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08/03/2005
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1) ANC Office Opens Doors to the Middle East
2) Azerbaijan Close to Agreement on Hosting US Forces
3) Greek PM Puts off Turkey Visit Ahead of EU Talks
4) Karabagh Accuses Azeri Media of Stirring Public Opinion, Points to
International Law for Conflict Resolution

1) ANC Office Opens Doors to the Middle East

BEIRUT (Aztagdaily)--A ceremony marking the opening of an Armenian National
Committee (ANC) Middle East office was held on August 2 in Beirut, Lebanon.
As the ANC offices of the United States and Europe, the Middle East office
will promote Armenian genocide recognition efforts throughout the region.
Among those present for the celebration were ARF Bureau representative Hrant
Markarian, members of ARF Lebanon's leadership, Lebanese Parliament member
Hagop Pakrodouni, Armenia's Ambassador to Lebanon Areg Hovhannisian, and Bourj
Hammoud Mayor Antranig Messerlian.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of the Middle East office
Vera Yacoubian noted the successes of the ANC in the US and Europe and
explained the necessity for establishing the office.
"This undertaking by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is based on the
necessity to expand our reach and coordinate activities so as to counter
Turkey's efforts to deny the Armenian genocide."
She noted the difficulties of the imminent challenges, but stressed that
every
occasion must be exerted to overcome them by presenting the case of Armenians
to Middle Eastern intellectuals and political forces.
ARF Bureau representative Markarian said it is imperative to develop
relations
in the Middle East where Armenians found refuge after the genocide and have
also lived for centuries. Pointing to political interests that promote
anti-Islam sentiment, he said that we unintentionally end up on the opposition
end.
"Our cause is a political one, which should not be placed in the category of
religion or faith. We must, therefore, not forcibly end up on the losing side
while our opposition is victorious."


2) Azerbaijan Close to Agreement on Hosting US Forces

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)--Azerbaijan and the US are close to reaching an
agreement on establishing a US military presence in Azerbaijan, reported the
Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The move the paper said would follow
the
pull out of US forces from Uzbekistan.
"This move that Washington is pushing for is almost completed," an unnamed
source close to Azerbaijan's foreign ministry told the Russian paper.
Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who met US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday, reportedly discussed the possible deployment.
Washington announced last week that Uzbekistan had given the US 180 days to
close an air base there, which is used to support operations in Afghanistan.
Citing a source in the Azerbaijan's security forces, the paper said that a
team of US military experts are already in Azerbaijan reviewing possible sites
for hosting the US military. One site is reportedly near the capital of Baku,
and the other close to the Iranian border.
After his meeting with Rice, Mammadyarov referred to the Karabagh conflict,
telling journalists that as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, the US will
exert
effort to make the regulation process more effective. He also said that the US
position on the Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is unchanged. Mammadyarov
also met with Minsk Group's US co-chair Steven Mann.
While in Washington, Mammadyarov will hold meetings in the Pentagon and
National Security Council, and will meet with representatives of the National
Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, International
Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and non-governmental organizations.
He will also address representatives of the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce
in the Washington based Azerbaijan Trade and Cultural Center on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Mammadyarov will deliver a speech at the US Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace.


3) Greek PM Puts off Turkey Visit Ahead of EU Talks

ATHENS (Reuters)--Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis postponed this
month's
trip to Turkey on August 3 as pressure grew for Ankara to recognize Cyprus
before starting EU accession talks in October, an official at the prime
minister's office said.
Greek officials said that the trip, which would have been the first by a
Greek
premier to Turkey in more than 46 years, will take place at a later date but
did not say why it was postponed.
"The prime minister will visit Ankara later in the autumn," the official told
Reuters. "The date has not yet been determined."
Diplomats said the trip, announced during a meeting of the two leaders on a
Greece-Turkey border post last month, was too close to October 3, when Turkey
is expected to start European Union accession talks.
"Let's just say a visit after October 3 would be more comfortable. After that
date, the visit will be less complicated," a diplomatic source told Reuters.
"The two sides could not agree now on the date and the agenda of the meeting."
The diplomat added that the decision to postpone the trip was taken in late
July before Turkey signed a key EU protocol with new member states of the
bloc,
including Cyprus, but which Ankara refused to recognize.
While ties between the former arch-rivals have greatly improved in the past
six years, they remain divided over the island of Cyprus, split along ethnic
lines for over 30 years.
Turkey signed a protocol on July 29 extending its customs union to new EU
members including Cyprus, clearing the last official obstacle to the start of
EU entry talks.
However, the country also issued a declaration making clear the signing did
not mean official recognition of Cyprus, whose Greek Cypriot government is
viewed in Brussels as the sole legitimate authority. The government has no
diplomatic ties to Turkey, which invaded the northern third of the island in
1974.
"This move certainly did not facilitate the visit," the diplomatic source
said.
Athens, which is a strong supporter of Turkey's bid for EU membership, has
called on Ankara to "lift this paradox" of not recognizing a member of a club
it wishes to join, while other EU members including Austria and France want
full recognition of Cyprus before the start of accession talks.
"It doesn't seem conceivable to me that a negotiation process of whatever
kind
can start with a country that does not recognize every member state of the EU,
in other words all 25 of them," French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
said yesterday.


4) Karabagh Accuses Azeri Media of Stirring Public Opinion, Points to
International Law for Conflict Resolution

STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)--Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) accused
Azerbaijan's media yesterday of misrepresenting its positions and stirring
public opinion as a result.
"Without knowing the details and the pace of the peace talks on regulating
the
Karabagh conflict, inaccuracies about our position are published," the MKR
Foreign Ministry said through a statement on Tuesday.
The result, according to the statement, is that the Azeri public is not
allowed to evaluate the continuing discussions, as well as alternative
means to
attaining peace.
"It is beyond any doubt that a proper resolution to the conflict can only be
found by establishing effective ties between Karabagh and Azerbaijan."
The ministry stressed that the conflict must be regulated on the basis of
international law, and Azerbaijan's leadership is responsible for any
consequences resulting from unrestrained military actions.


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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress