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03/31/2005
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1) ANCA Warns Armenian American Community Groups about TARC/ICTJ Threat to the
Armenian Cause
2) Export-Import Bank of US Expands Support for Armenia
3) Baku Eventually Has to Sit Down and Negotiate with MKR, Says Ghukassian
4) Abkhazia to Preserve Independent Status

1) ANCA Warns Armenian American Community Groups about TARC/ICTJ Threat to the
Armenian Cause

WASHINGTON, DC--Responding to the Turkish government's increasingly aggressive
campaign to deny justice for the Armenian genocide, the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA) this week circulated a letter warning all the
leading Armenian American organizations about the "quiet, but profoundly
dangerous, campaign by Turkey aimed at the very heart of our community's
struggle to secure full recognition, proper commemoration, and a just
resolution of the Armenian Genocide." Below is the text of that letter:

`I would like to convey to you our deep concern about a quiet, but profoundly
dangerous, campaign by Turkey aimed at the very heart of our community's
struggle to secure full recognition, proper commemoration, and a just
resolution of the Armenian Genocide.
`Successive US administrations have sought to appease Turkey's sensitivities
on this issue through the use of evasive wording each April 24th and
opposition
to Congressional legislation on the first genocide of modern history. We have,
however, succeeded in building Congressional opposition to Turkey's policy of
denial, kept this issue on the US legislative agenda, and, particularly in
light of the recent strains in US-Turkish relations, approached the critical
mass necessary to overcome the opposition to proper US recognition of the
Armenian Genocide. It is exactly this momentum that is now being attacked by
Turkey and its allies in the Administration.
`The Turkish government's motivation in this matter is clear.
Recognizing the failure of its campaign of genocide denial, Ankara has fallen
back to exploring a position of acknowledgment without consequences. These
efforts enjoy the support of well-placed State
Department and Pentagon officials--adherents of outdated Cold War-era thinking
about the US-Turkey relationship. These American and Turkish officials have
sought to create the false impression of Armenian backing for this patently
anti-Armenian undertaking by securing the nominal support of a handful of
Armenians. In this way, they seek to disguise the true nature of their
initiative and to add a measure of undeserved credibility to a campaign
crafted
specifically to deny justice to the Armenian people.
`The main vehicle for the Turkish government's effort toward this end has
been
the discredited Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC), a group
substantially funded by the State Department and rejected by Armenians
worldwide. A study commissioned several years ago by TARC is being used as an
instrument of this current "genocide without justice" campaign. It should be
noted that, although a New York-based group called the International Center
for
Transitional Justice (ICTJ) apparently helped TARC identify an author for this
study, the report was --at ICTJ's own admission--written entirely
independently
of the ICTJ.
Despite repeated requests for transparency, neither the ICTJ, nor anyone
affiliated with TARC has, so far, revealed the author or authors.
`This paper confirms the obvious: the systematic and deliberate annihilation
of 1.5 million Armenians is indeed a case of genocide under the UN Genocide
Convention. The anonymous author(s), however, go on to find that the Armenian
nation has no recourse under the Convention. Although the report specifically
states that its scope is limited to the Genocide Convention alone and that it
does not endeavor to determine whether other international laws were violated,
it summarily rejects the application of the Convention--the most comprehensive
statutory expression of the international community's commitment to preventing
and punishing the crime of genocide - using poor documentation and analysis,
thereby substantially and materially prejudicing the ability of Armenians to
seek redress. There are many distinguished scholars, including Dr. Alfred de
Zayas, the former Secretary of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, who
disagree with this particular conclusion and who argue persuasively that the
Genocide Convention is legally applicable to the Armenian Genocide.
`The Turkish government and its surrogates are today aggressively using this
document to seek to escape responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. Taking
advantage of the veneer provided by the token Armenian participation in TARC,
they are seeking to create the false impression that a meaningful segment of
the Armenian American community accepts the concept that Turkey should be
allowed to remain unaccountable for the genocide of the Armenians. Simply
put--the sponsors of TARC seek to manipulate elements of the Armenian
community
into forfeiting all our rights and compromising the future of our nation based
on nothing more than a cursory four-page analysis in a single, anonymously
written, seventeen-page report commissioned by a discredited Turkish
government-linked organization.
`As the collective leaders of the Armenian American community, we, of course,
understand that the formula of "recognition without consequences" of the
Armenian Genocide lacks any moral or legal basis. The present day Republic of
Turkey is heir to the Ottoman Empire, the beneficiary of the fruits of
genocide, the architect of an eight-decade long campaign of denial aimed at
evading accountability, and the entity currently eradicating our remaining
community and cultural presence in Turkey. As such, Turkey bears full
responsibility to make reparations and restitution to the Armenian nation for
the massacres, expropriation of property, and the exile--for nearly a
century--of our people from our ancestral homeland of more than three thousand
years.
`The stakes could not be higher. We must, as a community, clearly recognize
the dangers presented by this threat, decisively reject efforts to deny our
rights, and recommit ourselves to the necessary work of securing justice for
our nation and people.'


