Thursday, 21 September 2023

W Weekly Update

16-23 July

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Weekly update


23 July
The 2020 Artsakh War exposed a number of myths and misconceptions in Armenia and among Armenians toward the West. This article reviews some of those misconceptions, discusses the necessity to reassess relations with the West while outlining the scope of current Western engagement toward Armenia and the region. The reader should bear in mind that international geopolitics are going through uncertainty and turbulent times due to the current war between Russia and Ukraine.  Even though they may not be ready to antagonize Azerbaijan and Turkey, the U.S. and Europe appear to have decided to use the unresolved issues stemming from the war to return as actors spearheading conflict resolution in still dynamic post-war developments. The U.S. and Europe may be helpful if Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh formulate reasonable policies to achieve realistic goals. While this renewed endeavor by the U.S. and Europe to be engaged is a positive element for the Armenian side, Armenia should be careful not to look at it neither as a party equivalent to what Russia and Turkey in tandem represent nor as a strategy that can lead to a fundamental change in the conditions imposed on Armenia by the 2020 ceasefire statement.


22 July
Lasting peace in the South Caucasus region can only be established as a result of comprehensive solutions, which requires real and sincere efforts from both sides, reports after the meetings held in the National Assembly of Armenia, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament David McAlister said, whose delegation is in Yerevan on a regional visit. "Our visit is a very clear indication of the importance that we, as the European Union, attach to the entire South Caucasus," McAlister stated. In this context, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament emphasized the active mediation efforts of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the negotiations between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. "Within the framework of this initiative, Prime Minister Pashinyan met with the President of Azerbaijan Aliyev in Brussels in April and May," McAlister reminded, adding: "We hope that the contribution of the European Union will be useful in solving long-standing problems and paving the way for the establishment of lasting peace."


21 July
During the Cabinet meeting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan commented on the criticism made over judicial reforms. According to Pashinyan stated that major work has been done in a number of directions and it has been recorded by Armenia’s international partners. A large part of the judicial reforms is directly linked with the digital agenda. He says a separate digitization in the field cannot happen, a systematic work is needed. The key principle is the mutual partnership, according to the PM. In other words, if there is a digital platform in a state system, that platform should exist in the other state systems as well. “During the discussions we recorded that there are numerous digital platforms in Armenia, but these electronic files are not functional. The information needed for the structures of other agencies is not available in digital version. It’s very important for the digital formulas to be functional and be available by law to the respective structures”, the PM said.


20 July
The Azerbaijan authorities are holding an international media forum, entitled "Global trends in media, new challenges," in the Azerbaijani-occupied Armenian city of Shushi in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). According to the editors-in-chief of the media outlets operating in Azerbaijan and journalists from a number of countries are attending this event, informed. The participants of the forum first arrived by plane at the air gate of Karabakh - Fuzuli International Airport.


19 July
According to Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan announced that no soldiers drafted in Armenia will be sent to Artsakh and that the process of returning units sent to Artsakh during the war will be completed by September.  Grigoryan told ArmenPress that the move was logical given the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. He said the Artsakh Defense Army (ADA) remains and that it will continue to draft soldiers from within its borders. Grigoryan said the ADA had always assumed the security of Karabakh and that the deployment of Russian peacekeepers is an added guarantee. Grigoryan's remarks follow comments made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev last week that Armenia had not fulfilled its obligation to pull its troops from Karabakh. "Armenia, as the defeated party in the war, has undertaken obligations, which are clearly stipulated in the November 10 statement. One of them is the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Karabakh. However, this has not been done so far. We have repeatedly raised this issue, but Armenia is procrastinating," Aliyev said.


18 July
The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Yerevan on Monday three days after CIA Director William Burns’s unexpected arrival in Armenia. In line with the Armenian government’s press office said Sergei Naryshkin discussed with Pashinian “international and regional security” and “processes taking place in the South Caucasus.” It did not elaborate. The office used the same words in a statement on Pashinian’s meeting with Burns held on Friday. It said they also touched upon “the fight against terrorism.” Neither the CIA nor the U.S. State Department has commented so far on what was the first-ever publicized visit to Armenia by a CIA director. “My visit to Yerevan is definitely not connected with the arrival of my American colleague,” the state-run Russian news agency Sputnik quoted Naryshkin as saying. “But I don’t exclude that his visit is on the contrary connected with mine.”


17 July
The 19th Yerevan "Golden Apricot" International Film Festival has kicked off. According to on July 17, the closing ceremony of the festival was held at the Aram Khachatryan concert hall. During the closing ceremony, the jury announced the award winners. The award ceremony was followed by the screening of the film Invisible Republic by Garin Hovannisian. When war besieges the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Karabakh), writer and photographer Lika takes cover in a bunker — and begins to write. Little does she know that her diary will become the definitive and multifaceted chronicle of the 44-day war for Artsakh. The 19th Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival took place on July 10-17 this year. As always, this year, the International Film Festival presented to the public films from different countries of the world in the competition sections, as well as films from the most prestigious film festivals. Yerevan Municipality was the main sponsor of this year's festival. The festival was held with the support of RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.


16 July
According to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and other Armenian officials during a surprise visit to Yerevan on Friday. In a short statement, the Armenian government said Pashinian and Burns discussed “international and regional security,” “processes taking place in the South Caucasus” and “the fight against terrorism.” The statement gave no other details of the meeting which was also attended by Armen Abazian, the head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS). Burns also held separate talks with Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council. The council’s press office reported that Grigorian briefed him on the Armenian government’s peace efforts and security challenges facing the region. It said  the two men discussed Yerevan’s ongoing negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkey “in this context.” Burns had visited Armenia as well as Azerbaijan in 2011 in his capacity as U.S. deputy secretary of state. He urged at the time a greater “sense of urgency” for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that “the status quo is not sustainable.” His latest trip to Yerevan coincided with an official announcement that the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers will meet in Tbilisi on Saturday.



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