BAKU: Azeri, Armenian “mafia bosses” in fear of Georgia’s crackdown

Hurriyyat, Baku, in Azeri
11 Mar 04, p 4

Azeri, Armenian “mafia bosses” in fear of Georgia’s corruption
crackdown – paper

Serious processes are under way in the South Caucasus. The region has
attracted the world’s attention. After his election [Georgian]
President Mikheil Saakashvili started economic and political reforms
that have global significance.

[Passage omitted: More on Georgian politics]

The fight against corruption in Georgia is a highly risky undertaking
since Saakashvili takes on not only local corrupt officials, but also
giant international corrupt networks which earn dirty money and use
Georgia for transit. The directives to protect the borders have
caused fear among certain mafia-related structures in Ukraine,
Azerbaijan and Armenia. Saakashvili said that by controlling the
railway he would rid the country of corruption. Suffice it to recall
the arrest of the former Georgian railways chief, Akaki Chkhaidze.

[Passage omitted: More on Georgian politics]

During his visit to Azerbaijan, Saakashvili sent a message to
[Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev by saying that “together we can
work miracles”. Our newspaper reported that Georgia handed over to
the Azerbaijani authorities a list of Azerbaijani officials with
criminal links to their venal Georgian counterparts. There are even
reports that some officials will be summoned by court when Chkhaidze
is tried by the Georgian law-enforcement bodies.

[Passage omitted: Details]

The Georgian government closed down corridors on its territory
between the Azerbaijani and Armenian borders, which caused fear among
mafia bosses in Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to unofficial
statistics, Armenia and Azerbaijan are involved in shady dealings to
the sum of 35m dollars. This mainly amounts to export of Azerbaijan’s
oil and food to Armenia. The closure of borders means that
higher-ranking state officials will lose their dirty profits.
Moreover, this will create an economic crisis in Armenia. That the
Azerbaijani bodies have failed to take any serious measures to stop
the trade confirms that the state bodies protect the mafia.

In the wake of Saakashvili’s visit to the USA, the fight against
corruption and closure of borders has become more intense. This leads
to the conclusion that the USA uses Saakashvili as a stick to punish
the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders for their servitude to Russia.
During the upcoming visit to Armenia, Saakashvili will discuss with
[Armenian President Robert] Kocharyan the fight against corruption
and urge Kocharyan to join efforts. Otherwise, Georgia will refuse to
restore the railway to Armenia.

Should Aliyev and Kocharyan fail to take serious measures against
corruption, the processes in Georgia may trigger a US export of
“velvet revolution” to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

BAKU: Armenian raid causes reshuffle of Azeri top brass – paper

Azadliq, Baku in Azeri
11 Mar 04, p 1

Armenian raid causes reshuffle of Azeri top brass – paper

Text of an unattributed report by Azerbaijani newspaper Azadliq on 11
March headlined “The generals failed to defend” and subheaded “Was it
possible to prevent the Armenian raid on the village of Alxanli? Two
generals of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been sacked”

There have been no official reports as to why two high-ranking
officials of the Defence Ministry have been dismissed, but Azadliq
newspaper has managed to obtain some information on that.

It was reported yesterday [10 March] that [Azerbaijani President]
Ilham Aliyev relieved of their posts National Hero Lt-Gen Talib
Mammadov, the chief of a key department at the Azerbaijani Defence
Ministry, and Maj-Gen Qabil Mammadov, the commander of a unit of the
armed forces. We found out that Talib Mammadov was the head of the
counterintelligence unit, and Qabil Mammadov was in charge of the
army corps.

We learnt from reliable sources that these people were accused of
being irresponsible and dismissed in the wake of the Armenian raid on
Fuzuli District [part of which is controlled by the Armenian forces].
Azadliq was the only paper to carry a report about that raid quoting
reliable sources. The report said that the Azerbaijani armed forces
sustained losses during the raid and the Defence Ministry dispatched
additional forces to the place. We learnt yesterday that the
Armenians raided Alxanli village in Fuzuli District. We contacted
villagers who confirmed the report.

The source said that Talib Mammadov was dismissed over his failure to
report the attack in time, and Qabil Mammadov for taking inadequate
measures to defend the place.

Tbilisi: Georgian president to visit Armenia

Kavkasia-Press news agency, Tbilisi, in Georgian
11 Mar 04

Georgian president to visit Armenia


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will start a two-day official
visit to Yerevan on Friday [12 March]. Saakashvili was invited by
Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.

