of consultation with national and international

EIP is the principal environmental programme in SCP/BTC’s portfolio of
civil society development programmes in Georgia. Other programmes
include the Community Investment Programme (CIP), which specialises in
socio-economic development projects with communities along the
pipelines; and a new programme which will use independent external
funding to assist NGOs wishing to monitor the BTC and SCP pipeline
construction activities, by helping them to acquire the necessary
auditing and reporting skills. Other socio-economic and environmental
activities may be added to the portfolio in due course. Each programme
has its own themes and objectives; but they are all linked together
under the overarching theme of encouraging civil society development in

Proposals are now sought for projects exclusively within the following
EIP key priority theme: Management of Small Grant Programme for NGO
Capacity Building along the SCP and BTC Pipeline Routes Theme of the
Environmental Investment Programme. This will entail a capacity needs
assessment of NGOs/CBOs working in the seven districts through which the
pipelines pass, design of the scope and operating mechanisms for the
Programme, and its subsequent management over a two year period.

BP, as operator, strongly encourages alliances between international
organizations, national organisations and community based organizations
to deliver the projects.

Organisation eligible to submit a proposal are:
ž Not-for-profit, Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO’s), and
non-governmental organisations or associations officially registered
with a permit to operate in Georgia.
ž Private or commercial firms registered in Georgia who are willing to
operate on an ‘at cost’ basis (fee/profit must be waived).
ž An international organisation registered appropriately to operate in
ž An international organisation not registered to operate in Georgia but
in partnership / formal documented alliance with a national organisation
so registered.
ž Any combination of the above in partnership / formal documented

Lead organizations must be able to demonstrate all of the following
ž Proven experience in the management and/or implementation of
grant-type project or equivalent initiative with funds of at least USD
$50,000 over the course of the project.
ž Proven experience in the management and implementation of small
grant/capacity building projects.
ž Proven expertise in the theme under which the project proposal is
ž Ability to undertake all work in a manner that protects the health and
safety of all individuals who are involved in the activities.
ž Ability to produce auditable accounts.

Applicants are invited to collect Request for Proposal documents between
24 May and 5 June 2004 from:

BTC Pipeline Company/SCP Company Ltd.
C/O BP Georgia Project Office
38 Saburtalo Street 380094
Tbilisi, Georgia

Request for Proposal documentation is also available on the following
web sites at:


Date: May 28, 2004
Contract Identification No.:TS2-3 (Lot 1; Lot 2; Lot 3; Lot 4)
World Bank Credit No.: 3699-GE
World Bank Project Name: Forests Development Project

1. Georgia has received a credit from the International Development
Association towards the cost of Forests Development Project and intends
to apply part of the funds to cover eligible payments under the
Contract: Test Forest Inventory Based on Landscape-Ecological Principles
in Tsageri District (Tvishi I, Tvishi II, Kulbaki)(# TS2-3-Lot#1); Test
Forest Inventory Based on Landscape-Ecological Principles in Tsageri
District (Orbeli, Tsageri) (# TS2-3-Lot#2); Data Processing Based on
Landscape-Ecological Principles in Tsageri District (# TS2-3-Lot#3);
Test Forest Inventory and Data Processing Based on Landscape-Ecological
Principles in Letekhi District (# TS2-3-Lot#4)

2. The Forest Sector Development Center (FSDC) on behalf of the
Government of Georgia invites sealed bids for the following technical

1. Test Forest Inventory Based on Landscape-Ecological Principles in
Tsageri District (Tvishi I, Tvishi II, Kulbaki)(# TS2-3-Lot#1);
2. Test Forest Inventory Based on Landscape-Ecological Principles in
Tsageri District (Orbeli, Tsageri) (# TS2-3-Lot#2)
3. Data Processing Based on Landscape-Ecological Principles in Tsageri
District (# TS2-3-Lot#3)
4. Test Forest Inventory and Data Processing Based on
Landscape-Ecological Principles in Letekhi District (# TS2-3-Lot#4)

The technical Services include: testing of an improved methodology of
forest inventory based on landscape-ecological principles of
multiple-purpose use on a sample territory of 20772 hectares of the
State Forest Fund in Tsageri District (Tvishi I, Tvishi II, Kulbaki)
(Lot#1); 19228 hectares of the State Forest Fund in Tsageri District
(Orbeli, Tsageri) (Lot#2); data processing based on landscape-ecological
principles of multiple-purpose use on a sample territory of 40000
hectares of the State Forest Fund in Tsageri District(Lot#3); testing of
an improved methodology of forest inventory and data processing based on
landscape-ecological principles of multiple-purpose use on a sample
territory of 60000 hectares of the State Forest Fund in Lentekhi

You may bid for one, more or all Lots provided that each bid is
accompanied by a separate bid form and bid security. The evaluation will
be done on a Lot by Lot basis and contract will be awarded separately to
the firm(s) offering the lowest evaluated price for each Lot and passing
the post qualification criteria per Lot or total criteria for all Lots
for which they are bidding.

3. Bidding documents (and additional copies) may be purchased from the
Forest Sector Development Center at the following address: 5th floor, 9,
Mindeli St., Tbilisi, Georgia, tel./fax: (995-32) 53-72-36, 53-72-37,
53-72-38, attn. Mrs. Nino Ramishvili, Procurement Officer, for a
nonrefundable fee of Georgian Lari (GEL) 100.00 for each set. Payment of
the nonrefundable fee should be made to the following account:

Bank name: Bazis Bank, Tbilisi, Georgia
Bank Code: 220101956
Account # 134129 (for GEL)
Beneficiary: Forests Development Project Management Unit (Georgian
Development Center)

Interested bidders may obtain further information at the same address.

4. Bids shall be valid for a period of 90 days after Bid opening and
must be accompanied by security of not less than two percent (2%) of the
Bid Price, and shall be delivered to

Forest Sector Development Center (FSDC)
5th floor, 9, Mindeli St., Tbilisi, Georgia

On or before 13.00 hours local time on June 11, 2004 at which time they
will be opened in the presence of the bidders who wish to attend.


“Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 4, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, Entrepreneur Paata
Tandiashvili submitted EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of
Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the activity of second
category – Project on the Plant for Extraction the Sand-Gravel (along
the Tbilisi-Rustavi Highway, by the side of the Right Bank of the River
Mtkvari) and Producing form this material Construction materials

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until June 17, 2003.

Public hearing will be held on June 17, 2003 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 11, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Georgian Geological and
Mining National Company” Ltd. submitted EIA report to the Ministry of
Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the
activity of second category Project on Processing of the Samshvilde
Dacite, Tetritskaro Region.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until June 24, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on June 24, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 18, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Ako” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of the second category – Project
on the Cement Granulating Mini Enterprise in Kaspi Region.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava Str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until July 6, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on July 6, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 20, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Bemi” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of the second category – Project
on the Technological Plan of the Development of the Exhausted Granite in
Tetritskaro Region.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava Str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until July 6, 2004.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 20, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Bemi” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of the second category – Project
on Development of the Inert Materials Deposit in Tetritskaro.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava Str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until July 6, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on July 6, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), May 20, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Inmjmshen” Ltd. submitted
EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of the second category – Project
on Development of the Sand-Gravel Deposit in Tbilisi.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava Str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until June 29, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on June 29, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: The Messenger, May 5, 2004

The conflict between the central government an Adjaran authorities has
no “direct impact” on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline
construction and BP activities in Georgia, report senior company
officials. In their latest assessment of the project, the company
representatives also state they are satisfied with all aspects of the
BTC project, including human rights and labor practices.

In the wake of the destruction of bridges along the Adjaran border and
the halt of rail transportation, Director General of the BTC Co., Ed
Johnson, says that the company will continue to strictly follow all
security measures, but optimistically added “we are all set.”

“The government said it will try to find a peaceful resolution for the
Adjaran conflict and we support this:’ said Johnson, who is also the
General Manager of BP Georgia, during a roundtable meeting with
journalists on Tuesday. Johnson claims that the company has already
taken all pipes from the Batumi Port needed for the BTC project. “There
will be no disruption on the construction of the BTC pipeline due to the
latest events:’ he said. As for shipping oil through Batumi, the company
says only “a very small portion of BP oil is traded through Batumi

According to BP, the construction of the Baku- Tbilisi-Erzerum natural
gas pipeline would be their largest project that foresees using the
Batumi port. But Johnson says they already have contingency plans: if
they cannot ship pipes for gas pipeline through the Batumi Port, they
will utilize facilities in Poti instead. As for the USD 3 billion BTC
project, Johnson says that construction on the Georgian section of the
pipeline will speed up after weather improves and snow in the high
mountains starts melting. “You can see major progress in the
construction of pump stations in Tetritskharo and Gardabani – you can
see the actual buildings being constructed:’ says Johnson.

CEO of the BTC Co. Michael Townshend also notes good progress in the
construction of the Sanchagal Oil Terminal. “BTC construction works are
over 60 percent complete:’ said Townshend during the same roundtable on
Tuesday. Right now there are activities in over 17 construction sites
along the BTC route.

According to the BTC Co., over USD 4 million is spend towards the
project every day, “the same number as last year.” During the first
quarter of 2004, the BTC project spent USD 424 million of the USD 1.371
billion planned expenditures for 2004. Today the project employs over
14.000 people in three countries; including about 4.000 in Georgia the
majority of them are Georgian citizens.

The company reports that pipe laying and construction of pump stations
are progressing according to schedule in Georgia. Of the total 249 km of
the pipeline in Georgia, about 171 km of the route has been already

But, according to Johnson currently the company is not only working on
construction issues. “We have already began recruiting a staff that will
operate the pipeline when it is constructed,” he says. Mr. Johnson adds
that the company has already sent its “Oil Response Plan” to the
government that details its emergency procedures in the event of an oil

As he explains, the government itself must organize patrolling and
securing the pipeline, so that “there will be no influence of a third
party.” if an oil spill happens, which the company thinks is an unlikely
event the company must deal with the consequences as soon as possible.
“If it happens, we will first think about who is guilty,” says Mr.

But oil is not online item on the company ‘s agenda and Mr. Johnson says
the company plans to work on the construction of a waste management
plans and we have to create them ourselves,” he adds. According to Mr.
Johnson waste management is one of the top of the priorities for the

Asked about some villages who claim BP took their land without giving
compensation, the director general defended the land compensation
processes “very transparent,” even in the wake of the continuous
protests. According to BP, the population must be better informed about
BTC. As a result, the company is creating special information centers in
the regions. Mr. Johnson adds, “Our pipeline is the most sophisticated

Questioned about the recent appeal of Rustavi residents to the IFC, Mr.
Johnson attributed it to a misunderstanding. In March, Rustavi residents
sent a letter to the IFC saying that the pipeline comes too close to
their houses. As Mr. Johnson said, “This issue has been already
addressed. We explained the issue to Rustavi administration.”

Mr. Johnson says that residents followed the “Soviet security code”, in
saying the pipeline could not pass close to residential areas. According
to Mr. Johnson, with the existing technologies and small diameter pipes,
pipelines can be closer; the BTC pipe in Georgia is 46 inches in

One other hot topic in Georgia has been labor policy and Mr. Townshend
claims that the human rights of the workers along the BTC route are
fully protected. NGOs and even Georgian Union of Workers have repeatedly
claimed that Georgian workers of BTC get small salaries and are not
provided with elementary working conditions. Mr. Townshend says some
“minor” problems concerning salaries existed, but cites an international
study when saying, “all workers are treated with respect.”


Source: The Messenger, May 10, 2004

Georgian NGO once again reiterate their claim that the construction of
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipe continues to impose serious social
and environmental impacts on the local communities, this time citing
“violations made by the Bp-led BTC Company (BTC Co.) during the
project’s planning period.”

In its most recent report released May 5, 2004 the NGO Green Alternative
and co-authors at the Georgian Young Lawyers Association and the CEE
Bankwatch Network, an environmental watchdog with partners in 12
countries, reveals a series of problems the NGOs identified related to
everything from inadequate food from workers to faulty plastic coating
on the pipe itself.

The report reveals the problems with the project’s land compensation and
acquisition process and violations of the BTC information disclosure
policy. The authors also criticize the involvement of the BTC’s key
international lenders, the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in
the project.

“We presume that the majority of the problems are the outcome of the
violations made by the BTC Co. during the planning period and an
inefficient due diligence process implemented by IFC and EBRD,” the
report states.

Green Alternative member Keti Kvinikadze claims that the number of
people who protest over problems of land compensation increases every
day. The report also claim there is a major gap between “official
disregard fore the problems which ordinary people are experiencing.”

According to another member of Green Alternative Keti Gudjaraidze,
“These people are directly affected and they will have to live side by
side with the pipeline for years.” Ms. Gudjaraidze thinks that the local
population has heard a lot of promises about the benefit they will get
because if the pipeline, which in reality as Green Alternative claims
will stay as mere promises.

According to the watchdog organizations, in the village of Tetritskaro
heavy trucks and machinery have destroyed sewage and water piping
underneath the roads, ruining the supply of safe drinking water and
spreading “infectious diseases throughout the neighborhood.”

One specific area of concern is Kvemo Kartli where monitors cite the
current presidential representative to the region as saying the former
governor and current fugitive Levan Mamaladze corrupted the pipeline’s
land compensation process by granting lad titles along the route to
friends and relatives, something often called “mushroom parcels.”

Director General of the BTC Co., Ed Johnson stated that the land
compensation process is “very transparent,” even in the wake of the
continuous protests of some villages claiming BP took their land without
giving proper compensation.

NGOs and even the Georgian Union of Workers have repeatedly claimed that
Georgian workers on the BTC get smaller salaries and are not provided
with elementary working conditions. According to the report by Green
Alternative, local workers average no more than 225 lari a month a day,
including weekends and holidays in order to reach the “declared GEL
600-700” per month.

GEO of the BTC Co. Michael Townshend commented that the human rights of
the workers along the BTC route are fully protected. Mr. Townshend says
some “minor” problems concerning salaries existed, but cites an
international study when saying, “all workers are treated with respect.”

For the first time in over 50 years, in danger of poachers

Appeal to the International and Local Communities
May 14, 2004

At the end of April 2004, remote-sensing cameras placed in Vashlovani
State Reserve (arid lands extreme southeastern part of the country
bordering to Azerbaijan) shot pictures of a leopard.

In winter 2003 two zoologists (Bejan Lortkipanidze and George
Darchiashvili) from NACRES – Georgian Centre for the Recovery of
Endangered Species – came across to footprints of a large cat during one
of the routine fieldworks in the Vashlovani Reserve. These fieldworks
are being carried out within the World Bank/GEF funded project for the
Development of Protected Areas System in Georgia.

The footprints were much larger than those of the biggest known cat
species of Georgia, the lynx. Concerned with the finding, field officers
took plaster copies of the footprints and NACRES sent them to the Asian
Leopard expert Dr. Lukarevski for validation. The response was
thrilling: without any doubt, the prints were made by a leopard.

In April 2004 NACRES placed remote sensing cameras in the Vashlovani
Reserve and photos confirming this evidence were taken.

Founded in 1989 NACRES chose a leopard for its logo not only because the
animal remains a dynamic symbol of Georgian culture and literature, but
also because it remains the most endangered mammal species in the South
Caucasus, and has been considered extinct in Georgia for more than fifty

Naturalists and zoologists from the beginning of the last century were
describing extremely rare occasions of sighting of the leopard in high
mountains of great Caucasus Range. In 1952 one individual was killed in
the central-east of Georgia and it was considered the last animal for
the country. However, since the end of 90s some anecdotal and verbal
information from local populations from Khevsureti (high mountains of
the Great Caucasus Range) concerning sightings of a “huge, cat-like”
animal has been collected by the NACRES teams. In 2001, the WWF Caucasus
Office, supported by Dr. Lukarevski and NACRES carried out assessment
project in the Khevsureti region. No presence of animal was recorded.

Since the middle of the last decade, the arid and semi-arid ecosystems
of Georgia have been one of the priority research places for NACRES.
Nevertheless, no sign of leopard presence was recorded during these
years. Moreover, it was not even assumed that animal could be present in
the arid lands of the country, as nobody has ever observed it in the

There is great cause for alarm, however: remote cameras have also taken
pictures of wildlife poachers in exactly the same area!

Hereby, NACRES would like to draw the attention of international and
local communities to a most urgent problem – the extremely high level of
poaching taking place in the most important protected areas of Georgia.
Wild animal populations have dramatically declined during the last
decade mainly due to the former administration’s almost non-existent
policy on environmental protection.

The recently elected government has inherited a dramatically ruined
economy from the previous administration. Nevertheless, we consider
environmental issues no less important than the other socioeconomic
issues that our country faces. Urgent measures have to be taken for the
protection of Georgia’s unique biodiversity at this crucial moment in
time. NACRES appeals to the Government of Georgia to urgently implement
effective measures for the protection of wildlife in the country.

NACRES also requests that the President of Georgia, Mr. Mikael
Saakashvili, to toughen control on Georgia’s unique reserves.

As a first step towards the initiation of real protection for Georgia’s
unique endangered species, NACRES urges him to take the fate of the
leopard recently observed in Vashlovani under his personal patronage.

Finally, NACRES requests that the international community support us in
the protection of the leopard in Georgia.

For this, we would greatly appreciate if you could urgently fax the
Offices of the President of Georgia and that of the Prime Minister
requesting them to immediately undertake tough protection measures for
this national treasure that NACRES has found – the very animal that has
been a symbol of our country for centuries

We would also be most grateful if you could copy your fax to NACRES
office using the following number: (+995-32) 537124

Contact information of Georgia’s Government:

HE Mr. Mikael Saakashvili
President of Georgia
President’s Office
Fax: (+995-32) 93 64 00

HE Mr. Zurab Zhvania
Prime Minister of Georgia
Office of the Prime Minister
Fax: (+995-32) 92 10 69

Thank you very much for your support!

For additional Information please contact:
Levan Butkhuzi
Head, Governing Board
Regular Mail Address: PO Box 20; 0179
Tbilisi; Georgia (CIS)
Courier Address: 34, Gamrekeli str.; 0186
Tbilisi; Georgia (CIS
Fax: (+995-32) 537124
Tel: (+995-32) 537125
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: The Messenger, May 17, 2004

Responding to the increasing volume of logging in the country the
government introduced a temporary restriction on the usage of forest
resources on may 14, 2004. The restriction will enter into force at the
end of this week. The one-month moratorium prohibits the cutting of
trees throughout Georgia, except Samttskhe-Javakheti region, where a
three-month ban has been approved.

At a special press conference on Friday, Minister of Environment and
Natural Resources Tamar Lemanidze lamented over the critical situation
in the forest sector saying the Georgian forests are in a critical state
and that illegal logging had became a regular activity in the country.
She thinks that the moratorium can give the government a chance to
implement “decisive measures to prohibit vandalism in the Georgia

Lemanidze promised that during the moratorium all licensees on logging
in Georgia would be checked including those of entrepreneurs who handle
forest resources and use them in their businesses to cooperate with the
government saying: “Those who do not obey our decisions will answer to
law enforcement”.

According to the government because the region is popular for its
resorts such as Borjomi and Bakuriani, a longer moratorium was
introduced in Samtskhe-Javakheti. “It is also a border region and the
displacement of forests resources is very intensive there,” she adds.

This is not the first moratorium on forest resources imposed by the
Georgian government. In 1997 the Georgian Parliament passed a law
putting a moratorium on timber export for seven years, but former
president Eduard Shevardnadze vetoed the law. The next law did not
envisage either a moratorium on timber exports or any taxation for
exported forest products. In 2001 the Parliament introduced a one-year
ban on timber export, which it opted not to prolong a year later.

