Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clinton To Press For Karabakh Peace In Azerbaijan, Armenia

Clinton To Press For Karabakh Peace In Azerbaijan, Armenia

U.S. -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions about the administration's national security strategy in Washington, DC, 27May2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will press Armenia and Azerbaijan to cut a framework peace deal on Nagorno-Karabakh during her upcoming trips to the two South Caucasus states, a senior U.S. official said late on Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said she will “underscore” a peace message contained in a joint statement issued by the presidents of the United States, France and Russia over the weekend.

Clinton is due to arrive in Baku and proceed to Yerevan on Sunday on a five-nation tour of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. She will become the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Armenia in over 18 years.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Clinton’s talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian will focus on “a broad range of issues pertaining to the development and deepening of the friendly Armenian-American partnership.” “Regional and international issues of mutual interest will also be discussed,” read a ministry statement.

Georgia -- US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian affairs Philip Gordon in Tbilisi, 10Jun2009According to Gordon, the unresolved Karabakh conflict will be high on the agenda of Clinton’s talks in the Armenian and Azerbaijani capitals. “I think we’ve seen in some of the violence that has appeared in the region lately that we can’t take stability for granted, and Armenia and Azerbaijan would both benefit from moving forward in the [OSCE] Minsk Group process,” he told journalists in Washington. “And the Secretary will have a chance in both countries to underscore what the [U.S., Russian and French] presidents said in Toronto the other day.”

Gordon said Washington is “very concerned” about the latest upsurge in ceasefire violations around Karabakh and thinks they highlight the need for a speedy resolution of the dispute. “And that is the purpose of the Secretary’s -- one of the purposes of the Secretary’s trip to talk to both parties about how to move that process forward,” he said.

In their joint statement, Presidents Barack Obama, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy urged their Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts “complete the work on the Basic Principles” of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the three mediating powers. They said the peace framework must also be based on the OSCE’s “Helsinki Principles,” which include territorial integrity of states, peoples’ right to self-determination and non-use of force.

In Gordon’s words, Clinton will seek reassurances that Baku and Yerevan support these principles. “We’ll look to them to reiterate their commitment to all of the Helsinki Principles as part of this process,” he said.

The U.S. official added that Clinton will also discuss with Sarkisian Armenia’s U.S.-backed normalization process with Turkey that all but collapsed earlier this year. “So this will be a chance for the Secretary to speak to President Sarkisian and the Armenians about how they see that situation,” he said.

In that context, Gordon reaffirmed Washington’s support for an unconditional ratification of the Turkish-Armenian protocols that were signed in Zurich last October. Sarkisian froze the process of their ratification by the Armenian parliamentary in April, citing Ankara’s refusal to normalize ties with Yerevan before a Karabakh settlement.

The State Department praised the Armenian leader afterwards for not scrapping the protocols altogether. It said the deal may still be put into effect “over the long term.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State to visit Armenia

U.S. Secretary of State to visit Armenia
June 26, 2010 - 11:39 AMT 06:39 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Ukraine, Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia from July 1 to 5, the U.S Department of State said.
In Kyiv, Secretary Clinton will open the second meeting of the Strategic Partnership Commission and meet with government officials, including President Yanukovych and Foreign Minister Gryshchenko, and with civil society and independent media leaders.
In Krakow, Secretary Clinton will participate in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Community of Democracies, an organization initiated by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her Polish counterpart Bronislaw Geremek in 2000. Secretary Clinton will also meet with Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski.
The Secretary will continue on to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, where she will hold meetings with government officials and civil society leaders to discuss bilateral issues, as well as issues related to regional peace and stability.

