Hope for Help: On August 8 the Armenian
Government approved a long-awaited socioeconomic
program that pledged to drastically reduce the
share of Armenia's population living in poverty
from the current 50 percent to 19 percent by 2015.
As Armenialiberty reported the Poverty Reduction
Strategy drawn by a large group of local and foreign
experts will fulfill the program through creation
of new jobs, improved tax collection and greater
Azeri Opposition in Baku: ARMINFO-TURAN
reports that on August 8 opposition parties gathered
outside the Turkish embassy in Baku, to protest
Ankara's support of Ilham Aliyev being named (by
his father, President Heidar Aliev) as Prime Minister
of Azerbaijan. Holding signs calling the President's
son, a "Gambler", the picketers called
on the Turkish Government to build relations based
on democratic principles and to support democratic
elections in October.
Armenian Opposition in Tbilisi: Another
action of protest took place in Georgia, where
the Armenian community spoke with an open letter,
expressing deep indignation about the statements
of Sandro Bregvadze, Georgian parliament member.
As reported by ARMINFO agency August 9 Bregvadze
in his interview to one of the Georgian TV channels
said: "The US Armenian lobby's false program
for committing a coup in Georgia aims to bring
to power the native Armenians there". Bregvadze's
statement against permitting Georgian Armenians
from participating in the presidential elections
also aroused the discontent of the Armenian community.
New Prime Minister, Old Issue: Azeri Prime
Minister Ilham Aliyev announced August 10 that
he would continue efforts aiming at the peaceful
settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "We
should try to settle the conflict peacefully.
Azeri people want peace but not war," the
Prime Minister said. At the same time he voiced
an opinion that the situation is developing in
favor of Azerbaijan. "If all the opportunities
are evidently exhausted Azerbaijan will have the
full right to undertake measures to restore its
territorial integrity," he said.
Keeping the Peace: The City Council of
Yerevan announced August 11 that it intends to
fine the owners of cafes and restaurants if their
activities disturb public order. The heads of
communities' administrations will conduct control
over acting open-air cafes and restaurants and
will fine them 20,000-50,000 drams (about $35-85)
for excessively loud music
Building: Officials from the Lincy Foundation
of Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian
said August 13 that its $45 million plan to rebuild
Armenia's northern regions devastated by the 1988
earthquake is being successfully implemented and
will be complete by November.
Under the reconstruction program launched in
2001, a total of 4,000 families left homeless
by the calamity will be provided with new homes.
More than 2,500 homes are to be constructed in
the northwestern Shirak region, the worst hit
area. But so far only about a thousand families
there have moved into new apartments and houses,
with 15 new apartment buildings constructed in
the regional capital Gyumri.
Checkup: ARMENPRESS reports on August 13
that two election observers from the May parliamentary
elections will make a fact-finding visit to Yerevan
next week to see if Armenia is honoring commitments
made upon joining the Council of Europe in January
2001. Jerzy Jaskiernia (Poland) and Rene Andre
(France) will meet with President Robert Kocharyan
and well as representatives of non-governmental
organizations, religious communities, national
minorities and the media.
Chief Witness?: Nairi Hunanyan, the leader
of an armed group that stormed Armenia's Parliament
in October 1999 announced in the court August
13 that President Kocharyan should be questioned
as a witness at Hunanyan's trial.
Hunanyan said that Kocharyn should testify that
the gunmen "voluntarily" agreed to turn
themselves in after holding negotiations in the
Parliament, Armenialiberty reported. Hunanyan
and his group attacked Parliament during the session
and left the Speaker and six other officials dead.
The court rejected his appeal. According to the
President's Institution of the country the President
cannot be forced to appear in court.
Money in the Bank: On August 14 ARMENPRESS
reported that the Armenian Government received
the second part of a nine-million Euro grant,
made available to Armenia by the European Commission
in 2002 (Food Security Program) to support the
Boycott: Armenialiberty reported on August
14 that the family of the late parliament speaker
Karen Demirchyan has said it, in protest, will
no longer participate in the ongoing trial of
The decision was made by Demirchyan's widow Rimma
and two sons after the court of first instance
in central Yerevan refused to reconsider its refusal
to hear dozens of more witnesses of the October
1999 terrorist attack.