Books on Armenia
Principal ethnic groups
Update No: 287 - (29/11/04)
Imminent policy revolution or a straw in the wind?
An important new shift of emphasis has entered into Armenia's policy towards
Turkey. Turkey received a very interesting report from Yerevan in early
November. The Armenian government, led by Robert Kocharian, in its budget
proposal sent to the Armenian Parliament noted: "The recognition of the
Armenian genocide by Turkey is not the government's primary foreign policy
objective." The government said the repair of relations with Turkey was a
If Kocharian intends to implement such a serious policy shift, it will soon
become apparent. Policies implemented will show whether this policy shift is
sincere or just a false gesture.
A Turkish observer and analyst, Mehmet Ali Birand, put the matter thus in the
Turkish Daily News on 9th November: "I know Armenia and Kocharian. The word
'genocide' is such a mystical and accepted concept that no matter how much we
refute or try to disprove it, we will not eradicate this belief. For an
Armenian, the word 'genocide' will always remain in their national psyche.
"For Turkey, it is just the opposite. Genocide is unacceptable. No matter
how much pressure they put on us, no matter what the European Union tells us, a
Turk will never accept it. Blood was spilt on both sides. Unspeakable horrors
were committed and shameful things happened. We might exchange apologies because
of what happened, but never recognize 'genocide.'
"Armenia is a small and poor neighbour of ours. Turkey is a giant knocking
on the EU's door. Should these two countries continue to wage this genocide
battle and always remain enemies? Or should both sides preserve their beliefs,
let the genocide issue drop from the top of the agenda and try to find ways to
mend bilateral relations?"
The problem is that as far as the Turks are concerned Turkey has made a number
of gestures in this respect and always been rebuffed.
When Turgut Ozal was prime minister, the Kars border crossing was about to be
opened. The Armenian invasion of Azerbaijan prevented this from happening. When
Suleyman Demirel was prime minister, he came very close to signing a deal with
the former Armenian President Levon TerPetrosyan. These meetings, in which even
the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Alparslan Turkes took part, the
motivation was always, "Let's freeze the past and look at today."
Each time, it was the Armenians that withdrew. For Yerivan, the priority always
remained with the insistence of the Diaspora making Turkey recognize the
Under the hard-line leadership of Kocharian, it would be surprising if a real
policy reversal is about to take place. He was after all for years president of
the enclave, Nagorno-Karabakh, at the heart of the modern dispute between
Armenia with the two Moslem nations, who maintain a blockade on trade with
Armenia with their frontiers closed.
Armenian company leads talks on chemical giant's future
The Armenian company, Flash, will now conduct talks with Russian investors on
the sale of chemical giant, Nairit, Armenian Central Bank Chairman, Tigran
Sarkisyan, said at a briefing in Yerevan, Mediamax News Agency reported.
Tigran Sarkisyan recalled that Nairit's shares belong 100 per cent to Haykapbank
[Armenian communications bank] and the Flash company is carrying out the
programme to revive the bank. The programme to revive the bank is being
supervised by the IMF, which is demanding that the process be finished by the
end of this year.
Mediamax News Agency recalled that on April 16th this year an agreement was
signed at the Armenian Central Bank on the sale of 100 per cent of Haykapbank's
shares to Russia's Volgaburmash holding company. Addressing a briefing after the
signing of the agreement, Volgaburmash representative, Mikhail Zavertyayev, said
that the restoration of Nairit's position on the Russian synthetic rubber market
was the priority for the holding company. For reasons of commercial
confidentiality Zavertyayev refused to disclose the cost of the deal to acquire
Nairit's shares. He said that Volgaburmash had worked out a draft project on the
reconstruction of the enterprise, aimed at resuming the production of butadiene
at Nairit. Mikhail Zavertyayev said that since 2003 Volgaburmash had invested
US$3.5m in Nairit.
Tigran Sarkisyan said that the Russian holding company had demanded that the
revival programme for Haykapbank be prolonged for four months, but, taking into
account the commitments to the IMF, the Armenian side had not given its consent
to this and had "decided to implement the revival programme with another
investor, the Armenian Flash company."
The Central Bank chairman said that Flash had invested more than US$1m in the
bank and had finished the revival process. Tigran Sarkisyan said that Flash was
now conducting talks directly with the Russian side on Nairit's fate.
He said that for four months the Russian side would be studying Nairit's
technical possibilities and would make a corresponding decision. Tigran
Sarkisyan said that the 100 per cent of shares in Nairit were reflected in
Haykapbank's balance sheet at the nominal price of US$14.2m. The bank has to
realize these assets in the next six months, according to current Armenian
Second Armenia-Iran power cable to be built end-2004
Iranian energy company Sanir is to complete building a second high-voltage power
cable between Armenia and Iran by the end of 2004, said Saak Abramian, director
general of Armenia's ZAO High-Voltage Power Cables, Interfax News Agency
He said the second line would make it possible to double the flow of electricity
between Armenia and Iran. The cable is being constructed based on an energy
cooperation memorandum between Iran and Armenia, signed in Yerevan in July 2002,
Under this memorandum, Iran provided Armenia with a credit of 8.4m Euro to build
the second power line, which would be repaid with electricity supplies from
Armenia. During the summer, Armenia supplies electricity to Iran, and imports
electricity from Iran in winter. Armenian Energy minister, Armen Movsisian, said
that a third line might be built, along which Armenia could supply electricity
to pay for gas supplied through the Iran-Armenia pipeline, which should start no
later than January 2007.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Armenian-Estonian forum to boost economic cooperation
The Armenian-Estonian business forum will present an excellent opportunity for
the two countries' entrepreneurs to set up new business contacts, Estonian
President, Arnold Ruutel, said at the opening of the forum, Arminfo News Agency
He said that a favourable economic atmosphere has been created in Estonia today,
"a friendly tax system for entrepreneurs" has been set up and a high
level of competitiveness ensured. Arnold Ruutel noted that, "According to
the estimates of the World Economic Forum, Estonia occupies 20th place in terms
of competitiveness among small economies, but in terms of innovative ability it
is first amongst the new EU members." He said that, notwithstanding the
considerable successes, Estonia has sufficient room for development.
Touching upon Armenian-Estonian trade and economic cooperation, the head of the
Estonian state stressed that at this stage commodity turnover between the two
states is limited by contacts between individual entrepreneurs. At the same time
the delegation of Estonian entrepreneurs arrived in Armenia with a distinct
interest in cooperation, in particular, in the spheres of industrial
electronics, telecommunications and information systems.
Armenian speaker discusses cooperation with French, German diplomats
The involvement of the South Caucasus in the Expanded Europe: New Neighbours
programme opens promising prospects for the development of the whole region in
terms of deepening democracy, overcoming conflicts and implementing economic
projects, the speaker of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur Bagdasaryan, said
this at a meeting with the political directors of the foreign ministries of
France and Germany, Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye and Michael Scheffer, on
November 11th, Noyan Tapan News Agency reported.
The guests said that they were on a fact-finding tour of the South Caucasus to
find out about future developments in the region to which the European Union
attaches great importance.
The sides also discussed relations between Armenia and Turkey. It was noted that
Armenia was not against Turkey's membership of the European Union but was
against double standards in connection with the recognition of the genocide and
the elimination of the blockade which was impeding Armenia's economic
The political directors of the German and French Foreign Ministries noted the
importance of parliamentary diplomacy in developing the region and overcoming
confrontation. The sides also noted the importance of contacts and discussions
both within the framework of the Caucasus republics and Armenian-Turkish
Armenia chooses second mobile operator
The K-Telecom company will become Armenia's second mobile operator, Mediamax
News Agency reported.
This decision was taken on November 3rd by the tender committee set up by the
Cabinet of Ministers, the government press service said.
The tender committee was set up immediately after the ArmenTel company was
deprived of its monopoly in the sphere of mobile services. The government press
service is not saying how many companies took part in the tender, which gave
preference to K-Telecom.
The K-Telecom closed-type joint-stock company belongs to Lebanese businessman
Pierre Fattoush, who owns the Karabakh Telecom Company, which provides mobile
communication services on the territory of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic (NKR),
Mediamax has learnt.
Section of highway linking Karabakh to Armenia commissioned
Armenian President Robert Kocharian and the president of the Nagornyy Karabakh
Republic [NKR], Arkadiy Gukasyan, attended a ceremony of opening a new section
of the North-South highway which is of strategic importance for the NKR. The
road is being constructed under the aegis of the All-Armenian Ayastan (Armenia)
Fund, Arminfo reported.
Arminfo special correspondent in Stepanakert reported that the representatives
of the NKR leadership and an official delegation from Armenia took part in the
commissioning of a new 14 kilometre section in the village of Sarushen-Karmir
The construction of the Sarushen-Karmir Shuka section costing 646m drams [about
US$1.2m] started in May 2003. The total length of North-South highway is about
170 km, the total construction cost of the highway is about US$25m. The project
is being implemented with the financial assistance the Armenians world-wide.
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