OSCE Wants Probe Of Attack On Journalists In Armenia

Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic
April 9, 2004

OSCE Wants Probe Of Attack On Journalists In Armenia
Prague, 9 April 2004 (RFE/RL) — The Organization for Security and
Cooperation In Europe (OSCE) has called on Armenian authorities to
investigate attacks on journalists that occurred during an opposition
rally in Yerevan this week.

The OSCE envoy to Armenia, Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, said any
violence against journalists must be condemned and criminal
proceedings started against the attackers. He urged Armenian
authorities to keep their promises to take the necessary measures.

Unknown assailants are reported to have grabbed two television
cameras and two cameras from journalists who were covering the 5
April demonstration and smashed the equipment in front of police, who
reportedly did not intervene.

Up to 3,000 protesters took part in the demonstration to demand a
referendum on President Robert Kocharian’s rule. Kocharian was
re-elected in March 2003 in a poll the opposition says was rigged.

Protesters have said they plan to hold another rally today, despite a
ban on the gathering announced by authorities.

BAKU: Meeting at Baku state university

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
April 9, 2004


Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer met with
students and teaching staff of the Baku State University, April 8.
Warmly welcoming the guest, Rector of the University, Corresponding
member of the National Academy of Science, Prof. Abel Maharramov
first familiarized the meeting participants with Mr. Schwimmer’s
biography, and then informed him in detail on the history and
activity of the Baku University. He further said: `We want youth of
small states like their coevals in super states to face the future
with confidence, without war and pain of lands loss, and hold worthy
place in the globalizing world. I believe the Council of Europe will
take efforts to create such conditions in the country.’ The Rector
expressed hope for fair solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. `We
are confident that the way of integration into Europe defined by
nationwide leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev will be further
continued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, who won
convincing victory in October elections held in democratic and
transparent atmosphere,’ Mr. Abel Maharramov added. Having thanked
for the kind words, COE Secretary General Walter Schwimmer told of
the obligations and commitments Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia had
assumed upon joining the Council of Europe, explained what does
European means, touched upon the history of wars and conflicts saying
that all wars and conflicts end with peace. The Secretary General
reminded that in May 1994, seize fire was established between
Azerbaijan and Armenia, and cited the city of Strasbourg as an
example demonstrating that conflicting sides reach peace after bloody
battles. `This is the very essence of Europe,’ he said. Afterwards,
Walter Schwimmer responded to the questions from the audience.

BAKU: Azerbaijan, Switzerland: relations highly assessed

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
April 9, 2004

[April 09, 2004, 14:05:23]

Foreign minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov met the Chief of the
Political Directorate Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Mr.
Blaise Godet on 8 April.

Minister Elmar Mammadyarov gave a high assessment to the relations
between Azerbaijan and Switzerland, underlining that he adheres
strengthening of bilateral links and widening of cooperation in
numerous spheres, the defense ministry’s press service told AzerTAj.

Then, minister Elmar Mammadyarov updated the guest on the hard living
conditions of the refugees and IDPs who were ousted from their
homelands as a result of the Armenian -Azerbaijani Nagorny Karabakh
conflict and on the work done for settlement of the problem. The
Minister also stressed the necessity of solving the conflict in the
frame of internal law and principles by the efforts of the
international community.

In the course of meeting, head of the foreign policy department of
Azerbaijan highlighted on the situation in the region, economic
reforms in the Country, development of the oil industry and other
accomplishments gained last years.

In turn, Mr. Blasé Godeth noted that Swiss Confederation attaches
great importance to expansion of bilateral relations between
Azerbaijan and his country. Touching the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorny
Karabakh conflict, expressed hope that the problem would be settled
in peaceful and in the frame of international law.

The parties also had exchange of views on a number of issues of
mutual interest.

BAKU: CoE secretary general meets IDPS

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
April 9, 2004

[April 09, 2004, 14:02:31]

Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer met April 8 with
internally displaced people settled at unfinished building of
maternity hospital in Baku Narimanov district.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic, Chairman of the
State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov let the guest know
that over 220 families ousted from Jabrail, Zangilan, Gubadli,
Hojali, Kalbajar, and Lachin regions had been living here for several
years, and told of the purposeful measures the Government had been
taking for this period to improve social conditions of the people
living in encampments.

Mr. Walter Schwimmer visited `apartments’ of several refugee
families, who told him of the Government’s efforts to improve their
living conditions, and demanded the civilized Europe to put an end to
the policy of double standards. `Let the Armenia supporters and
protectors know that Azerbaijan is strengthening day by day, and
people’s patience is not unlimited. We are ready to release our lands
any way,’ they said.

Council of Europe Secretary General said he realized well the
people’s home-sickness and their hard living conditions, and promised
the problem would be settled soon. `People should live in peace. This
is the principle of the Council of Europe,’ Mr. Schwimmer said.

Present at the meeting was permanent representative of the Azerbaijan
Republic to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev.