In an interview with earlier this month one of the leading Georgian
environmentalists and head of Green Alternative, Manana Kochladze, said
that the government should start to view the forest sector as a
priority. One of the solutions to the problem of the illegal logging she
thinks can be introduction of a tax on timber export.

“It should be up to the government to introduce the economic tools to
prevent the export of timber outside of the country,” said Kochladze.

So far the government has not talked about taxing timber exports, but by
introducing a moratorium it has demonstrated that the sector is getting
some attention.


Source: Interfax, May 17, 2004

Shareholders in BTC Co. – the operator for the construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline – are happy with work to speed up the
construction of the Turkish section of the pipeline, BP-Azerbaijan
President David Woodward told Journalists.

Woodward said that his company is happy with steps taken by BOTAS and
believes that these will be sufficient to achieve the necessary progress
in the construction of the Turkish section of the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan
pipeline this year.

He said that an additional construction site has been opened in Turkey,
near the border with Georgia, and that equipment and building materials
are currently being transported to this site.

Regarding the transportation of Kazakh oil from the Kashagan field
through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipe, Woodward said that no agreement
has been yet reached with shareholders in this project.

He said that there is an agreement to pump oil from the Azeri-
Chirag-Gunashli fields and condensate from Shah Deniz and that oil may
also possibly be transported from other SOCAR fields.

He said that for the pipeline to be economically profitable it is
sufficient to transport oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields along
and that the project does not depend on Kazakh oil.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project will cost $3.6 billion. The future
pipeline will stretch 1,767 kilometers (443 km through Azerbaijan, 248
km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey) and will have a capacity
of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum

Participants in the BTC project are: British Petroleum (30.1%), SOCAR
(25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), ENI (5%), Itochu
(3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), TotalFinaElf (5%), and
Amerada Hess (2.36%).


On May 18, 2004, the meeting was held in Bolnisi Public Environmental
Information Center (PEIC). The representatives of the different NGOs
from Kvemo Katrtli discussed agenda of creating the Ktsia River Basin
Council (RKBC). The Statement of the RKBC was approved and the board
(The governing body of the Council) was elected. Zurab Gotsadze –
representative of the NGO “Environmental protection is the protection of
the Native Land” was elected as the chairman of the RKB Board.

The meeting also discussed the issues of the new members of the KRD RKBC
that was registered in the Bolnisi Court.

The first case of creation NGO in Georgia that will manage the river
basin according to the western experience. That is the result of the
three years effort of the DAI (The development Alternatives
International) within the frames of the project “Water resources
management in the South Caucasus” in this region.

Prepared By CENN
Malkhaz Inadze

$8.5 Million in Grants and Six-Country Council to Benefit Region

Tbilisi, Georgia (25 May 2004, 0200 GMT) – WWF, the conservation
organization, and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) today
announced a CEPF investment strategy and a high-level advisory council
of governmental and nongovernmental representatives from Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey to help conserve the rich
natural resources of the region.

Support for the council is a strategic part of a new regional
coordination approach, led by the WWF Caucasus Programme, to ensure
success of CEPF’s $8.5 million investment strategy. CEPF will award
grants to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society
groups working to safeguard high-priority areas for conservation in the
region, which spans the area between the Black and Caspian seas.

“These new developments will pull together partners from across the
region, enabling an inclusive approach for planning and action across
political boundaries that can be obstacles to successful conservation,”
said Giorgi Sanadiradze, director of the WWF Caucasus Programme.

A regional approach involving multiple stakeholders is also vital to
effectively address the broader social, economic and policy factors
essential to results that benefit both nature and people.

The forests, high mountain ecosystems and arid landscapes of the
Caucasus contain more than twice the animal diversity found in adjacent
regions of Europe and Asia. However, biodiversity of the Caucasus is
being lost at an alarming rate. Human activities have transformed nearly
half of the lands. Fifty-one species are at risk, including the
Critically Endangered Saiga antelope, Siberian crane and Baltic
(Atlantic) sturgeon.

CEPF investments will focus on conserving these 51 globally threatened
species, the majority of which are found in specific sites in five
target areas: Greater Caucasus, Caspian, West Lesser Caucasus, East
Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan.

The announcement came as part of a series of events being held in
Tbilisi this week, including a workshop May 25-26 for NGOs, government
representatives and other stakeholders to learn more about the CEPF
investment strategy and to help develop an action plan for its
implementation. The first meeting of the Regional Council for
Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in the Caucasus Ecoregion
will be May 26. A May 27 event will draw together all participants for
an official launch.

The Caucasus “ecoregion” is globally outstanding for its biodiversity.
It is also one of the world’s 25 biologically richest yet most
threatened areas. These areas known as “biodiversity hotspots” are the
focus of CEPF, a joint initiative of Conservation International, the
Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank.

“Our investment program for the Caucasus is designed to meet the
challenges in a vast region of six unique countries,” said Dan Martin,
CEPF senior managing director. “By placing a regional conservation
leader such as WWF Caucasus at its heart, our support to local groups
will pioneer and equip new partnerships and approaches that are
necessary to make lasting conservation happen.”

The WWF Caucasus Programme coordinated an intensive process to develop
the CEPF strategy, known as an ecosystem profile, for the Caucasus. Its
approach ultimately drew participation from more than 130 experts
representing scientific, governmental and nongovernmental groups from
the six countries.

The Programme will act as the hub of CEPF strategy implementation in the
region, ensuring integration of the WWF and CEPF approach, helping local
groups develop grant proposals, disseminating information and assisting
in monitoring of the CEPF portfolio.

With headquarters in Tbilisi and country offices in Armenia and
Azerbaijan, WWF Caucasus will work together with WWF offices in Russia
and Turkey and the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment in
Iran to ensure effective coordination region-wide. The approach also
includes building a regional group of experts from the six countries to
assist in reviewing grant proposals as needed and act as a technical
advisory group, as well as assisting the new Regional Council in its
overarching role.

Kakha Tolordava, WWF Caucasus, tel. (995) 32 33 01 54,
[email protected]
Bobbie Jo Kelso, CEPF, cell phone (1) 202 369-2031,
[email protected]

The WWF Caucasus Programme works to stop the degradation of the natural
environment in the Caucasus and to build a future in which humans live
in harmony with nature.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund aims to dramatically advance
conservation of the Earth’s biologically richest and most threatened
areas in developing countries. A fundamental goal is to ensure that
civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. ().


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
May 11, 2004

The next round of negotiations between the working groups of Azerbaijan
and Kazakhstan on issues of participation of Kazakhstan in the BTC
(Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) oil pipeline construction project will take place
in the end of May. Natiq Aliyev, president of the SOCAR, has made this
statement in his conversation with journalists. The main target of the
negotiations is to prepare a draft intergovernmental agreement between
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on the transportation of Kazakhstani oil via
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

As soon as an agreement on this draft is reached on the level of working
groups headed by Kairgeldy Kabyldin, managing director of “KazMunaiGas”
NC” CJSC, (RK) and Natiq Aliyev, president of the SOCAR, the document
will be submitted to the governments of the two countries for
consideration. When this agreement is inked, transit agreements will be
signed between the investors of Aktau-Baku system and governments of
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well.

The head of the state oil company has observed that lawyers have already
completed their work on the draft intergovernmental agreement. He says
that in late May representatives of the two countries on the top level
will meet to take a final decision on the main issues, on which the
lawyers will have either agreed or disagreed so that the document would
then be presented for consideration to the governments of the two

“I do not know when the agreement is inked, our task is to fully prepare
the intergovernmental agreement and to present it to the government for
consideration,” – N. Aliyev has explained.

The head of the SOCAR has observed that the ratification of this
agreement in the Kazakhstani parliament still remains disputable. “We
have different legislations and procedures for passing such documents.
It is not practiced in Kazakhstan,” – N. Aliyev has said, noting that
the Kazakhstani party asserts that an agreement to ratify this document
in the parliament of RK would create an undesirable precedent because
other companies will also demand ratification in the parliament and it
will become a sort of a rule. “In Azerbaijan this procedure is smooth,
it gives confidence to investors, legislatively insuring all that is
stipulated by an agreement. We think that it is normal,” – N. Aliyev has
said. “Our lawyers will see to it that non-ratification of this
agreement in the parliament is not reflected on the rights of investors
and cargo shippers. It is still a very delicate issue. We have left it
for the end. When there is a meeting on the highest level, probably, the
presidents will discuss certain moments if they are not resolved from
our point of view,” – N. Aliyev has concluded.

To create the Aktau-Baku system the construction of new terminal for
storage and transfer of oil and of junction lines is suggested in Kuryk
(a port 76 km South East of Aktau). The capacity of the transferring
system will be 20 million tons of oil per annum; up to 7.5 million tons
will be transported during the first phase. The volume of investments
will be defined when the intergovernmental agreement is inked. The new
system will be built by the moment when the first oil from Kashagan
field comes.

A separate company will be created to manage Aktau-Baku system, whose
main investors will be four companies – ENI, TotalFinaElf, ConocoPhilips
and Inpex, participating in the development of Kazakhstani field
Kashagan and owning 15% share participation in the BTC Co (operator for
the pipeline construction and operations


Source: AzerNews, May 15, 204

This year, the government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank (WB) are
scheduled to sign an agreement to fund a project for rehabilitation of
areas polluted by oil on the Absheron Peninsula.

