CENN: Cross-Border Media Project Evaluation Announcement

CENN INFO
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)
Tel: ++995 32 92 39 46
Fax: ++995 32 92 39 47
E-mail: [email protected]
URL:

Cross-Border Media Project Evaluation Announcement

The Eurasia Foundation, a privately managed grant-making organization
funded primarily by the United States Agency for International
Development, seeks an evaluation consultant to conduct a cluster
evaluation of 7 cross-border independent media projects awarded by its
South Caucasus Cooperation Program (SCCP) from 1999-2003. The evaluation
study is scheduled to be conducted by May 14, 2004 with the final report
submitted no later than May 31, 2004.

SCCP seeks to identify and analyze results and impact of the 7
cross-border media projects (19 individual grants) and to explore the
results of these projects. The goals of the study are to identify
additional program areas to improve or expand SCCP’s cross-border
independent media work and identify the niche or role that SCCP is most
suited to fill in the context of other cross-border media initiatives in
the South Caucasus region.

Qualifications
The ideal evaluator will have experience in the field of cross-border
mass media, preferably in similar transition and conflicted societies.
The ideal evaluator will also have experience in evaluating media
projects using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Russian
language skills would be very helpful.

Request for Bids
The Eurasia Foundation seeks bids from individuals or organizations to
conduct this evaluation. After receiving the detailed Scope of Work from
the Foundation, applicants will submit a brief proposal that includes a
detailed description of the evaluator’s qualifications and proposed
evaluation methodology. In addition, the applicant will submit a budget
that should include the following:
1. Fixed compensation rate for the project;
2. Travel costs between the evaluator’s home city and Tbilisi; and
3. All local travel costs, including transport, lodging and meal
allowance.

All expenses must comply with the Eurasia Foundation’s cost and travel
procedures.

The deadline for applications is March 22, 2004. Primary criteria for
selection will be professional qualifications, quality of the proposed
evaluation methodology and cost-effectiveness. The Eurasia Foundation
expects to notify the successful applicant of its decision by March 29,
2004.

Applicants should contact the Eurasia Foundation to receive a copy of
the detailed Scope of Work for the evaluation. Applicants may request an
electronic copy of the Scope of Work by contacting Ms. Lisa Butenhoff
([email protected]) or visiting the Foundation’s offices in Baku,
Tbilisi or Yerevan. The office addresses are listed below. Applications
should be sent by 6:00 pm on March 22, 2004 to Ms. Lisa Butenhoff at the
email address above.
Eurasia Foundation Office Addresses in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

The Eurasia Foundation
4 Demirchyan Street
Yerevan 375019, Armenia

The Eurasia Foundation
67 Fizuli Street, 5th Floor
Baku 370014, Azerbaijan

The Eurasia Foundation
3 Kavsadze Street
Tbilisi 0179, Georgia

www.cenn.org

Primate meets with Ecumenical Patriarch

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

March 15, 2004
___________________

ARCHBISHOP BARSAMIAN REPRESENTS ARMENIANS AT ORTHODOX GATHERING

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church
of America (Eastern), attended a special breakfast meeting on Monday, March
15, 2004, in honor of His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of
Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church.
The meeting, at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan headquarters in New York
City, brought together about 50 Oriental and Eastern Orthodox church
leaders.

The Patriarch, in New York for a week of meetings and visits, spoke to the
group about the importance of the ecumenical movement. “The goal is to
reestablish the unity of the Christian church,” he said.

The Patriarch praised the work of the Standing Conference of Oriental
Orthodox Churches, chaired by Archbishop Barsamian, and the Standing
Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, chaired by Bishop
Dimitrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In the past few
years, the two groups have been building stronger relations between the two
branches of orthodoxy. Recently, the group’s work has brought about a
yearly prayer service for orthodox members of the United Nations community.

“People see us working between Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox on a higher
level, nationally or internationally,” said the Primate. “And locally, this
work shows people that they can communicate with others as Christians who
are very close in faith. The things that unite us are tremendous. The
things that separate us are very minor. We’re working to resolve many of
those things so we can establish communion.”

