Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Holds Series of Meetings at Davos Forum

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a series of meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos. During his meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Pashinyan discussed issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The parties touched upon the development of Armenian-Lithuanian political and economic relations, EU-Armenia relations, uncluding the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Pashinyan stressed the importance of soonest possible ratification of CEPA by EU countries and thanked the Lithuanian President for Completing the ratification process in Lithuania’s parliament.

The head of the Armenian government touched upon the reforms carried out in Armenian, noting that the snap parliamentary held in December were of historical significance to our country, since the polls results did not raise any doubt for the first time over the past few decades. According to Pashinyan, the international observer organizations had unanimously confirmed that the elections were free, fair, and transparent.

Grybauskaite welcomed steps taken by Pashinyan’s government toward developing and strengthening democracy. She expressed her country’s readiness to assist Armenia with the reform process.

Prime Minister Pashinyan next met with Prime Minister of Slovakia peter Pellegrini to discuss development of Armenian-Slovak relations and other issues of mutual interest. Both sides stressed the need for closer cooperation between the two governments in order to give new impetus to trade and economic exchanges. Noting that the Speaker of the Slovakian Parliament is scheduled to visit Armenia in the near future, Pellegrini said it may help expand the ties between the two countries. At the same time, he noted that the CEPA ratification is on the Slovak Parliament’s agenda, and the process will be completed soon.

In conclusion, Pashinyan held brief meetings with King Philippe of Belgium, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, and Georgian Premier Mamuka Bakhtadze.

Prime Minister Pashinyan’s visit to the Swiss Confederation has this concludes.

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Armenian American Museum Telethon on February 17

The Armenian American Museum will be hosting its inaugural Telethon on Sunday February 17, 2019 to raise awareness and raise fund for the historic project, The highly anticipated television event will be live broadcasted and streamed to a wide audience across the United States and around the world.

The Telethon will air on Sunday, February 17, 2019 from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) and will be broadcast from ARTN studios in Glendale, California. The six hour television event will feature exciting interviews with community leaders and special guests, informative video segments on the world class cultural and educational center, and unique performance by musicians and artists, TV channels, program lineup, and special guests will be announced soon.

“The Telethon is going to be the must-see television event of the year for our community and it will an excellent opportunity to learn about the Armenian American Museum,” stated Museum Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian. “We invite the community to donate to the project now and watch the Telethon on February 17.”

Proceeds from the Telethon will benefit the Armenian American Museum Groundbreaking Campaign. The Museum will need to raise an estimated $12 million by early 2020 to begin construction for the historic community project. Museum officials have organized a year-long series of events, fundraisers, and activities in 2019 to raise the necessary funds including its inaugural Telethon February 17.

The Armenian American Museum will be the first world class cultural and educational center of its kind in America. The Museum program will feature a Permanent Armenia Exhibition, Traveling Multicultural Exhibitions, Performing Arts Theater, Learning Center, and more.

The community is invited to donate now and watch the Telethon on February 17. To donate by phone, call the Museum Office toll-free at 1-800-655-9554. To donate by mail, submit a check donation payable to “Armenian American Museum” to 111 East Broadway, Suite 207, Glendale, CA 91205. To donate online visit to submit a secure online credit card donation.

About the Armenian American Museum

The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California is a developing project in Glendale, California with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of American’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. The Museum will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.

The governance of the Museum to entrusted to ten Armenian American cultural, philanthropic, and religious non-profit institutions including the Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North American, and Western Prelace of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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Michel Legrand, French-Armenian Composser Passes Away at 86

Michel Legrand, the acclaimed and prolific French-Armenian composer who won Academy Awards for his work in The Thomas Crown Affair, Summer of ’42, and Yentl, died on Saturday January 26, 2019 in Paris. He was 86.

He was born February 24, 1932. His parents were Marcelle Der Mikaelian and Raymond Legrad. In a career that spanned seven decades and 200 compositions, the arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist also scored musical soundtracks for Jacques Denny’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), John Sturges’ Ice Station Zebra (1968); Norman Jewison’s Best Friends (1982, and Orson Wells’ F for Fake (1973) and his recently released The Other Side of the Wind (2018).

Legrand’s unrivaled skill and versatility also can be heard across the full scores of Agnes Varda’s Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962), Mans (1971), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Atlantic City (1980), Never Say Never Again (1983), and the acclaimed 1971 ABC telefilm series Brian’s Song. In total, Legrand received 13 career Oscar nominations.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to Legrand’s wife and children, hailing him as an “indefatigable genius…His unique tunes that rum through our heads and are hummed in the streets have become like the soundtracks of our lives,” he said.

Although the sole recipient of the Oscar for dramatic score for Summer of ’42 (1971), Legrand acknowledged in his acceptance speech the collaborative effort behind the scenes: “I also want to thank, you know, many people that we don’t thank very often, or not enough often to me, which are all the musicians, all the marvelous musicians that you have in California.”

For Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, Legrand received Oscar nominations for the songs “The Way He Makes Me Feel” and “Papa Can Youy Hear Me?” and for its score. Legrand collaborated with other giants of the industry, including Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, and Frank Sinatra. In 2010, he celebrated 50 years in show business with a star-studded tribute at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Along with his Academy Award, Legrand won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and give Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990. “Ever since I was a boy, my ambition has been to live completely surrounded by music. My dream is not to muss out on anything. That’s why I’ve never settled on one musical discipline,” he wrote on his website. “I love playing, conducting, singing, and writing, and in all styles. So I turn my hand to everything. Quite the opposite. I do all these activities at once, seriously, sincerely and with deep commitment.”

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Trump and UN Secretary Guterres Praise Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Trump among many other World Leaders, has issued congratulations to Nikol Pashinyan on his reappointment as the prime minister of Armenia. Trump’s message is as follows:

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister: Congratulations on your appointment as Prime Minister of Armenia and your coalition’s success in the December 9th, 2018 parliamentary elections. The United States supports a prosperous, democratic Armenia at peace with its neighbors. Together, we can make progress on deepening trade between our countries, strengthening global security, and combating corruption. A peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will help these efforts. Best wishes to you and the people of Armenia.”

UN Secretary

On January 19, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has sent a congratulatory message to PM Nikol Pashinyan for becoming Prime Minister of Armenia. The Secretary wrote:

“Your excellency, please accept my congratulations on being appointed Prime Minister of Armenia. The recent parliamentary elections in Armenia with the technical support of the UN, became an important point for the democratic development of Armenia. I hope that your country will record progress in the future in the spirit of inclusiveness and transparency.

“I am confident that under your leadership, Armenia will continue to uphold the principles and goals of the United Nations. As you proceed with the ambitious reform agenda, the United Nations looks forward to working closely with you and with your Government to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law,” he added.

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Armenian Government Reports Major Rise in Tax Revenue – $42 Million Collected

Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) has reported a more than 14% increase in the amount of taxes and custom duties collected by it in 2018.

The SRC chief, Davit Ananian, said the total tax revenues worth 1.3 trillion drams ($2.7 billion) also exceeded the Armenian government’s 2018 target by 3.5%. He attributed the major increase to SRC efforts to improve tax collection and administration.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government pledged to crack down on widespread tax evasion when it took office in May. Ananian promised at the time that its tax revenues “will be sustantially higher than planned” this year.

According to Pashinyan, the SRC recovered more than 20 billion drams ($42 million) of unpaid taxes from 73 companies.

The 2019 state budget commits the government to increasing its budgetary revenues by another 15% this year. This would enable the government to further cut the budget deficit while boosting public spending by around 12%.

Armenian tax revenue rose by more than 7% in 2017. The improvements was particularly visible in the national customs service long regarded as one of the country’s most corrupt government agencies.

Ananian, who served as a deputy finance minister before taking over the SRC, acknowledge in May that his predecessor, Vartan Harutunian, tackled the informal sector of the informal sector of the Armenian economy “quite effectively”. But he said that fight against tax fraud will be tougher and “even more effective” during his tenure.

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An Armenian School to Open in Valance Thanks to Philanthropist Kevork Arabian of Lebanon

An Armenian Day School will start operating in Valance, France in 2020 since construction started in January of this year. Valance is the most Armenian of communities in France.

The Valance Armenian Cultural Center (CCAV) co-chair Andre Hatsbanian said the work will advance as planned and expressed his gratitude to the benefactors and donors.

The school is being constructed in the vicinity of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Valance. The construction will cost about 1,800,000 Euros (about 1.7 million).

The plan of establishing a school started when a Lebanese Armenian philanthropist Kevork Arabian donated about 40% of the total cost (700,000 euros) The school leaders and Archbishop Norvan Zakarian raised 1 million euros. and there is only 800,000 euros to collect. According to one of the committee members, “it wouldn’t be very hard to raise that amount because there is a lot of excitement in the community to establish an Armenian school.”

This will be the eighth Armenian school in France, the others being in Lyon, Marseille, Nice, and Paris.

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Senate Confirms Ambassadorial Nominees for Armenia Lynne M. Tracy

Foreign Relations Committee Member Robert Melendez Reiterates Key Concerns for Armenia

WASHINGTON, DC — On January 2nd, 2019, the United States confirmed by a voice vote Ambassadorial nominees Lynne M. Tracy and Earle D. Litzenberger to represent the United States in Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively, reported the Armenian Assembly of America.

Last month, during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) business meeting on the nomination, Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) explained his support for both candidates, as well as the importance of strong U.S – Armenia relations. “Armenia and the Caucasus region will continue to be vital to regional and global security. According to the OSCE, Armenia’s elections over the weekend met international standards. I look forward to supporting the government’s efforts to build strong democratic institutions , a vibrant Armenian economy, and oppose any efforts to violate Armenia’s sovereignty,” Ranking Member Menendez said.

She Promised to Support Armenia

During Ambassador designate nomination hearing she promised to support Armenia’s “remarkable” democratic reforms. As to questions at the hearing by SFRC Ranking Member Menendez and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) on the Armenian genocide, she agreed that “1.5 million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their death in the final years of the Ottoman Empire” in 1915, but fell short of properly categorizing the killings as a genocide. “Throughout my time in the Senate, I have advanced for an honest accounting of the Armenian genocide. I believe we have a moral imperative to recognize the atrocities committed against the Armenian people.”

Ms. Tracy’s experience in Russia and Central Asia positions her to help navigate U.S policy in this critical time. I support this nomination, but expect to work closely with Ms. Tracy on how she will encourage an honest acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, support ongoing efforts to ensure accountable citizen response, governance, and support efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he added.

During the SFRC business meeting, Senator Menendez also noted the importance of safety in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), and his expectations for the U.S Ambassador selected to be the representative in Azerbaijan.

“I support Mr. Litzenberger’s nomination and expect to have close and continuing dialogue with him on how he will urge the Azeris to step back from any threatening behavior that could disrupt the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, support respect for human rights, and support efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Senator Menendez said. “We appreciate the important issues during the confirmation process. We look forward to working with the new Congress to ensure robust assistance to further Armenia’s democratic development,” Assembly executive Director Bryan Ardouny said.

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Russian Slams Azerbaijan for Discriminating Against Armenians

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed Azerbaijani authorities for discrimination against Russian citizens of Armenian origin in Azerbaijan. “I have seen a large number of such reports, including on social networks. The latest ones were reported during these past holidays, We have been raising this issue regularly before the Azerbaijani side, expressing our concern that such cases are becoming a bad tradition,” she said at the briefing. at the airport, then forcibly

According to Zakharova, at least 16 cases of refusing the entry of Russian citizens of Armenian origin to Azerbaijan were reported last year. She said Russian citizens of Armenia origin were detained for hours at the airport, then forcibly expelled from the country without mentioning officially the reason. “These facts, from our point of view, are a gross violation of the rights of Russian citizens,” said Zakharova.

She once again stressed that the Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Azerbaijani side to the unacceptability of such a situation. “We demanded that this practice be stopped – both detentions and expulsions. It is incompatible with friendly relations between our countries. We have received assurances from the Azerbaijani leadership that the situation would be corrected. And we are very much looking forward to it,” Zakharova said.

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32 Female Lawmakers in Armenia’s New Parliament: An increase of 14 Members

The number of female lawmakers will be 32 in the new Parliament of Armenia; their number was 18 in the previous convocation Parliament.

Women will comprise nearly 25% of 132 Members of Parliament in the 7th convocation.

My Step Alliance will have 23 female lawmakers in Parliament, the Prosperous Armenia party – 5 female MPs, and the Bright Armenia party with 4 female MPs.

Snap parliamentary elections were held in Armenia on December 9. Based on election results, three political forces – My Step alliance, Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia parties have been elected to the Parliament.

My Step alliance will have 88 seats, the Prosperous Armenia party – 26 and the Bright Armenian party – 18 seats in the new Parliament.

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Pashinyan and Putin Meet: Armenia, Russia Outline Strategic Directions of Cooperation

Armenian Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined Armenia-Russia cooperation strategic directions as they met in Moscow on Thursday, December 27 2018.

Pashinyan said that a wide range of issues had been discussed at the meeting. “I can say that in this matter, we fully understand what strategic direction the development between our countries should have: Pashinyan said.

As a whole, he said, the atmosphere of the meeting was very positive. He stressed that his meetings with the Russian president are very frequent, and this shows their special strategic nature. In his words, they didn’t discuss Karabakh conflict at their meeting, and instead discussed the strategic aspects and content of Armenia-Russia relations. Pashinyan said that relations between the two countries are so comprehensive that our contacts are still few to discuss all the issues in details. And this means, he said, that these contacts should be continued and not be limited to meetings between the president and the premier – the two countries’ governing institutions agencies should contact each other and the interaction culture should develop.

The Discuss Institutional Solutions on CSTO

Strategic essence and content of the Collective Security Treaty Organization were briefly discussed at the meeting between Armenian Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pashinyan said in his live address to the Armenian people on his Facebook page upon his return to Moscow. “Our stance is that we need institutional solutions here to make in the CSTO regulations the amendments foreseeing such situations for avoiding such disputes caused by the lack of coordination,” Pashinyan said.

The turmoil in the Russian-led Collective Security Treat Organization (CSTO) was triggered by Armenia’s decision in early November to recall Yuri Khachaturov, a former chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, who had been serving as CSTO secretary general. In Armenia, Khachaturov had been charged with involvement in the violent crackdown on the opposition in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election in 2008. Armenia insists that the position should be held by its representative until the end of Khachaturov’s term, which ends in mid 2019.

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