According to the information of the Ministry of Environment of
Azerbaijan the WB intends to allocate $14-15m to Azerbaijan for
implementation of the project. Half of the funding will be in the form
of grants, and the remainder in loans. The project will commence in


The 1st international conference, ‘Caspian Ecology 2003′, will be held
at the oilmen’s health center, Kendirli, in Mangistaus, Kazakhstan, on
September 11-12. Organized with sponsorship from the Kazakh oil company,
KazMunayGas, the forum will bring together executives of the state
bodies involved in oil and ecology of the five Caspian countries
(Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran) as well as

The project is implemented by the companies ITE PLc of the UK, Iteca
Caspian Ltd of Azerbaijan and Iteca of Kazakhstan. Farid Mammadov,
General Director of Iteca Caspian Ltd, told AssA-Irada the conference
will focus on the ecological status of the region, the preservation of
the bio-diversity of the Caspian basin, the application of up-to-date
technology in offshore oil production, urgent measures to prevent
oil-spills and cooperation in improving the ecological situation in the
Caspian coastal areas. Senior officials from the ministries of Fuel

Prepared By CENN


Press Release

BAKU, 18 May 2004 – An initiative focusing on the links between
environmental problems and security was launched this week with national
events in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Through the Environmental Security Initiative, the OSCE, the United
Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme
(UNDP) aim to identify cases in which environmental degradation may pose
threats to human security and contribute to instability, and suggest
action to deal with them.

The initiative began on May 10, 2004 in the Armenian capital, Yerevan,
with two days of consultations among government officials,
non-governmental organizations and local and international experts. They
discussed key environmental risk factors that have the potential to
hamper security in Armenia.

The workshops continued on 14 and 15 May in Tbilisi, Georgia. They
focused on the role of environmental security in economic growth and
poverty reduction in Georgia, both greatly dependent on the quality and
quantity of existing natural resources in the country.

Concluding the series, a workshop in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 17 and 18 May
focused on principal environmental concerns with security implications
in the country, including transboundary water pollution and freshwater
quality as well as contamination of the Caspian Sea and deforestation.

The main idea behind the Environment and Security Initiative, launched
in 2002, is that eliminating environmental problems helps to ease
political tensions. In order to achieve this, the Initiative seeks to:

§ Raise awareness of environmental risks and their impact on security;
§ Engage with government and non-government groups to identify both
risks posed by environmental change and opportunities for trans-boundary
co-operation to promote sustainable development, peace and stability;
§ Map risks, as well as needs and opportunities, for environmental
co-operation to improve sustainable resource management, crisis
prevention and peace promotion;
§ Develop and implement projects to reduce risks identified.

National consultations are considered to be a key element of the
Initiative as they generate information on specific problems that can
then be addressed through individual projects.

For further information, please contact:
Gohar Avagyan
Senior Press and Public Information
Office in Yerevan
60, Zarobyan (former Plekhanov) Str. 375009, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: +374 1 54 10 62, +374 1 54 58 45
Fax: +374 1 56 11 38
E-mail: [email protected]

Press and Public Information Office Mission to Georgia
Krtsanisi Governmental Residence No. 5 Tbilisi Georgia
Tel.: +995 32 24 42 01
Fax: +995 32 24 42 03
E-mail: [email protected]

Ulvi Akhundlu
Media and Political Assistant
Office in Baku
4, Magomayev Lane 2nd floor Icheri Sheher, 37004, Baku, Azerbaijan
Tel.: +994-12 97 23 73
Fax: +994-12 97 23 77
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: Interfax, May 19, 2004

The start of work on phase-2 of development at the Shah Deniz field is
linked with the signing of a long-term agreement to sell gas, State Oil
Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) President Natik Aliyev told

“Agreements have already been signed as part of the first stage of
development. Now we are interested in the second stage and supplies of
Azerbaijani gas to Europe,” he said.

He said that as part of Phase-2 the company plans to organize supplies
of gas to Greece, and later to the Balkans and Italy.

“If we have long-term agreement to sell gas a decision may be reached on
the second stage of development,” Aliyev said.

The contract for the Shah Deniz field was signed in June 1996.
Shareholders in the project include also SOCAR – 10%, British Petroleum
– 25.5%, Norway’s Statoil – 25.5%, NICO – 10%, Total -10% and TPAO – 9%.

Recoverable reserves at Shah Deniz amount to 625 billion cubic meters of
gas and 101 million tonnes of gas condensate.
Phase-1 of the development of the field involves production of 178 bcm
of gas and 34 million tonnes of condensate.


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
May 22, 2004

UNDP secretariat, OSCE Baku office and non-governmental organization
“Ecomed” have conducted a workshop at the Ministry of Ecology and
Natural Resources devoted to the 22nd of May – International
Biodiversity Day.

The workshop attended by the Milli Majlis deputies, Ministers of
Education, Culture, Agriculture, Ecology and Natural Resources, Youth,
Sports and Tourism, as well as representatives of UNDP, SOCAR, NGOs was
opened by head of the Biological sciences department of the National
Academy of Sciences, Director of the project “Strategy and Plan of
Actions for Biodiversity”, Academician Musa Musayev. He noted that
conservation and stable utilization of natural resources is one of the
important problems of the century. Biodiversity is a high, rich but
mostly not fully evaluated source of reserves. Combining all the forms,
beginning from microorganisms up to biggest animals and higher plants,
and ecosystems they belong is the basis of the life itself. Human
intervention subjected the ecosystems to degradation resulted in
extinction of lots of species. Today, 15 million species exist in the
world and some hundred of them die every day without any hope for
further revival. Biodiversity can be saved only through international
cooperation. Convention “On Biodiversity” was approved at the Nairobi
conference. By now, 180 countries and one regional organization for
economic integration joined this convention. Milli Majlis ratified this
convention in March 2000. 22 May is widely marked by the UN as the
International Biodiversity Day.

Biodiversity Convention coordinator, director of the ANAS Institute of
Genetic Resources Zeynal Akbarov told of the goals of the Convention and
work done in this respect. He noted that the main purpose of the
document is to protect biodiversity, its stable utilization and fair and
equal application of jointly gained profits. To fulfill obligations
undertaken by Azerbaijan the State Commission on Biodiversity was
founded by the Presidential Decree. To ensure the biodiversity
conservation and its stable utilization the commission formed a working
group to develop a 5-year project “National report, strategy and plan of
actions on biodiversity”

Head of the Center of Ecological Education of the Ministry of Education
Fuzuli Ahmadov, consultant of the department of biological resources and
specially protected territories of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural
Resources Faig Sadigov, director of BP on health, safety measures and
environment protection Faig Asgarov delivered reports at the workshop.


Source: RIA OREANDA, May 16, 2004

An agreement on construction of a gas pipeline Iran-Armenia was signed
on Thursday. The agreement was signed by Energy Minister of Armenia
Armen Movsesyan and Irani Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh.
According to the agreement, Iran is to supply 1.1bn cubic meters of
natural gas annually, and Armenia is to pay for it with electric energy.
Presumably, the supply volume will be further increased to 2bn cubic
meters per year. Companies to take part in the project’s execution are
to be singled out by means of a tender.

Earlier, the Armenian part had meant to participate in the project
designed by Gazprom and Ukrainian companies. Building of the gas
pipeline will cost the Armenian part about $90mln, and the Irani one-


Source: PanARMENIAN.Net, May 19, 2004

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will render
financial assistance to Armenia for providing the country with
alternative energy sources, EBRD President Jean Lemierre told
journalists in Yerevan today. In his words, the matter concerns the
construction of small water power plants as well as wind and solar power
systems. Mr. Lemierre reported that the EBRD together with the World
Bank and the US Agency for International Development will set up a joint
fund for the financing of these projects.


Source: A1 Plus, May 19, 2004

A real battle for land has broken out in Armenian capital’s Zeytun
district. The district residents are trying to prevent construction of
apartment blocks in the district’s green area.

Many trees have been recently cut here.

Coalition for Preservation of Green Plantations, Armenian environmental
union, intends to stage a protest action on coming Saturday.


Source: RIA Novosti, May 19, 2004

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is going to set up
a fund for financing the development of alternative sources of
electricity, EBRD president Jean Lemier has said on Wednesday.

He has discussed the idea with officials in Armenia and they liked it,
he said.

The fund will finance small programmes costing from 0.5 to 1.5 million
euros in regions of Armenia. They will be, for instance, wind-powered
and small hydraulic stations, Lemier said.

The European Union demands mothballing of the Armenian nuclear power
station and is ready to allocate 100 million euros towards this end, as
well as creation of alternative sources of electricity.

The leadership of Armenia believes that the Armenian nuclear facility
should operate until the republic has enough supply of energy.

According to Vardan Khachatrian, Armenian Finance and Economic Minister,
the republic is working to create alternative sources of energy for the
event of the closure of the nuclear facility but completion of such work
will require about a billion euros.

The Armenian nuclear power station was initially halted in March 1989,
less than a year after the devastating earthquake in Spitak, Leninakan
and other Armenian cities. The nuclear power facility’s second block,
having the Russian VVER-440 reactor of the first generation, produces on
an average from 30 to 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity. In the
estimate of experts, it can continue until 2016.

In September 2003 the government of Armenia passed the Armenian nuclear
power station in five-year trust management by Russia’s United Energy


Source: Caspian Business News, May 13, 2004

Turkey is working on plans to develop nuclear energy and intends to
discuss the proposal soon with companies from nuclear energy-producing
countries, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said on Friday. He told reporters
officials had reached the stage of preparing tender specifications and
were looking at possible locations for a nuclear power station,
including Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast.


