Ambassador Arma Kirakossian Introduces Key Points of Armenia’s Position on NK Conflict to OSCE

Ambassador Arman Kirakossian, Head of Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the OSCE, delivered remarks at the 1200th session of the OSCE Perment Council in response to the annual report of the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs.

In his remarks Ambassador Kirakossian thanked the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs for the efforts put for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and added that 2018 is marked with an important anniversary: in February 1988, the regional council of the people’s deputies of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast made a decision asking the Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan to approach with understanding to the will and dreams of the Armenian population of Karabakh and agree on the transfer of the Oblast from Azerbaijan, in response to this appeal of self-determination, carried out violence, deportations, crimes and unleash a war.

Ambassador Kirakossian stated that since that time the status and security of Artsakh became the most important elements of the conflict settlement. The Armenian highlighted that today the Armenian people highly value democracy and human rights, which wad approved this spring by the peaceful and democratic changes that took place in Armenia as a result of which early parliamentary elections will be held this December.

Talking about the position of the new Armenian leadership on the conflict settlement, the Ambassador outlined several key points:

The first one –the status and security of the Artsakh people are one of the most important issues for the conflict settlement and are the absolute priority of Armenia.

The second one – the people and authorities of Artsakh must have a decisive voice in the conflict settlement process. Any attempt to isolate Artsakh and its people from the conflict settlement process contradicts to both the causes of the conflict’s origins and the existing reality. Artsakh is populated by its native people who historically constantly comprised an absolute majority, including at all stages of the conflict.

The third one – Armenia continues supporting the efforts of hte Minks Group Co-Chairs (Russia, US and France) aimed at settling the conflict exclusively through peaceful means

The fourth one –the conflict cannot have a military solution, and the military scenarios should be rejected unconditionally. The 2016 April military adventurism had a negative impact on the peace process. The current positive dynamics, which was formed as a result of the recent meetings and the agreements reached in Dushanbe, must be followed by an implementation of actions aimed at strengthening trust and security already agreed upon in Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Geneva, which role in mitigating the tension in the Line of Contact and the border. In its turn it will strengthen the OSCE presence in the conflict zone.

The fifth one — the creation of atmosphere contributing to peace requires not only reduction of tension and introduction of monitoring mechanisms, but also preparing people to peace, the hostile rhetoric and maximalist positions questions the possibilities of mutual concession.

Ambassador Arman Kirakossian also thanked the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and his team for strengthening the ceasefire regime and the trust between sides.

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Tanzanian Businessman to Invest $11.5 Million in Crocodile Farm in Armenia’s Ararat Province

A Crocodile farm that will be set up in the Dashtavan community of the Armenian province of Ararat will serve also as a recreation area, the provincial governor Garik Sargsyan said. In his words, the farm will also treat crocodile meat to all those who would like to taste what he called “exotic meat”. He said the investor has already acquired the land plot and is doing now gardening work and planting trees. The active phase of the construction is supposed to begin in spring. According to the governor, crocodiles will be bred in incubators, but it is not known yet when the first “local” crocodile will hatch. “The area where crocodiles will be bred will be framed in the form of a park where everyone will be able to stroll with the family, and the children will be able to see crocodiles. There will also be fast-food outlets, restaurants and attractions,” according to the governor.

The initiative to breed crocodiles in Armenia belongs to an entrepreneur from Tanzania who carries out similar projects in other countries. The governor said the first year investments will amount to $1.5 million. Another $10 million are to be invested in the next five years.

Some 100 Nile crocodile eggs will be imported; in the future their number is to increase to 1000. The bulk of the meat will be exported to East Asia, and the leather to Europe.

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Majority of Armenian Caucus Members Re-elected in Midterm Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C — In the House of Representatives, the Members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian issues had a strong showing with the overwhelming majority (over 92 percent) of those seeking re-election winning in the 2018 midterm elections, including Co-Chairs Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jackie Spier (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), and Vice Co-Chairs Adams Schiff (D-CA), and Gus Biliraks (R-FL), the Armenian Assembly of America reported.

“We congratulate all of our friends in Congress on their victories, and look forward to meeting with the new Members when the 116th Congress begins,” stated Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “The Armenian Assembly also appreciates the strong support of our friends who will not be returning to Congress and wish them every success, especially outgoing House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Dave Trott (R-MI) he added.

