Thursday, 14 December 2017


Armenian TV Program
On the Armenian UK Community 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwjnO4AfuVk&sns=em 

armenianlife.com
UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening ties with the EU, Alan Duncan says
December. 5. 2017 

Yerevan/Mediamax/. UK Minister of State for Europe Sir Alan Duncan provided an op-ed to Mediamax on the eve of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit that opens in Brussels today.

The op-ed says:
“Today, Leaders and Foreign Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and across the EU, will gather in Brussels for our Eastern Partnership Summit.

Since our first Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague in 2009, much has happened across the region. The strength of the partnership has remained steadfast and only grown in importance as a signal of our shared commitment to building democracy, prosperity, stability and increased co-operation together.
We are gathering in Brussels today to take stock of progress, to agree future priorities and to ensure that the crucial work of reform across the region continues. The UK wholeheartedly supports the vital work of the Eastern Partnership. And we will continue to promote those shared objectives in our bilateral cooperation too.

In Armenia the UK continues to support the ambitious reform programme of the Government. As Armenia prepares for the transition from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary democracy, the British Embassy is funding a project to increase Armenian parliamentarians’ understanding of their role in a parliamentary democracy, including accountability to the electorate and effective scrutiny of the work of Government.

During my visit to Armenia in September 2017, I announced that Armenia would benefit from a new multi million pound fund from 2018 to support governance and economic reforms in Armenia. I am delighted that plans are on track for delivery and our Good Governance Fund will help deliver programmes to strengthen Armenia’s reforms.

The recent appointment by the UK Prime Minister of Mark Pritchard MP as Trade and Investment Envoy to Armenia reflects the UK’s commitment to strengthening bilateral trade and investment links between our two countries.

The UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening and deepening ties with the European Union through the signing of a Comprehensive and Enhanced Part- nership Agreement.

At the Eastern Partnership Summit today, the United Kingdom will be clear on our strong support for the Eastern Partnership initiative. That remains the case today and it will remain the case in the future. As the UK leaves the EU, our shared objectives and priorities in the Eastern neighbourhood will not change and we will continue to work with our allies and friends across Europe to deliver on those objectives”.


EurasiaNet.org
Dec 11 2017
Trump's Jerusalem Gambit Prompts Opposition From Armenia, Concern From Georgia
Bradley Jardine 

United States President Donald Trump’s decision to defy international law and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has provoked opposition from Armenia, which has deep historic and religious ties to the holy city.

The Armenian Apostolic Church controls part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on the site where Jesus is supposed to have been crucified and buried. Jerusalem also is home to the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s old city, which dates back to the fourth century A.D., when Armenia adopted Christianity as a national religion. About 790 Armenians live there , in one of the oldest surviving Armenian diaspora communities

Following Trump's announcement, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, warned that the decision may result in instability in the region. Aram I also emphasized the need to respect “the legitimate rights of Palestinians” and to preserve the rights of the three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem. Since 1967, the UN has recognized the eastern part of Jerusalem as territory illegally occupied by Israel, but Israel has long sought international recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.

The Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem (an independent, self-governing Christian patriarchate dating to the Apostolic Age) issued a similar statement. Both Churches signed a written statement issued by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem calling for President Trump to reconsider the decision and “continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem.”

“Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm… We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division,” part of the statement read.

Armenia's secular officials weighed in as well: Minster of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan issued a statement calling for the preservation of peace and the need to protect Jerusalem’s historic Armenian community.

Israel has close ties with Armenia's rival, Azerbaijan, but in recent years Yerevan has been trying to woo Israel away . Nevertheless, neither side appeared to try to score points with Israel; Azerbaijan also issued a statement opposing Trump's move.

Trump's announcement prompted a measured response from Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which usually closely follows Washington's lead.

“We have looked carefully at the statement made by the President of our strategic partner, the United States of America, regarding Jerusalem,” and “are closely monitoring the developments as this issue is being widely discussed internationally, including at the United Nations” the Ministry said in a statement issued December 7.

“Georgia supports the efforts of the international community aimed at the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which should be achieved through an agreement based on dialogue,” it read.

The statement was issued after Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili rejected an appeal published on the personal Facebook page of MP Shota Shalelshvili urging Georgia to support President Trump’s position. Shalelshvili was later summoned for a “private meeting” with Georgia’s State Security Service.

According to Kvirikashvili, Georgia will state its position on “the basis of its national interests, considering the international situation and the threats that exist in the region.”


News.am, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Cyprus President proud of Armenian community's contribution

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has expressed pride for the contribution of the Armenian community in the political, social, and economic life of the island, Cyprus Mail reported.

Nicos Anastasiades recalled, during the event in honor of the Armenians of Cyprus that both nations have fallen victim to the same aggressor, noting that they did not surrender but fought and are continuing to struggle for the great principle of justice in order to prevail on the international scene.

“This is why Cyprus was one of the first European countries to recognise the Armenian genocide and we have jointly condemned the perpetrators of this crime,” the President said.

“As a state, we will always show off proudly the fact that your small community manages with its vigour to be present in all aspects of our country’s life – political, social and economic,” he said, referring to the Armenian community in Cyprus.

Anastasiades also spoke of his vision for a free and reunited Cyprus, where all Cypriot citizens will live in peace and prosperity: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians and other nations.


RFE/RL Report
IMF Still Sees Lack Of Competition In Armenia
December 12, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
Armenia's economy is continuing to suffer from a lack of competition,
a senior official from the International Monetary Fund said on
Tuesday.

"Our assessment is that competition in the domestic market is indeed
limited and there is a lot of room for improvement," Yulia Ustyugova,
the head of the IMF office in Yerevan, told RFE/RL's Armenian service
(Azatutyun.am) in an interview.

"We have been raising this question and having very candid discussions
with the authorities," she said. "According to our assessment, it does
impede growth."

Ustyugova said the government should ensure that companies dominating
various types of business do not abuse their positions. It is also
essential to improve the investment climate so that new firms can
enter those sectors, she added.

"We are convinced that the business environment in Armenia is
improving," Prime Minister Karen Karapetian declared a month ago. "But
we also acknowledge that we have weak spots which we must definitely
work on."

Speaking in the parliament last week, Karapetian insisted that his
government is liberalizing lucrative sectors of the Armenian economy
that have long been dominated by a handful of wealthy
entrepreneurs. But he said more time is needed to complete that
process.

Ustyugova pointed out that the government's five-year policy program
approved by the Armenian parliament in June contains major anti-trust
measures. "But the question is implementation," she stressed.

A World Bank survey released in 2013 said that "oligopolies" control
68 percent of economic activity in Armenia, making it the most
monopolized economy in the former Soviet Union. The lack of
competition has been particularly acute in lucrative imports of fuel
and basic foodstuffs such as wheat, sugar and cooking oil. Economists
have long said that de facto monopolies hamper the country's
sustainable economic development.

Echoing government forecasts, Ustyugova said the Armenian economy may
grow by more than 4 percent this year after practically stagnating in
2016. But she cautioned that that will not be enough to significantly
reduce very high unemployment which official statistics put at about
20 percent. The government should focus on more job creation,
including by "retraining those who need jobs," added the IMF official.