Source: European ECO-Forum News, N 82, May 2004

The joint meeting of Environmental Information and Observation Network
(EIONET), International Working Group on Biodiversity Indicators and
Monitoring (IWG Bio-MIN) and Pan-European Biological and Landscape
Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) took place in Copenhagen, 21-23 April 2004
in order to consider how these initiatives could work together to
develop a plan and guidelines for indicators and monitoring to help
achieve the 2010 target for biodiversity in Europe linking together as
far as possible requirements at national, EU, pan-European and global

70 representatives from 30 countries (13 EU member states, 5 EU acceding
countries, 8 additional EEA member/participating countries and 4 EECCA
countries), European Environment Agency, European Commission, Council of
Europe, UNEP, UNECE/FAO, IUCN, European Centre for Nature Conservation,
several research programmes and non-governmental organizations
participated in the meeting. Piotr Gorbunenko, Coordinator of
Biodiversity Issue Group, represented European ECO-Forum. The meeting
agreed that:

1) It would be better to try to provide coordinated support for the
common aspects of national, EU, pan-European and global requirements
than to serve the various requirements individually;

2) The lists of indicators – recently adopted by the Convention on
Biological Diversity, and based on the CBD list proposed for adoption at
the pan-European level by the PEBLDS Council and as EU headline
indicators by the Malahide stakeholder conference – provide the focus
for work to be done;

3) Work should be carried forward by a coordination team supported by ad
hoc expert groups which would address each of the agreed indicators;

4) Work should start as soon as possible, and build on current
activities and good practice within both governmental and non-
governmental organisations, since the latter were recognised to be able
to contribute to biodiversity monitoring, data management, indicator
development and assessment (while the former remain responsible for
reporting under the various reporting obligations),

5) The objectives of the work to be done in support of countries and
other interested bodies should be:
– to improve coordination, exchange of information and collaboration on
biodiversity-related indicator and monitoring activities;
– to advise and collaborate in consolidating, testing, refining,
documenting and producing workable sets of policy-relevant biodiversity
indicators (considering also their wider use and applicability within
other relevant indicator frameworks);
– to help ensure adequate funding for monitoring, indicators and
assessments to support implementation and achievement of the policy
decisions and targets.

For more information contact:
Piotr Gorbunenko, BIOTICA
Coordinator of Biodiversity Issue Group at European ECO-Forum
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: European ECO-Forum News, N 82, May 2004

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and University of
Joensuu organise a Course on International Environmental Law- making and
Diplomacy on 22 August – 3 September 2004 at Joensuu, Finland. The
Course seeks to transfer past experiences in the field of environmental
law to the future negotiators of environmental agreements. The lecturers
are experienced hands-on diplomats, government officials and academics.

The programme will cover the following modules:
– Global and Regional Environmental Issues
– International Environmental Law and Policy
– International Environmental Law-making
– International Environmental Diplomacy
– Special Topic: Water

Under these modules, a broad range of subjects will be discussed,
including “The Mechanics of Negotiation”, “Legal Drafting” and
“Monitoring of Compliance of Multilateral Environmental Agreements”. The
course is based on interactive methods.

The Course is intended for experienced government officials engaged in
international environmental negotiations. In addition, other
stakeholders, such as representatives of non- governmental organizations
and the private sector, may submit an application for the course.
Researchers and academics in the field are also eligible. There will be
a maximum of 35 participants, with an equal distribution from the North
and South. As a matter of principle, the Course will try to maintain a
gender balance. Participants having successfully completed this course
will be awarded a Course Diploma.

The application deadline is extended to 15 June 2004.
Participants from developed countries are expected to pay their expenses
and a tuition fee of 600 euro. Candidates from developing countries and
from countries in transition can apply for a fellowship. An application
form and a draft programme are available at

Contact: Unepcourse or

Campaign to Eliminate 12 Hazardous Chemicals

STOCKHOLM/NAIROBI, 14 May 2004 – The 2001 Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) enters into force on Monday, 17
May, marking the start of an ambitious international effort to rid the
world of PCBs, dioxins and furans, and nine highly dangerous pesticides.

“The Stockholm Convention will save lives and protect the natural
environment — particularly in the poorest communities and countries –
by banning the production and use of some of the most toxic chemicals
known to humankind”, said Executive Klaus Toepfer of the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), under whose auspices the Convention was

“Over the next several years national investments plus donor pledges of
hundreds of millions will channel more than $500 million into an overdue
and urgently needed initiative to ensure that future generations do not
have to live as we do with measurable quantities of these toxic
chemicals stored in their bodies”, he said.

Much of this funding will be managed by the Global Environment Facility
(GEF), which serves as the financial mechanism for the Convention on an
interim basis.

Of all the pollutants released into the environment every year by human
activity, POPs are amongst the most dangerous. For decades these highly
toxic chemicals have killed and sickened people and animals by causing
cancer and damaging the nervous, reproductive and immune systems. They
have also caused uncounted birth defects.

Governments will seek a rapid start to action against POPs when they
meet for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention (COP 1) in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in the first week of May
2005. They will fast-track efforts to:

* Reduce or eliminate the carcinogenic chemicals known as dioxins and
furans, which are produced unintentionally as by-products of combustion.
Many of the required improvements in technologies and processes may
prove expensive and technically challenging, particularly for developing

* Assist countries in malarial regions to replace DDT with increasingly
safe and effective alternatives. Until such alternatives are in place,
the Convention allows Governments to continue using DDT to protect their
citizens from malaria – a major killer in many tropical regions;

* Support efforts by each national Government to develop an
implementation plan. Already, over 120 developing countries have started
to elaborate such plans with funds from the GEF. The COP will also focus
on channeling new funds into POPs projects;

* Measure and evaluate changes in the levels of POPs in the natural
environment and in humans and animals in order to confirm whether the
Convention is indeed reducing releases of POPs to the environment;

* Establish a POPs review committee for evaluating additional chemicals
and pesticides to be added to the initial list of 12 POPs;

* Finalize guidelines for promoting “best environmental practices” and
“best available techniques” that can reduce and eliminate releases of
dioxins and furans.

In addition to banning the use of POPs, the treaty focuses on cleaning
up the growing accumulation of unwanted and obsolete stockpiles of
pesticides and toxic chemicals that contain POPs. Dump sites and toxic
drums from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s are now decaying and leaching
chemicals into the soil and poisoning water resources, wildlife and
people. The Convention also requires the disposal of PCBs and
PCB-containing wastes.

Every human in the world carries traces of POPs in his or her body. POPs
are highly stable compounds that can last for years or decades before
breaking down. They circulate globally through a process known as the
“grasshopper effect”. POPs released in one part of the world can,
through a repeated process of evaporation and deposit, be transported
through the atmosphere to regions far away from the original source.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to most POPs. The problem has been
that high costs, a lack of public awareness, and the absence of
appropriate infrastructure and technology have often prevented their
adoption. Solutions must be tailored to the specific properties and uses
of each chemical, as well as to each country’s climatic and
socio-economic conditions.

For additional information, please contact:
Eric Falt, UNEP Spokesperson, in Nairobi
Tel: +254-20-62-3292, mobile: +254-733-682656
E-mail: [email protected];
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media
Tel: +254-20-623084, mobile: +254-733-632755
E-mail: [email protected];
Michael Williams, UNEP Information Officer, in Geneva
Tel: +41-22-917- 8242, mobile: +41-79-409-1528
E-mail: [email protected]

See also the Convention website at

For more information, contact:

Michael Williams
Information Officer
UNEP Geneva
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Press release

May 18, 2004

In 2004, the total of 1,151 works were submitted to the competition,
this being several hundred more than last year. Participants came from
all the counties of Estonia.

As usual, works of art were also most abundant this year – more than
1,009 creations in different techniques. In the youngest age group, the
number of presented works was 290 and in the older – 719.

The number of written works filed for this year’s competition was
remarkably more sizeable than during earlier years, altogether 116
items, 51 of them in the younger age group and 65 in the older one.

The total quantum of researches this year was 26, with 20 from the
younger and 6 submitted by the older group of children.

Congratulations to the winners and gratitude to all students and
teachers for their active participation!

The best of this year’s competition head on a prize trip to Pskov,
Russia, from June 25 to 28, which will also be the venue for awarding
the Estonian, Latvian and Russian winners of the international creative

The winners of the younger age group in artistic works will be rewarded
with gifts.

The international creative competition for children and young people,
“World of Water through the Eyes of Children”, is being collaboratively
organized by the countries of the Lake Peipsi basin: Estonia, Latvia and
the Pskov region in Russia. Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
has been the initiator of the international creative competition for
children and the Estonian-side organizer since the year 1996.

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
Project manager
Anna Gramberg
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +372 56914066


Source: European ECO-Forum News, N 82, May 2004

The preparatory process for the Conference of EECCA Environment
Ministers and Their Partners (Tbilisi, October 2004) is ongoing.

The major themes of the Conference are:
1. Determination of EECCA environmental priorities and further
consideration of priority actions aimed at implementation of seven
objectives of the Environmental Strategy.
2. Analysis of implementation of the partnerships on implementation of
EECCA Environmental Strategy and ways to raise their efficiency.
3. Baseline report (indicators of implementation of the Strategy).

In order to analyze the implementation of EECCA Environmental Strategy,
the information on programs and projects (so called “partnerships”) in
the region is requested. The EAP Task Force invites information on
partnerships that satisfy the following criteria:

§ Partnerships should be projects based on voluntary
initiative/cooperation, implemented by governments and stakeholders,
such as international organisations, non-governmental organisations,
private sector;
§ They should be focused on countries of EECCA region and implemented at
international (via bilateral or multilateral programs) or national
§ They should facilitate the implementation of the EECCA Environmental
Strategy and Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. They should not
substitute governmental commitments but complement them;
§ Partnerships should be completed, ongoing or planned
initiatives/projects with secured funding.

The Format for submission of partnerships is available at

Information on partnerships can be submitted before 28 May to:
[email protected]

The preparatory documentation for Tbilisi Conference in English
is available at

For more information contact:
Olga Ponizova, Eco-Accord Center
Coordinator of EAP Issue Group at European ECO-Forum
E-mail: [email protected]


15 – 20 August 2004, Glasgow UK

The Congress theme of “One Earth – Many Worlds” seeks to be
all-inclusive of physical, human and environmental concerns, and to
demonstrate the role of modern communications in geographical education.

