Pashinyan: Turkish Government’s Pre-Conditions Block Dialogue Chances

The Turkish authorities’ position today on a possible reconciliation with Armenia has blocked all the chances for is to speak about re-establishing relations, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in Tehran as he met with members of the local Armenian community. “Turkey repeatedly ties the bilateral relations with the Armenia-Karabakh [Artzakh] Azerbaijan triangle. With this being the case, we cannot possible have any grounds for optimisms – despite our statements that we are ready to unconditionally reconsidered the relations. Turkey today has a precondition dealing with Karabakh,” he said, stressing also the utmost importance of the Armenian Genocide recognition.

“The campaign against the crime of genocide is part of the global agenda. So we will continue pursuing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” the Prime Minsiter added.

Pashninyan left for Iran an a two-day official visit on Wednesday accompanied by a government delegation. Shortly after his arrival in Tehran, he met with President Hassan Rouhani for private talks, which were followed by an extended meeting bringing together government officials. The two state leaders also held a joint news conference to sum up the discussions.

At the meeting with Iranian-Armenians late on Wednesday, the premier was also asked about his informal talks with the Azerbaijani leader. “I have practically said all I had to say about the essence of those meetings – the arrangement is as follows: we must discuss the possibility of a peaceful settlement [of the Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict,” he added.

The unity of Armenians will increase two-fold and three-fold in case of threats to the second Armenian republic, the prime minister said.

“A primary task of our government is to increase Karabakh’s status as a subject of international law, hence it is important for us to meet with the President of Azerbaijan. And that, by the way, will be a meeting without a specific agenda which, however, will focus on the format as a key guideline. Unless we have an agreement over the format, the dialogue cannot be possibly considered part of the official negotiations. I speak on behalf of Armenia, because Artsakh has a government of its own. so the authorities of Artsakh have to speak on behalf of their country in the negotiation process. We must do all our best to raise Karabakh’s role as a subject [of international law],” Pashinyan added.

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Stella Maloyan, Humanitarian Activist and Nonprofit Executive, to Run for LA City Council’s 12th District

If elected, the Former Commissioner Would Become LA’s First Armenian-American Councilwoman

Stella Maloyan, a longtime humanitarian activist and leading nonprofit executive, announced her candidacy for the Los Angeles City Council’s 12th District.

With strong ties to business, labor, community organizations, human right groups and the entertainment industry, Maloyan vowed to use her relationships to experience to unite disparate interests for the common good. “I have seen the power of coalitions to change our city for the better, and I know what it takes to bring everyone to the table,” said Maloyan. “Leadership is ultimately about getting things done to serve the greater public interest. The 12th District and Los Angeles, needs leaders who understand this and can make it happen.”

Maloyan, who has lived in the district for 40 years, moved to the Northwest Valley when she was just 15 years old seeking freedom and safety for the Iranian revolution. She has received various degrees from California State University, Northridge. She raised her family in Porter Ranch, became an active parent with her children’s Armenian American schools, and as a community volunteer helped lead the fundraising effort for local kids to have a new soccer field.

Over the past two decades, Maloyan has played a major role in the city’s Armenian community. As a leading fundraiser in California, she helped build for Armenian humanitarian organizations. She has also served on the board of the Program for Torture Victims. “The experience of my family and friends in fleeing Iran shaped who I am,” said Maloyan. “We can never take our rights, or the rights of any people, for granted. I am proud to have served the Armenian-American community and its vital effort to teach future generations the lessons of history. I am equally proud to have lent my time to protecting the rights of other oppressed people.”

Maloyan’s early activism led her to take a position as an executive with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), where for nearly two decades she has worked to empower people to hold City Hall accountable, build affordable housing, clean our air and water, and increase funding for our schools, and create good-paying jobs that have helped strengthen our communities. “This country has given many of us from diverse immigrant communities the opportunity to rebuild our lives,” stated Maloyan. “I consider it my privilege and responsibility to give other that same opportunity, and I have dedicated my career to that ideal.”

