Thursday, March 31, 2011

Armenian President intends to be first passenger of Karabakh aircraft

Armenian President intends to be first passenger of Karabakh aircraft March 31, 2011 13:33 Population of Nagorno-Karabakh has a right to use air transport, it is beyond doubt, said Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. At a joint press conference following the meeting with President of Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey, President Sargsyan noted Armenia and NKR should spare no effort to reach accord on the issue with international agencies. The Armenian leader expressed confidence the initiative would be successful. Commenting on Baku’s threat to shoot down aircrafts heading to Karabakh, Sargsyan said such threats had been voiced by terrorist groups, not states. He considers such threats ridiculous, adding Baku’s statements do not require comments. “But I do declare I will be the first passenger of the first flight,” Sargsyan emphasized. Stepanakert’s airport will start its operation from May 9, 2011. Recently Azerbaijan has threatened to shoot aircrafts flying to Nagorno-Karabakh. On March 21, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) handed Armenian General Department of Civil Aviation a letter from head of the Azerbaijani aviation department which says Baku is ready to crash planes flying to Karabakh if authorities open Stepanakert airport. Earlier chief of NKR civil aviation department Dmitry Adbashyan responded to Azerbaijani statement, noting “if Azerbaijan considers itself a civilized country, it must not make such statements”. Many world states and members of the International Civil Aviation Organization, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, took on commitment never shoot down civilian aircrafts. News from Armenia -

Monday, March 28, 2011


Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk fined for the phrase “Turks killed 1 million Armenians” March 28, 2011 00:18 Famous Turkish writer and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk must pay a compensation of 6, 000 liras (U.S. $ 4,000) for the phrase “Turks killed 1 million Armenians,” by the Turkish court’s decision. The writer was sued in 2005 by five people, including ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, as well as four other people who are relatives of soldiers killed in action. Pamuk has 15 days to appeal the court decision, according to the legal procedures. In 2005, after Pamuk made a statement regarding the mass killings of Armenians and Kurds in the Ottoman Empire, a criminal case was opened against him based on a complaint filed by ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz. Kerincsiz appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal which ordered the court in Sisli to re-open the case. On March 27, 2011, Pamuk was found guilty and ordered to pay 6,000 liras in total compensation to five people. As reported earlier, in an interview with a Swiss newspaper in 2005, Pamuk said that Turks killed 1 million Armenians and 30, 000 Kurds in 1915. A month ago, Pamuk repeated his words in an interview with a Greek newspaper. News from Armenia -

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hamparian: An Easter Appeal for April 24th

This April, for the first time since 1915, the 24th falls on Easter Sunday on the Armenian Church calendar.

And so, on this sacred day, for the first time since the Armenian Genocide, Armenians will join together as Christians to celebrate the ascension of Christ after his earthly death upon the cross, and also, as Armenians—heirs of an ancient people that arose nearly a century ago from the ashes of genocide—to mark our own rebirth as a nation.

We will recall with pride our resurrection as a people from the fires of hatred that nearly consumed us in 1915, even as we remember, with both sadness and alarm, that this smoldering but still strong hatred may yet, if not quenched by the waters of justice, spark again to burn the surviving sons and daughters of our ancient homeland.

As a people who believe in the power of faith and forgiveness, we seek a true and enduring redemption for the Republic of Turkey through repentance and return. For, just as scripture tells us that the truth will set us free, so too will justice set us all upon the path to peace.

For Turkey’s leaders and government, the difficult path to true forgiveness must pass through a sincere confession of past sins and an apology for all harm, the full return of all that must rightfully be rendered to the victims of its crimes, and an abiding renunciation of hatred and violence toward the modern-day sons and daughters of those who lived on the Biblical lands in and around Ararat for thousands of years.

Turkey must repent in word and deed.

Redeem itself in spirit and action.

Renounce evil, and all the fruits of its evil crimes.

And render to the Armenians all that once was and remains Armenian.

There can be no better place to start than the immediate return of all churches, monasteries, relics, and other religious properties, not only to the Armenians, but to all the Christians of these ancient Biblical lands.

