Friday, 30 March 2018

Armenian News... A Topalian... Azerbaijanis can live in Artsakh

PanArmenian, Armenia
March 28 2018
Azerbaijanis can live in Artsakh if they recognize its jurisdiction: president 

Azerbaijanis who used to live in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and may wish to regain control of their properties can return to Artsakh, if they recognize its jurisdiction, Karabakh president Bako Sahakyan said in an interview with The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. 

The situation of refugees in the region is often raised in international circles. 

Sahakyan said, “At present, it is Azerbaijani refugees that are chiefly talked about. We naturally are in favor of talking not only about Azerbaijani refugees but also about Armenian refugees.” 

The Karabakh president declared, concerning Azerbaijanis who used to live in Artsakh and who may wish to regain control of their properties: “We have said on multiple occasions over the course of recent years that Azerbaijani refugees naturally can return to Artsakh, to the Artsakh Republic, if they recognize its jurisdiction.” 

Sahakyan of the Republic of Artsakh visited the American capital for his first official visit on March 12 at the head of a governmental delegation for a week of political talks and meetings. 

In the interview, Sahakyan appreciated the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s Minsk Group, of which the United States is a leading member. 

He also said that for the peace process to be successful, Artsakh must be one of the full parties or “sides” in negotiations along with Armenia and Azerbaijan, as was initially agreed upon at the 1994 Budapest OSCE summit, and that Artsakh continues to do whatever is in its power to restore that format. 

RFE/RL Report
Azerbaijan Accused Of Blocking More Truce Monitors In Karabakh
March 27, 2018
Sargis Harutyunyan

Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Tuesday of refusing to honor a recent 
Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement to expand an international mission monitoring 
the ceasefire regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

According to the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-heading the OSCE Minsk 
Group, the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers reached the agreement “in 
principle” at their January 18 meeting in Krakow, Poland.

The Russian co-chair, Igor Popov, specified later in January that the deal 
would allow the OSCE to hire seven more members for its small truce-monitoring team. He said the conflicting parties and the mediators still need to work out “some technical details” of this arrangement.

“We agreed to the co-chairs’ proposal to enhance the capacity of the team of 
the personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office, and that was 
announced by the co-chair countries and Armenia,” Foreign Minister Edward 
Nalbandian said on Tuesday. “Azerbaijan is still refusing to make any reference 
to that agreement and to honor that agreement.”

The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijani already agreed to the expansion of 
the OSCE team when they met in Vienna in May 2016. The team led by Andzrej 
Kasprzyk consists of a small number of officials who regularly travel to 
Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to briefly monitor the parties’ 
compliance with truce agreements reached in 1994 and 1995.

Azerbaijan officially stated in March 2017 that it will not allow the OSCE to 
deploy monitors on the Karabakh frontline “in the absence of withdrawal of the 
Armenian troops from the occupied territories.” Baku has been just as reluctant 
to allow international investigations of truce violations there, which were 
also agreed upon in May 2016.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev pledged to intensify the peace 
process and bolster the ceasefire at their most recent meeting held in Geneva 
in October 2017. Their foreign ministers held follow-up negotiations in 
December and January.

The U.S., Russian and French mediators visited Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert in early February. They said in a joint statement that the warring sides pledged to “continue intensive negotiations.”

Aliyev is seeking a fourth term in office in a snap presidential election 
slated for April 11. The ballot will be held two days after Sarkisian completes 
his second and final presidential term. Sarkisian is tipped to become prime 
minister immediately after Armenia is transformed into a parliamentary republic 
later in April. 

ARKA, Armenia
March 28 2018
More than 60 manufactures of armaments to showcase their products at ArmHiTec-2018 

More than 60 manufacturers of armaments from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, the USA and other countries will demonstrate their products at the II International Exhibition of Armament and Defense Technologies ArmHiTec-2018. 

The chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee of the Ministry of Defense David Pakhchanyan said the exhibition will feature also a closed display of the latest Armenian military products. The exhibition will open on March 29 and run through March 31. 

