1.2 million Armenians apply for social security card

1.2 MILLION ARMENIANS APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD

ArmenPress
May 11 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS: Armenian employment and social affairs
minister Aghvan Vardanian told a news conference today that some 1.2
million Armenians have already applied for social security cards and
added that the government is not going to extend the deadline for
application beyond July 1.

The government first suggested to introduce the system of social
security cards last year and the first bill appeared as “identity
cards”. According to the reform, each Armenian citizen must have the
lifetime card with a 10-digit number of a citizen’s personal data,
which will be used for opening a bank account, paying taxes, applying
for state benefits and identification at healthcare facilities.

The government said the cards would increase the efficiency of
state-run agencies and help it reduce the volume of corruption,
however, the idea was opposed strongly by the Armenian Church,
whose main counter-argument was that the name “identity card’ must
be replaced by another one, as the word “identity card” contradicts
Biblical precepts, found in the New Testament Book of Revelation. The
government met halfway this demand and changed the name of the
“identity cards” into “social security cards.”

According to the law, the use of the cards is mandatory for all
financial transactions including receiving pensions and family
benefits, paying taxes and social insurance. The minister said
today those citizens who will refuse cards will be subjected to
administrative fines.

Shifting to politics, the minister ruled out “a revolutionary
situation” in Armenia, incited by heavy social conditions, admitting,
however, that a great majority of people are in still desperate
conditions, but went on to argue that Armenians are not apt to revolt
because of poor living standards.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Romania & Armenia foster coop in education & science

ROMANIA AND ARMENIA FOSTER COOPERATION IN EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

ArmenPress
May 11 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS: An Armenian delegation headed by
minister of education and science was in Romania recently. Education
and science ministry press services reported that the visit aimed to
discuss cooperation projects with Romanian education and scientific
research ministry to ensure implementation of a 1999 agreement between
Armenian and Romanian governments.

During the working meetings the sides discussed ways of fostering
cooperation. Particularly it was proposed to open a department of
Armenian Studies at Bucharest State University and a department of
Rumanian studies at the Yerevan Linguistic University.

Further it was arranged to foster student and research exchange
program. Romanian government took the responsibility to support the
Armenian school in Bucharest. The sides signed a memorandum which
they will later develop into an agreement.

Armenian PM to hold talks in Kiev on trade, economic cooperation

Armenian PM to hold talks in Kiev on trade, economic cooperation
By Vitaly Matarykin

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 10, 2004 Monday

KIEV, May 10 — Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan arrived
in Ukraine on a three-day official visit on Monday for talks with
Ukrainian leaders on trade and economic cooperation.

During the visit, the Armenian prime minister will be received by
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Margaryan will meet Ukrainian parliament chairman Vladimir Litvin, his
Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, president of the National
Academy of Sciences Boris Paton and Foreign Minister Konstantin
Grishchenko.

The prime ministers of the two countries will take part in a session
of the inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation that will
focus on prospects for interaction in the energy sector, transport,
aircraft building, as well as military relations and contacts in
international organisations. After the session representatives of the
inter-governmental commission are expected to sign a protocol and an
agreement on authors’ rights.

Karabakh Had To Be Transferred Under Armenian Sovereignty In Key Wes

KARABAKH HAD TO BE TRANSFERRED UNDER ARMENIAN SOVEREIGNTY IN KEY WEST,
BRITISH RESEARCHER WRITES

11.05.2004 16:41

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The international mediators for settlement of
the Nagorno Karabakh conflict from the US, France and Russia have
proposed several modes for solution of the problem. However, the most
courageous was the Key West one. As reported by Liberty radio station,
Wall Street Journal reports it referring to Thomas de Waal, the author
of a book on the Karabakh conflict. For the fist time lifting the
veil of mystery of the settlement project, presented in the course
of the talks in Key West US city, de Waal notes that in compliance
with that version, “Armenia had to provide an opportunity to 95%
of Azeri refugees to return to their homes.” Besides, “a way to the
Azeri enclave of Nakhichevan had to be opened through the territory of
Armenia.” In exchange, in de Waal’s words, “Azerbaijan had to refuse
from Karabakh, except for Shushi town.” Citing the second item of the
Key West document on “conveying Karabakh under the sovereignty of
Armenia,” the author notes that if it is the case, “from the human
point of view the benefit would be the biggest, however so would be
the political risk for Azerbaijan.” Member of the British Institute for
War and Peace Reporting Thomas de Waal also considers the opportunity
of resumption of hostilities. “The human price of a new war will be
horrible even if the conflict is local. Azerbaijan will lose thousands
of young people only on minefield, which lie along the whole of the
front line. And the small beautiful province in the middle – Nagorno
Karabakh – may disappear at all,” he forecasts. At that Thomas de Waal
considers the Karabakh conflict solvable, noting if it is the case
“both nations will be saved from isolation.” “Armenians and Azeris
have much more in common, than, e.g., Israelis and Palestinians,” he
writes. The percentage of mixed nationality family couples was rather
high. “The problem is that for already more than ten years the two
nations rarely enter into a dialogue,” the author considers. “The most
surprising for a person from the outside is that Azerbaijan does not
sit at a bargaining table with Karabakh Armenians, whom it considers
its citizens,” the Wall Street Journal article sums up.

Armenian president starts official visit to Beirut

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
May 10, 2004, Monday

Armenian president starts official visit to Beirut

Beirut

Armenian president Robert Kocharian arrived in Beirut Monday on a
three-day visit during which he is to meet Lebanese officials and
leaders of the Armenian community. Kocharian, who is accompanied by
his wife and daughter, will meet President Emile Lahoud for talks on
bilateral relations and the situation in the Middle East, including
in Iraq, officials said. Lebanon hosts the Arab world’s largest
Armenian community, with about 200,000 members. The community has
government ministers and parliament members, and is very active in
the business sector. dpa wh sc

First Suspect Of Attack On Journalists During Opposition Rally In Ye

FIRST SUSPECT OF ATTACK ON JOURNALISTS DURING OPPOSITION RALLY IN YEREVAN
APRIL 5 REVEALED

11.05.2004 19:07

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Yerevan Prosecutor’s Office continues the
investigation of the case of attacks on journalists during a rally of
National Unification opposition party April 5. As reported by the Press
Service of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Armenia, by now
it has come out that among those, who attacked media representatives
and broke cameras and video facilities, was resident of Yerevan Ashot
Avetisian with nickname “Bangladeshci Hro” (born in 1969).

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

EU to boost links with neighbouring countries

EU to boost links with neighbouring countries
By George Parker in Brussels and Jan Cienski in Warsaw

Published: May 11 2004 21:49 | Last Updated: May 11 2004 21:49
Financial Times

The European Union will on Wednesday map out a new strategy for dealing
with its “neighbours” from Morocco to Georgia, heralding further
levels of co-operation but stopping short of an offer of membership.

The new policy offers the prospect of money, trade and security
co-operation in exchange for progress in democratic and economic
reforms.

For the first time the EU’s horizons will extend to the southern
Caucasus, with the prospect of enhanced co-operation with Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Georgia.

But the former Soviet republic of Belarus will remain frozen out
because of the repressive regime in Minsk, to the dismay of Poland,
which wants to build cross-border relations.

The strategy, accompanied by a new €800m-a-year ($950m, £535m)
co-operation fund, will be announced on Wednesday by Günter Verheugen,
the EU enlargement commissioner.

It marks a step change to the relationship currently offered by
Europe to its neighbours, and Mr Verheugen believes it will help to
stabilise Europe’s environs and contain the clamour from neighbours
such as Ukraine for EU membership.

The plan addresses how the EU deals with its new neighbours following
the May 1 expansion from 15 to 25 countries.

Romano Prodi, European Commission president, said this “ring of
friends” would enjoy support in a number of fields but added: “But
they would not be part of the same parliament and not be members of
the same European Commission.”

Mr Verheugen will announce a framework under which initially seven
countries would sign up to action plans for democratic and economic
reform, which would be monitored by the Commission.

If successful, the countries could then enjoy access to the EU’s
market of 450m people, help in building transport and energy networks
with the EU and assistance in securing external frontiers against
terrorists and traffickers.

The first wave in the programme are Moldova, Ukraine, Israel, the
Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco, with Egypt and
Lebanon expected to be included in the autumn.