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Ararat Home of Los Angeles More Than Doubles the Size of its Mission Hills Campus

MISSION HILLS, CA — The Board of Trustees of the Ararat Home of Los Angeles (the Home) purchased of almost 13 acres of land just west of its Mission Hills Campus. The property was purchased from the Ararat Home’s two long-time neighbors, friend of the Home and the community, Dr. Otto Klinger and Mr. Harold Sturgeon over the last five months. Although still in the early stages of design, the Home is planning to build facilities ranging from independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care facilities.

The design included beautiful park-like grounds, trails, activity center and parking for over 400 cars. Derik Ghookasian, COO of the Ararat Home said “We are excited for the opportunities this endeavor presents toward building greater capacity to meet the growing needs of the Armenian community. With this expansion, Ararat Home will become a continuing care retirement community and will be able to provide even more comprehensive care for our elderly. There are many people to thank for making this happen including the Board’s Long-Term Planning Committee, The Home’s COO, Dr. Klinger, Mr. Sturgeon, Stephen Hampar of Hampar Properties who volunteered his services, George Phillips, Jr. of Phillips Law Partners, as well as past and present Board of Trustees members”, said Michael Surmeian, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The continued support of the Armenian Community, the Ararat Guilds and numerous Armenian organizations and the Home’s benefactors have made this purchase possible. This support has helped made this purchase possible. This support has helped secure the legacy of the Ararat home for the next 100 years. As we celebrate our 71st year, starting with just 14 residents, to today with two locations housing hundreds of residents, top notch employees and management, we can all feel proud that this work; our work, makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives,” Surmeian asserted.

Founded in 1949, Ararat Home is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-denominational organization that operates three residential care and nursing facilities on two campuses and serves as a cultural center for the Armenian community in the Los Angeles area.

The Home strives to provide high quality care in a tranquil, uniquely Armenian, home-like environment at the Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities in Mission Hills as well as the Convalescent Hospital in Eagle Rock.

The main campus in Mission Hills also includes facilities that serve the Armenian community. The George Deukmejian Center’s Grand Ballroom provides a space for community events and gatherings. Sheen Memorial Chapel is a house of worship appropriate for holding various religious services. The ethnographic Ararat-Eskijian Museum preserves the history and heritage of the Armenian people and educates the community through its collection of artwork and artifacts, a research library, and an ongoing series of scholarly presentations and cultural events.

As Ararat embarks on the new venture, the financial and moral support of the community is of utmost importance. Community members are invited to visit the beautiful campuses and get acquainted with the monumental achievements of the Home. Contributions to the Home are tax deductible and can be made by contacting the facilities.

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Per Capita GDP in Armenia to Grow to $4,604 by the End of 2019, Finance Minister Says

Gross Domestic Product in Armenia will grow per capita to $4,604 by the end of 2019, Atom Jajughazyan, acting finance minister, said while presenting the 2019 draft government budget to the parliamentary committees.

In his words, the per capita GDP stood at $420 in 1995. It grew to $3,512 in 2015 and reached $4,280 in 2018. “This is not the best indicator and it is necessary to make efforts for its growth, all the more so its segments are not equal, especially taking into account the poverty rate,” he said. “It can’t be said that we are satisfied with the result that we will strain after higher indicators.”

Janjughazyan said that the draft government budget for 2019 has three key peculiarities – application of new tax and budgetary rules, program format and inclusion of out-of-budget financial resources.

He said that certain risks for Armenia are still present as the global economy growth pace is stabilizing. The risks are present also because prices at raw material markets, especially mining industry, are going down and the oil price is downed. This will strike at Armenia’s trade partners, including Russia and EU countries.

Speaking about GDP growth, Janjughazyan said that economic growth in the 2019 draft budget is projected at 4.9% against the 4.5 percent projected in the 2018 government budget. He said the GDP growth in 2018 will exceed the budget projected indicator reaching 4.9 to 5.9%, but it will not reach the forecasted 6 to 6.5% because of things in agriculture.

Presenting the key indicators of the 2019 draft budget, the acting finance minister said that the budget revenue is projected at AMD 1.5 trillion, spending at AMD 1.6 trillion and deficit at around AMD 150 billion.

According to the draft budget, capital spending will grow in 2019 to 3% of GDP from the 2.3% expected in 2018.

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Legendary Armenian Weightlifter Yuri Vardanyan Passes Away in U.S

Five-time champion of Europe, seven-time champion of the world, Olympic Games winner, renowned Armenia weightlifter Yuri Vardayan has passed away aged 62 in the U.S.