The Armenian president’s press service has reported that the foreign
affairs, fuel and energy, and infrastructure and development ministers,
as well as the president’s representative in the Samtskhe-Javakheti
region [where ethnic Armenians live] and parliament members will be
among the Georgian delegation.

A confidential meeting between the presidents of the two countries
will be held on Friday. Later, Georgian-Armenian talks will be held
in a wider format. During the course of the meeting, the president
will meet Chairman of the National Assembly Artur Bagdasaryan and
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan.

[Passage omitted]

Armenian Orgs Condemn Anti-Azeri Rhetoric by Senior Officials

Mediamax news agency, Yerevan, in Russian
11 Mar 04

Armenian organizations condemn anti-Azeri rhetoric by senior


The leaders of four Armenian public organizations have issued a
statement effectively accusing the ruling coalition of spreading
“racist and chauvinist ideas which are alien to our society”.

The statement forwarded to Mediamax said that when commenting on the
killing of an Armenian officer by an Azerbaijani colleague in
Budapest, the chairman of the standing parliamentary commission for
foreign relations, Armen Rustamyan, and the head of the parliamentary
faction of the Armenian Republican Party, Galust Saakyan, “used
unacceptable generalisations with regard to the Azerbaijani people as
a whole”.

“The statements by such high-ranking politicians who represent the
ruling political coalition are particularly unacceptable because they
can be construed as the official position of our state, bring about
additional obstacles to resolving the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict and
to improving relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the statement

“The whipping up of anti-Armenian tension in Azerbaijan and its
consequences certainly deserve a strong condemnation, but this cannot
serve as justification for the spread of racist and chauvinist ideas
which are alien to our society. Difficult as the Budapest tragedy
situation might be, we are calling for political restraint. We hope
that our country will continue to be guided by common sense and
democratic values,” the statement said.

The statement was signed by the president of the Civil Society
Institute, Artak Kirakosyan, the president of the Yerevan Press Club,
Boris Navasardyan, the president of the Armenian Helsinki Committee,
Avetik Ishkhanyan, and the president of the Caucasus centre of peace
initiatives, Georgiy Vanyan.

Fiddling and fencing with Thirteen Strings

Ottawa Citizen
March 11, 2004 Thursday Final Edition

Fiddling and fencing with Thirteen Strings

by Steven Mazey

How often do you get to see a prodigiously talented violin soloist
and a fencing demonstration in period costume, all in one evening?

That’s what audiences will be treated to tomorrow night when
violinist Jessica Linnebach joins chamber orchestra Thirteen Strings
and conductor Jean-Francois Rivest for pieces by Tartini and Armenian
composer Alexander Arutiunian.

The orchestra will also perform 17th-century composer Heinrich
Biber’s Battalia, which was inspired by a swordfight. That’s where
the fencing comes in. Rivest will give a free pre-concert talk about
the piece at 7 p.m., with demonstrations by members of the University
of Ottawa Excalibur Fencing Club, in costume.

Linnebach, a native of Edmonton, performed as a soloist with the
National Arts Centre Orchestra when she was 17, on the tour of Israel
and Europe in 2000. Tomorrow, she will perform Arutiunian’s Concerto
for Violin and String Orchestra and Tartini’s Sonata in G minor for
Violin and Strings, “Devil’s Trill.”

It’s Linnebach’s first performance of the Arutunian piece, which she
describes as “very melodious and rich.”

She first performed the Tartini when she was 11, and says “it is very
exciting and dramatic, and it really is like a Devil’s Trill. The
most difficult aspect of the piece is endurance and being able to
keep the energy all the way through. I’m excited to have the
opportunity to play it again.”

Linnebach was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in
Philadelphia at the age of 10, and is one of the youngest bachelor of
music graduates in the 75-year history of the school. Last September,
the Canada Council for the Arts’ Instrument Bank awarded her a
three-year loan of a Bell Giovanni Tononi violin from about 1700.

“I have fallen in love with it. It has a rich and full sound and it
has been an absolute joy for me to play,” says Linnebach, who has
been performing as a member of the NACO this season.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, Kent Street at
Wellington. Tickets, at $25 general, $20 seniors, and $5 for
students, will be at the door.

Thirteen Strings will also perform Sunday as part of the Concerts
Cumberland series, joined by two talented Ottawa students.

