Obama marks Armenia’s independence day with a slight tilt

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U.S. President Barack Obama marked the 18th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence late Tuesday with a special statement and a congratulatory message to his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian, RFE/RL reports.

“The people of the United States join the people of Armenia in celebrating Armenia’s day of independence today,” Obama said in a statement posted on the White House website. “We deeply value the many cultural and historic ties that bind our two countries.”

The full text of Obama’s statement is here.  The reason this statement by Obama  grabbed my attention is the background information on the RFE/RL story: “Obama similarly congratulated Armenians on the occasion and hailed their “spirit of independence, self-reliance, and survival” one year ago, when he was still a presidential candidate. “Even in the face of genocide, the pain of the past has not defeated the Armenians, either in Armenia or the far-flung diaspora,” he said in a September 2008 letter to Sarkisian.“ Link

Turkish officials will talk about Armenian Genocide with U.S. presidential candidates

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sent two foreign policy officials to meet the advisors of both U.S. presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain in the United States, Hurriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to Erdogan and Suat Kiniklioglu, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish parliament would convey Turkey’s stance on a number of crucial issues, including PKK terrorism, the so-called Armenian “genocide” claims, Cyprus and other regional problems, to the advisors of both candidates, Hurriyet wrote.
Turkey would also urge the U.S. presidential candidates to listen to Turkish views on the so-called Armenian “genocide” claims, aside from focusing solely on the Armenian claims.
A warmer period began between Turkey and Armenia, who for more than a decade have not had any diplomatic relations over Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan, after Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia early September.

Podcast: The global crisis as seen on the blogging week

The 23rd issue of “Armenian Blogosphere” Radio Program is out and can be downloaded from here. The program brings comments by bloggers on the decline in global markets and shift in US and Russian policies in the Caucasus.
Athanatoi has detected warming of Russia-Turkey and Russia-Azerbaijan relations seeing dangers for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in this shift of Russian intersets. Mark Grigoryan on the other hand, has interviewed American co-chairman of OSCE Minsk Group – Mathew Bryza, and notes, that first time ever a co-chair speaks to an international media outlet and states, that the Karabakh conflict should be settled based on the principle of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. “This indicates a shift of US approach to the Karabakh conflict”, Mark Grigoryan thinks. Kornelij Glas comments on the fall of Russian stock indices and decline of oil prices below $89. Nazarian compares the US and Russian economies and sees no reason for Russian speculations about the downfall of US economy and perceptions on takeover of the US interests in the world by Russia.
Back to Armenian realities. Following the President’s address to the nation from the Parliament, Uzogh has found a fundamental difference between President Serge Sargsian and his predicessor – Robert Kocharyan. While “Kocharyan sees the state as a political system”, the blogger remarks, “Sargsyan sees it as an economic one”. Mark Grigoryan looks at the speech from another perspective – the President didn’t say anything about 1) Armenia-Turkey relations 2) Karabakh conflict 3) Georgia-Russia conflict 4) Events of March 1st. “So it turns out the president didn’t say anything on the most important issues?”, the journalist-blogger asks?
This podcast also features an interview with wonderful Armenian blogger and writer Byurie.

Russia's Dmitry Medvedev announces an end to Georgia-Russia war

“I have reached a decision to halt the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace,” Medvedev said. “The aggressor has been punished and has incurred very significant losses. Its armed forces are disorganized.” Despite the Russian president’s announcement, it is still unclear, whether this means an end to the war, or not. However, some conclusions can be drawn even today.
The cost of the 6 day war, that started with Georgia’s genocidal attack against the peaceful population of its breakaway South Ossetian region and ended with Russia’s response action followed by Russian intrusion into Georgian territory, blockade of Black See ports and opening of second front from Abkhazia, another breakaway region of Georgia, has been horrible for Georgia. According to Russian claims, there are 2,000 dead and over 30,000 refugees from the South Ossetian population of around 100,000 people. Georgian army and military infrustructure suffered a deadly blow from the Russians, whose massive “peace enforcement” campaign turned into a full scale invasion into Georgia, with conflicting reports of taking Gori, Zugdidi, Seneki, etc.
Even now it is hard to understand who were the conflicting sides? There are suggestions, that it was 1. Georgia, 2. Russia, 3. USA, 4. NATO, 5. South Ossetia and Abkhazia – sorted according to the degree of their involvement. At this point it is also hard to understand who won – Russia? The West? One thing is clear – peaceful population of South Ossetia were the ones who paid the horrible price for geopolitical ambitions and divisions of influence.  It is also beyond any doubts, that Georgia lost badly and the world has yet to study the lessons of the Georgia-Russia war, one lesson learnt is – Kosovo precedent has everything to do with the burning and frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus. Perhaps it is the right time to think about the consequencies for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

Statement with regard to probable suspension of MCA Armenia Project

It is acknowledged that within five years the MCA-Armenia project will contribute to the development of ¾ of rural areas of Armenia through a 235,65 million dollar value Compact of five years, signed with the US Corporation: 943 km of rural roads, 200 km of main canals, 30 000 hectares of irrigation systems, 18 gravity-fed irrigation systems and seven water preserves will be rehabilitated, special training sessions for approximately 60.000 rural population will be conducted, loans in the value of 8,5 million dollars will be provided to rural households, etc. With its scope and effectiveness, this project is unprecedented in the list of agricultural development programs ever implemented in Armenia.

Since the end of the last year, the 17 indicators that guide MCC in their decision to provide funding to our and other countries were worrisome for the Republic of Armenia: nine out of the 17 indicators are at certain risk levels for our country.

The violations of law during the latest RA presidential elections, the developments that followed them, mass violations of human rights and restrictions of media and freedom of expression can considerably lower some of the RA indicators, which, on their turn, will considerably increase the risk of suspension or termination of the program. Continue reading “Statement with regard to probable suspension of MCA Armenia Project”

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visits Armenia

Armenia was once again in the world headlines owing to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two day visit which started on October 22, 2007. Interestingly, the bloggers here paid close to zero attention to the major event – which is surprising, given the anti-Bush sentiment in recent days resulting from US President’s negative attitude towards Armenian genocide resolution in US Congress. The visit of the Iranian President was mostly a working one, although some media are trying to see connections with Russian president V. Putin’s visit to Iran a week ago and building various conspiracy theories. Continue reading “Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visits Armenia”

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