Maloyan is a strong believer in gender equity, which led her to create Women for New Los Angeles, the largest gathering of women leaders in California. She is a strong advocate for building the leadership of young people to take on the challenges of improving our city, state, and country.

In 2015, she was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. She also worked to increase civic participation through her board service with the Getty House Foundation.

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Richard Doombosch: IMF Ready to Assist Armenia in Implementation of Reforms

On Monday February 25, 2019, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan received the Executive Director at International Monetary Fund Richard Doombosch. Pashinyan noted that the Government of Armenia attaches importance to continuous cooperation with the IMF and is interested in further deepening of constructive partnership.

According to the IMF Executive Director, Armenia is a reliable partner for the IMF and the IMF is ready to provide assistance to the Government of Armenia in order to succeed in implementing the reforms initiated indifferent directions. The interlocutors discussed prospects for expanding and developing cooperation. PM Pashinyan referred to the reform agenda of the government of Armenia, speaking about high technology promotion in the structure of the economy, reforms of the Tax Code, creation of micro business, facilitation of business environment, reform of public administration and education systems, and activities under anti-corruption policy.

Pashinyan noted that by the change of the structure of the economy and promoting the use of high technologies in various sectors, the government aims at positioning Armenia as a technological country and taking into account the huge potential in the IT sphere, to form an export oriented economy. According tot he Prime Minister, the government’s task is to create opportunities in Armenia and to stimulate entrepreneurship so that everyone can realize their potential and contribute to the country’s development.

Emphasizing the need for institutional and expert capacities for the success of reforms, the head of the government highlighted the relevant assistance of international partner institutions, including the IMF. Doombosch noted that the IMF is ready to discuss the possibilities of assisting the implementation of reforms in the areas mentioned by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

Reaffirming the willingness of the cooperation, Prime Minister Pashinyan suggested discussing concrete steps with relevant state bodies.

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World Bank Will Help Armenia to Fight Corruption and Effectively Manage Funds

Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mher Gregoryan and Sylvie Bossoutrot, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia, chaired last week a joint discussion of a draft document called “Development Policy Functions,” the Armenian government press service reported. It said representatives of various government agencies as well as member of a WB team, who are visiting Armenia, too part in the discussion.

Grigoryan was said to have underscored the importance of cooperation with the World Bank, appreciating highly the document. He spoke about the priorities of the government and the existing problems, which are expected to be solved through implementation of joint programs with the World Bank. In particular, he singled out such issues as human capital development, modernization of infrastructures, formation of a capital market, streamlining government procedures and using Armenia’s trade opportunities.

Representatives of the World Bank presented the timetable for the development and approval of the document and its main directions, which relate to the economy, public administration and taxes. The document is consonant with the three directions of the government program, the fight against corruption, the development of a cooperative and inclusive economy and the effective management of public finances.

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Philanthropist Louise Manoogian Simone Passes Away at Age 85

Louise Manoogian Simone passed away at the age of 85, on February 18, 2019. She dedicated her life to civic leadership, philanthropy, and was first and foremost passionate about the promotion of Armenian culture and heritage. She was an intelligent, outspoken, witty woman who strived for excellence in herself and others. The driving principle in all that she did was to beneficially impact people’s lives and she achieved that goal many times over.

Louise was born in Detroit, Michigan to Alex and Marie Manoogian. Her father Alex, and Armenian immigrant who left Turkey after the Armenian Genocide, developed the Delta single-handed faucet and went on the become one of Americfa’s leading industrialists as the founder of MASCO corporation. Upon achieving business success, Alex used his resources to work tirelessly for the benefit of the Armenian people worldwide.

Louise inherited her parents’ passion for Armenians, which led her to follow in her father’s footsteps and serve on the board of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural, and humanitarian programs around the world. In 1982, Louise made her first trip to Armenia, then still a Soviet Republic. She quickly fell in love with the country and over the next few years, returned frequently, bringing others with her, whether it be to make documentaries or to connect and contribute in other ways. Her brother, Richard Manoogian, joined her in supporting a number of projects in Armenia.

