The Office of the President of Armenia published
a report July 25 concerning letters received from
citizens during the first quarter of this year.
Ministries, regional administrations, and Yerevan
City Council answered 30,229 letters: only about
10 per cent were complaints, according to Armenpress,
while the rest were suggestions or declarations
of opinion from citizens. The President's press
service reported that the appropriate ministries
answered every letter, either orally or in written
Argentinean businessman Eduardo Eurnekian returned
to Argentina to face a charge of tax evasion.
Eurnekian, who has the management contract for
Armenia's Zvartnots airport, reportedly headed
for court together with his lawyers immediately
after his plane landed in Buenos Aires and denied
Another Armenian tycoon, Ara Abrahamyan, Chairman
of the Union of Russian Armenians arrived in the
United States July 26 to promote his plan to establish
a global body representing Armenians. Abrahamyan,
who is said have close Kremlin connections, said
that Diaspora groups and communities in the US
had shown "full understanding" of his
proposal for a World Union of Armenians.
More pilgrims arrived at the Holy See of Echmiadzin
on July 27, this time from Russia. More than 100
people made the journey from Southern Russia to
participate in the "Divine Liturgy of Oath"
dedicated to the 1700th Anniversary of the consecration
of the Mother Cathedral of all Armenians. His
Holiness Garegin II presented the primate of the
diocese with a marble relief of the Cathedral
as a gift for the diocesan headquarters in Krasnodar.
Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian met July 28
in Yerevan with Heikki Talvitie, the European
Union's newly appointed special representative
for South Caucasian issues.
Talvitie stressed the EU's support for the Minsk
group co-chairman in their efforts to resolve
the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. Talvitie also met
the Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Vahan Hovhannisyan,
who told him that recent aggressive statements
towards Armenia during the pre-election campaign
in Azerbaijan were unhelpful to the process of
Ukraine is shopping for an embassy in Yerevan.
The Ukrainian cabinet approved a suggestion from
its Foreign Ministry on July 28 to purchase real
estate up to a buy of $680,000, according to Arminfo.
Ambassador Roy Reeve bade farewell after more
than three years as head of the Armenia office
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe. He visited President Robert Kocharyan
on July 29 prior to his departure to take up a
similar post in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Another foreign diplomat is Armenia's new cart
racing champion. Armenpress reported that Michael
Francis, from the French Embassy in Yerevan, won
the main tournament.
A special police department dealing with vagrant
children said it had identified or detained 163
juveniles in the first six months of this year,
Armenpress reported July 29. The majority of these
children were from vulnerable or single parent
families, many of whose parents had compelled
them to go out begging.
Armenpress also reported the opening of an Anti-Corruption
Center in Yerevan on July 30. The center aims
to raise public awareness of the problem and to
strengthen the fight against corruption. It is
supported by the Armenian branch of Transparency
International and the Swiss Development and Cooperation
Agency. An award has been created for the best
contribution to the anti-corruption struggle for
public servants, political figures journalists
and international organizations. The outgoing
OSCE Ambassador, Roy Reeve, was the first recipient.
An amnesty for draft dodgers which will allow
young men to buy a legal pardon for avoiding national
service was formally approved by the Armenian
government July 30, Armenialiberty reports. The
bill passed by the National Assembly exempts draft
dodgers aged at least 27 from criminal prosecution
provided they pay a fee. Men who have avoided
national service for 10 years, for example, would
have to pay 2 million drams ($3,500) to avoid
Two of the oldest political parties have put
aside a long history of mutual antagonism and
announced that a partnership to achieve common
policy goals, Armenialiberty reported July 31.
The surprise move followed a meeting of leaders
of the Dashnaktsutyun and Ramkavar-Azatakan (Liberal
Democratic) parties. They say they will cooperate
in drafting new laws and in anti-corruption efforts.
Armenialiberty said it was unclear how the parties
will cooperate in practice, since Dashnaktsutyun
is one of the three parties in the governing coalition
in Parliament while Ramkavar Azatakan failed to
win any seats in the May 25 elections.
Sergey Martirosyan, a reporter and a traveler,
announced July 31 that he planned to hold a rally
to Baku to urge Azeris to put an end to the long
lasting Armenian-Azeri confrontation. Martirosyan,
69, a self-styled people's diplomat, has walked
45,000 km in 67 countries as a way to inform people
around the world about the Nagorno Karabagh conflict.
He has been awarded a special certificate by the
United Nations allowing him to cross from one
country to another.