And, finally, as Armenians, children of the first nation to adopt Christianity, as we approach this holiest of days, we call upon all of our brothers and sisters in faith worldwide—Christians, Muslims, Jews, believers of all denominations and faiths, and those who hold no faith—to join with us in offering a prayer for the Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Pontian, Greek, and other victims of the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era genocide of its Christian minorities.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bryza voices message of U.S. to Azerbaijan: aircrafts will fly to Karabakh

Bryza voices message of U.S. to Azerbaijan: aircrafts will fly to Karabakh
March 21, 2011 - 20:50 AMT 16:50 GMTPanARMENIAN.Net - The statement of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza on unacceptability of force application by Azerbaijan against civilian planes flying to Nagorno Karabakh was surprising.

It was Bryza’s response to the statement of Arif Mammadov, director of Azerbaijan's Civil Aviation Administration, who said that Azerbaijan will shoot down civilian planes flying to Karabakh after reopening of Stepanakert airport.

The U.S., which turns a blind eye on bellicose statements of Azerbaijan, permanent ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan resulting in Armenian soldiers’ death, active arming of the Azerbaijani armed forces, this time unequivocally hinted that Baku is free in its actions but within strictly defined boundaries.

Washington cannot but understand that even an attempt to shoot down an aircraft flying to Karabakh will immediately turn into a war, what was clearly stated by Stepanakert.

“Any slight attempt Azerbaijan might take will be fraught with unpredictable repercussions for Azerbaijan itself,” head of the Central Information Department at the Office of the Artsakh President David Babayan said.

Moreover, Bryza voiced a message of the U.S. to Azerbaijan that airplanes will fly to Karabakh. “We urge the sides to work together to resolve all issues of commercial aviation safety prior to the planned opening of a new airport in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Bryza said in an interview with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service. The airport in Stepanakert is scheduled to be put into operation in May 2011.

Taking into consideration the tense situation in Arab countries and the military operation of allied forces in Libya, the U.S. does not need another hot spot, the more so as Russia and due to fair reasons, possibly, Iran will not stand aside, what may turn into a global catastrophe.

Due to this very reason Washington decided to shorten Azerbaijan’s leash, which is too long sometimes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Aznavour urges Sarkozy to meet his pledge on Armenian Genocide

Aznavour urges Sarkozy to meet his pledge on Armenian Genocide
March 15, 2011 - 14:21 AMT 10:21 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - World known singer, Armenian Ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour voiced regret over the fact that Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Barack Obama of the United States have failed to meet their electoral pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
As freelance journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net in an interview with Nouvelles d'Arménie, Aznavour urged Sarkozy to be as good as his word, otherwise Armenians of France can remember about the broken promise during the next presidential election in 2012.
On October 12, 2006, French National Assembly passed a bill on criminalization of the Armenian Genocide denial. Recently, WikiLeaks released a cable quoting French President Nicolas Sarkozy as saying that the bill “will be buried in the Senate”, what aroused Aznavour’s indignation.
On March 13, 2011, about 3000 people gathered at the French Senate building on March 12 to demand adoption of the bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide.
A similar action was held in Marseille.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Turkey spent $3.3 million on anti-Genocide campaign in U.S.

Last year Turkey allocated $3.3 million to lobbying organizations in U.S., Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reports referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to information of Justice Department, Turkey transferred $3.3 million to 4 lobbying organizations and 3 NGOs.
It is also mentioned that blocking the passage of Armenian Resolution in the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs required major efforts and considerable expenses.
Among the organization getting money from Turkey are Gephardt Group - $1.424.113, Dickstein Shapiro - $535.500, Caspian- $168.000, Mercer - $50.000, Fleishman-Hillard- $590.859, 30 Point Strategies - $270.000.

News from Armenia -

Interview with Gyultekin: Armenians of Turkey are still scared to speak of their identities

