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Sunday, September 21, 2014
 

1997

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

X
July 2001
6

Republic of Armenia

Total area: 29,800 sq. km Slightly larger than Maryland Bordering states: Azerbaijan (east) 566 km Nakhichevan (south) 221 km Georgia 164 km Iran 35 km Turkey 268 km Population: 3.6 million 68% urban 110.5 persons/sq. km Ethnic composition: 93.3% Armenian 1.5% Russian 1.7% Kurdish 3.5% Assyrian, Greek, other

Leadership: Robert Kocharian, President; Andranik Markarian, Prime Minister; Vardan Oskanian, Foreign Minister; Armen Khachatrian, Parliament Chairman.

Independence: Armenia established its independence on September 21, 1991.

CIS membership status: Armenia joined the CIS in March 1992 and CIS Defense Treaty in May 1992.

Constitution: A constitution was adopted by national referendum on July 5, 1995.

Elections: Parliamentary elections were held May 30, 1999. Presidential elections were held in March 1998.

Diplomatic representation: The United States representative to Armenia is Ambassador Michael Lemmon. The Armenian representative to the United States is Ambassador Arman Kirakossian. The Armenian representative to the United Nations is Ambassador Movses Abelian.

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance to Armenia

In FY 2000, the U.S. Government provided an estimated $124.18 million in assistance to Armenia, including $102.46 million in FREEDOM Support Act assistance, $14.63 million in other U.S. Government assistance, and $7.09 million in privately donated and U.S. Defense Department excess humanitarian commodities. The main priorities of U.S. Government assistance were private-sector development, economic and energy-sector reform, democracy and good governance, assistance to the earthquake zone, social-sector reform, education and training, and agriculture. In close coordination with the Armenian Government, the U.S. Government has been decreasing the amount of humanitarian assistance it provides to Armenia, replacing it with an increased amount of development assistance and private-sector support programs. This shift in relative priorities is designed to help Armenia make an efficient transition to a free-market economy, in part by creating real jobs in new enterprises. In FY 2000, humanitarian assistance accounted for 19 percent of U.S. Government assistance to Armenia.

MONTHLY CHRONOLOGY

2 June: During the second party congress of the People's Party of Armenia, the junior partner of the Republican Party in the dominant parliamentary Unity Bloc, Chairman Stepan Demirchian states that the People's Party has some serious differences with some of the decisions adopted by its partner Republican Party. Demirchian specifically questions the implementation of the government's privatization program and the veracity of the investigation into the events of the October 1999 attack on parliament which killed his father, Parliamentary Chairman Garen Demirchian and several other senior government figures. Despite recent defections, the Unity Bloc remains the largest bloc in parliament, with the People's Party holding 19 seats and the Republican Party 25.

5-6 June: Armenian Minister for Privatization Davit Vartanian and a delegation of Swiss investors are forcibly prevented from entering the Ararat cement factory compound by a group of employees and guards. The Swiss investors are interested in purchasing the factory, one of fourteen large state-owned firms slated to be privatized this year. Former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian operates the Ararat factory, having assumed the position from his brother, the late Vazgen Sarkisian. The inspection is carried out the next day with police intervention.

5-9 June: During an official state visit to Belgium, President Robert Kocharian meets in Brussels with the European Union's (EU) Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solano, to discuss the planned expansion of EU-Armenian relations and to review negotiations over the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. The EU is supporting the OSCE-led mediation process and holds a key role in the planned reconstruction and reintegration of the region once a resolution is achieved. Kocharian also meets with European Commission President Romano Prodi and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Lord George Robertson during his visit.

7-10 June: Russian State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev meets with President Kocharian and other senior government officials during a visit to Yerevan. Seleznev discusses issues related to bilateral relations and reviews what he terms the "strategic partnership" between the two countries, including the status of the Russian military bases in Armenia. Armenian officials dismiss two Seleznev suggestions during the meetings, specifically Russia's invitation to Armenia to join the Belarus-Russian Union and that Russian be made the "second official language."