US diplomat warns Turkey of eroding support, urges Ankara to demonstrate commitment to West

US diplomat warns Turkey of eroding support, urges Ankara to demonstrate commitment to West
June 26, 2010 - 16:16 AMT 11:16 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The remarks by Philip Gordon, the Obama administration's top diplomat on European affairs, were a rare admonishment of a crucial NATO ally.
"We think Turkey remains committed to NATO, Europe and the United States, but that needs to be demonstrated," Gordon told The Associated Press in an interview. "There are people asking questions about it in a way that is new, and that in itself is a bad thing that makes it harder for the United States to support some of the things that Turkey would like to see us support."
Gordon cited Turkey's vote against a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council resolution on new sanctions against Iran and noted Turkish rhetoric after Israel's deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla last month. The Security Council vote came shortly after Turkey and Brazil, to Washington's annoyance, had brokered a nuclear fuel-swap deal with Iran as an effort to delay or avoid new sanctions.
Some U.S. lawmakers who have supported Turkey have lashed out and warned of consequences for Ankara since the Security Council vote and the flotilla raid that left eight Turks and one Turkish-American dead. The lawmakers accused Turkey of supporting a flotilla that aimed to undermine Israel's blockade of Gaza and of cozying up to Iran.
The raid has led to chilling of ties between Turkey and Israel, countries that have long maintained a strategic alliance in the Middle East.
Gordon said Turkey's explanations of the U.N. episode have not been widely understood in Washington, Lethbridge Herald reported."There is a lot of questioning going on about Turkey's orientation and its ongoing commitment to strategic partnership with the United States," he said. "Turkey, as a NATO ally and a strong partner of the United States not only didn't abstain but voted no, and I think that Americans haven't understood why.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lawyer Stefan Taschjian demands recognition of Germany’s responsibility for Armenian Genocide

Lawyer Stefan Taschjian demands recognition of Germany’s responsibility for Armenian Genocide
June 22, 2010 - 16:09 AMT 11:09 GMTPanARMENIAN.Net - German attorney at law Stefan Taschjian has filed a suit against the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to assert that the massacres of the Armenians during the years 1915/1916 were a genocide in the sense of the UN Convention of 1948, as well as assert Federal Republic of Germany’s responsibility for this genocide being identical with the German Reich according to the German Federal Constitutional Court. The suit against the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany was filed on June 21.

“I planned to file my suit on April 24, 2010, yet my schedule was too tight at the time. I’m glad to have filed an action today, upon the arrival of Armenian President in Germany. I hope the issue will be discussed by both states’ authorities. Armenia’s support is very important for the success of the lawsuit,” Stefan Taschjian emphasized in a conversation with PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

As he stated, in March 2007 he submitted facts of German soldiers’ direct participation in Armenian Genocide to Bundestag’s Board for Caucasus Issues. “I presented documents of German Ministry of Foreign Affairs after having had a conversation with the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yerevan, describing massacres perpetrated by German soldiers in the cities of Urfa and Zeitun, German army commander’s shooting at Armenians’ houses to facilitate Turks’ entrance,” Taschjian noted, adding that in February 2010, when Die Linke German leftist party asked the same questions to German government, the latter replied similarly as Turkey does regarding the Armenian Genocide.

“German Government denied the fact, stating that the issue should be investigated by historians,” the lawyer emphasized, adding: “This is a shame for Germany and unbearable because of the fact that the Genocide would not have taken place if the German Reich did not agree to it.”

The issue will be considered at Berlin Administrative Court and submitted to German government’s consideration. Hearing for the case will be held in about half a year.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Israeli protesters holding rally at Turkish Embassy: "Don’t forget the blood of Armenians"

Israeli protesters holding rally at Turkish Embassy: "Don’t forget the blood of Armenians"
Anti-Turkish protest rallies continue in Israel. Another action is being held near the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, this time by Jews arrived from France, Milliyet writes.The protesters voiced slogans hinting on Turkish PM Erdogan, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah and Iran’s Ahmadinejad being allies. According to the source, Israeli protesters also raised the Armenian genocide, shouting: “Don’t forget the blood of Armenians.”