He said also the priority and successfully developing areas of Armenia’s military-industrial complex are laser technology, optoelectronic systems, electronics, radar and robotic systems. 

Pakhchanyan said the exhibition ArmHiTec-2018 is aimed at strengthening Armenia's security, developing the domestic military-industrial complex and deepening cooperation with international partners. 

The exhibition ArmHiTec will be held in Yerevan for the second time. The first one was held in 2016.

Panorama, Armenia
March 28 2018
Estonian delegate held at Baku airport for 12 hours for Armenian background 

Azerbaijani authorities held an Estonian citizen of Armenian origin at Baku airport for twelve hours and sent her back to Estonia after it was found out that she had an Armenian surname. 

Karine Oganesyan, a citizen of Estonia and adviser to the Chairman of Tallinn City Council, as well as Chairperson of the Youth branch of Estonia's Centrist Party, on March 23 travelled to Azerbaijan‘s capital Baku to take part in an international pedagogical conference, Armenian Ambassador to Lithuania Tigran Mkrtchyan said in a Facebook post. 

She had officially received an electronic entrance visa and together with the Estonian delegation (as its member) left for Baku. But upon Karine‘s arrival in Baku airport the Azerbaijani authorities noticed her Armenian background and barred her from entering Azerbaijan. After keeping her for 12 hours in a special zone of Baku airport, they deported her back to Estonia. 

“This behavior once again displays the racist, intolerant nature of Baku authorities,” the Armenian envoy said. 

“Soaked with Armenophobia, they once again express cynical attitude towards the European values. I hope the Estonian side will make its own conclusions and will adequately react to this disgusting story, defending the rights of its citizen. The European structures should not stay indifferent too, since Estonia is an EU member state and Karine Oganesyan is an EU citizen. 

“And in general, if for a variety of motivations, a country is unable to receive participants and accompanying staff in international conferences, then the suitability of holding such evens in that country should be seriously revised.” 

The Armenian Weekly

March 27 2018
Renowned Armenian-American Engineer Anne Kiremidjian Awarded Prestigious John Fritz Medal
Anne Kiremidjian

Past Recipients Include Alexander Graham Bell and David Packard

The award, which is presented by the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES), recognizes one individual each year for scientific or industrial achievements in the pure or applied sciences.

According to a press statement published by the Stanford University on May 21, Kiremidjian received the award for her research in the field of probabilistic seismic risk assessment and for her leadership in the classroom, educating the next generation of earthquake engineers.

“Kiremidjian’s research focuses on building resilient, sustainable cities that can withstand short- and long-term environmental stressors, including earthquakes. Through the design and implementation of wireless sensor systems, the development of robust algorithms for structural damage diagnosis and several other evaluation techniques, Kiremidjian continues to expand conversations around creating strategic civil infrastructure systems, emphasizing the importance of social, political and economic data in her findings,” reads a part of the statement released by the university.

Born to an Armenian family that moved to avoid persecution, Kiremidjian was a teenager when she came to the U.S. from Bulgaria in 1965. Her current research focuses on the design and implementation of wireless sensor networks for structural damage and health monitoring and the development of robust algorithms for structural damage diagnosis that can be embedded in wireless sensing units.

She works on structural component and systems reliability methods; structural damage evaluation models; and regional damage, loss and casualty estimation methods utilizing geographic information and database management systems for portfolios of buildings or spatially distributed lifeline systems assessment with ground motion and structure correlations.

The John Fritz Medal, which was established in 1902, is one of the highest honors awarded to engineers. Past recipients include Alexander Graham Bell and David Packard.
How Azerbaijan Distorts UN Security Council Resolutions (Part II)

Last week, I described Azerbaijan’s distortions of two of the four UN Security Council Resolutions adopted in 1993. I will now present the remaining two resolutions:

Excerpts from UN Security Council Resolution 874, adopted October 14, 1993:
“Calls upon the parties concerned to make effective and permanent the cease-fire established as a result of the direct contacts undertaken with the assistance of the Government of the Russian Federation in support of the CSCE Minsk Group.”

