PM on Russia-Armenia relations

PM on Russia-Armenia relations

RosBusinessConsulting, Russia
May 14 2004

RBC, 14.05.2004, Moscow 10:58:37.Russia is ready to discuss
issues of relations with Armenia, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail
Fradkov declared before negotiations with Armenian President Robert
Kocharian. The Armenian leader has visited Moscow. “Our relations
are actively developing and we have a lot of things to discuss,”
Fradkov stressed. Russia and Armenia do have something to say each
other to cooperate more efficiently,” he emphasized.

Kocharian has declared that bilateral cooperation was wide and
that the two countries were cooperating more intensely for the past
several years.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Azerbaijan: Turning Over a New Leaf?

Azerbaijan: Turning Over a New Leaf?

Reuters AlertNet, UK
May 14 2004

International Crisis Group (ICG) – Belgium
Website:

Baku/Brussels, 13 May 2004: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev needs
to embrace the democratic process and dismantle autocratic rule.
Failure to do so would lead to instability that could spill into the
rest of the region and tempt strong neighbours to fill a power
vacuum.

The International Crisis Group’s latest report, Azerbaijan: Turning
Over a New Leaf?*, considers the challenges now facing Azerbaijan and
its young and largely untested leader. Strategic interests primarily
related to oil reserves muted international expressions of concern
about last October’s fraud-filled election, which saw Ilham take over
from his dying, autocratic father, Heydar. However, if the regime and
the international community maintain a disregard for democracy in
Azerbaijan, it will likely exacerbate the long-term problems the
country faces.

“President Aliyev is in an awkward position”, says Nicholas Whyte
Director of ICG’s Europe Program. “He has to fulfil Western
expectations on reforms and democratisation and at the same time
satisfy the interests of the ruling elite. Plus, he needs to show
that he, not his father’s advisers, controls the government”.

Azerbaijan’s government is a carefully designed autocratic system,
which the father and former Soviet-era politburo member began to
construct in the late 1960s, with heavy reliance on family and clan
members, oil revenues and patronage. The deep scars the country has
from its defeat by Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh ten years ago
continue to impact political life.

Clearly, democratic change is not going to be simple or quick, but by
indicating his desire to move to a more open and democratic system,
Ilham Aliyev does give some reason for hope. His best chance is to
nurture a new generation of technocratic professionals while steadily
dismantling the corrupt patronage network that strangles the
political system and keeps the economy overly dependent on a single
resource.

The young president has begun by prudently appointing young deputy
ministers and other officials to implement reforms aimed at opening
and developing the economy. Under international pressure, he has
freed several hundred political prisoners. Another welcome step would
be a credible investigation of the violence surrounding the 2003
election.

Deeper change, however, is going to mean more difficult choices for
Aliyev, who can only find the new allies he needs against the most
conservative circles by giving space to a genuine opposition and
truly independent media.

“Cracking down on the opposition and harshly repressing religious
groups would likely boomerang on Aliyev”, says Damien Helly, Caucasus
Regional Director for ICG. “Combined with general social and economic
discontent, such actions would only fuel a more radical political and
religious opposition and unrest in the northern regions”.

Contacts:

Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 485 555 946

Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601

*Read the report in full on our website:

http://www.icg.org/
http://www.icg.org/

Armenia, Iran Gas agreement

ARMENIA * IRAN * AGREEMENT * GAS

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 13 2004

YEREVAN, May 13, 2004 (RIA Novosti) – Agreement on deliveries of
Iranian gas to Armenia was signed by head of the Director General of
the Yerevan steam power plant Ovakim Ovanesyan and head if the National
Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) Roknoddin Javadi in Yerevan.

Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisian said this was a 20-years’
agreement and 36 bln cubic meters of gas will be delivered to Armenia
within this time. Armenia will get 1.1 bln cubic meters of Iranian
gas annually and pay Iran in power.

Construction of the gas pipeline is to be launched in 2004. It is to
be completed by the end of 2006. The pipeline will be 141 kilometers
long (41 kilometers in Armenia and 100 kilometers in Iran). The start
point of the pipeline is Tehran, it will go to Yerevan via the Megria
area of the Armenia-Iran border.

According to preliminary estimates, about $90-100 mln will be allocated
for construction works in Armenia. Iran will earmark about $120 mln
for construction activities on its territory.

Mr Movsisian says foreign companies may engage in the construction
works, in particular, Russian, Chinese, U.S., Brazil and Ukrainian
companies have applied for it.

The Armenian leadership attaches high importance to the Iran-Armenia
pipeline project. According to Armenian President Robert Kocharian,
“the successful implementation of the project will bring relations
between Iran and Armenia to a very high level”.

Government of Ardzinba starts persecuting Georgian minding people

Government of Ardzinba starts persecuting Georgian – minding people

Batumi News
May 14 2004

On the statement of Tamaz Nadareishvili, ex Chairman of the Abkhazian
Supreme Council, the power wielding structures of the de facto
government of Sokhumi started with the search operations, to identify
the individuals who appeared in the streets of Sokhumi with the five
cross Georgian national flags.

He said it should be a very significant rally, as the government
structures got involved in the searches. Nadareishvili said the
rally was not a spontaneous one, on the reports, the contacts and
consultations are being kept with certain individuals, however,
for the security measures, their identity is kept in secrecy.

Nadareishvili rules out the Inal Kazan, a US citizen has his hand in
the processes. Regarding Armenians, living in Sokhumi, Nadareishvili
said their stance will depend on the official stance of Armenia. “In
the past, Armenians got a hint to back Abkhazians, and now, like
soberly thinking Abkhazians, they do see that Abkhazia is at the
verge of a disaster and they are confused.

Thereby, Georgian government should provide active works with the
Armenian government, to ensure their, if not supporting, than at
least neutral stance”, – Nadareishvili thinks.

Leading European Electoral Candidates Meet With Armenian Community

EUROPEAN ARMENIAN FEDERATION
for Justice and Democracy
Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B – 1000 BRUXELLES
Tel./Fax : +32 (0) 2 732 70 27
E-mail : [email protected]
Web :

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
May 14th, 2004
Contact: Talline Tachdjian
Tel.: +32 (0)2 732 70 27

LEADING EUROPEAN ELECTORAL CANDIDATES MEET WITH ARMENIAN COMMUNITY

Lyon, France – On May 9th, the leading candidates for the European
Parliament elections from the southeast region of France addressed
the topic of Turkey’s accession to the European Union during a Europe
Day event organized by the Armenian National Committee of France and
the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Speaking at the event held at the Bourse du Travail in Lyon were
Thierry Cornillet (Union of French Democrats), GĂ©rard Benhamias
(Greens), and Patrick Louis (Union for France). The debate was
moderated by France Inter Radio journalist Frederic Bourgade, with
participation of Franck Bianchieri from Think Tank Europe 2002 and
Hilda Tchoboian from the European Armenian Federation. Absent due
to the launching of their parties’ electoral campaigns, Françoise
GrossetĂȘte (Union for the Presidential Majority) and Michel Rocard
(Socialist Party) issued filmed statements.

Franck Bianchieri commented on the growing concern and opposition to
Turkey’ s accession that he noticed during the debates he moderated
in 100 European cities. Before an attentive audience of more than
a thousand attendees, Thierry Cornillet and Patrick Louis declared
their official opposition to Turkey’s accession for geographical,
cultural and demographic reasons, promising to uphold this position
when they are elected to the European Parliament. Likewise, Françoise
GrossetĂȘte, whose party recently made a dramatic shift in position on
the issue, favored a privileged partnership status for Turkey. From
the left, GĂ©rard Benhamias from the Greens party stated that in his
opinion we should quickly integrate Turkey and that we should trust
the Turkish democrats to improve the Human Rights situation as well
as recognize the Armenian Genocide, which should result from the
country’s democratisation.

Expressing his viewpoint, Michel Rocard discussed the strategic
importance of Turkish accession because of Turkey’s ethnic and
cultural links with Turkish-speaking countries of central Asia that
have oil reserves from which Europe could benefit; according to him,
the recognition of the Armenian Genocide would naturally come when
Turkey would feel “ridicule” for its denial.

Hilda Tchoboian recalled that it is since the European Parliament
began the examination of Turkey’s candidacy in 2000 that it started
to consider the genocide and blockade issues, at the urging of the
European Armenian Federation. Recalling the Morillon and Lamassoure
reports, she denounced the inconsistencies between the declaration of
parties opposed to Turkish accession and their refusal to speak firmly
and truthfully to Turkey in the European Parliament annual reports.

Regarding the positions of the Left, Tchoboian refuted the exemplary
nature of Turkey’s accession for the Muslim world, because of Turkey’s
poor relations with its Arab neighbours. She also denounced the
argument of secularism, which in Turkey is not based on plurality and
on the separation of religion and State, but on the Turkish State’s
protection of the Muslim religion, which became the majority religion
after the extermination of Turkey’s non-Muslim citizens.

“If Europe does not require Turkey to adhere to its values as a
pre-condition to its accession, Europe will be forced to integrate
Turkey’s denialist values, and to give free rein to the denial of
other genocides,” affirmed the Chairperson of the European Armenian
Federation.

She emphasized that beyond a formal recognition, Europe must bring
about Genocide reparations, requiring in particular that Turkey give to
Armenia and to Armenian people guarantees of security. “Turkey must
promise to abolish its aggressive policy towards Armenia; this policy
is not the act of a regime, but rather follows from a State doctrine
that has continued under military, civil and Islamist regimes,”
concluded Tchoboian.

Concluding the first portion of the event, Georges Kepenekian declared
that Armenians would remain watchful, and would not give parties carte
blanche regarding matters that remain at the centre of attention
for European citizens. The second portion of the event included a
concert by the band Bratsch.

#####

http://www.eafjd.org

Recognizing Karabakh independence is optimal solution – CIS assembly

Recognizing Karabakh independence is optimal solution – CIS assembly official

Noyan Tapan news agency, Yerevan
11 May 04

Stepanakert, 11 May: “The recognition of Nagornyy Karabakh’s
independence is an optimal model of the settlement of the conflict,”
deputy of the secretary general of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly,
Feliks Khushchyan announced to journalists.

He expressed regret that after the signing of the Bishkek agreement
10 years ago the Interparliamentary Assembly was left within the
framework of the settlement process.

In connection with the new Azerbaijani leadership’s proposal on
starting the negotiations from the scratch, in particular, he stressed
that “they will be forced to reckon with the realities of modern life”.

Regarding the possibilities of including Karabakh parliamentarians
in the process of settlement of the conflict, Feliks Khushchyan noted
that he is not supportive of that, for the parliamentarians are always
pushing the process forward, but there are cases when this potential
must be used. “In a word, any option to reach the problem’s solution
must be taken into consideration,” deputy of the secretary general
of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly concluded.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

BAKU: Aliyev Backs Both Peace And War

Aliyev Backs Both Peace And War

Baku Today
May 13 2004

Azerbaijani government will continue increasing spending on the
maintenance of Azerbaijani armed forces, said Azerbaijani president
Ilham Aliyev at a meeting with soldiers of Azerbaijani army in
Nakhchivan.

Aliyev, who arrived in the Azeri autonomous republic yesterday, said it
is important for Azerbaijan to strengthen its military power potential.

Although Azerbaijan supports peaceful settlement for Karabakh conflict,
he said,”we will free our lands by military means if the peaceful
efforts turn in vain for the conflict.

Aliyev’s statements came at the opening ceremony of a building for
military unit in Nakhchivan.

BAKU: Strengthened army capable of liberating Karabakh – Azeri leade

Strengthened army capable of liberating Karabakh – Azeri leader

Lider TV, Baku,
13 May 04

[Presenter] Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is continuing his
visit to the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic. At an opening ceremony of
a new corps at military unit N yesterday, the head of state said that
Azerbaijan is ready to liberate its land from the enemy at any minute.

[Correspondent over video of the ceremony, soldiers marching,
Aliyev addressing servicemen] President Ilham Aliyev, who attended
the ceremony to open the corps at military unit N, presented the new
corps with a combat flag.

Delivering a speech, the head of state spoke about the work done in
Azerbaijan over the past several years to develop the army. He said
that the army is one of the attributes of independence.

[Passage omitted: Aliyev criticized the authorities who were in power
before 1993 for shortcomings in the army development]

[Correspondent] But the time is different now and an Azerbaijani
soldier is very different. He said that the Azerbaijani army is capable
of liberating Karabakh and as a commander-in-chief, he believed in
the strength of the army.

[Aliyev] The Azerbaijani people will never put up with the loss of
the land. If we see that the negotiations do not yield any results,
we will use all our means to liberate our land. For this, a strong
army, patriotism, the unity and the will of the people are needed. We
have all this.

[Servicemen are clapping]

[Correspondent] The head of state familiarized himself with the unit’s
canteen. Interested in the conditions servicemen were living in,
the president decided to have his supper with them.

President Ilham Aliyev also attended a ceremony to open an electronic
library at the Naxcivan State University.

[Passage omitted: video shows Aliyev asking a student how he uses
the library; Aliyev attended the branch of the Academy of Sciences’
in Naxcivan where he delivered another speech; no details]

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

US National Security Advisor to visit Moscow

US National Security Advisor to visit Moscow

RosBusinessConsulting, Russia
May 14 2004

RBC, 14.05.2004, Moscow 09:29:37.US National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Moscow today. Among other issues,
Rice is planning to discuss prospects of settling the Nagorny Karabakh
(Azerbaijan) conflict. In the course of her visit to Russia, Rice is
also planning to discuss political processes that are taking place in
the Caucuses in general. Rice is also expected to discuss the situation
in Iraq and the Middle East with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Judicial Authority Belongs To Coalition

JUDICIAL AUTHORITY BELONGS TO COALITION

A1 Plus | 15:59:16 | 14-05-2004 | Politics |

Robert Grigoryan, Advocate of Suren Surenyantc, member of “Republic”
Party political board, had appealed in the Review Court against
2-month-long preliminary detention for Surenyantc made by the First
Instance Court. Court had rejected the claim.

Robert Grigoryan had applied to the Appeal Court, too. The case
consideration has been postponed for unknown reasons.

This morning Robert Grigoryan has been phoned by the Appeal Court
and asked to appear before Court 15 minutes later since the appeal
would be heard. The appeal was reviewed and rejected in a hurry.

Thus, Authorities once more refused to meet PACE demand to quickly
release all the political prisoners.