During the breakfast reception, the Primate relayed to Patriarch Bartholomew
the warm wishes of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
The Patriarch, who is based in Istanbul, conveyed greetings from His
Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan, the Armenian Patriarchate of
Constantinople.

The Primate will meet with the Patriarch again on Wednesday, during an event
hosted by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition of
business and religious leaders working around the globe to promote peace,
tolerance, and resolution of ethnic conflicts. The Primate serves as a vice
president on the board of that foundation.

— 3/15/04

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

PHOTO CAPTION (1): His All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of
the Orthodox cCurch, speaks about ecumenism to a group of about 50 Oriental
Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox church leaders, including Archbishop Khajag
Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, during a breakfast meeting at the
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York City on Monday, March 15, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Archbishop Barsamian listens as Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew praises the joint efforts of the Standing Conference of
Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas and the Standing Conference of
Oriental Orthodox Churches.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of
the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), and His All Holiness Bartholomew,
at the Greek Archdiocese in New York City on Monday, March 15, 2004.

# # #

www.armenianchurch.org
www.armenianchurch.org.

CENN Daily Digest – 03/15/2004

CENN – MARCH 15, 2004 DAILY DIGEST
Table of Contents:
1. `Georgian Bank’ and BTC Reach Coop Agreement
2. Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan Talks on Oil for Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline
in ‘Final Stage’
3. Armenian Government Steps in to Eliminate Disaster Aftermath
4. Armenian Minister, Iranian Governor Discuss Agricultural Development
5. Misery is Environment’s Bitter Enemy
6. Workshop Announcement – International Water Demand Management

1. `GEORGIAN BANK’ AND BTC REACH COOP AGREEMENT

The Georgian Bank and Company BTC signed an agreement on financial
servicing of the funds assigned by the International Monetary Fund,
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Tbilisi on March 12.

Under the conditions, the Georgian Bank will provide banking services of
all expenditures for the construction of Georgian section of the
pipeline. Therefore, the Bank has become a member of the financial
association, which affiliates 78 companies.
AzerTag, March 13, 2004

2. AZERBAIJAN-KAZAKHSTAN TALKS ON OIL FOR BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN PIPELINE
IN ‘FINAL STAGE’

Negotiations on an agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on
Kazakhstan oil moving through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline are
in the final stage, according to Natik Aliyev, president of the State
Oil Company of Azerbaijan, a Rosbalt correspondent reported. Aliyev said
the agreement would be signed sometime this year but would not be more
specific. He said the date would depend on the intensity of the talks.

Aliyev said the agreement would constitute the legal basis needed by
investors. It will set out the details of tax, customs and trade
arrangements connected to the movement of oil as well as specify the
manner of resolving ecological problems. He said the agreement would be
in line with existing treaties between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
Rosbalt, March 13, 2004

3. ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT STEPS IN TO ELIMINATE DISASTER AFTERMATH

The Armenian government adopted The public awareness campaign for the
nomadic population relied purely on rural radio stations and the role of
local authorities, notables and elected officials. decision to allocate
510m drams [950,000 dollars] from its reserve fund to eliminate the
consequences of spring floods and strong winds.

Armenian Minister for Coordinating Territorial Administration and
Production Infrastructures Ovik Abramyan told journalists that the funds
would be allocated for the reconstruction of roads, bridges, schools and
hospitals and for accommodating people left homeless as a result of the
disaster. He noted that the final damage will be calculated in 10 days
and that aid is being allocated to carry out urgent reconstruction work.

A major part of the funds – 71m drams [116,000 dollars] – will be
allocated to Tavush and 58m drams [106,000 dollars] to Aragatsotn
regions, which have been badly damaged. Additional 200m drams [355,000
dollars] will be allocated to the Armenian Agriculture Ministry for
purchasing seeds and fertilizers for the ravaged regions.
Arminfo, March 11, 2004

4. ARMENIAN MINISTER, IRANIAN GOVERNOR DISCUSS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

The deputy governor of Iran’s Ardabil Province, Hajaf-Azari, and
Armenian Minister for Coordinating Territorial Administration and
Production Infrastructures Ovik Abramyan, discussed prospects for
agricultural cooperation between Iran and Armenia.

