Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan!...

June 24, 2017
Armenia’s Defense Ministry reports Azerbaijan violates ceasefire in Karabakh

Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported that between June 18 and 24
Azerbaijan about 400 times violated ceasefire at the line of
engagement with Nagorno-Karabakh.

The ministry said, the Azerbaijani side used small arms of various
calibers, including "60 and 82mm mortars and grenade launchers."

"Besides the said violations of ceasefire, at night to June 22 the
enemy attempted a breakthrough sabotage at the line of engagement,"
the ministry said on Saturday.

Efforts for peace

The situation along the line of engagement in the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when
fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other
of violating the truce.

On April 5, Azerbaijan’s Chief of Staff Nadjmeddin Sadykov and his
Armenian counterpart Yury Khachaturov met in Moscow with Russia’s
mediation. At the talks the sides came to an agreement on cessation of
hostilities at the line of engagement between Azerbaijani and Armenian
forces. On the same day, the two countries’ defense ministries
announced that the ceasefire regime in Nagorno-Karabakh would start at
12am local time. Since then, the parties to the conflict have been
accusing each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.

The participants of talks on Nagorno-Karabakh in Vienna on May 16
involving the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia and mediated by the
foreign ministers from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries agreed
to observe ceasefire in the region in compliance with the 1994-1995
accords. The parties to the conflict also agreed to complete as soon
as possible the work on an OSCE tool on investigating incidents on the
contact line.

In a trilateral statement adopted on June 20 following a summit of
Russian Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in St. Petersburg, the
sides confirmed their commitment to the normalization of the situation
along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a
mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of
Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and
violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.

Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet
Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the
post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between
Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong
support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.

In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to
the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the
region's de facto independence. In 1994, a ceasefire was reached but
the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain strained ever
since then.

Russia, France and the U.S. co-chair the Minsk Group of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to
broker an end to hostilities and the conflict. 

APA, Azerbaijan
June 23 2017
Azerbaijan president calls to sanction Armenia

[Groong note: the below is translated from the Russian edition of APA]

 "Azerbaijan's position on regulating the Armenian-Azerbaijani
conflict over [Azerbaijan's breakaway] Nagorno-Karabakh is clear to
society. We have voiced our position on a number of occasions. This
conflict must be solved within the context of territorial integrity
our country on the basis of the norms and principles of international
law. There is no other alternative. Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan's
indigenous territory. Our people have lived on the territory for
centuries. All place-names and historic monuments [there] reflect
Azerbaijan's history."

According to the Apa [news agency], this is what Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of the plant 
of revolving grenade fitting elements in [the city of] Shirvan.

The head of state emphasised that international community also
recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan.

"All leading international organisations have made decisions on the
issue, adopting resolutions, according to which the Armenian Armed
Forces ought to immediately and unconditionally leave the occupied
territories. However, Armenia chooses not to implement them.
Regrettably, no serious measures have been used against this country.
International sanctions should have been imposed on Armenia long ago.
The thing is that this country occupied the territory of another
country in the 21st century, carrying out genocide of its people,
destroying all its historic monuments. 
The ruined village of Cocuq
Marcanli is a clear example of this. The situation is similar in all
occupied territories.

"International law strengthens our position, which is historically
correct. The so-called referendum, which was recently held in
Nagorno-Karabakh, failed to receive recognition by any international
structure, neighbour countries, the EU, or the OSCE Minsk Group
co-chair countries. In other words, choosing not to recognise the
referendum, all international structures and countries once again
confirmed that Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan's territory.
International community does not recognise the fictitious separatist
regime of the junta and it will never do so. Therefore, historic
justice and international law are on our side and our political weight
is certainly incomparably greater than that of Armenia. In other
words, all these factors strengthen our position. Certainly, the
Azerbaijani state should further strengthen its position and it is
strengthening its principled position. Once again, I would like to
reiterate that we live in conditions of war. Our people will never
accept the existing situation.

"We will never al.low the creation of a second Armenian state on our
historic territories We are going to restore our territorial
integrity. Recent developments and strengthening of our country offer
us greater opportunities for settling the issue.

"Indeed, to achieve our goal, we need to become even stronger. At
present, the factor of power is playing a leading role all over the
world, which is unfortunate. Indeed, international law is also
extremely important, as it creates a legal basis for the conflict.
However, it is the factor of power that plays the main role. We see
that in different parts of the world, international law is offended
and treaded down, being interpreted differently. Using the factor of
power makes it possible to change the real situation
. This is not our
choice. However, we, too, live in the real world. We need to be strong
to achieve our goal. Work is being carried out in this direction," the
president emphasised.

RFE/RL Report
More Russian Weapons Supplied To Azerbaijan
June 26, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan

Russia has delivered a new batch of anti-tank missile systems to
Azerbaijan as part of lucrative arms deals with Baku that have been
strongly criticized by Armenia over the past year.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry released over the weekend video of
around a dozen self-propelled Khrizantema-S systems unloaded from a
Russian cargo ship that docked at Baku's Caspian Sea port.

Khrizantema-S is designed to detect and destroy tanks, armored
vehicles, field fortifications and even some low-flying aerial targets
with guided missiles. It entered service with the Russian Armed Forces
in 2005.

Azerbaijan is known to have received 10 such systems in 2015. It
reportedly commissioned them in 2014.

Armenia's top military officials on Monday declined to comment on the
latest delivery. Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian said he will comment
at a news conference later this week.

"It's the political leadership that deals with this issue and it will
react," Colonel General Movses Hakobian, the chief of the Armenian
army's General Staff, told RFE/RL's Armenian service (
for his part.

Russia has also sold around $5 billion worth of tanks, artillery
systems and other weapons to Azerbaijan in line with defense contracts
signed in 2009-2011. According to the United Nations Register of
Conventional Arms, it shipped six heavy artillery systems to the
Azerbaijani military last year.

Armenian leaders stepped up their criticism of those arms deals
following Azerbaijan's April 2016 offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh. They
said that the arms supplies run contrary to Russia's military alliance
in Armenia and encourage Baku to attempt a military solution to the
Karabakh conflict.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev rejected the Armenian criticism
after visiting Yerevan later in April 2016. He said that that Russia
delivers weapons to both Armenia and Azerbaijan and thereby sustains
the "military balance" in the conflict.

In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin similarly denied that
Moscow has increased the risk of another Karabakh war. Speaking after
talks in the Kremlin with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian,
Putin implied that oil-rich Azerbaijan could have purchased offensive
weapons from other nations. He also argued that Russia has long been
providing substantial military aid to Armenia.

The Armenia army demonstrated new weapons recently acquired from
Russia during a September 2016 military parade in Yerevan. Those
included Iskander ballistic missiles. 

Extract from an article on Baku attempting to reset 
its relationship with the EU 

Negotiations are currently focused on three specific issues, according to one EU diplomat. Two are relatively simple: first, Azerbaijan wants a special mention of Baku’s key role in energy security, in particular highlighting the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor. Second, it wants the working name of the agreement – Partnership for Modernization – to be called instead a Strategic Partnership for Modernization, which Baku sees as necessary to underscore the equal status of the two sides, and Azerbaijan’s importance for the EU.

A more sticky issue promises to be the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and how it is described in the agreement. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has said that the agreement needs to demonstrate “a unified approach to the issue of territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries within their internationally recognized borders.” The EU, however, wants to frame the conflict within the context of the Helsinki Accords , which privilege equally territorial integrity (which favors Azerbaijan’s case) and national self-determination (which favors Armenia). 

Baku is hoping that the Russian annexation of Crimea will bolster its case, given that the EU has repeatedly condemned it as a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. One European Parliament resolution noted that “the occupation by one country of the Eastern Partnership of the territory of another violates the fundamental principles and objectives of the EaP.”

Azerbaijani negotiators hope that the agreement might mention the Helsinki Accords with a highlight of the territorial integrity principle, as the EU has done in its Association Agreement with Georgia. 

RFE/RL Report
Minister Unfazed By Increased Debt Burden
June 26, 2017
Ruzanna Stepanian
Despite a significant increase in Armenia's foreign debt, the
authorities in Yerevan will not struggle to repay it in the years
ahead, Finance Minister Vartan Aramian insisted on Monday.

"We have not even passed the threshold for moderately indebted
countries yet," he told lawmakers during a parliamentary discussion on
the Armenian government's execution of the 2016 state budget.

Armenia's public debt is on course to pass the $6 billion mark later
this year. The figure is equivalent to more than 55 percent of the
country's Gross Domestic Product.

The debt stood at less than $2 billion before the 2008-2009 global
financial crisis plunged the country into a severe recession. The
authorities have since borrowed heavily from the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and other external sources to prevent
massive spending cuts and finance infrastructure projects.

Aramian made clear that the government will continue to resort to
external borrowing in order to finance its budget deficit, which
widened to 278 billion drams ($580) in 2016. The government plans to
cut it to 150 billion drams this year.

David Lipton, the IMF's first deputy managing director, said in
December that the Armenian authorities intend to "ensure that debt
remains below 60 percent of GDP over the medium term."

Some parliamentarians expressed concern at the authorities' ability to
meet the mounting debt service commitments, which are projected to
reach $1 billion in 2020. The country's entire state budget is
currently worth around $3 billion.

In Aramian's words, Eurobonds issued by the government in 2013 will
account for half of the 2020 repayment.The minister revealed that the
government plans to buy back that $500 million debt through another
Eurobond issue. He said his ministry is already "working very
actively" with Western investment banks like JP Morgan and HSBC for
that purpose.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian's cabinet expects that economic growth
in Armenia will accelerate to more than 3 percent this year. In its
five-year policy program approved by the National Assembly last week,
the government pledged to help ensure an average annual growth rate of
around 5 percent. 

June 26 2017
Syria’s Armenians are fleeing to their ancestral homeland
The war may bring an end to a Christian minority’s century-long story 

WHEN war broke out in Syria in 2011, some of the wealthier families from the country’s Christian Armenian minority decamped to Yerevan, the Armenian capital, where they rented luxury flats on the city’s Northern Avenue. It felt, some would later say, as though they were on holiday. The government allotted them space in a local school, where Syrian teachers who had fled as refugees continued to instruct their children using the Syrian curriculum. It took some time for it to dawn on them that they might never go home.

Syria’s six-year-old civil war has forced more than 5m of its citizens to seek refuge outside their country. In 2015-16 hundreds of thousands trekked through the Balkans, seeking safety in Europe. But hardly any of Syria’s Armenian minority took this route. Instead, many went to Armenia. With its own population shrunken by emigration (falling from 3.6m in 1991 to 3m today), Armenia was happy to welcome as many Syrian Armenians—most of them educated, middle class and entrepreneurial—as would come.

Before the war some 90,000 ethnic Armenians lived in Syria, two-thirds of them in Aleppo. Many were descended from ancestors who had fled their homeland in 1915, escaping systematic Ottoman massacres and ethnic cleansing. For most of them, the civil war has put an end to a century-long story. Hrair Aguilan, a 61-year-old businessman, invested his life savings in a furniture factory in Aleppo just before the war, only to see it destroyed. Now he is in Yerevan to stay. ���It lasted a hundred years. It is finished,” says Mr Aguilan. “There is no future for Christians in the Middle East.”

No more than 30,000 Syrian Armenians are believed to remain in Syria. Many dispersed to Lebanon, Canada, Turkey, the Persian Gulf states and elsewhere. The rest, up to 30,000, went to what they regard as the motherland. (Some have since moved on to other countries.) The wealthy, who found it easy to move, came first. Others tried to wait out the war in Syria, fleeing only once their means were exhausted. They arrived in Armenia with nothing.

Vartan Oskanian, a former foreign minister of Armenia who was born in Aleppo, says many of the refugees have started small businesses. In Syria, members of the Armenian minority tended to be skilled professionals or artisans; they were known as jewellers, doctors, engineers and industrialists. Native Armenians are delighted by the restaurants opened by the newcomers, who have brought their much spicier cuisine to a country where food (and almost everything else) has long been influenced by the bland flavours of Russia.

Almost all of the refugees have ended up in Yerevan, apart from some 30 families from a farming area, who were resettled in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-held territory that is disputed with Azerbaijan. Some young men who had fought in the Syrian army have volunteered to serve on the front lines of that conflict, but many more young Syrian Armenians hold off on asking for Armenian citizenship so that they do not have to do military service.

Vasken Yacoubian, who once ran a construction company in Damascus, now heads the Armenian branch of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), a global charity. He says refugees are still arriving from Syria, if no longer in large numbers. A few have even gone back, especially those with property (if only to try to sell it). Some Syrian Armenians argue that they have a duty to return: their diaspora forms an important branch of Armenian civilisation, and must be preserved.