15:03 14/03/2011 » SOCIETY
Interview with Gyultekin: Armenians of Turkey are still scared to speak of their identities
4 months ago the Armenians of Turkish State of Tunjeli founded “Union of faith and solidarity for Armenians of Dersim”. The mission of the organization is to protect, to defend and restore Armenian type, spiritual and cultural values. The President of the union is 50-year-old Armenian Miran Prkich Gyultekin, who has first changed his religion, was baptized and chose a new name for him. Gyultekin has recently visited Yerevan. He had an exclusive interview with “”.Read the interview below:-How many Armenians in Dersim have changed their religion and adopted Christianity? -Regretfully, I can’t remember of any certain figure. 4 of us have taken this initiative. Then Turkish media, particularly, “Radical” paper published a story called “Armenians return to their roots”. Later, media outlets covered more stories that hidden Armenians in Adiyaman, Bitlis and elsewhere were changing their religion. Armenians of Dersim don’t speak about their identities and roots, because they are scared. That feeling of fear should be overcome and destroyed. -How that feeling of scare can be overcome? -Through the organization that I’ve founded. For example, I did that, and nothing happened to me. -Is that initiative dangerous? - What I’m busy with is within the borders of human rights. Finally, I wish to return to the identity of my grand-grand-parents, to their faith, and I don’t think this is a problem. But if there occur any, then the state must settle them. -Were Armenians killed during massacres of Dersim in 1937-38? -Armenians have been expelled, and killed, but Kurds were the target then. -What role Armenians of Dersim can have in the normalization process of Armenian-Turkish relations? -We carefully follow the development of the process. If Turkey wants normalized relations with Armenia, they must offer compensation for the Genocide. If they don’t, they should recognize Armenian Genocide and apologize for it. If it is done worthily, we may be supporting that process.-Do Armenians of Dersim want to visit Armenia? -Everybody dreamed that. Everybody wants to see Armenia, and they will use any suitable chance. If our organization manages to get financial support, I would bring them here. Gyultekin shared with his impressions of Armenia: “I didn’t imagine Yerevan this way. While walking, I could feel Armenians have much resemblance with Dersim Armenians, that made me happy. I felt as if in Dersim. When I saw the new buildings, I thought only Armenians could make them. And Armenian girls have the most beautiful eyes in the world…”
Source: Panorama.a

