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Italy’s position in harmony with that of European Union – Italian foreign office’s statement on Nagorno-Karabakh

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Below is a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy:
On the occasion of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Rome, July 14, Italy and Azerbaijan agreed to adopt a joint declaration with the intent to further enhance their bilateral political, economic and cultural relations and to explore new horizons of cooperation, including through the involvement of civil society.Part of this all-round cooperation is also the commitment to seek a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (with Italy being its member and supporting its principles). In line with its traditional position and in full harmony with that of the European Union, the Italian side considers it necessary to reiterate, even in the context of the Joint Declaration, that the mutual commitment of Rome and Baku should be focused on a peaceful solution to the conflict, based on the rules and principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the ongoing negotiation process, conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, France, Russia and the United States. In view of the latest developments, Italy is deeply concerned over the recent incidents in the region and, in close cooperation with the EU partners, is urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from using force and to seize the opportunity for to find a political solution to the conflict, taking advantage of the meeting between President Aliyev and President Sargsyan in Sochi, on August 10. 

Armenian commanders, soldier always ready to defend homeland – Rafael Gzoyan

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In an interview with Tert.am, one of the Armenian commanders in the Arstakh liberation war, Major General Rafael (Felix) Gzoyan spoke of the situation on the Line of Contact and of his view of a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.He also spoke of Armenia’s military potential and people’s willingness to defend their homeland.“If a war breaks out, I will take anyone. If I go to war and they are not with me, I will force them regardless of whose sons they are,” Mr Gzoyan said.“By escalating tension on the threshold of political meetings Azerbaijan aimed at escalating tension inside Armenia and demonstrating its influence not only on Armenia, but also on the international community, raising its troops’ morale. But all the attempts failed, because our armed forces are much more efficient and they have been able to thwart all the acts of sabotage by Azerbaijan. This is evidence that our commanders and soldiers are ready to win victory in any military operations. And this small victory inspires our freedom-fighters and young people. I am sure that they are willing to defend the homeland if a war breaks out.” As regards the probability of war, Mr Gzoyan said: “I do not think long-lasting peace will be established after the Sochi meeting, so we must be ready to rebuff the enemy. I cannot say how long the ceasefire will be. Our priority task is to improve our troops’ morale and efficiency.”  

Azerbaijan commits 450 ceasefire violations Aug 10-16

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According to the information by the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, the Azerbaijani side committed 450 ceasefire violations on the Line of Contact, August 10 to 16.The Defense Army observed the ceasefire, only retaliating in the cases of absolute necessary.  

Source: TertOriginial Article

Senior U.S. Lawmaker Urges Karabakh Referendum

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The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has reportedly called on Washington to help set a date for an internationally recognized referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh that would determine the territory’s final status.

Ed Royce, a pro-Armenian Republican from California, made the appeal in a statement late on Thursday that blamed Azerbaijan for the recent upsurge of fighting in the Karabakh conflict zone.

 “Azerbaijan’s violation of the ceasefire agreement along the border with Nagorno-Karabakh is deeply disturbing,” read the statement cited by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). “The resulting escalation of military activity along the line of contact has cost the lives of over a dozen Armenian and Azeri young men. A ceasefire is needed to protect further loss of life and escalation.”

Azeri Targets ‘Unprotected Against Armenian Missiles’

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Despite its massive military buildup Azerbaijan still lacks the capacity to protect its strategic facilities against Armenian missile strikes in case of another war for Nagorno-Karabakh, a retired Armenian army general claimed on Friday.

Armenia and Azerbaijan threatened each other with devastating long-range attacks during the recent escalation of fighting along the border between the two states and “the line of contact” around Karabakh.  Each side claimed to be capable of destroying any target in the other’s territory.

The Armenian military had made clear earlier that it will target Azerbaijan’s vital oil and gas installations if Baku acts on its threats to reconquer Karabakh and the surrounding Armenian-controlled territories.

Australian politician: Azerbaijan deserves condemnation, not Formula 1

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Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Amanda Fazio has called out Azerbaijan’s aggression toward the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia, stating that it doesn’t deserve the hosting rights to a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016.
Fazio, who visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in July 2013, delivered a statement on the floor of the NSW Legislative Council highlighting the ongoing aggression by Azerbaijan and the war-mongering by President Ilham Aliyev, the serious human rights abuses within that country and the need for the international community to take a far stronger position on condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression.
“The recent decision to allow Azerbaijan to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016 should be rescinded,” Fazio exclaimed. “The awarding of this race to a country which acts as an aggressor in the region and has an appalling record on human rights defies logic.”
She added: “The list of human rights violations regularly perpetrated by the Azerbaijani authorities is long and includes clamping down on the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including persecution of activists, arresting them on trumped up charges and denying them the right to a fair trial.”
“It is time the international community took a stand against the unnecessary aggression and repression of human rights being exerted by the government of Azerbaijan,” Fazio concluded.
Over the past two weeks Azerbaijan has intensified its aggression towards Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which has resulted in a large number of casualties. President Aliyev has gone as far as declaring war via a series messages sent via the social media website, Twitter.
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Vache Kahramanian, welcomed Fazio’s statement. He remarked: “Once again Ms Fazio has taken the moral high ground in defending the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
The Parliament of Australia’s largest state of New South Wales recognized the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and its right to self-determination in a unanimous motion in October 2012.
The full text of Amanda Fazio’s speech can be read here

Free Democrats party rep meet with British ambassador

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Chairman of the Free Democrats party Khachatur Kokobelyan, Board member Armen Arakelyan and Spokesperson Anzhela Khachatryan had a meeting with British Ambassador to Armenia Katherine Jane Leach.
The sides discussed the current state of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, situation on the Line of Contact, Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy.
They stressed the importance of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group, Armenia’s European integration and development prospects.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Truce Violations ‘Sharply Down’ Since Armenian-Azeri Summit

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Ceasefire violations around Nagorno-Karabakh have decreased dramatically since Sunday’s meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents mediated by their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a senior official in Stepanakert said on Thursday.

“The easing of tensions is visible. The situation is by and large stable now,” said Davit Babayan, the spokesman for Karabakh President Bako Sahakian.

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Armenia — Davit Babayan, the Karabakh Armenian presidential spokesman, speaks in Yerevan.

“While there was an average of 400 Azerbaijani violations per day before the Sochi meeting, they are now down to roughly 30-40. They have decreased more than tenfold,” Babayan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Red Cross Hopes To Repatriate Armenian Captive’s Body

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday that it is trying to arrange the repatriation of the body of an Armenian man who died one day after being detained in Azerbaijan last week.

Karen Petrosian, a 33-year-old resident of an Armenian border village, wandered into Azerbaijan for unknown reasons and was arrested by military authorities there on Thursday. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Friday that Petrosian has died of “acute heart failure.”

The Armenian government and military challenged the official cause of the villager’s death, suggesting that he was murdered or beaten to death. They also shrugged off Baku’s claims that he was part of an Armenian commando squad that attempted to carry out sabotage attacks in Azerbaijan.

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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

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.

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.