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Leaked Document Reveals U.S. Fury With Armenian Oppsition Leader Ter-Petrosian

September 9, 2011 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh, Top News, Turkey 1 Comment
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Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian urged the United States to take the lead in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in late 2008 less than a month after accusing Washington of seeking excessive Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan, according to newly disclosed U.S. diplomatic records.

In a classified 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks, Marie Yovanovitch, the then U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said Ter-Petrosian also told her that he publicly branded U.S. policy on Armenia “immoral” as part of his efforts to placate radical supporters demanding a new opposition push for power.

Yovanovitch rejected this explanation as “dishonest,” deploring the former Armenian president’s “lack of integrity” and saying that he is willing to “sell out his own policy views for the sake of personal political expedience.”

The leaked cable recounts the former ambassador’s first meeting with Ter-Petrosian that took place on November 4, 2008. It reveals that the meeting was scheduled for October 20 but that Yovanovitch postponed it to demonstrate Washington’s “displeasure” with his speech at an opposition rally held on October 17, 2008.

Speaking at that rally, Ter-Petrosian charged that the U.S. and other Western powers are turning a blind eye to a continuing government crackdown on his opposition movement in their quest for a “unilateral” resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Such a settlement, he said, would spell a “national disaster” for Armenia because it would exclude Russia.

Ter-Petrosian also claimed at the time that in return for strong Western support for his regime, President Serzh Sarkisian is ready to “put Karabakh up for sale” and renounce Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia.

Armenia — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, undated

According to Yovanovitch, Ter-Petrosian made diametrically opposite statements when they met three weeks later. She quoted him as saying that the U.S. should hijack the initiative in Karabakh conflict mediation from the Russians by dispatching then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region to negotiate a final Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement and having it signed in Washington in the presence of outgoing President George W. Bush.

“LTP (Levon Ter-Petrosian) said the U.S. would be doing Armenia and its people a great favor by intervening to achieve a balanced settlement that would leave neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan with ‘a loser’s complex,’” Yovanovitch wrote. She said Ter-Petrosian assured her that his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance “will not do anything to complicate Sarkisian’s settlement efforts” in the coming months.

The envoy told top U.S. State Department officials that Ter-Petrosian also justified his harsh verbal attacks on the West voiced at the October 2008 rally. She quoted the HAK leader as saying that he simply sought to sell his decision to suspend anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan to “the radical elements in his opposition movement.”

Explaining that decision in his 45-minute speech at the rally, Ter-Petrosian asserted that further street protests would “weaken Serzh Sarkisian’s positions and thereby increase possibilities of exerting external pressure on him and clinching concessions from him.”

Throughout the summer of 2008, senior HAK figures told supporters to get ready for renewed “decisive” actions against the Sarkisian administration. One of them stated that the October 17 rally will mark a “turning point” in the opposition movement’s struggle.

In Yovanovitch’s words, Ter-Petrosian said that the protest suspension carried “great risks” for him and that he had “no other way to get people off the streets and back in their homes.”

Yovanovitch, who completed her three-year tour of duty in Armenia last June, dismissed the alleged explanation. “Painting the United States in an immoral light on resolving [the Karabakh conflict] is intellectually dishonest no matter the motive,” she told the charismatic opposition leader, according to the cable.

Yovanovitch suggested the following motives behind his “dishonest rhetoric.” “Our
read is that LTP saw support for public rallies dwindling with each passing month, and was desperate to find a face-saving tactic,” she told officials in Washington. “Empty-handed after months of a stridently rejectionist strategy, LTP chose to cloak himself in nationalism and concoct a conspiracy theory of great power machinations to cover his political retreat.”

Armenia – Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate coordinating the HAK’s day-to-day activities, insisted on Thursday that there were no contradictions between what the ex-president said at the rally and the conversation with the U.S. ambassador.

In particular, Zurabian, who was also present at that meeting, strongly denied her claims that Ter-Petrosian admitted misleading his most loyal supporters. “Ter-Petrosian never said such a thing, I refute that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And Marie Yovanovitch also refutes herself in that report.”

But Zurabian would not comment on whether Ter-Petrosian indeed urged the U.S. to aggressively push for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Ter-Petrosian was quoted as questioning Russia’s commitment to Karabakh peace in another leaked cable which Yovanovitch sent to Washington in August 2009. The confidential document also publicized by WikiLeaks gives details of his meeting in Yerevan with Matthew Bryza, the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

“LTP worried that Russia does not actually want a solution, but rather a lingering problem that leaves both Armenia and Azerbaijan dependent on Russia,” reads the document.