8 June: Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) official Hrand Markarian issues a statement warning that the ARF will stand opposed to any concessions to Azerbaijan that it sees as "a danger to national security." He suggests that the Nagorno Karabagh government should "declare its sovereignty" over all districts it holds outside of the Karabagh borders in order to maximize its negotiating position and should not withdraw its troops from those areas at this time. Markarian declares that the ARF will refrain from any action that damages political stability, but calls on the Kocharian government to make the details of the peace process public.

13 June: Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian holds a press conference in Yerevan to discuss the status of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) led mediation over Nagorno Karabagh. The foreign minister reports that the peace process "is still alive" and expresses hope that the OSCE will "make active efforts to eliminate the newly created complications" for the next round of talks. Oskanian confirms that the recent talks have reached a basis for further negotiations resting on the premise that Karabagh will not be vertically subordinate to Azerbaijan. Oskanian is also critical of a recent statement by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit demanding the establishment of a land corridor connecting Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan as a new precondition to the lifting of its blockade of Armenia and the establishment of normal relations with Yerevan. Turkey had previously demanded the return of all Armenian-held territory in Azerbaijan as its precondition to relations with Armenia.

13 June: The parliament votes to reject a motion by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) that would have raised state pension payments by 30 percent in an attempt to meet the general population's worsening socio-economic situation. Despite recent positive economic growth, the overall standard of living remains low and has been made worse by a lack of state funding for social programs aimed at helping the most vulnerable of the population. The current average pension payment stands at $10 per month.

14-15 June: A delegation of officials from the European Union (EU) arrives in Yerevan for the second session of the Armenian-EU partnership committee. The officials review issues related to bilateral cooperation and the mediation efforts to resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. Also discussed is the 1996 agreement Armenia concluded with the EU to deactivate the Medzamor nuclear power plant by 2004. Armenian officials contend that the Medzamor facility can remain safely operational for at least another 5-10 years and should not be closed until an adequate alternative energy source is found. The plant currently provides 40 percent of the country's electricity.

19 June: President Robert Kocharian convenes a meeting with representatives of major political parties to brief them on the latest developments in the stalled negotiations over the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. The president announces that the next round of talks with Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev will be convened in August, although the OSCE-led mediation effort has been halted by Azerbaijan. The OSCE had originally planned to convene a summit meeting with Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations in Geneva this month.

19 June: The head of the State Committee for Water Resources, Gagik Martirossian, confirms reports that a group of international donor nations have pledged a $180 million five-year low-interest loan package designed to finance upgrading Armenia's water management and irrigation systems. The loan package includes plans for the construction of a dam on the Arax River and water main systems for the Vayots, Tavush and Armavir districts.

20-21 June: After the release of six defendants initially charged with complicity in the October 1999 attack on the Armenian parliament, the recently formed Republic party sharply criticizes the Kocharian government for obstructing efforts to solve this crime. The six defendants, including three police officers on duty during the attack who were arrested for failing to prevent the incident, are released according to the terms of a new amnesty. The Republic party issues a statement calling for the resignations of the president and the government of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian for their failure to "guarantee the country's security and future" and for unwillingness "to expedite justice." The Republic Party, which was formed in March, is led by former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian, the brother of the late premier and Defense Minister, Vazgen Sarkisian, killed in the parliament attack.

21-22 June: Delegations led by the interior ministries from the twelve member nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) meet in Yerevan for the 20th session of the CIS Internal Affairs Ministerial Council. The participants in the Yerevan meeting include Azerbaijani Interior Minister Ramil Usubov.

26 June: U.S. President George Bush nominates career foreign service official John Ordway to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, replacing outgoing Ambassador Michael Lemmon. The appointee, who must first be confirmed by the United States Senate, previously served in the U.S. embassy in Moscow as its deputy chief of mission and has held several prominent diplomatic assignments in Europe.

28 June: Energy Minister Garen Galustian announces a new agreement with Russia on Armenian debt for supplies of Russian natural gas and nuclear fuel for the Medzamor power plant. According to the terms of the new agreement, Russia will forgive $8.3 million of Armenian arrears, reducing the total to $88 million. Armenia repaid $20 million of this debt last month, using proceeds from its privatization program.

28-29 June: The Armenian-Georgian intergovernmental cooperation commission convenes in Yerevan to review several bilateral issues. Georgian officials agree to a rescheduling of the $20.5 million Georgian debt to Armenia ($4.5 million of which is for Georgian purchases of Armenian electricity) and conclude a new agreement setting transit fees at $24 for each ton of oil products and $14-17 in variable rates for each ton of other commodities for the remainder of the year. The transit fees are still considerably higher for Armenia than for other states, however.

29 June: The parliament adopts the government's new three-year privatization plan for the sale of the country's remaining large state-owned firms, including four strategic mining and metallurgical companies and the thermal and hydro-electric power plants. The government's plan targets some 900 large- and medium-scale firms, but excludes several state-operated hospitals after pressure from parliamentarians. The parliament also adopts new anti-corruption legislation which requires the disclosure of all income by officials of the executive and judicial branches.

Republic of Georgia

Total area: 69,700 sq. km Slightly larger than S. Carolina Bordering states: Armenia 164 km Azerbaijan 322 km Russia 723 km Turkey 252 km Population: 5.57 million 56% urban 78 persons/sq. km Ethnic composition: 69% Georgian, 9% Armenian, 6% Russian, 6% Ajarian*, 5% Azerbaijani, 3% Ossetian, 2% Abkhazian. Georgia includes the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria and the South Ossetian Autonomous Region. *- The Ajarians are a distinct ethnographic group of Georgians.

Leadership: Eduard Shevardnadze, President; Gia Arsenishvili, State Minister; Irakli Menagrashvili, Foreign Minister; Zurab Zhvania, Parliament Chairman.

Independence: Georgia established its independence on April 9, 1991.

CIS membership status: The Georgian government joined the CIS on October 23, 1993.

Constitution: A constitution was adopted in August, 1995, which reinstates a presidential form of government and provides for a strong executive branch and a unicameral 235-seat parliament. A constitutional court was also created. The constitution, however, does not address the status of Abkhazia, Ossetia or Ajaria.

Elections: Presidential elections were held April 9, 2000. Parliamentary elections were held October 31, 1999.

Diplomatic representation: The United States representative to Georgia is Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz. The Georgian representative to the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico, is Ambassador Tedo Japaridze. The Georgian representative to the United Nations is Ambassador Peter Chkiedze.

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance to Georgia

In FY 2000, the U.S. Government provided an estimated $149.56 million in assistance to Georgia, including $108.64 million in FREEDOM Support Act assistance, $15.33 million in other U.S. Government assistance, and $25.59 million in U.S. Defense Department excess and privately donated humanitarian commodities. Included in the overall U.S. Government contribution was 35,000 metric tons of wheat provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Government of Georgia under USDA's Section 416(b) Program. U.S. Government-funded assistance programs supported economic restructuring, energy-sector reform, democracy-building, the enhancement of Georgia's capability to control its borders and the creation of a military that can meet Georgia's security needs. In FY 2000, the U.S. and Georgian Governments agreed to a Four-Point Program to help concentrate resources and attention on key economic and government reform priorities. The Four-Point Program, which is a successor to the successful Five-Point Program initiated in FY 1999, stresses anti-corruption efforts, tax and revenue enhancement, budgetary reform, and civil service reform.

MONTHLY CHRONOLOGY

4 June: A senior Turkish military delegation, led by General Sherafetin Teliasan, meets with Georgian officials in Tbilisi to formalize a new Turkish military grant of $2.5 million. Some $2 million of the grant is to be allocated for the modernization of communications and transport equipment for troops stationed at Koda, for the completion of the renovations underway at the Marneuli military airfield, and for the modernization of the Tbilisi military academy. Another $500,000 is to be spent on the Georgian border guard forces assigned along the Akhaltsikhe district border. Turkish military assistance to Georgia has surpassed $15 million in grants over the past four years.

5 June: Georgian officials reveal that they will be withholding their participation in the planned June 6-7 Moscow talks over the economic reconstruction of South Ossetia. Although military hostilities have not resumed, relations between South Ossetia and the central Georgian government remain tense since the South Ossetians declared their formerly autonomous region an independent republic.

6-8 June: Local Russian and Abkhazian residents gather at the Russian military facility at Gudauta in Abkhazia in an attempt to prevent the withdrawal of the paratroopers and military equipment stationed there. The Russian military base is scheduled to be closed and all Russian troops stationed there are to be withdrawn by the July 1st deadline, in accordance with the November 1999 agreement between Moscow and Tbilisi. Local residents value the Russian military presence as essential to Abkhazia's security and to the region's economy. The Georgian government reiterates its demand that Moscow conform to the agreement and reminds Moscow that it must also withdraw from its military bases at Batumi and Akhalkalaki within three years. The Russian position regarding those two bases, however, remains firm in demanding a 15-year lease for their operation.

11 June: A 10-nation military exercise involving over 4,000 ground and naval forces is held on land and sea in western Georgia. The ten-days of war games include participants from five members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey, France, Greece, Italy and the United States, as well as from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine. The Georgian government extends an official invitation to Abkhazia to observe the maneuvers but the invitation is rejected. The military exercise is designed to coordinate peacekeeping operations, practice a humanitarian mission during an earthquake scenario, as well as naval refueling.

15 June: Georgian officials protest a decision by the Russian Transportation Ministry abruptly banning all Russian bound flights by the Georgian national airlines. The ban is reportedly due to the Georgian government's failure to pay over $3.7 million in outstanding debt for Russian air navigation and air traffic control fees.

19 June: President Eduard Shevardnadze attempts to mediate a dispute within his cabinet over responsibility for the 29 million lari wage and pension arrears owed to current and retired teachers and education workers. Finance Minister Zurab Nogaideli and National Bank Chairman Irakli Managadze blame each other for the arrears and are instructed by the president to seek counsel from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) representatives in Georgia. The Central Bank recently rejected a request by the Finance Ministry for the release of a partial payment of 17 million laris ($8.25 million) for the arrears.

20 June: In a televised address, Ajarian Parliamentary Chairman Aslan Abashidze strongly criticizes Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Zurab Zhvania for policies aimed at pushing Georgia toward "fascism." In response, Revaz Adamia, the leader of the pro-government Union of Citizens of Georgia bloc, counters that Abashidze is only seeking to bolster his political standing as leader of the opposition Revival Union and "can only be taking his orders from Moscow and seeking to destabilize the country."

25 June: President Shevardnadze announces during a press conference that he is now considering the Russian request for an extension to the deadline requiring the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from its bases in Georgia. Adding that the process is complicated, Shevardnadze reveals that he is contemplating a five-year extension to the deadline for the Russian closure of its bases at Batumi and Akhalkalaki.

Republic of Azerbaijan

Total area:
81,800 sq. km
Slightly smaller than Maine

Bordering states:
Armenia (West) 566 km
Armenia (southwest) 221 km
Georgia 332 km
Iran (south) 432 km
Iran (southwest) 179 km
Russia 284 km
Turkey 9 km

Population:
7.3 million
54% urban
89 persons/sq. km

Ethnic composition: 71% Azerbaijani, 11% Talish, 6% Russian, 4% Lezgi, 3% Daghestani, 3% Kurdish.
The autonomous republic of Nakhichevan (pop. 350,000; 5,500 sq. km) was placed under Azerbaijani administration in 1921.

Leadership: Geidar Aliyev, President; Artur Rasizade, Prime Minister; Vilayet Guliev, Foreign Minister; Murtuz Aleskerov, Parliament Chairman; Shamshaddin Khanbabayev, Premier of Nakhichevan.

Independence: Azerbaijan established its independence on August 30, 1991.

CIS membership status: Azerbaijan joined the CIS on September 24, 1993.

Constitution: A new constitution was passed by referendum in November 1995.

Elections: Parliamentary elections were held November 5, 2000. Presidential elections were held October 1998.

Diplomatic representation: The United States representative to Azerbaijan is Ambassador Ross Wilson. The Azerbaijani representative to the United States is Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev. The Azerbaijani representative to the United Nations is Eldar Guliyev.

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance to Azerbaijan In FY 2000, the U.S. Government provided an estimated $50.61 million in assistance to Azerbaijan, including $32.18 million in FREEDOM Support Act (FSA) assistance, $6.17 million in other U.S. Government assistance, and $12.26 million in U.S. Defense Department excess and privately donated humanitarian commodities. Of the $21.8 million in FSA funds allocated to USAID programs, USAID used $10.0 million for humanitarian assistance, $3.7 million for economic restructuring programs, $4.2 million for democracy and governance programs, and $3.0 million for cross-sectoral activities. U.S. Government assistance programs in Azerbaijan operate within the parameters of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which prohibits certain types of assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan until it takes steps to lift its economic blockades against Armenia. Over the past several years, U.S. Government assistance to Azerbaijan has mainly consisted of humanitarian assistance, democracy-building and education programs. More recently, however, programs have been added in areas such as security assistance, private-sector development and election preparedness, reflecting more U.S. interests in the region.

MONTHLY CHRONOLOGY

2 June: A demonstration of 200 supporters of the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan is forcibly dispersed by security forces in Baku, injuring several and resulting in the arrest of 18 participants. The police action is the second such use of force against a small peaceful opposition demonstration in the past three weeks.

4 June: The President of the Azerbaijani International Operating Company (AIOC), David Woodward, confirms press reports that new information on the cost estimates of the plan to construct an oil pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea reveal a 20 percent increase in the project's initial $2.4-$2.7 billion estimated cost. The announcement puts further doubt on the viability of such a plan.

5 June: The eighth annual international Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition opens in Baku with participants representing over 330 companies from more than two dozen countries. U.S. special adviser on Caspian energy Stephen Mann reads a statement by U.S. President George Bush reiterating Washington's support for a "commercially viable east-west energy corridor" for the Caspian region. President Geidar Aliyev welcomes the participants and states that the development of the Caspian's energy reserves are vital to regional security.

6 June: In the most recent action against the country's independent media, Azerbaijani security forces and officials from the Communications Ministry close the "Gutb" and "Hayal" independent television companies for "failing to hold official permission to operate or broadcast." The two companies, based in the town of Guba, just north of the capital, are both formally registered with the Ministry of Justice and were awaiting decisions on their application to the state committee for radio and television for assigned broadcast frequencies.

8 June: President Aliyev meets with visiting Russian Railways Minister Nikolai Alsenenko in Baku to discuss a plan to construct a 355-kilometer railway linking the Azerbaijani Astara border town with the northern Iranian city of Qazvin. The railway project would be jointly financed by Russia and Iran and would have an annual capacity of 13 million tons of cargo freight. Aliyev also meets with Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu to review Azerbaijani plans to create a similar ministry and to discuss training of emergency rescue teams.

11 June: Azerbaijani government officials welcome the recent agreement between the U.S. government's special adviser on Caspian energy, Stephen Mann, and the head of Kazakhstan's state oil and gas company calling for a joint study of connecting the planned Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline to the Kazakh port of Aqtua. The study, to be financed by the United States for $350,000, will consider the economic, ecological, and technical aspects of such an extension across the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan desperately needs to include Kazakhstan oil exports in the planning of the pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan in order to justify the plan's soaring estimated costs.