Friday, March 11, 2011

Turkey Attempts Genocide of Karabakh Armenians

At least, on three occasions in history, Turkey has attempted genocidal acts, in its effort to implement a policy of total extermination and deportation of the Armenian population from Karabakh. From a historical perspective, Turkey’s current position and attempts to force preconditions on Armenia, as well as its continued pressure on Armenia to make concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process, are very real. Referencing historical records are important in shedding light on the origins of the “Turkish Strategy” vis-à-vis the Karabakh issue.
The first attemptThe expansion of borders of the Ottoman Empire to the Caucasus had started from the 16th century. On the way to the Caspian shores, the Turkish armies faced with heavy resistance from the Armenians of Artsakh (Karabakh) and, on many occasions, they suffered defeats as a result of the organized resistance of Karabakh Armenians.
In 1725 Sultan Ahmet III (1703-1730) issued a special fatwa to exterminate Armenians for their successful resistance against the Ottomans and ordered to kill them all for bringing the Russians into the Caucasus and blocking access of the Ottomans toward Baku.
The confession of a Turkish general, Saleh pasha, who was captured by the Armenians in Karabakh, confirmed that the Sultan aimed to completely exterminate local Armenians. He said: “The Sultan ordered the extermination of Armenians and Persians, since the troops of the Russian Tsar had occupied that shore of the (Caspian) sea, thus we have to attack them. We should remove the Armenians, who are like a wedge between us. We should destroy any obstacle existing in our way and open the way. If it weren’t for you (Armenians), we would have already marched on Derbend and Baku that belong to us from the ancient times.” [1].
In this 18th century document we see the formation of the Turkish approach toward the “non-obedient” Armenians, who as it was stated, were like a wedge between Istanbul and the Turkic East. After losing thousands soldiers and pashas, the Sultan’s and his allies’ attempts to annex Karabakh and station Ottoman forces there failed. Thus, the first attempt of the Ottoman regime to commit genocide against Karabakh Armenians was not successful, but this was just the beginning.
The second attemptThe second attempt to destroy the Armenian population of Karabakh took place after the Ottoman armies invaded the Caucasus during the WWI and created an artificial state and calling it “Azerbaijan” by using the name of the Northern Iranian province with the purpose of annexing the latter to the newly born Azerbaijan Republic. But this was not the only example of the Turkish state-building engineering. The proclamation of “Araz republic” and the “South-Eastern Caucasus democratic republic” followed the creation of Azerbaijan with the intent to ease Turkish expansionism. (the modern example of such policy is the creation of the Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974).
The Caucasus campaign of the Ottoman army resulted in capturing the city of Baku and committing horrible massacre of the Armenian population of the city in September 1918. After taking Baku, the Ottoman forces launched a new military campaign this time“to quell” Armenian resistance in Karabakh.
Ottoman war minister Enver pasha, who was one of the architects of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, ordered his cousin Nuri pasha, the commander of the Turkish forces in Azerbaijan, “to clear Azerbaijan of Russians and Armenians, in order to ensure Turkish-Turkic territorial continuity”(!)[2]
A week after this order, Turkey admitted its defeat in WWI. The Ottoman army suffered its last defeat in WWI in Karabakh, when a detachment of the Ottoman army, which was on its way to invade the southern villages of Karabakh, was ambushed by Armenian villagers who warded off about 400 Ottoman solders. The end of WWI and the Turkish withdrawal became the second failed attempt of genocide in Karabakh. Of course, later, as a result of Bolshevik and Kemalist Entente, Karabakh was annexed to Soviet Azerbaijan in 1921.
The third attemptI will not claim that the third attempt was a direct policy of extermination of Karabakh Armenians, but Turkey’s strong support of Azerbaijan in the latter’s attempts at deportation and crimes against humanity, enable us to claim that Turkey was directly involved in this new attempt to commit genocide against the Armenians in Karabakh. It is enough to say that hundreds of soldiers and officers of the Turkish regular army, including 10 generals were involved in the military operations carried out against the Armenian self-defense forces. And again, Turkey was the loser in Karabakh, this time together with Azerbaijan, and became a passive observer of Baku’s humiliated defeats in 1992-1994.
Turkish interference in the Karabakh conflict and the open support to Azerbaijan in the war against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia made Turkey more a part of the conflict than its resolution. Turkish involvement in the conflict included the following components: threats of military intervention, pressure by displaying armed forces, imposing transportation and energy blockade of Armenia; providing military support to Azerbaijan; developing initiatives directed to the formation of anti-Armenian coalition and informational isolation of Armenia; lobbying Azerbaijani interests in international organizations [3].
Ongoing military threats and attempts at escalation, the blockade of Armenia and the efforts to isolate Armenia from the regional and international politics created a direct threat toward Armenia and Karabakh.
ConclusionBased on the aforementioned facts, we can argue that Turkey’s approaches toward the resolution of the Karabakh issue (both historical and contemporary), made Karabakh the nexus for implementation of genocidal policies by Sultans, Young Turks and Kemalists/Republicans.
Moreover, the Azerbaijani state created by Ottoman Turkey has adopted the very Turkish code of demographic engineering, i.e. to solve the entire national or minority issues by imposing forced deportations or committing pogroms on its road to creating a “safer and more secure” nation state. Turkey and Azerbaijan were created through the extermination and displacement of nationalities. This will have dire consequences for these to states in the future. The three attempts at genocide against Karabakh Armenians and the defeats it received at the hands of the local Karabakh Armenians must send a clear message to Ankara that it has to recognize the Genocide committed against Armenians and many other nations during the “Pax Ottomanica” era. The imperative to reevaluate history can usher in a “zero problem” with its own history and memory, since Realpolitik cannot be applied to the country’s current national identity crisis. For Turkey there is not other alternative.
Notes1. Armenian-Russian Relations, Yerevan, 1967, vol. II, part II, Document 315 (in Russian)2. FO 371/3388, file 1396, no. 173495, the Director of Military intelligence’s no. B. I/565 (M.I.2), secret to the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, dated 18 Oct. 1918 see Jacob Landau. Pan-Turkism. From Irredentism to Cooperation. London, 1995. P. 55.3. Hayk Demoyan. Turkey and Karabakh conflict. Yerevan 1995.
Hayk Demoyan is the director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, which is housed at the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Complex.

Congressman Engel raised Armenian Genocide issue

Congressman Engel raised Armenian Genocide issue
March 11, 2011 15:49
Today, Congressman Eliot Engel raised the issue of the Armenian Genocide during the first oversight hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, the Armenian Assembly of America informs Armenian
Speaking at the hearing entitled “Overview of U.S. Policy toward Europe and Eurasia” Congressman Engel cited the “hostile” nature of Turkey’s relationship with Israel and highlighted numerous double standards by Turkey, including its demand for an apology from Israel, when we “can’t get Turkey to apologize for the Armenian Genocide.”
“We commend Congressman Engel for his steadfast support for U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Congressman Engel continues to speak out for truth and justice, and we look forward to working with him and his colleagues to ensure that the Armenian Genocide is never forgotten,” said Assembly Board Member Annie Totah.

