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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 Ruling Party Slams Opposition ‘Traitors’

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The parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) sparked a bitter verbal exchange with outspoken opposition lawmakers on Tuesday after accusing them of accepting money from the West and Azerbaijan to betray Armenia.

“We witnessed yesterday a classical example of high treason,” charged Vahram Baghdasarian. “The Armenian parliament’s rostrum was used for spreading Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s disinformation. False information was made public here ahead of a meeting between the president of our country and the president of an unfriendly country (Azerbaijan).”

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Armenia’s Membership in the EEU: Raises More Questions Than It Answers

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19:01, October 17, 2014

Babken Der Grigorian

In response to Harut Sassounian’s article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia 

Upon reading Harut Sassounian’s latest article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia”, I have been compelled to write a response addressing its shortcomings and inaccuracies, increasingly common also within the broader narratives regarding Armenia’s accession into the EEU in the Armenian community.

On September 3, 2013, after Armenia completed nearly three years of negotiations with the European Union on an Association Agreement, which included years of European-funded legislative reforms, President Serzh Sargsyan was summoned to Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Opposition Party Condemns Eurasian Union Entry

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The opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party of Raffi Hovannisian on Friday officially condemned as Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) which was formalized by President Serzh Sarkisian on October 10.

Zharangutyun claimed that membership in the Russian-led bloc will pose a “most serious threat” to Armenia’s independence and put at risk continued Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh. It said Sarkisian had no mandate to sign an “unconstitutional” accession treaty with his Russian, Kazakh and Belarusian counterparts at an EEU summit in Minsk.

“The deplorable efforts of the republic’s regime to compel Armenia’s accession to the EEU … aim merely to maneuver and perpetuate his illegitimate personal power obtained through falsification of the past elections,” charged the statement. “It is quite clear that Mr. Sarkisian, who has usurped power through unjust elections, is not authorized to sign any agreement or undertake any obligation on behalf of the people of Armenia.”

Polish Defense Firm Inaugurates Joint Venture In Armenia

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In a further boost to Polish-Armenian military cooperation, the Armenian Defense Ministry and a Polish defense company inaugurated on Thursday a joint venture in Armenia manufacturing protective equipment for armed forces.

The Lubawa-Armenia enterprise was officially launched in Charentsavan, a small town 40 kilometers north of Yerevan, in the presence of Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, his former Polish counterpart Bodgan Klich and senior defense industry executives from the two states.

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Armenia – Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian inspects a flak jacket manufactured by a Polish-Armenian joint venture in Charentsavan, 16Oct2014.

The company will use the technology and expertise of Poland’s Lubawa SA group to produce a range of protective gear such as army helmets, flak jackets, big and inflatable tents, camouflage netting and decoys. Ohanian was reported to say that these items will be supplied to the armed forces of not only Armenia but also other nations, possibly including members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Karabakh Armenian Army Warns Azerbaijan

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Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed armed forces threatened late on Tuesday to respond strongly to what they called a sharp rise in ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani forces deployed near the disputed territory.

“In recent days violations of the ceasefire regime have quadrupled,” the Karabakh Defense Ministry said in a statement issued one day after one of its soldiers was shot and wounded at a southern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.

The statement urged Azerbaijan to “take steps to stabilize the situation on the line of contact.” “In case of a further escalation of the situation on the frontline the Defense Army will take all necessary measures to silence the enemy,” it said without elaborating.

Russian-Azeri Military Ties ‘Normal’ For Armenia

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Armenia is not alarmed by Russia’s growing military cooperation with Azerbaijan, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian claimed on Tuesday, commenting on his Russian counterpart Sergey Shogyu’s latest visit to Baku.

Shoygu and Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov signed on Monday a plan of joint military activities for next year and announced that more Azerbaijani cadets will now study at Russian military academies. They also spoke of a successful implementation of a 2013-2016 program of bilateral military-technical cooperation, which apparently involves continuing Russian arms supplies to Azerbaijan.

Russia and Azerbaijan have signed $4 billion worth of defense contracts since 2010. The figure could reportedly rise to $5 billion by the end of this year.

Armenia’s Eurasian Accession; Security Guarantee the Game Changer

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14:58, October 14, 2014

By Pietro A. Shakarian

On Friday, 10 October, Armenia officially joined the Eurasian Customs Union. It was more than a year ago since the Caucasus country made its fateful decision to join the Moscow-backed union and to turn down a potential Association Agreement with the EU.

The decision by the Armenian government has sparked debate in Armenian society about the respective benefits of the two rival blocs. It is true that Armenians have long sought to integrate their country with Europe and, like their northern neighbors the Georgians, they point to long historical associations with Europe. These include their shared Christian roots, the left-to-right directionality of the Armenian alphabet, the mutual contact between the old Armenian kingdoms and the West, and even the very personality of Charles Aznavour. In fact, to an Armenian or Georgian, the idea of possibly joining the EU represents the culmination of a centuries-long quest for Europe.

No Border Checkpoints With Karabakh, Insists Yerevan

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Armenia will not start levying any duties from goods imported from Nagorno-Karabakh after joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), senior officials in Yerevan and Stepanakert insisted on Monday.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the possibility of Armenia setting up customs checkpoints on its border with the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) earlier this year with his public statements on the Armenian membership bid. Nazarbayev demanded in May that the accession treaty with Armenia make a special reference to its internationally recognized borders that do not include Karabakh. He cited concerns voiced by 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

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.