Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Armenia's Membership in The International Astronomical Union in Danger

Armenia's Membership in The International Astronomical Union in Danger
By Chahe Tanachian, Montreal, July 2009
Please read Chahe Tanachian's plea "to make Armenia honorable again in the International Astronomical Union". There are times that people need to act beside hearing, listening and reading. This is one of them. Please act!! Only four days are left to make a difference. Keghart.com
Armenians sometimes refer to Viktor Hampartsoumian as the greatest Armenian scientist of the 20th century.
I believe we should refer to him as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century (in the world).
During the last year of the AGBU Manuel Keusseyan Armenological Studies, I spoke about Armenia’s situation as a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) whose President has been Viktor Hampartsoumian for many years.
Armenia has been unable to pay the membership fees for the last 6 years including 2009. ....Read more >>

Armenia's Membership in The International Astronomical Union in Danger
By Chahe Tanachian, Montreal, July 2009
Please read Chahe Tanachian's plea "to make Armenia honorable again in the International Astronomical Union". There are times that people need to act beside hearing, listening and reading. This is one of them. Please act!! Only four days are left to make a difference. Keghart.com
Armenians sometimes refer to Viktor Hampartsoumian as the greatest Armenian scientist of the 20th century.
I believe we should refer to him as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century (in the world).
During the last year of the AGBU Manuel Keusseyan Armenological Studies, I spoke about Armenia’s situation as a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) whose President has been Viktor Hampartsoumian for many years.
Armenia has been unable to pay the membership fees for the last 6 years including 2009. ....Read more >>

Armenian News From Wales

Tribute from the Welsh Arts Council web-siteIt is with much sadness that we report the death, on Saturday 11th July 2009, of Tamara Krikorian.Tamara was a leading light in the visual arts world of Wales. Tamara was best known for her championing of artists' practice whilst director of, first the Welsh Sculpture Trust and then Cywaith Cymru Artworks Wales, the national organisation for public art in Wales. She was instrumental in the development of the careers of some of Wales' most exciting and interesting artists, offering them the support to take risks and multiple platforms to show their work thatwent far beyond the traditional model of a public art agency.Trained as a musician, Tamara was a pioneer in the use of video as a means to make art, and is mentioned in the same breath as Yoko Ono, Derek Jarman and Sally Potter amongst many others, who created a context for contemporary artists such as Steve McQueen, Douglas Gordon and Gillian Wearing. The recognition of her seminal influence has only recently been truly acknowledged. Her campaigning led to this art form being legitimised, in the latter part of the 1970s.Whilst living in Scotland, from the mid 60s to the late 70's, she met her partner, the artist Ivor Davies. She taught in Maidstone and Newcastle and co-founded London Video Arts, before settling in Wales, where her commitment to allowing artists to have a voice made her much beloved by those who worked with her.Tribute from Eilian Williams It is with sadness that I learnt yesterday of the passing of Tamara Krikorian who had risen to prominence in the field of Arts, in Wales and further afield. The visit of St Peter's Armenian Church Choir to the Rhondda Valley in 1998 was the occasion on which we met , and she showed great appreciation of this occasion . She was descended from a family who had fled the first Massacres of 1896, and when I told her that there were widespread protests in Wales with much money collected for Armenians in 1896, she said " You don't know how much knowing this means to me" I am glad she was there for the inauguration of the Genocide Monument in 2007 in Cardiff, even though she was not well. She was also present in 2002 at the meeting in the National Assembly to mark the recognition of the Genocide by the majority of Assembly Members. She was a lady of great presence, and dignity, and with a great warmth of heart The funeral was held in St Augustine's Church, Penarth, near Cardiff on 27th Julyfollowed by internment bat 3.30 p.m. in Penarth cemetery. Armenia Solidarity Press ReleaseFirst Joint Lobby of UK Parliament by Armenian and Welsh ActivistsFor the first time, Armenian and Welsh activists lobbied parliament together on issues affecting the two nations. On Monday (20th July) and Tuesday of this week, the last two days of parliament before the summer holidays) leaflets were given to MPs as they arrived in Parliament asking them to sign Early Motion 1588 on the Restitution by Turkey for the Genocide, in particular the return of the land on which stood over 2,000 churches until the 1915 Genocide. These Churches and monasteries were confiscated by the modern state of Turkey in 1923 under the so-called "Law of Abandoned Properties". Such a Law confiscating properties of Genocide Victims, or of Victims of other Crimes against Humanity, is not
recognised by any international body. On the same leaflet were calls for the Immigration Minister Phill Woolas to be dismissed after the deportation of two girls who had arrived in Heathrow on the 18th and 25th May from the Welsh community in Chbut province, Patagonia in Argentina. They were on their way to Wales to visit family and to improve their Welsh language skillsBanners were also held up at the Home Office protesting at the deportations. Welsh hymns were played on a loudspeaker from a car in front of the Home Office, 10 Downing Street and the entrance to parliament. The posters on the car read "Halt the deportations of Welsh Patagonians"The director of Armenia Solidarity was stopped twice under section 44 of the prevention of terrorism act. The police interpreted the playing of Welsh Hymns as "an unpermitted protest". When Mr Eilian Williams challenged the police as to which crime he had committed, he was told he would be charged with "noise pollution". Eventually arrested
and detained for four hours, the police found he has a clean record and released him
with a £30 fine for obstructing the entrance to Parliament This was, we believe, a worthwhile exercise in campaigning simultaneously on two issues of concern to Welsh people and Armenians alike. The leaflet given to passing MPs is shown below.
EDM 1588 on HISTORIC TREATMENT OF MINORITIES IN TURKEY The truth of the Armenian Genocide has now been set in stone in a beautiful National Monument in Cardiff. It has been affirmed by the First Minister (in 2001)and Presiding Officer (in 2007)of the National Assembly of Wales, and by the majority of Assembly Members (in 2002). Also 200 MPs have signed EDMs affirming the truth of the Genocide of Armenians and Assyrians at some time or other (182 signing the EDM in 2007). Even the Turkish Prime Minister in May 2009 admitted the Ethnic Cleansing of Turkey's minorities. The UK government's continued denial of historical facts is a filthy stain on the good name of Labour Party and Mr Brown's Presbyterian conscience. It is interesting that all the MPs recently tarnished in the expenses scandals were all known denialists of the Armenian Genocide. We have good reason to believe that Turkish bribery and pressure has been a factor in the refusal by some MPs to stand up and be counted on the Genocide issue.The important issue now is what degree of Restitution can be obtained during Turkey's accession into the EU. The return of the 2,000 plus Armenian Assyrian and Syriac Churches (even though most of them are now piles of rubble) would go a long way to heal the wounds of Armenians and Assyrians. EDM 1588 . Whatever you wish to call the events of 1915, be it Holocaust (as did two former Prime Ministers Lloyd George and Churchill), New Crimes against Humanity and Civilisation ( British, French and Russian governments in a joint statement in 1915,) or Genocide (Raphael Lempkin the author of the UN Genocide Convention), the degree of Restitution expected would not be altered by your choice of words. I'm confident that the 182 MPs who stood up for the truth in 2007 will see this as a logical progression from the 2007 EDM HISTORIC TREATMENT OF MINORITIES IN TURKEY 03.06.2009Dismore, Andrew
That this House notes the statement by the Turkish Prime Minister recognising that Turkey's minorities have been ethnically cleansed; calls on the Government also to recognise this fact; suggests that a measure of restitution which could be made by the government of Turkey to demonstrate its good intentions would be the return to the jurisdiction of the respective Patriarchates the 2,000 Armenian, Assyrian and
Syriac churches and religious monuments which were expropriated in 1923 by the
Turkish State under the law of abandoned properties following the events of the
1915 Genocide; and urges the Government to make representations to Turkey to this

We ask you to call for the Immigration Minister Mr Phill Woolas to resign over the
deportation of Welsh Patagonians
There has been widespread outrage in Wales at the deportation of Shirley Edwards
from Trevelin and Evelyn Calcabrini from Porth Madryn , both in Chubut Province in
Patagonia on the 18th and 25th May respectively. Argentine citizens are not normally
required to have a visa to visit the UK. Mr Woolas must carry the responsibility for this
by resigning and compensation should be paid to the two girls. They were
shabbily treated by the cruel Border Agency who put them both on the first plane back.
A concert in the tiny village of Nant Peris at the foot of Snowdon has raised
enough money to pay for airline tickets to bring them back here. Many people who
contributed to the fund were poor people . The concert was our way of killing British
xenophobia with Welsh kindness. Cheques to the fund may be made payable to
"Capel Rehoboth-Cronfa Patagonia".
The reaction from everyone has been that the National Assembly for Wales must be able
to overrule the faceless officials of the Border Agency. Wales must to some extent be
able to control its own Borders
This was a crime against indigenous languages and peoples. The liberty to welcome
people to one's home, to one's country is a fundamental right of nations, a right for which
it is worth sacrificing and enduring prison.
It seems that the UK government cares little for the feelings of unimportant peoples like
the Welsh and the Armenians. Turkish nationals are treated more favourably than the
Welsh Patagonians when applying for visas and are even given free visas if they intend
to start business in the UK From Wales-Armenia Solidarity,
(supported by Nor Serount Cultural Association)
and the Patagonia Campaign