Within the main theme there will be the following sub-themes:
§ Geography and Sustainability
§ Environmental Innovation
§ Global Trends – Local Challenges
§ Resource and Hazard Management
§ Environmental Sensitivity
§ Communication and Diversity
§ Implications of the Knowledge Economy

Abstracts of papers to be presented by delegates who have registered for
the Congress will be published. Special editions of leading UK
geographical journals will be published to accompany and celebrate the

Congress Secretariat
Meeting Makers
Jordanhill Campus
76 Southbrae Drive
Glasgow G13 1PP
Scotland, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 (0) 141 434 1500, Fax: +44 (0)141 434 1519
E-mail address: [email protected]
Website address:


16-17 September 2004, Chisinau, Moldova

“Eco-TIRAS” International Environmental Association of River Keepers,
which unites environmental NGOs of Dniester River Basin, in cooperation
with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Moldova, organizes
International Conference “Integrated Management of Natural Resources in
the Transboundary Dniester River Basin”.

The goals of the Conference are: evaluation and discussion of legal,
institutional and economic instruments to manage natural resources of
transboundary Dniester River, strengthening of transboundary cooperation
of state agencies and public, developing proposals for conservation and
sustainable use of water, biological and landscape resources of the
Dniester River Basin, preservation of wetlands and creation of protected
areas, developing complex ecological monitoring of current state of the
ecosystem, strengthening of the role of public in these activities and
in monitoring of implementation of previous decisions, strengthening
networking as well as attracting international organizations to the
problems of the river to fight poverty and prevent conflicts. Cultural
and historic role of the Dniester River in development of current
civilization are also subjects of the conference.

The invitation to participate is open for representatives of
parliaments, governments and its agencies, local authorities of Moldova
and Ukraine, scientists, experts, NGOs and mass-media, working in the
issues of Dniester and other transboundary watercources.

Deadline for registration – May 15, 2004. Conference proceedings will be
published in the original language. Deadline to submit papers – 15 June
2004. Conference proceedings will be distributed to participants during
the conference.

Address of “Eco-TIRAS”:
P.O.Box 1451, Chisinau-2043, Moldova
Tel./Fax: (+373 22) 550953, from June 1 – also (+373 22) 225615.
E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected]


27 – 29 September 2004, Budapest, Hungary

An All Encompassing 3-day Business Networking Forum includes:
1. UNEP Finance Initiative Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Finance
2. Green Power Central & Eastern Europe Conference
3. Private One 2 One Partnership Meetings in association with the
Innovation Relay Centre
4. Green Power Central & Eastern Europe Exhibition

The Conference Leading International Experts will Address Key Issues,
§ Regulatory challenges in the CEE renewable energy market
§ Ministerial Roundtable
§ Financing Renewable Energy Projects: What works in the CEE and why?
§ Understanding the Market Drivers for Renewable Energy Financing
§ Opportunities for International Co-operation & Joint Implementation
§ Learn from Successful RE & EE Utility, DH and IPP Case Studies from
around the Region
§ Biomass Wind Small Hydro Thermal Solar PV Geothermal DH & CHP Energy

For further details & speaking opportunities email
[email protected] or see further details on:

The UNEP FI Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Finance Forum Run with
the UNEP Finance Initiative, this one day event will bring together
representatives from international financial institutions, project
developers and regulators to discuss regulation, mechanisms and
initiatives to make finance more easily accessible to renewable energy
and energy efficiency investors in the Central & Eastern European

For further details contact [email protected]


Subscribing Information

This CENN lists are created to maintain e-mail discussions of Caucasus
Environmental NGO Network members. By sending the letter on address
[email protected], all subscribers will receive it.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from CENN mailing list service, please send
an email message to [email protected] and places the subscribe or
unsubscribe command as the first line of the message body. For example,
if a mailing list called CENN, one would subscribe or unsubscribe by
placing the value: SUBSCRIBE CENN or UNSUBSCRIBE CENN as the first line
of the message body. The message subject is irrelevant and can be left
blank. For more information, please visit CENN web page at:

CENN, on behalf of the Caucasus Environmental NGOs, would like to
express gratitude to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
(SDC) for provision of financial support for regional environmental
networking program.

For more information about the program, please visit CENN web-page:


Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

E-mail: [email protected]

************************************************** *************************

Editorial policy: CENN both solicits and accepts submissions for
environmental information to the Caucasus Environmental News Bulletin.
Although, CENN retains the right to edit all materials both for content
and length. The information provided for the Bulletin does not
necessarily represent the opinion of CENN and SDC.

Tehran: Armenian Orchestra Plays Iranian Pieces

Armenian Orchestra Plays Iranian Pieces

Mehr News Agency, Iran
May 28 2004

TEHRAN May 28 (MNA) — Several selected pieces by Iranian musician
Shahin Farhat were performed in Armenia last week by the Armenian
Youth Orchestra.

Farhat has written musical pieces for several Iranian classic poems
including Khayyam’s six quatrains dubbed “the Fortune’s Wheel”,
“Two Ghazal”, and Hafez’s “Last night, I dreamed that the angels”,
and “The infamous in the city”, and Sa’di’s “Let us Sit down and
try patience”.

According to Farhat, there is no good tenorist in Iran and the
soloist Chulachian, a great tenorist in the world, has so far sung
Iranian songs.

Farhat musical pieces including, “Iranian songs” are to be featured
from June 12-30 by the Tehran Rudaki Orchestra leaded by Loris
Tjeknavorian Iranian-Armenian conductor.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Istanbul 2nd Magistrates Court Rules in Favor of Armenian Patriarcha

LRAPER Church Bulletin
Armenian Patriarchate
TR-34130 Kumkapi, Istanbul
Contact: Deacon V. Seropyan
T: +90 (212) 517-0970
F: +90 (212) 516-4833
E-mail: [email protected]
or [email protected]

Istanbul 2nd Magistrates Court Rules in Favor of Armenian Patriarchate

In view of many accusatory, unfounded, reprehensible, discriminatory,
provocative and false assertions made regarding His Beatitude the Patriarch
and the Armenian community in an article by Soner Yigit entitled, “Former
Eminonu Mayor Lutfi Kibiroglu: They Want To Turn Kumkapi Into Balat” which
appeared in the 25 April 2004 issue of the daily Anadolu’da Vakit
newspaper, Armenian Patriarchate lawyer and Patriarchate Press Spokesperson
Luiz Bakar sent a notarized declaration of falsehood to the aforementioned
newspaper on the 30th of April.

In consequence of application made to the Istanbul 2nd Magistrates Criminal
Court when the newspaper did not print the declaration of falsehood, the
court found in favor of the request for a declaration of falsehood and
rendered the verdict that the declaration of falsehood be printed in the
next issue on the same page and in the same columns as the original article.
As is well known, both the former and present mayors of Eminönü also
declared the news item to be untrue.

The text of the declaration of falsehood is as follows:


The article, “They Want To Turn Kumkapý Into Balat,” written in an obviously
one-sided fashion, is a concrete example of an irresponsible editorial
philosophy that abuses persons’ freedom and right to be informed.

In the news article you published on page 10 with a large-point headline, to
have former mayor of Eminonu Kibiroglu state that there was a sneaky plot
behind the burning of historic buildings, that the buildings that burned
down in Eminonu had been purchased by Armenian citizens, that a church was
going to be built in place of the buildings that burned down and that the
Patriarchate, the official office my client, the Patriarch, intended to
establish an area that would be a center for ‘proselytism’ like the one in
Balat; and to have the Patriarch say ‘We want to get a place in Kumkapi,
repair it and set it up; we’re expanding,’ represents your own false,
unfounded, one-sided, non-factual, discriminatory, racist and fabricated
interpretations, which constitute a provocation meant to create enmity
between Muslim Turks and Armenian citizens of the Republic of Turkey.

First of all, just as the Armenian Patriarchate, over which my client the
Patriarch presides, has no intention of establishing a center for
proselytism in Kumkapi and has engaged in no such undertaking, so also my
client the Patriarch did not say “I want to establish a center for

Furthermore my client, the Patriarch and the Patriarchate which he
represents, did not make any devious plan nor did they, for the sake of this
plan, have buildings burned down or arson committed. The historic buildings
that burned down in Eminonu were not bought by Armenian citizens of the
Republic of Turkey. My client, the Patriarch, did not say, “We want to get a
place in Kumkapi, repair it and set it up; we’re expanding.” The
Patriarchate has no intention of having a church built on the site where the
buildings burned down and no such activity exists.

Your news article, which is reprehensible from start to finish, violates the
principles of professionalism in journalism by creating an atmosphere that
incites hatred and enmity, not just towards my client the Patriarch, but
toward citizens of Armenian descent living in Turkey and against their
institutions. Your news article, which is contrary to the truth, is clearly
written from a partisan perspective which targets Armenians and belittles
them and aims to stir up resentment and enmity. Your publication constitutes
a clear attack on human rights. It exceeds the acceptable bounds of
interpretation and criticism.

As your publication has damaged the honor, personal dignity and public
respect of my client, the Patriarch, to alleviate the moral damage done to
my client’s honor and respectability and person, you shall, by printing
unchanged the text of this reply and correction statement, make known to the
public that my client Does Not Want To Turn Kumkapi Into Balat, that he has
no intention of building a church on the site of any burned down buildings,
that he has not been involved in any devious plot, that he did not have old
buildings burned down or arson committed, and that he did not want to create
a center for proselytism in Kumkapi. I hope that you will not cast a shadow
upon the respectability of the press and that you will put an end to such
partisan publications.


Att. Luiz Bakar

In a time of war, celebrating Memorial Day becomes fraught withconfl

In a time of war, celebrating Memorial Day becomes fraught with conflict, challenge
By Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic

San Francisco Chronicle, CA
May 28 2004

Ninety-nine years ago, Ohio Sen. Joseph Benson Foraker opened a 1905
Memorial Day address to “fellow comrades, ladies and gentleman” at
Arlington National Cemetery: “This day belongs to our soldier dead;
not of one war, but of all our wars; and particularly here, in this
cemetery, where on these shafts and stones we read names that illumine
so many periods of our history.”