The government’s press service told Arminfo news agency that the sides
debated the possibility of supplying Armenia with fertilizers,
seedlings, seeds, including the future of cooperation in stockbreeding
and exchanging scientific achievements.
Arminfo, March 11, 2004

5. MISERY IS ENVIRONMENT’S BITTER ENEMY

Vardan Aivazyan, The Minister of Environment of Armenian is convinced
that the main cause of many environmental problems is poverty in which
that the population of the republic lives in.

The other day, walking along the park he found almost all trees cut
there. As it became clear later, the trees were cut by nearby houses
tenants for heating their homes, the minister said.
, March 13, 2004

6. WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT – INTERNATIONAL WATER DEMAND MANAGEMENT
May 30-June 3, 2004

On behalf of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Jordan, we would
like to announce the Professional Development Workshops delivered during
the International Water Demand Management Conference May 30th-June 3rd,
2004. The workshops will provide participants with an in-depth training
in selected water demand management topics. In addition, the workshops
provide a short, practical hands-on skills training related to water
demand management. Participants can use the information, techniques
and/or software in their day-to-day operations. Each workshop is
conducted by industry leaders in the field. To learn more about the
workshops please visit the conference website at


*******************************************
CENN INFO
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

Tel: ++995 32 92 39 46
Fax: ++995 32 92 39 47
E-mail: [email protected]
URL:

http://www.a1plus.am
http://www.wdm2004.org.
www.cenn.org

Int’l Festival of Armenian Films to Be Held in Armenia in June 2004

PRESS RELEASE
March 15, 2004
Embassy of the Republic of Armenia
2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20008
Tel: 202-319-1976, x. 348; Fax: 202-319-2982
Email: [email protected]; Web:

International Festival of Armenian Films to Be Held in Armenia in June/July

The first international festival of Armenian films, Golden Apricot, will be
held in Yerevan, Armenia on June 30 – July 4, 2004. The festival is
organized by the Benevolent Fund for Culture Development, the Armenian
Association of Cinematography, and the Armenian Ministry of Culture and
Youth.

The objectives of the festival are to present new works by the film
directors and producers in Armenia and foreign cinematographers of Armenian
descent and to promote creativity and originality in the area of cinema and
video art. Any feature films, documentaries, and animation created between
2002 and 2004 is eligible to be presented at the festival.

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2004. For detailed inquiries and
application forms, please contact the Embassy of Armenia, or the organizers
of the festival (The Benevolent Fund for Culture Development, Byron Street,
#5, Yerevan, 375009, Armenia, Tel. (+374-1) 564484, email:
[email protected]).

www.armeniaemb.org

Sydney: The lottery that defies logic and confuses experts

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
March 16 2004

The lottery that defies logic and confuses experts
By Kelly Burke, Education Reporter

Geelong Grammar can count Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Alexander
Downer and Prince Charles among its famous old boys. By comparison,
its Sydney cousin, Trinity Grammar, has just a smattering of
corporate chief executives and barristers wearing the old school tie.

Yet these schools steeped in the Anglican tradition share many other
common factors, including a high level of boarders, day fees of about
$16,000 a year, and a similar ranking under the system that
determines the level of Commonwealth funding each school gets.

In contrast, the non-government Hamazkaine, Arshak & Sophie Galstaun
school, in the northern Sydney suburb of Ingleside, has been the
beneficiary of little largesse during its 18-year history. The
school’s 322 students all come from non-English speaking backgrounds,
and their parents, primarily Armenian immigrants, pay between $2000
and $3500 in school fees each year.

Yet according to the Federal Government system which measures
parents’ capacity to pay, this school is as affluent as Trinity, with
both schools sharing the same socio-economic status (SES) ranking of
112. Geelong Grammar comes in a point lower, at 111, on a scale which
in NSW ranges from 87 for the poorest schools and 133 for the
wealthiest.