Ter-Petrosian’s alleged concerns contrasted with his exceedingly positive public statements on the Russian government. The HAK leader has been far more critical of the Western powers in his public pronouncements made since the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He has repeatedly accused them of tolerating human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”

Zurabian claimed that relations between American diplomats and the HAK began worsening in September 2008 because Armenia’s leading opposition force refused to unconditionally back Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

“We were angry that for the sake of geopolitical aims the United States can turn a blind eye to the trampling of democracy,” he said. “We were angry with the United States for that reason, while the United States probably had motives to be angry with our position.”

“But over time — when it became obvious that our evaluations are correct, that Turkey will not delink relations with Armenia from the Karabakh issue, that Serzh Sarkisian is exploiting the normalization process to keep political prisoners and destroy the opposition — the same Marie Yovanovitch learned to respect Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added the HAK coordinator.

Source: RFE/RLOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Decries ‘Incredible’ Corruption
  2. Armenian Opposition Leader Ter-Petrosian Reaffirms September Deadline For Government
  3. Armenian Revolutionary Federation Leader Skeptical About Ter-Petrosian’s ‘Revolution’ Threat
  4. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Seeks Stronger EU Pressure On Yerevan
  5. U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Meets With Armenia’s Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Samvel Jeshmaridian says:

    OPEN LETTER TO MS. MARIE YOVANOVITCH
    Dear Ms. Marie Yovanovitch,
    I know the source of Your anger toward those, who struggle for others’ happiness and who need U.S. moral, political, and diplomatic support for their own country! Of course, Your Government has no obligation before the Armenian Nation. Your Government isanalyzing political situations and is diplomatically competing with the Kremlin to be and/or to seem more powerful in the region. It is not “the roadmap” to human happiness. But the Armenian People together with the Political Opposition of Armenia are in search of the road leading to happiness. Every human being has the right to be happy! And those who fight for others’ happiness are unacceptable for Your Depatment of State. It is natural and understanable. This situation makes You furious, doesn’t it?

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Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian urged the United States to take the lead in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in late 2008 less than a month after accusing Washington of seeking excessive Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan, according to newly disclosed U.S. diplomatic records.

In a classified 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks, Marie Yovanovitch, the then U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said Ter-Petrosian also told her that he publicly branded U.S. policy on Armenia “immoral” as part of his efforts to placate radical supporters demanding a new opposition push for power.

Yovanovitch rejected this explanation as “dishonest,” deploring the former Armenian president’s “lack of integrity” and saying that he is willing to “sell out his own policy views for the sake of personal political expedience.”

The leaked cable recounts the former ambassador’s first meeting with Ter-Petrosian that took place on November 4, 2008. It reveals that the meeting was scheduled for October 20 but that Yovanovitch postponed it to demonstrate Washington’s “displeasure” with his speech at an opposition rally held on October 17, 2008.

Speaking at that rally, Ter-Petrosian charged that the U.S. and other Western powers are turning a blind eye to a continuing government crackdown on his opposition movement in their quest for a “unilateral” resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Such a settlement, he said, would spell a “national disaster” for Armenia because it would exclude Russia.

Ter-Petrosian also claimed at the time that in return for strong Western support for his regime, President Serzh Sarkisian is ready to “put Karabakh up for sale” and renounce Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia.

Armenia — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, undated

According to Yovanovitch, Ter-Petrosian made diametrically opposite statements when they met three weeks later. She quoted him as saying that the U.S. should hijack the initiative in Karabakh conflict mediation from the Russians by dispatching then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region to negotiate a final Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement and having it signed in Washington in the presence of outgoing President George W. Bush.

“LTP (Levon Ter-Petrosian) said the U.S. would be doing Armenia and its people a great favor by intervening to achieve a balanced settlement that would leave neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan with ‘a loser’s complex,’” Yovanovitch wrote. She said Ter-Petrosian assured her that his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance “will not do anything to complicate Sarkisian’s settlement efforts” in the coming months.

The envoy told top U.S. State Department officials that Ter-Petrosian also justified his harsh verbal attacks on the West voiced at the October 2008 rally. She quoted the HAK leader as saying that he simply sought to sell his decision to suspend anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan to “the radical elements in his opposition movement.”