Visiting Yerevan in April, the head of an IMF mission, Hossein Samiei,
said the current Armenian government is committed to implementing
major reforms needed for speeding up economic growth and reducing
poverty. "I'm not saying everything is perfect," he told
reporters. "But hopefully things are moving in the right direction."

Karapetian has repeatedly pledged to create "equal conditions" for all
business since he was named prime minister in September 2016.


ARKA, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
European court of human rights rules against Azerbaijan and Armenia 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that the government of Azerbaijan pay Vladimir Sargsyan and Tsovinar Sargsyan jointly, within three months, EUR 5,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage they sustained as a result of Azerbaijani aggression. Azerbaijan is obliged to award also the sum of EUR 30,000 to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.

The applicant, Minas Sargsyan, was Vladimir Sargsyan’s and Tsovinar Sargsyan's father who had lodged an application against the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006, but died in 2009.

The Minasyans family lived in Gulistan, in the Shahumyan region of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (present-day Goranboy region of the Republic of Azerbaijan). The applicant, his wife and their four children had to flee in June 1992 when the village came under attack during the military phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Subsequently, the applicant and his wife lived as refugees in Yerevan.

On the same day, the ECHR passed a ruling in the case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia. The application had been lodged by Elkhan Chiragov, Adishiri Chiragov, Ramiz Dzhebrailov, Akif Khasanov, Fehredi Pashayev and Sagatel Dzhabrailov against Armenia. As noted in the court's decision, they were residents of Lachin, but as a result of military actions in 1992 had to flee their homes leaving their property behind.

Armenia must pay compensation of 5,000 euros to each of them as well as 28,642.87 pounds sterling (about 32475 euros) to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.


Public Radio of Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Garo Paylan brings the issue of Armenian Patriarch’s election to Turkish Parliament 

Member of the Turkish Parliament, ethnic Armenian Garo Paylan raised the issue of Armenian patriarchal elections in the Turkish parliament, Ermenihaber.am reports.

In a written note to Süleyman Soylu, Paylan asked about the reasons of the Turkish government’s intervention in the elections of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul.

“Armenian Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan has not been able to perform his duties for nine years because of illness. To start the process of election of a new Patriarch, clergymen of the Armenian Patriarchate elected Karekin Bekchyan as Locum Tenens,” Paylan noted.

He reminded that the Patriarchate then sent a notice to the Ministry of Interior through the Istanbul Governor’s Office. “No response has been received, although the two-round elections were planned to be held on December 10 and 13,” he added.

The lawmaker cited media reports claiming that Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin does not recognize Karekin Bekcyan as Locum Tenens and offers to choose between the two other Archbishops of Istanbul.

Garo Paylan then voiced the concern of the Armenian community connected with the dragging out of the process and the government’s intervention “in the organization of the election, which the Armenian community has the right to.”

Paylan then asks to clarify the grounds of the government’s intervention in the process, explain the reasons of the delay and demands clarification on when the “government will stop creating obstacles in the organization of the Patriarchal election.”


Aravot, Armenia
Dec 11 2017
Killer Ramil Safarov promoted to colonel-lieutenant 

Azerbaijani serviceman Ramil Safarov who axed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan to death in Hungary got a new rank, reports minval.az .

According to the information on the social networks, some time ago Ramil Safarov got the rank of colonel-lieutenant.

In 2006 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Budapest, Hungary for axing to death sleeping Gurgen Margaryan. In 2012 he was extradited and transferred to Azerbaijan, where Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, freed from the term of his punishment.


News.am, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
UN forecasts 5.8% GDP growth in Armenia this year 

The UN forecasts a 5.8 percent GDP growth in Armenia in 2017, says the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report published by UN.

According to the report, the GDP growth is expected at 3.8 percent next year, and at 3.6 in 2019.

“In Armenia, the economy has bounced back strongly, amid rapid industrial growth and higher copper prices,” the report says.

It is also mentioned that the recovery of remittances from the Russian Federation is contributing to the acceleration of economic activity in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Overall, in 2017 global economic growth reached three percent and two-thirds of the world’s countries have experienced stronger growth in 2017 than in the previous year. The UN says movement is expected to remain steady at three per cent in 2018 and 2019.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian TV PROGAM


Armenian TV Program
On the Armenian UK Community 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwjnO4AfuVk&sns=em 

armenianlife.com
UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening ties with the EU, Alan Duncan says
December. 5. 2017 

Yerevan/Mediamax/. UK Minister of State for Europe Sir Alan Duncan provided an op-ed to Mediamax on the eve of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit that opens in Brussels today.

The op-ed says:
“Today, Leaders and Foreign Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and across the EU, will gather in Brussels for our Eastern Partnership Summit.

Since our first Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague in 2009, much has happened across the region. The strength of the partnership has remained steadfast and only grown in importance as a signal of our shared commitment to building democracy, prosperity, stability and increased co-operation together.
We are gathering in Brussels today to take stock of progress, to agree future priorities and to ensure that the crucial work of reform across the region continues. The UK wholeheartedly supports the vital work of the Eastern Partnership. And we will continue to promote those shared objectives in our bilateral cooperation too.

In Armenia the UK continues to support the ambitious reform programme of the Government. As Armenia prepares for the transition from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary democracy, the British Embassy is funding a project to increase Armenian parliamentarians’ understanding of their role in a parliamentary democracy, including accountability to the electorate and effective scrutiny of the work of Government.

During my visit to Armenia in September 2017, I announced that Armenia would benefit from a new multi million pound fund from 2018 to support governance and economic reforms in Armenia. I am delighted that plans are on track for delivery and our Good Governance Fund will help deliver programmes to strengthen Armenia’s reforms.

The recent appointment by the UK Prime Minister of Mark Pritchard MP as Trade and Investment Envoy to Armenia reflects the UK’s commitment to strengthening bilateral trade and investment links between our two countries.

The UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening and deepening ties with the European Union through the signing of a Comprehensive and Enhanced Part- nership Agreement.

At the Eastern Partnership Summit today, the United Kingdom will be clear on our strong support for the Eastern Partnership initiative. That remains the case today and it will remain the case in the future. As the UK leaves the EU, our shared objectives and priorities in the Eastern neighbourhood will not change and we will continue to work with our allies and friends across Europe to deliver on those objectives”.


EurasiaNet.org
Dec 11 2017
Trump's Jerusalem Gambit Prompts Opposition From Armenia, Concern From Georgia
Bradley Jardine 

United States President Donald Trump’s decision to defy international law and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has provoked opposition from Armenia, which has deep historic and religious ties to the holy city.

The Armenian Apostolic Church controls part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on the site where Jesus is supposed to have been crucified and buried. Jerusalem also is home to the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s old city, which dates back to the fourth century A.D., when Armenia adopted Christianity as a national religion. About 790 Armenians live there , in one of the oldest surviving Armenian diaspora communities

Following Trump's announcement, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, warned that the decision may result in instability in the region. Aram I also emphasized the need to respect “the legitimate rights of Palestinians” and to preserve the rights of the three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem. Since 1967, the UN has recognized the eastern part of Jerusalem as territory illegally occupied by Israel, but Israel has long sought international recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.

The Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem (an independent, self-governing Christian patriarchate dating to the Apostolic Age) issued a similar statement. Both Churches signed a written statement issued by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem calling for President Trump to reconsider the decision and “continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem.”

“Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm… We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division,” part of the statement read.

