Friday, 16 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... How true is this statement

It makes one wonder if there were concernes about Armenians in this region, when they were killed by apposing fractions?
June 12 2017
NATO member countries concerned about growth of armaments in South Caucasus 

YEREVAN. – All NATO member countries are concerned about the growth of armaments in the South Caucasus region, special representative of the NATO Secretary General in the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai told reporters in Yerevan. 

According to him, this is accompanied by political tension. The two NATO allies – France and U.S. – are co-chairing states of the OSCE Minsk Group, and they are committed to a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict, he said. 

NATO's position, he continued, is quite clear: it is necessary to reduce tensions, lower the level of military operations and continue the peace process. The Alliance is closely monitoring the security situation in this region, and periodically receives updated information about this. 

“I must say that at present the level of concern among NATO member countries is quite high, as there have been recent clashes, more bellicose statements have been made, and there have been casualties. NATO is not directly involved in the process, and I cannot involve the Alliance in it. Our clear position is to assist the OSCE Minsk Group,” Appathurai added. 

NATO will undoubtedly continue to contribute to the steps taken by the two countries and co-chairs towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict. 

June 12 2017
OSCE Minsk Group's statements seek to reduce tensions: envoy 

Statements released by the OSCE Minsk Group are aimed at reducing tensions on the contact line, Russian co-chair Igor Popov said on Monday, June 12. 

After meeting Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) president Bako Sahakyan, Popov told reporters that the Mink Group has always released targeted statements which sought to help maintain the process of the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The co-chairs arrived in Armenia on Saturday and met with foreign minister Edward Nalbandian, defense minister Vigen Sargsyan and president Serzh Sargsyan. They met with Sahakyan on Monday.

The Armenian officials have on both days hailed the co-chairs' targeted assessment of Azerbaijan’s aggression.

The co-chairs in a statement released on May 18 gave an assessment of the current situation on the Karabakh line of contact, addressed to Azerbaijan.

The ambassadors cited "information collected from multiple reliable sources" which proved that Azerbaijan initiated the latest escalation on the contact line.

RFE/RL Report
Mediators Visit Armenia, Karabakh
June 12, 2017

U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group
have met with Armenia's and Nagorno-Karabakh's leaders as part of
their continuing efforts to relaunch Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

The three mediators met with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign
Minister Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan on Saturday at the start of
their latest tour of the Karabakh conflict zone. They then proceeded
to Stepanakert for similar talks with Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh
president, that were held on Monday. They are expected to travel to
Baku later this week or early next.

The envoys gave few details of their talks when they spoke to
reporters in the Karabakh capital. "France, the United States and
Russia are making every effort to achieve progress on this issue,"
Stephane Visconti, the Minsk Group's French co-chair, was reported to

Neither the mediators nor official Armenian sources specified whether
they pressed for the conduct of high-level Armenian-Azerbaijani
negotiations. Visconti's American opposite number, Richard Hoagland,
expressed hope in March that Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign
Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will "prepare the ground" for a meeting of
their presidents.

The two ministers reported no agreements to that effect after they
last met in Moscow in April. Nalbandian said on May 30 that an
Armenian-Azerbaijani summit is unlikely to be organized "for the time

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev most recently met in
Vienna and Saint Petersburg in May and June last year. The Karabakh
peace process has been essentially deadlocked since then.

Meeting with Visconti, Hoagland and Russia's Igor Popov on Saturday,
Nalbandian accused Baku of continuing to ignore their calls for the
conflicting parties to comply with confidence-building agreements that
were reached by Aliyev and Sarkisian last year. According to the
Armenian Foreign Ministry, he said the mediators should take "concrete
actions" in order to "rein in this unconstructive and provocative
policy by Azerbaijan."

Sahakian likewise accused Baku of continuing ceasefire violations
along the Karabakh "line of contact" when met with the co-chairs in
Stepanakert. The spokesman for the Karabakh leader, Davit Babayan, was
quoted by as stressing the importance of bolstering
the ceasefire regime.

Babayan also said that the warring sides still have a "long way to go"
to resolve the conflict. Their positions on a peaceful settlement are
"almost diametrically opposite," he said.

ARKA, Armenia
June 12 2017
Passenger air traffic in Armenia built up by 31% and freight by 82% in Jan-May 2017
Passenger air traffic in Armenia has grown 31% over the first five months of this year, a representative of the General Department of Civil Aviation of Armenia told Karen Karapetyan, Armenian prime minister, as the latter visited the department.

The volumes of cargoes carried by aircrafts have grown 82% over the mentioned period.

The premier learned the 2016 passenger traffic growth was unprecedented – 2,117,000 passengers.

He also heard that the General Department of Civil Aviation was negotiating with different air companies and investors to establish regular freight traffic and with the European Union over the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement.

Besides, the department is doing whatever is necessary to attract new air companies to Armenia. -0----

ARKA, Armenia
June 12 2017
Mark Grigoryan appointed as executive director of Public Radio of Armenia 

Armenia’s Public Television and Radio Company Council has appointed today Mark Grigoryan as Executive Director of the Public Radio of Armenia. 

Mark Grigoryan was born in 1958 in Yerevan. In 1980, after graduating from Yerevan State University, he joined the Yerevan Scientific Research and Design Institute of Automated Urban Management Systems.

He began a journalist’s career in 1993 as deputy editor of ‘Svoboda" newspaper in Yerevan. In 1995-1996 he worked for the Armenian International Magazine. He has authored and edited 16 books, many research and journalistic articles and is one of the founders of the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan.

In late 2002, following an assassination attempt, he moved to London, UK, where he worked for the Russian service of the BBC. In 2003, he received the Hellman / Hammett Journalist Award in recognition of courage in the face of political persecution. In 2014 he returned to Armenia, and worked for various TV channels. Since 2016 he has served as adviser to the executive director of Public Radio.

June 12 2017
Cataloging Violence Targeting Journalists in Armenia’s 2017 Elections
Narine Khachatryan 
The numerous cases of violence targeting journalists in Armenia during its April 2, 2017, parliamentary elections highlight the failure of the state’s authorities to keep their promise of ensuring that elections would be held on the highest level possible. At least ten journalists of local media outlets were reported to have been subjected to obstruction and physical violence while covering the April 2 elections. A number of Armenian and international media advocacy groups and media organizations have since condemned the attacks, calling on the Armenian authorities to take measures to ensure that those responsible parties were identified and subjected to liability. Despite these calls, impunity continues to prevail, and only a few perpetrators have officially been charged for their actions.

RFE/RL’s Armenian Service was the first to report that their correspondent Sisak Gabrielyan had been attacked by ruling Republican Party (RPA) activists at the election headquarters of RPA candidate Hakob Beglaryan in Yerevan’s Kond district. Gabrielyan was reportedly hit in the face by RPA office workers after having noticed and starting filming them distributing cash among voters. A large number of people, the journalist claimed, would go into the RPA office, located on 15 Rustaveli St., before heading to a nearby polling station to cast ballots. Most of them, he said, would leave the premises with money in their hands.

In the video published by, office workers insist they are paying the staffers’ wages, and when Sisakyan manages to film a list of dozens of voters’ names with addresses, passport numbers and signatures, they force him out of the office. The RPA campagn activists continue quarreling with Sisakyan outside of the office, and at some point they attack the journalist and try to seize the smartphone he is using to film the incident.

The video filmed by Sisakyan also shows correspondent Shoghik Galstyan and her cameraman Hayk Petrosyan being attacked by a group of women as she is trying to film the commotion. A visibly agitated woman snatches Galstyan’s camera, pushes the reporter, and even pulls her hair.

Other Cases of Obstruction in Yerevan

    • correspondent Tirayr Muradyan’s professional activities were hindered at the 9/29 precinct, also located in Kond. According to a police report filed by Muradyan, an unknown woman insulted him and hit his camera.
    • reporter Armine Avetisyan was subjected to pressure, had stones thrown at her, and was threatened with stabbing at another Hakob Beglaryan campaign office in Noragyugh, a neighborhood in Yerevan’s Kentron administrative district.
    • Another correspondent, Kristine Poghosyan, was threatened and sworn at in the 10/3 precinct in Yerevan’s Sari Tagh neighborhood.
    • correspondent Lusine Shahbazyan was prevented from properly carrying out her professional activities at the 6/01 precinct in Yerevan’s Ajapnyak administrative district.

Other Reporters’ Activities Hindered at Polling Stations Outside of Yerevan

    • correspondent Grisha Balasanyan was pressured and obstructed at the 14/20 precinct in Echmiadzin;
    • correspondent Ani Gevorgyan faced challenges at the 12/35 precinct in the Ararat province village of Shahumyan;
    • RFE/RL Armenian Service correspondent Narine Ghalechyan’s activities were hindered at the 20/24 precinct in the Gekharkunik village of Tchambarak;
    • correspondent Narek Kirakosyan was subjected to pressure at the 32/31 precinct in Gyumri.

A few days following the elections, the office of Armenia’s General Prosecutor released a statement, saying that all the reports of violence against journalists were being looked into and that two criminal cases had already been initiated in connection with the incidents involving Sisak Gabrielyan and Shoghik Galstyan. Three weeks later, Armenia’s Special Investigative Service said that a Yerevan man had been officially charged with assaulting Gabrielyan and obstructing his professional activities. If found guilty, the accused faces up to 5 years in prison. A Yerevan woman, the officials also said, was charged with using violence against Shoghik Galstyan. Future and Previous Cases

Gabrielyan was caught in a similar incident during the May 14 municipal elections in Yerevan, fewer than two months after the parliamentary elections. He was again attacked by ruling Republican Party loyalists after witnessing them distributing cash to voters outside a RPA campaign headquarters. The video filmed by Sisakyan shows the staff members of the office insulting and shoving the reporter as the latter tries to find out whether the headquarters had been paying bribes to voters.

Shoghik Galstyan is not a stranger to election violence and hindrance herself; during the municipal elections in October 2016, a woman snatched the reporter’s smartphone and smashed it on the ground at the 30/47 polling station in Vanadzor. The woman was subsequently fined AMD 700,000 ($1,442) and barred from taking part in any election-related processes for a year.

According to the 2016 Annual Report on the Situation with Freedom of _expression_ and Violations of Rights of Journalists and Media in Armenia by the Yerevan-based Committee to Protect Freedom of _expression_ , Armenian media representatives worked in extremely unfavorable conditions in 2016. They were subjected to mass violations and hindrance while covering the July 2016 demonstrations in support of an Anti-government armed group occupying a police station in Yerevan’s Erebuni district.

During the July events, the CPFE report says, 27 journalists and cameramen suffered from police actions, with 19 of them having been subjected to physical violence.

During the coverage of the municipal elections in September–October 2016, as well as during the relatively calm periods, the CPFE recorded 10 cases of physical violence against 26 journalists and cameramen, 52 cases of other types of pressure against mass media representatives, as well as 33 violations of journalists’ right to receive and disseminate information.

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