Explaining that decision in his 45-minute speech at the rally, Ter-Petrosian asserted that further street protests would “weaken Serzh Sarkisian’s positions and thereby increase possibilities of exerting external pressure on him and clinching concessions from him.”

Throughout the summer of 2008, senior HAK figures told supporters to get ready for renewed “decisive” actions against the Sarkisian administration. One of them stated that the October 17 rally will mark a “turning point” in the opposition movement’s struggle.

In Yovanovitch’s words, Ter-Petrosian said that the protest suspension carried “great risks” for him and that he had “no other way to get people off the streets and back in their homes.”

Yovanovitch, who completed her three-year tour of duty in Armenia last June, dismissed the alleged explanation. “Painting the United States in an immoral light on resolving [the Karabakh conflict] is intellectually dishonest no matter the motive,” she told the charismatic opposition leader, according to the cable.

Yovanovitch suggested the following motives behind his “dishonest rhetoric.” “Our
read is that LTP saw support for public rallies dwindling with each passing month, and was desperate to find a face-saving tactic,” she told officials in Washington. “Empty-handed after months of a stridently rejectionist strategy, LTP chose to cloak himself in nationalism and concoct a conspiracy theory of great power machinations to cover his political retreat.”

Armenia – Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate coordinating the HAK’s day-to-day activities, insisted on Thursday that there were no contradictions between what the ex-president said at the rally and the conversation with the U.S. ambassador.

In particular, Zurabian, who was also present at that meeting, strongly denied her claims that Ter-Petrosian admitted misleading his most loyal supporters. “Ter-Petrosian never said such a thing, I refute that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And Marie Yovanovitch also refutes herself in that report.”

But Zurabian would not comment on whether Ter-Petrosian indeed urged the U.S. to aggressively push for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Ter-Petrosian was quoted as questioning Russia’s commitment to Karabakh peace in another leaked cable which Yovanovitch sent to Washington in August 2009. The confidential document also publicized by WikiLeaks gives details of his meeting in Yerevan with Matthew Bryza, the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

“LTP worried that Russia does not actually want a solution, but rather a lingering problem that leaves both Armenia and Azerbaijan dependent on Russia,” reads the document.

Ter-Petrosian’s alleged concerns contrasted with his exceedingly positive public statements on the Russian government. The HAK leader has been far more critical of the Western powers in his public pronouncements made since the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He has repeatedly accused them of tolerating human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”

Zurabian claimed that relations between American diplomats and the HAK began worsening in September 2008 because Armenia’s leading opposition force refused to unconditionally back Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

“We were angry that for the sake of geopolitical aims the United States can turn a blind eye to the trampling of democracy,” he said. “We were angry with the United States for that reason, while the United States probably had motives to be angry with our position.”

“But over time — when it became obvious that our evaluations are correct, that Turkey will not delink relations with Armenia from the Karabakh issue, that Serzh Sarkisian is exploiting the normalization process to keep political prisoners and destroy the opposition — the same Marie Yovanovitch learned to respect Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added the HAK coordinator.

Source: RFE/RLOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Decries ‘Incredible’ Corruption
  2. Armenian Opposition Leader Ter-Petrosian Reaffirms September Deadline For Government
  3. Armenian Revolutionary Federation Leader Skeptical About Ter-Petrosian’s ‘Revolution’ Threat
  4. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Seeks Stronger EU Pressure On Yerevan
  5. U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Meets With Armenia’s Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian

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Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian urged the United States to take the lead in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in late 2008 less than a month after accusing Washington of seeking excessive Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan, according to newly disclosed U.S. diplomatic records.

In a classified 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks, Marie Yovanovitch, the then U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said Ter-Petrosian also told her that he publicly branded U.S. policy on Armenia “immoral” as part of his efforts to placate radical supporters demanding a new opposition push for power.

Yovanovitch rejected this explanation as “dishonest,” deploring the former Armenian president’s “lack of integrity” and saying that he is willing to “sell out his own policy views for the sake of personal political expedience.”

The leaked cable recounts the former ambassador’s first meeting with Ter-Petrosian that took place on November 4, 2008. It reveals that the meeting was scheduled for October 20 but that Yovanovitch postponed it to demonstrate Washington’s “displeasure” with his speech at an opposition rally held on October 17, 2008.

Speaking at that rally, Ter-Petrosian charged that the U.S. and other Western powers are turning a blind eye to a continuing government crackdown on his opposition movement in their quest for a “unilateral” resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Such a settlement, he said, would spell a “national disaster” for Armenia because it would exclude Russia.

Ter-Petrosian also claimed at the time that in return for strong Western support for his regime, President Serzh Sarkisian is ready to “put Karabakh up for sale” and renounce Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia.

Armenia — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, undated

According to Yovanovitch, Ter-Petrosian made diametrically opposite statements when they met three weeks later. She quoted him as saying that the U.S. should hijack the initiative in Karabakh conflict mediation from the Russians by dispatching then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region to negotiate a final Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement and having it signed in Washington in the presence of outgoing President George W. Bush.

“LTP (Levon Ter-Petrosian) said the U.S. would be doing Armenia and its people a great favor by intervening to achieve a balanced settlement that would leave neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan with ‘a loser’s complex,’” Yovanovitch wrote. She said Ter-Petrosian assured her that his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance “will not do anything to complicate Sarkisian’s settlement efforts” in the coming months.

The envoy told top U.S. State Department officials that Ter-Petrosian also justified his harsh verbal attacks on the West voiced at the October 2008 rally. She quoted the HAK leader as saying that he simply sought to sell his decision to suspend anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan to “the radical elements in his opposition movement.”

Explaining that decision in his 45-minute speech at the rally, Ter-Petrosian asserted that further street protests would “weaken Serzh Sarkisian’s positions and thereby increase possibilities of exerting external pressure on him and clinching concessions from him.”

Throughout the summer of 2008, senior HAK figures told supporters to get ready for renewed “decisive” actions against the Sarkisian administration. One of them stated that the October 17 rally will mark a “turning point” in the opposition movement’s struggle.

In Yovanovitch’s words, Ter-Petrosian said that the protest suspension carried “great risks” for him and that he had “no other way to get people off the streets and back in their homes.”

Yovanovitch, who completed her three-year tour of duty in Armenia last June, dismissed the alleged explanation. “Painting the United States in an immoral light on resolving [the Karabakh conflict] is intellectually dishonest no matter the motive,” she told the charismatic opposition leader, according to the cable.

Yovanovitch suggested the following motives behind his “dishonest rhetoric.” “Our
read is that LTP saw support for public rallies dwindling with each passing month, and was desperate to find a face-saving tactic,” she told officials in Washington. “Empty-handed after months of a stridently rejectionist strategy, LTP chose to cloak himself in nationalism and concoct a conspiracy theory of great power machinations to cover his political retreat.”

Armenia – Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate coordinating the HAK’s day-to-day activities, insisted on Thursday that there were no contradictions between what the ex-president said at the rally and the conversation with the U.S. ambassador.

In particular, Zurabian, who was also present at that meeting, strongly denied her claims that Ter-Petrosian admitted misleading his most loyal supporters. “Ter-Petrosian never said such a thing, I refute that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And Marie Yovanovitch also refutes herself in that report.”

But Zurabian would not comment on whether Ter-Petrosian indeed urged the U.S. to aggressively push for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Ter-Petrosian was quoted as questioning Russia’s commitment to Karabakh peace in another leaked cable which Yovanovitch sent to Washington in August 2009. The confidential document also publicized by WikiLeaks gives details of his meeting in Yerevan with Matthew Bryza, the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

“LTP worried that Russia does not actually want a solution, but rather a lingering problem that leaves both Armenia and Azerbaijan dependent on Russia,” reads the document.

Ter-Petrosian’s alleged concerns contrasted with his exceedingly positive public statements on the Russian government. The HAK leader has been far more critical of the Western powers in his public pronouncements made since the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He has repeatedly accused them of tolerating human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”

Zurabian claimed that relations between American diplomats and the HAK began worsening in September 2008 because Armenia’s leading opposition force refused to unconditionally back Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

“We were angry that for the sake of geopolitical aims the United States can turn a blind eye to the trampling of democracy,” he said. “We were angry with the United States for that reason, while the United States probably had motives to be angry with our position.”

“But over time — when it became obvious that our evaluations are correct, that Turkey will not delink relations with Armenia from the Karabakh issue, that Serzh Sarkisian is exploiting the normalization process to keep political prisoners and destroy the opposition — the same Marie Yovanovitch learned to respect Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added the HAK coordinator.

Source: RFE/RLOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Decries ‘Incredible’ Corruption
  2. Armenian Opposition Leader Ter-Petrosian Reaffirms September Deadline For Government
  3. Armenian Revolutionary Federation Leader Skeptical About Ter-Petrosian’s ‘Revolution’ Threat
  4. Armenian Opposition Leader Levon Ter-Petrosian Seeks Stronger EU Pressure On Yerevan
  5. U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Meets With Armenia’s Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian urged the United States to take the lead in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in late 2008 less than a month after accusing Washington of seeking excessive Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan, according to newly disclosed U.S. diplomatic records.

In a classified 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks, Marie Yovanovitch, the then U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said Ter-Petrosian also told her that he publicly branded U.S. policy on Armenia “immoral” as part of his efforts to placate radical supporters demanding a new opposition push for power.

Yovanovitch rejected this explanation as “dishonest,” deploring the former Armenian president’s “lack of integrity” and saying that he is willing to “sell out his own policy views for the sake of personal political expedience.”

The leaked cable recounts the former ambassador’s first meeting with Ter-Petrosian that took place on November 4, 2008. It reveals that the meeting was scheduled for October 20 but that Yovanovitch postponed it to demonstrate Washington’s “displeasure” with his speech at an opposition rally held on October 17, 2008.

Speaking at that rally, Ter-Petrosian charged that the U.S. and other Western powers are turning a blind eye to a continuing government crackdown on his opposition movement in their quest for a “unilateral” resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Such a settlement, he said, would spell a “national disaster” for Armenia because it would exclude Russia.

Ter-Petrosian also claimed at the time that in return for strong Western support for his regime, President Serzh Sarkisian is ready to “put Karabakh up for sale” and renounce Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia.

Armenia — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, undated

According to Yovanovitch, Ter-Petrosian made diametrically opposite statements when they met three weeks later. She quoted him as saying that the U.S. should hijack the initiative in Karabakh conflict mediation from the Russians by dispatching then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region to negotiate a final Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement and having it signed in Washington in the presence of outgoing President George W. Bush.

“LTP (Levon Ter-Petrosian) said the U.S. would be doing Armenia and its people a great favor by intervening to achieve a balanced settlement that would leave neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan with ‘a loser’s complex,’” Yovanovitch wrote. She said Ter-Petrosian assured her that his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance “will not do anything to complicate Sarkisian’s settlement efforts” in the coming months.

The envoy told top U.S. State Department officials that Ter-Petrosian also justified his harsh verbal attacks on the West voiced at the October 2008 rally. She quoted the HAK leader as saying that he simply sought to sell his decision to suspend anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan to “the radical elements in his opposition movement.”

Explaining that decision in his 45-minute speech at the rally, Ter-Petrosian asserted that further street protests would “weaken Serzh Sarkisian’s positions and thereby increase possibilities of exerting external pressure on him and clinching concessions from him.”

Throughout the summer of 2008, senior HAK figures told supporters to get ready for renewed “decisive” actions against the Sarkisian administration. One of them stated that the October 17 rally will mark a “turning point” in the opposition movement’s struggle.

In Yovanovitch’s words, Ter-Petrosian said that the protest suspension carried “great risks” for him and that he had “no other way to get people off the streets and back in their homes.”

Yovanovitch, who completed her three-year tour of duty in Armenia last June, dismissed the alleged explanation. “Painting the United States in an immoral light on resolving [the Karabakh conflict] is intellectually dishonest no matter the motive,” she told the charismatic opposition leader, according to the cable.

Yovanovitch suggested the following motives behind his “dishonest rhetoric.” “Our
read is that LTP saw support for public rallies dwindling with each passing month, and was desperate to find a face-saving tactic,” she told officials in Washington. “Empty-handed after months of a stridently rejectionist strategy, LTP chose to cloak himself in nationalism and concoct a conspiracy theory of great power machinations to cover his political retreat.”

Armenia – Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate coordinating the HAK’s day-to-day activities, insisted on Thursday that there were no contradictions between what the ex-president said at the rally and the conversation with the U.S. ambassador.

In particular, Zurabian, who was also present at that meeting, strongly denied her claims that Ter-Petrosian admitted misleading his most loyal supporters. “Ter-Petrosian never said such a thing, I refute that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And Marie Yovanovitch also refutes herself in that report.”

But Zurabian would not comment on whether Ter-Petrosian indeed urged the U.S. to aggressively push for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Ter-Petrosian was quoted as questioning Russia’s commitment to Karabakh peace in another leaked cable which Yovanovitch sent to Washington in August 2009. The confidential document also publicized by WikiLeaks gives details of his meeting in Yerevan with Matthew Bryza, the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

“LTP worried that Russia does not actually want a solution, but rather a lingering problem that leaves both Armenia and Azerbaijan dependent on Russia,” reads the document.

Ter-Petrosian’s alleged concerns contrasted with his exceedingly positive public statements on the Russian government. The HAK leader has been far more critical of the Western powers in his public pronouncements made since the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He has repeatedly accused them of tolerating human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”

Zurabian claimed that relations between American diplomats and the HAK began worsening in September 2008 because Armenia’s leading opposition force refused to unconditionally back Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

“We were angry that for the sake of geopolitical aims the United States can turn a blind eye to the trampling of democracy,” he said. “We were angry with the United States for that reason, while the United States probably had motives to be angry with our position.”

“But over time — when it became obvious that our evaluations are correct, that Turkey will not delink relations with Armenia from the Karabakh issue, that Serzh Sarkisian is exploiting the normalization process to keep political prisoners and destroy the opposition — the same Marie Yovanovitch learned to respect Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added the HAK coordinator.

Source: RFE/RLOriginial Article

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US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian urged the United States to take the lead in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in late 2008 less than a month after accusing Washington of seeking excessive Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan, according to newly disclosed U.S. diplomatic records.

In a classified 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks, Marie Yovanovitch, the then U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said Ter-Petrosian also told her that he publicly branded U.S. policy on Armenia “immoral” as part of his efforts to placate radical supporters demanding a new opposition push for power.

Yovanovitch rejected this explanation as “dishonest,” deploring the former Armenian president’s “lack of integrity” and saying that he is willing to “sell out his own policy views for the sake of personal political expedience.”

The leaked cable recounts the former ambassador’s first meeting with Ter-Petrosian that took place on November 4, 2008. It reveals that the meeting was scheduled for October 20 but that Yovanovitch postponed it to demonstrate Washington’s “displeasure” with his speech at an opposition rally held on October 17, 2008.

Speaking at that rally, Ter-Petrosian charged that the U.S. and other Western powers are turning a blind eye to a continuing government crackdown on his opposition movement in their quest for a “unilateral” resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Such a settlement, he said, would spell a “national disaster” for Armenia because it would exclude Russia.

Ter-Petrosian also claimed at the time that in return for strong Western support for his regime, President Serzh Sarkisian is ready to “put Karabakh up for sale” and renounce Armenia’s political and military alliance with Russia.

Armenia — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, undated

According to Yovanovitch, Ter-Petrosian made diametrically opposite statements when they met three weeks later. She quoted him as saying that the U.S. should hijack the initiative in Karabakh conflict mediation from the Russians by dispatching then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region to negotiate a final Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement and having it signed in Washington in the presence of outgoing President George W. Bush.

“LTP (Levon Ter-Petrosian) said the U.S. would be doing Armenia and its people a great favor by intervening to achieve a balanced settlement that would leave neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan with ‘a loser’s complex,’” Yovanovitch wrote. She said Ter-Petrosian assured her that his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance “will not do anything to complicate Sarkisian’s settlement efforts” in the coming months.

The envoy told top U.S. State Department officials that Ter-Petrosian also justified his harsh verbal attacks on the West voiced at the October 2008 rally. She quoted the HAK leader as saying that he simply sought to sell his decision to suspend anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan to “the radical elements in his opposition movement.”

Explaining that decision in his 45-minute speech at the rally, Ter-Petrosian asserted that further street protests would “weaken Serzh Sarkisian’s positions and thereby increase possibilities of exerting external pressure on him and clinching concessions from him.”

Throughout the summer of 2008, senior HAK figures told supporters to get ready for renewed “decisive” actions against the Sarkisian administration. One of them stated that the October 17 rally will mark a “turning point” in the opposition movement’s struggle.

In Yovanovitch’s words, Ter-Petrosian said that the protest suspension carried “great risks” for him and that he had “no other way to get people off the streets and back in their homes.”

Yovanovitch, who completed her three-year tour of duty in Armenia last June, dismissed the alleged explanation. “Painting the United States in an immoral light on resolving [the Karabakh conflict] is intellectually dishonest no matter the motive,” she told the charismatic opposition leader, according to the cable.

Yovanovitch suggested the following motives behind his “dishonest rhetoric.” “Our
read is that LTP saw support for public rallies dwindling with each passing month, and was desperate to find a face-saving tactic,” she told officials in Washington. “Empty-handed after months of a stridently rejectionist strategy, LTP chose to cloak himself in nationalism and concoct a conspiracy theory of great power machinations to cover his political retreat.”

Armenia – Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate coordinating the HAK’s day-to-day activities, insisted on Thursday that there were no contradictions between what the ex-president said at the rally and the conversation with the U.S. ambassador.

In particular, Zurabian, who was also present at that meeting, strongly denied her claims that Ter-Petrosian admitted misleading his most loyal supporters. “Ter-Petrosian never said such a thing, I refute that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And Marie Yovanovitch also refutes herself in that report.”

But Zurabian would not comment on whether Ter-Petrosian indeed urged the U.S. to aggressively push for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Ter-Petrosian was quoted as questioning Russia’s commitment to Karabakh peace in another leaked cable which Yovanovitch sent to Washington in August 2009. The confidential document also publicized by WikiLeaks gives details of his meeting in Yerevan with Matthew Bryza, the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

“LTP worried that Russia does not actually want a solution, but rather a lingering problem that leaves both Armenia and Azerbaijan dependent on Russia,” reads the document.

Ter-Petrosian’s alleged concerns contrasted with his exceedingly positive public statements on the Russian government. The HAK leader has been far more critical of the Western powers in his public pronouncements made since the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He has repeatedly accused them of tolerating human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”

Zurabian claimed that relations between American diplomats and the HAK began worsening in September 2008 because Armenia’s leading opposition force refused to unconditionally back Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.

“We were angry that for the sake of geopolitical aims the United States can turn a blind eye to the trampling of democracy,” he said. “We were angry with the United States for that reason, while the United States probably had motives to be angry with our position.”

“But over time — when it became obvious that our evaluations are correct, that Turkey will not delink relations with Armenia from the Karabakh issue, that Serzh Sarkisian is exploiting the normalization process to keep political prisoners and destroy the opposition — the same Marie Yovanovitch learned to respect Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added the HAK coordinator.

Source: RFE/RLOriginial Article

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10:24, March 14, 2014

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For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

“In the past, if water use conditions weren’t met, we couldn’t void the permit, but now we’re making that clear. If the state gives you a water use permit with this condition, be kind and meet this condition; otherwise, we will make the permit null and void,” he explained.

A new requirement in the proposed package concerning the execution of drilling operations stipulates that a drilling company or individual must obtain a license so that the state can supervise its activities. “Those companies that execute drilling must have a license for drilling. That is, we are proposing to license activities,” he added.

After the relevant state bodies discuss and submit their opinions regarding the amendments, Narimanyan says, the package will be sent to the RA Ministry of Justice, the government, then finally to parliament.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.

Karabakh war veterans’ civil standoff has been unprecedented. Although, every now and then on different occasions they had complained of their social conditions and of being neglected by the state , however never before had they come out to hold systematic rallies and sitting strikes. Retired army colonel Volodya Avetisyan initiated the civil standoff in May and in October found himself behind the bars, with charges of “swindling …in large amounts”. Avetisyan’s and his comrades-in-arms claim that by bringing charges the authorities are trying to silence him. The war vets demanding increase of their pensions and various privileges have now focused their struggle on various acts of protest in Avetisyan’s support. There is another group of Karabakh war veterans presenting political demands to the government. Every Thursday they hold small rallies in Liberty Square and demand that the government resign.

Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan’s decision to raise public bus fare by 50 percent made the hot Yerevan summer even hotter.

The decision was immediately followed by a civil movement when numerous young activists held a variety of acts of protest during five consecutive days relentlessly struggling, rebelling against the bus fare increase and made the municipal government in the Armenian capital heed the people’s voice, forcing them to understand they would not pay more for using the overloaded, worn-out and hardly functioning minibuses.

The unified effort yielded results and on July 26 the mayor suspended the application of his decision temporarily, meaning that the buses and minibuses continued operating for the same 100 dram fare (around 24 cents). The mayor, however, stated that if residents of Yerevan wanted to have decent public transport services, they have to be ready to pay more. Municipal officials and transport companies running the routes have repeatedly stated after the summer civil standoff that the rise of bus fare is unavoidable, grounding it by the fact that everything else has become more expensive except for public transport services, hence their expenses have grown and they are operating at a loss.

The departing year has turned out to be rather active also in terms of public protests against controversial construction projects. In August, residents of 10 and 12 Sayat-Nova Avenue and 5 Komitas streets, in Yerevan, rebelled against construction in their neighborhoods. These people claim that the construction licenses in densely populated zones of the city are illegal, violate the seismic resistance norms, and block their light. Despite the variety of measures the residents have resorted to, even lying down in front of construction machines to block their way, no tangible results have been achieved; their struggle is ongoing (h).

Despite a drawn-out battle to preserve unchanged Yerevan’s Pak Shuka (“Covered Market”), on the list of historical-cultural heritage and belonging to businessman MP Samvel Alexanyan, opened its doors after two years of repairs, but now as a fashionable supermarket, rather than the produce market it used to be. Although ruling Republican MP Alexanyan kept the fa

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Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

During the year there has been an ongoing debate in Armenia and other post-Soviet countries about whether it is expedient “to revive a new Soviet empire” under the name of a Eurasian Union. But at the end of the year plans to create such a union remain relevant – in May 2014 Armenia is going to be one of the six founders of the Eurasian Union (along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan).

Before September 3, Armenia was actively engaged with Europe, stating about shared values and ‘civilizational’ approaches. Armenia even dared reproach Russia for selling offensive weapons to Azerbaijan.

After September 3, however, Armenia suddenly remembered its centuries-old friendship with Russia as well as Russia’s ‘salutary’ role. Pro-Russian rhetoric increased and some even stated the readiness to return to the Russian Empire. In particular, publicist Zori Balayan wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, mentioning the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813, according to which, as a result of the Russian-Persian war, Persia renounced claims to Karabakh that went under Russia’s control.

The Russia-West struggle for post-Soviet countries, including for Armenia, in 2013 came out of its passive phase and acquired the character of an open confrontation. In the course of this battle all methods were employed – from economic blackmail to high-level visits. In particular, the visit by Putin to Armenia on December 2, as some analysts say, marked Armenia’s losing another portion of its sovereignty and security to Russia.

There have been some new developments in the Karabakh settlement process as well. In particular, on November 19, in Vienna, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, met for the first time in almost two years. During the meeting some new proposals were apparently discussed. The talks were confidential, but on the basis of available information experts assume that Russia and Turkey are promoting the project of opening the Turkish-Armenian border at the expense of Armenia’s concessions on two districts around Karabakh. The U.S. and Europe appear to insist on settlement and opening of communications while maintaining the current status quo in Karabakh.

Partially this version was confirmed on the eve of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit to Yerevan on December 12 (he was attending a regional organization’s forum in the Armenian capital). The Turkish press openly reported the offer from Turkey, but President Sargsyan did not receive Davutoglu, while Minister Edward Nalbandian stated that preconditions are unacceptable in Armenian-Turkish normalization.

The sudden change in the policy of Armenia, according to analysts, could lead to some adjustments in the positions of Armenia on relations with Turkey. At the beginning of 2013 Yerevan set up a commission to study possible legal claims to Turkey. The body was headed by the then Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepyan. It was followed by assumptions that in 2015, when the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be marked, Armenia, with the support of the West, intends to advance serious claims to Turkey. However, the commission has not yet taken any public steps, and after September 3 decisions on claims to Turkey may already be made through Moscow.

Turkey has made no secret of its concern, especially in connection with the probability of combined Kurdish and Armenian claims. In this regard, Turkey has launched a wide-ranging process of reconciliation with the Kurds. 2013 became auspicious also for the Kurdish movement as the prospect of establishing Kurdistan became even closer.

The agreement on the conflict in Syria became an important event of the year also for Armenia in view of the sizable ethnic Armenian community in this Middle Eastern country. In accordance with this agreement, the world power centers decided not to support any side in the Syrian conflict, to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and lead the country to democratic elections in 2014.

An even more significant agreement was reached by the end of the year on Iran’s nuclear program, which immediately led to the lifting of a number of sanctions that had been imposed on the Islamic Republic by the West and its activation in regional politics. In particular, Iran immediately tried to offer natural gas to Armenia that would apparently be less expensive than Russia’s. Projects in energy and communication sectors have also become more relevant in view of the recent developments and Armenia may play an important role in them.

Source: Armenia NowOriginial Article

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Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.

Unlike a majority of Heritage members Hakobyan then was critical of Postanjyan’s behavior. Representatives of the ruling party in Armenia called her statement in Strasbourg slanderous and the parliament speaker threatened to expel her from the Armenian delegation to the PACE.

Postanjian, meanwhile, would not be drawn into speculation about the reasons for Hakobyan’s decision either.

Source: Armenia NowOriginial Article

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