Armenia's secular officials weighed in as well: Minster of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan issued a statement calling for the preservation of peace and the need to protect Jerusalem’s historic Armenian community.

Israel has close ties with Armenia's rival, Azerbaijan, but in recent years Yerevan has been trying to woo Israel away . Nevertheless, neither side appeared to try to score points with Israel; Azerbaijan also issued a statement opposing Trump's move.

Trump's announcement prompted a measured response from Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which usually closely follows Washington's lead.

“We have looked carefully at the statement made by the President of our strategic partner, the United States of America, regarding Jerusalem,” and “are closely monitoring the developments as this issue is being widely discussed internationally, including at the United Nations” the Ministry said in a statement issued December 7.

“Georgia supports the efforts of the international community aimed at the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which should be achieved through an agreement based on dialogue,” it read.

The statement was issued after Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili rejected an appeal published on the personal Facebook page of MP Shota Shalelshvili urging Georgia to support President Trump’s position. Shalelshvili was later summoned for a “private meeting” with Georgia’s State Security Service.

According to Kvirikashvili, Georgia will state its position on “the basis of its national interests, considering the international situation and the threats that exist in the region.”


News.am, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Cyprus President proud of Armenian community's contribution

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has expressed pride for the contribution of the Armenian community in the political, social, and economic life of the island, Cyprus Mail reported.

Nicos Anastasiades recalled, during the event in honor of the Armenians of Cyprus that both nations have fallen victim to the same aggressor, noting that they did not surrender but fought and are continuing to struggle for the great principle of justice in order to prevail on the international scene.

“This is why Cyprus was one of the first European countries to recognise the Armenian genocide and we have jointly condemned the perpetrators of this crime,” the President said.

“As a state, we will always show off proudly the fact that your small community manages with its vigour to be present in all aspects of our country’s life – political, social and economic,” he said, referring to the Armenian community in Cyprus.

Anastasiades also spoke of his vision for a free and reunited Cyprus, where all Cypriot citizens will live in peace and prosperity: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians and other nations.


RFE/RL Report
IMF Still Sees Lack Of Competition In Armenia
December 12, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
Armenia's economy is continuing to suffer from a lack of competition,
a senior official from the International Monetary Fund said on
Tuesday.

"Our assessment is that competition in the domestic market is indeed
limited and there is a lot of room for improvement," Yulia Ustyugova,
the head of the IMF office in Yerevan, told RFE/RL's Armenian service
(Azatutyun.am) in an interview.

"We have been raising this question and having very candid discussions
with the authorities," she said. "According to our assessment, it does
impede growth."

Ustyugova said the government should ensure that companies dominating
various types of business do not abuse their positions. It is also
essential to improve the investment climate so that new firms can
enter those sectors, she added.

"We are convinced that the business environment in Armenia is
improving," Prime Minister Karen Karapetian declared a month ago. "But
we also acknowledge that we have weak spots which we must definitely
work on."

Speaking in the parliament last week, Karapetian insisted that his
government is liberalizing lucrative sectors of the Armenian economy
that have long been dominated by a handful of wealthy
entrepreneurs. But he said more time is needed to complete that
process.

Ustyugova pointed out that the government's five-year policy program
approved by the Armenian parliament in June contains major anti-trust
measures. "But the question is implementation," she stressed.

A World Bank survey released in 2013 said that "oligopolies" control
68 percent of economic activity in Armenia, making it the most
monopolized economy in the former Soviet Union. The lack of
competition has been particularly acute in lucrative imports of fuel
and basic foodstuffs such as wheat, sugar and cooking oil. Economists
have long said that de facto monopolies hamper the country's
sustainable economic development.

Echoing government forecasts, Ustyugova said the Armenian economy may
grow by more than 4 percent this year after practically stagnating in
2016. But she cautioned that that will not be enough to significantly
reduce very high unemployment which official statistics put at about
20 percent. The government should focus on more job creation,
including by "retraining those who need jobs," added the IMF official.

Visiting Yerevan in April, the head of an IMF mission, Hossein Samiei,
said the current Armenian government is committed to implementing
major reforms needed for speeding up economic growth and reducing
poverty. "I'm not saying everything is perfect," he told
reporters. "But hopefully things are moving in the right direction."

Karapetian has repeatedly pledged to create "equal conditions" for all
business since he was named prime minister in September 2016.


ARKA, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
European court of human rights rules against Azerbaijan and Armenia 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that the government of Azerbaijan pay Vladimir Sargsyan and Tsovinar Sargsyan jointly, within three months, EUR 5,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage they sustained as a result of Azerbaijani aggression. Azerbaijan is obliged to award also the sum of EUR 30,000 to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.

The applicant, Minas Sargsyan, was Vladimir Sargsyan’s and Tsovinar Sargsyan's father who had lodged an application against the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006, but died in 2009.

The Minasyans family lived in Gulistan, in the Shahumyan region of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (present-day Goranboy region of the Republic of Azerbaijan). The applicant, his wife and their four children had to flee in June 1992 when the village came under attack during the military phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Subsequently, the applicant and his wife lived as refugees in Yerevan.

On the same day, the ECHR passed a ruling in the case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia. The application had been lodged by Elkhan Chiragov, Adishiri Chiragov, Ramiz Dzhebrailov, Akif Khasanov, Fehredi Pashayev and Sagatel Dzhabrailov against Armenia. As noted in the court's decision, they were residents of Lachin, but as a result of military actions in 1992 had to flee their homes leaving their property behind.

Armenia must pay compensation of 5,000 euros to each of them as well as 28,642.87 pounds sterling (about 32475 euros) to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.


Public Radio of Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Garo Paylan brings the issue of Armenian Patriarch’s election to Turkish Parliament 

Member of the Turkish Parliament, ethnic Armenian Garo Paylan raised the issue of Armenian patriarchal elections in the Turkish parliament, Ermenihaber.am reports.

In a written note to Süleyman Soylu, Paylan asked about the reasons of the Turkish government’s intervention in the elections of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul.

“Armenian Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan has not been able to perform his duties for nine years because of illness. To start the process of election of a new Patriarch, clergymen of the Armenian Patriarchate elected Karekin Bekchyan as Locum Tenens,” Paylan noted.

He reminded that the Patriarchate then sent a notice to the Ministry of Interior through the Istanbul Governor’s Office. “No response has been received, although the two-round elections were planned to be held on December 10 and 13,” he added.

The lawmaker cited media reports claiming that Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin does not recognize Karekin Bekcyan as Locum Tenens and offers to choose between the two other Archbishops of Istanbul.

Garo Paylan then voiced the concern of the Armenian community connected with the dragging out of the process and the government’s intervention “in the organization of the election, which the Armenian community has the right to.”

Paylan then asks to clarify the grounds of the government’s intervention in the process, explain the reasons of the delay and demands clarification on when the “government will stop creating obstacles in the organization of the Patriarchal election.”


Aravot, Armenia
Dec 11 2017
Killer Ramil Safarov promoted to colonel-lieutenant 

Azerbaijani serviceman Ramil Safarov who axed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan to death in Hungary got a new rank, reports minval.az .

According to the information on the social networks, some time ago Ramil Safarov got the rank of colonel-lieutenant.

In 2006 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Budapest, Hungary for axing to death sleeping Gurgen Margaryan. In 2012 he was extradited and transferred to Azerbaijan, where Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, freed from the term of his punishment.