News from Armenia -


Armenian Reforms Still Too Slow, Says EBRD

Armenian Reforms Still Too Slow, Says EBRD

Armenia -- Erik Berglof, chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, at a news conference in Yerevan, 9Mar2011.
Ruben Meloyan
The Armenian authorities are still too slow to carry out reforms that are essential for ensuring faster and sustainable economic growth, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Wednesday.
In a report presented by its chief economist, Erik Berglof, the bank concluded that the authorities have yet to demonstrate that they have learned the right lessons from the global financial crisis which has hit Armenia hard. It said they should do more to improve the domestic business environment and tax administration and tackle widespread government corruption. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank similarly think that such reforms are necessary for the country’s sustainable economic development. The Armenian authorities seem to accept this prescription, having repeatedly pledged to take relevant steps. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and Central Bank Governor Artur Javadian outlined measures planned or already taken by them in a November 2010 letter to the IMF’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Berglof said the authorities should enforce legislative changes approved by parliament and take other concrete actions. “Armenia is not the only country that has problems with implementing business environment reforms,” he told a news conference in Yerevan. “It has a lot to do with a lack of competition, concentrations of certain sectors, oligarchic structures.”According to the report, Armenian businesspeople interviewed by EBRD experts feel that economic activity in the country is also hampered by the sizable informal sector of the economy and the lingering fallout from the 2008 post-election unrest. “There is a sense that the political environment is still not entirely predictable,” said Berglof. The Armenian economy grew by 2.6 percent last year after contracting by over 14 percent in 2009. Like the authorities in Yerevan, the IMF and the World Bank, the EBRD expects it to expand by over 4 percent this year. The London-based development bank has invested 352.6 million euros ($490 million) in mainly private Armenian firms since the mid-1990s. This has taken the form of equity purchases and direct loans.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aznavour to join a rally for the first time in his life

Aznavour to join a rally for the first time in his life
March 10, 2011 - 12:30 AMT 08:30 GMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - World famous singer, Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour will join a rally at the French Senate to demand adoption of a law penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide.
“For the first time in his life, Aznavour will take part in a political action,” Nouvelles d'Arménie reports. The event initiated by Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France will also bring together Patrick Devedjian, Serge Klarsfeld and other public figures.
On October 12, 2006, French National Assembly passed a bill on criminalization of the Armenian Genocide denial. Recently, WikiLeaks published a cable quoting French President Nicolas Sarkozy as saying that the bill “will be buried in the Senate”, what aroused Aznavour’s indignation.

Five Armenian billionaires, according to Forbes survey

Five Armenian billionaires, according to Forbes survey
13:27 • 10.03.11
Forbes Magazine has revealed its list of top billionaires for 2011. The rating list of the world's wealthiest men has this year hit an unprecedented record, with 1,210 billionaires whose total assets make $4.5 trillion. The sum is said to be exceeding essentially the Gross Domestic Product of Germany and nearly equaling that of Japan. Out of the 214 new billionaires appearing in this year's rating, most (108 people) are from countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China.The top three positions have remained unchanged compared to last year. The world's richest person is Mexican businessman Carlos Slim who this year increased his assets by $20.5 billion, twice as much as Armenia's total Gross Domestic Product, Capital Daily reported. Slim currently has estimated assets of $74 billion, according to Boston Daily. The second in the list is the founder of Microsoft Company, Bill Gates, with a net worth comprising $56 billion. Wren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., holds on to the third place with $50 billion.There is an increased number of rich men from developing countries, particularly, the Asia-Pacific region, where billionaires' number has increased to 332 (more than the quarter of the billionaires worldwide). A leading country in the list, the United States, has this year weakened its positions, with the new names of wealthy people having increased by only 6% (compared to the 47% in China or 30% in Russia).Russia's richest man is Vladimir Lisin, the owner of the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant, who ranks 14th in the list, with total assets of $15.8 billion.Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the popular social networking website Facebook, has increased his assets to $13.5 billion, which is 3.4 times more compared to last year.American-Armenian tycoon Kirk Kerkorian remains the world's richest Armenian. The 93-year old has estimated assets of $3.5 billion. This year's rating also includes the names of four other Armenians, all representing Russia. Joint owners of RESO Garantia company, brothers Sergey and Nikolay Sarkisovs, and director and principal shareholder of Roosstrakh company Danil Khachaturov (each having $1.5 billion) appear in the 833rd place in the world and the 65th place in Russia. The founder of Tashir Group, Samvel Karapetyan, is the 879th wealthiest man on the global scale and the 72nd in Russia.Head of Troika Dialog Group Ruben Vardanyan is not included in the 2011 billionaires' list.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Great Lent

Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Great Lent
13:22 • 07.03.11

After the Carnival, which was celebrated on Sunday, Christian churches observe the Great Lent This is a period of fasting that lasts until Easter (48 days). This year, resurrection of Jesus Christ will be celebrated on April 24.