Yuri Vardanyan beat 5 records at a time at three occasions in his career, including the Olympics when he lifted the record 405kg.

In 2013, Vardanyan served as Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, later taking the position of Armenian Ambassador to Georgia. He was awarded a number of medals, including Order of the Red Banner of Labor ad Order of St. Mesrop Mashdots.

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Armenian-American Relations Can Be Raised to Higher Level

Armenian Acting Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan met with United States National Security Advisor John Bolton on October 25, 2018.
During the meeting, Pashinyan said that there is a real room for raising the Armenian-American relations to another level. “We are ready to support this,” he said. They also discussed several regional issues, including the Karabakh issue, weapon deals with Russia and the U.S.

John Bolton also met with several officials, including Armenian Acting Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and National Security Council Secretary Armen Gregoryan.

Bolton was positively impressed by the new government of Armenia and indicated that the ties would be stronger.

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Russia Accuses U.S of Trying to Drive Wedge in Relations With Armenia

Russia has chided the United States, alleging Washington is trying to drive a wedge between Moscow and Yerevan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on October 29 that it took issue with U.S national security adviser John Bolton’s comments during a visit to Yerevan the previous week that the Kremlin says were a thinly veiled call for Armenia to break with its traditional ally.

Bolton “demanded openly that Armenia renounce historical patterns [sic] in its international relations and hardly bothered to conceal the fact that this implied Armenia’s traditional friendship with Russia,” the ministry said.

“Naturally, he did not forget to advertise U.S weapons that Armenia should buy instead of Russian weapons,” it added.

Armenia has long had close ties with Russia, but questions about relations between the two have risen since Nikol Pashinyan led a bloodless revolution to oust Prime Ministers Serzh Sarkissian, seen as close to Moscow.

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His Holiness Karekin II Paid a Visit to Pope Francis

Last week, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, embarked on a Pontifical Visit to the Armenians of Italy, stopping in the cities of Milan and Rome, and meeting with Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church. In Milan, he presided over the 60th anniversary celebration of the Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs, where the Catholicos commended the community for its religious zeal and loyalty to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. He exhorted them to “stay strong in your national consciousness, and to “keep the lantern of St. Gregory the Illuminator,” before praying for peace and the well being of the people.

At the Church of St. Blaise in Rome, His Holiness was greeted in a hrashapar service attended by the Eternal City’s Armenian inhabitants, members of the diplomatic guild and dignitaries from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. He held a brotherly meeting with Pope Francis on October 24th, at the Vatican, wherein the two noted the hardships of the Armenian people, while exalting the patience and persistence that allowed them to recreate national and ecclesiastical life.

Welcoming Catholicos Karekin II to Rome was Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, former Primate of the Eastern Diocese, and currently the Legate of the Armenian Church in Western Europe and Pontifical Envoy of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to the Vatican.

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Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Visits Armenia Genocide Monument in Yerevan

Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City, visited Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum Institute on October 22 in the Armenian capital.

Giuliani laid flowers at the memorial and planted a symbolic tree in the park in honor of the Armenian Genocide victims. Giuliani is in Armenia for the Eurasia Week International Business Forum. During the visit to the genocide memorial he also toured the museum and signed the guestbook. “The Armenia Genocide should not be forgotten because to do so is to make possible similar acts of terror in our era and in the future. The recognition of this Genocide will help prevent such inhumanities in the future. God bless the souls of all who died and may the rest in peace with God,” he wrote in the guestbook.

Speaking to reporters about the possible US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, he said that the genocide is a historical fact, but “I am not here in my capacity as a private lawyer to President Trump, I am here as a private citizen. It’s up to the administration to make their own conclusion about that,” Giuliani said.

Speaking about the expansion of the Armenian-American relations, Giuliani said “It’s up to the two governments. I’m here as a private citizen, just to learn some facts in my first time in Armenia, I know the Armenian community in America very well,” he said.

Giuliani has arrived to Armenian at the invitation of Ara Abrahamyan, the UNESCO goodwill ambassador and president of the Union of Armenians of Russia.

Davit Tonovan introduced Giuliani to the current security environment around Armenia, the Armenian Defense Ministry said.

The parties exchanged opinions on matters of regional and global security, and emphasized the role of Armenian community in the domestic affairs in the U.S, especially New York, and the Armenian-American relations.

Rudy Giuliani works as a lawyer for U.S President Donald Trump since April 2018.

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