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U.S. Commitment To Karabakh Peace ‘Renewed’

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The United States will continue to press for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with renewed vigor, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, John Heffern said on Tuesday.

“Secretary of State [John] Kerry has recommitted us, has renewed our commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict,” Heffern told reporters. He did not specify whether this heralds a stronger U.S. push for a Karabakh settlement or new peace proposals to the conflicting parties.

Heffern said Washington hopes that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet again “in the not-too-distant future” and try to end the current impasse in the peace process.

Mediators’ Peace Plan ‘Unacceptable’ To Karabakh Armenians

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A key member of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed leadership has publicly spoken out against an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace formula that has been advanced by the United States, Russia and France for almost a decade.

Ara Harutiunian, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), said the Basic Principles of resolving the Karabakh conflict, also known as Madrid Principles, are unacceptable because they call for significant Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.

The draft framework peace accord was first formally put forward to the conflicting parties in Madrid in 2006. U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group have repeatedly modified the document since then. Its key elements, repeatedly articulated by the three mediating powers, are believed to have remained unchanged.

Harvesting almost over in border villages of Tavush, says regional governor

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The wheat harvesting is almost over in the border villages of Tavush despite the continuing cross-border shootings and a recent attack against an ICRC car, says the regional governor.
“There is, of course, tension in the border villages, the shootings starting mainly in the harvesting season. Our neighbors are simply more aggressive this year,” Hovik Abovyan told Tert.am.
He said their earlier agreements with the ICRC Yerevan office did not work to prevent gun attacks. “The Red Cross was in the Tavush region on July 26; it was in the vicinities of Chinari and had a preliminary with Azerbaijani counterparts, but that wasn’t of help. They started shooting Red Cross vehicles and agricultural equipment,” he said, adding that the village suffered no material or human loss as a result of the armed violence.
Abovyan said the village’s population continues harvesting the crop despite the existing danger. “We’ll collect the entire [harvest], without leaving any grain in the valley,” he added.
Speaking of government privileges, Abovyan said their residents are exempt from the property and land taxes. “Discussions for granting new tax privileges tp the entire region’s border towns and villages are now under way, so the question will be addressed at the National Assembly’s upcoming session. If businessmen work in border areas, they will be exempt from taxes; [they will pay] only the income tax, without any duty to pay value added taxes,” Abovyan added. 

Centennial of Armenian Genocide out of context of latest geopolitical developments – Garegin Chugaszyan

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In an interview with Tert.am, Preparliament Coordinator Garegin Chugaszyan spoke of the Armenians’ expectations after the centennial of the Armenian Genocide has been marked.According to him, inertia is dominating. That is, the Armenians are going to mark the centennial of the Armenian Genocide without considering epoch-making changes.Mr Chugaszyan, the Preparliament’s resolution entitled “The 100th anniversary without the ruling regime” is known. However, will any measures be implemented, what are your expectations about the 100th anniversary about the Armenian Cause in the present moral and psychological situation?Of course, people can hold expectations, but it is the ruling circles that have the levers at hand. And what we can hear about the preparations for the centennial does not in any way meet our expectations. More was done on the threshold of the 90th anniversary than now.As far as I know, much is not made public to prevent Turks preparing countermeasures and so on. What has disappointed you?I cannot say anything about secret measures. In the 21st century, in the world of Wikileaks and Snowden, keeping diplomatic secrets is a difficult task – if possible at all. That is, they are keeping it secret from their own people. Therefore, there has been a need for publicity. The question is that our domestic moral and psychological situation is much more important than issues related to international recognition. What is our perception of our destiny? Are our people well aware of what they are going? The centennial is a symbol. But it is also an epoch-making landmark. That is, it is important for us to understand what epoch we are entering. The world and we have now reached a phase of cool calculation of forces.The Ukraine developments are the symbol of a new global situation, when international guarantees do not mean anything. In Ukraine’s case, the superpowers gave guarantees of inviolability of borders. So what? It is a matter of mere calculation of whether that state can defend its borders by itself. The same can be said of other states. The international situation is radically different, and it is on the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, and the epoch has changed. The large-scale changes both in the North and in the South have caused destabilization, which, to an extent, is changing our conceptions of expectations about the centennial, in the context of the Armenian Cause. Have you ever heard anyone speak of it at the state level? There is an impression that nothing has changed and we continue marking the centennial. However, when the context is different, the meaning of the event is different. Now that 100 years have passed since the Armenian Genocide, we are witnesses to the massive violence against and relocation of the 14-million-strong Middle East Christian population, including Armenians. Why does not Armenia raise the issue at the UN, it being the only eastern Christian nation which is an international entity historically representing all the eastern Christians in Jerusalem? Why does not it present what happened to us 100 year ago in this topical context?Mr Chugaszyan, at what level should the answers to your questions be looked for – diplomatic, academic, diasporic?At all the levels. Unfortunately, Armenia is represented at such a low level now, and decision-makers are anti-national figures that such issues are not being raised. That is, the problem of sovereignty is becoming number one problem for us. For us to properly deal with the issue of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we have to resolve the sovereignty problem first. If we are unaware of what is going on round us and incapable of implementing foreign policy, there is no sense in speaking of expectations about the 100th anniversary.That is, you expect events, without discussions or solutions.I have no expectations because the ruling circles’ representatives have said the 100th anniversary is not anything significant, and no problem will be resolved. So what expectations can we have?But the issue may be raised later, on the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.It is not a problem of consistency. It is a problem of change in our attitude to the Armenian Cause. The present-day world is not the world in which we have marked the Armenian Genocide for the past 50 years. And the 100th anniversary is the best occasion to restore this international context and specify our strategy. But expectations are unnecessary without sovereignty.May be the relevant work is being done through diplomatic channels.I am not speaking of secret diplomatic channels. And even in this sense, we should realize that in the 21st century, in the world of Wikileaks and Snowden, keeping diplomatic secrets is a difficult task – if possible at all.That is, you are speaking of the need for a new concept.I am speaking of a new situation in the world, which requires a new approach, and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide should be the best occasion. My words do not mean that the 100th anniversary would resolve the problem of the Armenian Genocide. But we need a strategy in a new context.May be, President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement on September 3, 2013, stemmed from this context? May be, it was the first step, the strategy you have mentioned?Are you sure that the Eurasian Economic Union will not one day turn into a union of Turkic states? We have been told it is a solution to our security problem. But the statement on Armenia’s accession to that union was followed by increased tensions on our border.What’s your opinion of our moral and psychological atmosphere in the context of the 100th anniversary?We should now change our moral and psychological atmosphere rather than be discontented with it. But it will change only if the people consider and realize the ways of improving their situation. The problem is creating a platform for all the patriotic forces concerned, which will act as bearer of sovereignty. The only issue in Armenia is that of restoration of sovereignty. Once people rally round it, the situation will radically change. Our attitude to our situation depends on ourselves. 

550 ceasefire violations reported this week

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Azerbaijan’s armed forces violated the ceasefire across the Contact Line with Nagorno-Karabakh 550 times in the past week.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army reports that the adversary released over 5,000 gunshots against Armenian defense positions from weapons of different calibers.
Prompt operations by the Army’s frontline military units helped suppress the Azerbaijani side’s activeness. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Situation calm in Armenian village after border shoot-out

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The situation in Movses, the north-eastern border village (Tavush region) that was targeted by Azerbaijani armed troops last night, is now calm, the governor confirms.
“It has been calm since midnight. The shootings were released from 20:30 until 00:00,” Ararat Avalyan told our correspondent.
The village mayor said their population is not in panic after the cross-border shooting that was later reported to have left to Azerbaijanis wounded. “Forget about it. What panic or flight is all that about? Where will you go should we flee from here?” he said.
Asked what measures the Armenian side has taken to restrain the enemy, the village governor replied. “Hadn’t the Armenian side reacted in any way, they wouldn’t have been silenced. But I wouldn’t say it is a worthy [response]; it’s very little.”

Artsakh Soldier Killed Repelling Azerbaijani Incursion

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14:29, July 26, 2014

The Artsakh Defense Army (ADA) reports that one of its soldiers was killed when Armenian forces thwarted an attempt by Azerbaijan to infiltrate the line of contact along the northeastern border today.

 

The ADA identified the dead soldier as Khachadour Badasyan.

 

The ADA says its forces repulsed the Azerbaijani unit, causing a number of injuries.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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.” 

Armenia Hopes To Avoid Knock-On Effects Of Western Sanctions Against Russia

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Top News No Comments
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Armenia will do everything to avoid the knock-on effects of the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters while on a working visit to the northeastern town of Dilijan, the head of the Armenian government emphasized that “the important thing is that we do our work and try to attract foreign investments for the development of our economy.”

Armenia has close political, military and economic ties with Russia and intends to sign a treaty later this year joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union that also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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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.