“Expresses the conviction that all other pending questions arising from the conflict… should be settled expeditiously through peaceful negotiations in the context of the CSCE Minsk process.”

“Calls for the immediate implementation of the reciprocal and urgent steps provided for in the CSCE Minsk Group’s “Adjusted timetable”, including the withdrawal of forces from recently occupied territories and the removal of all obstacles to communications and transportation.”

“Calls on all parties to refrain from all violations of international humanitarian law and renews its call in resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993) for unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts in all areas affected by the conflict.”

“Urges all States in the region to refrain from any hostile acts and from any interference or intervention which would lead to the widening of the conflict and undermine peace and security in the region.”

Azerbaijan has violated every one of the above clauses. In addition to the frequent violations of the mandated cease-fire, the Azerbaijani forces attacked Artsakh in April 2016, causing major damage to border towns and killing civilians. By cutting off the ears of elderly Armenian villagers and decapitating several Armenian soldiers, Azerbaijan’s armed forces committed a barbaric act and a war crime!

Excerpt from UN Security Council Resolution 884, adopted November 12, 1993:

“Calls upon the Government of Armenia to use its influence to achieve compliance by the Armenians of the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic with Resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993) and 874 (1993), and to ensure that the forces involved are not provided with the means to extend their military campaign further.”

Armenian officials usually neither respond to the Azeri accusations regarding the UN Security Council Resolutions nor try to set the record straight. The only exception was President Serzh Sarkisian’s comprehensive speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2014.

President Sarkisian stated: “While discussing the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement I cannot but address the four UN Security Council Resolutions, which were adopted during the war, that every so often are being exploited by the Azerbaijani authorities in order to justify their obstructive policy.”

“It is about those four Resolutions that demanded unconditionally as a matter of priority cessation of all military hostilities. Azerbaijan failed to comply. Azerbaijan’s own noncompliance with the fundamental demands of these Resolutions made impossible their full implementation. The Resolutions contained calls upon the parties to cease bombardments and air strikes targeting the peaceful civilian population, to refrain from violating the principles of the international humanitarian law but instead Azerbaijan continued its indiscriminate bombardments of the civilian population. Azerbaijan did not spare children, women and old persons thus gravely violating all legal and moral norms of the international humanitarian law.”

“Now Azerbaijan cynically refers to these Resolutions — refers selectively, pulling them out of context as a prerequisite for the settlement of the problem. The adequate interpretation of the UN Security Council Resolutions is not possible without correct understanding of the hierarchy of the demands set therein.”

“The Resolutions inter alia request the restoration of economic, transport and energy links in the region (UN SC Resolution 853) and removal of all obstacles to communications and transportation (UN SC Resolution 874). It is no secret that Azerbaijan and Turkey imposed blockade on Nagorno Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia from the outset of the conflict. The Azerbaijani President in his statements even takes pride in this fact promising his own public that direction would remain the priority of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.”

“The above mentioned UN Security Council Resolutions called upon Azerbaijan to establish direct contacts with Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan refused to establish any direct contacts with Nagorno Karabakh, which was a legally equal party to the Cease-fire Agreement concluded in 1994 as well as a number of other international Agreements; moreover, Azerbaijan preaches hatred towards people it claims it wants to see as a part of their State.”

“None of the UN Security Council Resolutions identifies Armenia as a conflicting party. Our country is called upon only ‘to continue to exert its influence’ over the Nagorno Karabakh Armenians (UNSC Resolutions 853, 884) in order to cease the conflict. Armenia has fully complied, and due to its efforts a Cease-fire Agreement was concluded in 1994. All UN Security Council Resolutions recognize Nagorno Karabakh as a party to the conflict.”

“Azerbaijani authorities have failed to implement the fundamental demands of the Security Council Resolutions, including abiding and sticking by the humanitarian norms.”

“Incidentally, Azerbaijan has been gravely violating this demand every now and then. Azerbaijan’s cruel and inhumane treatment of the Armenian civilian prisoners of war regularly results in their deaths. Although, I think, one shall not be surprised about it because it is the same State that suppresses and exercises the most inhumane treatment of its own people. A clear proof of it was the decision of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to suspend its visit to Azerbaijan due to obstructions it encountered in the conduct of official Baku.”