Monday, 27 July 2009

RAG Mamoul

RAG Noruendir Shrchanayin Varchoutyan Aytsue Arachnortaran‏
RAG Mamoul (ragmamoul1@gmail.com)
Mon 7/27/09 9:11 AM
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Voch Yevs E Uenger Jack Antreassian‏
RAG Mamoul (ragmamoul1@gmail.com)
Thu 7/23/09 8:44 AM
Armenian Newspapers (ArmenianNewspapers@gmail.com)
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Gue Papakink Meg Ankam Uentmishd Haydararel‏
RAG Mamoul (ragmamoul1@gmail.com)
Wed 7/22/09 12:19 PM
Armenian Newspapers (ArmenianNewspapers@gmail.com)
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Oskanian-ue Bankir? - Complimentar Kaghakakanutyunn Anmah E‏
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Wed 7/22/09 7:15 AM
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ADLP Armenia Voices Serious Concerns About Armenian Foreign Policy‏
RAG Mamoul (ragmamoul1@gmail.com)
Sun 7/19/09 9:02 AM
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Haroutyun Arakelyan Is Ready To Prove In Any Court, That He Does Not Owe Anybody Any Money‏

The Economist on Turkish Foreign Policy (including relations with Armenia)‏

TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY: DREAMS FROM THEIR FATHERSEconomistJuly 23 2009Turkey's canny foreign minister seeks to pursue delicate diplomacyall aroundWHEN the official result of Iran's contested presidential electionwas announced last month, Turkey was one of the first countries tocongratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Set against the repression (anddeaths) of Iranian protesters in the streets, this raised eyebrowsin Europe and America. It even provoked the tired old question ofwhether Turkey may be turning its back on the West."People see only one side of this story," complains Ahmet Davutoglu,Turkey's foreign minister, in an interview. He does not elaborate. ButTurkey's friendship with the Islamic republic has also proved useful tothe West. Its behind-the-scenes mediation was instrumental in securingthe recent release of British embassy staff in Tehran. And it canplay both ways. Five Iranian diplomats detained by the Americans inIraq in 2007 were freed earlier this month at Turkey's urging.The ease with which Turkey juggles different worlds, be they Arab orJewish, Muslim or European, prompted Hillary Clinton to call it an"emerging global power". Its strong relations with Israel matter toboth countries, as became clear when they cooled during the invasionof Gaza in January. The Turks have just had a high-profile spat withChina over its treatment of Xinjiang's Uighurs, whom they regardas kinsmen. It was understandable that one of Barack Obama's firstpresidential visits to a foreign country was to Turkey.Some credit is due to Mr Davutoglu, who was a foreign-policy adviserto the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for seven years beforebecoming foreign minister in May. This spry former academic is seen asthe architect of Turkey's soft power, which blends realpolitik witha fierce pride. A pious Muslim with a moralistic bent, Mr Davutogluhas been among the most influential foreign ministers in the historyof the Turkish republic.His approach rests on two pillars. One is to have "zero problems"with the neighbours, many of them troubled or troublesome. The otheris "strategic depth". This calls for a Turkish zone of political,economic and cultural influence, primarily among neighbours (manyof them former Ottoman dominions) in the Balkans, the south Caucasusand the Middle East.None of this detracts from Turkey's determination to join theEuropean Union. Rather, it enhances its appeal as a member, says MrDavutoglu. He seems unfazed by the hostile noises from France andGermany. Both Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are lobbying for a"privileged partnership" instead of full membership for Turkey. MrDavutoglu suggests that they are merely playing to their respectiveelectorates. "Instead of complaining, of being angry, we should worktogether," he says. For Turkey that means reviving the flagging reformprocess that won it the opening of EU membership talks in 2005. MrDavutoglu is hopeful, for example, that the Greek Orthodox seminaryon the island of Halki off Istanbul will soon be reopened.But EU diplomats say none of this will let Turkey off the hook overCyprus. Mr Davutoglu agrees that decades-old peace talks betweenTurkish- and Greek-Cypriot leaders should not be open-ended. Adeal really needs to be struck by the end of this year. For that tohappen the EU and America must tell the Greek-Cypriots to get serious(though, as EU members already, they have little incentive to help). Asettlement would avert the possible train wreck in Turkey's relationswith the EU that might otherwise come in December. In theory Turkeyhas until then to open air- and seaports to the Greek-Cypriots, but itrefuses to do this until EU trade restrictions on Turkish-controllednorth Cyprus are lifted.Might France and Turkey's other enemies use this as an excuseto freeze the EU membership talks altogether (eight chapters havealready been suspended)? Turkish leaders like to believe that Europeneeds Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe. It has become even morecrucial as a potential transit route for Europe-bound natural gasfrom energy-rich Azerbaijan and Central Asia, as well as from Iraq(and eventually Iran). Mr Davutoglu points proudly to the recentsigning of an agreement between Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungaryand Austria on the Nabucco pipeline that is meant to carry gas throughthese countries, reducing Europe's dependence on Russia.Yet some say that Turkey is overplaying its hand. Its energy dreams aretightly linked to its ethnic cousins in Azerbaijan. Relations betweenthese Turkic allies took a dive in April when Turkey unveiled a draftagreement to establish diplomatic ties and reopen its border withArmenia. In a dramatic shift, Turkey even dropped its long-runningprecondition that Armenia must withdraw from the territories that itoccupied in the 1990s after its war with Azerbaijan over the mainlyArmenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.An infuriated Azerbaijan promptly threatened to turn to Russia. InJune it signed a deal to sell gas to the Russians from 2010onwards. So Turkey did another volte-face. Mr Erdogan declared thatfriendship with Armenia was no longer possible unless it withdrewfrom Nagorno-Karabakh. Mr Davutoglu insists that Turkey wants
peace with Armenia. But one Western diplomat says that
"rapprochement with Armenia is on its last legs."This has raised the spectre of a row with Turkey's most powerful ally,America. Armenian-Americans want Mr Obama to honour his electionpledge to insist that the massacre by Ottoman forces of more than amillion of their ancestors in 1915 was genocide. In a fudge in AprilMr Obama said that he had not changed his views on the matter; yet hespoke only of the Medz Yeghern ("great calamity" in Armenian). He didnot want to torpedo Turkish-Armenian rapprochement by using the G-word.Turkey's strategic location had once again proven decisive. AsAmerican forces withdraw from Iraq, Turkey is seeking to avert alooming conflict between the Arabs and the Kurds, especially over thedisputed city of Kirkuk. Turkey urged Iraq's Sunnis not to boycottelections in 2005. Mr Davutoglu is again lobbying to ensure thatall Iraqi groups take part in the parliamentary election in January2010. "We have excellent relations with the United States at everylevel," he says. And, notes a Western official, "when it comes toTurkey and Armenia, Turkey wins every time."

