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ASBAREZ Online [10-18-2005]

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  • ASBAREZ Online [10-18-2005]


    1) Armenia's Military Spending to Keep Pace with Azerbaijan
    2) 'Hamshen and Hamshen Armenians' conference concludes in Sochi
    3) Turkey Warns it May Take Action against PKK in North Iraq
    4) Orange County Community Welcomes His Holiness Aram I

    1) Armenia's Military Spending to Keep Pace with Azerbaijan

    YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--A nearly 20 percent increase in Armenia's military spending
    next year is a response to the drastic rise in similar expenditures in
    neighboring Azerbaijan, officials in Yerevan said following Tuesday's closed
    meeting of parliamentary commissions.
    National Assembly Standing Defense, Internal Affairs and National Security
    Commission Chairman Mher Shahgeldian confirmed plans to increase next year's
    military budget to $150 million.
    Saying that the move was planned considering Azerbaijan's drastic increase in
    military spending, the lawmaker added: "We should pay attention to this
    correlation. Our task in this case is to preserve our qualitative level to
    ensure the country's defense capability and security."
    Minister of Defense Serge Sarkisian said the sum is sufficient to ensure the
    country's defense.
    "This amount of spending is the minimum to ensure a due level of our army's
    combat efficiency," he told the media. "For the first time the defense budget
    has been made not proceeding from the absolute sum of previous years, but from
    the percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), that is, there is an
    agreement that at least 3 percent of our GDP should be spent for defense
    Meanwhile, Azerbaijan plans to double its military spending in 2006
    it to $650 million.
    During the press conference, Sarkisian also spoke about the possible outcome
    of upcoming elections in Azerbaijan and how they could influence the Karabagh
    peace process.
    "It is natural that if the opposition suddenly wins perhaps the negotiating
    process would have to begin from scratch, and if the authorities win, I think
    the negotiating process will be continued," the minister said.
    Regarding his trip to Washington slated for late October, Sarkisian said it
    was a routine visit, and not one to intensify military cooperation with the
    US--at the expense of Armenian-Russian relations. "We wish to be friends with
    both sides," the minister said.
    Talking about the upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments, Sarkisian
    said: "I don't want this referendum to be compared to a football match. I
    that in case of proper work, a sufficient number of voters will turn out and
    will say 'yes' to the constitutional amendments."

    2) 'Hamshen and Hamshen Armenians' conference concludes in Sochi

    YEREVAN (Yerkir)--A three-day conference about Hamshen and Hamshen Armenians
    ended on October 15 in the southern Russian city of Sochi, home to over
    Hamshen Armenians.
    Currently a part of Turkey, Hamshen was a historic Armenian region that was
    conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1491. Some Hamshen Armenians adopted Islam,
    while others emigrated to the Russian Empire.
    The conference was organized by the History Institute of the Armenian
    Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Armenian Revolutionary
    (ARF) Moscow Armenian Affairs office, with the support of Hamshen Union of the
    Krasnodar region, and Yerkramas Armenian news center located in southern
    Scholars from Armenia, Russia, Iran, and the United States, including UCLA
    Professor Richard Hovannisian, participated in the conference.
    ARF Bureau representative Hrant Margarian, ARF Bureau member and National
    Assembly Vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannisian, ARF's Moscow Armenian Affairs Office
    Director Yura Navoyan, European Armenian Federation Chairwoman Hilda
    and ARF Bureau's Armenian and Political Affairs Office Director Giro Manoyan,
    also participated.
    The reports of the conference will be published in Armenian, Turkish, Russian
    and English.
    Organizers and participants noted that the event holds not only scientific
    significance but that it also served as a bridge between Hamshen Armenians,
    Armenia, and diaspora Armenians.
    There are currently 400,000 Hamshen Armenians, half of which are Muslims.
    Christian Hamshen Armenians reside in Abkhazia and the Krasnodar region of

