Sunday, 24 May 2015

Armenian News...A Topalian...'HIDDEN ARMENIANS, VIDEO'

Video on the 'Hidden' Armenians 

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund
Sponsored by British-Armenian community, new kindergarten 

in Sasunik
to open within days

Sasunik, a village in Armenia's Aragatsotn Region, has a brand-new
kindergarten, thanks to the sponsorship of the Hayastan All-Armenian
Fund's British affiliate, with additional support from the mayor's
office of Sasunik.

Fully furnished the two-story facility will open its doors to
Sasunik's close to 100 kindergarteners within a few days.

The construction of the kindergarten was a long-awaited gift to the
community. Mayor Arman Margaryan says that the village, which has a
population of 4,000, has not had a proper kindergarten since
1998. Children have been attending kindergarten in a converted
classroom inside the community school, while there has been no
facility whatsoever for preschoolers. Few local families are able to
send their young children to the nearest kindergarten outside Sasunik,
in the town of Ashtarak.

"We will no longer have to take our kids to the Ashtarak kindergarten
- which is both costly and time-consuming," said a delighted local
young mother during our visit in Sasunik.

The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund's British affiliate sponsors projects
primarily in the spheres of education and healthcare. "True to the
adage 'a sound mind in a sound body,' the education and health of our
children are what will secure the continued progress of our homeland,"
says Armineh Carapeti, chairperson of the fund's British affiliate and
a longtime supporter of major development initiatives in Armenia and

168 HOURS: 

"Two third of the Armenian population have left Syria as a result of
the ongoing conflict. There was also a large outflow as the tensions
escalated over the past month. That is to say, Aleppo is facing
a serious danger of the sharp decrease of Armenian population,"
President of the Council of Armenian Evangelical Churches of Syria
Rev. Harutyun Selimyan told the 168 Hours' correspondent.

In his words, the outflow of the Armenian population from Syria
weakens the Armenian community and the Christian population's positions
in Syria

RFE/RL Report
EU Moves To Open Talks On New Deal With Armenia
Sargis Harutyunyan

The European Union's executive body has asked the EU member states to
authorize it to open official negotiations on a new agreement to
deepen political and economic ties with Armenia, a senior official in
Brussels said on Tuesday.

The deal would serve as a less ambitious substitute for an EU-Armenia
Association Agreement which was all but finalized almost two years
ago. The Armenian government precluded its signing after unexpectedly
deciding in August 2013 to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Yerevan has since been trying to work out a different legal framework
for closer ties with the EU that would not run counter to its
membership in the Russian-led bloc. Earlier this year Armenian and EU
officials identified concrete areas to be covered by it. The executive
European Commission now needs a "mandate" from the EU's member 
states for the start of official negotiations on the new accord.

According to the senior EU official, who did not want to be
identified, the commission formally requested such permission on
Tuesday. It remained unclear, though, whether the mandate could be
issued during this week's EU summit in Latvia's capital Riga.

The summit slated for May 21-22 will focus on the EU's Eastern
Partnership program offering privileged partnership to six former
Soviet republics. Three of them -- Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine --
have already signed association agreements with the EU.

The EU official confirmed that the planned deal with Yerevan will
contain not only political but also economic provisions. "The new
framework agreement with Armenia will certainly have a substantial
trade and investment chapter," he told reporters from Brussels.

"There will be certain areas which are not covered by [World Trade
Organization] disciplines," the official said. "For example, the
fields of investment, procurements or some other areas where Armenia
will be more free -- these are also not covered by the Eurasian
Economic Union -- to provide for more market openings."

The official stressed that unlike the scrapped Association Agreement,
the planned deal will not envisage free-trade arrangements. He argued
that just like the EU member states Armenia and the other ex-Soviet
republics aligned in the EEU are not allowed to negotiate free-trade
deals on their own.

According to Armenian government statistics, the EU remained Armenia's
leading trading partner last year, accounting for 26.6 percent of its
commerce with the outside world. By comparison, the EEU's share in
Armenian foreign trade stood at 24.5 percent in 2014.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Military Vows `Restraint' During Baku Games
Emil Danielyan

The Armenian military will do its best to prevent a fresh upsurge of
fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone during the upcoming
European Games in Baku, Armenia's First Deputy Defense Minister Davit
Tonoyan said on Tuesday.

Tonoyan also warned Azerbaijan against escalating tensions along the
"line of contact" around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border
after the Olympic-style games scheduled for June 12-28.

"Olympic games will be held in Baku and Armenian forces will display
restraint until their end," he told in an interview. "They are
already showing restraint now, which is evident and visible. We are
not provoking [skirmishes] or escalating the situation."

The European Games, the first ever multi-sport event of its kind, are
expected to attract thousands of athletes from around wider
Europe. After months of deliberations Armenia decided in March to also
take part in them with two dozen athletes.

The National Olympic Committee's decision, apparently dictated by the
Armenian government, followed another escalation of deadly fighting
between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. U.S., Russian and French
mediators effectively blamed Azerbaijan for the escalation in January.

Tension on the frontlines appears to have eased significantly in early
April. The armed forces of Armenia and Karabakh have reported no
combat casualties since then.

Some Armenian observers attribute this relative calm to the Baku
games, saying that the Azerbaijani leadership is anxious not to scare
away foreign sporting delegations with talk of a renewed Karabakh war.

Tonoyan acknowledged the current "low intensity" of armed incidents in
the conflict zone, suggesting that it may result from international
pressure on Baku or dozens of casualties reportedly suffered by the
Azerbaijani army in the first quarter of this year. "But I don't
exclude and I even think it's quite possible that they are using this
period to regroup their forces and prepare new provocations," he said.

Addressing Azerbaijani special army forces late last month,
Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov announced the successful
completion of "the first stage" of military operations against the
Armenians. "Now, we have a more crucial stage ahead -- the second
stage, which is to force the enemy to withdraw unconditionally from
occupied Azerbaijani lands by dealing decisive and crushing blows to
the enemy," he reportedly said.

"All of us must be ready for [the corresponding] order of the supreme
commander-in-chief," added Hasanov. He would not say when President
Ilham Aliyev might issue such an order.

Tonoyan also spoke of ongoing Azerbaijani "preparations for
hostilities." "Will they opt for full-scale hostilities or carry on
with the tactic of gradual expansion of local operations? Both
scenarios are possible and we are prepared for both scenarios," he

Tonoyan warned in that regard that Baku will risk more territorial
losses should it act on its threats to reconquer Karabakh and
Armenian-controlled districts surrounding it. "Who says that the
existing security zone formed around Nagorno-Karabakh is good enough
for us?" he said. "Who thinks so? We think that given the extent of
Azerbaijan's current armament, it's not good enough for us anymore." 

May 20 2015

Azerbaijan on Wednesday summoned the French ambassador to protest
a visit by the leader of the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region,
the Caucasus republic's foreign ministry said.

"France's ambassador to Baku, Pascal Meunier, has been summoned
to Azerbaijan's foreign ministry and handed a note of protest over
the separatist leader's visit to France on May 17-19," Azerbaijan's
foreign ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev, told AFP.

Bako Sahakian's visit "harms the spirit of friendly Azerbaijani-French
relations and contradicts France's mandate as a co-mediator to Karabakh
peace talks", he added.

Along with the United States and Russia, Paris co-chairs the Minsk
Group of mediators in Baku's peace talks with Armenia over their
decades-long dispute for control of Nagorny Karabakh.

The two Caucasus countries have been locked in conflict since a bloody
war in the early 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Yerevan-backed ethnic Armenian separatists seized control of Karabakh
during the conflict that left some 30,000 dead.

Despite years of negotiations, the two countries have not signed
a final peace deal following a shaky 1994 truce, and clashes have
intensified over the past year along the Karabakh frontline. 

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Governor `Shot At' In His Car Armenia 
- Syunik Governor Suren Khachatrian.
Hovannes Shoghikian

Law-enforcement authorities in Armenia said late on Wednesday that an
unknown gunman opened fire on a car carrying Suren Khachatrian, the
governor of the southeastern Syunik province notorious for violent

According to the Investigative Committee, Khachatrian, his driver and
assistant came under fire on the road connecting the regional capital
Kapan to Goris, the governor's hometown also located in
Syunik. "Nobody was hurt," the committee said in a statement.

The statement added that Yerevan-based senior officers from the
committee and the Armenian police rushed to the scene immediately
after the reported shooting. "Necessary investigative measures are
being taken to clarify all circumstances of the incident," it said.

The statement also said that a criminal case has been opened under a
Criminal Code clause dealing with murder attempts. No arrests were
reported in the following hours.

Khachatrian is one of Armenia's most controversial government
officials because of a long history of violence involving himself and
members of his family dominating the political and economic life of
Syunik. The alleged shooting attack on his car came amid a lingering
uproar sparked by the most recent violent incident linked with the

Khachatrian's equally notorious son Tigran was questioned by the
Investigative Committee at the weekend in connection with a May 2
brutal beating near Goris of two men by a larger group of local
residents. The severely injured victims claim that the attackers were
led by Tigran Khachatrian. The latter denies the allegations.

The May 2 incident rekindled allegations by opposition politicians,
civic activists and media commentators that the Syunik governor
continues to enjoy impunity because of his staunch loyalty to
President Serzh Sarkisian. Accordingly, there have been renewed calls
for his ouster.

Khachatrian was already sacked in June 2013 shortly after Tigran and
one of his bodyguards shot and killed a Goris-based businessman just
outside the Khachatrian family's plush villa in the small town. The
shooters were arrested but set free three months later. Suren
Khachatrian was reappointed as Syunik governor a year later. 
Grisha Balasanyan
May 20, 2015

Like many top government officials in Armenia, Prime Minister Hovik
Abrahamyan attempted to conceal his business holdings from public
scrutiny by using family members as surrogates.

Many Abrahamyan businesses were registered in the name of the son
Argam and wife Julieta.

After Hetq revealed these links, the prime minister's son and wife
pulled out of several companies in which they were stakeholders.

Take Artashat Plaza for example - the largest supermarket in the town
of Artashat. When it opened its doors last October, Argam Abrahamyan
was the 100% owner. Just a few days later the stock was transferred to
Gohar Voskanyan, who hails from the same village as the prime sinister.

Our source reports that Voskanyan is an Abrahamyan confidante and
that the entire transaction was purely for show.

By the way, Argam Abrahamyan is in the race to become the next mayor
of Artashat, a town of 25,000 some 30 kilometers south of Yerevan. The
election is scheduled for June 7.

As for Julieta Abrahamyan, she was registered as owning 100% of the
stock in the Artashat City supermarket located in the Ararat village
of Mrgavet.

Last September, those shares were transferred to Gagik Poghosyan,
a relative of the Abrahamyans.

Perhaps Julieta, like her son, wants to get into local politics and
is looking to recreate her image as well.

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