Russia has decided to pursue its own strategic relationship with
Europe, but the prospect of closer relations could also be extended
to the Caucasus and Belarus if the political situation improves,
and to other Mediterranean countries.

Of Europe’s other neighbours, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey
hope to join the EU, while the countries of the western Balkans have
the long-term prospect of membership.

Meanwhile, Poland is lobbying the European Commission over the EU’s
relations with Belarus due to be presented on Wednesday trying to
persuade the Commission not to continue a freeze on contacts with
Minsk.

The ban on ministerial contacts with officials from Belarus has been
in place since 1997, but Poland was not a member of the EU at the
time and continued to deal with the Belarusan government.

Now that Poland is in the EU it wants to be able to continue those
contacts.

“We want to tell the EU to look at the question of countries bordering
the EU a little differently than relations with countries that do not
have a common boundary,” said Boguslaw Majewski, the Polish foreign
ministry spokesman.

ANC NY: New York City Commemorates Armenian Genocide

Armenian National Committee of New York
PO Box 693
Woodside, NY 11377
[email protected]

PRESS RELEASE
May 11, 2004
For Immediate Release

Contact: Tony Vartanian
[email protected]

NEW YORK CITY COMMEMORATES ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

— Remembrance Program Organized by the Armenian National Committee
(ANC) of New York and the Friends of the ANC of New York

NEW YORK, NY–Elected officials from the U.S. Congress, the New York
City Council, Armenia’s ambassador to the United Nations, along with
two eminent historians of genocide, offered enlightening remarks at the
City Hall of New York City on the 89th commemoration of the Armenian
Genocide, which was organized by the Armenian National Committee
(ANC) of New York and the Friends of the ANC of New York. Addressing
an audience of over four hundred at the April 23 event, the invited
speakers took to the podium and applauded recent victories achieved
in global and domestic recognition of the Genocide while speaking
earnestly of the urgent need for further progress.

Following an eloquent invocation by His Eminence Archbishop
Oshagan Choloyan and an introduction by New York ANC chairperson
Tony Vartanian, two City Council members who sponsored the
event spoke of New York City’s support of and dedication to the
Armenian cause. Speaker of the Council A. Gifford Miller and
Councilwoman Melinda Katz affirmed their commitment to serving
their Armenian-American constituency, and praised the hard work and
dedication of Armenians working on their support staffs.

Following the council members, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),
Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Congressman Anthony Weiner
(D-NY) offered their remarks. Ms. Maloney spoke first, describing the
recent breakthroughs in Genocide recognition in Canada, Switzerland
and The New York Times. Congressman Crowley reflected on his recent
opportunity as the first member of Congress to visit Armenia, while
describing for the audience how his experience as an Irish-American
informed his support of the Armenian cause. Congressman Weiner
cogently described how the Ottoman Government conducted the Genocide
and stressed the importance of Jewish support for Armenian genocide
recognition. There followed a short musical interlude, in which the
Armenian a cappella trio Zulal sang two hauntingly beautiful Armenian
folk songs.

After their performance, Professor Peter Balakian of Colgate University
drew upon his best-selling book The Burning Tigris, discussing the
American humanitarian response to the Armenian massacres of the 1890’s
and the Armenian Genocide a quarter century later. “In Faneuil Hall,
social reformers like Julia Ward Howe spoke passionately for the
plight of the Armenians. Organizations like Near East Relief and the
Committee on Armenian Atrocities made up the first American response to
an international human rights crisis. The first full fledged mission
of the American Red Cross outside the United States was in Armenia,”
said Balakian.

Professor. Robert Melson of Purdue University followed Balakian by
making a comparative analysis of the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish
Holocaust. In a unique and effective approach, Dr. Melson explained how
social revolutionary governments, which developed programs for creating
racially pure states, had preceded both. The link between the two
genocides reaffirmed the actuality that the systematic extermination
of the Armenian Genocide was the basis of the model implemented by
the Nazi regime of World War II upon the European Jewish population.

Consistent with the vision of the Armenian National Committee, the
New York chapter encouraged the participation of the young leaders
of the New York American-Armenian community in this years Genocide
Commemoration. Arousiag Markarian spoke on behalf of the community’s
young activists. As the chairperson of the Armenian Youth Federation
of New York and a leader in many other collegiate and community
organizations, Ms. Markarian expressed the vigor and enthusiasm of the
Armenian youth concerning American-Armenian issues. She stressed the
importance of organizations, like the Armenian National Committee,
that provide a channel for the Diaspora to play an active role in
issues that directly affect our communities locally and globally.