News.am, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
UN forecasts 5.8% GDP growth in Armenia this year 

The UN forecasts a 5.8 percent GDP growth in Armenia in 2017, says the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report published by UN.

According to the report, the GDP growth is expected at 3.8 percent next year, and at 3.6 in 2019.

“In Armenia, the economy has bounced back strongly, amid rapid industrial growth and higher copper prices,” the report says.

It is also mentioned that the recovery of remittances from the Russian Federation is contributing to the acceleration of economic activity in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Overall, in 2017 global economic growth reached three percent and two-thirds of the world’s countries have experienced stronger growth in 2017 than in the previous year. The UN says movement is expected to remain steady at three per cent in 2018 and 2019.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Condemnation from Cilicia on Trump's statement


ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
December 7, 2017 Thursday
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram the I condemned Trump`s
statement on the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Tatevik Shagunyan. 


The Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I opposes the 
statement of the American President Donald Trump about the
recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

During the meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Aram I, in
particular, said that this decision of Trump does not comply with
international norms and historical reality. He also stressed that
Jerusalem should remain an "open city" for the three religions -
Christian, Muslim and Jewish.

Michel Aoun stressed that he also opposes this decision of Washington.
During the meeting, issues of Armenian-Lebanese cooperation and
regional issues were discussed.

The day before, US President Donald Trump declared the recognition of
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision caused a negative
response throughout the Arab world and beyond. The decision was
condemned by representatives of the Christian churches of Jerusalem,
including the Armenian Church.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated that the issue of
the status of Jerusalem is one of the most important issues on the
international agenda, and it can be resolved through negotiations in a
context acceptable to the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"This can pave the way to the establishment of lasting peace and
security. There is a centuries-old Armenian presence in Jerusalem, a
rich Armenian historical and cultural heritage. The Armenian Apostolic
Church is one of the main keepers of Christian holy places. Naturally,
we closely follow all developments around Jerusalem," said Nalbandian.


Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
December 7, 2017 Thursday
Azerbaijan's increasing military spending gives away intentions 
– Armenian FM
Azerbaijan is rejecting the proposals of the co-chairs for the NK conflict 
settlement, doing everything to keep the status-quo intact at the same 
time claiming that allegedly it is advocating for the change of status-quo, 
Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian said at the 24thmeeting of the OSCE 
Ministerial Council in Vienna on December 7.

“Azerbaijan’s intentions can be easily tracked by its expenditures:
Baku spends billions to buy influence in the world capitals, as once
again became obvious through notorious “Laundromat” affair, it spends
much more for purchases of advanced weaponry, but it has not invested
anything so far to prepare its population for peace, as the Co-Chairs
have been continuously urging”, Nalbandian said.

Nalbandian reaffirmed Armenia’s stance that the peaceful talks don’t
have an alternative, and intensive negotiations are required based on
the proposals of the co-chairs. Nalbandian mentioned the steps which
Azerbaijan must take for advancing the peace process.

“If Baku abides to the calls of the Co-Chairs to strictly respect the
ceasefire, implements previously reached agreements, reiterates its
adherence to the principles of the conflict resolution proposed by the
Co-Chairs and constructively engages in the negotiations that will
pave the way to move the peace process forward and change the
status-quo”, he said.

Speaking on his meeting with Azerbaijani FM Elmar Mammadyarov,
Nalbandian said it generally proceeded in a positive atmosphere.

“Let’s see what developments will happen after it”, he said.


EurasiaNet.org
Dec 8 2017
With Opening of Turkish Border, Georgia's Armenians Grow Uneasy
by Bradley Jardine 

An old Ottoman fortress watches silently over Akhalkalaki. In 2015, red graffiti appeared in Turkish, warning local Armenians "We Will Return!"

(Photo by Bradley Jardine/Eurasianet)

A few weeks ago, residents of the village of Dadash, on Georgia's border with Turkey, blocked the main highway connecting the two countries. Their aim, they said, was to call attention to rampant lawlessness in the area since the opening of the border post with Turkey in 2015.

In particular, they assert that their livestock is being stolen, blaming Turks in neighboring towns.

A member of Georgia's parliament, Enzel Mkoyan, visited the village the day after the protest to hear out their grievances. A large majority of area residents is ethnic Armenian.

Residents told him that cameras on the Turkish side showed that the stolen animals had indeed been taken over the border. They also maintained that local authorities have been of little help.

“We live on the border and are very worried,” one of the villagers, Tsolak Martirosyan said at the meeting , according to an account by local news website JNews.ge. “Why is the Turkish side equipped with video cameras, and our side isn’t? What century do we live in?”

The problem is not new, residents complained. A village nearby, Kartsakhi, staged a similar protest in 2015, threatening to obstruct the construction of a new international railway through the area unless the authorities took action to find stolen property.

Mkoyan promised help. “I called all ministries – the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Foreign Ministry, and also the border police,” he told the crowd . “They are all worried about what happened and they promised to help. The state is behind you.”

But residents across the area say they want more than government assurances. “It used to be much safer here, but now the police are doing very little,” said Rima Gharibyan, the director of JNews. “Robberies have increased dramatically in recent years but no one will help us.”

The municipality of Akhalkalaki, which contains Dadash and Kartsakhi, is highly dependent on remittances from Russia and has been badly affected by the ruble’s decline. This has resulted in a rising crime rate. “Ever since the border with Turkey opened we’ve had nothing but trouble,” said Kristina Marabyan, a reporter for JNews. “Corruption is growing here – it’s like a return to the Soviet era.”

The nearby border crossing, between Çıldır in Turkey and Kartsakhi, was reopened in 2015, after being closed for 10 years, amid growing ties between Tbilisi and Ankara. Georgia’s leadership has been cultivating its relationship with Ankara in recent years, in a bid to attract foreign direct investment and further its own NATO ambitions.

The situation around Akhalkalaki is particularly sensitive due to the high density of Armenians living there. After the Russian Empire conquered the area in 1828, many Muslims fled to the Ottoman Empire and the tsarist government resettled the area with Armenians, “seeing them as more reliable than the local Muslims,” according to Timothy Blauvelt, a historian of Georgia at Ilia State University in Tbilisi.

Amid the genocide against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, the south of Georgia took in many people who were fleeing the massacres. “Most of us have family from Kars and Erzerum” in Turkey, Marabyan said. “We became a region of refugees.”

Fear of Turkey has only heightened in recent years. Shortly after the border opened, someone using red paint wrote “we will return” in Turkish on the old Ottoman fortress silently watching over Akhalkalaki, local media reported.

“The problem is that [the Turks] have no respect for our local traditions,” Marabyan said. “I don’t want my country to be somebody’s playground.”

Many in the region saw the Russian military base in Akhalkalaki, which closed in 2007, as an important bulwark against Turkey. An old Soviet military base stands in ruins in Kartsakhki, overlooking the border. “Communism begins here!” is inscribed on its wall, for the benefit of the NATO soldiers who used to be based on the other side. Now, the town is in decline.

Despite the town’s new asphalt road , designed to help speed cargo across the border into Turkey, the village has experienced little economic benefit from the border’s opening. Locals complain that the growing number of heavily loaded trucks passing through the town are actually causing damage to the surrounding houses.

Others complain the open border is accelerating Akhalkalaki’s economic malaise. Turkish citizens regularly visit to buy food, cigarettes and gasoline, all of which are cheaper than in Turkey. Prices are reportedly rising as a result.

There’s also the issue of brothels and prostitution. Several brothels have opened in Akhalkalaki and neighboring Akhaltsikhe, which – locals say – was unheard of before the Turkish border opened.

In November, residents of Akhaltsikhe held a protest against the Turkish-oriented sex trade. But it was only ethnic Georgians who participated, Gharibyan said. “Armenians didn’t take part,” she said. “Every time we are involved in protests such as these local officials dismiss it as national hostility toward Turks, so it’s better for us to leave it to the Georgians.”

One of the most controversial symbols of Turkey’s growing presence in the region is the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which passes through the area and was built with largely Turkish and Azerbaijani labor.

“On the one hand, people in Akhalkalaki are afraid of the BTK strengthening Turkish influence in the region,” said Ghia Nodia, a political scientist at Ilia State University. “But on the other hand they are hoping it will lead to economic opportunities.”

But many have felt left out by the project. In 2016, a local Armenian activist Vahagan Chakhalyan released a public statement attacking the Georgian government’s “Turkification” policies. In Chakhalyan's words, “Turkish-Azeri capital is taking over the business market, and not hiring Christians.”

Chakhalyan and his party, the United Javakh Democratic Alliance, have long had a tense relationship with Georgian authorities, who accuse them of harboring separatist tendencies. Several party activists, including Chakhalyan, were even arrested in 2008 following a fatal bombing at the home of Akhalkalaki’s chief of police.

Locals say that Tbilisi exaggerates the separatist threat. “If we are separatists then where do we go?” Marabyan asked. “Would we join Armenia? They’re in an even worse position than we are.”


Public Radio of Armenia
Dec 10 2017
UN observes the International Day of Commemoration of Genocide Victims 

For the third time since 2015 a special event in observance of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime was held at the United Nations in New York on 8 December. The observance of the International Day commenced with a minute of silence in honour of the memory of the victims of Genocide. Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, representing the Secretary-General delivered opening remarks. Mr Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide delivered a keynote speech and launched a one year appeal for the universal ratification of the Genocide Convention. The panel featured Mr Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN, Mr Jean-Claude Félix do Rego, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN, and Mr Martin Fode Seck, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN. Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court made remarks on the drafting of the Genocide Convention and its present challenges. In his remarks Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan noted that ‘there is a strong symbolism in determining 9 December as the International Day. Reaffirming the significance of the Convention as an effective international instrument for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, UN General Assembly Resolution 69/323 linked the International Day to the date of the adoption of the Convention. Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan further noted that “intolerance, xenophobia, racial and ethnic profiling, glorification of hate crimes, especially lead and encouraged by the political leaders within a state should be a concern to the entire international community and serve a clear early warning sign of potential conflict and atrocity crimes”. Stressing the importance of achieving universalization of the Genocide Convention, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan recalled that Armenia had proposed to launch a global campaign for raising the awareness of the Convention and calling upon those states that have not acceded to the Convention to do so by its 70th anniversary. He added that Armenia endorses, fully supports and commits to work together with the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in launching a one year appeal for the universal ratification of the Convention by the end of 2018. Representatives of UN member states, academic institutions, civil society organizations and media, as well as representatives of the Armenian-American community and school children attended the observance of the International Day. The event was widely publicized in the UN. Background: Upon the initiative of Armenia, in September 2015, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 69/323 proclaiming 9 December as an International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. This landmark resolution followed up on resolution 28/34 of the UN Human Rights Council initiated by Armenia. The resolutions, which have led to the establishment of the Day, as well as the events held in its observance add to the continued efforts of Armenia to promote consolidated international action against the crime of genocide. 


Armenian Weekly
Dec 9 2017
Hamshen Armenian Activists Nurcan Vayiç Aksu and Cemil Aksu Released From Turkish Prison 

HOPA, Turkey—Political activists Nurcan Vayiç Aksu and Cemil Aksu —both of Armenian origin—were released from a Turkish prison on Friday, after being incarcerated for several weeks.

Political activist Nurcan Vayiç Aksu was taken into police custody on Oct. 19 after a house raid. Her husband, journalist and environmental activist Cemil Aksu, was arrested a few days later in the city of Artvin, for supposedly “praising crime and criminals” in his social media posts.

According to reports, Vayiç is a human rights activist and a member of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). Aksu is the local co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and one of the editors of the Gor-Hemshin cultural magazine.

The couple is from the town of Hopa in Artvin, commonly known as the Hemshin (Hamshen) region, about 12 miles from the Georgian border. As long-time political activists, the two have spoken out about the local history and Armenian identity of the Hemshin region, as well as on environmental matters and women’s rights issues. Both have been critical of the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Upon being released, the couple posted photos on social media with their eight-year-old child Arev, who was being taken care of by his aunt while the two were imprisoned.


ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
December 8, 2017 Friday
The procedure for concluding international treaties in Armenia will be
carried out on the basis of legal acts, rather than presidential
decrees
Alexander Avanesov.

According to the First Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of
Armenia Artur Hovhannisyan, the submitted document is aimed at
bringing it in line with the provisions of the updated Constitution of
Armenia. At present, the RA Deputy Minister continued, the RA
President has the constitutional right to develop the procedure for
concluding international treaties that carry state and commercial
secrets. Now this provision is recognized as invalid, since since
April 2018 the head of the Armenian state, according to the Basic Law
of the country, will not have such powers.

International treaties, irrespective of their content, will be
concluded on the basis of the law "On International Treaties", the
Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly, and other legal acts.


Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
December 7, 2017 Thursday
New book reaffirms Armenian ethnicity of master architects behind
Istanbul's look

Hundreds of buildings have been built in Istanbul by the Balyan family.

For many years Turks were denying the fact that the Balyans were
Armenians, but today, this fact is being accepted already in Turkey
itself.

Ashot Grigoryan’s “Treasures of the gardens of the Armenian People:
Balyans” book once again affirms the Armenian ethnicity of the Balyan
family.

Head Scientific-Secretary of the A. Tamanyan National Museum-Institute
of Architecture Ashot Grigoryan told ARMENPRESS that collecting an
archive about Armenian architects in foreign countries has been on the
museum-institute’s agenda.

“Upon collecting materials on architects who lived or still are living
in Turkey, it turned out that there is a big gap about the Balyan
architect generation. The Balyan’s were very famous architects in
Turkey, but their Armenian ethnicity was rejected for many years”, he
said.

The book shows facts, how the Balyan’s appeared in Istanbul, who they
were, whether or not it was a coincidence that Armenian architects
were also working in Istanbul even before the Balyans. “And it turned
out that before the Balyans, architect Sinan was working in Istanbul,
and Turkey again denies his Armenian background”, he said.

Grigoryan says materials about the Balyans were found in Italy upon research.

Grigoryan said the Balyan’s have hundreds of works in Istanbul, both
Ottoman and Armenian buildings. “These are palace and military
buildings, residential homes, towers, bridges, dams. The Balyan’s are
also the architects of many districts. They also built churches and
hospitals for the Armenian community. Nearly 90% of their buildings
are preserved today”, he said.

Grigoryan says the Dolmabahçe Palace of Istanbul is among the most
famous works of the Balyans. 

The Daily Star, UK
Dec 10 2017
Henrikh Mkhitaryan wants showdown talks with Jose Mourinho 
over Man Utd future 

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenia unforgettable memories


Armenia: The country of unforgettable memories 

 ANDREEA MIRONESCU ON ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IN LITERATURE | Russian Art + Culture 
New Year's Eve Dinner Dance
see attachment


RFE/RL Report
Armenian, Azeri FMs Hold `Positive' Talks On Karabakh
December 07, 2017
Emil Danielyan
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held late on Wednesday
what they both described as "positive" negotiations on the unresolved
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov met in Vienna in a bid to
build on progress that was reportedly made at a recent
Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. The meeting apparently lasted for several
hours.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the two men began the
talks in the presence of the U.S., Russian and French mediators and
then spoke in a tete-a-tete format. A ministry statement said they
discussed ways of implementing agreements reached by the Armenian and
Azerbaijani presidents at their last three meetings.

"Yesterday's meeting with my Azerbaijani counterpart took place in a
generally positive mood," Nalbandian told on Thursday an annual
session of the OSCE's Ministerial Council also held in the Austrian
capital. "Let's see what developments will follow it."

An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman said, for his part, that
Mammadyarov and Nalbandian engaged in "intensive and concrete
discussions on existing proposals" to resolve the Karabakh
conflict. "Elmar Mammadyarov said that the meeting was positive and
constructive," the official, Hikmet Hajiyev, was quoted by Azerbaijani
news agencies as saying.

Hajiyev also said that Mammadyarov and Nalbandian agreed to meet again
"in the second half of January 2018." The Armenian Foreign Ministry
likewise reported that their next talks will take place early next
year.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev most recently met in
Geneva on October 16. They pledged to intensify the Karabakh peace
process and bolster the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone.

The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk
Group held separate follow-up talks with Mammadyarov and Nalbandian in
Moscow on November 16. In a joint statement, they said they discussed
"concrete steps to implement the agreements reached" at the Geneva
summit. They added that the chief Armenian and Azerbaijani diplomats
will meet in early December to look into "substantive issues of the
political settlement as well as specific measures to reduce tensions
on the Line of Contact" around Karabakh.

In what appeared to be a related development, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov visited Baku and Yerevan later in November. Speaking in
the Armenian capital, Lavrov sounded encouraged by Aliyev's and
Sarkisian's "positive mood." But he also cautioned against excessive
optimism about a Karabakh settlement, saying that the long-running
Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations "will not end quickly."

Lavrov said in March that the conflicting sides are still far apart on
"two or three" elements of a framework peace accord that has been
advanced by the mediating powers for the past decade. Still, he said
they broadly agree on the peace formula envisaging Armenian withdrawal
from "districts around Karabakh" and a decision on Karabakh's status
which would "take into account the opinion of the people living
there."

Aliyev and Sarkisian came close to cutting a peace deal along these
lines at a 2011 summit in Kazan, Russia.

Nalbandian reiterated that the proposed settlement is largely
acceptable to Yerevan when he addressed the OSCE meeting in Vienna on
Thursday. "We are convinced that there is no alternative to peace
talks and that it is necessary to conduct intensive negotiations based
on the proposals of the co-chair countries," he said.

Nalbandian claimed that Baku "rejects those proposals" in line with
its "intransigent and maximalist position."

The mediators have specifically advocated a future referendum in which
Karabakh's predominantly ethnic Armenian population would determine
the disputed territory's internationally recognized status. Yerevan
and Baku are thought to have disagreed, at least until now, on
practical modalities of such a vote as well as a timetable for the
liberation of formerly Azerbaijani-populated districts around
Karabakh.

Sarkisian said in late October that a peaceful resolution of the
Karabakh dispute could only be "painful" to both sides. The remark
prompted concern from some of his hardline critics opposed to
territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.

The Armenian leader, whose final presidential term ends in April 2018,
has repeatedly ruled out any settlement that would restore Azerbaijani
control over Karabakh itself. By contrast, Aliyev has stated that Baku
will never recognize the territory's de facto secession from
Azerbaijan.


RFE/RL Report
Karapetian Vows To Ease Hardship In Gyumri
December 07, 2017
Satenik Kaghzvantsian

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian promised to improve the dire
socioeconomic situation in Gyumri on Thursday as Armenia marked the
29th anniversary of a catastrophic earthquake that ravaged the city
and other parts of the country.

But he declined to specify when the protracted reconstruction of the
vast earthquake will be completed or how many new jobs will be created
there in the near future.

"I can't respond with time frames, but the quality of life in Gyumri
will definitely change," Karapetian told reporters after laying
flowers at a local memorial to some 25,000 people that were killed by
the 1988 calamity.

"We must work very hard every day so that life here changes, and it
will change," he said. "The problems facing Gyumri, our people are
surmountable. We just need to look at them with optimism and work
accordingly."

"Every day we work on creating conditions for business to come here
and create jobs, and we have a special infrastructure project," he
added.

Karapetian has frequently visited Gyumri since he became prime
minister in September 2016. Early this year he initiated a $10 million
reconstruction of its old town aimed at attracting many tourists to
and stimulating economic activity in Armenia's second largest city.

Gyumri is still beset by very high unemployment and poverty rates,
however. According a local non-governmental organization, almost 2,400
local families still live in rundown "domiks," supposedly temporary
shacks that sprung up there following the earthquake.

Government officials say in this regard that 21,185 families in Gyumri
have received new and state-funded housing in the past 29 years. They
argue that this figure actually exceeds the number of families whose
homes were destroyed by the 1988 quake. More than 700 families
currently remain on waiting lists for new apartments drawn up by the
municipal administration.

Artur Khachatrian, the governor of Armenia's northwestern Shirak
province, of which Gyumri is the capital, suggested on Thursday that
most people huddling in "domiks" are former residents of nearby
villages that relocated to Gyumri after 1988. The state is not obliged
to give them new homes, he said.

Levon Barseghian, an opposition member of Gyumri's municipal council,
insisted that that would not place a heavy financial burden on the
state. He said that the government is able to solve the grave housing
problem of those families within four years. RFE/RL Report

HurriyetDailyNews.com
December 08 2017
Erdoğan takes gloves off, Greeks caught off guard
By MURAT YETKİN

In the first official visit of a Turkish president to Greece’s capital in 65 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken off his gloves and caught the Greek leaders off guard by opening up a debate on the 94-year-old Treaty of Lausanne.

The debate took place live on TV when Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos opened up the subject during his reception of President Erdoğan, referring to an earlier interview his Turkish counterpart gave to the Greek media. In that interview, Erdoğan spoke about a debate in Greece over claims of violations of the Lausanne Treaty regarding the Aegean islands and said that Lausanne was not only about the Aegean but also covered the minority rights of Muslim Turks living in Greece, suggesting that perhaps the treaty should be revised.

When Pavlopoulos said a revision of the Treaty of Lausanne was out of question, Erdoğan insisted in front of the cameras that the treaty was not only between Turkey and Greece, but involved 11 countries, which could be changed and that it could be implemented in full and not partly.

The Treaty of Lausanne, signed on July 24, 1923, was the foundation treaty of Turkey, followed by the declaration of the republic later in the year on Oct. 29. The republic emerged after an independence war was fought against the invading Greek, British, French, Italian, Armenian and Georgian armies.

In the joint press conference, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also said revising the treaty was out of question, and Erdoğan did not repeat his comments regarding its revision but urged the Greek leader to implement fully the minority rights of some 150,000 Muslim Turks. Inevitably, journalists asked him about the full implementation of the religious-minority rights of the Greek Orthodox minority living in Turkey. But Erdoğan had already made his point.

It wasn’t only the Greeks who were surprised by Erdoğan’s Lausanne move, Turks were too.

Erdoğan drew Turkey’s attention to the 90-year-old issue with Greece at a time when the world is occupied with another crisis: U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Erdoğan warned about by saying the city was a “red line for Muslims.”

Today is the first Friday after Trump’s decision and millions of Muslims are expected to take to the streets across the world after Friday prayers by midday. One could expect Erdoğan to step up the tone of his reaction as a sign of putting pressure on the U.S. prior to the Islamic Cooperation Organization’s emergency meeting on Dec. 13 in Istanbul, which he called for as the term president, but instead he chose to focus on Lausanne, showing his mastery on how quick he could change the agenda.

Perhaps thanks to this maneuver he tried to maintain a degree of control over the potential anti-U.S. protests that would erupt - which should not go out of control to avoid unwanted consequences - and at the same time caught the Greeks off guard, unanticipated by them as they wanted to focus on migration cooperation and trade instead.

It seems that Erdoğan’s visit to Greece is likely to be discussed with many aspects in the near future, leaving aside the question on whether it will bring out any political results.


ARKA, Armenia
Dec 8 2017
Armenian border rural communities to continue receiving government assistance 

The Armenian parliament adopted today a set of amendments to the law "On social assistance to border communities" in the second and final reading. The amendments provide for compensation for utility payments for residents of rural communities located on the border with Azerbaijan and which are being shelled by Azerbaijani troops on a regular basis.

The law provides for partial compensation for payments for consumed natural gas, electricity and irrigation water. Compensations are provided also to those residents of the border regions, who use alternative sources such as wood and coal.

The amount of compensation is determined by the government decision. Under the law those residents of border communities who lose their homes as a result of shelling by Azerbaijani armed forces, must be provided with housing by the government in the same community within a month.

"The law first came into force on January 1, 2015 and was to be effective until January 1, 2018, but taking into account its effectiveness and the need to continue providing assistance to border regions, it was decided to extend it by three years more - from 2018 to 2020,” said deputy territorial administration minister Vatche Terteryan.

According to the latest data, the law in question applies to 37 rural communities, which are provided annually a total of 928 million drams in aid. ($ 1 - 485.33 drams). -0-


Asbarez.com
Armenia Adopts Law Against Domestic Violence at Last
BY RUPEN JANBAZIAN
From The Armenian Weekly 

YEREVAN—The National Assembly of Armenia on Friday adopted legislation aimed at combating domestic violence by introducing criminal and administrative liability against those found guilty of the newly defined crime.

The law was passed with 73 votes for and 12 against, with 6 abstentions, after debate and some resistance from a few parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan’s government pushed the bill through despite opposition from some of his fellow Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) members. The 12 parliamentarians who voted against the bill, however, were all members of the Tsarukian bloc—a self-described opposition party.

Critics of the bill argued that government interference in family affairs would run counter to Armenian traditional values and undermine the fabric of Armenian society.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc in Armenia, a coalition partner in Armenia’s RPA-led government, first voiced support for the adoption of the bill in October. ARF went on record to say it viewed the proposed bill as an essential part of a societal value system, and necessary for a healthier society.

“The heated discussions and the many opposing views—even regarding our society’s value system—are evidence that problems exist within our society. Any manifestation of violence is reprehensible, especially if it is taking place in the family,” ARF Supreme Council representative Aghvan Vardanyan noted at the time during an interview with Yerevan-based Yerkir Media.

Some Armenian organizations, such as the pan-Armenian Armenian Relief Society (ARS), also voiced support for the proposed bill. “As a country that takes pride in having given women the right to vote during the Independent Republic of 1918—and also having appointed a woman to a diplomatic post at a time when women in most of the developed world did not have the right to vote—this bill comes at an important stage for gender equality in today’s Armenia,” read a part of a statement released by the ARS on Oct. 24.

A petition calling for the Armenian government to pass a law criminalizing domestic violence emerged in late October on the website Change.org. The petition, addressed to Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, was the result of a grassroots effort by some in the Armenian Diaspora to have a say in the debate taking place in Armenia.

The author of the petition, Annette Moskofian, an active member of the ARF, called for people to sign the petition to help pioneer what she called “a more just Armenia.”

“[We] had strong, progressive legislation and respected equality of genders [during the first Armenian Republic of 1918]. Our present Republic needs to be even more progressive and democratic than the previous one,” she told the Armenian Weekly’s Karine Vann in an interview.

The petition received nearly 3,000 signatures from supporters around the world.

Separately, a statement released by a group of Diaspora Armenian artists, scholars, and writers a little over a week after the petition was released called on the Armenian authorities to adopt the law. The more than 50 signatories included artist and activist Serj Tankian; actor and playwright Eric Bogosian; novelists Chris Bohjalian, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, and Nancy Kricorian; artist and author Vahe Berberian; photographer Scout Tufankjian; and journalist David Barsamian.

Armenia’s Justice Ministry amended the initial draft of the bill, expanding the name from “Prevention of domestic violence and protection of victims of domestic violence,” to “Preventing violence in the family, protecting the victims of violence in the family, and restoring harmony in the family.”

Several groups, including the Yerevan-based Coalition to Stop Violence against Women, criticized the changes to the name and certain parts of the bill. “From the new title of the law, it is obvious that the draft law underwent conceptual changes, shifting from the protection of an individual into ‘family harmony,’ which not only lacks a legal definition but also contradicts local and international legal norms,” read a statement released by the coalition last month. The group also expressed concern that one of the basic principles under the bill’s second article enshrined the protection and maintenance of the “traditional Armenian family.”

“To tell you frankly, it’s a matter of semantics,” Yerevan’s Women’s Support Center Executive Director Maro Matosian told the Armenian Weekly. “For us practitioners, we understand that this is something to appease the opponents to the law. I don’t think the title itself will create much damage. I think that the content of the law is what we should be focusing on,” Matosian said.

The law is not perfect, Matosian said: “It never is the first time.”

“In Georgia, for example, amendments were made two years after the passage to improve it. So we’re hoping for the same thing in Armenia,” Matosian explained, describing the passage of the law as a good step forward for Armenia: “It was very much necessary for Armenia to be in line with international commitments and the conventions that have demanded domestic violence laws.”

Matosian said the new law unfortunately does not criminalize domestic violence right away—that it refers instead to the penal code, which is currently in draft form. “The law also insists on reconciliation, which could be considered a negative point. In cases of domestic violence, this is not accepted practice—because there is an imbalance of power and the victim is dominated,” Matosian said.

The reconciliation clause could be damaging, since, according to Matosian, a police officer or social worker can ask a victim to return to the home and try to reconcile with an abusive husband.

According to the law, however, Armenian law-enforcement authorities will be required to stop violence within families that threatens the lives or health of their members. Police could also force a violent spouse to leave the victim’s home and stay away for as long as 20 days. Courts will be able to extend those bans for 18 months.

