Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Armenian Embassy Bulletin 2 (21) (February - April 2007)


Ø Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan passes away

Ø Defence Minister Serzh Sargsyan is appointed Prime Minister of Armenia

Ø Armenian Parliament adopts Law on Dual Citizenship

Ø Ambassador Gabrielyan participates in a round-table discussion on South Caucasus in the University of St. Andrews

Ø Foreign Minister Oskanian’s official visit to Ireland

Ø The Armenian Ambassador, MPs, Lords and Armenian community meet in the House of Commons

Ø Election campaign starts in Armenia

Ø Other events

Ø Births and Anniversaries


Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Andranik Margaryan passed away on Sunday, March 25, 2007.

Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan died of apparent cardiac failure after nearly seven years of service as the Head of Armenia’s Government.

Born in 1951, Andranik Margaryan started his career as a computer engineer. He served as Prime Minister from May 2000. He was also the Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia. Andranik Margaryan had been involved in politics
since 1965. In 1968 he joined the dissident United National Party, in 1973 he was elected to the Council of the party. He was a critic of the totalitarian Soviet system. In 1974 he was jailed for two years for his ideas and activities.

From 1992 he was a member of the Republican Party of Armenia, a party that inherited the ideas of the United National Party. During 1993-1997 and 1998-2000 he was the President of the Republican Party's Council. He was the President of the Republican Party, re-elected in 2005.

On March 26 President Robert Kocharyan signed a decree, declaring March 28 a day of mourning in the Republic of Armenia. Ministries, and municipal agencies, embassies and diplomatic representations of the Republic of Armenia abroad were instructed to lower Armenia’s flag on March 28.

Messages of sympathy were received from foreign leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, US President George Bush, Russian
President Vladimir Putin, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose country has no diplomatic relations with Armenia also sent their condolences.

A book of Condolences was opened at the Armenian Embassy in London on March 27 and 28. Representatives of the UK government, the diplomatic corps accredited to the Court of St James’s, of the Armenian community and others came to express their sympathy.

Armenia’s Cabinet of Ministers resigned on Monday, 26 March, due to the sudden death of Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan. The Head of State requested Cabinet members to continue with their duties until a new Cabinet of Ministers was formed.

Under Armenia's Constitution, the President accepts the Government's resignation if the post of Prime Minister becomes vacant for any reason. A new Prime Minister is to be appointed within 10 days after that, and a new government is to be formed within 20 days following the Prime Minister's appointment.

Yerevan, April 4. President Robert Kocharyan signed a decree appointing Serzh Sargsyan Prime Minister of Armenia, relieving him from the office of Defence Minister and Secretary of the National Security Council.

Serzh Sargsian was born on June 30 1954 in Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno Karabakh. In 1971 he enrolled at Yerevan State University. From 1972-1974 he served in the Soviet Army. In 1979 he graduated from the YSU's department of philology.

From 1975 to 1979 he worked at the Yerevan electric-technical factory. From 1979 to 1988 he worked in the administrative structures of the NKAO (Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (Region))

From 1989 to 1993 he headed the Committee of self-defense forces of Nagorno Karabakh. He was elected member of the Armenian Parliament. From 1993 to 1995 he was Armenia's Defence Minister. From 1995 to 1996 he was the Head of the Armenian State Security Department, then Minister for National Security.

From 1996-1999 he was Minister for National Security and Home Affairs of Armenia. From 1999 to 2000 he was the President's Chief of Staff. From 1999 he was also the Secretary of the National Security Council affiliated to the Armenian President.

From 2000 he was again Defense Minister. In 2006 he became member of the Armenian Republican party. On June 22 2006 he was elected the Chairman of the Republican party's Council. Serzh Sargsian is married, has two daughters and one grandchild.

Yerevan, April 11. President Robert Kocharyan signed a decree by which Members of the Government were appointed. All ministers kept their jobs and only the post of Minister of Defence remains vacant for the time being. President’s spokesperson has declared that an appointment will follow soon.

St. Andrews, Scotland, 13 February. Ambassador Vahe Gabrielyan participated
in a round-table discussion on the foreign policy of South Caucasian Republics, organised by the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Institute, University of St. Andrews. Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Rafael Ibrahimov also participated in the meeting. The audience comprised academics and students of the universities in UK, international NGOs, representatives of the media and other interested parties.

In his speech, Ambassador Gabrielyan reviewed the history of Armenia, with an emphasis on the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD, on the invention of the Armenian Alphabet in 406 AD, as well as the significance of the Armenian Genocide. In his reiteration of the priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy, he presented the principle of
complementarity, the peace process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the issue of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Armenian-Turkish relations and Armenia’s integration into the European structures.
Through documentary materials, the Ambassador also briefed the audience on the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Nakhichevan by Azerbaijani authorities.
A debate between the Ambassadors, and later, questions and answers followed. In his speech the Azeri Ambassador referred to Yerevan as “one of the regions of historic Azerbaijan” and spoke of the importance of Azerbaijani oil.