Violinist Yolanda Bruno, 14, and pianist Nina He, 16, won the fourth
annual Capital Concerto Competition, organized by Concerts Cumberland
to give students the chance to work with a professional orchestra.

At Orleans United Church, 1111 Orleans Blvd., Bruno will perform an
excerpt from a Locatelli concerto and Nina He will perform an excerpt
from Bach’s Concerto in F minor. The students receive prizes of $500
and $300 from sponsor RBC Investments.

The concert includes music by Haydn and a repeat of the Biber piece.
The talk and the fencing demonstration start at 7:10 p.m., followed
by the concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $20 for adults, $16 for seniors,
$5 for students, will be at the door.

Armenian paper condemns British envoy for denying genocide

Azg, Yerevan, in Armenian
10 Mar 04 p 5

Armenian paper condemns British envoy for denying genocide

The British ambassador’s recent remarks on the 1915 Armenian genocide
are false and offensive, says an article reprinted by the Armenian
newspaper Azg from California Courier. The paper interviewed
Ambassador Thorda Abbott-Watt who said that “the British government
had condemned the massacres as an atrocity at the time, and still
did, but the evidence was not sufficiently unequivocal that what took
place could be categorized as genocide under the 1948 United Nations
Convention on Genocide”. At the same time, the paper criticized the
Armenian government for not reacting to the ambassador’s statement.
It urged Armenian organizations to condemn the British government’s
position and stage demonstrations outside the embassy. The following
is a text of Harut Sassounian report by Armenian newspaper Azg on 10
March headlined “One should not keep silent in this case”.
Subheadings have been inserted editorially:

On 20 January, during an interview to the Regnum agency in connection
with the first anniversary of her diplomatic posting in Armenia, the
British ambassador to Armenia made a false and offensive statement on
the Armenian genocide. Ambassador Thorda Abbott-Watt was reported by
Azg newspaper as saying: “Great Britain accepts that the events of
1915 were mass killings (of the Armenian population), the responsible
for which are the Turks. I see no problem calling it brutality. It
shouldn’t have taken place even in the course of war. But, I do not
think that recognizing the events as genocide would be of much use.”

British envoy’s comment

Before writing this column, I sent an e-mail to the British
ambassador to confirm that she was accurately quoted. She responded
by saying: “On the events of 1915, I said words to the effect quoted,
but the translation has come out slightly clumsily. What I said was
that I understood the strength of feeling in Armenia about what
happened and that I knew that this was an issue which still touched
people very deeply nearly ninety years on. The British government had
condemned the massacres as an atrocity at the time, and still did.
But the evidence was not sufficiently unequivocal that what took
place could be categorized as genocide under the 1948 United Nations
Convention on Genocide and that while the debate continued among
historians and lawyers, we believed that there was a role for us in
encouraging countries in the region to look to the future and to work
actively for better relations and a lessening of tension.”

In my response to her, I pointed out that I had no quarrel with her
personally, since as ambassador, she was merely expressing the
position of her government. Nevertheless, I inquired if she could
explain why the British government would take the highly offensive
and incorrect position that the Armenian genocide did not fit the UN
definition of genocide. I told her that I was quite familiar with the
UN definition, as I had spent 10 years lobbying at the UN for the
acceptance of the Armenian genocide. In 1985, the UN Subcommission on
the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities finally
recognized the Armenian genocide as a genocide, and included it as
such in its report on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide. I found it absurd that the British government would
question the compatibility of the Armenian genocide with the UN
definition, since the UN itself had taken the position that the
Armenian Genocide perfectly fit its definition of genocide! It is
quite upsetting that any ambassador sitting in Yerevan would have the
audacity to dispute that what happened to the Armenians in 1915 was

No Armenian reaction so far

It is even more upsetting that in the past six weeks, not a single
Armenian government official, nor the representative of any political
organization, indeed not a single Armenian has bothered to respond to
the ambassador’s insulting words on the Armenian genocide! By now,
there should have been dozens of statements issued by various
Armenian entities, both in Armenia and the diaspora, condemning both
the British ambassador and her government. There should have been
daily demonstrations in front of the British embassy in Yerevan. The
Armenian Foreign Ministry should have delivered a diplomatic note of
protest to the ambassador and put her on notice that the Armenian
government would not tolerate such offensive statements. In a recent
interview she gave to a journalist in Armenia, Ambassador Abott-Watt
said: “I like a good khorovads [kebab]. By the time I leave Armenia,
I hope I’ll be able to make good khorovads.” If the Armenians would
react strongly to her deeply injurious statement on the genocide,
before she returns to London, she may also learn that distorting the
facts of the Armenian genocide is highly offensive to Armenians and a
sin against all victims of crimes against humanity. By their silence,
Armenians are simply encouraging the British and others to continue
questioning the facts of the Armenian genocide.