Armenian Americans In New Push For Genocide Recognition

Armenian Americans In New Push For Genocide Recognition

The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Emil Danielyan
The Armenian community in the United States is looking to capitalize on Turkey’s reluctance to unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia and castigation of Israel in what appears to be a fresh push for U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Armenian-American advocacy groups look set to step up their efforts to push a draft resolution describing the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide through the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming months.“Turkey’s counterproductive statements and actions have only helped us,” Bryan Ardouny, the executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, told RFE/RL's Armenian service on Thursday. He singled out Turkish preconditions for the ratification of the U.S.-brokered normalization protocols signed by Ankara and Yerevan last October.Ardouny said some House members that until recently opposed the Armenian genocide resolution are now “reconsidering their position” because of the worsening Turkish-Israeli relations. Two such congressmen on Wednesday publicly warned Turkey that they might back the bill urging President Barack Obama to “accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide.” They denounced Ankara’s perceived pro-Iranian moves and support for the recent effort to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.“They need to understand going forward there's going to be a cost regarding the Armenian resolution,” Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, told a news conference, according to CNN. Another Republican congressman, Peter King of New York, said he and “many” other House members believe there was an Armenian genocide, but have been reluctant to support the resolution due to the strategic U.S. relationship with Turkey. “I think that's about to change,” CNN quoted King as saying.Pence strongly opposed the resolution as recently as last March, when it was narrowly approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Turkish government reacted angrily to the move, recalling its ambassador in the United States in protest. The envoy was sent back to Washington in April after the Obama administration reportedly assured the Turks that the genocide bill will not reach the House floor anytime soon. Earlier on Wednesday, a key congressional sponsor of the resolution circulated on a letter to fellow legislators urging them to affirm “the first genocide of the Twentieth Century.” A total of 143 House members have co-sponsored it so far. “Given Turkey’s recent behavior, this Congress needs to reevaluate whether we should continue to dishonor the dead to placate a false friend,” wrote Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California. “Now is the time to reassert our moral leadership in the fight against genocide, to honor the memory of a million and a half innocent men, women and children.”
U.S. -- Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, undated.Schiff said that Turkey has become “one of Iran’s primary defenders and apologists” and “has launched numerous rhetorical fusillades against Israel.” “Turkey was the main instigator of the recent “Gaza flotilla” and, thus, bears responsibility for the tragic events of May 31,” he charged.According to Ardouny, Assembly leaders met Schiff and other lawmakers recently to reiterate the “importance of moving forward with a vote on the House floor.” “Having worked with the sponsors to ensure a successful vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we continue to press forward,” he said. Another Armenian-American source told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that Assembly representatives also met in late May with the leadership of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and urged it to support the resolution. “They had stopped working against us before the flotilla incident,” said the source.“We appreciate the past support we have received from our friends and colleagues in the Jewish community, and continue to strongly encourage Jewish groups to publicly support the Armenian Genocide resolution,” Ardouny said, for his part. The ACJ and some of the other influential Jewish lobby groups are known to have helped Turkey block pro-Armenian resolutions in the U.S. Congress in the past. Observers in Washington now say the Turks can no longer count on that backing. Whether the Obama administration will also stop opposing Armenian genocide recognition because of the ongoing re-orientation of Turkish foreign policy remains to be seen.An Armenian-American campaigner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL that while the genocide bill might be brought before the full House as early as next month, the Armenian lobby is more likely to wait until the run-up to the November mid-term congressional elections. “We're checking vote counts now,” he said, adding that prospects for its passage are now “much brighter.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Armenian cave yields what may be world's oldest leather shoe