The law also specifies that the definition of domestic violence is not limited to physical violence but also sexual, psychological, and economic violence.

Matosian said the passage of the law is significant because it has certain provisions did not previously exist in the country: “These provisions include the training of service providers; confidentiality of the victims; protecting orders; removing the abuser from the homes for a certain period; police accompanying victims to the home to retrieve belongings; and so forth.”

“These were always needed but never in place before,” she said. “In addition, there will be an effort to open new shelters and assist existing shelters.”

For Matosian, the passage of the law sends a strong message to sectors of Armenian society that continue to deny that domestic violence exists in Armenia. “This is proof that it does actually exist and that something should be done about it,” Matosian said.

Many have argued that implementation will be difficult. Matosian said securing proper practices will, in fact, be an uphill battle. “Civil society must be very diligent in this regard, because we are really the only ones monitoring and practicing the support and assistance based on international standards. It’s not going to happen overnight,” she admitted.

Matosian also explained that it is imperative for the law to be accompanied by mechanisms. “The police, for example, will have its own mechanisms put in place regarding implementation—what to do, what not to do. The same goes for legislators, social workers, and so forth,” she noted, “We’re waiting to hear about these mechanisms to be put into place.”

Matosian’s Women’s Support Center will be “keeping an eye out” to see how the law is implemented. “We will try to identify some of the gaps, some of the necessary measures not being taken, and based on that we will make our recommendations and amendments,” she said.

The Women’s Support Center will likely be able to make these recommendations in about a year or a year and a half, after properly identifying the problems, she said: “We can monitor, we can observe, we can draw conclusions based on the evidence.”

A 2011 survey on domestic violence in Armenia, conducted by Proactive Society with support from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), found that almost 60% of survey respondents said they had been subjected to some sort of domestic violence in their lifetime.




xmas 2017 flyer.jpg

** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 751 7 December 17 AVENGERS



DO TERRORISTS KNOW THEIR JOB? OR HAVE THEY LOST THE PLOT!
------------------------------------------------------------

And so, thanks to MI5, the ubiquitous British snoopers, a naive plot by two shaggy young men to kill PM Theresa May has been foiled. After blowing up the iron gate protecting Downing Street, one of them planned to stab May to death. Praise God, the would-be terrorists got caught. Martyr Saint Theresa? The very thought horrifies the priest.

The dastardly scheme triggers a sense of ‘déjà vu’. Didn’t al-Qaeda way back want to bump off Tony Blair?  A sniper was to shoot Tony and Cherie during the 2002 Royal Jubilee celebrations in the crowded Mall. Novelist Frederick Forsyth would have smiled an Olympian smile: a case of life following fiction. Although the Islamist killer didn’t look like the glacial, Aryan-looking, philandering Edward Fox of the Day of the Jackal movie – unless devious Al-Qaeda, like the long defunct OAS, decided to hire an infidel hit-man, hmmm… not impossible.

Only one British Prime Minister was assassinated. In 1812 Spencer Perceval was shot dead in the House of Commons. The motive was trivial: the killer, later hanged, was a bankrupt merchant who blamed the PM for his insolvency. Past examples are more grandiose. Four centuries ago Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot mates tried to decapitate the British establishment by blowing up at once king and parliament. Catholic zealots, they sought to stir up an anti-Protestant rebellion. King James I, the son of an executed Catholic Queen, Mary Stuart, and the husband of another Catholic, Ann of Denmark, had proved disappointing. And since Pope St Pius V had excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I, English Catholics were under a cloud, suspected as disloyal subjects. King James indeed so feared a pious murderer’s dagger that he wore a quilted doublet. (Tony Blair was pluckier: he refused to wear a bullet-proof vest.) James’ favourite and catamite, the Duke of Buckingham, evidently did not, as a
Protestant fanatic stabbed him to death later at Portsmouth.

Incongruously, Guy Fawkes reminds me of a more recent, would-be religious avenger. Roshonara Chowdry stabbed Labour MP Stephen Timms, to punish him for voting for war on Iraq. Luckily, Timms survived. (Glad the knife wasn’t poisoned, as assassins of old liked to do.) Roshonara got a life sentence. She declined to defend herself, refusing to recognise the jurisdiction of a British court. Would a Sharia’ court have been more lenient? I wonder.

Roshonara was hardly a Charlotte Corday. The French heroine who stabbed to death French ‘terrorist’ (a word revolutionary France invented) Jean Paul Marat in his bath. She took revenge for all the aristocrats and innocent people murdered by the Revolution. Charlotte was one of history’s female avengers, like the biblical Judith who cut off Holofernes’ head and also the Jael who drew a peg into Sisera’s skull. Right on, gals! Girl power rules OK!

The Roman Church of course did not countenance the murdering of rulers. St Thomas Aquinas taught it is all right to rebel against a tyrant – because he is an enemy of the common good – but did not say he should be killed. Only the odd Jesuit, like the learned Spaniard Juan Mariana, in De Rege et Regis Institutione justified tyrannicide. When Henry IV of France fell under the Catholic Ravaillac, the Jesuits were forbidden to teach Mariana’s doctrine. Leaving out ISIS and al-Qaeda, probably unversed in such subtleties, I wonder  whether Zimbabwe’s pensioned off ex-President Mugabe, a Catholic, ever read Mariana. Apparently he considered Tony Blair a tyrant. Missed opportunity, anyway.

The aim of terrorism is to spread terror. That’s no brainer. But why? Terror for its own sake? That would be stupid or irrational and ISIS and its affiliates are neither. A caliphate, an Islamic state is what they crave. The Raqqa-based one is gone but their long term aim must be to set up another one. That being so, they’d better take a leaf out of Lenin’s book. (Or Ayatollah Khomeini’s but their sectarian hatred of the Shia makes that improbable.) Before the 1917 revolution Russia had terrorists galore. Throwing bombs at tsars and archdukes was almost a mass participatory sport. In political terms, it achieved virtually zilch. It only made repression more ferocious. Lenin correctly saw that only mass action and general strike would bring down the regime. After the Russian Army’s debacle in WWI Lenin got his way – bolshevism triumphed. Not thanks to individual acts of terrorism, though. The Iranian Revolution teaches the same lesson. A religious revolution – against history?
No against the Western idea of history. An uprising that has inspired Muslims everywhere.

Another pre-condition to a triumphant revolution is intellectual hegemony. That means that culture has to be favourable to the idea of a radical transformation. So in France the Enlightenment prepared the way for the revolutionaries of 1789. Writers like Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot and D’Alembert systematically corroded the principles of religion, aristocracy and tradition. They proved what Gramsci, the Italian communist theorist, asserted later: the intellectuals are necessary to prepare the way for the great upheaval. I doubt the gentlemen of ISIS will seduce the minds of Melvin Bragg, Andrew Marr, yuppies and similar rabble. And the Muslim minorities in the West don’t seem to look forward to living under a Raqqa-style caliphate.

Had the shaggy Islamists managed to hurt poor Theresa, what would the result have been? Collapse of liberal democracy? Nationwide tumults in favour of a caliphate? ISIS black flag flying over Westminster? Nope. Just popular hysteria, massive restrictions of civil liberties, paranoid fear of dissenting citizens and…you get my drift.

Unless they start studying and learning from Lenin and Gramsci, Islamists have lost the plot.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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