“The Co-Chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group is the only specialized structure that has been dealing with the Nagorno Karabakh issue according to the mandate granted by the international community. While Azerbaijan is very well aware that it could not possibly deceive or misinform the Minsk Group, which is very-well immersed in the essence of the problem, it attempts to transpose the conflict settlement to other platforms trying to depict it as a territorial dispute or exploiting the factor of religious solidarity. That is ironic, since Armenia traditionally enjoys very warm relations with the Islamic nations both in the Arabic world or, for instance, with our immediate neighbor Iran.”

I would like to summarize my key points regarding Azerbaijan’s distortions of the four UN Security Resolutions:

1. The UN Security Council Resolutions were adopted in 1993 during the height of the war between Artsakh/Armenia and Azerbaijan. These Resolutions reflect the conditions on the ground at the time. Since then, the situation has dramatically changed.
2. Despite the cease-fire that was signed in 1994 between Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter keeps violating both the ceasefire and the UN Security Council Resolutions by its frequent attacks on both Artsakh and Armenia.
3. Azerbaijan opposes Artsakh’s participation in the negotiations, thus violating the UN Security Council Resolutions.
4. The Minsk Group co-chairs, composed of the United States, France, and Russia, are the official mediators of the Artsakh conflict, not the UN Security Council and not the UN General Assembly.
5. In fact, when Azerbaijan brought the Artsakh issue to the UN General Assembly in 2008, all three Minsk Group co-chairs voted against it. Azerbaijan’s proposal was adopted by a small number of States. The overwhelming majority abstained.
6. By blockading Artsakh, Azerbaijan is violating the four UN Security Council Resolutions.
7. Importantly, Armenia is mentioned in the UN Security Council Resolutions, not as a party to the conflict, but only as an intermediary to persuade Artsakh Armenians to comply with these Resolutions. Azerbaijan’s President Heydar Aliyev acknowledged this fact during his speech to the Parliament on February 23, 2001: “Four resolutions have been adopted in the United Nations Security Council…. It is written in these four resolutions that the occupational army should leave occupied lands of Azerbaijan. But there is not a word “Armenia”, that is, there are no words “the Armenian armed forces”. But in one of resolutions it is written to demand from Armenia to exert influence on Mountainous Garabagh (Nagorno-Karabakh). In reality, it is an Armenian-Azerbaijan war. In reality, Armenia has made aggression against Azerbaijan. However, nobody recognizes Armenia as an aggressor in a document of any international organization….”

Azeris who continue to distort the four UN Security Council Resolutions should follow former President Heydar Aliyev’s statement and refrain from accusing Armenia of violating these Resolutions when in fact Azerbaijan is the one not complying with them.



‘What shall I be when I am no more?’ The heart-rending question a child dying of terminal cancer put to a carer at Helen House, Oxford. How to answer it? Children are very perceptive, not easily fooled, the carer knew. ‘Dealing with death is part of my job. I am used to it but that little girl’s direct question floored me’, she confessed.

‘What will you be when you are no more?’ A question not just for dying kids but for all human beings. Because, as Seneca said, ‘Cotidie morimur’ – we die a little bit every day. Every day after you are born, death gets a day nearer. Life is a race towards a finish line, an end whose name is death. A statement whose certitude cannot be gainsaid. But, unlike the little girl who knew her days were numbered, most people do not think about death. Or they think about it in abstract, non-personal ways. Like the example of impeccable reasoning in the old logic books: ‘All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal’. A cold, universal truth. But people refuse to draw its concrete implications. Like dying Ivan, the sad hero of Tolstoy’s haunting story, ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’, they find the truth of their own finitude unbearable. They fool themselves and behave as if they were immortal. The old syllogism is there to remind each person of their mortality. Death is
the destiny of every mortal, i.e. you and I.