CNN) -- Get a kick out of this: Researchers reported Wednesday finding the world's oldest leather shoe in a cave in Armenia.
The 5,500-year-old one-piece shoe antedates Stonehenge by a millennium and precedes every loafer, mukluk, wader, clog, bootee, stiletto, wingtip, mule, Oxford and cross trainer anyone has ever seen, according to Ron Pinhasi, a lecturer in prehistoric archaeology at University College Cork in Ireland.
The effort that resulted in the find dates to 2005, when Pinhasi and his team of archaeologists first entered the cave about an hour south of the capital city of Yerevan, in Vayotz Dzor province on the border with Iran and Turkey, and decided it looked promising.
Two years later, Pinhasi returned, dug down about half a meter and "started discovering everything," including rare, well-preserved organic material such as textiles, ropes and wooden stakes, leading them to redouble their efforts.
The next year, they excavated in a house that had been constructed inside the cave and found a pit covered with sheep or goat dung.
Below the dung, they found broken pottery and goat horns covering the shoe, said the authors, who published their findings in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.
The right-footed, undecorated shoe -- today it would be a size 5 -- probably belonged to a woman, "but we cannot be certain; it could be a man with small feet," Pinhasi said.
A leather thong is stitched through four sets of eyelets in the back and 15 sets in the top. The shoe was lightly worn. Some of the eyelets have been recut, but the sole shows little wear.
"We thought originally it could be a discard, but at the same time, it's very strange, because we have only one shoe, and it's in very good shape," Pinhasi said. "It looks like it was more than likely deliberately placed in this way."
If so, it would join a number of other items that appear to have been placed as offerings. At the back of the cave, the archaeologists found pots full of grain and three pots, each containing the skull of a child -- their jaws removed.
"It's pretty weird," he said.
Two leather samples were taken: One was sent for carbon dating to the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and the other to the University of California-Irvine Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility; a piece of the straw was sent to Oxford.
Age estimates were the same for all three.
Pinhasi said he had no idea how common it would have been at that time for people to wear shoes.
His is the second-oldest shoe find; a pair of 7,500-year-old sandals made of fiber was found in Missouri, he said.
But that doesn't mean shoes were not commonly used. The fact that so little footwear from those days has been found could be explained by the fact that shoes don't tend to age well. Had it not been for the conditions inside the cave, the shoe would probably have disintegrated long ago.
Though temperatures in the region range from sweltering in the summer to icy in winter, the interior of the limestone cave remains a dry, consistent 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees F), key to the shoe's survival, he said.
"What was exciting was that it is so complete and it looks so much like a modern shoe, with the eyelets and everything. Obviously, these people already knew how to make it."
And there was a level of sophistication in the product that he did not expect. The cow leather appeared to have been split and cured with a vegetable oil, said Pinhasi, who favors size 10½ Birkenstocks. "They actually look a little bit like the shoe," he said. "Not quite -- a bit more sophisticated."
The fact that the cave remained untouched for so many millennia is surprising. It can be seen from a heavily traveled road and is only about 300 yards from a fish restaurant, he said.
But government authorities are now posting a guard to keep away looters. "It's turning [out] to be sort of the most important site in Armenia," he said.
Though he wants to display the shoe in a museum in Armenia, he first wants to take it to Switzerland or Germany for preservation.
In the two years since the footwear was unearthed, the elements have taken a toll. "When it came out [of the ground], the leather was absolutely soft," the Israeli archaeologist said. "Now, it's hard as a rock."
But legislation does not exist in Armenia that would allow him to remove a national treasure from the country, so he is waiting.
Meanwhile, the shoe sits in the Institute of Archeology at the National Academy of Sciences in Yereva.
On Friday, Pinhasi plans to return to the region, this time to dig in a cave near the one that held the shoe.
"We want to see if it's unique," he said.
Even if nearby caves turn out to hold no such treasure, the 41-year-old researcher has plenty of work ahead of him. "We must have excavated about 2 percent of it," he said. "It could take decades" to finish the rest.
479 shares 163 comments-->

Share this on:
Mixx Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn Viadeo

U.S. Jewish Groups ‘No Longer Opposed’ To Armenian Genocide Recognition

Support Our Advertisers
RSS FEED Twitter Facebook Newsletter

English Armenian
Middle East
United States
Arts & Culture
By Any Means
People & Places
Critics' Forum
My Turn
Capital Perspectives
Three Apples
My Name is Armen
Living in Armenia
Heghinar's Corner
Monday, June 14th, 2010 Posted by Asbarez Staff
U.S. Jewish Groups ‘No Longer Opposed’ To Armenian Genocide Recognition

