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10/03/2005
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1) EU, Turkey Clinch Deal to Launch Entry Talks
2) Mountainous Karabagh Independence Marked on Capitol Hill
3) Deputy NA Speaker Hovhannisian Says Europe Must be Tough with Turkey
4) Young ARF members rally against Turkey's EU bid

1) EU, Turkey Clinch Deal to Launch Entry Talks

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters)--Turkey and the European Union (EU) clinched a historic
deal to launch membership talks on Monday, despite deep public skepticism over
whether the wealthy Western bloc will ever be able to absorb the Muslim
nation.

The opening ceremony was delayed until close to midnight by nearly two
days of
fierce wrangling over Austrian and Turkish objections to the EU's proposed
negotiating mandate, reflecting profound distrust on both sides.
`We reached agreement, I am going to Luxembourg,' Turkish Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul told reporters as he left the headquarters of his ruling Justice
and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara to fly to meet the 25 EU foreign
ministers.
Austria eventually accepted that the shared goal of the negotiations would be
accession, not the lesser `privileged partnership' which many conservatives
and
Christian Democrats across Western Europe had sought.
In return, the EU made clear that its capacity to embrace the vast, poor
NATO ally strategically located on the borders of Europe and the Middle East
would be a key factor in the pace of Turkey's integration, as well as Ankara's
progress in meeting strict criteria.
Negotiations are expected to last at least a decade and at least two EU
members, France and Austria, have promised their voters a final say on Turkish
accession in referendums.
Turkey now faces a marathon effort to transform its political, economic and
social system and implement 80,000 pages of EU law.
Turkey had held up a deal for hours in a final wrangle over Cyprus after
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had overcome Austrian demands to offer
Ankara a status short of membership.
Gul's plane waited on the tarmac at Ankara airport and frustrated EU foreign
ministers cooled their heels, most of them in the dark on the details of
Straw's negotiations.
The United States lent a hand to try to rescue the stalled talks after Turkey
objected to a clause which hardliners in Ankara said could affect its ability
to keep Cyprus out of NATO.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Turkish Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan to assure him that the proposed EU negotiating framework would
not impinge on NATO.
`We are basically saying: cut whatever deal you can get at the EU and don't
worry that somehow it ties your hands at NATO--because we don't think it
does,'
a State Department official said.
Failure to start the talks would have dealt a blow to political reform and
foreign investment in Turkey and would also have deepened a sense of crisis in
Europe, after defeats for the draft EU constitution in France and the
Netherlands, and the failure in June to agree on a long-term budget for the
bloc.
But the tortuous nature of the final deal could leave a bitter taste on both
sides, foreshadowing years of touch negotiations to come in an atmosphere of
mutual disenchantment.

2) Mountainous Karabagh Independence Marked on Capitol Hill

Baroness Caroline Cox, Members of Congress, Armenian-American Community Mark
Fourteen Years of Freedom, Democracy and Economic Development

WASHINGTON, DC--Members of Congress and leading human rights activist, British
House of Lords Vice-Speaker Baroness Caroline Cox, joined together on Capitol
Hill September 28 to mark the 14th anniversary of the Mountainous Karabagh
Republic's (MKR/Artsakh) independence. Over 100 Armenian-Americans,
Congressional staff members and human rights advocates attended this
unprecedented event, hosted by the Office of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic
in the USA, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, the Armenian Assembly of
America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) in
cooperation with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
During the two-hour event titled `14 years of Mountainous Karabagh's
Independence: Progress Toward Freedom, Democracy and Economic Development,'
participants highlighted the great strides the Mountainous Karabagh Republic
has made since shaking off foreign oppression.
`Fourteen years have passed since the day when the people of Karabagh said a
firm NO to continued foreign oppression,' said MKR Representative to the
United
States Vardan Barseghian in his opening remarks.
`Fourteen years of ongoing struggle to survive and prosper against
overwhelming odds. Fourteen years of serious achievements. Fourteen years of
success. Many formally recognized countries would wish to be able to say this
about their recent history, but only a few can.'
Making the case for international recognition of MKR independence, Barseghian
stressed that the Mountainous Karabagh Republic now meets all of the
traditional, internationally acceptable requirements for statehood, such as
control over a defined territory, a permanent population, democratically
elected government, capable armed forces, and the capacity to conduct
international relations, including participation in peace negotiations and
functioning representative offices in Moscow, Paris, Washington, DC and
elsewhere.
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)
stressed
the progress Mountainous Karabagh has made since declaring its independence in
1991, and the pivotal role of US humanitarian assistance in the region.
`Progress is the key word here,' stated Rep. Knollenberg. `The people of
Karabagh continue to make progress despite the challenges they face. I
think in
the future they will continue to make progress with the support of the US
Congress and from the United States.' He emphasized that in Karabagh `the
economy is working, the democracy is functioning and they continue to have
successful elections, which are more open and free than [those in] some
countries in the region.' Knollenberg also commended the Office of the
Mountainous Karabagh Republic in the USA and its staff for keeping Members of
Congress abreast of ongoing developments in NKR.
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
reminded
participants that `often times when Karabagh is mentioned in the media, they
forget to mention that it became independent legally under international law
and under Soviet law... We need to keep stressing that this truly is a democracy
that has an elected president and does so in a very transparent way.' Rep.
Pallone also pledged continued Armenian Caucus support for Mountainous
Karabagh's democratic aspirations. `We will continue to urge the Bush
Administration, or any other administration, and State Department that they
need to be more supportive to Karabagh,' he said.
Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) stressed the important role the
Armenian-American community plays in educating Congressional leaders about the
vital concerns in Mountainous Karabagh. `Your presence here [on the Hill]
helps
us to better the relationship between [our] two countries,' explained Rep.
Radanovich, as he congratulated Mountainous Karabagh's 14 years of
independence.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) concurred, stating `I want to express my admiration
for the Armenian-American community, which has been a wonderful example to the
other Americans about how you take democracy seriously . . . and how you do it
for the moral principle. Thank you for insisting we take this principle of
self-determination, that we so fiercely defend in America, and apply it
elsewhere.' Rep. Frank went on to remark about Azerbaijan's continued attempts
to deny Mountainous Karabagh freedom. `I don't understand... and this is
directed
to the government of Azerbaijan: Governing when people are willing to be
[governed] can be difficult; I can't imagine why anyone would want to go
through the aggravation of governing people against their will. It really just
is a dumb thing to do. . . I do not understand why any government anywhere
would want to hold people against their will.'
California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff noted that he supports `independence for
MKR because it is both consistent with American values and because it makes
practical political sense.' He praised the growing democracy in the region,
stating that `even though they have been politically and militarily challenged
by Azerbaijan and its powerful ally Turkey, the people of Karabagh have
continued to build all the requisites of statehood.'
The final Congressional speaker of the evening, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY),
summed up the sentiments of previous speakers, stating `the people of
Mountainous Karabagh have the right to assert their independence and freedom;
they have that right and they should be provided the opportunity to do so...
I am
very proud to be with you to assert my unity with you and your enterprise.'
Armenian Ambassador to the US Dr. Tatoul Markarian noted, `self-determination
for Mountainous Karabagh is the key to achieving real freedom and to bringing
long-term peace and prosperity in the region. Karabagh's conflict's
distinction
from other conflicts in Eurasia is acknowledged by the international
community.
We understand that settlement of the conflict requires serious compromise from
all parties. Meanwhile, I am convinced, and it is widely shared, that any
solution to the conflict will be based on the fact and the right to
self-determination of the people of Mountainous Karabagh, which the core and
the final settlement must take into account.'
World-renowned human rights activist and an outspoken champion of Karabagh's
right to self-determination, Baroness Caroline Cox gave the keynote address.
Baroness Cox, who recently returned from her 60th trip to the region, provided
an eye-witness account of Azerbaijan's ethnic cleansing campaign, pogroms and
outright war against the people of Mountainous Karabagh and spoke passionately
about the incredible progress--both democratic and economic--Karabagh has made
since the 1994 cease-fire accord. Through a powerful slide presentation, the
Baroness gave Members of Congress, staffers and attendees a first-hand view of
reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts throughout the country.
Lady Cox concluded her remarks by urging the international community to
respect the rights to freedom, justice, and democracy of the people of
Mountainous Karabagh.
`It is high time for the international community to address the challenges
raised by the conflict of the principles of self-determination and territorial
integrity. Surely, there must be some recognition of the rights of a
vulnerable
minority, threatened by a repressive state with attempted ethnic cleansing or
genocide, to have the right to claim their independence in order to survive...
The time for recognition of the rights of the people of Karabagh for
self-determination is NOW for the sake of justice, peace and, in due course,
the economic prosperity and stability for all who live in the region.'
`If any people in the world today deserve the right to self-determination and
the recognition of independence, it is the people of Mountainous Karabagh,'
said Baroness Cox.
Among speakers at the program were ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and
AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. Hamparian stressed the significance of
NKR achievements and thanked Members of Congress for their ongoing support of
Artsakh's freedom, democracy and economic development.
`Today, as Armenians, we thank the US Congress for years of moral, financial,
and political support for Mountainous Karabagh,' said Hamparian. `In turn, as
Americans, we thank the people of Mountainous Karabagh, first, for their
courage and leadership in sparking the democracy movement that spread to other
republics and eventually helped to end the Soviet threat to the free world,
and, second, for today being on the front lines in the advance of freedom
worldwide--an enduring goal of the American people.'
Ardouny concurred by saying: `We have heard this evening about the importance
of freedom, liberty and democracy fundamental principles that guide us today
just as they did over 200 years ago during the founding of the US
Constitution.'
`Mountainous Karabagh is a geographical fact. It is a political and moral
fact
[Karabaghtsis] are the first people of the former Soviet Union to launch a
freedom movement and set out in principle to institutionalize freedom,
responsible government, and human equality as is evidenced today,' said
Ardouny, drawing a parallel with what American statesman Adlai Stevenson once
said about the US.
Providing first-hand knowledge of the most recent election held in
Mountainous
Karabagh was Dr. Aleyda Kasten, who traveled to NKR last June as one of six
members of the American Independent Monitoring Delegation. Dr. Kasten, who
also
observed presidential elections in the United States and last year's
presidential election in the Ukraine, testified that over 75% of eligible
citizens of Karabagh turned out to elect the Republic's Fourth Parliament
since
independence. `This was a tightly contested ballot that left no single
party in
majority control of the legislature. We, as a group, did not observe
irregularities during voting or vote count. We were struck by the people's
determination to democratically decide their future. We can honestly say that
from our observations the elections were carried out freely and
transparently,'
said Kasten.
MKR Representative Barseghian closed the event by saying that `during its 14
years of independence NKR has shown demonstrable progress toward freedom,
democracy and economic development values championed by the United States and
shared by the people of Karabagh. As the United States supports and promotes
freedom and democracy for all peoples around the globe, we call on the US to
also continue to support the aspirations of the Karabagh people to live in
freedom, security and prosperity.'
On behalf of the people of Artsakh, Barseghian thanked the Government of the
United States and the American people for their ongoing aid to rehabilitate
Mountainous Karabagh's war-torn economy and the shattered lives of its
citizens
and called on the US to play a greater role in its conflict mediation efforts
by encouraging the government of Azerbaijan to negotiate directly with the
leaders of Mountainous Karabagh and to respect the will of the people of
Karabagh to live in freedom.
`This event would not have been possible without the strong support of the
two
Co-Chairs of the Armenian Caucus, Representatives Pallone and Knollenberg,
Ambassador Markarian, the Armenian Assembly and the Armenian National
Committee,' said Barseghian. He also thanked Tim Delmonico from Rep. Pallone's
office and Craig Albright, legislative director for Rep. Knollenberg, for
their
invaluable input.
`The Mountainous Karabagh Republic is strong and successful because it has
committed friends like you,' concluded Barseghian.
The Office of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic in the United States is based
in Washington, DC and works with the US government, academia and the public
representing the official policies and interests of the Mountainous Karabagh
Republic.


3) Deputy NA Speaker Hovhannisian Says Europe Must be Tough with Turkey

YEREVAN (Armenpress)--The deputy speaker of Armenia's parliament Vahan
Hovhannissian told a press conference on Monday that if Europe seeks stability
and peace in the South Caucasus, it must be tough with Turkey, and request
implementation of certain criteria before granting it full membership to the
European Union (EU). These would include a resolution of the Cyprus and
Kurdish
issues, as well as recognition of the Armenian genocide, he stressed.
What is most incredulous, Hovhannisian said, is Turkey's occupation of an EU
member country, which it refuses to recognize.
Hovhannisian pointed to Turkey's non-compliance on a myriad of issues and its
tough stance with Europe, saying that this sets a `dangerous example for
Azerbaijan,' which is also showing signs of refusing to cooperate, this time
with the OSCE and Armenia.
He said that though European political forces understand Turkey's refusal to
recognize the Armenian genocide is dangerous, he explained that Armenia must
nevertheless aggressively advance the issue. `We must share our position with
the Europeans; we cannot rely on Euro officials.'


4) Young ARF members rally against Turkey's EU bid

YEREVAN (YERKIR)--Armenian youth rallied in Yerevan on Monday, calling on the
European Union to cancel EU accession talks with Turkey.
Over 250 members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Youth
Organization rallied outside the British embassy in Yerevan, and then marched
to EU offices. The talks were scheduled to begin later in the day.
The demanded that talks with Turkey be postponed until the country accepts
its
role in the Armenian genocide, ensures basic rights of its citizens, and stops
oppressing its ethnic minorities.
In their letters to EU member-states and the UK Embassy in Armenia, they
called for negotiations with Turkey to be postponed, `in the name of democracy
and human rights... as long it as it [Turkey] refuses to acknowledge the
Armenian
genocide and continues using violence against its minorities.' The UK
presently
holds the EU presidency.
Zinavor Meghrian, a member of the ARF youth that the Republican Party of
Armenia voiced its support for the protest and that 5,000 people are expected
to stage a similar protest in Europe, organized by the Armenian European
Federation.


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