Yet Mr Oskanian says those who have returned to Syria see little future for the community there. In Syria, Armenians have staunchly backed the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which has protected them from persecution by Muslim extremists. But that government controls only a portion of Syria’s territory, and Mr Assad’s fate in any peace deal is uncertain. Meanwhile officials at Armenia’s Ministry of the Diaspora, which was caught unprepared by the influx of Syrians, are taking no chances. They are making contingency plans in case a new conflict erupts in Lebanon, sending thousands of Lebanese Armenians their way.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Propaganda Trap!

Panorama, Armenia
June 23 2017
Several Armenians fall victims to Azerbaijan’s so called ‘peace platform’ fraud 

Azerbaijan has managed to trick a group of Armenians into its so-called ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Platform’. In an interview with Armenian Shant TV Company, the deceived people explained how they ended up in the adversary’s propaganda trap. 

The released video presents how Azerbaijan launched a fake initiative known as ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Platform’ in fall of 2016 in order to present itself as a peaceful nation in the eyes of the international community. The true goal of the platform is to mislead people and get statements from them through fake promises, afterwards distorting and fitting those statements into the Azerbaijani propaganda nature to split the Armenian society and create an illusion of a dialogue between the Armenian and Azerbaijani people. 

A group of Armenians, who fell victims to the ‘peace platform’ fraud, told the TV company how the members of the initiative made tempting offers to them via social networks to join the platform and to build a successful career. For instance, A French teacher, Narine Dermenjyan was promised a job in Germany. Later on, she found out a distorted statement made on her behalf. 

“I repeatedly came across my name on Susan Jaghinyan’s Facebook timeline, suggesting that I allegedly support the view of Karabakh becoming part of Azerbaijan, which is absolutely untrue,” Ms. Dermenjyan said. 

Another Armenian citizen David Aleksanyan told how Baku attempted to trick him into the platform as well, however he managed to reveal the fraud in time. 

“I joined Baku’s so called ‘peace platform’ in order to once again show the fake nature of the Azeri propaganda and the their alleged peaceful intentions,” he said. 

The platform also misled Canadian-Armenian intellectual Janet Hakobyan. They allegedly conducted an interview with the latter, publishing the distorted answers on Azerbaijani media outlets. “I reproached them to learn that they abused my words and answers. Shame on them. I would never exchange an inch of my Fatherland with anything else,” the intellectual said. 

The Armenian citizens told the TV Company how shocked they were to find out their names among the members of anti-Armenian organizations. They managed to prevent the Azerbaijani fraud on time by voicing about it, however the so called ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Platform’ also features six other Armenians, who are also victims of this scam. 

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
June 23, 2017 Friday
Armenian citizens reportedly cross Russia's remote border into Norway,
foreign ministry awaits confirmation
The Armenian foreign ministry focuses on
the issue of the Armenians who crossed the Russian northernmost remote
border and appeared in Norway. The Armenian Embassy in Norway
contacted police where the information was confirmed. Norway’s law
enforcement agencies said the case is being dealt by the migration
service, foreign ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told ARMENPRESS.

“We are trying to identify them through this body [migration service]
and contact them. We have sent a written inquiry to Norwegian
authorities and we are waiting for their response to clarify whether
or not they can confirm that the border crossers are citizens of
Armenia, as well as based on what documents are they confirmed to be
Armenian citizens”, Balayan said.

According to Associated Press, 6 Armenians crossed the remote Arctic
border into Norway from Russia on June 20.

Norway has asked Russia how come the Armenians were able to enter
Norway via a remote Arctic border post despite a bilateral border
agreement that doesn't allow them to cross there, AP reported.

It is reported that there is one child among the Armenians. The police
chief at Norway's Storskog checkpoint says they are aged between 4 and

RFE/RL Report
Minister Claims Rising Investments In Armenia
June 23, 2017
Nane Sahakian
The Armenian government has already secured more than a third of
around $850 million in investments which it promised to attract into
the domestic economy this year, Minister for Economic Development
Suren Karayan claimed on Friday.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian repeatedly gave such promises during
campaigning for last April's parliamentary elections. He said the sum
equivalent to over 7 percent of Armenia's Gross Domestic Product will
come from foreign and local private investors as well as the state
budget and foreign loans extended to his government.

Karayan insisted that "approximately 37-40 percent" of the promised
investments are already in progress. But he declined to specify their

"We can't publicize names, it's a commercial secret," he told
reporters. "I can only specify the sectors where those investments
have been made."

The minister stated earlier that at least 10,000 new jobs will be
created in Armenia, mostly in the manufacturing sector, in the course
of this year.

The government's political opponents and other critics are skeptical
about these pledges.Speaking in the Armenian parliament earlier this
week, Edmon Marukian, a leader of the opposition Yelk alliance,
pointed out that Karapetian has not visited any western European
country since he became prime minister in September.

"What is being done to attract those investments?" Marukian
asked. "Who is supposed to go [to Europe,] meet those people and bring
the investments?"

Karayan dismissed that argument, saying that "many" potential European
investors have visited Armenia in recent months. "Just a few days ago,
French partners were visiting," he said. "They are going to invest in
our light industry and place production orders. And on Monday our
partners from Denmark will arrive."

The Armenian economy was essentially stagnant last year amid a
continuing recession in Russia, Armenia's leading trading
partner. Karapetian's cabinet expects that it will grow by at least
3.2 percent in 2017. The World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund have forecast slightly lower growth rates. 

Armenian Weekly
June 23 2017
Charles Aznavour to Receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Famed French-Armenian crooner Charles Aznavour has been selected to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Aznavour will join Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” in the Live Theatre/Live Performance category, the Walk of Fame Selection Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced on June 23.

Born Shahnour Vaghenag Aznavourian in 1924 in Paris, Aznavour was raised in an atmosphere of “music, love, and poverty,” and was always encouraged to entertain. To help support the family, he joined a touring children’s company and even hawked newspapers on boulevards.

“I learned about songs and music from my father and about theater and poetry from my mother. I grew up among singers, actors, dancers who were Armenian and Russian in a Jewish ghetto. Can you imagine what a beautiful combination that is?” Aznavour once said in an interview.

Making his stage debut at nine as an actor-dancer, he spent 20 years fighting to get to the top of the theatrical world, seeing his personally written songs only become famous when sung by Edith Piaf, Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier, and Juliet Greco, among many others.

“I became a successful writer very slowly. My songs became so popular in France that one day they accepted the man who wrote them. I started the kind of song that faces the reality of life—everyday movement, everyday feelings, everyday story. Nobody before wrote anything about deaf-mute love, homosexual love, a song about an ugly woman. They were all afraid. I’ve done it. Everybody else came after me.”

Since those difficult days, Aznavour has ridden the top of the performing crest. His best has been described in eloquent terms, as “fantastic charisma,” electric magic.” He describes it as the “hunger of succeeding, of achieving something. Any entertainer who achieves something important has a monstrous attitude. Piaf was a monster. I’m a monster. We’re frightening people.”

Though described as the Frank Sinatra of France, he has sung in nine languages in the world’s most famous musical venues, including Carnegie and Radio City Music halls. His songs, such as “She,” “Dance in the Old Fashioned Way,” and “Yesterday When I Was Young,” are regular staples in the international record-selling markets, and have been performed by world famous singers. “Ils sont tombes” (They Fell), his song dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, became a best-seller in many countries.

In 1998, Azanvour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and international users of Time Online. The recipient of numerous other honors, including the “National Order of the Legion of Honor” and the “National Hero” of Armenia.

Dates have not been set for the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, which must be scheduled within two years from the selection date.

Panorama, Armenia
June24 2017
Tablet production cut down by 92.1% in Armenia 

According to the data released by Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSS), in January-April 2017, 55 units of tables were produced in Armenia, cutting down by 92.1% to compare with the same period of 2016. To note, in January-April 2016, 696 units of tables were produced in Armenia.

According to the NSS data, at the same time in Jan-April of the current year, the production of computers decreased by 47 % in Armenia, comprising for 133 units compared to 253 units of computers produced in 2017.

In January-April 2017, 230 mobile phones were produced in Armenia. To remind, the first Armenian Armphone smartphones have gone on sale since January 2016. Prior to that, Armenia did not produce mobile phones.

Notably, Armenian company Technology and Science Dynamics Inc./Armtab Technologies is engaged in production of ArmTab tablets, ArmPhone smartphones, as well as development of scientific and research programs.

Armenian Institute...Workshop on writing poetry

Here is a poster from the Armenian Institute to promote a number of formal writing and poetry in its many forms…This event is promoted by the Arts Council England.
Your support is welcome! 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

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