‘What will you be after your death?’ Atheists of all ilk, from atomist materialists like Roman Lucretius to Scotch sceptic David Hume to contemporary Richard ‘Deluded’ Dawkins, scoff at the question. Death is an absolute end. There is no soul, no self. With the dissolution of the body you cease to exist, period. And they claim that non-existence is no problem. Do you worry about not having existed after you were born? Hardly. Why then fear your post-mortem non-existence? Irrational, eh? Unbelieving philosopher Thomas Nagel exposes the fallacy in Lucretius’ claim. His asymmetrical argument doesn’t work. Not being born is not a misfortune – the time before your birth is not something your non-existent self is deprived of – but your death robs you of a time in which you could have been alive. Life makes us appreciate the many goods of which death deprives us. That is why people struggle to continue their life, while being indifferent to their pre-birth status. QED.

Philosophical arguments only exercise a few oddballs, however. The majority of mankind hide from the little girl’s pressing question through multifarious stratagems, the most common quoted by St Paul: ‘Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we die’. (I Corinthians, 15:32) Hedonism, in fact. The pleasure pursuit, to forget death’s impending maws. Hypocritical to pretend that earthly pleasures do not matter. They do. Every time you eat your dinner or kiss your beloved’s lips, you instantiate the relevance of pleasures. Yet, they still do not suffice answer that gnawing existential question: ‘What will I be after I am no more?’ Even the Qur’an, though opposing Christian asceticism, attacks hedonism as a distraction from the real issue: ‘And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement.’ (Sura 6:32)

The whole of Western culture is predicated upon ignoring the child’s demand for an answer. Call me a conspiracy theorist, this IS a huge, monstrous conspiracy, if there was ever one. Governments, legislators, economists, and the filthy media – they all conspire to make you forget the most urgent, decisive matter pertaining to your future. Immortality. Churchmen too shy away from it. Eternal life embarrasses them. It’s too countercultural, isn’t it? Safer to drone on about racism, antisemitism, migrants, Putin, Harry & Meghan, football, the Royals and similar edifying hobbyhorses. Anything but life after death. They occasionally mouth Bible passages but never dwell on them or affirm their importance. From Canterbury’s Welby to the ineffable Pope Francis, they keep irreligiously mum. Evangelical Christians and Muslims seem to be the only people who dare break this shameful conspiracy of silence.

Easter is the right time to break the conspiracy. To show up its wicked, anti-human nature. Because Easter celebrates the victory of life over death. The sempiternal hope of all human beings. A supernatural rebuff to atheists, secularists, doubters, the pseudo-Christians, the squalid enemies of humanity. The resurrection was a divinely decreed event, testifying to the reality of immortality: ‘If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised…your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’ the Apostle exults. At Easter Christ broke the bonds of mortality and rose triumphantly from the grave, in power and majesty. ‘Behold, I was dead and now I am alive for ever and I hold the keys of death and death’s domain’, proclaims the risen Lord in the Book of Revelation. Amen, amen, amen!

And the little girl’s question? A passage in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov tackles that. After a youth I cared for died in a car accident years ago I conveyed the story to his family. A schoolboy, Ilusha, has tragically died. His friends, their eager, shining faces demand answers. So they gather around teacher Alyosha Karamazov. Little Kolya asks: ‘Can it be true what they teach us in church, that we shall all rise again from the dead and shall live and see each other again, all of us, Ilusha, too?’
Alyosha does not hesitate: ‘Certainly we shall all rise again, certainly we shall see each other and shall tell each other with joy and gladness all that has happened!’

A very Happy Easter to you all.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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Armenian News... A Topalian... Panorama Armenia

[is the border hotting up again?
anything to do with the forthcoming Azeri presidential elections 

with a very predictable result?] 

Panorama, Armenia
March 24 2018
Azerbaijan violates ceasefire nearly 150 times, applies drone over past week 

The Azerbaijani forces violated the ceasefire along the Line of Contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan around 150 times over the past week (from 18 to 24 March), firing more than 3,500 shots towards the Armenian defense positions, the press service of the Artsakh Defense Ministry told

In addition to the mentioned violations, the Azerbaijani military applied an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on March 19 in the north-eastern (Talish) section of the Line of Contact aimed at conducting reconnaissance flights. However, the drone was timely detected and downed by the Artsakh Defense Army.