    3) Turkey Warns it May Take Action against PKK in North Iraq

    ANKARA (Reuters)--Turkey said on Tuesday it would take steps to end the
    presence of Turkish Kurd rebels in the mountains of northern Iraq, but stopped
    short of directly threatening military action.
    Turkish officials have repeatedly demanded US, Iraqi Kurd, and Iraqi
    government forces crack down on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces in north
    Iraq from where rebel leaders direct their fight for Kurdish self-rule in
    nearby Turkey.
    "The principal point which we have stressed at these meetings is that the
    terrorist presence in northern Iraq must be combated," Prime Minister Tayyip
    Erdogan told a meeting of his parliamentary party.
    "So far, Turkey has maintained a patient stance."
    But, he said: "Our nation expects us to take effective measures to clean up
    the terrorist presence in the region. We will take clear and effective
    steps to
    bring this about. I remind you we will do what is necessary when the time is
    In the 1990s, Turkish forces launched repeated raids into northern Iraq to
    hunt down PKK rebels in the mountainous region. Turkey still keeps several
    hundred soldiers inside Iraq, close to the Turkish border, despite Iraqi calls
    for them to leave.
    But since the 2003 Iraq war, Turkish troops have not mounted any operations
    inside Iraq against the PKK which is based on the Qandil Mountain in the far
    northeast of the country.
    US officials admit their troops are too tied up fighting the insurgency in
    Iraq to turn their attention to the PKK which rarely engages in any hostile
    activity inside Iraq.

    4) Orange County Community Welcomes His Holiness Aram I

    Pontiff meets World Vision, students, and visits Glendale Adventist and Ararat

    LOS ANGELES--His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia
    kept to his busy schedule, reaching out to all parts of the southern
    community and on October 13, traveled to Orange County to visit Forty Martyrs
    Armenian Apostolic Church in Santa Ana. Greeting His Holiness were leaders
    Forty Martyrs Church and the various community organizations as well as clergy
    from the Coptic Church and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido with the welcoming
    procession led by the Homenetmen scouts. Anticipating the visit, The Orange
    County Register newspaper had printed a lengthy article that day about His
    After presiding over Hrashapar service, the community proceeded to the large
    community center adjacent to the church for a special welcoming banquet
    cultural program. In his remarks during the banquet His Holiness stressed that
    there should consistently be greater collaboration and unity in the community
    and the church with a renewed level of proactive participation, especially
    the youth.
    Earlier His Holiness started his day meeting with the international Christian
    relief and development organization World Vision in Monrovia, California,
    he held leadership meetings to discuss strengthening ecumenical collaboration
    and partnerships between churches and humanitarian organizations. His Holiness
    also spent some time at Glendale Adventist Medical Center where he met with
    medical center's President Scott Reiner, the center's leadership, and visited
    patients. The Glendale News-Press and the Associated Press wire service
    his visit to Glendale Adventist.
    On Thursday afternoon, His Holiness met with over 250 college students at
    Glendale Community College, an event organized by the ARF Shant Student
    Association and co-sponsored by the Armenian Student Associations of Glendale
    Community College, the University of California Los Angeles, California State
    University Los Angeles, and Loyola Marymount University. His Holiness partook
    in a lengthy open forum question and answer session in order to make the
    session interactive. He answered questions regarding religion, faith,
    education, the church, Christianity, and moral and family values. Students
    away from the forum feeling enlightened and inspired because of their intimate
    interaction with His Holiness as he clearly articulated his philosophy on the
    many current issues facing students in everyday life. As with all the events
    during the visit, the college student session received an enthusiastic
    because of the ability of His Holiness to connect with all people, including
    the youth.
    On the previous day, His Holiness visited the Ararat Home in Mission Hills,
    immediately after returning from Fresno, California. There he met with the
    Ararat Home's Board of Trustees and staff and spent time with residents.
    Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western United States stated:
    "His Holiness specifically wanted to visit the Ararat Home to share his love,
    care, and respect toward our mothers and fathers."

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    From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress