Saturday, 24 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Queen's Honours List

Queen's Honours List
June 2017 

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 

Professor Haro Bedelian OBE FREng 
for services to Engineering and International Trade 

Panorama, Armenia
June 21 2017
Serzh Sargsyan: Armenia attaches great importance 

to the development of multilateral cooperation with 
the United Kingdom 
On the occasion of the national holiday of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, President Serzh Sargsyan sent a congratulatory message to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

The President of Armenia congratulated and expressed good wishes to the Queen, the royal family and the friendly British people on the occasion of the national holiday, press department at the President’s Office reported.

“The Republic of Armenia attaches great importance to the development of multilateral cooperation with the United Kingdom. This year marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of Armenian-British diplomatic relations, and this is a good opportunity to reassess our joint path and reaffirm our mutual commitment to deepening and expanding interstate relations and friendship between peoples. I am confident that the decades-long experience of your leadership gives the British people additional confidence and strength on the way to prosperity and helps defy modern challenges,” the President of Armenia stated in his message addressed to Queen Elizabeth II.

On the occasion of the holiday, President Sargsyan visited the residence of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Armenia to congratulate Ambassador Judith Margareth Farnworth and the Embassy staff.

Noting that the authorities and the people of the United Kingdom faced a number of challenges during the recent period, and that Armenia, together with the United Kingdom, experienced great pain in connection with the tragic events that took place, the President of the Republic of Armenia wished that this day might become a new beginning for the United Kingdom so that any further development could bring progress for the country and its citizens.

President Sargsyan and Ambassador Farnworth discussed steps aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations and developing cooperation. The Ambassador of the United Kingdom stressed that her country is determined to continue assisting Armenia with the ongoing reforms.

RFE/RL Report 
Karapetian Promotes New Government Program
June 21, 2017
Tatevik Lazarian

The Armenian government pledged to speed up economic growth and
significantly reduce poverty in the country in its new policy program
which Prime Minister Karen Karapetian presented to lawmakers on

The National Assembly began debating the five-year plan of actions
more than two months after parliamentary elections won by the ruling
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The program's almost certain
approval by the parliament would amount to a vote of confidence in
Karapetian's cabinet.

The more than 100-page document covers all major areas of government
policy and the economy in particular. It commits the government to
ensuring that the Armenian economy grows at an average annual rate of
around 5 percent on the back of soaring exports. It says that the
projected faster growth will cut Armenia's poverty rate, which
currently stands at roughly 30 percent, by 12 percentage points.

Karapetian said the government will strive to achieve these objectives
by improving the domestic investment climate, assisting
export-oriented manufacturers and combatting corruption
. He pointed to
a number of anti-corruption measures that have been taken in recent
months. Those include the impending creation of a special government
body that will scrutinize personal incomes of top state officials and
monitor possible conflicts of interest among them.

The prime minister stressed the importance of establishing an
"atmosphere of justice and trust" in the country.
 "Without that it
will be impossible to ensure the country's development and our
citizens' welfare," he declared.

For that purpose, Karapetian went on, the government will strive to
make Armenian court more independent and impartial
. It will propose
corresponding amendments to the Judicial Code later this year, he

Karapetian already promised a tougher fight against corruption, better
tax administration and "equal conditions" for all businesses in
October shortly after being appointed as prime minister by President
Serzh Sarkisian and forming his cabinet. Opposition politicians
dismissed that reform agenda as a publicity stunt.

The premier insisted on Wednesday that reforms initiated by the
government are already bearing fruit. Citing official statistics, he
reported double-digit increases in Armenian industrial output and
exports recorded in the first five months of this year.

Despite mapping out its policies for the next five years, Karapetian
and his ministers will have to resign when Sarkisian completes his
final presidential term and Armenia becomes a parliamentary republic
in April 2018. The president has yet to clarify whether he plans to
become prime minister, replace Karapetian by someone else or keep the
current premier in office.

Answering questions from opposition lawmakers, Karapetian reiterated
that he stands "ready" to stay on as prime minister after April 2018.

ARKA, Armenia
June 21 2017
Armenian economist speaks about hidden pitfalls in new government program 

Atom Margarayn, economist and professor at the Armenian State University of Economics, thinks that the new program upheld yesterday by the Cabinet ministers may contain particular risks.

In his opinion, the word ‘reform’ is abused here.

“Reforms have their price,” Margaryan told journalists on Tuesday. “The previous reforms cost $6 billion – the country’s foreign debt. Now it is impossible to continue this way – the majority of donors, such as the World Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, want their money back. The question is who will pay for the offered reforms?”

The National Statistical Service says Armenia’s foreign debt reached $4 836.5 million by late January 2017 after growing by $30.9 million over one month.

The government’s debt here amounts to about $4 325.2 million (up $24.3 million) and the central bank’s debt to $511.2 million (up $6.5 million).

New financial sources are needed for implementing these reforms, Margaryan said fearing that the society may become such a source.

“But we see how little the society’s income is and how poor our country is,” he said.

According to official statistical reports, poverty rate in Armenia stood at 29.8% in 2015.

At the same time, Margaryan pointed out some advantages in the program – its aim has changed into development from stability. .