The sentiments of Foraker, a Civil War veteran, may sound like so much
standard-issue oratory to us now. At the time, they were anything
but. In a campaign that was doomed to failure in his lifetime, the
Ohio senator’s inclusive rhetoric was aimed in part at the neglect
of black soldiers who had fought in the Civil War and enjoyed none
of their white counterparts’ honors.

A century later, the American rite of remembering the war dead remains
as fractious as ever. Clouded by an increasingly troubled conflict
in Iraq, the looming threat of what’s to come in an amorphous war on
terror, and the current complex symbology of public monuments and
wartime imagery, Memorial Day arrives in 2004 in a highly ionized

Saturday’s dedication of the new World War II Memorial on the National
Mall in Washington, D.C., caps yet another such process — like that
of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Oklahoma City National Memorial
— steeped in controversy and strong feelings. The positioning,
sightlines, scale and design of the relatively old-fashioned
neoclassical World War II project underwent substantial revision
during the years it took to get it approved and built.

>>From the ongoing search for a fitting World Trade Center memorial to
a presidential campaign inflected by Sen. John Kerry’s meticulously
documented Vietnam record (and subsequent protest activities) and
the ellipses in George Bush’s National Guard years, the impact and
layered implications of a collective national memory continue to
grow. Nothing gets remembered simplistically anymore, whether in a
monument, ceremony, stump speech or campaign ad.

In many ways the trend is a healthy one. A culture that can openly air
and debate its history and the way it is celebrated seems intrinsically
better off for acknowledging its own grief, determination and dark
ambivalence. As George Santayana famously advised, around the time of
Sen. Foraker’s Arlington address, those who fail to remember the past
may be condemned to repeat it. Whether it follows that our means and
rituals of registering the past can help liberate us from its violent
cycles is another question.

It’s also true, and patently so, that any act of celebrating the war
dead is intrinsically political. No matter how neutral he might try
to sound in his Memorial Day remarks, or even if he never mentions
Iraq, Bush can’t help but speak to the present crisis and loss of
American life on the battlefield. Any wartime president faces the
same challenge — and opportunity (especially in an election year).

Memorial Day has never been a neutral event. Even its beginnings are
contentiously charged. Established as Decoration Day during the Civil
War, and fixed at May 30 on the calendar in 1868, it was initially
conceived as a tribute to those killed in the war between the North
and South. More than two dozen cities and towns claimed ownership of
the idea to decorate soldiers’ graves with flowers and wreaths.

Many Southern communities balked at the notion of a unifying
national ritual, insisting on ceremonies for the Confederate dead on
a different day. Lyndon Johnson resolved the matter, on paper, with
a 1966 declaration of Waterloo, N.Y., as the birthplace of Memorial
Day. Several Southern states still remember Confederate soldiers
on a separate date. No war, as Memorial Day faithfully reminds us,
is ever completely done and gone.

Moina Michael’s 1918 poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith,” crystallized
that feeling for a nation freshly traumatized by World War I. “The
Poppy red,” as she put it, “seems to signal to the skies/ That
blood of heroes never dies.” Poppies became the emblematic flower
of remembrance.

It was not until after World War I that Decoration Day’s name and
concept changed. Then, and thereafter, Memorial Day would honor those
who lost their lives not only in the Civil War, but in any U.S. war.
Foraker’s plea to remember soldiers “not of one war, but of all wars”
was ahead of its time.

With the National Holiday Act in 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day
to the last Monday in May. That creation of a three-day holiday, at
a time of growing resistance to the Vietnam War, helped demilitarize
and domesticate the holiday. Along with the picnics, potato salad and
swimming-pool-opening rites that came to mark the beginning of summer,
Americans have added their own meanings to Memorial Day.

More and more, as the clarity of a day devoted to honoring only the
war dead blurs, the holiday’s meaning has changed and evolved. Loss
itself, and the rites and consolations of memory, have become its
themes. Memorial Day flowers now decorate the graves of infants and
grandparents, spouses and lovers, celebrities and friends.

At the same time, the desire for collective grief and healing has
expanded. Over the past few decades, major public memorials have been
mounted for AIDS, for the Holocaust, for slavery and for genocide in
Armenia, Rwanda and elsewhere.

Almost as soon as some catastrophe happens now — in Oklahoma City,
Waco, the World Trade Center, Columbine — discussion of how to
memorialize it begins. Just as important as what gets built or said
or sung is the way it happens. How can the grief and sorrows and rage
of survivors be balanced with the summons of history, the call to
speak truthfully to future generations of what happened here and now?

Any memorial records two different and by no means concordant things —
the event that is its ostensible subject and the temper of the present
era. One of the marvels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt was its homespun
spontaneity, its use of an American heartland commonplace to stitch
the lives of gay people into the broader fabric of American life. That
was a radical and radically inclusive message 20 years ago. The quilt’s
mobility, fragility and even its cumbersomeness became integral to its
meaning. Unlike a piece of carved granite sitting in a field somewhere,
this was something fundamentally organic. It was a memorial for both
life and death ongoing.

And so, in a sense, is whatever happens on any given Memorial Day.
The day, the weekend, will pass in more than 290 million ways this
year. Many people will visit gravesites, both military and civilian.
Many won’t think of death or war at all. A few may pass the time by
reading “Memorial Day,” a cheery new novel by Vince Flynn about an al
Qaeda nuclear attack on Washington, D.C., during the dedication of
a World War II memorial. Somehow, together, we’ll be adding another
page to our national book of memory.

Along the chillier things President Bush has said of late is his
response to Bob Woodward’s question about how history might assess
the war in Iraq. “We won’t know,” the president said. “We’ll all
be dead.” Maybe so, but many millions will be here to remember, to
grieve and pay tribute and try to make it part of how to move forward.

E-mail Steven Winn at [email protected]

A Plot Against Russia?

May 28 2004

A Plot Against Russia?

by Yevgeny Kiselyov,
Moskovskie Novosti weekly

This week’s notorious and sometimes tragic events include the
President’s address, Russian citizens dying in Iraq, cases against
new “werewolves in uniform” – this time with traffic police batons
as well, new battles around Yukos, Stepashin once again shaking his
fist at Abramovich, Abramovich doing some more fancy shopping –
a new Boeing-767 and Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos, and
another piece of news that most media cautiously ignored.

Russia is gradually ceasing to be a democratic state. This painful
conclusion was reached by Freedom House, a major international human
rights organization, founded by Eleanor Roosevelt. The conclusion is
contained in Nations in Transit – their report on democratic progress
in former Soviet bloc countries, including independent states formed
after the disbandment of the USSR. The report’s authors believe
that the current Russian policies “have sought to centralize power,
leaving little room for a vibrant civil society, independent media,
or political opposition.” The document says that, “while Russia has
emphasized the importance it places on maintaining strong ties to
the West, it is headed in an increasingly authoritarian direction.”

The study of democracy in post-Soviet states was based on six key

Number one – elections. Experts had to answer the following questions:
How free and honest are the elections in each country? Is there a
multi-party system? What is the measure of participation available
to common citizens?

Are minority rights protected in the course of the elections?

Are there obstacles to freely replacing authority figures according
to election results? How independent are citizens’ votes from the
influence of various groups – the military, big business, etc.?

Key area two – civil society.

Are there many non-government organizations in the country, what
is their organizational potential and financial state? Is the legal
framework underlying their activity sufficient? What is the political
atmosphere around them?

What’s going on with education? How independent is it from
political fluctuations and propaganda? Is the influence of extremist
organizations felt in the society? How tolerant is the society to
difference of opinion?

Next stop – independent media.

Is the freedom of the press secure? What are the legal guarantees?
Are journalists involved in independent investigations protected? Are
there cases when libel laws and laws on providing false information
are used to punish criticizing journalists? Do people have unrestricted
Internet access?

The fourth criteria Freedom House experts used to rule on the state
of democracy in the post-Soviet space concerned the constitutional,
legislative, and judicial framework.

Are all citizens equal before law? Is criminal law being reformed?
How are convicts and suspects treated? How are judges appointed? Are
they independent?

The fifth category of questions concerned governance. Is it transparent
to society? Is there an institute for parliamentary studies? How
decentralized is the government? Are federal employees free from
excessive political influence?

The results of the study turned out to be very, very unpleasant for
our country. The experts came to the conclusion that the situation
in each of these five areas in Russia has deteriorated over the past
year. Only one area was not found to have taken a turn for worse,
you’re going to laugh but that area is corruption. It’s been as bad
as it gets for a while now.

Poland and Slovenia are doing best at enhancing democracy – these two
countries are tied for first place in a list of 29 countries of the
former Soviet bloc. Russia is 21st, classified among countries with a
half-formed authoritarian regime. Even Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine
have outpaced Russia. Only Kosovo and other CIS allies are lower.
Things are worst in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

That hurts.

Forget about it, some will say. Sure, Russophobes are to blame for
all our problems. We’ve known that for a while.

Putin explained it all in his address as well – turns out, all
the talk of authoritarianism is the result of a global competitive
struggle. See, not everyone in the world wants Russia to be strong,
so they’re using political and media pressure against us. What we’re
really doing is strengthening the state.

Now it’s all clear. And yet before agreeing with the President in
the most loyal of all fashions, I advise that everyone carefully read
the questions above and try to answer them. Just be honest.

On this day – May 28

News24, South Africa
May 28 2004

On this day

Today is Friday, May 28, the 148th day of 2004. There are 217 days
left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1919 – Armenia declares its independence, breaking up the short-lived
Transcaucasian Federal Republic. Armenia joins the Soviet Union
in 1922.

1568 – Duke of Alva confiscates properties of William of Orange and
other nobles opposing Spanish rule in the Netherlands.