The frontline units of the Defense Army continue to maintain full control over the frontline situation and take necessary steps to organize reliable defense of their military posts.

ArmInfo, Armenia
March 21 2018
A look from London: Mistrust of the parties to the Karabakh conflict works on political regimes in Azerbaijan and Armenia
David Stepanyan. 

The contradictory nature of the package and stage-by- stage approaches to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict is one of the main factors, obstacles to the settlement.

Similar opinion was expressed by ArmInfo researcher of the program for the study of Russia and Eurasia of the Royal Institute of International Relations (Chatham House) Lawrence Broers.

"It is quite possible that after gaining these regions, Baku will not go on any compromises on the status of Karabakh , which, quite rightly, causes fears of the Armenian side." And from the point of view of Azerbaijan, having received unlocked borders in exchange for these regions, the Armenian side of the conflict can in fact refuse to continue negotiations simply because they are useless, "the expert believes.

Based on the above, the British expert believes that the trust between the parties to the conflict is capable of allowing the implementation of certain creative approaches in order to realize the basic components of the settlement is simply not there. Mistrust of the parties to the conflict, according to his estimates, is due to the lack of liberal demand for the formation of a concept aimed at achieving a peaceful exit from the existing impasse.

"Such a situation, in my opinion, works in favor of preserving the Armenian control over Karabakh and in favor of political regimes in the conflicting countries.Any serious change in the status quo will be accompanied by a loss of security and, possibly, the emergence of new trends threatening the power of these regimes," "Broers summed it up.

RFE/RL Report
Russian Official Plays Up Fresh Arms Supplies To Armenia
March 26, 2018
Artak Hambardzumian

Russia has supplied Armenia with more weapons and other military equipment in
response to the April 2016 fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a senior Russian
lawmaker said during a visit to Yerevan on Monday.

“We do realize that after the 2016 escalation, which was initiated by one of
the parties, Armenian public opinion showed serious discontent with Russia
regarding arms supplies to Azerbaijan on the part of Russia,” Konstantin
Zatulin told reporters. “We very much regret that Azerbaijan found no use for
them other than violating the ceasefire agreement on the [Karabakh] Line of
Contact reached in 1994 with our help.”

“We have drawn conclusions regarding the breach of the military balance in the
region and provided Armenia with state-of-the-art defense equipment which we
had a chance to see at the [September 2016] military parade organized on the
occasion of [Armenia’s] Republic Day,” said the deputy chairman of a Russian
State Duma committee on relations with former Soviet republics.

Despite its military alliance with Armenia, Russia signed an estimated $5
billion worth of defense contracts with Azerbaijan in 2009-2011. Many in
Armenia feel that the resulting deliveries of hundreds of Russian tanks,
artillery systems and combat helicopters to Baku encouraged the latter to
launch the April 2016 offensive in Karabakh.

The four-day hostilities, which Moscow helped to halt, left at least 180
soldiers from both warring sides dead.It was the worst escalation of the
Karabakh conflict since 1994.

Visiting Yerevan earlier this month, another senior Russian lawmaker,
Konstantin Kosachev, indicated that Moscow will scale down its future arms
dealings with Baku. “Of course, we are reacting to what occurred in April
2016,” said Kosachev, who chairs the foreign relations committee of the
Federation Council, the Russian upper house of parliament.

The fresh Russian arms supplies to Armenia mentioned by Zatulin stem, in part,
from a $200 million Russian loan allocated in June 2015. The Armenian military
has used that money for buying, among other things, Smerch multiple-launch
rocket system, thermobaric and anti-tank rocket systems and shoulder-fired
surface-to-air missiles.

At its September 2016 parade in Yerevan, the military also demonstrated
medium-range Buk air-defense systems and, more importantly, Iskander tactical
missiles. Armenia most probably received the precision-guided missiles shortly
before or after the four-day war in Karabakh.