The economist finds the program’s indicators achievable.

The program implies a five-percent annual economic growth. The share of exports in GDP is planned to be increased to 40% from the present 16%. It is also planned to raise the nominal minimum salary by 25%. --0---

Public Radio of Armenia
June 21 2017
International Association of Genocide Scholars slams SBS for appeasing Armenian Genocide denial 

The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) has written an open letter to Head of Australia’s Special Broadcasting Corporation (SBS), Michael Ebeid, slamming his mischaracterisation of the Armenian Genocide during Federal Senate questioning last month.

This letter, from the foremost global historical authority on genocides, pours cold water over SBS’s editorial policy not to refer to the Armenian Genocide as “genocide”, saying: “Genocide denial is not history: it is ideological. And we are disappointed that a reputable organisation, such as SBS, has chosen this route.”

During Australian Parliament’s Senate Estimates in May 2017, Ebeid was grilled on the broadcaster’s unacceptable editorial position on the Armenian Genocide during an Australian Parliament Senate Estimates hearing by Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam.

Ludlam, who is the Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the Australian Greens, asked Ebeid to shed light on a May 15th article in The Australian, which claimed: “…SBS News and Current Affairs has a specific policy on referring to the Armenian genocide that prohibits its reporters from naming it as such. Instead reporters are instructed to refer to the event not as a genocide but as a ‘mass killing of Armenians considered by many to have been a genocide, which Turkey denies’.”

Ebeid responded: “We at SBS refer to it as ‘mass killing of Armenians considered by many to have been a genocide’ and I think that way we make sure that our viewers understand that this is a matter of contention that historians the world over dispute…”

The IAGS open letter, signed by its President, Professor Andrew Woolford says: “During this hearing, you were asked by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam about SBS’s policy regarding the naming of the Armenian genocide, which you called the “Armenian situation”. This is akin to calling the Holocaust the “Jewish situation”.”

“The Armenian genocide is also referred to as “mass killings”, which, of course, was the intent of the genocide, but framing any genocide in terms of the perpetrators’ intent, ignores the people that Senator Ludlam argues you are offending: the survivors and generations of victims. Genocide is about destruction, which continues for decades after the event, especially if the genocide is continually denied.”

“Your reasoning behind SBS’s policy is threefold: that a) the Australian government does not recognise the genocide, b) the UN does not recognise it and c) that historians “world over dispute” the genocide and there is a “lot of debate” regarding the existence of the genocide.”

“The sticking point for SBS is a) – that SBS would probably “change our stance” if the Australian government officially recognised the genocide. Does this apply to all Australian government policy, such as the difference between migrants and refugees, which the Australian government often muddles for political purposes?”

“The sticking point for us as genocide studies scholars is your argument that academically recognised historians dispute the genocide. This is a falsity. There are a handful of historians who deny the genocide who are not recognised as scholarly academics by the majority of genocide studies scholars.”

“We enclose the official IAGS policy on the Armenian genocide to counter SBS’s damaging denial claims and ask you to reconsider your policy. We also thank Senator Ludlam for his recognition of the genocide.”

Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian thanked the IAGS for their support.

“Denial of the Armenian Genocide is based on the myth that historical consensus has not been achieved on this matter,” Kahramanian said. “There is no greater global historical authority on genocides than the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and SBS will recognise that they have erred in their judgment when determining this offensive editorial position.”

Kahramanian added: “We hope SBS can admit this error by correcting it, and we will continue to make that case on behalf of Armenian-Australians and all who have suffered from genocide.”

The Ebeid hearing can be watched below:

View video at 

Plus Company Updates(PCU)
June 20, 2017 Tuesday
Profile of Armen Sarkissian Board Member of World Public Forum -
Dialogue of Civilizations

Moscow: Following is the Profile of Armen Sarkissian Board Member of
World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations:

Dr. Armen Sarkissian is founding President of Eurasia House
International in London
, which fosters critical dialogue and
cooperation among political and business leaders. It is involved in
bridge building between the West and the vast geographic space
extending from Eastern Europe to Russia, to CIS and China. He was the
founder and Director (until 2011) of the Eurasia Centre at the Judge
Business School, Cambridge University, with expertise in
state-building structures and free market transition processes.

In October 1991 Dr. Sarkissian established the first Embassy of the
Republic of Armenia in the West - in London.
 In addition to his
diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom, he went on to become Senior
Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Europe (Deputy Foreign
Minister) and concurrently represented Armenia as Ambassador to the
European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and The Vatican.
In 1995-96 he was Head of Mission of the Republic of Armenia to
Europe. He was reappointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1998
and again in 2013
. Dr. Sarkissian is one of the initiators of the
Eurasian Media Forum, held annually in Kazakhstan. He holds honorary
and executive positions in numerous international organisations,
including Member of Dean’s Advisory Board, Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University; Dean’s Advisory Board, Harris School
of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; Board Member of IREX;
International Economic Alliance; Global Leadership Foundation (headed
by former President of South Africa F. W. De Klerk) and Honorary
Senior Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen
Mary & Westfield College, London University
; the National Academy of
Sciences of Armenia, National Competitiveness Council of Armenia, and

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