Kaylar Michaelian, the principal of Hamazkaine, Arshak & Sophie
Galstaun School, has appealed against the Federal Government’s ruling
that the parents of his pupils are on a par financially par with
those at Trinity – and marginally better off than those who send
their offspring to Geelong Grammar. The case has yet to be resolved.

“We are a community school – we don’t even see ourselves as a private
school,” Mr Michaelian said. “We’ve asked the department to review
[our SES] because it in no way reflects the make up of our parents
and their capacity to pay any more than what we’re already asking.
It’s unfair.”

The NSW Government sees things differently from the Commonwealth.
Factoring in the school’s assets and income, the state’s education
resource index (ERI) model has deemed it a relatively needy school.
Out of a possible score of 12, it gets a nine, while Trinity is
ranked as one of the wealthiest, as a category 1 school.

The Commonwealth’s SES model is based on measuring the education,
income and employment status of about 250 households in the
census-determined area where each parent of a private school student
lives.

Mark Drummond, a PhD candidate in public sector management at the
University of Canberra and a former teacher of mathematics at the
Australian Defence Force Academy, said this system has turned the
school funding system into little more than a lottery.

“The scores are a basket case,” he said, after having spent nearly 12
months analysing national non-government school funding data.

“In effect, there are many private schools where the rich kids are
getting the benefit from the poorer kids who happen to live in the
same area, and go to the local public school. There is no coherence
to the system. You only have to look at Geelong Grammar’s SES to know
it even fails the commonsense test.”

But Terry Chapman, executive director of the NSW Association of
Independent Schools, says the Commonwealth’s SES model is the best of
an admittedly imperfect lot.

“The SES is better because judgements are made using data gathered
from the census,” he says. “It’s absolutely transparent, does not
require massive details from each school, and it does not create any
serious disincentive to private effort.”

But under the NSW Government’s ERI system, Mr Chapman says, a private
school theoretically loses government money with every private
donation it receives.

A spokesman for the federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, said
the figures merely proved what every parent of every student in a
Catholic or independent school had known for a long time.

“That is that there are parents in this country who make enormous
sacrifices with four jobs between two parents, who live in modest
accommodation, never have a holiday and choose to make great
sacrifices to send their children to non-government schools”.

Project Manager- Armenia

Foreign Policy Association
March 16 2004

Project Manager- Armenia
World Vision

Job Categories: Environment | Full-Time/Contract | Central Asia
| Global Health | Environment

Description:
World Vision International is the largest privately funded Christian
Relief and Development Organization working against hunger, poverty
and injustice in over 98 countries around the world, helping over 85
million people.
World Vision Deutschland – in close co-operation with World Vision
Armenia – has successfully applied for funding under “Co-financing
with European development NGOs’ Operations in developing countries”.
The project entitled “Building Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in
Tavush region – Armenia” seeks to reduce poverty among the vulnerable
population in the remote regions of Armenia through increased rural
communities capacity to manage their assets and agricultural
resources and secure an increased income. The target population
encompasses disfranchised population, especially refugees and
internally displaced persons, living in border communities,
mountainous communities, and small remote villages not covered by
other programs. The project activities are geared towards achieving
the following results:
1. Farmer associations are enabled to promote diversified and
market-oriented agriculture

2. Off-farm income-generating activities are initiated

3. Community initiatives in infrastructure improvement are supported

In order to guarantee the effective implementation of the project,
the position of a qualified expatriate Project Manager needs to be
filled during the 2nd quarter of 2004. The duration of the project is
36 months.
To lead and facilitate the efficient and effective implementation of
the project “Building Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in Tavush region
– Armenia” building on, integrated in, and expanding WV Armenia’s
long-term development activities in Armenia. The Project Manager
reports to WV Armenia Operations Director and works in coordination
with the Area Development (ADP) Manager in Tavush Region towards
achieving the following objectives:

Supervise a structured project start-up including office
establishment, notification to all stakeholders concerned in
collaboration with the WV Armenia Operations Director and ADP
Manager, and recruitment and orientation of local staff in compliance
with WV Armenian procedures
Develop operation plans and establish a monitoring system that allows
for the measurement and documentation of project progress toward
objectives and results, which maximizes cross- cutting themes and
programs within the Tavush ADP
Provide guidance and leadership to the project based on the best
practices in multi-sectoral development projects that include
agriculture, income generation and community development
With the support of WV Armenia?s Finance team ensure that project
finance management meets the standards of the WV Armenia Finance
Manual and the specific EU requirements
In Coordination with the WV Armenia Operations Director engage in
networking with the donor and develop relationship of mutual
confidence and respect
Maintain good working relationship with local government bodies
without compromising the independence of World Vision and its
non-governmental role
Support the ADP Manager in her role of overall WV representation in
Tavush Region
Coordinate visibility actions with donors and WV Armenia Marketing
team
Work with WV Armenia Program Officers to prepare narrative and
financial reports for the donor as stipulated in the contract and
ensure any difficulties or changes that might arise during the
implementation of the project are agreed with the Operations Director
and communicated to the donor in due time
Prepare monthly narrative reports to be distributed to WV Armenia
national office, WV Deutschland, and other stakeholders as deemed
appropriate
Provide all necessary information/documentation needed for the
regular monitoring and evaluation missions in collaboration with WV
Armenia?s M&E Officer
Network with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local
government officials, and community leaders in the project area to
ensure continued project co-ordination, quality and innovation
Undertake continuous capacity building of national staff engaged in
the project in the areas of agriculture, income generation,
sustainable livelihoods, rural development, and project management,
so as to create and strengthen relevant indigenous skills &
understanding
Assist the WV Armenia Operations Director and the ADP Manager in the
development of strategies for long-term or additional interventions,
including the preparation of further plans and proposals, and
handling the marketing of these
Perform other duties as assigned by the Operations Director
Qualification:

3-5 years of similar management experience in cross-cultural
environment
A degree in Agriculture or similar with experience in working with
farmer associations and an understanding of marketing
Understanding of environmental issues and micro-catchments’
management
Prior work experience in project implementation, monitoring,
evaluation, training/capacity building, conceptual program planning,
office administrative procedures and report writing
Excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills
Working knowledge of Russian and/or Armenian
Computer literacy (word processing and spreadsheets)
Ethnic sensitivity and understanding, with an ability to resolve
complex cultural issues
Strong inter-personal and cross-cultural communications skills and
sensitivity. Ability to work closely within a team/group environment
and to be diplomatic and flexible in a sometimes remote and
challenging environment and/or under stress
Team-player attitude, with initiative & self-confidence to develop
and lead program
Strong organizing, planning and writing skills. Strong attention to
detail
Representation aptitude – including relations with donors
Willingness to travel locally around Armenia up to 40% of the time.
Staying overnight in unprivileged living conditions is possible
Experience of working in FSU transitional economies preferable
Strong commitment to World Vision?s Christian Values and ability to
reflect these in day to day work
Applications for this position should be sent to:

Gisela Poole [email protected] and Kristina Baghdasaryan
[email protected] 3-5 years of similar management
experience in cross-cultural environment.

Contact Information: Gisela Poole
Email: [email protected]
Apply by: March 31, 2004

http://www.wvi.org/
http://www.fpa.org/jobs_contact2423/jobs_contact_show.htm?doc_id=217091

European Union set to allocate 20m euros to Armenia

European Union set to allocate 20m euros to Armenia

Mediamax news agency
15 Mar 04

YEREVAN

The European Union (EU) will allocate 20m euros to Armenia for the
realization of a national indicative program designed for 2004-06.

The agreement on the realization of this program was signed by
Armenian Minister of Finance and Economy Vardan Khachatryan and the
head of the EU delegation in Armenia and Georgia, Torben Holtze, in
Yerevan today, Mediamax reported.

Torben Holtze said that under the program 13.5m will be directed to
assist the carrying out of institutional and administrative reforms
and 6.5m euros to liquidate the social consequences of the transition
period.

The EU annual aid to Armenia makes 50 to 60m euros.

Kocharian: Russia makes choice in favor of stability & democracy

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 15 2004

PRESIDENT OF ARMENIA: RUSSIA MAKES CHOICE IN FAVOR OF STABILITY AND
DEMOCRACY

YEREVAN, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) — President of Armenia Robert
Kocharyan has congratulated Vladimir Putin on his re-election to the
post of the President of the Russian Federation.

In the opinion of the Armenian leader, on March 14 Russia has made
her firm choice in favor of stability, democracy and prosperity.

“The elections have shown that the people of Russia see in the
re-elected Russian President the leader, who is leading the country
along the path of sustainable development, upholding of the national
interests and adherence to the policy of good-neighborliness and
cooperation,” Mr. Kocharyan’s congratulatory message says.

According to him, Armenia highly praises the great personal
contribution of Mr. Putin to furthering allied Russian-Armenian
relations. The successes are evident here along the entire spectrum
of bilateral ties, the Armenian President stressed. He assured
Vladimir Putin of Yerevan’s readiness to continue efforts aimed at
promoting cooperation between the two states.

Adzharia Needs Cool Heads

Moscow Times, Russia
March 16 2004

Adzharia Needs Cool Heads

By Pavel Felgenhauer

The day after being re-elected President Vladimir Putin faced a
serious crisis in Georgia, involving Russian interests and Russian
troops. A long-simmering confrontation between the Georgian
government, now led by President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the tiny
autonomous Adzharian Republic in southwest Georgia seems to be edging
towards an armed confrontation.

Moscow has supported the separatist leaders of autonomous republics
in Georgia since the country became independent. During an armed
confrontation in South Ossetia in 1991-92, and a war in Abkhazia in
1992-93, the Russian military supplied separatists in both regions
with arms and munitions, and provided them with artillery and air
support.

Officially the Russian authorities never acknowledged these facts,
but in private Defense Ministry officials admitted the high level of
Russian involvement. In 1994 in Abkhazia, a Russian Hind Mi-24 attack
helicopter pilot said, “In 1993, we were given orders to cover the
Russian insignia of our aircraft with dirt. We did bomb the
Georgians.”

The Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts ended with the Georgians
defeated and cease-fires brokered by Moscow. Russian troops were
deployed to ensure that these regions stayed separate from Georgia.
Constant low-level guerrilla warfare has since continued on the
Abkhaz-Georgian cease-fire line, while South Ossetia has been
peaceful.

There are no proper border guards or customs posts on the Georgian
side of South Ossetia, because Tbilisi regards the area as part of
its sovereign territory. This has facilitated a massive trade in
contraband going through the Rokhsky tunnel highway connecting South
Ossetia in Georgia and North Ossetia in Russia. The North Ossetian
authorities, who believe South Ossetia to be an integral part of the
Ossetian nation, allow more or less free transit of goods and people
at the northern end of the tunnel without proper visas or customs
controls.

The Ossetians (unlike most North Caucasian nationalities) are
Christians and have historically been enemies of the Muslim Chechens
and Ingush. But while the Ossetians have strongly supported the
Russian war in Chechnya, most foreign volunteers (or mercenaries, as
the Russian authorities call them) reach Chechnya through Georgia and
then through Ossetia and the Rokhsky tunnel — through a hole in the
border Moscow itself helped create.

All attempts at a political solution to the separatist problems of
Georgia have failed during the last decade and now Adzharia is also
becoming an issue. While wars ravaged Abkhazia and South Ossetia,
civil war raged inside Georgia proper and hundreds of thousands of
ethnic Georgians were evicted from Abkhazia, Adzharia was peaceful.

The local population considers itself Georgian and does not aspire to
independence, though under centuries of Turkish rule most were
converted to Islam. Adzharia has been ruled by Aslan Abashidze, the
scion of a dynasty of princes that were the traditional rulers of
Adzharia for centuries.

