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03/30/2005
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1) US Stance on Armenian Genocide May Ease Turkey-US Tensions
2) Armenia Makes New Bid for Extra US Aid
3) Switzerland Urges Turkey to Face The Past
4) Deputy Commander of US European Command Visits Yerevan
5) DM Says Azerbaijan Would Sustain Huge Defeat in War, Calls for `Painful'
Compromise Solution
6) Syrian Delegation at ARF Center

1) US Stance on Armenian Genocide May Ease Turkey-US Tensions

ISTANBUL (AFP)--The United States will help ease tensions with Turkey if it
sticks to its stance of not recognizing the "killings of Armenians under the
Ottoman Empire as genocide," Anatolia news agency quoted a senior Turkish
official as saying.
Turkey expects Washington "to maintain the sound position on the issue it has
displayed in the past as a first step...[towards] leaving current disturbances
behind so that Turkish-US ties can progress on a healthy basis," the head of
the National Security Council, Yigit Alpogan said.
"We believe the American administration will not give the green light to
slanders which render all Turks as children of murderers," Alpogan told a
gathering of a Turkish-American business group.
Washington has so far refrained from terming the World War I massacres as
genocide, despite pressure from pro-Armenian lobbies.
Ankara is concerned that the Armenians will this year [on the 90th
anniversary
of the Armenian genocide] step up their campaign to have the events
acknowledged as genocide by Washington--at a time when Turkish-US relations
are
markedly strained by differences over Iraq.
In October 2000, a draft congressional resolution acknowledging the killings
as genocide was pulled from the House floor following an intervention by then
president Bill Clinton, who argued that the United State not damage its ties
with Turkey, a key Muslim ally.
Since then, however, those ties have deteriorated.
The Turkish parliament stunned Washington just before the occupation of Iraq
in March 2003 when it denied US troops access to Turkish territory for a
planned invasion of Iraq from the north.
Relations between the two NATO allies were further strained by US reluctance
to take military action against Turkish Kurd rebels in northern Iraq and
Ankara's concern that Iraqi Kurds are getting too much power in post-war Iraq.


2) Armenia Makes New Bid for Extra US Aid

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--The Armenian government has submitted new, more modest
proposals for additional US economic assistance under the Millennium Challenge
Account program, almost six months after presenting its initial application.
The Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday that the government has asked for
about $175 million worth of aid and hopes that its upcoming negotiations with
the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government agency managing
the
scheme, will be successful. "In the coming months the government of Armenia
and
the MCC will hold negotiations in order to reach a final agreement on the
issue," the ministry said in a statement.
Armenia had initially sought $900 million worth of aid over three years, but
lowered expectations after Armenian and US officials met in October.
A Finance Ministry statement revealed the government approved the new aid
application on March 25 and submitted it to Washington on Tuesday. Most of the
requested money would be spent on rebuilding battered irrigation networks and
roads in rural regions of Armenia.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was unveiled by President George W.
Bush last year. Armenia is among 16 developing nations eligible for the
program's first $1 billion aid allocation. They were chosen on the basis of 16
indicators of political and economic reforms.
Armenia has already been a leading per-capita recipient of US assistance
which
has totaled more than $1.5 billion since 1992.


3) Switzerland Urges Turkey to Face The Past

(AFP)--Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey on Tuesday urged Turkey to
carry out a detailed study on the Armenians genocide, under Ottoman rule
during
World War I.
"We think that it is essential that every country conduct an in-depth
historical research of its own past, especially when the question is so
painful," Calmy-Rey told reporters after talks with her Turkish counterpart
Abdullah Gul.
The Swiss minister was speaking on the first day of an official visit which
was originally supposed to take place in 2003, but was cancelled after the
Swiss canton of Vaud officially recognized the 1915 genocide of Armenians.
Shortly afterwards, the lower house of the Swiss parliament also followed
suit--against the Bern government's advice--and adopted a similar resolution,
unleashing an angry response from Ankara.
Referring to Turkey's call for an "unbiased" study by [Turkish] historians of
its past, Calmy-Rey called the move a "good idea," but said she had
proposed to
Gul the inclusion of international experts in such a commission for the
credibility of the work.


4) Deputy Commander of US European Command Visits Yerevan

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)--Gen. Charles F. Wald, US European Command Deputy
(USEUCOM) Commander, arrived in Armenia on March 30 to discuss developing
US-Armenia military ties.
During his meeting with President Robert Kocharian, General Wald discussed
US-Armenia military technical cooperation, as well as developments in the
Karabagh conflict regulation.
Gen. Wald noted the importance for both for the US and Europe to ensure
stability and peace in the region.
While in Yerevan, General Wald and his staff will also meet with Defense
Minister Serge Sargsian and members of the Armenian military leadership.
USEUCOM, based in Stuttgart, Germany, is responsible for all US forces
operating across 91 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia, and
the
Middle East, as well as most of the Atlantic Ocean. General Wald became Deputy
Commander of the United States European Command on Dec 2, 2002.
Meanwhile, the periodic session of the NATO's Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council's Atlantic Policy Advisory Group will take place in Yerevan, March
31-April 1, with the participation of 65 representatives from NATO's 38 member
and partner countries. They will discuss security issues in the Euro-Atlantic
region.
The deputy of the NATO Secretary General on political relations and security
policy issues, GŁnter Altenburg, will chair the session. He will also meet
with
President Kocharian, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, and Defense Minister
Sargsian.


5) DM Says Azerbaijan Would Sustain Huge Defeat in War, Calls for `Painful'
Compromise Solution

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--Addressing parliamentary hearings on resolving the
Mountainous Karabagh conflict, Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsian
said he
has no doubts that the long-standing dispute can be solved only through
peaceful means, based on mutual compromises.
He cautioned, however, that if Azerbaijan resumes hostilities in an effort to
take Mountainous Karabagh back, it would `sustain a heavy defeat.'
"The price we might pay for it would depend on how strongly the Armenian
people and political forces back the army. If--God forbid--the situation in
Armenia resembles that of Azerbaijan of 1992-1994, we may face a catastrophe,"
he said. He also added that he did not rule out the possibility of resumption
of war.
`I did not deny such a possibility in 1995, 1998, and in 2000--and I do not
deny it now. There is always the threat of a new war and there are no
guarantees against it,' he said.
Sargsian went on to argue that the regulation process would be painful for
both nations, as only a compromised solution is possible. `Compromise means
that you have to give in part of what you have, which is always a painful
process. The compromise solution must be first of all backed by Armenians and
not only by the political elite,' he said.
Sargsian outlined acceptable compromises that include the implementation of
Council of Europe Resolution 1416, another referendum of independence in
Karabagh, and a return of seized lands. `We could make concessions on the
condition that Azeri side gives clear guarantees of non-resumption of military
actions which must be confirmed by authoritative international organizations
and states,' he said.


6) Syrian Delegation at ARF Center

YEREVAN (Yerkir)--The delegation of 12 Arab tribal leaders from Syria, met
with
the leadership of Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Armenia on
Wednesday,
at the ARF Simon Vratsian Center in Yerevan.
The tribal leaders, who are participating in events marking the 90th
anniversary of the Armenian genocide, conveyed that their century-long
friendship with Armenian is a firm and lasting one.
Representatives of the Armenian parliament also met with the Arab leaders,
and
thanked them for respecting the memory of the genocide victims, as well as for
the kindness of their ancestors who gave refuge to the fragments of Armenians
who miraculously survived the genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey in 1915.


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