ADDRESS TO NATION: In his holiday address
President Robert Kocharyan said last year would
be remembered as a time of peace, building and
development for Armenia.
The president said that the year was characterized
by enormous amounts of construction. "What
was done thanks to Kirk Kirkorian and the Lincy
Foundation was simply a miracle," he said.
He also said that "we have all the conditions
in place to turn the year 2004 into a year of
stability and rapid development for our country."
NATO PROGRAM IN BAKU: Despite Anti-Armenian
threats heard in Baku, an Armenian Defense Ministry
delegation will take part in a conference sponsored
by NATO to be held in Baku this year, Yerkir reported
January 6. "The conference is organized under
NATO's 'Partnership for Peace,' and Armenia is
not going to drop out from working in this program,"
a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said.
An Azerbaijani group, called Karabakh Liberation
Organization had earlier called on the Azerbaijani
authorities to forbid the Armenian delegation's
entry to Azerbaijan, and has threatened that it
would prevent Armenian servicemen from entering
"ARARAT" CANCELLED IN TURKEY:
Plans for a January release of Atom Egoyan's film
"Ararat" in Turkey have reportedly been
cancelled, a week after the government had approved
the screening, Armenpress reported January 7.
A Turkish extremist group has published a statement
on its website threatening theatre owners who
screen the film, which examines the impact of
the Armenian genocide by the Turks of the Ottoman
Empire from 1915 to 1923.
The Armenian National Committee of Canada has
stated that the "terrorist-style threats"
are preventing people from learning the truth
about the country's violent past.
ALIEV FOR SETTLEMENT: In a New Year message
Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliev said the new
year of 2004 may mark a new phase in the regulation
of opposition with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh,
Aliev voiced hope that the international team
of peace brokers from the OSCE Minsk group will
step up its efforts to tackle the problem. He
also said that Azerbaijan anticipates the international
community's support for just regulation of the
ECONOMIC GROWTH 2003: Armenia's economic
growth in 2003 was nine percent, President Robert
Kocharyan said at a meeting with the country's
businessmen January 4, ITAR-TASS News Agency reported.
He said exports had increased 35 percent and
industrial production by 21 percent. The president
said that much attention would be given in 2004
to loans and support of small and medium-size
business. He cited as one of priorities in the
new year the policy of encouragement of exports.
TURKEY WELCOMES TOURISTS: The general headquarters
of the Turkish army made January 8 a historical
decision to allow filming and taking photos of
the sights situated in closed military zones but
representing certain interest for tourists, Arminfo
reported citing the Turkish newspaper Aksam.
This refers to the ruins of the ancient capital
of Armenia, Ani, the mosque near the Turkish-Georgian
border and the area including the Mount Ararat.
A relevant bill has been submitted to the Turkish
parliament by the country's defense ministry.
MINE CLEARING: "The HALO Trust"
British humanitarian organization engaged in land
mine clearing in post-conflict zones intends to
continue its activities in Nagorno Karabakh in
2004, PanARMENIAN.Net reported January 8.
Since 2000 some 2,200 antipersonnel, 1,000 antitank
mines, 23,000 unexploded shells and over 75,000
small-bore ammunition were neutralized in the
course of the works. The organization representatives
suppose that if the current rate of mine clearing
is preserved the Nagorno Karabakh territory will
become mine-free in 7 years.