Dublin, 28 February. Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, was on an official visit to Ireland, the first ever high level visit of an Armenian official to Ireland. Minister Oskanian met with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern and the two held a comprehensive discussion covering many bilateral and multilateral issues. The Ministers acknowledged that the two countries – small, with few natural resources, and with large Diasporas – have much in common and can cooperate in a variety of areas. They specifically discussed Armenia-Ireland cooperation within the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy, citing the EU’s huge potential role as a facilitator of
bilateral goal-oriented collaboration. They discussed the geopolitics of the Caucasus region, including energy issues.

Minister Ahern spoke about Northern Ireland, and explained the progress recently made in the peace process. The Armenian Foreign Minister briefed his counterpart on Armenia’s relations with its neighbours and on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution process.

In the Irish Parliament, Minister Oskanian had a meeting with the Chair and members of the Joint Committee on European Affairs. He presented Armenia’s political and economic development and responded to questions. Members of the Committee expressed interest in exploring the possibilities of closer cooperation.

Earlier in the day, Minister Oskanian spoke at the Institute of European Affairs, on “Armenia – Foreign Relations in a Difficult Region, at a Difficult Time.”He also visited the Chester Beatty Library, to view the collection of around 130 medieval Armenian manuscripts, reportedly the largest such collection in private hands. Minister Oskanian met also with representatives of the Dublin Central Library in anticipation of a photo exhibition
to be opened in the Library in April, celebrating Armenia’s 15th anniversary of independence.

Minister Oskanian was accompanied by Armenia’s Ambassador to Ireland, HE Dr. Vahe Gabrielyan, and diplomats from Yerevan and the London Embassy.

London 05 February. Ambassador Vahe Gabrielyan hosted a meeting with members of the Armenian Students’ of Armenian students currently studying in various British universities, at a reception-talk at the Armenian Embassy in London .

In the packed hall of the Armenian House (Hai Tun) the Ambassador presented the students with a brief overview of Armenia’s recent progress in political and economic development and the foreign policy and emphasised students’ potential future role in the advancement of the country’s goals. He also answered their questions on Armenia’s position on various current international and domestic issues, as well as discussed the way how the Embassy in London on the one hand, and the students
on the other, could work together.

Informal talk and socialising followed 'til late.

Dublin, 08 February. Ambassador Vahe Gabrielyan visited Dublin, in preparation of the pending official visit by the Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian later in the month. The Ambassador met with Senators from the Joint Committee on European Affairs of the Irish Parliament. During the meeting he presented the politico-economic situation of Armenia,
summarised Armenia’s achievements and progress since gaining independence, as well as the current problems that the country faces. The Senators expressed a desire to create an Armenian-Irish Parliamentary Group to further bilateral relations.

Further aspects of the upcoming ministerial visit were discussed during Ambassador’s meeting with officials of the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

London, 20 February. Wales-Armenia Solidarity and the British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group (BAAPPG), jointly with the Voice of Nor Serount (a bilingual Armenian community publication) organised a meeting between the Ambassador of Armenia to the UK Dr.
Vahe Gabrielyan and British Parliamentarians from both Houses. The meeting took place in the House of Commons and was devoted to the two Early Day Motions recently presented to the House: one on the Armenian Genocide, and the other on the blockade of Armenia by Turkey.

The Ambassador thanked the parliamentarians for their efforts towards the two EDMs. With regards to Turkey-
Armenia relations, he stressed that Armenia is firm in insisting that diplomatic relations should be established without any preconditions, and called upon the parliamentarians to use the close ties that the UK has with Turkey to achieve the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia.

Within the context of the recent assassination of Hrant Dink, the editor of Agos, the influential Armenian-Turkish
bilingual newspaper in Turkey, he also reminded of oppressions of the freedom of speech in Turkey and the atmosphere of intolerance.

Others who delivered a speech at the meeting included Bob Spink MP, sponsor of the EDM on the Armenian Genocide, Nia Griffith MP, sponsor of the EDM on the blockade, Paddy Tipping MP, Baroness Cox, Chair of the BAAPPG, and Lord Avebury, Vice-Chairman of the Group. All participants stressed the importance of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and also referred to the early 20th century British accounts of the rmenian massacres in Turkey.

Yerevan, 26 February. By an overwhelming majority, the Armenian National Assembly allowed dual citizenship by making respective amendments to the Law on Citizenship.

The change was made possible after the referendum on Constitutional amendments in November 2005. Members of the Armenian Diaspora, obtaining Armenian citizenship will be allowed to vote in Armenian elections if they are in the country at that time and to run for office.

Election campaign launches in Armenia

The official campaign for Parliamentary elections, to be held on May 12, 2007, launched in Armenia on April 8. It will last till May 10. A total of 1447 candidates are running for 131 seats in the parliament. Of these, 134 candidates on majority system run for 41 mandates, and on proportional system (party lists) 24 parties and one block, which, combined, have 1313 candidates, run for 90 seats. The following parties (including one bloc) were registered by the CEC to participate in the campaign:

National Democratic Party, National Consent Party, National Unity Party, Prosperous Armenia Party, Dashink Party, Heritage Party, People’s Party of Armenia, Democratic Path Party, Impeachment bloc, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun, Progressive Party of
Armenia, Democratic Party of Armenia, Youth Party of Armenia, People’s Party of Armenia, Communist Party of Armenia, Republican Party of Armenia, Marxist Party of Armenia, Armenian National Movement Party, Republic Party, United Labour Party, United Liberal National Party, “New Times” Party, Hnchakyan Social Democratic Party, Renaissance Christian Democratic Party, “Orinats Yerkir” Party.

London. 12th April. The already traditional Spring Remembrance Concert in Memory of Armenian Victims of 1915 was held at Wigmore Hall in London.

The concert brought together brilliant and reputable Armenian musicians, winners of numerous
prestigious prizes and international competitions. Violinist Sergey Khachatryan was the First Prize winner of the VIII International Jean Sibelius competition in Helsinki, becoming the youngest ever winner in the history of the competition. In 2005 he also claimed the First Prize at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. Sergey has performed with all the major UK orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hasmik Papian is one of the leading sopranos in the world. She has appeared at the most prestigious opera stages, including La Scala of Milan, the Met in New York, the Vienna State Opera, and Paris La Bastille, and her concert repertoire ranges from Schubert, Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov. She has performed with many renowned conductors.

Pianist Lusine Khachartryan won First Prizes at the 1999 Jagend Musiziert Competition in Germany, and the Citta di Ostra and Citta di Marsala Competitions in Italy. She has participated in a number of international music festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival, Mozart Festival and the Nuits Musicales du Suquet Festival in Cannes.

Pianist Vardan Mamikonian is a Prize Winner of the Lefeburge Compettion of 1990, and the World Music Masters Competition in Monte Carlo, in 1992. His recordings include a wide range of classical works.

The programme of the April 12th concert included pieces by Bach (Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor), Franck (Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major), Liszt (Funerailles), Schubert (Impromptus op 90 No. 3), and songs and arias by Schubert, Verdi and Komitas.

The concert was presented by RP Musical Management, in association with the Embassy of Armenia, and is sponsored by the Benlian Trust and AGBU-London.

The audience enjoyed a splendid and inspired performance.

London, April 13. Mrs. Hasmik Gabrielyan, spouse of Ambassador of Armenia to the UK, hosted an annual Ladies’ Reception on the occasion of the Motherhood and Beauty Day, a public
holiday marked in Armenia. Among the invitees were ladies from the British Armenian community and friends.

Warm and friendly atmosphere prevailed throughout the event and ladies called for a continuation of the tradition started by Mrs. Gabrielyan in 2004.

Births and anniversaries

Odette Bazil. On March 18, 2007 Mrs. Odette Bazil celebrated her 70th anniversary. Mrs. Bazil is a longstanding supporter of Armenia and Armenian causes. She is the co-founder and Executive Secretary of British-Armenian All Party Parliamentary Group, Chair of the
“Anahit” Association and the Chiltern Armenian Society, to list a few. Her remarkable record of highly valuable undertakings in promotion of British-Armenian relations and endless devotion to Armenia are highly appreciated by the Embassy and Government of Armenia.

The Embassy congratulates Mrs. Bazil and her family and wishes her many years of joy and happiness.

Teny Israyelyan. On Mother’s day, March 18, 2007 a wonderful present was delivered into the family of Karen Israyelyan, Second Secretary of the Embassy. Anna and Karen were blessed with the birth of their first child, little Teny.


28-30 June, 2007— The Second Medical International Congress of Armenia will take place in Yerevan. Participation of Armenian Medical Doctors and nurses from all over the world is anticipated.

Participation from the UK is most welcome and encouraged. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 31st March 2007. A submission form and further information can be obtained form

Submissions may be made to the following
email address:

9th - 14th July 2007 - The Fourth Annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival will be held in Yerevan. The theme of this year’s festival is Crossroads of Cultures and Civilizations.

The theme is anchored in the idea of a global human landscape in the process of transformation
and the challenges such transformations pose to human beings. Films on the theme are welcome.

Applications will be accepted by the "Golden Apricot" office until April 15, 2007. For eligibility, entry forms and further details, please contact the Embassy or log into the following

Armenian Embassy
25A Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG
Tel.: 0207 938 5435
Fax: 0207 938 2595

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