In October 2017, the Armenian government announced that Moscow will provide it with a further $100 million loan that will be spent on the purchase of more
Russian weapons at internal Russian prices set well below international
market-based levels. Deputy Defense Minister Artak Zakarian said in December
that the Armenian side has already finalized three defense contracts with
Russian arms manufacturers as part of the loan agreement.

Zatulin, who is known for his pro-Armenian views on the Karabakh conflict, on
Monday also denounced Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s recent pledge to
“return Azerbaijanis” to Yerevan and other parts of Armenia which he called
“historic Azerbaijani lands.” “It’s just not clear how anyone can take such a
statement seriously,” added the veteran lawmaker.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized Aliyev’s remarks last month.
Nevertheless, the Azerbaijani leader repeated his claims last week., Armenia
March 23 2018
UN Human Rights Council adopts Genocide Prevention Resolution initiated by Armenia
Genocide Prevention Resolution initiated by Armenia was adopted at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council by consensus in Geneva on March 23. Nearly 6 dozens of countries introducing all the regional groups of the Human Rights Council joined Armenia and co-authored the resolution. The resolution will be open for the co-authoring for two more weeks, the press service of the MFA Armenia reported.

“Armenia’s representative emphasized in his speech that the initiation of the mentioned resolution is the demonstration of Armenia’s resolve and continuous commitment to the prevention of the crime of genocide. He underlined the special importance of adopting the resolution on Prevention of genocide by consensus by the HRC in the year marking the 70th anniversary of the first UN international agreement on human rights.

The resolution reaffirms that fight against impunity is a key factor for preventing genocides. It expresses concern over the attempts to deny or approve genocides, stressing that they undermine the fight against impunity, reconciliation of peoples and crime-prevention efforts.

The resolution pays special attention to the exposure of signs and reasons of genocides.

It welcomes the call of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide to for a universal adoption of the resolution ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Convention.

The document also expresses satisfaction over the declaration of December 9 International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution recommends the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a high-level discussion during the September session of the HRC dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Convention on preventing and punishing the crime of genocide.

The resolution also envisages that the Secretary General of the UN will prepare a report based on the information received from the Member States on genocide education and the illustration of the Convention.

ArmInfo, Armenia
March 21 2018
French Ambassador: Macron will take part in the summit of Francophonie in Yerevan
Mariana Mkrtchyan

French President Emmanuel Macron will take part in the summit of Francophonie in Armenia, a French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann expressed this point of view.

"We are very happy that the Francophonie summit will be in Yerevan, I think that the president of the republic will participate in this event, and only that the Armenian Ambassador to Russia said that Charles Aznavour will be present at the summit, and this is very important from the point of view view of culture, "Berman said, Russian media reports.

The 17th summit of the International Organization of Francophonie will be held in Yerevan on October 11- 12, 2018. The event will be attended by high-ranking delegations from more than eight dozen states.

MENA English (Middle East and North Africa Financial Network)
March 26, 2018 Monday
Egyptian parliament: "Turkey leads mass extermination war" 

Comparing it to the Armenian Genocide, the Egyptian parliament's Arab affairs committee condemned Turkey's military action in Syria and Iraq.

"This is a new mass extermination war and it reminds us of Turkey's massacre of the Armenian people during the first World War," the lawmakers said in a statement.

The committee deplored that "both Russia and the United States are turning a blind eye to Erodgan's war crimes and its racial cleansing operations against the Kurds in Syria and Iraq," Ahram Online reported.

The committee's statement argued that "it is clear that dictator Erdogan's internal failures have forced him to mount military adventures against Turkey's neighbours in a way that poses a threat to international peace and stability in the Middle East."

The statement called on the Arab League, Arab leaders and Arab peoples to take a united stand against aggressive Turkish policies in the Arab world.

ArmenPress, Armenia
March 22 2018
China to provide Armenia with 200 ambulances
English –translator/editor:Tigran Sirekanyan 

Healthcare Minister of Armenia Levon Altunyan and Adviserof trade and economicissues at the Embassy of People's Republic ofChinainArmenia Vang Shicai signed on March 22 an agreement on providing Armenia with 200 ambulances on a grant basis. As ARMENPRESS was informed from the press service of the Healthcare Ministry of Armenia , the ambulances will arrive in Armenia within 110 days after signing the agreement.