Karabagh Negotiations as reported in the Russian Press‏

MOSCOW IN KARABAKH'S DEAD ENDby Svetlana Gamova, Sokhbet MamedovWPS AgencyWhat the Papers Say (Russia)July 22, 2009 WednesdayRussiaTHE AZERBAIJANI-ARMENIAN MEETING IN MOSCOW: COMPROMISE REMAINS OUT OFREACH; Yerevan and Baku are no closer to the Nagorno-Karabakh solution.The meeting between the heads of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscowin the presence of the Russian president last week-end inevitablybecame the talk of the day in Yerevan, Baku, and Stepanakert. Nowonder, since the meeting was centered around Nagorno-Karabakh. ThisTuesday, Azerbaijani officials hailed the Madrid Principles of conflictsettlement based on the return of the Azerbaijani territories occupiedby the Armenians. Their counterparts in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakhin the meantime condemned these principles as "treason" and pinnedthe blame on intermediaries. On Russia, in other words.The propaganda that preceded the Azerbaijani-Armenian meeting inMoscow promised the involved parties a solution to the problem ofNagorno-Karabakh. A solution arranged by Russia, of course.The very first reaction to the meeting, however, made it plainthat a compromise in the matter was still out of reach. OfficialBaku hails the Madrid Principles as the basis of all and anynegotiations while Yerevan and Stepanakert refuse to even acknowledgethem. Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedjarov said at thepress conference in Baku this Monday that participants in the Moscowmeeting had discussed the return of five districts occupied by theArmenian forces to Azerbaijan as the first step towards conflictsettlement, one to be followed by determination of the status ofNagorno-Karabakh. Mamedjarov called it a reasonable and true wayof dealing with the problem. Karabakh proclaimed this way erroneousthat same day. Some non-governmental organizations from Karabakh evencalled the very talks between intermediaries "volatile" for the region.Experts attribute it all to the traditional mutually exclusivecomments from participants in the talks that thoroughly confusedgeneral public wondering that the leaders of the two countries haddiscussed in the space of nearly three hours and what offers DmitryMedvedev had made them."The meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia mayhave failed to result in an immediate breakthrough, but reactivationof the talks makes us happy - and particularly Russia's activenessdoes. Negotiations with [President of Russia Medvedev instill thehope in a successful completion of the process of negotiations,"Mamedjarov said at the press conference. He even announced that "thedecision has been made on withdrawal of the Armenian troops from theterritory of Nagorno-Karabakh."Mamedjarov's Armenian opposite number Edward Nalbandjan refuted hiswords that same day."Armenia has never officially voiced approval of the Madrid offers. Allwe said was that they were a basis for negotiations," Nalbandjansaid. As for the withdrawal of troops and refugees' return, theArmenian foreign minister said that nothing of the sort had been somuch as mentioned at the meeting in Moscow.President of Armenia Serj Sargsjan meanwhile broached the matterat the meeting with Foreign Minister of Sweden Karl Bildt inYerevan. "Azerbaijan nearby is distorting the point of the talks,"he said. Sargsjan acknowledged that certain progress had been made but"not without difficulties". He informed Bildt, "What we are doing atthis point is discussing the basic principles singled out from thelist of the so called Madrid Principles. Once that is done, we willdiscuss the rest of the principles and finally come down to work onthe agreement as such.""I'd say everyone should understand that status of Nagorno-Karabakh isthe principal issue," Sargsjan said. "This status should be determinedby free will and be legally binding. When we are finally through withit, I'd say that the negotiations will be easier."Exited by Baku's words on the alleged agreement to withdraw theArmenian forces from the occupied territories, political oppositionin Armenia had demanded Sargsjan's impeachment.
NICE TO MEET YOU: MOSCOW CAN'T MAINTAIN STATUS QUO OF NAGORNO KARABAKHby Ivan SukhovWPS AgencyDEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)July 22, 2009 WednesdayRussiaMOSCOW CANNOT MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH AS ANINSTRUMENT OF DEALING WITH BAKU AND YEREVAN ANYMORE; Russia failedto broker an Azerbaijani-Armenian rapprochement over Nagorno-Karabakh.Last Saturday, the Kremlin's press service laconically proclaimed theAzerbaijani-Armenian negotiations in Moscow to have been constructiveand left it at that.This taciturn comment was all the media had to be satisfiedwith because the leaders refused to meet with the waitingjournalists. Armenian correspondents decided that the Azerbaijanileader's demeanor signified displeasure. On the other hand, not oneof the three participants in the talks seemed to have anything to bepleased with.Of course, any meeting of the leaders of these two countries isalready a success. Armenia and Azerbaijan are divided by the problemof Nagorno-Karabakh, the oldest suspended ethnic conflict in thesouthern part of the Caucasus.Nearly half a million Azerbaijanis stampeded out of Nagorno-Karabakhin the course and after the hostilities - and untold thousands ofArmenians left Azerbaijan. Karabakh had defended its independence. By1993, the Armenians all but occupied the Azerbaijani districtssurrounding the former autonomy, the ones that had served as thesecurity zone. Cease-fire agreement finally stopped the bloodshed,but the actual border between Armenia, Karabakh with the nearby areas,and Azerbaijan remains a site of regular clashes and skirmishes.Attention of Russia was focused of late on two other republics nearby,Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As for Karabakh, official Moscow keptregarding it as an instrument enabling the Kremlin to apply pressureto both warring sides, namely Armenia and Azerbaijan. The war inGeorgia in August 2008 compelled Russian politicians to start payingattention to the Azerbaijani-Armenian latent conflict again.Neither Baku nor Yerevan was particularly happy to watch the shootingwar in Georgia nearby. Apart from Iran, Georgia is Armenia's onlygateway into the world. The complications in the Russian-Georgianrelations postponed restoration of normal traffic between Armeniaand southern regions of Russia.As for Azerbaijan, the war in Georgia plainly showed it the fragilenature of its strategic oil and gas export route via Georgia toTurkey and on to the West. It is this oil and gas export that madeAzerbaijan the best industrially advanced country in the southernpart of the Caucasus.Active rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey meanwhile began lastautumn. These two countries had been also divided by the discordover the border and the Karabakh enclave (Turkey unequivocally backedAzerbaijan in the conflict). Even more important, the discord betweenArmenia and Turkey is rooted in political evaluation of the massacre ofthe Armenians in the then Ottoman Empire in 1915. Granted that theseproblems have no easy solutions, it is clear that Armenia and Turkeywill have to do something to bridge the gap between them despite theresistance to the process put up by nationalists in both countries.However unexpected it might appear, but the president of Turkey madehis first visit to Yerevan last autumn, paving the way for April 2009when foreign ministers of the two countries signed the Road Map ofrapprochement in the capital of Armenia. Apart from everything else,this rapprochement is expected to finally reopen the border betweenthese two countries. If and when it happens, Russia's number one allyin this part of the Caucasus will immediately turn to Turkey. (?)All these considerations couldn't help disturbing Moscow. PresidentsSerj Sargsjan, Ilham Aliyev, and Dmitry Medvedev signed the MeiendorfDeclaration in Moscow on November 2, 2008. The document confirmedthe principle of nonrenewal of hostilities and reiterated status ofthe OSCE Minsk Group as the only format of Nagorno-Karabakh conflictsettlement. Sargsjan and Aliyev met in Moscow on several occasionsagain, but without any success. Neither did the meeting after theraces last Saturday become a breakthrough. It should have probablybeen anticipated. Aliyev had said in London a couple of days before hisvisit to Moscow that Azerbaijan was prepared to give Nagorno-Karabakhbroad powers of an autonomy but never sovereignty.The problem is, maintaining the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh asan instrument of keeping both Yerevan and Baku under pressure isno longer an option for Moscow. Neither can it openly choose oneside of the fence. Support of Armenia will sour its relations withAzerbaijan. Support of Azerbaijan will cost Russia its "strategically".Russia is not to be envied. Refuse to show respect for demands fromAzerbaijani to restore its territorial integrity, and Baku might becomean ardent participant in Nabucco. Comply with its demands and Armeniawill take offence and facilitate rapprochement with Turkey. Neither isthe latter probable without at least some progress in the matter ofthe Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. It is possible, in theory,that the problem of the former security zone, i.e. the Azerbaijanidistricts occupied by the Armenians, will be solved but any politicalgambit towards this compromise will inevitably reactivate fiercelynationalist opposition in Armenia. Sargsjan may then find himself inthe shoes of his principal enemy in the presidential race in 2008,first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosjan.

ECONOMIC SUCCESSES INTO ACCOUNTInterfaxJuly 22 2009RussiaAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has advised the Armenian side totake the current realities into account in settling the conflict inNagorno Karabakh."If the Armenian side takes into account the actual situation,Azerbaijan's growing opportunities. If it analyzes and takes intoaccount Azerbaijan's military, economic, political and diplomaticsuccesses, the question may be settled," he said at an expandedCabinet meeting."I am happy that the current state of the Azerbaijani army is suchthat it can successfully carry out any task it is facing. All ourefforts serve one goal, the restoration of the territorial integrityof Azerbaijan and the withdrawal of occupation forces from occupiedAzerbaijani territories," Aliyev said.He stressed that Azerbaijan's approach to the conflict settlementrests on international law.

From Dr. Abrahamian's Collection: I thought you might be interested in these articles‏

Selection of the week:

Dreams from their fathers: Turkey’s canny foreign minister seeks to pursue delicate diplomacy all aroundThe Economist, 23 July 2009

China Should Retaliate Against Turkey by Recognizing the Armenian Genocide by Harut Sassounianhttp://keghart.com/node/530

Առաջին Անգամ by Krikor Krajian, Beirut, 20 July 2009 http://keghart.com/node/527

Bitter Anniversary for Rendition Victim by Benamar Benatta, 20 July 2009 http://keghart.com/node/526

The Jews of Turkey and the Armenian Genocide by Ayse Gunaysu,The Armenian Weekly, 20 July 2009http://keghart.com/node/525

Armenians learning from their Disastrous History should Offer New Approaches in International Lawby Aram Adamyan MSc MBA ACCA, Toronto, 17 July 2009http://keghart.com/node/520
You may find other articles in www.keghart.com that may interest you. Please take a moment to have your say on the available polls at www.keghart.com/polls Recipients who are getting Keghart.com update for the first time may check "Mission" at the top of the right corner of the website or click on http://www.keghart.com/node/164

BBC Radio 4: Journey to Armenia: Mandelstam - The Long Desired for Voyage‏

Journey to Armenia: Mandelstam - The Long Desired for Voyage

British writer Toby Litt scours the mountains, lakes and capital city of Armenia for traces of a great forebear, the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. Mandelstam visited Armenia in 1930, and during the eight months of his stay rediscovered his long-lost poetic voice and was inspired to write a prose masterpiece, Journey to Armenia.
This essay, which is a beautiful, almost Cubist, meditation on the country and its ancient culture, forms the basis of Toby's quest and his dialogue with the dead poet.

Broadcast on:
BBC Radio 4, 11:30am Thursday 23rd July 2009
30 minutes
Available until:
12:02pm Thursday 30th July 2009
Go to Journey to Armenia: Mandelstam - The Long Desired for Voyage

Even More on Karabagh Talks‏

PROGRESS SEEN IN KARABAKH TALKS - ARMENIAN PRESIDENTInterfaxJuly 21 2009RussiaProgress is visible in the talks on the settlement of theNagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said."Progress can be seen, however difficult. We are discussing thebasic principles, separated from the Madrid principles, and thenthe discussion will proceed to the other principles. And afterwardsa fundamental agreement will be worked out on this basis," Sargsyantold Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Yerevan on Monday."I think, everyone must understand that the status of Nagorno- Karabakhis the core issue, which must be settled on the basis of free willand have an obligatory legal foundation," the Armenian president said."When we manage to give a clear-cut definition to this question,a definition that will not lead to dual interpretations, the talkswill continue more smoothly, I think," Sargsyan said.

ANOTHER ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN SUMMIT POSSIBLE WITHIN MONTHSInterfaxJuly 21 2009RussiaArmenia and Azerbaijan "can be expected" to hold another summit onNagorno-Karabakh after a planned "new round of preparatory work"this autumn by the Minsk Group, an Organization for Security andCooperation in Europe body mediating in the conflict, the RussianForeign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.Andrei Nesterenko made the announcement at a briefing.The Armenian and Azeri presidents, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev,held talks on Nagorno-Karabakh in Moscow on Saturday mediated bytheir Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev."That meeting involved one more serious and in-depth discussion on thecontents of the basic principles for the settlement of conflicts thatare being developed by the mediators of the Minsk Group of the OSCE,"Nesterenko said."There was certain progress achieved on some of them and the partiesmoved closer their positions on the issues they were discussing,"he said."New subjects began to be discussed," he added.
PANIC STRIKES YEREVAN - DID SERZH SARGYSAN RESIGN?Today.AzJuly 22 2009AzerbaijanSerzh Sargsyan has resigned, Karabakh is given back, there is war... ,Azh reported.Similar rumors have spread since early morning on July 21. Theeditorial has received numerous calls asking whether the city isfull of troops who have seized the television tower and Dashnakshave rebelled.The panic stroke the city followings the reports from Kalbajar whichsaid that military men were moving to the posts. The sources of thenewspaper said a special unit of the National Security Ministry hasalso left for Kalbajar.The newspaper inquired the Defense Ministry what was happeningin Kalbajar. Spokesperson Seyran Shahsuvaryan said: "Noting ishappening. Defense inspection has left for checks."The newspaper also called Kalbajar. Member of Miasin initiative AlexKananyan said there was actual activeness.Obviously, the sensation was not accidental. It was already reportedin evening that Serzh Sargsyan has held a meeting of the NationalSecurity Council.NAGORNO-KARABAKH'S RETURN TO AZERBAIJAN WOULD
LEAD TO WAR - ARMENIAN ANALYSTInterfaxJuly 21 2009RussiaThe conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be settled as long as thegovernment of self-proclaimed Nagorno- Karabakh remains outside thetalks, said Richard Kirakosian, director of the Armenian Strategicand National Research Center."The Karabakh conflict cannot be settled in conditions of any kind ofpressure and as along as the government of Nagorno-Karabakh remainsoutside the talks," Kirakosian said at a news conference on Monday."I am convinced, that any option leading to Karabakh's return toAzerbaijan will unfailingly lead to a war, and this is clear to the co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe'sMinsk Group," the analyst said.Regarding the settlement of relations between Armenia and Turkey,Kirakosian said, "Turkey has not yet made up its mind and does notknow what it wants. Armenia is ready.""Turkey has underestimated Azerbaijan's reaction and overestimatedits capabilities. The Turkish government is playing roles," he said.But Kirakosian remarked that strong hopes are being pinned on thesettlement of Turkish-Armenian relations. A Bad finale in the Turkishtheater will not please Russia and the United States, he said.Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian said on Monday that thechance of settling Armenian-Turkish relations has not yet been lost.

BOTH SIDESAzerNews WeeklyJuly 21 2009AzerbaijanThe Madrid principles for resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflictover Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh, being discussed by the sides, shouldbe sufficiently acceptable for both Baku and Yerevan, OSCE SecretaryGeneral Marc Perrin de Brichambaut told a news conference in Bakuon Friday.The leaders of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group mediatingthe peace process adopted a joint statement on the Madrid principlesat a recent G8 summit in Italy. US President Barack Obama, France`sNicolas Sarkozy and Russia`s Dmitry Medvedev called on Armenian andAzerbaijani leaders to resolve their differences and move towardsa final accord on the long-standing conflict. The three presidentsindicated that they were instructing their mediators to present toPresidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian "an updated version ofa proposed peace outline brought forward in the Madrid Document ofNovember 2007."Brichambaut said it was possible to foster rapprochement in thepositions of the sides based on the Madrid principles."Naturally, these principles cannot satisfy both sides to the sameextent. But talks can be carried on regarding these principles...Theparties should take advantage of these opportunities. There ispotential to reach peace."Brichambaut said the leaders of the Minsk Group co-chairing statesare not trying to put pressure on the conflicting sides by elaboratingon the mentioned set of basic principles for the conflict settlementpresented in the Spanish capital, and their only goal is to persuadethe societies of Azerbaijan and Armenia that a peaceful solution ofthe dispute is possible.The OSCE secretary general said the peace process has been intensifyingof late, emphasizing that President Aliyev is interested in continuingnegotiations. "He hopes that outstanding challenges will be overcome,while taking into account Azerbaijan`s interests, and there will beprogress in the peace process."According to the US State Department, among the principles called forin the Madrid Document were "the return of the territories surroundingUpper Garabagh to Azerbaijani control and an interim status for UpperGarabagh providing guarantees for security and self-government." Italso embraced "a corridor linking Armenia to Upper Garabagh" as wellas a future determination of the final legal status of Upper Garabagh"through a legally binding expression of will" and the right of"internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their formerplaces of residence."Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian claimed thatthe Madrid principles were merely proposals."These are just proposals, and some of them are currently underdiscussion, while others are not," he said after meeting Bako Saakian,the leader of the self-proclaimed Upper Garabagh republic, in Khankandion Thursday.Armenian media quoted him as saying, while commenting on the provisionin the Madrid document stipulating the return of Azerbaijanis oustedfrom their homes during military action in the early 1990s, that theissue of the displaced persons` return to Garabagh was not currentlybeing discussed."We can go back to discussing this issue only after a complete solutionof the problem is achieved," he said.Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said earlier, whilecommenting on the issue of Upper Garabagh`s status, that it could betabled only after Azerbaijani IDPs return home.The conflict between the two South Caucasus republics reared upin the late 1980s due to Armenia`s territorial claims. Armenia hasbeen occupying over 20% of Azerbaijan`s internationally-recognizedterritory since the early 1990s in defiance of international law.

NEW VERSION OF MADRID DOCUMENTLragir.am12:16:27 - 22/07/2009Yesterday, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group issued a statementwith which they inform that "they have informed the two presidentsthat they are going to have a working meeting in the end of July inthe city of Krakov of Poland, where they are going to prepare thereformed version of the document of Madrid in accordance with thedeclaration of Aquila adopted by the president of the United States,Russian and France".

Economic News from Armenia‏

ARMENIAN GDP SHRINKS BY 16.3% IN H1InterfaxJuly 21 2009RussiaArmenia's GDP in January-June 2009 shrank, according to preliminarystatistics, by 16.3% year-on-year to 1.119 trillion dram, or $3.2billion, the National Statistics Service said.The decline was largely driven by a decrease in total construction by53.5% to 125 billion dram. The drop in the agriculture sector came to2.5% at 123.5 billion dram, manufacturing - 281.5 billion dram (down11.5%), electricity output - 2.788 billion kilowatt hours (down 10.6%)and services to the population - 340 billion dram (up 0.9%).Armenia's foreign trade in the first half dropped by 31.5% year-on-year to $1.6599 billion, or 578.8 billion dram. Exports fell by45.9% to $281.1 million while imports decreased by 27.5% to $1.379billion.It was earlier reported that that, in May of this year, the CentralBank of Armenia forecast that the country's economy would decline by5.8% in 2009. At the start of June, the deputy chair of the CentralBank, Vache Gabrielyan, produced a renewed GDP forecast that putthe decrease at 7%-8%. At the end of June, the IMF increased its GDPdecline forecast from 5% to 9.5%.Official rate of the dram on July 21 - 365.55 dram/$1.

ARMENIA'S ECONOMIC DECLINE CONTINUES Ruben MeloyanLibertyhttp://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1783079.htmlJuly 22 2009ArmeniaArmenia's economy has continued to decline for the sixth consecutivemonth this year, according to the preliminary data released by theNational Statistics Service.The data show the country's Gross Domestic Product contracting by16.3 percent in the first half of this year. The Armenian economycontracted by 15.7 percent in January-May 2009. It was growing atdouble-digit rates as recently as in September, just before theoutbreak of the global financial crisis.The economy was primarily dragged down by the construction slump,which was down by as much as 54.5 percent in January-June from thesame period of 2008. The more-than-threefold month-on-month growthreported in Armenia's once booming construction sector in June didnot resulted in a dramatic reversal of macroeconomic statistics.Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian told the Kapital business daily thatthe deepening of the economic decline in the first half of the yearwas not an unexpected development for the government."We have said before the publication of the figures that a higheconomic growth was registered during the six months of last year,as a result of which the decline during the same period of this yearwould be steep," said Sarkisian.Earlier this month Sarkisian said that he saw at least three scenariosof developments for the economy in 2009 and did not exclude that theeconomy could contract by as much as 20 percent this year."From now on, we need to consider at least three scenarios ofdevelopments," Sarkisian said during an international economic forumin Yerevan on July 7. "One is that we will have a [GDP] declineof 9.5 percent; the second one is that it will make up 16 percent;and the third one is that we will have a 20 percent decline."According to former Central Bank Chairman Bagrat Asatrian, thecontinuing decline in Armenia's economy reveals the ineffectivenessof government actions."Today we bear the consequences of the failure of the governmentto make decisions in the middle of last year. The government mustapologize that we now live by a program that envisages a 9 percenteconomic growth," Asatrian told RFE/RL.The economist, however, said the economic decline could slow down bythe end of the year."One of the factors is the inflow of large financial means, whichwill somewhat redress the situation in construction," said Asatrian,predicting an overall economic decline in 2009 at 13-14 percent.According to the data reported for the first six months of 2009,imports exceeded exports in Armenia almost five times and the negativebalance of trade totaled more than $1 billion.Asatrian called the situation 'alarming', considering the sharpincrease of Armenia's foreign debt in the past several months."As a result of this year we will have a foreign debt that will exceedour exports about three or four times. This is already a terriblething. In fact, we are supposed to clear our debts by borrowing. Wemay borrow from foreign countries or from our compatriots abroad inthe form of cash remittances. These remittances, however, are notmoney that we earn," said Asatrian.Artur Stepanian, head of the Central Bank's Monetary Policy Department,said that forecasts about a tangible reduction of cash remittanceswere made still last year."At the end of last year and at the beginning of this year we assessedthat a 30 percent reduction in cash remittances would take place. Theforecasts that we made about seven months ago have come true," he said.Stepanian also said that a large decrease in direct capital investmentshas caused steep declines in both construction and industry."The economic has hit the bottom and after staying at this level fora month or two it will enter the stage of recovery," Stepanian said.

