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07/31/2006
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1. ARF Bureau Issues Announcement on Lebanon Crisis
2. Bryza Says Karabakh Peace Possible After 2006
3. Turkish Opposition Supports Cross-border Operation

1. ARF Bureau Issues Announcement on Lebanon Crisis

YEREVAN--The Bureau of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation issued an
announcement Monday urging all Armenians to actively participate in the relief
efforts for Lebanon and called for an immediate cease-fire, especially in
light
of the civilian death toll following the Israeli bombing of a shelter in the
city of Qana. Below is the translated text of the announcement:
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has been following the developments of
the last three weeks in the Middle East with grave concern, and condemns the
Israeli bombing of Lebanon's vital infrastructures and people, the most
heinous
of which was the bombing of a shelter in Qana. The ARF also is disappointed in
the international community, especially the leading world powers and the UN
Security Council for their inability to establish an immediate and complete
cease-fire. The international community cannot allow the current bloody
violence to continue against Lebanon, all the while abusing all international
norms and depriving the people of Lebanon of from their fundamental right to
life and property.
The continuous Israeli bombing campaign already has dealt a severe blow to
the
vital mechanisms of the country's vital infrastructure and has turned
significant portions of the population into refugees, a large number of whom
have already left the country. O and others have sought refuge in
governmental
and non-governmental institutions. The intensifying and immediate need for
relief for refugees is far beyond Lebanon's means and requires the immediate
and complete rallying of the international community.
The Lebanese-Armenian communityalthough away from the epicenter of military
activitiesonce again is bearing the brunt of the ramifications of this
acrimonious crisis. Yet again and despite its modest means, our community in
Lebanon, which has come together around its political parties, has extended a
helping hand to tend to the tremendous needs of the refugee population. A
special committee comprised of representatives from Armenian organizations has
taken on the immediate care and needs of the thousands of refugees who have
sought shelter in Armenian-populated areas. On a daily basis the committee is
immersed in the relief this effort, thus enabling helping all governmental and
organizational relief projects to take shape.
The situation resulting from this military campaign has created new
challenges
for our people. It is imperative for our community in Lebanon to be able to
successfully tackle future issues related to the economic stability of
Armenian-populated areas, as well as the security and safety of educational
and
other institutions. All Armenian institutions and factions have a decisive
role
to play in this aspecteffort.
A movement to assist the victims of Lebanon has already begun in the
Diaspora,
and the government of Armenia has already sent the first phase of its relief
shipment to that country. We call on all Armenians, especially our corps of
affiliate organizations, to support Lebanese relief efforts in all countries.
Lebanon often has served as a vital safe haven for the Armenian people. Today,
the people of Lebanon need our moral and financial assistance.