Organizations condemn attacks on Armenian journalists

International Journalist’s Network
April 9, 2004

Organizations condemn attacks on Armenian journalists

Apr 09, 2004

Participants in a workshop on democratic civil society – one day
after unidentified men attacked at least seven journalists in Yerevan
– condemned the violence and urged the Armenian media to unite
against threats to press freedom.

Their condemnation joined protests from numerous Armenian and
international media watchdogs and journalists’ groups.

The Civil Society in Context of Democratic Reform workshop was a
cooperative effort of more than 40 nongovernmental organizations,
according to the Yerevan Press Club (YPC). Under the YPC’s
initiative, the participants issued their joint statement April 6.
Workshop participants included parliamentary lawmakers as well as
journalists and nongovernmental workers. The YPC said the statement
was from the NGOs and journalists.

The violence was `one more instance of regular violation of the
rights for receiving and disseminating information, as well as
freedom of expression,’ the statement said. `We call upon law and
order bodies to punish the instigators and perpetrators.’

The attacks occurred April 5 while Artashes Geghamian, the opposition
National Unity party’s leader, was delivering a speech to voters.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that its
correspondent and several witnesses watched as `about two dozen thugs
beat journalists and smashed cameras used to film their violent
attempts to disrupt the opposition rally.’ Meanwhile, the witnesses
said, the police did nothing.

International groups who have issued protests over the attacks
include the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OCSE), Internews, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
Reporters without Borders, and the Center for Journalism in Extreme
Situations (CJES).

Vladimir Pryakhin, head of the OCSE Office in Yerevan, in an April 8
news release expressed hope that the authorities would take action
and punish the guilty.

The civil society workshop participants said that if the culprits are
not brought to justice, `we will have to state that Armenian
authorities are not interested in consolidating the basic democratic
values in the country.’

For more information, see the OSCE news release at
or the RFE/RL
Armenia report at


Russian duet: ‘Agon’ and ‘Spartacus’

Fort Worth Star Telegram , TX
April 9, 2004

Russian duet

Ballet Arlington gets historical with contrasting ‘Agon’ and

By Wayne Lee Gay
Star-Telegram Dance Critic

Both ballets were choreographed by Russians, both are accompanied by
music by Russian or Soviet composers, and both were inspired by
historical material. But George Balanchine’s Agon will offer a
striking contrast to Yuri Grigorovich’s Spartacus when the two are
presented by Ballet Arlington on the same evening at Bass Performance

Each will be staged by a protege of the ballet’s creator. Paul Mejia,
Ballet Arlington’s co-artistic director, studied closely with and
danced for Balanchine at New York City Ballet, performing in Agon on
numerous occasions. Similarly, the other Ballet Arlington
co-director, Alexander Vetrov, who will stage Spartacus, learned the
piece under Grigorovich at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, dancing the
role of Spartacus’ nemesis, Crassus.

“It was a new kind of ballet,” Mejia says of Agon, which premiered in
New York in 1957. Its Greek title can mean contest, protagonist or
agony; the music, by Igor Stravinsky, was inspired by various French
court dances of the 17th century.

The inspiration may have been from a past era, but the result is
stunningly modern; almost half a century after its creation, Agon,
with its consuming abstract athleticism, continues to influence
choreographers, while the score remains a paragon of lean,
intellectual neo-classicism.

“Dancing Agon changes a dancer,” Mejia says. “If you dance it and
dance it well, you’ve accomplished something.”

Spartacus, meanwhile, premiered in Russia in 1968, with Armenian-born
composer Aram Khachaturian’s soaring, melodic score accompanying. The
full-length version takes about 80 dancers several hours to perform;
Ballet Arlington will present an abbreviated selection of excerpts,
using costumes borrowed from the Bolshoi.

The story of a gladiator/slave who leads a rebellion against the
ancient Roman Empire is familiar to American movie buffs thanks to
Hollywood’s epic take on the tale, starring Kirk Douglas; the film
inspired Grigorovich to challenge not only the principals but the
dancers in the corps with tremendous emotional and technical hurdles.
“Every dancer has lots to do,” Vetrov says.

Ballet Arlington has reached its current high level thanks in large
part to some rigorously trained dancers from Russia and other former
Soviet republics; several of them will perform principal roles in
Spartacus. Along with Vetrov’s portrayal of the Roman leader Crassus,
the cast will include Anatoly Emelianov in the title role, Olga
Pavlova as Crassus’ concubine Aegina and Marina Goshko as Spartacus’
beloved Phrygia.

“Spartacus needed something strong to go with it,” Mejia says. “Agon
makes a wonderful contrast. The music sounds completely different,
and the ballets will look completely different.”

Ballet Arlington
8 p.m. Tuesday
Bass Performance Hall
Fort Worth $10-$28
(817) 212-4280;
(817) 465-4644


CIS countries hold chamber of commerce conference in Yerevan

RIA Novosti, Russia
April 9 2004


YEREVAN, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – A session of a working group made up
of the chambers of commerce and industry of six CIS countries started
in Yerevan, Armenia on Thursday. Delegates will discuss cooperation
in arranging exhibitions and the development of small and
medium-seized business.

The experts will prepare and coordinate documents that are expected
to be signed at a meeting of the heads of the chambers of commerce
and industry on June 1-3 in Yerevan. The documents include agreements
on economic integration, cooperation of small and medium-sized
business, business information exchange between the chambers of
commerce and industry and developing cooperation in arranging

Representatives from the chambers of commerce and industry of Russia,
Belarus, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine will take part
in the meeting. Azerbaijan refused to take part in this session.

A common chord ties them all together

Albany Times Union, NY
April 9 2004

A common chord ties them all together
Sand Lake– Love of music helps singers and musicians with varied
backgrounds unite to perform the “Messiah”

By ERIKA GROFF, Special to the Times Union

Take a violinist, jewelry store manager and retired theater educator.
Throw in some community members from the Capital Region, all from
different church backgrounds, and mix. The result is the Sand Lake
Chorale, a group of singers and musicians who will perform parts two
and three of Handel’s “Messiah” next weekend.
The musical group’s conductor, Janine Budesheim, likens the chorale
to a recipe with mixed ingredients.

“In the beginning, it’s chaos, learning the notes and rhythms,” she
said. “But once they start listening to each other, the harmonies are
formed and they are feeling the blend.”

Budesheim founded the choir in 2001; it was known then as The
Ecumenical Messiah Choir. The year before, Sylvia Kutchukian,
director of the arts school David’s Tabernacle, had asked Budesheim
to put together an orchestra to accompany her choir for a rendition
of Handel’s “Messiah,” part one.

Afterward, people from Budesheim’s community approached her,
Budesheim said, and asked, “Can we do that?” So they did. 64 singers
and 32 instrumentalists sang and played the Hallelujah chorus.

Last November, they got together again to perform the same chorus as
the grand finale of a benefit for the opening of the Sand Lake Center
for the Arts. A month later, they started practicing the Handel
pieces for next week’s concert. There are now 38 chorale musicians
and 24 orchestral musicians.

Among them is 35-year-old Raffi Topalian, who runs Top Custom
Jewelers in Latham’s Hilltop Plaza. Topalian worships at St. Peter
Armenian Apostolic Church and is more accustomed to singing in
Armenian than English. He sings tenor with the Sand Lake Chorale and
said it has been a pleasure — a “great fellowship” — to sing with
people from different denominations.

Even after singing the “Messiah” over and over again for the past
four months, Topalian said he discovers something new every time it
is sung.

“You could sing it for 30 years but learn something new each time you
sing it because you have a new life perspective,” he said. “It’s
something different every time.”

Mary Margaret McGuire, retired director of education for the New York
State Theater Institute, sings alto — three octaves of alto — with
the Sand Lake Chorale. She said she likes singing with the group
because, for the first time in her life, she is singing with people
who really love to sing.

She said Handel wrote the three-part piece in a matter of days and
put it together in a marvelous way.

“If you forget what your part is — and if you stop and listen —
you’ll hear your part but it might be an oboe, viola or cello playing
it,” she said.

What makes this upcoming performance unique is the difficulty of the
composition, said Peter Skinner, administrative director of the
chorale. He said parts two and three are much more difficult than the

“We’re doing a performance only a few recordings have on it, while
most choirs can exclude up to a third of it,” he said.

He credits the group’s success to the community support.

“So often, we have become more fractured and divided. Here, people
are communicating, achieving together and getting to know each other,
creating a sense of purpose and caring for community,” Skinner said.
“It’s about community.”

Oskanian to travel b/w Tehran, Prague and London

April 9 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 9, ARMENPRESS: Armenian foreign affairs minister
Vartan Oskanian is leaving for Tehran, on April 12 for a two-day
visit, where he is scheduled to meet with Iran’s president Mohammad
Khatami , secretary of security council Hasan Rowhani and his
counterpart Kamal Kharazi.
On April 16 minister Oskanian will depart for Prague to attend a
conference on Nagorno Karabagh, to be held under the aegis of the
OSCE Minsk group. In Prague he is expected to meet with his newly
appointed Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamadyarov.
On April 22-23 Oskanian will fly to London for a working visit.

Opposition activist arrested for distribution of anti-govr leaflets

April 9 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 9, ARMENPRESS: The Armenian Prosecutor’s Office
said today it continues investigation into public calls for violent
overthrow of the constitutional order and offensive languages
directed at authorities.
Prosecutors said they have detained today a citizen of Yerevan,
Artak Gabrielian on the same charges. Gabrielian was arrested when he
was distributing leaflets of the opposition National Unity of
Artashes Geghamian urging people to participate in the unsanctioned
rally with concurrent calls for illegal seizure of power. These
actions were classified as violation of article 301 of the Armenian
Criminal Code.
In a reference to the April 8 detention of an opposition
parliament member Viktor Dalakian, prosecutors said he had been
summoned as a witness for a case under investigation, but refused to
come and therefore was brought by force, an action stipulated by
article 153 of the Armenian Criminal Code.