Armenian News

TURKEY VS. ARMENIA MATCH TO BE HELD IN BURSAArmInfo2009-07-21 13:29:00ArmInfo. Turkey vs. Armenia qualification match will be held atAtaturk stadium in Bursa, Tuirkey, on October 14, FIFA reported.

THIS YEARARKAJuly 21, 2009YEREVAN, July 21. /ARKA/. The first venture fund may start operating inArmenia before the end of this year, Hovhannes Avoyan, the presidentof Armenian Union of Information Technologies Enterprises and thegeneral director of Sourcio Company, said on Friday.In his words, negotiations with Russian funds over the matter areunder way now.The United States and the World Bank have expressed interest in thatas well.The World Bank is elaborating a relevant program now."I think it will be possible to speak about particular results inthree or four months", Avoyan said.He said that the venture fund's budget can be not so large to Armenia,taking into account $20,000 to $200,000 financing of startup companiesimplying low expenses and relatively low risks, but high prospectsfor good results.Local experts say at least $10-million venture capital is needed fordeveloping science intensive economy in Armenia.Armenian Government's concept of IT-sector development impliesattraction of $700 million as venture capital for ten years. However,as experts say, local IT companies are not able to invest even $10million in long-term projects.

POLITICAL DERBY OF THE PRESIDENTSKarine Ter-SahakyanPanARMENIAN.Net18.07.2009 GMT+04:00Almost no one doubted that the Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting could not endup without an apparent result. However, that in no way influencedthe so-called political scientists from Armenia and Azerbaijan,who spoke of some agreement to be signed in Moscow on "disloyalty toone's national interests", "putting one's native land on the market"and so forth. A very interesting, if not a serious thing happened:neither the Presidents, nor the Foreign Ministers of Armenia andAzerbaijan gave an interview to the press.All this leads to certain conclusions, which, by the way, are rather
uncomforting. Judge yourselves: for the first timeafter the last six meetings between the Presidents nothing was declaredeven by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, who, as a rule, vigorouslyand with optimism used to speak of the "progress, advancements andconstructivism". And even optimistic Bryza was rather careful in hisestimations of the meeting. It can be assumed that some resolutionwas carried, which, to all appearances, was rather fundamental andabout which it is still early to speak. Judging by the gloomy faceof Ilham Aliyev, the course of negotiations was not quite satisfyingfor him. Quite probably the gas did not become a trump card: underequal conditions the essential thing is strategic partnership, whichRussia needs in the region as the breath of life, because ousting ofMoscow occurs at full speed and it is pretty noticeable. The questionis whether RF will go on open aggravation of situation in the SouthCaucasus and whether the latter will be reflected on Armenia andNKR. And if we also add to this the increasing in frequency visitsof the American servicemen and diplomats to Armenia, the situationbecomes totally depressing. Europe tries not to fall behind either:the visit of the CSTO Secretary General into Baku and the regionalvisit of the EU Three immediately after the Moscow meeting suggestsomething. Judge yourselves: Armenia obtains defense technology withCSTO shares; Azerbaijan is hastily and intensively arming herself,although it seems she is already armed to the teeth and for the"return" of Karabakh so much weapon and technology is unnecessary;Georgia waits for the arrival of US Vice President Joseph Biden,and all this against the background of intensifying propagandisticwar of Baku against Yerevan.Against this background stood out the "calm" meeting of the Presidentsof Armenia and Azerbaijan under the wakeful eye of Moscow. It means,breakthrough has actually occurred in Moscow and now it is time tocalculate its effect on Nagorno Karabakh. In a broader sense, thereare two outcomes and both can end in a war: either the NKR is finallyconfirmed as an independent state, or the world community returns thesafety zone to Baku. And here it will already be unimportant how manyregions we'll have to give; the only important thing is that by thedomino principle NKR will change into NKAO (Nagorno Karabakh AutonomousOblast). And this is exactly what Azerbaijan has been seeking for thelast 15 years. As we already stated, alas, war is inevitable in bothcases. And this war is first of all beneficial to Russia so that shewould not be sacked out from the region. It is natural that at firstMoscow will maintain friendly relations with her traditional ally,but what will come next is difficult to predict. And when the USAand Europe speak of the catastrophe that awaits the region in caseof renewal of military operations, they are right. They don't need awar; they solve their problems in a totally different way. Especiallybecause neither Georgia nor Azerbaijan or Iran (however strange itmay sound at first glance, Iran too) will be looking back at Moscow,if they value themselves. Remains Armenia which may actually appearin complete isolation for purely objective reasons. No matter howunpleasant it may be for the Russians, no one loves them in theregion. Other nations put up with them, but at any moment theyare ready to turn to the West as Georgia did, or as Azerbaijan wasready to do. Even the Iranian opposition has already begun to shout"death of Russia!", "death to China!". And this is already serious:change of guidelines in the foreign policy of Iran is just round thecorner, and evidence to it is the appointment of a new chief for thecountry's nuclear program Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's former envoy to theU.N. nuclear watchdog agency. He is also known to have been againstthe war with Israel and support opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.In a word, somehow we don't have to speak of an "unproductive"meeting. Once again the region is on the verge of a war and, as usual,attempts are made to reshape it. And if we also recall the problemswith the Kurds, with the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, and withthe gas pipe Nabucco, which is a bone stuck in the throat of Russia,we can assume that to all appearances serious changes may occur byautumn. By the way, the next Sargsyan-Aliev meeting is due in autumn.Press Review21.07.2009Aghasi Yenokian`Hraparak' writes that after another meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow `some took a sigh of relief as no document was signed and no agreement was reached.'`Those who think this way say - signing nothing is better than signing a bad document. This seems a healthy approach, but for one shortcoming - this situation cannot last forever, the problem must be resolved sooner or later. If the delay produces a favorable solution for us, no doubt this tactics is justified. But if it is all about delaying a solution that will eventually be the same, there is no justification for the tactics.'`Taregir' continues on the same subject: `While patriotic preachers are looking for new phrases to accuse the public of indifference, the same public shows a skeptical approach to both these patriots and the future of the Karabakh negotiations... This is what the tactics of delaying a solution may lead to.'`Golos Armenii' expresses concern over Turkish diplomacy in the context of the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani talks: `Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has clearly stated that he is going to pay a visit to Turkey only to fulfill the wish of soccer fans. He will attend the game of the [Turkish and Armenian national] soccer teams only if at that point the Armenian-Turkish border is either opened or is close to opening. Now it is time for Ankara to decide... It is clear in this view that the absence of progress at the Moscow meetings in no way suits Ankara and Baku. And these two will make a great noise and will again start to flex their muscles.'`Haykakan Zhamanak' suggests that Armenia `has chosen a way to overcome the crisis that no other country in the world has.'`Cash remittances, foreign investments and budget revenues in Armenia have sharply decreased in consequence of the crisis. Unlike other countries, Armenia decided not to cut the state expenses, and since revenues have declined and expenditures have remained the same, to fill in the gap the state decided to borrow large amounts of money, up to $1.5 billion, from different sources. Now everybody wonders what will be the result. The interest is so great that even these international financial institutions as well as different countries began to lavishly finance Armenia's experiment. If the experiment is successful, it is good, if it fails, not a great loss -- 3 million people living in a territory of only 30,000 square kilometers, only 0.02 percent of the world population.'

FATHER FRNK'S RANTS - Divine Deceptions

Rant Number 356 22 July 2009

‘They said “We killed Jesus the Messiah, Son of Mary. The Messenger of Allah.” But they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them.’ Quran 4:157
The Americans are coming! Or rather, they came. Last week. Here, in the Smoke. To participate in famed Muslim-Christian debates. Verily, a clash of titans. Evangelical Yanks versus Muslim Brits, of Sunni and Shia varieties. Great ding-dongs. All pretty stimulating, I must say. But the exchanges threw up real conundrums. Such as: is God a deceiver? Does he ever lie?
Human beings are often liars. Take Al Moqanna, ‘the Veiled One’. A self-proclaimed prophet in Khorassan, Eastern Iran. He wore a mask, he claimed, because otherwise the unendurable radiance of his face would blind his followers. As it turned out, Al Moqanna was a fraud. His veil hid not supernatural beauty but all too natural ugliness. Unmasked at last as bald and scar-faced, he was slain. Not curiosity, but vanity killed the cat.
Al Moqanna was no unarmed prophet. He had an army and fought, initially with success. What busted his revelation for good, however, was not defeat but falsehood. He lied. If a holy man shows himself capable of lying to his own votaries, even once, that isn’t just morally dodgy. It poisons the roots of his very credentials. What guarantee can they have he has not lied all along? About other matters, such as his inspired utterances? His key claim to be God’s voice?
When it comes to the Deity, it gets even more culpable. The Quranic passage above asserts, contrary to the Gospels, that Jesus did not die on the Cross. Only ‘a likeness’ of him hung upon the Cross. A view shared by an obscure Christian heresy called Docetism. Christ miraculously only ‘seemed’ to die. (Dokeo is Greek for ‘to seem’.) Now, a critic might argue the Muslim view implicitly turns God into a deceiver. If there was not Messiah agonising on the Cross but a phantasm or some unhappy fall guy, and God blinded the bystanders to that, didn’t that charade make God into an impostor? A big puppet master in the sky? A God whose character pious believers could never really trust?
I am not having a go at Muslims. A similar challenge crops up in the Bible. Concerning the future that awaits the Antichrist’s minions, 2 Thessalonians (2:11) warns that ‘for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie’. Though the writer is not God but St Paul, I fear that sounds very much like God intending to hoodwink the sods. Huh!
Yet, consider: who will be deceived? The good and the righteous? No, the Bible refers to ‘those who perish’. The vile votaries of ‘the man of sin’, ‘the son of perdition’. God will delude them to further his own good purposes. Unlike Al Muqanna, who bamboozled those who trusted him as a true prophet. The idea is that the wicked have no right to expect God to play fair with them. As sinners, they asked for it. Hmmm... Does that really let God off the hook? Perhaps.
A similar consideration might fit the Quran. It speaks explicitly of Jesus’ enemies. The unrighteous ones who stood and looked upon the crucifixion. The trick was on them. Again, you might say that is how it should be. ‘It serves them right’ sort of thing.
There are certain people, bad people, to whom ‘you do not owe the truth’, a subtle ethical doctrine teaches. Villains who are out to steal your goods and murder you, for instance. They have forsaken any moral right to your true statements. Maybe it is the same between God and the wicked.
A puzzle. On Golgotha, at the Crucifixion, witnessing the most tremendous sacred drama of all human history, there were all sorts of people. Roman soldiers, the chief priests of the Jews, scribes, elders, as well as relations and faithful friends of the Lord. Righteous men and women like St John, Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene, other pious women and probably other disciples. (All of them Hebrews, of course.) Surely God did not intend to take in the righteous too? Otherwise we’d be back to square one - to God as deceiver, full stop. Doubtless Jesus’ true followers would not have been tricked, because God by hypothesis would have protected them from deception. Why then did they not tell afterwards? The apostolic traditions, the churches later founded by Apostles, like St John’s Ephesus, all unanimously affirmed the reality of the Crucifixion. The Docetists, the heretics who claimed the contrary, were few and far between – quattro gatti, as Italians say. Christianity itself – over a billion believers – would become nothing but the product of a divine imposture. Theologically a tad implausible. (The Church might have a similar problem with Islam.) Still, my Muslim friends will have an answer. That’s what apologetics is all about. It never ends – and it seldom satisfies.
Lying and Deity look like contradictories. Because lies and deceptions are faults, blemishes, imperfections. Inevitable in human beings, flawed and fallible and imperfect creatures as we are. Politicians of all parties lie. No big deal – they are human, all too human. But God is divine, not human. The divine nature contains no imperfections. Philosopher Descartes knew the necessary nature of God’s most perfect being when he argued for an absolutely perfect God needed to buttress the foundations of scientific knowledge. Foundations built on the unshakeable certainty of the self-consciousness: ‘I think, therefore I am’. However, he did briefly conceive the possibility of an all-powerful deceiver. An evil genius who could have tricked him into believing the false existence of an objective world outside his mind. Of course, Descartes’ evil genius isn’t God but the devil. The liar and the father of lies. That is why God’s veracity is intrinsic to him, as mendacity is to Satan.
Last month, strolling in Meshed, Khorassan’s green and leafy capital, I fancied – or I dreamt I fancied - that I recognised Al Moqanna. Wearing a huge black turban, the putative prophet had set up shop in the bazaar. And he did still wear his trademark veil, sure. His frame, I could perceive behind his silken cloak, seemed agile and athletic. The eyes were beautiful, large, dark and soulful. ‘What are you selling?’ I asked him. ‘Lies’, he responded. The tone of his voice was insinuating, seductive. I gritted my teeth. ‘Be off with you! Back to your dust!’ I told him. Guess he did, because he faded away, like a puff of smoke.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

Chevron Fuels Genocide Denial - Take Action!‏

July 21, 2009
AYF Targets Corporate Complicity in Genocide Denial with July 22nd Launch of Chevron Protest CampaignSend a Free ANCA WebFaxto Chevron

ANCA ACTION: "Roadmap" a Stall Tactic: Turkey Backtracks on Dialogue Urge Your Representative to Cosign a Letter to Pres. Obama separating Armenian Genocide recognition from stalled Armenia-Turkey Dialogue Take Action
Training the Next Generation of Leaders:
Spotlight on the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship and ANC WR Internship Externship Programs
Congressional Concern Mounts Over Turkey's Reversal on Proposed "Roadmap"
-- Congressional Letter Urging "Administration to separate the issues of normalization and genocide recognition" has Growing Support Take Action Now
WASHINGTON, DC - House Members concerned about Turkey's backtracking on a so-called "roadmap" to advance Armenia-Turkey dialogue are set to urge President Obama to separate Armenian Genocide recognition from normalization of ties between the two countries, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)
In a letter to President Obama, initiated by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) as well as Armenian Genocide resolution lead sponsors Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA), Members of Congress question Turkey's commitment to talks normalizing relations with Armenia, as stated in a "roadmap" agreement signed just two days prior to April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has since added preconditions to continued discussions, which have led most observers of the process to conclude the effort to be stalled indefinitely.
"It would appear that Turkey, in an effort to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, agreed to a roadmap it did not intend to uphold," notes the letter to the President. "Therefore, we urge your Administration to separate the issues of normalization and genocide recognition. We hope that renewed efforts and focused resources from the Administration can be utilized to nurture the Armenia-Turkey normalization process without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe, and continue to remain strongly supportive of your stated campaign policy to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide."
Armenian American have been contacting their legislators to cosign the Congressional letter, set to be sent to the President on July 24th.
AYF Targets Corporate Complicity in Genocide Denial with Launch of Chevron Protest Campaign
July 22nd demonstrations at Chevron headquarters; local stations to spotlight energy company’s lobby efforts against Armenian Genocide Resolution
Send a Free ANCA WebFax to Chevron
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) will join with Armenian Americans and human rights activists in kicking off a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about Turkish Government coercion of energy giant Chevron and some five multinational corporations currently lobbying against Armenian Genocide legislation.
The protest will begin on July 22, 2009 at the Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, California and local stations across the U.S., in conjunction with an online letter writing campaign to Chevron CEO Dave O'Reilly urging the company to publicly apologize for profiting from Genocide denial. Over 1200 activists are already part of a Facebook group taking action on the initiative.
"No company - however big or powerful - should be allowed to profit from genocide or its denial," said AYF Eastern Region Chairwoman Lauren DaSilva. "Chevron and its partners must be exposed for their outrageous actions and breach of their own stated corporate code of conduct."
According to their website -- the corporation prides itself on running the company the "Chevron Way" - responsibly, ethically and with respect to human rights. However, on June 13th, the Associated Press revealed that Chevron and 5 other multinational energy and defense corporations, including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies and Goodrich have filed disclosure forms with the Senate and House "quietly" lobbying against H.Res.252 the Armenian Genocide Resolution, among a wide array of legislation. In first quarter of 2009 alone, the six firms have spent some $14 million in Congressional lobby efforts. This is in addition to the over $3 million spent annually by the Government of Turkey to block U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, a cornerstone of their foreign policy priorities. The firms would not respond to press inquiries regarding their opposition to the House resolution.
"Clearly, Turkey will spare to no expense to cover up its dark past," said AYF Western Region Chairman Vache Thomassian. "Coercing corporations like Chevron to do its dirty deeds is just the latest tactic - exporting genocide denial to our neighborhoods, one gas station at a time."
For more information, visit:http://www.anca.org/chevron

July 22nd Chevron Protest Locations
11:00am - 1:00pm:Chevron Corporate Offices6001 Bolinger Canyon Road, San Ramon, CA
11:00am - 1:00pm: 1868 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles CA 90027
11:00am - 1:00pm: 466 W. Broadway, Glendale, CA
11:00am - 1:00pm: 233 N. Alta Dena Dr., Pasadena, CA
11:00am - 1:00pm: 1400 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA
11:00am - 1:00pm: 1500 Paramount Blvd., Montebello, CA 90640
12:00pm - 2:00pm: 100 S Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502
4:00pm - 6:00pm: 6737 Foothill Blvd., Tujunga, CA
4:00pm - 6:00pm: 18081 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91316-3517
4:00pm - 6:00pm: 8980 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
6:00pm - 8:00pm: 1020 E Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA
11:00am - 1:00pm: 2626 Lee RD, Winter Park FL 32789
11:00am - 1:00pm: 5001 Bradley Blvd, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
11:00am - 1:00pm: 8500 W Charleston Las Vegas, NV
11:00am - 1:00pm: 2090 Sproul Rd., Broomall, PA 19008
ANC-WR Welcomes 2009 Summer Session Interns
GLENDALE - On June 15, the Armenian National Committee-Western Region welcomed the seven newest participants in its Internship-Externship Program. The 2009 Summer Session class includes students from across California who will be spending the summer working at the ANC-WR office in Glendale, California. The interns will assist the board and staff with day-to-day operations at the office while completing individually assigned community development and public policy related projects.
"We have a diverse group of interns this summer and several volunteers representing nearly a dozen schools, colleges, and universities. I am looking forward to a very active summer here at the Western Region office and the summer interns will be an integral part of what we hope to accomplish, from outreach to education," said Haig Hovsepian, ANC-WR IEP Coordinator. "While we expect this internship experience to provide them solid insight into Armenian American issues and the community, we hope that it is only the first step in their involvement in the ANC and the start of great friendships."
The 2009 Summer Session participants are Colette Ghazarian (Troy High School in Fullerton, CA), Hovsep Hajibekyan (UC Berkeley), Srbui Karapetian (UC Los Angeles), Razmig Khayalian (UC Irvine), Nare Kupelian (UC San Diego), Elizabeth McIntyre (CSU - Cal Poly - Pomona), and Lauren Shenian (Glendale Community College). Read more. . .

ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Celebrates 25th Season
WASHINGTON, DC - The 25th annual Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Leo Sarkisian internship kicked off with a fast paced and remarkable start this week, as interns from across the United States gathered in Washington, DC, to participate in this intensive, eight-week training program.
"The Leo Sarkisian Internship program is an Armenian American advocacy boot camp - training the next generation of activists to effectively promote our collective Cause," said Leo Sarkisian Internship Director Garo Manjikian. "Their work will not only directly impact Washington DC Hai Tahd efforts but, more importantly, give them the skills to demonstrate grassroots leadership in their home towns."
Each of the interns participated in an intensive application process in their respective ANCA regions and look forward to this hands-on educational experience, dreaming of coming out from their local communities and making a difference on a national scale. The year's intern class consists of university students from coast-to-coast, including: Nareg Aghjayan, Sosse Beugekian, Hovanes Gasparian, Taleen Mekhdjavakian, Tatev Oganyan, Savada Simounian-Khygani and Tamar Thomassian.
Each of the interns are active members of Armenian American community life - from the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), to the Armenian Student Association (ASA), ACYO, and of course their local ANCA chapters. Read more.

Search the web with www.goodsearch.com and money from Yahoo advertisers will go to the ANCA without you spending a dime. A penny per search! Use www.goodshop.com for online purchases from hundreds of popular sites and a percentage comes back to the ANCA.
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Published by the Armenian National Committee of America1711 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036Tel: (202) 775-1918, Fax: (202) 775-5648, E-mail: anca@anca.org, Web: www.anca.org

More on Karabagh (plus a couple of general interest items at end)‏


"The recent noise around the Karabakh issue is groundless. On one hand
it can be explained by naivety, on the other hand it's an attempt to
fish in troubled waters," Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian
said at a press conference with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt.

The EU Troika Delegation headed by the Foreign Minister of the
Kingdom of Sweden, Carl Bildt, is in Armenia within the framework of
a regional visit.

Minister Nalbandian said that during the meeting with Carl Bildt he
had informed his Swedish counterpart about the process of settlement of
the Karabakh issue, the results of the talks between the Presidents of
Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow. "We confirmed our common approach
that the issue should be solved exceptionally in a peaceful way,"
Edward Nalbandian said.

The Armenian Foreign Minister reminded that Armenian had not given
its consent to the Madrid Principles. "The principles provide a basis
for negotiations," he said.

As for the statement that the parries discussed the time frame for
the return of territories during the Moscow talks, the Minister said
the issue had not been touched upon in Moscow.

Turning to Armenia-EU relations, the Foreign Minister of Sweden said:
"We are ready to help and support Armenia on the way of implementation
of reforms. We will continue what we have started," Carel Bildt stated.

"We are ready to provide assistance to Armenia on issues of regional
security and support the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group. As for
the Armenian-Turkish relation, we consider that the opening of the
border will benefit Armenia," The Swedish Foreign Minister stated.

During the meeting the Foreign Ministers of the two countries dwelt
upon Aremnian-Swedish relations, discussed the cooperation in the
economic sphere. "All of us face economic difficulties. Therefore,
we should encourage free trade. We have to consider different ways
of simplifying the visa regime," Carl Bildt said.

20.07.2009 18:10 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia has not approved the Madrid Principles
concerning NKR conflict settlement, RA FM Edward Nalbandyan said during
a joint press conference with EU acting chairman and Swedish Foreign
Minister Karl Bildt, answering a PanARMENIAN.Net correspondent's
question. "Armenian side has never made any official statement on
approving Madrid Principles. We just announced that they serve as
basis for talks," Mr. Nalbandyan stressed.

Commenting upon Azeri FM Elmar Mamedyarov's statement on Armenian
forces withdrawal having been discussed during talks, Edward Nalbandyan
said that the issue hadn't been touched upon.

July 20 2009

There is certain progress in solving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a news
conference in Baku on July 20.

"The co-chairmen will arrive in the region to prepare possible meeting
of presidents in Moscow in September. I think there is certain progress
in settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Some hopes appeared
after presidents met in Moscow," the minister said.

Mammadyarov said that several principles of the agreement were
disclosed and work over these principles continues. "Armenian troops
must leave occupied territories. Afterward, question on return of
refugees to their lands will be raised," the minister said.

Mammadyarov said big funds are required to restore land and
infrastructure. This issue is expected to be discussed with the EU,
he said.

"When I say intensifying process of settlement of the conflict, first,
I mean Russia's intensification in this process," Mammadyarov said.

Public Television of Armenia
July 13 2009

[Presenter] We invited Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan
today to Haylur studio in order to hear his interpretation of the
Obama-Sarkozy-Medvedev statement, and receive answers on matters
that worry our public. Mr Kocharyan, what is your assessment of the
statement by the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries,
on the publicized provisions and topics of the negotiations?

[Kocharyan] You very correctly drew a distinction between the two
documents: a statement by the leaders of the three co-chair countries,
and another one which contains the basic principles on which the
negotiations are being held - the one which has been posted on
websites. Of course, this is not a complete list of issues on the
negotiating table. As for the statement, it is obvious that the
leaders of such powerful states would make a joint statement. This
is aimed at giving a new boost to the negotiation process on an issue
that has failed reach its logical conclusion for years.

Secondly, as for the provisions around which the negotiations are
being held, this shows what kind of achievement the sides have made in
this long negotiation process. Of course, the co-chairs specifically
mentioned comprehensiveness in reaching consent. This does not mean
that some provisions can be applied separately. The three principal
approaches of the Armenian side, around which we are working and on
which we will continue working, are expressed here. The first one is
the status of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic.

Only the population of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic [NKR] should
decide its fate through a referendum, and its results should be
binding. Before this referendum is held, it should be given an interim
status, by which the Nagornyy Karabakh republic will, to a certain
extent, be recognized as an international entity.

The next one is a reliable territorial route between the Nagornyy
Karabakh republic and the Republic of Armenia. And finally,
an extremely important provision: an internationally established
multi-layer system, which will ensure the security of the population
of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic.

These are the three basic principles we have always striven for. In
fact, the negotiations still continue. This does not mean at all that
that document which has yet to be signed has been published. There
is still serious work, and very serious approaches and very hard work
is required to make all those provisions precise.

[Presenter] A meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents
will be held at the end of this week [17 July] in Moscow. What are
the expectations from this meeting between Sargsyan and Aliyev?

[Kocharyan] You know, on the one hand, this is just another meeting. On
the other, this is a meeting that is held after that the statement
[by the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries]. From this
point of view, one should not have very exaggerated notions as often
happens and then to say - oh, you know... In reality, clarification -
negotiations - around a few provisions will be held. That is not to
expect that issues will be resolved immediately after the statement
of the three co-chair countries. It is not like that. I can even say
it is unfortunately not like that because the approaches of the sides
are still different in many issues.

[Presenter] Mr Kocharyan, you came back from [the NKR capital]
Stepanakert, where you took part in a forum on Armenian-Turkish
relations and the Karabakh settlement, organized by the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun. With what impressions did
you come back, and how would you assess the results of that forum?

[Passage omitted: Kocharyan says that the forum discussed
two main issues: Armenian-Turkish relations and the Karabakh
settlement. Kocharyan speaks about Dashnaktsutyun's role in the
Karabakh war.]

I believe that Dashnaktsutyun's approach is very logical, and also,
that it organized the forum. A resolution was approved [at the
forum]. Of course, it does not always coincide with our official points
of view and approaches, but whatever case, I assess it as positive.

[Presenter] Mr Kocharyan, there has been a lot of talk about the need
for Artsakh's [Karabakh] participation in the negotiations. What is
being done in this direction? What is being done in order to ensure
the participation of the Artsakh side?

[Kocharyan] This has always varied; the approach of the Armenian side
is that the two Armenian sides take part in the negotiations, and
in the first place, the Nagornyy Karabakh republic itself. It is not
accidental, if we view the so-called already published principles, we
will see that all there refer to the Nagornyy Karabakh republic itself,
and a question arises here, and there is often criticism as to why
the co-chairs, addressing the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, do
not address the president of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic. You know,
addressing it would mean recognizing the Nagornyy Karabakh republic.

[Passage omitted: Kocharyan says the statement by the US, French and
Russian leaders may help Nagornyy Karabakh's in its bid to participate
in the talks]

[Presenter] Mr Kocharyan, the last question - we have already seen
some elements of hysteria rising in Azerbaijan. How would you view
the fact that the Azerbaijani society itself may not be ready for
progress in the settlement?

[Kocharyan] You know, if we pay attention to the already published
provisions and to the statements the Armenian authorities have made
over these years, you will see no contradiction between them. What
we have consistently said - the status, security guarantees and a
reliable territorial route - all these are available.

Now, let's see what Azerbaijan has said. What it has said and what
has been published are, essentially, contradictory. Just recently, the
Azerbaijani president and foreign minister said: "Only we will decide
the status of the Nagornyy Karabakh republic, this is our territory."

So, what happened? Their panic is connected with the fact that
the Azerbaijani government was misleading its own public about the
reality of the negotiations, about the topic on the negotiations
table. Moreover, you remember that for about a year, it denied the
existence of the Madrid principles, around which it had agreed to
hold negotiations.

That's why they have found themselves in a very difficult
position. They also realize the following: the document that exists,
in essence, means that Azerbaijan is being obliged to accept something
that has become a reality a long time ago.

What is this circumstance? It is that the Nagornyy Karabakh republic
in fact has no connection with Azerbaijan. It is independent, it
is sovereign, and the provisions [words indistinct] Azerbaijan is
accepting in an obliged way that it has no more authority over the
Nagornyy Karabakh republic. This refers both to the final status,
which will be decided by the people of Nagornyy Karabakh republic in
a referendum, and the interim [status].

Moreover, if they have hope, the only hope is that the people of the
NKR may express a wish to be part of Azerbaijan.

First of all, let me state a few things. First, the vote will be held
with the ratio of Armenians and Azerbaijanis that existed in 1988. And
this was 75-80 per cent Armenians and the rest - Azerbaijanis. This
is the first, and extremely important one.

The next one: The issue that the Azerbaijanis who resided in Karabakh
should return, and only then a referendum can be held is not on the
negotiation table at all. The foreign minister has said very clearly
recently that there is no issue of return until the settlement
takes place. That is, it is understandable what the word is about,
that is, distortions made again by the Azerbaijani authorities. Two
communities, contradiction, conflict - all this was again aimed at
misleading their own people.

July 20 2009

"Azerbaijan and Armenia could not achieve the desired results at
presidents' Moscow meeting."

Azerbaijani Presidential Administration International Relations
Department Head Novruz Mammadov said in his comments on the meeting
of the Azerbaijani and Armenian President that took place in Moscow
on July 18-18.

"The presidents went to the Moscow meeting with great optimism, taking
into account the processes that occurred prior to the meeting - this
is a constructive approach Armenia demonstrated in the St. Petersburg
meeting and then a joint statement by the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group
co-chair countries Nicolas Sarkozy, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama.

We believed there would be opportunity to achieve significant progress
in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the Moscow meeting. But
as I understand it, despite all this, Armenia has been far from being
constructive to a certain extent at this meeting," Mammadov said.

July 20 2009

"The result of the meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents
Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan indicates that the negotiations have
reached one of the numerous deadlocks in the Karabakh labyrinth again."

Azerbaijani political expert Rasim Agayev said in his comments on the
Moscow meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution between
the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents.

"I did not expect breakthrough from the meeting as there is change of
mood in the Armenia side. I was surprised at the news of discontent
and demonstrations by the Armenian diaspora condemning Madrid
Principles. This is very alarming factor. The statements by the
Armenian diaspora are serious factor, too. Even if to suggest that
it is spontaneous and not related with Yerevan, Serzh Sargsyan will
anyway reckon with this factor," the said.

"It means that Armenia wants to get additional concessions from
Azerbaijan. All these are alarming symptoms. Therefore, there was
not any breakthrough in the meeting," Agayev said.

AGAIN: POLITICAL EXPERTToday.AzJuly 20 2009Azerbaijan"I think Azerbaijan and Armenia are not yet prepared to make concretedecisions on the conflict resolution."Azerbaijani political expert Rasim Musabayov said in his comments onresults of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents' Moscow meetingon peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."The negotiating process was quite intense, but, given that this is avery responsible decision, I think the parties took a break to weigheverything once again," he said."At the same time, I think that if Azerbaijan understands that thecurrent negotiation process will not end up with anything acceptablefor the country, it will have to think about alternative steps,"he said.

KARABAKH CONFLICT IS SOLVED"APAJuly 20 2009AzerbaijanAnkara - APA. "Turkey - Armenia borders will not be opened unlessNagorno Karabakh conflict is solved", Turkish Foreign Minister AhmetDavutoglu made such statement, APA reports quoting Panarmenian.Touching upon Turkey's relations with EU, Ahmet Davutoglu noted thatserious progresses would be achieved in this direction during the EUpresidency of pro-Turkey countries - Sweden, Spain and Belgium.

SHUSHA BREATHES NEW LIFE AFTER YEARS OF STRIFEDaniel BardsleyThe National July 20 2009UAESHUSHA, Nagorno-Karabakh // With broken buildings and near-emptystreets, this city of a few thousand has a desolate air, despite itsspectacular mountain setting on a plateau overlooking the centre ofNagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region between Azerbaijan and Armenia.Before the war over control of the region erupted in 1988 betweenMuslim ethnic Azeris and Christian ethnic Armenians, there were25,000 people living in Shusha. At the time, Nagorno-Karabakh wasan ethnic Armenian majority region within Azerbaijan. Shusha was theonly large settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh with an Azeri majority. Now,the only residents of Shusha are 4,000 Armenians; all of the Azerisfled during the fighting.But Shusha, or Shushi as Armenians call it, is on the brink of thekind of renewal that has transformed Stepanakert, the enclave'scapital that lies 16km to the north. Since a ceasefire was agreed in1994, with Armenia in de facto control, Stepanakert has turned intoan attractive and leafy city with a string of new hotels, a modernassembly building and countless street cafes, even though Armeniaand Azerbaijan are officially still at war over the region.To promote Shusha's regeneration, Nagorno-Karabakh's unrecognisedethnic Armenian government is moving ministries to the city, andat least one new hotel is planned as more tourists arrive, mostlydiasporan Armenians from countries such as France, as well as thosefrom Armenia itself.Also, funds from an annual telethon in November organised by theHayastan All Armenian Fund, an international organisation set upby Armenian presidential decree in 1992, will go to Shusha. Most ofthose who now live there are ethnic Armenians who fled Azerbaijan asthe conflict intensified.Armen Asryan, an ethnic Armenian, left the Azerbaijani capital Bakuin 1988, first going to Russia before coming to Nagorno-Karabakh,where his parents originate, in 1997.The 40-year-old, a soft spoken cobbler, said for him the city was"not a depressing place"."I have come to my own land," he said from his ground-floor workshopbeneath an apartment block."There wasn't a chance to live in Stepanakert, but here the governmentgave us a free flat. It was ruined. There were no windows. We restoredeverything.During the war, when ethnic Armenians backed by Armenia foughtAzerbaijan, Shusha was an Azeri stronghold and the source of manyof the shells that landed on Stepanakert, forcing its residents tolive in bunkers. Armenians took the city in an offensive in 1992 thatresulted in heavy casualties on both sides.Ashot Ghoulian, chairman of the Nagorno-Karabakh national assembly,said government ministries were currently too heavily concentratedin Stepanakert. He said ministries covering such areas as culture,youth and sport were moving to Shusha."Some of them will be in already existing buildings of greatarchitectural value, maybe restored, and some buildings will beconstructed for ministries," he said.Moving the ministries will help "activate the life" in Shusha, MrGhoulian added, although given the city's strong historical Azerilinks, it may not be a popular move with Azerbaijan."The most important reason why we want to activate the life of Shushiis the role Shushi played in the life of Armenian Karabakh earlier,"he said.Shusha dates from the mid-18th century and went on to develop separatequarters for its Muslim and Christian residents. Clashes betweenAzeris and Armenians began in the early 20th century and intensifiedafter the First World War, when Azerbaijan claimed Nagorno-Karabakh.After a revolt in 1920, at a time when Nagorno-Karabakh was claimed bythe short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, as many as 20,000 ofthe city's Armenian population were allegedly killed by authorities,an event Mr Ghoulian describes as a "massacre". The enclave becamean autonomous region within the later Azerbaijan Soviet SocialistRepublic."In 1920, 45,000 people were living in Shushi, but by 1921 thepopulation had decreased to 12,000 people," Mr Ghoulian said."Nobody rejects that people of Azeri origin were living in Shushi[before the Nagorno-Karabakh war], but that was a result of theconflict of the past century. Today, nobody should distort thathistorical fact."Conflicts always change the demographic situation. Shushi is a citywith a tragic fate. Even centuries ago the city was fought over."The city's Ghazanchetsots Cathedral has been restored since theconflict ended and is now one of the few pristine-looking buildingsin the city. Despite the Muslim residents of Shusha having fled,there are still several mosques, although the minaret of one of themis badly damaged.While Shusha still appears to be a broken city, Mr Asryan said itshowed signs of improvement."During the past five years it has developed," he said. "There ismore transport here. Many buildings are restored now and more peoplelive here compared to previous years."It was obvious it would be difficult to live here but now it'sdeveloping."EXCAVATIONS TO PROVE ARMENIAN TRACES IN KARABAKHLena Badeyan"Radiolur"20.07.2009 17:45While the world powers and politicians are trying to resolve theKarabakh issue, historians and archeologists are trying to prove thatthe territory has been originally Armenian. The Armenian specialistsreached the greatest success in 2005, when they found one of the fourTigranakert cities founded by Armenian King Tigran the Great on theliberated land of Aghdam, to the southeast of Martaket region."For me this is Troy, this is how I would assess it. We continuefinding different items here, but it's not the most important. What'simportant is that the city once existed here," said Vardges Safaryan,member of the Tigranakert expedition, assessing the political andhistorical essence of the diggings."The two main walls and the towels of the Hellenic city have beendiscovered. The city was founded in the 80s B.C. and survived throughthe 15th century, about 1 500 years. That is whey here we have notonly Hellenic monuments, but also Christian ones. We have discoveredan Armenian church built in 5-7th centuries, where we found one ofthe most interesting items last year - a clay disk-like item with anengraving: "Me, Vache, the slave of God." This inscription dates backto the 6-7th centuries and it is the most ancient Armenian inscriptionfound on the20land of Karabakh up to now," Vardges Safaryan said.The authorities of Nagorno Karabakh also attach great importance tothe excavations of Tigranakert and the government has been financingthe works for about two years.