PRESIDENT’S REPLY: Armenian president Robert Kocharyan has swollen the chorus of senior government officials who downplayed the possible repercussions of an April 28 resolution of the PACE, Armenpress reported.
"Some of the wordings of the resolution do not reflect the real situation, however, Armenia has its own voice in PACE and an intention to defend it," Kocharyan said, adding that the Council of Europe should not be perceived as the former Politburo, which took and imposed decisions. "The Council of Europe is an organization, of which we are a member and Armenia's task there is to defend its common interests rather than to clear its domestic matters," he said.
RALLY-BREAK: The Armenian opposition announced May 4 a 10-day suspension of its month-long campaign of demonstrations in Yerevan, saying it is giving the authorities time to release all “political prisoners” and ensure citizens’ freedom of assembly and expression, RFE/RL reported.
The leaders of the Justice alliance and the National Unity Party announced the decision to thousands of people who again marched through the city center, calling for the resignation of President Robert Kocharyan.
NEW RALLY RULES: The Armenian President signed the bill On Rallies, Meetings, Marches and Demonstrations earlier adopted by the parliament, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
The bill strictly limits the subjectivity of the power and court bodies for sanctioning such measures. It also prohibits mass meetings at the distance of 150 meters from the constructions of state and strategic importance as well as near community facilities. The Armenian opposition called the project "repressive".
DANGEROUS COFFEE: Laboratory tests of 11 sorts of ground coffee sold in Armenia revealed inadmissible content of heavy metals and admixtures in the product, Arminfo reported.
Experts say that the food products contain cadmium, which has an adverse effect on the liver and kidneys. The Union of Consumers of Armenia pointed out that consumers are not secured against unfair advertising or low-quality products, manufactured both in Armenia and abroad.
GENOCIDE RECOGNITION: Tennessee, Nebraska and Louisiana, Wisconsin have joined the growing number of states who have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The total number of states in the U.S. reaffirming the Armenian Genocide has now reached 36.
ARMENIAN IT GO ABROAD: The Armenian government and the World Bank have approved the idea of opening representations of Armenian IT companies in Canada and the USA, Armenpress agency reported.
The first representation will open in June in Toronto, Canada, and the representation in the USA will be opened by the end of 2004.The Armenian Enterprises Incubator Foundation is now discussing with Armenia-based IT companies ways of cooperation based on contracts to be signed by the representation, as the Toronto representation is supposed to resolve initially several priority problems of Armenian companies in Canada's IT market.
HYDROPOWER PROJECT: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can allocate $30-40 million for the building of new hydropower plants in Armenia, Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia stated.
PanARMENIAN.Net reported that the issue was discussed in London at the meeting of the EBRD Board of Governors. According to the preliminary data, the total cost of the project of building new small and medium hydropower plants in Armenia will make some $100 million
NEW WATER OWNER: A French-run "Saur" company will most probably take up the management of the Armenian "HayJrmughKoyughi" enterprise, the only drinking and sewage water operator in Armenia, Azg daily reported.
CHILDREN FUND: The ceremony of opening the office of Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) took place in Yerevan this week, Arka agency reported. The organization aims at working out programs concerning the areas of development of children in Armenia and alleviating their economic conditions.
COAF is going to create a simpler access to education and health systems first of all for the children, living in rural areas. Within 2004, COAF will implement the program in Karakert village (Armavir region) estimated at about $1 million.
KARABAKH ISSUES: The Nagorno Karabakh conflict can be settled within 1-2 years, Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasyan told journalists in Yerevan March 6.
However, in his words, the solution of the problem is concerned with certain risk, as it is not possible to achieve it at the bargaining table. “The Azeri leadership understands it as well and, in my opinion, it is not ready to assume such responsibility today,” he said. "Maybe, they lack political weight, or there are other reasons. In any case I am confident that the new Azeri leader is not ready to run that risk and to solve the problem," the President stated.