Imagine what would have happened if some ambassador would have been
foolish enough to give a press conference in the middle of Tel Aviv,
saying that the Holocaust was simply “an atrocity” or “a brutality”
and did not fit the UN definition of genocide! That ambassador would
have been kicked out of Israel within 24 hours. Armenians not only
should raise their voices in protest against the British ambassador,
more importantly, they should urge Armenian government officials and
political organizations not to remain silent in the face of such

Russia, Armenia prolong agreement on resettling citizens

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 11, 2004

Russia, Armenia prolong agreement on resettling citizens

By Natalya Slavina


The Russian government has approved on Thursday a proposal of
prolonging the period of validity of the agreement between Russia and
Armenia on regulating the process of citizens’ voluntary
resettlement, journalists learnt at the Department of Government

This five-year agreement was signed on August 29, 199.

The agreement defines the procedure of resettling citizens of the two
countries and protects their property rights.

The government has decided to prolong the given agreement for the
next five years.

OSS-Zvezda wants to attract 1.2 mln Armenian mobile users

Prime-Tass English-language Business Newswire
March 11, 2004

OSS-Zvezda wants to attract 1.2 mln Armenian mobile users

YEREVAN, Mar 11 (Prime-Tass) — Russian-Armenian telecommunications
joint venture OSS-Zvezda is expected to attract up to 1.2 million
subscribers if allowed to launch its mobile service network, the
company’s General Director Eduard Akopyan told a news conference

OSS-Zvezda has submitted a bid to Armenia’s Transport and
Communications Ministry for a license to provide GSM 1800 mobile
services, he said adding that after the national telecommunications
monopoly ArmenTel is stripped of its monopoly rights, the bid could
be considered by the ministry.

Currently, OSS-Zvezda is completing the construction of its mobile
network and is awaiting the license, he said.

The total investments into the project are estimated at 60 million
euros, he noted. No other details were available. End

New gov’t to meet today

RosBusinessConsulting Database
March 11, 2004 Thursday 1:34 am, EST

New gov’t to meet today

Today the Russian government will discuss measures aimed at
implementing the Russian President’s decree on the system and
structure of federal government agencies signed on March 9. Deputy
Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov will deliver a corresponding report,
the Government Information Department reported.

The Cabinet will also consider issues concerning some international
agreements and protocols with Armenia and Ukraine. Deputy Interior
Minister Alexander Chekalin and Deputy Foreign Minister Valery
Loshchinin will make corresponding reports.

This meeting will be presided by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Ingosstrakh intends to develop Armenia’s insurance market

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 11, 2004

Ingosstrakh intends to develop Armenia’s insurance market

By Tigran Liloyan

Russia’s Ingosstrakh Insurance Company has acquired 75 percent of the
shares of the Armenian insurance firm Efes, which accounts for about
20 percent of the country’s insurance market.

Ingosstrakh General Director Vyacheslav Shcherbakov stated here on
Thursday, “We expect to promote the development of the insurance
market of Armenia.” He said the decision to appear on the Armenian
market is prompted, to a larger extent, by an active development of
Russo-Armenian economic cooperation. Russian capital investments in
Armenia have amounted to 200 million US dollars, with a number of big
Russian companies operating in this country, Shcherbakov pointed out.

“This is why a further economic development is impossible without a
sizeable insurance component,” Shcherbakov maintains. He is convinced
that the insurance market here, despite its not large volume, has a
considerable potential. The Ingosstrakh intends to take up the
insurance of the property of Armenia’s enterprises that have been
turned over to Russia in repayment of the interstate debt, he said.

The Russian company will also offer an extensive package of services
in Armenia. These are regular products of Ingosstrakh, primarily the
insurance of the property of natural persons and legal entities, air
transportation, and liability car insurance. The latter is not
compulsory in Armenia so far but the Ingosstrakh hopes that a
respective law will also be adopted in Armenia soon.