In a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Armenia TianErlong and the delegation of “China National Township Enterprises Corporation” Levon Altunyan thanked the leadership of China for the assistance. He stressed that the assistance will significantly improve the ambulance service.

The project is implemented in the sidelines of the agreement signed between the Governments of China and Armenia on May 12, 2017.

The Chinese Ambassador noted that though China is much larger than Armenia and has incomparably greater population, the health issues in both countries have similarities. Now in China struggle against smoking is underway like in Armenia . Welcoming the project aimed at healthy lifestyle in Armenia , TianErlong noted that smoking in public areas is prohibited in Chinese cities.

Other issues were also discussed at the meeting.

ARKA, Armenia
March 26 2018
Moody’s: Armenia’s economy will be growing over next two years 

Moody's Investors Service says in a press release that that Armenia's (B1 positive) credit profile reflects its track record of solid economic and financial management, robust but volatile growth, and high debt affordability.

And, strengthening policymaking institutions bolster the country's resilience to external shocks, as demonstrated during the large 2014-2016 regional economic shock, caused by the sharp drop in commodity prices.

Moody's expects Armenia's economy to grow strongly over the next two years, driven by the recovery in household consumption, solid exports, and forthcoming production from the country's new and largest gold mine.

Credit challenges stem from: 1) the government's moderately high debt burden that is vulnerable to a sharp currency depreciation, 2) Armenia's small and low-income economy that is highly exposed to external developments, and 3) latent geopolitical tensions with neighbouring Azerbaijan (Ba2 stable).
The high — but gradually declining — level of dollarisation in the economy also leaves Armenia and its banking sector exposed to external shocks, although the central bank has introduced measures that promote de-dollarisation.

Moody's conclusions are contained in its just-released credit analysis on Armenia and which examines the sovereign in four categories: economic strength, which is assessed as "low (+)"; institutional strength "moderate"; fiscal strength "low"; and susceptibility to event risk "moderate".

The report constitutes an annual update to investors and is not a rating action. Moody's says that underpinning the positive outlook on Armenia's sovereign rating are effective macroeconomic policies that indicate increasing institutional strength and lower vulnerability to external shocks. Ongoing reforms of the fiscal framework could also shore up fiscal strength over time.

Triggers for a rating upgrade include further economic and/or institutional reforms that point to sustained gains in economic competitiveness and institutional strength. In particular, the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that Armenia signed with the European Union (Aaa stable) in November 2017 could foster such reforms, although any tangible impact would likely materialise only over the medium term.

Indications that Armenia's debt burden is falling durably and markedly faster than Moody's currently expects would also be credit positive in rebuilding some of the fiscal buffers that eroded during 2014-2016.

Although the positive outlook on Armenia's sovereign rating signals that a rating downgrade is unlikely over the next 12-18 months, Moody's could change the rating outlook to stable if there was a loss in reform momentum, fiscal slippage removing prospects of the government's debt burden declining over the medium term, and/or an escalation in the conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Armenia’s economy grew by 7.5% in 2017, up from the government-projected 3.2%. The forecast for 2018 is 4.5%.

World Boxing Association
March 26, 2018 Monday
Goulamirian knocked out Merhy and is the new WBA Cruiserweight champion
Arsen Goulamirian had an impeccable performance in Marseille, France, and achieved a technical knockout in the 11th round against Ryad Merhy to become the World Boxing Association (WBA) Cruiserweight Champion.

The French born in Armenia gave Merhy no respite and began to pressure him from the first minute to prevent his opponent from making combinations of punches.

Goulamirian took the risk to exchange blows in front of a powerful boxer. That risk paid off as he took the best part and wasted Merhy until he could finish him off.

A combination of many consecutive unanswered blows to Merhy forced the referee to stop the fight, which made Goulamirian the new champion.

Goulamirian left his record at 23 wins, no defeats and 15 knockouts, while Merhy left his record at 24 wins, 1 loss and 20 knockouts.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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