Armenia’s ambassador to the United Nations Armen Martirossian concluded
the evening with remarks on Armenia past, present and future. After
speaking about the need for Genocide recognition, Mr. Martirossian
went on tell the audience about the challenges facing the building
of civil society in independent Armenia. His words came as a reminder
that the Armenian-American community still has a large part to play in
both areas. Speaking with conviction, he reminded those present that
“We are the guarantee for the tragedy not to repeat itself.”

The Armenian National Committee (ANC) is the largest Armenian American
grassroots political organization in New York and nationwide. The ANC
actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian
American community.

####

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

www.anca.org

Armenian Opposition To Hold Rally In Region Tomorrow – Spokesman

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION TO HOLD RALLY IN REGION TOMORROW – SPOKESMAN

A1+ web site
11 May 04

11 May: Today’s regular sitting of the Justice political bloc solved
the organizational issues of a rally scheduled for tomorrow in
Vanadzor. The coalition will submit the agenda of the talks to the
opposition tomorrow: “They will submit the agenda in a written form,
we shall discuss everything at our sitting and then reply to them,”
the secretary of the Justice faction, Viktor Dallakyan, said.

We should recall that the only issue on the agenda put forward by the
opposition in the talks is finding ways out of the political crisis
that has existed since the presidential elections.

Two issues are pre-conditions for the start of the negotiations: the
immediate release of the arrested people; an immediate investigation
into the 12-13 April events and all the other acts of violence,
and bringing all perpetrators to account.

(Passage omitted: No problem with a venue for rallies)

Israeli Expert in Remote Village of Aygut

Armenia Tree Project
Yerevan 375025, Aygestan 9th Str., #6
Tel./Fax (374 1) 569910
Internet:
E-mail: [email protected]

Press Release
11.05.2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

An Israeli Expert in the Remote Village of Aygut

Sunday, May 09 – Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and Satsil NGO organized
a seminar on potato growing in Aygut Village, Gegharkounik Marz. The
seminar was conducted by Mr. Gadi Moses, an Israeli expert in potato
growing technologies representing ECOTEX Ltd. Mr. Moses visited Armenia
as a guest of Satsil NGO in framework of an agricultural consulting
assistance project in the South Caucasus conducted by the Israeli
Ministry of Agriculture.

Since 2002 ATP has been implementing a Village Economic Development
program in the Getik River valley where Aygut is situated. In this
program of sustainable mountainous development, ATP partners with
the villagers and with other international and local organizations to
combat the linked problems of poverty and natural resource degradation.
Among the contributors to date are USDA/MAP, World Food Program,
Heifer International, Project Harmony, ORRAN, Boghosian Education
Center, and Satsil.

The seminar started with an overview of potato growing techniques
employed by Aygut farmers, most of whom fled from Azerbaijan as
refugees fifteen years ago. After learning about the problems villagers
are currently facing in potato growing, Mr. Moses presented practical
solutions to them and shared the Israeli farmers’ experience. The
presentation lasted for over three hours. “You have the best soil in
the world: with a bit of learning you could multiply your yield”,
Mr. Moses encouraged the listeners. With consulting experience in
almost 40 countries around the world, Mr. Moses managed to enter into
a dialogue with the villagers and assess their problems in a very
practical way. The topics covered at the seminar included fertilizers
used in potato growing, planting techniques (optimal distance between
seed nests, planting depth, density, etc.). The community members
were active in asking questions, particularly addressing maximizing
yield and problems connected with different species of potatos.

For further information, please contact Karen Sarkavagyan at the
Armenia Tree Project, phone numbers 569910 and 553069, E-mail
[email protected]

The Armenia Tree Project was founded in 1994 during Armenia’s darkest
and coldest years with the vision of securing Armenia’s future
by protecting Armenia’s environment. Funded by contributions from
Diasporan Armenians, ATP has planted and rejuvenated over 500,000
trees at more than 450 sites ranging from Gumri to Goris.

www.armeniatree.org