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Russia not to intervene in Armenia-Karabakh customs checkpoint

October 25, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Karabakh No Comments
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A senior Russian customs official said his country is not planning to intervene in the activities of a possible customs checkpoint between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, Regnum.ru reports.
“I have recently appointed a representative to Armenia. So [s/]he will soon leave there and probably visit the border. But we are not going to intervene in customs officers’ work,” Andrey Belyaninov told reporters when asked whether Russia will ensure the presence of customs office between the two countries after Armenia accedes to the Eurasian Customs Union.
Speaking at a news conference held at the international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, Belyaninov also stressed the importance of making Russian a working language in Armenia. “We use Russian as a working language in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; in Armenia, as we know, Armenian is being used,” he added. 

Russia Sees No Karabakh Customs Posts

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The chief of Russia’s Federal Customs Service appeared to have confirmed on Friday that Armenia will not start collecting duties from goods imported from Nagorno-Karabakh after joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the possibility of Armenia setting up customs posts on its border with the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) earlier this year. Citing Azerbaijani concerns, Nazarbayev demanded in May that the accession treaty with Armenia mention its internationally recognized borders that do not include Karabakh.

The treaty, which was signed by Nazarbayev and his Russian, Belarusian and Armenian counterparts at an EEU summit on October 10, contains no such special references. Armenian officials have said that Yerevan does not plan to set up customs checkpoints with Karabakh.

Bako Sahakyan attends opening of momument to hero commander

October 24, 2014 Arts, Diaspora, Karabakh No Comments
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President of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic Bako Sahakyan on Friday visited the Tonashen village (Martakert region) to participate in the solemn opening of a monument to a legendary war hero.
According to a press release by the NKR Presidential Office, Sahakyan granted a post-posthumous hero’s title to Commander Shahen Meghryan, praising his exceptional services, courage and valor during the 1990’s liberation war.
He highly appreciated the late commander’s contribution to Nagorno-Karabakh’s state-building efforts, noting that that his life and activities were a fair proof of faithful devotion and service to the Motherland.
The president honored eight war veterans with the medal For Courage and for Service. Three of the awards were posthumous.

Source: TertOriginial Article

EU ‘Still Committed’ To Closer Ties With Armenia

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Armenia can forge closer links with the European Union even after joining a Russian-led alliance of former Soviet republics, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said during a visit to Yerevan on Thursday.

Steinmeier also insisted that the conflict in Ukraine will not cause the EU and Germany in particular to lose interest in other ex-Soviet states involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.

“Despite the crisis in Ukraine, which we have discussed at length, Europe is saving no effort as we believe that it is because of this kind of crises that the other Eastern Partnership countries should not be forgotten,” he said after talks with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian.

Resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on Azerbaijani, Armenian presidents’ political will – James Warlick

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A resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on the political will of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and not on treaties or alliances, US co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick told Trend on Thursday.He was commenting on the possible impact of Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.The co-chair said the government of Armenia has made its decision, which he respects.“We hope with the recent contacts between the presidents they will commit themselves to a settlement,” Warlick said.“Conditions along the line of contact and Armenian-Azerbaijani border have stabilized after the outbreak of violence this summer. But the situation remains tense,” he added.
 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian MP considers military service for women possible

October 23, 2014 Armenia, Karabakh No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, Parliament member Tevan Poghosyan commented on the bill envisaging the abolition of the right to deferment of military service to continue education.Mr Poghosyan and Parliament member Rubik Hakobyan are co-authors of the bill.“Study at educational institutions is a means of dodging the army. This is our common problem. After studying the experience of Nagorno-Karabakh and other countries, aware of all of our security problems, we concluded that any young person turning 18 must serve in the army. After that they can continue their education,” Mr Poghosyan said.On the other hand, he does not rule out exceptions in special cases, for example, highly talented students.As regards his reference to Israel, where women serve in the army, as well as the statement by the head of the Asparez club that women must serve in the army, the MP said:“I have not heard Levon Barseghyan’s call, but several months ago I wrote on my Facebook page what measures I consider important on the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. I noted that women must do adapted military service for 3-6 months. Israel’s experience shows that a girl who served in the army and had children later encourages her children to serve in the army.” 

“The country is a country”: The Strength of Armenian Resolution

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15:36, October 22, 2014

By Vrej Haroutounian

As I sit to write this article in my office in Yerevan, my mind wanders away a few hundred kilometers to the desert lands encompassing Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Seemingly, I am dumbfounded at the lack of change over the span of a century and atcertain patterns thathave adapted themselves into the regionalebb and flow.

This brings to light the question of the purported advancement that mankind has experienced in the 21st century and our tendency to constantly boast of it.

Walking down the streets of Yerevan, I am witness to people conducting their everyday lives. My mind once again drifts to an image of Yerevan a century ago.

France Looks Forward To Armenian-Azeri Summit

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France’s President Francois Hollande will try to revive the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process when he hosts fresh talks between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Paris early next week, the French ambassador in Yerevan said on Wednesday.

Henri Reynaud said the French government expects the upcoming summit to “give new impetus in the substantive sense” to the long-running search for a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict. It also hopes that Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev will agree on confidence-building measures that will boost “stability on the frontline” around Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, he told a news conference.

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Armenian MPs undecided about EEU deal as ratification vote nears

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The Treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is to be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification within 1.5 months after its signing (under the Law on International Treaties). Though he parliamentary factions have repeatedly stated their opinions on the deal since President Serzh Sargsyan’s landmark statement (made in September last year), Tert.am has tried to once again clarify positions from different political forces ahead of the voting.
Prosperous Armenia
This political faction’s secretary, Naira Zohrabyan, says they cannot have a position on a document they haven’t ever seen. “When it comes to the National Assembly for a debate and we see to what extent that document reflects our concerns, the faction will express its position. I don’t think any faction or political force can express an objective opinion on a document it hasn’t seen.”
Zohrabyan referred to the concerns over the problematic issue of a customs checkpoint between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and the risks stemming from the increased customs duties on over 800 categories of goods. She said they are hopeful to hear exhaustive answers at the parliamentary debates.
Zohrabyan added that the 36-member faction has not yet reached consensus, adding that they are planning a new discussion ahead of the voting to develop common approaches.
Asked what their party’s leader thinks about the deal, the Prosperous Armenia secretary simply replied, “Mr [Gagik] Tsarukyan will express his position.”
Armenian National Congress (ANC)
The faction’s leader, Levon Zurabyan, refrained from expressing any opinion when contacted by our correspondent for comments. Former Military Prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan, who also represents this political force at the National Assembly, said they will decide on their position after the document is on the parliament’s agenda.
At the opposition’s rally earlier this month, first President and current ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan described the EEU accession process as an irreversible development.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaksutyun (ARF-D)
This faction’s leader, Armen Rustamyan, gave a somewhat welcoming remark when asked about the deal. “Dashnaksutyun always has its decisions, which are not of conceptual importance; they aren’t easily changed or reconsidered unlike those of [other individuals] and some political forces.”
As for the concerns over a possible customs checkpoint with Nagorno-Karabakh, Rustamyan said he thinks that the party would really feel embarrassed if that scenario were realistic. “That document will be brought [to parliament]. And you will see it says nothing of the kind,” he told our correspondent.
Heritage
The faction’s secretary, Tevan Poghosyan, said he expect their lawmakers to reach a consensus before the voting.
“I have several times heard [Heritage faction leader Ruben] Hakobyan say that Armenia should not be a member in any union, considering the conflict situations,” he said.
The remark suggests that the other Heritage members support an association deal with the EU, with the faction’s leader being against both the Eurasian and European integration processes.
Alexander Arzumanyan, a former foreign minister who is formally affiliated with this faction, says he has no other choice but to vote against.
Speaking to Tert.am, the politician said he doesn’t expect members of the ruling Republican faction to vote against the deal in a surprise move. “I can only guess that Heritage will vote against; as for the othera, judging by the rally, both the ANC and Prosperous Armenia are proponents. But it still remains to be seen,” he told our correspondent.
Rule of Law
Heghine Bisharyan, who heads this political faction, said she thinks they first need to see the treaty before saying anything for or against.
“As you see, the press is flooded with different negative opinions forecasting market surges. The major difficulty is, of course, the fact that we do not share borders with the EEU member states and have no idea as to our possible advantages. I am optimistic about it even though the negative is highlighted more. So let us simply try to listen to the opinions,” she added.
Republican
Koryun Nahapetyan, who represents the ruling political faction in parliament, says he expects their lawmakers to develop their common positions after talks with a government representative.
“The document hasn’t been submitted yet; once it is, the corresponding committee and the Republican faction will organize debates,” he told Tert.am.

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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

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

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.