2. Bryza Says Karabakh Peace Possible After 2006

YEREVAN, STEPANAKERT, BAKU (RFE/RL, Armenpress)--The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
will not necessarily remain unresolved in the immediate future if Armenia and
Azerbaijan fail to hammer out a framework peace accord this year, US Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said on Saturday. He insisted that
elections due in the two countries in 2007 and 2008 will not be an
insurmountable obstacle to a compromise solution, reported Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty.
"I think it's possible to work through an election season and still make
progress," Bryza said in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL. "It's up to the
[Armenian and Azeri] presidents as to whether or not they have enough good
will
and political courage to do so. [Their failure to cut a deal in 2006] doesn't
have to be the end of the process. It's just easier, much easier, if we get
the
heavy lifting done now."
Bryza said he still hopes that Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharian
will iron out their differences in the coming months on the most recent peace
proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group. "Of course I'm still hopeful," he said. "If
I weren't hopeful, why would I even want to put in an effort? This isn't about
theater, it's about results."
Bryza was speaking in Yerevan after what he described as "encouraging" talks
with Kocharian that marked the start of his first tour of the conflict zone
since his appointment as US co-chair of the Minsk Group.
In two subsequent statements, the mediating group's American, French and
Russian co-chairs indicated their frustration with the fiasco. They said they
will initiate no more Armenian-Azeri talks until the two sides display greater
commitment to a lasting peace.
Bryza, who proceeded to Stepanakert Saturday, met with Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian, reported Armenpress news agency.
Following the meeting, Ghoukassian said "undoubtedly, one of the principal
issues of our meeting was the participation of Nagorno Karabakh in the
negotiations, and I think that Mr. Bryza understands that without Nagorno
Karabakh the conflict cannot be settled." He added that he believes that all
mediators also realize the necessity for Karabakh to participate in the peace
talks.
Ghoukassian noted that without visiting Karabakh and getting acquainted with
the situation on the ground, the newly-appointed co-chair would not be able to
completely grasp the situation in the region.
"I did not have major expectations from Mr. Bryza's visit as I knew that he
would not be putting forth new proposals, but was here to listen to us. In
this
respect my expectations have been justified because we could entirely present
our positions," Ghoukassian said. He also discussed the fact that mediators
had
not visited Karabakh for a long time, explaining that he had received several
invitations to meet with negotiators in Yerevan, but "I think that it would be
right to hold such meetings in Stepanakert," Ghoukassian explained.
"The ideas, which were to be specified, coordinated and discussed for a long
time, have been articulated," said Karabakh Foreign Minister Georgi
Petrossian,
who participated in the meeting.
"Mr. Bryza is energetic enough to make up his mind constructively," the
minister said.
After the meeting Bryza refused to comment on the meeting noting at the same
time that it was held in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
"It is just a familiarizing visit and I have not arrived here to present any
new suggestions. I have arrived here to get acquainted with your viewpoints
and
suggestions," Bryza said.
Noting that it would be wrong to have any expectations from the visit,
Matthew
Bryza also said that after the regional visit he will leave for Paris to
discuss all approaches and suggestions with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk
Group, reported the Armenpress news agency.
Bryza, who is apparently the most high-ranking US official to ever visit
Karabakh, appeared to downplay the Stepanakert government's objections,
implying that it is Baku and Yerevan that have final say in the peace process.
"It's really up to Presidents Kocharian and Aliyev whether or not they will
agree to the formula," he said. "We are just waiting for a sign from the
presidents as to whether or not they would like to restart a formal process,"
he added.
Bryza said he is visiting the region to get "some more guidance from the
presidents themselves to determine how they would like to take the process
further." He said he was assured by Kocharian that the Minsk Group plan is
essentially acceptable to Yerevan, reported RFE/RL.
"I enjoyed hearing his account of where things stand and how we got here," he
said. "I felt a constructive, candid attitude on his part. He was very open.
And he helped me think through what sort of recommendations I might bring
to my
fellow co-chairs."
Asked whether he found the kind of "political will" for compromise which was
demanded by the mediators, Bryza replied: "I think there is political will
here
definitely to keep the process going. There have been public statements that
the [Minsk Group's proposed] framework, the principles are agreeable [for
Armenia].
"What's never clear is whether or not there is enough will on both sides to
eliminate or to resolve the distance that still stands between them. But I
will
just say I feel encouraged after today's discussions."
Armenian officials have claimed implicitly that the two rounds of
negotiations
between Kocharian and Aliyev this year collapsed because the latter
backtracked
on his earlier acceptance of the key principles of the peace plan that were
officially disclosed by the Minsk Group co-chairs last month. Bryza
effectively
denied this and was careful not to blame any of the parties for the deadlock,
saying that they both want to "enact some changes to the ideas that are on the
table."
"The principles that are on the table don't constitute an agreement," argued
the US administration official. "They are principles, suggestions. So it's not
possible for anyone to walk away from an agreement, if there isn't an
agreement."
At the heart of those principles is the idea of holding a referendum on
Karabakh's status after the liberation of most of the Armenian-occupied
districts in Azerbaijan proper surrounding the disputed enclave. Bryza
confirmed that the mediators believe the status should be decided by the
"people of Karabakh" "But the question is how do you define the people of
Karabakh? And there were residents there in 1988 who wish to participate," he
added in a clear reference to the region's displaced Azeri minority. "All
these
things have still to be worked out as part of a broad package."
Following Bryza's visit to Baku, Aliyev made a speech on AzTV saying,
"neither
today nor tomorrow, or under any conditions, Azerbaijan will agree to the
separation of Nagorno Karabakh," reported Armenpress.
Aliyev said that the issue of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan cannot
become a subject for the discussion at the negotiations. "Azerbaijan will not
agree to the conditions which imply separation of Nagorno Karabakh," Aliyev
stressed.
Other Azeri officials have repeatedly stated in recent weeks that they will
never accept any deal that could legitimize Karabakh's secession from
Azerbaijan. Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov was quoted by the Day.az news
service earlier this week as indicating that Baku is only ready to let the
Karabakh Armenians decide the extent of their autonomy within Azerbaijan. "The
principle of self-determination does not mean a breach of territorial
integrity," Mammadyarov said.
Some of them warned earlier that failure to do so before the end of this year
would keep the peace process deadlocked for at least three more years. They
pointed to parliamentary and presidential elections due in Armenia in 2007 and
2008 respectively and an Azeri presidential ballot scheduled for 2008. Many
observers believe that it will be even more difficult for each side to make
painful concessions to the other in the run-up to the polls.
But in an indication of the mediators' fading hopes for 2006, Bryza insisted
that a Karabakh settlement will be feasible even during the election
period. "I
don't necessarily feel that there needs to be a hard deadline on the peace
process," he said. "It's better if we have a sense of what compromises
might be
suggested before other political events [in Armenia and Azerbaijan] move
forward. But it doesn't have to be by the end of this year."
"I would argue that the elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan don't pose an
obstacle to reaching an agreement," continued the US mediator. "They just pose
an additional complicating factor. It's up to the presidents to guide their
populations or societies, their voters in whatever direction they wish: a) to
win the vote for themselves and their political parties, but b) to build
support for the agreement.
"If the presidents succeed, with our help as mediators, in finalizing and
eliminating the final differences with regard to this framework agreement and
if they come up with an agreement that's mutually acceptable, that should be a
plus in an election. That's a huge achievement that should actually help
political leaders and their parties to win votes. So it could be useful to
have
elections. The is question is, though, will the presidents have decided to
take
these tough decisions in time?"


3. Turkish Opposition Supports Cross-border Operation

ANKARA (Zaman)--Opposition parties in the parliament have given their full
support to the Turkish cabinet's statement that 'Turkey is going to make full
use of its international rights to prevent terrorist attacks against the
country,' Zaman Daily reports.
The Republican People's Party (CHP) said the decision may even be called a
belated one, while the True Path Party (DYP) said they would fully support the
government in a "cross-border operation."
The Motherland Party said Turkey should risk everything for the unity of the
country.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) stated Turkey's legitimate defense right
is fully supported in international law, while the Great Union Party (BBP)
announced Turkey should enter northern Iraq and eradicate terrorism by
implementing permanent measures.
CHP's Parliamentary Group Deputy Leader Ali Topuz held a news conference at
the parliament and gave his assessment on the stance the government has taken
to combat terrorism.
Citing that Turkey does not need permission from other countries to implement
counter-terrorism offensives, Topuz said, "Turkey has the right, and is even
obliged to eradicate terrorism at its source."
Topuz asked the government not to follow the "suggestions intended to
distract
the nation," which are likely to come from the United States and Iraq, and
warned that if the government followed such suggestions and its failure to
carry out defense operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), would
result in a greater situation.
In a news conference held at the party's headquarters, Motherland Party
leader
Erkan Mumcu announced his party's support for the notion of a cross-border
operation.
Mumcu called on the Parliament to convene an extraordinary session and
issue a
"joint declaration" on the issue.
Mumcu asked the government to employ good judgment, and said Turkey should
show its determination to use its legitimate rights within the framework of
international law when its national security is in danger of being
compromised.

Addressing members of the press outside the parliament building in Ankara,
DYP
leader Mehmet Agar stressed that Turkey may implement its rights under
international law if diplomatic efforts prove fruitless.
Asking the government to be courageous, Agar said, "Our opposition will
not go
beyond Habur.
Counter-terrorism is a totally national concept and we fully support the
government if Turkey is to take a step in this direction."
MHP leader Devlet Bahceli issued a written statement saying that terrorist
actions aimed at compromising the country's security and national unity have
started to escalate to a dangerous level.
Bahceli pointed out all the necessary measures must be taken for an effective
struggle against terrorism and political divisiveness, as he called for a
total
mobilization to ensure this.
BBP leader Muhsin Yazicioglu gave an assessment on the issue during a
visit to
the office of the Saglik-Is (Trade Union for Health).
Yazicioglu also said that Turkey should launch a cross-border operation,
adding that those supporting terrorism should be considered "the enemy" no
matter where they are in the world and they should be punished.
Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer, in a written statement,
emphasized the right to conduct a cross-border operation is in Turkey's hand.
Sezer said no country can solve its problems with the help of other
countries,
adding that Turkey should show that establishing security beyond its
borders is
its own decision.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress