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Azerbaijan will not run the risk of withdrawing from OSCE Minsk Group – Arman Melikyan

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Despite Azerbaijan voicing its discontent with the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and the Minsk Group (MG) format, ex-FM of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) Arman Melikyan told Tert.am that Azerbaijan will not run the risk of leaving the MG format.The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs are calling for an Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting. Is Azerbaijan able to have the Minsk Group dissolved, and will the co-chairing countries allow it to?“Azerbaijan could pull out of the negotiations within the Minsk Group. But it could only happen if Azerbaijan finally decides in favor of one of the camps, which are in a state of political confrontation now. It has to choose between Russia and the West, and any such decision in the present situation could prove fateful for Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and his inner circles. I think he will prefer not running the risk.”US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick restated the need for such a meeting. But Azerbaijan states that resuming hostilities is the only alternative. Official Yerevan is silent. Are there any reasons for the sides’ avoiding a meeting?“Armenia does not refuse a meeting because expecting it to produce any real results would be naïve. The sides’ positions are radically different and there are no real grounds for bringing them closer to each other now. The issue is actually settled for the Armenian side, and it is Azerbaijan that is dissatisfied with the current situation and is trying to change it by exerting pressures on the two Armenian sides and on the co-chairs. It is Azerbaijan that could decide to resume hostilities. But Azerbaijan’s leadership will not make such a decision without most serious external guarantees.”The French and US co-chairs’ efforts are obvious to persuade the sides into starting talks, whereas Russia does not seem to be interested. What could this suggest?“Each side is playing its own game. In this context, we can recall that, during Dmitri Medvedev’s presidency, it was Russia that, as the Minsk Group co-chairing country, was the initiator of regular Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meetings.”Some say that Azerbaijan could resume hostilities with Russia’s support as, by fanning war in the region it could block the West’s way to alternative oil resources. Is such a scenario possible and will Armenia’s military partner, Russia, support Armenia?“Oil-related issues are normally made use of for concealing superpowers’ actually objectives and programs. There is no global oil deficit now. As to the confidence in Russia’s support to Armenia in case of war with Azerbaijan, if Azerbaijan decides in favor of Russia, it could refuse to honor its commitments as Armenia’s ally. I do not consider such a scenario highly probable. All possible scenarios should just be considered.” 

Families Of Azerbaijanis Held In Karabakh Seek Putin’s Mediation

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Relatives of two Azerbaijanis who have been arrested in Nagorno-Karabakh on charges of espionage and subversive activities want Russia to mediate their release.

According to Azerbaijani news agency APA, members of the families of Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Quliev whom authorities in Stepanakert accuse of being members of a sabotage group that allegedly infiltrated into the Armenian-controlled district of Kelbajar earlier this month, have submitted letters addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin asking for their intervention in the case.

Ethnic Armenian prosecutors in the self-proclaimed republic say Askerov, Quliev and another member of the alleged sabotage group illegally crossed into the Nagorno-Karabakh-controlled territory in order to engage in criminal activities, including espionage. Among the charges brought against the two is the kidnapping and killing of a 17-year-old Armenian civilian in Kelbajar.

"Russia Draws Armenia in Latest Russian-Turkish Dalliance," Says JirairSefilian

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14:37, July 25, 2014

Pre-Parliament member, Karabakh War veteran JirairSefilian spoke with Hetq about the ongoing delays in Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the arrest of prominent Moscow-based Armenian businessman LevonHayrapetyan. 

Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union was postponed again. Prime Minister HovikAbrahamyan recently announced that Armenia will become a full member of the EEU on January 1. In your opinion, why is Armenia’s membership regularly delayed — do Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan not want Armenia to join the EEU? 

Azerbaijani veteran of Karabakh war attempts self-immolation

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An Azerbaijani veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war has tried to set himself afire outside the presidential administration in Baku.According to Haqqin.az, the man, Fagan Nasibov, wanted to thus express his protest against Lutfal Abdulaev, the chief of Zardob region’s executive government, who he claimed had swindled him out of 65,000 US Dollars.But the attempt turned out vain.
Nasibov’s family is said to have been next to him during the protest action.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian President Against Arming Civilians In Border Villages

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Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has rejected the idea of providing residents of villages situated near the restive border with Azerbaijan with weapons for defense purposes.

The measure was earlier proposed by the Public Council, a body comprising well-known public figures and advising the authorities on policy issues. The idea came in response to rising concerns in society over the security of borderlands especially in the wake of recent reports about alleged infiltrations of Azerbaijani armed groups into Armenian-controlled territories.

Last week authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said a group of Azerbaijanis had been arrested in the region on suspicion of espionage and subversive activities. The Nagorno-Karabakh police force said the group members had killed one military serviceman and severely wounded a civilian. Another local teenager, it said, had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered by the alleged Azerbaijani ‘saboteurs’.

Armenia Develops Solutions To Prevent Cross-Border ‘Saboteur Raids’

Armenia has been putting in place ‘engineering facilities’ along with other measures to prevent attempts by Azerbaijani sabotage groups to infiltrate into its territory, according to Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday Ohanian acknowledged, however, that advanced systems are not available at all sections of the border with Azerbaijan, especially in the areas where they would be exposed to enemy fire.

Installing such expensive security equipment at sections exposed to constant ceasefire violations is simply not expedient, the minister explained.

But there is an opportunity to install security systems “where there is no immediate aggressiveness of the enemy and where the positions of the sides are far apart” so as to also ensure the expensive equipment does not get damaged or destroyed, he added.

Karabakh Negotiations Reach Deadlock, Says Armenian Opposition

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The internationally mediated talks aimed at finding a solution to the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have reached an impasse, an opposition party representative in Armenia argued on Thursday, reacting to the latest meetings of diplomats and statements made by the peace brokers.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), Vladimir Karapetian, a chief foreign-policy spokesman for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), also suggested that French President Francois Hollande’s proposal on holding an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Paris in the near future may no longer be on the agenda as well after the parties reported no progress following their foreign ministers’ meetings with the mediators in Brussels earlier this week.

Zhoghovurd: Armenian authorities make U-turn on Azerbaijan’s accession to EaEU

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Artak Zakaryan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, Parliament of Armenia, told RFE/RL that Azerbaijan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) would run counter to Armenia’s interests.
“Azerbaijan’s accession to the EaEU would create much greater difficulties in implementing our foreign policy,” he said.
Mr Zakaryan’s words are interesting in that just a few weeks ago, Artashes Geghamyan, a member of the same Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary group, stated in Baku that Azerbaijan’s accession to the EaEU would be the right step, which would facilitate the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
One can easily guess that Me Geghamyan’s statement was “OK’d” by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. However, the ruling circles’ position on this fundamental has now made a U-turn. Moreover, this new position on Azerbaijan’s possible accretion to the EaEU, in the context of Russian-Azerbaijani arms deals, is obviously a follow-up to the Armenian president’s “concern” over the deals.

Karabakh Peace Brokers Concerned About ‘Targeted Killings of Civilians’

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International mediators brokering a solution to the protracted conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have expressed their ‘serious concern’ about the increase in tensions and violence, including “the targeted killings of civilians”, along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

After holding separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels earlier this week, the American, Russian and French co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, Ambassadors James Warlick, Igor Popov and Pierre Andrieu, issued a statement from Vienna, Austria, on July 23, saying that during the meetings they urged the parties “to commit themselves to avoiding casualties” and “rejected the deliberate targeting of villages and the civilian population”.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Commentary

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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.

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.

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.