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05/02/2006
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1) Armenian Army Prepared to Defend Itself against Adversaries
2) US Expresses Concern about New Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia
3) Turkish Court Overturns Armenian Journalist's Appeal

1) Armenian Army Prepared to Defend Itself against Adversaries

Armenian Deputy Defense Minister General Artur Aghabegian said Tuesday that
the
Armenian Military is prepared to resist any attack from its adversaries,
adding
that the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) Defense Forces demonstrated their
abilities last month with week-long war exercises.
Aghabegian also referred to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev's statement in
Washington, DC, in which he said that Azerbaijan has been very active in
peacekeeping efforts in Iraq.
Aghabegian said that such a statement can only be made by a person who does
not know what it means to serve in an army and the logistics of a war zone.
"We have always publicized Armenian peacekeeping operations [in Iraq]," he
said, adding that many countries have thanked Armenia for its participation.
Aghabegian said that if Azerbaijan is truly committed, "Let them show on TV
what their peacekeeping forces are doing in Iraq."

2) US Expresses Concern about New Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL/Armenpress)--The United States has serious misgivings about
the
Armenian Government's ambitious plans to build a new nuclear power station in
place of the aging Medzamor plant, said a senior US official Tuesday during
the
12th meeting of the US-Armenian Economic Task Force in Yerevan.
Tom Adams, who coordinates US Government assistance to former Soviet
republics, expressed Washington's position on the issue after attending a
regular session of the inter-governmental body co-chaired by Adams and
Armenian
Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian.
Armenia's energy security was high on the agenda of the one-day meeting, with
Khachatrian saying that the Armenian side discussed with its US counterparts
Yerevan's intention to replace Medzamor with a more modern and powerful
nuclear
plant.
"The ideal option in our [energy] strategy would be to launch the new
facility
on the day that the existing reactor will stop operating," said Khachatrian
during a joint news conference with Adams and John Evans, the US ambassador in
Yerevan.
Medzamor, which generates nearly 40 percent of Armenia's electricity, is
expected to be decommissioned by 2016. The plant remains open despite pressure
from the US and the European Union, which say the plant's sole operating
reactor is too old and unsafe.
Adams noted that the mountainous country is located in a seismically active
zone that poses serious safety risks. "I think our view right now is that
there
are probably better alternatives to a second nuclear plant [in Armenia]," he
said.
Another, more high-ranking US official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Matthew Bryza, appeared more supportive of the idea when he visited Yerevan in
early March. Bryza noted that a "new generation of nuclear power" is one of
potential ways of ensuring Armenia's energy security. The issue was high on
the
agenda of his talks with senior Armenian officials.
Building a new nuclear facility would cost Armenia at least $1 billion, a sum
worth its budget for this year. The Government says it cannot put the
ambitious
project put into practice without external financial support, saying that
it is
already looking for potential foreign investors.
The 12th session of the task force also discussed development of the Armenian
economy, democratic reforms, and issues pertaining to the Millennium
Challenges
Account program. Also discussed were agriculture, energy, education, and
judicial issues.
The US-Armenian Task Force was founded in 2002 to promote US-Armenian
cooperation. The Task Force holds two annual meetings, one in Armenia and one
in the US. Over the last decade, the US Government has carried out various
development and humanitarian projects worth $1.6 billion in Armenia.

3) Turkish Court Overturns Armenian Journalist's Appeal

(AFP/BBC)A Turkish court in Ankara rejected Monday an appeal by a prominent
Armenian journalist against a ruling that found him guilty of insulting
Turkishness.
Hrant Dink, publisher of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, was
sentenced to a suspended six-month sentence in October by a court in Istanbul
for an article published in February 2004.
The article about the genocide of Armenians during World War I in Turkey
called on Armenians "to turn now to the new blood of an independent Armenia,
which alone is capable of liberating the Armenian diaspora" and to reject any
Turkish roots.
In February, the chief prosecutor's office at the Appeals Court considered
Dink's case and recommended that the remarks were in no way insulting.
But now, in a surprise development, the court itself has chosen to ignore
that
interpretation and ruled that the substance of the charge still stands. The
appeal judges in Ankara overturned the conviction due to procedural errors,
Anatolia reported, adding that the case will be referred back to the Istanbul
court for retrial.
It is a blow for the defense team.
The high-profile newspaper editor, whose publication Agos appears in Turkish
and Armenian, was first found guilty of insulting Turkishness last year when a
court ruled that his article described Turkish blood as dirty.
Dink always denied his words meant any such thing and argued his column
was in
fact aimed at improving the difficult relationship between Turks and
Armenians.

The case will now go back to the local court that first heard it, and Dink
could face a retrial.
He told the BBC he was extremely distressed at the news.
He has always said he would have to leave the country if the courts here
could
not clear his name for good.
This case is one of several similar cases in Turkey, monitored closely by EU
officials concerned about limits on free speech in the country.
European Union officials have expressed serious concern about the article of
law that was used against Hrant Dink and several dozen other writers here in
Turkey.
Despite a series of reforms linked to Turkey's bid for membership of the EU,
it is still illegal to insult the Turkish identity, the military and the
judiciary and the line between criticism and insult is often blurred.
The issue of the Armenian genocide is frequently the spark for court cases.

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