2) Export-Import Bank of US Expands Support for Armenia

--ANCA Welcomes Move to Broaden US-Armenia Commercial Opportunities

WASHINGTON, DC--In a move welcomed by Armenian Americans and the growing
number of US firms doing business with Armenia, the Export-Import Bank of the
United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced last week the expansion of its loan
guarantee, export credit insurance, and direct loan programs in Armenia.
"We welcome this contribution by EXIM to the expansion of US-
Armenia commercial relations," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
"We
appreciate the role of the Bank in fostering an environment of greater
bilateral economic cooperation and look forward to the new job-creation
opportunities that this expansion will make possible."
The policy change to its "cover policy arrangements" includes new support for
short and medium term programs in Armenian public sector. These changes,
effective as of today, were based on risk rating changes made by the US
Interagency Country Risk Assessment System. Short term deals typically last up
to one year, while medium term transactions last between one and seven years.
Ex-Im Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, is in its
71st year of helping finance the sale of US exports, primarily to emerging
markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit
insurance and direct loans. In fiscal year 2004, Ex-Im Bank authorized
financing to support $17.8 billion of US exports worldwide. For further
information on Ex-Im Bank programs in Armenia, visit Ex-Im Bank's web site at
<http://www.exim.gov/>www.exim.gov.


3) Baku Eventually Has to Sit Down and Negotiate with MKR, Says Ghukassian

YEREVAN (Yerkir)--Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) president Ghukassian
said
on Thursday that while Azerbaijan seeks negotiations exclusively with Armenia
(in resolving it conflict with MKR), it at the same time makes every effort to
convince the international committee that Armenia is an expansionist nation,
and demands appropriate repercussions.
"We are trying to regulate the fundamental problem, and the Azeri side is
busy
with propaganda," Ghukassian told a press conference in Armenia's capital of
Yerevan.
As an example, he cited Azerbaijan's effort to take the issue of MKR
territories to the UN, yet again, and said these activities reveal that
Azerbaijan is not ready for a resolution, rather tries to disturb the
negotiation process by delaying it.
Asked whether MKR is eventually be a part of negotiations, he recalled the
Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) 1994 Budapest
summit's
recommendation to the Minsk group co-chairs, that in fact, Armenia,
Azerbaijan,
and Mountainous Karabagh negotiate a settlement.
"Although that recommendation has not been implemented, I am convinced that
sooner or later, Azerbaijan will be forced to negotiate with MKR; without
that,
the negotiation process will not yield results."
Responding to questions about concessions, Ghukassian said: "When Azerbaijan
announces that it refuses to even discuss the issue of concessions, and seeks
an autonomous Karabagh under Azeri rule, then talking about concessions is
absurd. Our concessions would be based on Azerbaijan's concessions, and would
be one-sided."
He also stressed that it is useless to talk about concessions when
negotiations are not active. "MKR is an established republic; though they do
not recognize us, we have an army, a national assembly, a government.'
OSCE's chairman in office and foreign minister of Slovenia Dimitri Rupel,
after meeting with Ghukassian yesterday, announced that a solid window for
negotiations would open between Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Mountainous Karabagh
by summer's end, "and that is a positive sign for a peaceful resolution to the
Karabagh conflict."


4) Abkhazia to Preserve Independent Status

TBILISI (RIA Novosti)--The political status of Abkhazia was determined once
and
for all, Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh said at a press conference in Sukhumi
on Wednesday.
According to him, at the referendum of 1999, Abkhaz people voted for the
country's independence.
Sergei Bagapsh denied the information that the leaders of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia (self-proclaimed republics in Georgia) were ready to negotiate with
the
Georgian side on the formation of a federative union state, etc.," the
Novosti-Georgia agency reports.
"Talks on Abkhazia's political status with Georgia are out of the question,"
Bagapsh said.
He does not rule out his meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili,
but believes that it should be seriously prepared.
"This meeting cannot be held either in Tbilisi, or in Batumi. I will not go
there," Bagapsh stressed adding that the agenda of this meeting should be
thoroughly drafted, as well.
Speaking about the statements by Georgian leaders claiming that "Abkhaz
people
would like the republic to join Georgia," Bagapsh said. "Georgian politicians
are making conclusions having no idea of real moods of Abkhaz people." In his
opinion, this can put an end to Georgian-Abkhaz talks, which have not started
yet.
The Abkhaz leadership is ready to discuss with the Georgian side nothing but
mutually beneficial economic projects on the basis of Sochi agreements signed
in March 2002, he stressed. The agreements imply the restoration of through
railway traffic via Abkhazia to Georgia and Armenia, the restoration and
development of the Inguri hydroelectric power plant and the return of Georgian
refugees to Abkhazia's Gali district.
"Other issues are out of the question," Bagapsh said adding that the
above-mentioned problems were usually discussed with representatives of the UN
mission.
According to Bagapsh, the Abkhaz delegation will attend the session in Geneva
on Georgian-Abkhaz settlement on April 7-8.


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