In 1988, after a devastating earthquake hit Armenia, killing 25,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands wounded and homeless, Louise was on the first U.S cargo plane delivering relief supplies and rescue teams to the disaster area. She spearheaded the disaster relief on behalf of AGBU. An iconic picture of her standing in the ruins near the epicenter of the quake is remembered by many affected by the disaster.

In 1989, Louise was elected the international president of AGBU and began directing operations in 31 countries and 74 cities and oversaw the building of and continued finding of schools, churches, scout programs and services for Armenians worldwide. She opened an office in Yerevan and when Armenia became an independent country following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Louise through the AGBU and her own resources focused efforts on rebuilding a newly independent homeland. she was a charter board member and major benefactor of the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.

After a million miles traveling around the world to oversee operations and projects, in 2002 Louise retired as President of AGBU. However, she continued her huge charitable efforts through the Manoogian Simone Foundation working with, among others, the Armenian Apostolic Church, reconstructing and maintaining hospitals, schools, children’s and cultural centers and historical monuments. And as was always a theme throughout her life, Louise was a significant supporter of the arts and many artists. Though she was most passionate about Armenian causes, Louise was also a great benefactor to American Universities, Museums, and cultural institutions, including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. She received many honors throughout her life, among them the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Louise is survived by a brother Richard, three children, and two grandchildren.

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More Than $8 Million Raised for the Museum

More than $8 million was raised during the telethon on Sunday February 17, for the Armenian American Museum, which will be established in Glendale, California. The telethon aired in ARTN TV, USArmenia TV, Horizon TV, KVMD TV, as well as online and YouTube.
It was well organized and very properly conducted from 4pm to 10pm Pacific Standard Time.

Many large donations were announced – several $100,000, and some more than that. Many philanthropists and community leaders participated in the telethon.

The program was conducted by Manoug Seraydarian, Svetlana Bosnoyan, Arshalouys Dabinyan, Ardavazt Anirian, as well as Berdj Karapetian. All Armenian religious leaders, Apostolic, Catholicos and Protestant churches are on the committee and they were all present during the Telethon, and all conveyed messages and asked for the support of the people. Similarly, the three Armenian political parties, Hunchakian (SDHP), Dashnagtsoutioun (ARF), and Armenian Democratic Liberal party -Ramgavars (ADL) are also part of the committee, also the AGBU and other organizations.

Several Glendale public officials, including the mayor as well as various congressmen and elected officials spoke about the importance of the Armenian American Museum.

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Senator Portantino Introduces Bill to Reestablish the California-Armenia Trade Office

SACRAMENTO – On Thursday February 14, State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) introduced SB 302 to reestablished the California-Armenia Trade Office. In 2005, the original trade was established through legislation by former State Senator Jack Scott, the Schwarzenegger administration later terminated it in 2008.

Senator Portantino and co-authors Senator Scott Wilk, Senator Henry Stein, Senator Scott Wiener, Senator Melissa Hurtado, Assembly member Autumn Burke, and Assembly member Evan Low, hope to build a vibrant business relationship between California and Armenia. Several of these co-authors attended the September Tech Trade trip to Armenia.

Through this legislation, Senator Portantino hopes to capitalize on the trade trip’s positive momentum with establishing the trade office. California is home to one of the largest Armenian populations outside of the capitol Yerevan, Armenia. The 25th Senate District represented by Portantino has the largest Armenian population of any state legislative district in the state. “There is so much excitement and optimism in Armenia under the leadership of Prime Minister Pashinyan and in California under Governor Newsom that we should capitalize on the moment and formalize a positive economic relationship with Yerevan. I was a young politician sitting in the audience when the Jack Scott Bill was signed and I am very pleased to be in a position to help bring it back,” commented Portantino.

Consul General Armen Baiboutian and Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan Joined Portantino

Consul General Armen Baiboutian and Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan joined Portantino in Sacramento to introduce SB 302. Dr. Armen Baiboutian made his first trip to the State Capitol while serving his second term as Consul General representing Armenia in Glendale.

On Friday February 15, Dr. Armen Baiboutian was formally recognized on the State Senate and the State Assembly floor. “There is truly an important development for both California and Armenia. We have long-wanted to re-establish the trade office and are very grateful to Senator Portantino and his colleagues for authoring this promising proposal. I know it will be well received by the Armenian Community in California and business and political leaders in Yerevan,” added Consul General Baibourtian.

In September, Portantino, Stern Sinanyan and the ANCA completed a tech trade trip to Yerevan and Gyumri. The trip was Portantino’s second trip to Armenia. Attending Senators and Assembly members were introduced to many facets of the Armenia tech and education communities in Armenia’s two largest cities. The goal of the trip was to strengthen economic ties between California and Armenia. During his first term in the Senate, Portantino established the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange. Establishing the trade office is a natural extension of these efforts. “Our community in California is igniting a renewed optimism toward the Armenian economy, something Senator Portantino witnesses first hand. We are lucky to have him championing and fostering this formalization effort. Now, the responsibility falls upon all of us to ensure its success. I am confident that the trade offices will lead to mutual economic and social benefit,” commented Mayor Sinanyan.

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Armenia and Siemens to Cooperate in IT Sphere

President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian met with Roland Busch, member of Managing Board of Siemens, in Munich Germany on February 15 in the sidelines at his working visit to Germany. During the meeting, the sides discussed cooperation issues. President Sarkissian and Roland Busch particularly referred to the prospects of cooperation in the sphere of development of artificial intelligence, outlining the possible directions for the cooperation. “There are great potentials in the spheres of the development of artificial intelligence and mathematical know-how. there are the spheres where we can think of doing more. The world has great demand for specialists in artificial intelligence and this is a good opportunity,” Roland Busch said, who will visit Armenian in the near future at the invitation of the Armenian President.

At the end of the meeting Armen Sarkissian said, “We had a great meeting and are optimistic over the future of the possible cooperation”.

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French President Macron Declares April 24 Commermoration Day of Armenian Genocide

Macron Personally Informed Erdogan

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared April 24 as a national day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Macron announced his decision on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019, while speaking to the Armenian community at a dinner in Paris. “France is, first and foremost, the country that knows how to look history in the face, which was among the first to denounce the killing of the Armenian people, which in 1915 named genocide for what it was, which in 2001 after a long struggle recognized it in law.”

In his speech he called for “the citizens of tomorrow to be fully aware of the truths of the past” and protected against all forms of denial. Macron also took to Twitter to announce the decision on declaring April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

Turkey reacted very negatively but Macron said that he had informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the decision to declare April 24th a National Day of Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in advance.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF), where he announced the initiative, he said he informed Erdogan in advance because “he wanted to keep an open dialogue with Turkey,” Euronews reported. “We have disagreements over the fight against the Islamic State, human rights, and civil liberties in Turkey and on the genocide,” Macron said. “We also have points of agreement such as the necessity for a political transition in Syria. As such, dialogue with Turkey is indispensable,” Macron said.

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Turkey Slams France Over Armenian Genocide Day

Turkey has denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to set April 24 as a day to commemorate the “Armenian Genocide” as political manipulation. Macron’s move was an attempt to “save the day” and make political gains as he faces “political problems in his own country,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement on February 6th.

Kalin’s comments come the day after Macron announced that France will make April 24th a “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide.” France was among the first countries to denounce “the murderous hunt of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire,” he said during a speech to the Armenian community at a dinner in Paris.

The French President also said that he had previously informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his decision, according to the AFP news agency.

France, which is home to an estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians, officially recognized the World War I era mass slaughter and deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians as genocide in 2001. At least 22 other countries, including Germany, have taken a similar step. Armenia says the mass killing is one of the first examples of genocide in modern history, predating the Holocaust carried out by Nazi Germany against more than 6 million Jews during World War II. Turkey objects, saying that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and because of civil strife rather than a planned, systemic effort by the Ottoman government against the Christian minority.

Kalin said the “so called genocide” was a “political lie” that had “no legal basis”. “No one can sully our history,” the spokesman added.

Armenians commemorate the massacres on April 24th.

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