Prince Charles Hosts Dinner to Celebrate British and Armenian Charities at Windsor Castle - February, 2010

Recent news reports about the routing of energy pipelines through Armenia; the revitalization of Armenia's railroad network by Moscow; Defense Minister, General Seyran Ohanian's official visit to Paris; President Serj Sargsyan's outstanding speech at the Chatham House in London; and the historic reception the Armenian president attended at the Windsor Castle are all ultimately connected to the "political process" taking place between Yerevan and Ankara and the "great game" taking place in the Caucasus.

Finally, leading powers in the West have begun taking Armenia seriously. Nothing personal here for they are simply readjusting to the new geopolitical environment in the Caucasus. 

With Georgia (the West's pretty boy once upon a time) now mutilated and isolated and its future unpredictable; with energy rich Azerbaijan cut-off from Turkey and essentially held hostage by Moscow; with the Caucasus firmly back under Moscow's sphere of influence; with the specter of war hanging over Iran - Armenia today has been thrust onto the international stage as the region's most stable power, a nation that can be trusted, a nation that can be invested in.

Britain, for example, a nation that was never politically interested in dealing with Armenia due to its historic desire to have access to Central Asian energy is now all of a sudden courting Yerevan as well. As I have said in the past, as a result of the new geopolitical climate in the Caucasus, Armenia's importance as a nation-state has not been this good for centuries.  

Although the political process we are now witnessing is in its very early stages and there remains many political variables that can potentially derail it, as long as Moscow remains dominant in the region Armenia will continue to remain in an advantageous position.   

We need to learn to take advantage of these situations. I have great expectations for the future of our much troubled and fledgling republic. Instead of their constant predictions of doom and gloom, I wish our "peasantry" could begin seeing some hope as well...

Arevordi


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‘Yereven My Love’: Prince Charles Hosts Dinner to Celebrate British and Armenian Charities at Windsor Castle

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An historic charity event in support of Armenian and British charities took place at the Windsor Castle on 10 February hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Project initiator and main benefactor Armen Sarkissian, former Prime Minister of Armenia and President of Eurasia House International, welcomed more than 200 guests from around the world with the Royal couple. “I think I can say with some certainty that it is the first time in Windsor Castle’s nearly one thousand year history that there has been an Anglo-Armenian celebration,” said the Prince of Wales in his remarks.


“Yerevan-My-Love” is a heritage-led regeneration project dedicated to preserving architecturally significant buildings in Yerevan and putting them to use to improve the life experience of disabled children, young people and disadvantaged families. “The projects that we are supporting today combine both elements of our rich cultural heritage: the physical restoration of architecturally significant buildings and the centrality of human community, especially children,” explained Armen Sarkissian, former Prime Minister of Armenia and initiator of the fundraising, who has been working with HRH The Prince of Wales closely and his charities. The fundraising will support the reconstruction of four buildings: two of them in Yerevan’s Kond district and two in the centre. Once completed and fully furnished with facilities and equipment, one of the Kond buildings will be used to house a nursery for deaf and mute children from deprived families and the other will serve as a centre for single mothers with children. The other two buildings in the centre will become a music school for national instruments for deprived children and youth. The school will be run by world famous master duduk player Djivan Gasparyan, who was an orphan himself and grew up under the care and tutelage of musicians and artists of his time.

Members of the royal family, dignitaries, world renowned political, cultural and civic leaders, and senior executives of global corporation, including Areva, HSBC, Barclay’s Bank, Merrill Lynch, Elettronica, attended this unique charity event. A high level delegation from Armenia was headed by President Serge Sargsyan and His Holiness Catholicos Garegin II of All Armenians, the Mayor of Yerevan and Armenia’s Foreign Minister. Master duduk player Djivan Gasparyan and his grandson Djivan Jr. played the opening piece of the concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Hans Zimmer’s opening theme from the film Gladiator), conducted by young artists Sergey Smbatyan (Yerevan) of the National Youth Orchestra of Armenia. Young violinist Mikhail Simonyan (New York), internationally recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation, performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, first movement. Mezzo-soprano Dariga Nazarbayeva (Almaty) sang “O del mio dolce ardour” by Gluck and a selection of Armenian and Kazakh folk songs; followed by Aram Khachaturian’s Adagio from Spartacus & Phrygia.

The encore was Roever Korb’s “Highland Cathedral” played by the traditional Scottish bagpipe. This was a surprise piece requested by the Prince of Wales for Armen Sarkissian as a gesture of his appreciation. Turning to Armen and Nouneh Sarkissian, The Prince said: “I could not be more grateful to you for your wonderful vision, energy and generosity”. The Prince of Wales underlined that “it is an occasion to strengthen further the strong ties between the United Kingdom and Armenia”. He expressed his admiration for Armenia as the oldest Christian nation in the world and “for its vast and unique architectural heritage”. He drew the attention of the guests to the fact that it is “a challenge to care for this ‘open air museum’, that is so much a part of the soul of the country, and to continue the tradition it has established. This is why I am so delighted to be giving this dinner to support the charity, ‘Yerevan My Love’, which will help with the redevelopment and revitalization of some of the oldest parts of the city in a way that preserves and continues traditional Armenian architecture and craftsmanship. Perhaps this approach will also provide an example and model to be adopted elsewhere in Armenia”.

In explaining the connection of the two charities, The Prince of Wales said “Both projects are examples of what I call heritage-led regeneration – using the rich architectural and craft heritage that both Armenia and the United Kingdom are so fortunate to have to inspire and lift the spirits and also to enhance communities by creating employment and prosperity.”

Some three years ago the Prince of Wales had managed to save a unique historic house and estate in South-West Scotland, together with its contents. “Dumfries House, as it is called,” said the Prince, “had retained, remarkably, much of the furniture commissioned for it from Thomas Chippendale and from the wonderful contemporary Edinburgh furniture makers William Mathie, Alexander Peter and Francis Brodie”. By forestalling the separate sales of the House and its contents to private bidders, His Royal Highness has assured that the House and its unique collection of furniture have been “preserved as an entity for the nation and future generations, not only so that people can visit and enjoy the art, craftsmanship and beauty, but also so that saving the House can act as a catalyst for the economic regeneration of the whole local area”. In his address, Armen Sarkissian put the two charities and the event itself in a broader context. “The world is becoming smaller and increasingly more burdened with human conflicts, economic challenges and environmental concerns,” he said and asked: “What kind of future do we want for our children? In the end, I believe, this is the biggest question”. Along with a cleaner and sustainable environment, Dr Sarkissian underlined that the “preservation of cultural and spiritual heritage is vital for the survival of any nation and, indeed, for humanity.”

He thanked His Royal Highness for being a pioneer in finding innovative solutions to many of the critical problems related to the future of the planet and for his visionary leadership and foresight in many critical issues facing not only Britain but the entire globe. “Thank you, Sir, for your full support and cooperation in making this night a very special occasion in this magnificent historic home of Her Majesty the Queen. We pray for Her Majesty’s good health and many more years of reign, full of blessings for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Sarkissian. He then expressed his deep appreciation to all the benefactors, patrons, sponsors and supporters for their generous contributions, “but most important, for their participation and faith in this charitable journey together.” The dinner was held in the vast historic Waterloo Chamber, which was built in tribute to the success of the forces of Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated. Official state dinners hosted by The Queen are held in this Chamber. Especially brought from London and displayed throughout the chamber for this special occasion were magnificent gold and silver objects from the royal collection...

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/77717/%E2%80%98yereven-my-love%E2%80%99-prince-charles-hosts-dinner-to-celebrate-british-and-armenian-charities-at-windsor-castle/

EU Envoy Says Armenia May Be Route For Future Pipeline

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The European Union’s special representative to Central Asia on Friday said he expected to see Armenia becoming a route for a future energy pipeline if Yerevan and Ankara quickly move to normalize relations and open their sealed border. “There have been different options. Things have not been fixed up to now. The greatest idea to say is well, in the future, why not use Armenia as a way for other pipelines,” Pierre Morel told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily in an interview. Morel said he saw many options for new Caspian-Turkish energy pipelines due to the “mobile energy landscape” and predicted that Armenia could be the site of a future network. “There have been different ideas about the energy routes. The southern corridor is not just Nabucco, but a wider concept,” he said. “It is also about transportation. We have to move transportation to the Caucasus.”

The Nabucco pipeline is an EU-led and US-backed project aimed at transporting Middle Eastern and Caspian gas through Turkey to Europe in an effort to break the Russian monopoly over regional energy supplies. “But once again look at what the other corridors are,” Morel said. “A corridor is not one pipeline. A corridor is a system of pipelines. For sure, when the southern corridor takes shape, you’ll have a system of pipelines.” Morel said, “Nabucco is going through a good phase and has been moving through important steps” following the signing of an inter-governmental agreement in Ankara last summer. “Many said Nabucco was a dream … [But] this was done and Turkey played an important role. We’re coming step-by-step toward concretization,” he said. One of the major obstacles for Nabucco is a lack of gas earmarked for transit. Morel said northern Iraq could be a potential source while emphasizing hesitations over Iranian gas.

“We have had more discussions today about northern Iraq as a potential source of gas for Nabucco. [Meanwhile,] there are question marks connected with Iran, not only political questions, but the context of the Iranian energy policy, which has been rather specific,” he said. Morel held discussions at parliament as well as the foreign and prime ministries regarding Caspian energy, the southern corridor, Central Asian developments and the Turkish-Russian relationship. Commenting on Azerbaijan’s energy policy, Morel said it had become clear the country was trying to keep its options open.

Baku signed a deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom last year to transfer 500 million cubic meters of gas to Europe in the first phase of the Shah Deniz gas field. The agreement, which followed the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia, was regarded as an ultimatum to Ankara and a blow to the Nabucco plan. “[Azerbaijan] is sending signals to their different partners,” Morel said, adding that the country is also trying to send signals to Turkey, the EU and Russia. “The 500-cubic-meter agreement they signed with Russia is specific, not long-term. It is for one time, but it is also a signal.” He said all the major European energy companies presently operating in Azerbaijan were following the developments “very closely.”

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/77667/eu-envoy-says-armenia-may-be-route-for-future-pipeline/

Russian Rail Company Says Armenia On Way to Becoming Transit Country

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Armenia must and can become a transit country in the region and “certain steps” are being taken in that direction, the CEO of the Russian-owned South Caucasus Railway Company, which controls Armenia’s railroads, told a news conference on December 24. Shaidulin said Armenia is “very well located geographically” to serve as a transit hub for railway transport in the region. He said the Kars-Gumri railway, which the Russian rail company has been working to repair, should be used for this purpose. “Serious steps had been taken to upgrade this, with the Armenian segment being completely rehabilitated and reconstructed according to international standards,” Shaidulin said. The Russian rail company set out earlier this year to repair the Kars-Gyumri railroad following the announcement of fence-mending agreements between Armenia and Turkey that will bring about the opening of their common border once ratified.

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/75490/russian-rail-company-says-armenia-on-way-to-becoming-transit-country/

RA Defense Minister met his French counterpart

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The meeting was followed by talks of enlarged delegations, RA Defense Ministry Press Service informed NEWS.am. The sides discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, exchanged opinions on challenges to international security, touching upon activities and prospects of mutual cooperation. Seyran Ohanyan invited his French counterpart to return visit. The officials signed agreement on bilateral defense cooperation that will become a legal basis for expansion of military cooperation between the states. RA Defense Minister visited St. John the Baptist Armenian Church in Paris and met the clergy and local Armenian community’s representatives, laid a wreath on memorial to Komitas.

Source: http://news.am/en/news/14099.html


Related news:



Russia will not force Armenia to make the fundamental concessions – US analyst

News.Az interviews Shale Horowitz, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Do you believe that chairmanship of Kazakhstan in OSCE will be successful for Karabakh settlement?

No.

Turkey has its own problems with Armenia. Do you think that Turkey is able to succeed in attempts to solve the Karabakh problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

No. Outside mediation by those not directly involved is largely irrelevant as long as Armenia and Azerbaijan remain apart on the fundamental issue of sovereignty over all or most of Karabakh. Only significant concessions on Karabakh's status by Armenia, Azerbaijan, or both will make a peace settlement possible, and neither side looks likely to make such concessions.

Do you think that the right to self-determination can justify separatism and occupation by use of force, mass killing and ethnic cleanings, as was the case in Karabakh?

Everyone must answer this question for themselves. After the fighting is over, it is never worth it for the losers, whereas the winners can often justify it. But remember that both leaderships decided to fight in the beginning, before they knew the outcome for certain.

And what do you think about activity of Russia in Karabakh settlement? How sincere these Russia’s efforts are?

It is possible that Russia could benefit from a peace settlement. But Russia will not force Armenia to make the fundamental concessions, because this would weaken and alienate a close and loyal ally.

Do you think that US really interested in stability in the South Caucasus and Karabakh settlement in particular or all these problems are closer to Russia as a neighbor of this region?

The US has little leverage except carrots like aid and investment. These are not significant enough to affect the calculations of Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders.

Source: http://www.news.az/articles/9903

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