WASHINGTON (RFE/RL)–Turkey can no longer count on the backing of the powerful Jewish lobby in the United States in its efforts to block a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, according to a Washington-based journalist.
Eli Lake, a national security correspondent for “The Washington Times,” believes that Ankara’s furious reaction to the deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound international aid flotilla will help Armenian-American advocacy groups trying to push such a resolution through the U.S. Congress.
On June 8, the Washington Times published a revealing article by Lake on the issue titled, “American Jewish community ends support of Turkish interests on Hill.”
“In 2008, the major Jewish organizations decided they would no longer quietly push Congress to block a resolution commemorating the Armenian genocide,” Lake told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Monday. “This was a reflection in some way of deteriorating ties between Israel and Turkey.”
“One of the prizes of the Turks in their relationship with Israel was support from the American Jewish community in Washington. After the flotilla incident, I would say that that support for now has dried up,” he said.
Last March, a key committee of the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly endorsed a draft resolution describing the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide and urging President Barack Obama to do the same. Opposition from the White House prevented further progress of the bill.
The leading Armenian advocacy groups in Washington are expected to again try to bring it to the House floor for a vote ahead of the November mid-term elections in the United States.
“I would say that they will certainly not be an obstacle to the bill,” Lake said, referring to the more influential Jewish-American groups. “It’s possible that some groups may end up supporting it because there is a kinship, of course, between what happened to the Armenian people in 1915 and what happened to the Jewish people in the Holocaust in 1939-1945.”
Still, the journalist cautioned that this alone would not guarantee the resolution’s passage. “You still have plenty of other interests that are looking to make sure that such a resolution would never be passed by the House and that is mainly in the U.S. defense establishment, that still considers Turkey a major NATO ally,” he said. “You probably would end up having an executive branch that would say that this complicates our relationship with an important ally in the Mediterranean.”
Lake argued that despite its growing unease over Turkish policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict and Iran, the United States still has “very deep ties” with Turkey. Washington could reconsider them only if Ankara “orients itself towards Iran,” he said.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Putin Rules Out Russian Pressure On Armenia, Azerbaijan

Putin Rules Out Russian Pressure On Armenia, Azerbaijan

Turkey -- Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin before their news conference in Istanbul, 08Jun2010
Russia will not put pressure on Armenia or Azerbaijan to hasten the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and expects other mediating powers to be just as cautious, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in Turkey on Tuesday.“Only the two states, the two peoples can find mutually acceptable solutions and compromises in a practical dialogue with one another. Solving this kind of problems always requires a compromise acceptable to both sides,” Putin told a news conference after talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Istanbul.“What is acceptable to Azerbaijan or Armenia?” he said. “Only they themselves can tell. All other participants of this [negotiating] process can only act as guarantors of the respect of elaborated agreements.”“We don’t want anyone to think later on that we pressured one of the parties and achieved a solution to the problem that is unfair to somebody,” he added. Visiting Turkey last month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev likewise stressed that the onus is on Baku and Yerevan to work out a peaceful settlement based on mutual compromise. Turkish officials had expressed hope ahead of Medvedev’s trip that Moscow will become more actively involved in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. This raised fears in Armenia that the Russians may seek more Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan for the sake of their increasingly close relationship with Turkey.The Turkish government regards a Karabakh settlement as a key precondition for implementing the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed in October. Putin publicly rejected this linkage when he met Erdogan in Moscow earlier this year. President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders hailed this stance. The strained Turkish-Armenian relations featured large during Medvedev’s latest talks with Sarkisian that were held in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don last week. Sarkisian afterwards again blamed Ankara for the effective collapse of the normalization process and ruled out any Turkish mediation in the Karabakh peace process. It was not clear if the Russian and Turkish premiers discussed the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute on Tuesday. Erdogan made no mention of the issue at the ensuing news conference. He spoke only of “strengthening relations between Turkey and Russia in the whole region and the Caucasus in particular.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Serzh Sargsyan: today, Armenia has nothing to talk about with Turkey

Serzh Sargsyan: today, Armenia has nothing to talk about with Turkey
June 2, 2010 - 12:15 AMT 07:15 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia-Russia relations are based on firm ground, having reached an exemplary level of mutual trust and understanding, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated.

Dwelling on Armenia-Turkey relations RA leader explained ratification process suspension by Ankara’s lack of readiness to ratify them. “To justify Protocols’ failure, Turkey is setting new preconditions. Moreover, Ankara is attempting to become involved in Karabakh conflict settlement, where it doesn’t belong in the least. Today, we have nothing to talk about with unreliable partner, who periodically violates previous agreements, Serzh Sargsyan stated in his speech to Rostov -on –Don Armenian community.

Armenia did its best to promote opening of the border with Turkey, RA leader noted. Commenting on Karabakh issue, RA President stated, “NKR people’s right for self-determination is not an object of bargain to Armenia.” . In conclusion, Armenian President called for the unity of Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora, presidential press service reported.