While Tbilisi has often been in conflict with Moscow over the last
decade, Abashidze developed a good relationship with the Russian
military and the authorities in Moscow. The Russian military keep a
garrison in the Adzharian capital, Batumi — the rundown remains of a
Soviet motorized rifle division, now just over 3,000 men (mostly
local Adzharian recruits) and a couple of hundred pieces of heavy
equipment (tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery). Batumi
port, fully controlled by Abashidze, is used to supply other Russian
troops in Georgia and Armenia.

Moscow also fostered Abashidze as a possible pro-Moscow Georgian
national leader to replace Eduard Shevardnadze. The sudden rise to
power of Saakashvili foiled the ambitions of the nationalist siloviki
clan in the Kremlin to install “our man” in Tbilisi, and has put
Abashidze’s future in jeopardy.

This week Abashidze’s private army barred Saakashvili from entering
Adzharia. Saakashvili, in turn, demanded that Abashidze’s forces lay
down their arms and that control of Batumi port and customs be handed
over to Tbilisi. Over the coming days, Putin must act promptly to
stop Abashidze and his allies in Moscow provoking an armed conflict,
while also pressing Saakashvili to refrain from drastic action.

A war in Adzharia and the consequent destabilization of Georgia are
not in Russia’s national interests, a fact that some of Putin’s
cohorts do not seem to understand.

Pavel Felgenhauer is an independent defense analyst.

EU commits to assist Armenia with 20million in 2004-2006

ArmenPress
March 15 2004

EUROPEAN UNION COMMITS TO ASSIST ARMENIA WITH 20 MILLION IN 2004-2006

YEREVAN, MARCH 15, ARMENPRESS: On 15 March Armenian Finance and
Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian, who is also EU National
Coordinator, and Torben Holtze, Head of the European Commission
Delegation signed National Indicative Program 2004-2006. The program
describes overall objectives and ways to assist Armenia through the
European Union’s Tacis program for the three years. The Indicative
Program will support the overall European Union strategy of
strengthening the independence of Armenia and its progress to a
market economy and fully developed democracy.
Tacis Indicative Program 2004-2006 covers the following two
priority areas:
a) support for institutional, legal and administrative reform with
an indicative budget allocation of 13.5 million and b) support in
addressing the social consequences of transition with an emphasis on
the vocational education sector. The indicative budget allocation for
the latter is 6.5 million. The overall funding under the Indicative
Program 2004-2006 will be 20 million euros.
“As it was reiterated by the current Government, strengthening
Armenia’s partnership with the EU remains one of the main priorities
of Armenia’s foreign policy and is aimed at gradual deepening of
integration with the EU. Tacis along with other EU programs will
continue to be the main tool to assist the Government in the
implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, being
the cornerstone of our partnership relations between Armenia and the
EU,” said Mr. Khachatrian.
Holtze stressed: “The present Indicative Program shows commitment
of the EU to assist Armenia and aims to respond to the priorities of
the deeper political relationship, with the expectation that each
project should contribute in some way towards meeting the objectives
worked out jointly.”
A more detailed bi-annual Action Program will be adopted setting
out specific projects and the funding available, within the
guidelines given in the Indicative Program.
Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, the Minister
mentioned that the construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline is
possibly to start later this year, and added that there is some
ongoing work for development of alternative sources of energy,
particularly, three airheads are expected to be built this year,
apart from negotiations on building 2 or 3 hydro power plants. He
argued also that after upgrading the Yerevan Thermal Power plant the
prime cost of electricity will decrease significantly, nearing the
price of electricity produced by the nuclear plant. These measures,
according to the minister, would enable the authorities and EU
representatives to start negotiating a closure deadline of the
Armenian nuclear power plant. He added that the EU has pledged only
100 million euros to that end, while replacing the nuclear plant by a
similar facility will require at least $1 billion.
Torben Holtze in turn said that the EU’s support in the
construction of Iran-Armenia pipeline may come only after fixing the
concrete date of the nuclear power plant’s closure. He said that the
pipeline may also ship gas to Europe, but added that for the time
being it is still early to speak about it. Khachatrian added that the
plant will be closed as soon as there are equal facilities to replace
it, without even waiting for construction of Iran-Armenia pipeline.