1674 – Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I declares war on France.

1812 – Russia, by Treaty of Bucharest with Turkey, obtains Bessarabia
and withdraws demand for Moldavia and Wallachia. The peace frees the
czar to act against Napoleon.

1828 – St Andrew’s Church, Cape Town, is founded.

1863 – The first black regiment from the North leaves Boston to fight
in the American Civil War.

1864 – Austria-Hungary’s Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian lands in
Veracruz, Mexico, to become Emperor.

1919 – Armenia declares its independence, breaking up the short-lived
Transcaucasian Federal Republic. Armenia joins the Soviet Union in

1923- The US Attorney General determines it is legal for women to
wear trousers and when they please.

1934 – The Dionne quintuplets, world’s first known surviving
quintuplets, are born near Callander, Ontario.

1937 – US President Franklin Roosevelt pushes a button in Washington
signalling that vehicular traffic could cross the just-opened Golden
Gate Bridge in California.

1940 – Two weeks after being invaded, Belgium capitulates to Germany
while British and French troops begin evacuation from Dunkerque,

1948 – Reacting to the defeat of General Jan Smuts in the general
election two days previously, British leader Sir Winston Churchill
says: “A great world statesman has fallen and with him his country
will undergo a period of anxiety and perhaps temporary eclipse.”

1961 – Paris-Bucharest Orient Express train makes final trip after 78
years; human rights organisation Amnesty International is founded.

1971 – Soviet Union launches spacecraft toward planet Mars,
containing the first capsules to land on the planet.

1976 – United States and Soviet Union sign treaty limiting size of
underground nuclear explosions set off for peaceful purposes.

1977 – Fire races through the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate,
Kentucky, killing 165 people.

1979 – Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat announces opening of air
corridors between Egypt and Israel.

1984 – US President Ronald Reagan leads a state funeral at Arlington
National Cemetery for an unidentified American soldier killed in the
Vietnam War.

1985 – David Jacobsen, director of the American University Hospital
in Beirut, Lebanon, is abducted by pro-Iranian kidnappers. He is
freed 17 months later.

1987 – Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old West German pilot, lands a private
plane in Moscow’s Red Square after evading Soviet air defences.

1987 – The ANC takes responsibility for car bombs that exploded the
previous week at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. The explosions
claimed the lives of four policemen. Four policemen and nine
civilians were injured.

1988 – Yugoslav government introduces new austerity program that
includes devaluation of dinar and massive price increases.

1989 – Muslim rebels renew offensive against Afghan city of

1990 – Lech Walesa persuades rail workers to suspend a strike that
had crippled train service in northern Poland.

1990 – About 5 000 teachers march on Parliament to demand that their
grievances be addressed and call for a single education system for

1991 – Oil tanker explodes, killing one crewman and spilling
undetermined amount of oil into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of

1992 – To raise pressure on Haiti, the US announces it will close the
refugee camp at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and bar ships
that trade with Haiti from US ports.

1993 – Bosnian Serbs subject Sarajevo to heavy shelling and sniper
fire despite a new accord on demilitarising the city.

1994 – UN troops step up evacuations of trapped civilians in Kigali,
capital of Rwanda, and appeal for protection for convoys moving
people across battle lines.

1995 – At least 1 500 people die in an earthquake that destroys a
coastal village on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East.

1996 – Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s two-week-old Hindu
nationalist government collapses in India. HD Deve Gowda, leader of
the United Front, is chosen prime minister.

1997 – Ethnic Uzbek troops turn on their Taliban allies and take the
city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan after fierce fighting,
marking a major setback for the Islamist Taliban movement.

1998 – Pakistan says it matched India’s recent nuclear test with
detonation of five devices, then declares a state of emergency citing
unspecified threats of “external aggression.”

1999 – An Indian helicopter gunship is blasted from the skies by
Islamic militants in Kashmir when Indian forces try to dislodge them
with airstrikes.

2000 – Sierra Leonean rebels free what appear to be the last of some
500 UN hostages held for nearly a month.

2001 – The first-ever Childrens’ Conference of African nations is
held in Cairo.

2002 – The Libyan government offers to pay $2.7 billion to the
families of 270 victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over
Lockerbie, Scotland, in exchange for an end to US and United Nations
sanctions against Libya.

2003 – New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing
Editor Gerald Boyd resign five weeks after a junior reporter, Jayson
Blair, quits amid allegations of plagiarism and fabricated reporting.

Today’s Birthdays:

William Pitt, English statesman (1759-1806); Edouard Benes,
Czechoslovak statesman (1884-1948); Ian Fleming, British writer
(1908-1964); Patrick White, Australian author (1912-1990); Carroll
Baker, US actress (1931–); Gladys Knight, US singer (1944–); Jeff
Fenech, Australian boxer (1964–); Kylie Minogue, Australian singer

Thought For Today:

All the troubles of man come from his not knowing how to sit still
-Blaise Pascal, French philosopher (1623-1662).- Sapa-AP

Heirs kept in dark, lawyer says

Heirs kept in dark, lawyer says
Notice of genocide settlement at issue
By Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Daily News, CA
May 28 2004

An attorney in New York Life’s $20 million settlement with descendants
of Armenian Genocide victims says the company is failing to notify
possible heirs.

Ben Nutley, a Beverly Hills attorney representing three claimants in
the class-action case, has asked the judge to order the company to
include the word Armenian Genocide in public notices of the settlement
and to broaden its advertising of the deal.

“We’re saying the notice wasn’t disseminated widely, correctly or
accurately,” Nutley said. “You are obligated to make your best effort
to have a notice that will attract the attention of potential claimants
of the settlement.”

Any unclaimed money goes into a fund to be distributed to Armenian
charitable organizations identified in the agreement, he said.

Nutley said legal notices published in newspapers leave out the term
“Armenian Genocide.”

“It’s denialist language,” he said. “For these claimants who have
objected to the notice so far, it’s about justice for all Armenians
and this is something they’re committed to.”

But New York Life officials maintain they have carefully followed
the court’s instructions.

“The terms of the settlement, including the notice provisions, were
negotiated by attorneys on both sides and subject to court approval,”
said William Werfelman, a spokesman for New York Life. “We’re confident
they provide the best possible notice to those who may be entitled
to benefits under the settlement.”

The insurance company reached a $20 million settlement in January with
descendants of Armenian policyholders who perished in the genocide
of 1915. After attorney fees, administrative costs and donations to
charitable organizations, the settlement leaves $11 million to pay
the holders of more than 2,000 policies.

Notices were placed in newspapers for about six weeks in an effort
to find descendants of policy holders.

Claimants must object to the terms of the settlement by June 15 and
a final approval hearing is scheduled for July 30.

Naush Boghossian, (818) 546-3306 [email protected]

Strike at Melkonian over accusations of poor standards

Strike at Melkonian over accusations of poor standards
By Jean Christou

Cyprus Mail, Cyprus
May 28 2004

Teachers say they’re being used as scapegoats

STAFF AND students at the Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI) in
Nicosia staged a six-hour strike yesterday to protest against the
planned closure of the school in June next year.

Teachers said they would also refuse to give year-end grades after
the school’s governing body insinuated that education standards were
not up to scratch at the 78-year old Armenian school.

The loss-making MEI, which is sitting on an estimated £40 million
worth of real estate in the capital’s commercial district has been
slated to close next year by the New York-based Armenian General
Benevolent Union (AGBU).

Carrying banners that read: ‘Save Our School’, ‘AGBU American Gangsters
and Bandits Unlimited’ and ‘Watergate, Irangate, Melkoniangate’, both
teachers and pupils demonstrated all morning outside the entrance to
the school.

When the strike ended the teachers held a news conference to explain
their position with regard to the claims by the AGBU that standards
were not up to scratch. “This is one of the key issues in the dispute
that we have,” said geography teacher Keith Lawson. “What they said
is unfair and we dispute that.”

Lawson said that despite teachers’ efforts to engage in a dialogue
with the AGBU on the future of the school, they had received no
response. Neither had any inspectors been to evaluate standards at
the school, he said questioning how the AGBU had managed to come up
with its conclusions.

“This is deeply offensive to us as professionals,” said Lawson.
“Results bear testimony to rising rather than falling standards. We
are just the scapegoats for an ulterior motive – which is financial –
and we want a retraction. We are not prepared to be maligned any more
in public over standards.”

Physics teacher Demetris Aristides, who has been at MEI for 29 years,
making him the longest serving teacher at the school, said the people
of Cyprus have to know that the “murder of an educational institute”
is taking place on the island.

Aristides said the school’s closure is not only devastating for
Armenian and other pupils from Cyprus but a catastrophe for Armenian
children from the Diaspora, and especially from countries like Bulgaria
and Albania. “It’s a crime against education and against the Armenian
language,” he said adding that the support the MEI has received in
Cyprus has been “fantastic”.

Lawson said parents have now been left in a quandary over what to do
about the school year 2004/2005. Teachers said that during the last
few days members of the administration staff, entrusted by the AGBU,
have been quietly ringing students’ parents to discourage them from
sending their children to the MEI next year. “There is chaos over
what is going to happen in the coming school year and we are not
being told anything,” said Lawson.

He said all the teachers have been told by the AGBU is that the school
would close and a letter of platitudes praising them for working hard
but that the school would still be shut.

The AGBU, which oversees 22 Armenian schools worldwide, said last
November that the school was not for sale but then changed tack and
announced the closure.

The teachers said last year the school’s population was reduced from
260 to 210 after the AGBU unilaterally decided to reduce scholarships
to underprivileged children from the Armenian Diaspora.

Staff say there is no doubt that the AGBU is trying to use the teaching
staff as a scapegoat for their decision to close the school to sell
the land on which it stands and that they are using devious methods
to reduce the student population of the school in order to turn it
into a non-viable school and ultimately to close it. The AGBU is
working on a preconceived plan, they said.