Churches recommend the use of vegetarian food in this period. Fasting also requires abstinence from some negative practices, such as talkativeness, lying, using bad language etc.

The first 40 days of the fast symbolize the period of Jesus Christ's temptation in the desert without drink or food. This is said to be a period when Jesus sacrificed himself for the salvation of the human race.

The forty-day period is then followed by the Holy Week which lasts 8 days.

The ancient church canons prohibited weddings and offerings in this period. But a church decree issued by Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I allowed weddings during the Great Lent provided the marriage was extremely urgent. The only exception was the days of the Holly Week.

The church tradition recognizes three types of fast – abstention from alcohol and food of animal origin, abstention of all types of food, including vegetarian products, and abstention from food and water.

Fasting is also considered useful from the medical viewpoint, as the non-use of meat and fats at the close of winter has a positive impact on the organism. But this should not be seen as a form of diet recommended for losing weight or treating diseases. Fasting is not restricted to abstinence from animal food only. It is first of a means for purifying one's soul of all kinds of moral ills and evils and turning to a decent life.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Armenian, Azeri, Russian Presidents adopt joint statement

Armenian, Azeri, Russian Presidents adopt joint statement

March 05, 2011 | 17:56

The Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian Presidents adopted a joint statement on the result of their meeting in Sochi.

The leader discussed the implementation of the trilateral agreement adopted at their meeting in Astrakhan, October 27, 2010. Specifically, the President agreed to complete the POW exchange process as soon as possible, says the statement.

The document underlines the necessity for settling all the disputable issues in peaceful means and investigating possible incidents along the line of contact with the sides’ participation, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, with the assistance of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

The three Presidents also pointed out the high importance of their regular contacts over the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and agreed to maintain them in this format, in addition to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities.

Armenian reminds readers that, at their meeting in Astrakhan, October 27, the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian Presidents approved a joint statement on their meeting in Astrakhan. The sides agreed to exchange the POWs and bodies of killed soldiers.

The sides negotiated the return of eight POWs, six civilians, as well as dead bodies. Azerbaijan was to return Manvel Saribelkyan’s body, and the Armenian side the bodies of Muraz Ibragimov and Farid Ahmedov.

Manvel Saribekyan

Saribekyan was arrested on September 11 on the frontline of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Azerbaijani side called him an Armenian saboteur. Shortly after his detention, Azerbaijan’s ANS TV broadcast a report in which Manvel Saribekyan was identified “for his training in subversive activities in Azerbaijan.’’ The corresponding video appeared on YouTube.

Subsequently, information was received from Baku that “Saribekyan had committed suicide.” According to a report Manvel Saribekyan was found with a strangulated scar on the neck characteristic to a person who has been hanged and forensic experts did not find traces of violence on his body.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, Saribekyan was a lost shepherd who was looking for his missing cattle and crossed the Armenia-Azerbaijani border; Azerbaijan persistently said Saribekyan was a member of an Armenian diversion group. Following this, the Azerbaijani propaganda machine spread an “interview” with Mr. Saribekyan through YouTube, in which he stated that he had been trained for terrorist acts on Azerbaijan’s territory. However, expert assessment of the video concluded that the video was filmed under physical and psychological pressure.

On October 26, Azerbaijani authorities handed over the death certificate of the deceased to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Order of the Prosecutor General of Armenia initiated criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Article 104 of RA Criminal Code (premeditated murder with extreme cruelty).

After the examination held in Armenia, doctors concluded that Saribekyan’s death occurred as a result of violence.

News from Armenia -

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nalbandian Slams Azeri Aggression and Details Protocols Process

Eduard Nalbandian
VIENNA—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, who is on a working visit to the Austrian capital, sat down with the Austiran Der Standard newspaper for an in-depth interview on official Yerevan’s views on matters, including the Armenia-Turkey protocols and the Karabakh conflict.
On Tuesday, Asbarez reported on a portion of the interview, which dealt with Armenia’s decision to not support a Turkish candidate for the leadership post of the OSCE. Today we provide a translated transcript of the interview in its entirty.
Standard: You signed the Zurich protocols that aimed at normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia despite political protests in your country and within the Diaspora around the world. How frustrated do you feel that Turkey has put the ratification on hold?
Nalbandian: Some people, including in Europe, have no confidence on the Turkish side. They think that Turkey says one thing and does something else. The negotiation process with the Turkish side was long, a difficult one and with many obstacles. There were more than ten meetings on the ministerial level. In Davos, for example, we had 35 hours of negotiations with then foreign minister Ali Babacan. We finally came to the agreement and we signed Protocols in Zurich in October, 2009, in the presence of representatives of Switzerland, the US, Russia, France, EU, Council of Europe. Once it was signed, Turkey put forward preconditions for ratification.
Standard: What do you think happened with the Turkish side?
Nalbandian: You probably have to ask them. Maybe nothing happened In any cases, may those who said you cannot trust Turkey had a valid argument.
Standard: Did the Turkish government pull back for electoral reasons?
Nalbandian: Turks tend to think that only in Turkey they have elections and public opinion. We have in fact much more reason to talk about preconditions.
Standard: To what extent has Azerbaijan, Turkey’s political partner and energy source, sabotaged the process of normalization between Armenia and Turkey?
Nalbandian: All countries in the world supported this process, with one exception: Azerbaijan. I don‘t think they were right. The normalization of relations could have been beneficial not only for Turkey and Armenia, but for the entire region. And Azerbaijan is part of this region.
Standard: How can the Zurich protocols be revived again?
Nalbandian: There is only one way. We have signed the protocols, we have to ratify and implement them – without any preconditions according to the principle of pacta sunt servanda.
Standard: Will that be possible once the parliamentary elections in Turkey in June are over?
Nalbandian: After the parliamentary elections there will be other elections. If you look for a reason to postpone the ratification you can always find one. I think Turkish society today is more supportive of normalization on the one hand, and on the other hand are more receptive about the past. The start of negotiations and the signing of the protocols opened new windows. For the first time on the 24th of April last year, the people gathered in Turkish cities to commemorate the day of the Armenian Genocide. More than 30,000 Turkish citizens signed a petition apologizing to the Armenian people.
Standard: Looking at the overarching, more than 25 year old, frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh, how much of a danger is it for the South Caucasus?
Nalbandian: The Azerbaijani authorities, almost on a daily basis, make bellicose statements and provoke. In one year alone, they doubled their military budget and they rejected the proposals of the international community to come to an agreement on non-use of force, consolidation of ceasefire, withdrawal of snipers from the line of contact. I do not think that anyone can interpret that such behavior by the Azerbaijani authorities does not pose any dangers.
Standard: But, do you have to take these bellicose statements as you said, seriously or are they not rather made for domestic consumption in Azerbaijan?
Nalbandian: The threat to use force is a violation of international law. And absence of adequate reaction to such bellicose behavior may lead to serious consequences.
Standard: To what extent are autocratic rule and underdeveloped civil societies a source of instability in the region?
Nalbandian: I would be more cautious in making any comparisons of political-social development among the countries of the region. While Armenia is a developing democracy, Azerbaijan is a developing authoritarian regime. This is a view expressed by most international organizations and shared by most of the experts.
The media and civil society in Armenia are actively involved in political discussions, something unheard of in Azerbaijan. Quite the contrary, full-fledged state sponsored propaganda of hatred toward Armenians hinders the peace process. And the minds of the young generations are being spoiled in such a way that it hinders future reconciliation.
A spirit of compromise and peaceful discourse are, in general, less probable in authoritarian countries.
Standard: Now, with some months having passed, did you get accustomed to the idea of Austria having opened one single embassy in the region in Baku and not in Yerevan or Tbilisi?
Nalbandian: If I say I am very happy about it, would you believe me? No. We opened our embassy in Vienna many years ago—one of the first after independence. I think it is high time for Austria to reciprocate and open representation in Yerevan. Our aim has to be to elevate our relations to a much higher level.
Standard: Former Austrian foreign minister Ursula Plassnik is running for Secretary General of the OSCE. Will Armenia support her?
Nalbandian: We did not make a decision on the candidates yet. But concerning the Turkish candidate, we have stated that we cannot support him because Turkish representatives in different international organizations generally hold a different view with their biased approaches and do not waste any opportunity to express themselves against Armenia’s positions.
Standard: What does that mean for the other candidates and Mrs Plassnik?
Nalbandian: That means that one of the other candidates could be supported from our side…
Standard: Will you narrow down the list?
Nalbandian: We will do so, pretty soon.