12 June: The parliament votes to ratify the recent production-sharing agreement between the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) and the Russian LUKoil firm. The agreement, first reached in January, calls for the development and restoration of the Zykh and Hovsany offshore oil fields which have been in production for the past 50 years, but are still estimated to hold residual reserves of 33 million tons of crude oil. The estimated cost of the project is set at $225 million. SOCAR officials also request an import duty and VAT tax exemption for oil refineries importing foreign crude oil for refining in Azerbaijan. The requested exemption seeks to boost output of the country's oil refineries which have been working at under fifty percent capacity.

14-15 June: Delegations led by the deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan meet in Baku with Azerbaijani officials to discuss issues related to the disputed division of the Caspian Sea. The goal of the meeting is to agree to general provisions which will serve as the basis for more detailed negotiations in a higher-level full summit of littoral states, twice-canceled but now planned for October. The Iranian and Turkmen delegation remain firmly wedded to its position advocating the division of the Caspian waters and seabed into five equal sectors, while Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan each call for the seabed's division based on current boundaries and subjecting the Caspian's waters and surface area to a common shared-use format.

16 June: Azerbaijan receives the first of two military patrol boats from the United States as part of a larger U.S. effort to provide military assistance to some of the nations bordering the Caspian Sea. The 16-meter coast guard vessels are designed to provide these nations with the means to patrol their national sectors of the Caspian and to monitor smuggling and to assist in regional non-proliferation efforts. Commenting on the grant, U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson notes that it follows more than $1 million in U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan to date, all within the framework of this anti-proliferation program. Turkmenistan is also granted similar vessels as part of this program.

19 June: In a report to a conference on the Nagorno Karabagh conflict in Baku, Foreign Minister Vilayet Guliev states that the OSCE-led mediation effort has failed because of the OSCE's lack of presenting any new peace plan and its unwillingness to conform to Azerbaijan's position on the issue. The foreign minister cites the fact that the OSCE has continued to operate on the basis of its outdated peace plan, dating from November 1998, and failing to recognize the "realities of the region."

19 June: According to the terms of a new presidential decree, Azerbaijan will introduce new measures to ease the transition from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet and to formalize the use of Azerbaijani-language in all official business, rather than the currently used Russian. The presidential decree also includes plans for the formation of a state commission on language and new efforts to improve the teaching and instruction of Azerbaijani. The decree contains a coercive element as well, citing government-imposed penalties for "covert and open propaganda against the state language and resistance to the use of the state language and Azerbaijani alphabet."

19-21 June: Armenian Parliamentarian Viktor Dallakian is elected as the new vice-president of the 11-nation Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) group during its meeting in Baku. During an official meeting with the 5-member Armenian Parliamentary delegation, Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Murtuz Aleskerov proposes the formation of a new Armenian-Azerbaijani inter-parliamentary "friendship group" to build on the cooperation and communication achieved through the BSEC meetings.

20-26 June: The first of two informal "roundtable" meetings convenes in Baku with journalists from Armenia and Turkey joining their Azerbaijani hosts to examine the role of the media in the possible improvement of relations between the three countries. The second session is slated for Turkey, with a final meeting scheduled to be held in Armenia. The meetings are jointly organized by the Yerevan Press Club and the Journalists Union of Azerbaijan.

21 June: Meeting in Baku with President Aliyev and Foreign Minister Vilayet Guliev, the Secretary-General of the OSCE, Jan Kubis, reviews the status of the mediation efforts trying to resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. Kubis also discusses the slow process of democratic reforms in the country and recommends a more comprehensive approach to the Azerbaijani government's efforts to strengthen democratic institutions.

22 June: President Aliyev meets with the head of British Petroleum (BP), John Browne, in the Baku offices of the international energy company. The BP executive informs Aliyev that British Petroleum is currently considering investing $5 billion in Azerbaijan's energy sector over the next five years. Browne also reports that he recently met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and discussed the long-planned construction of an oil pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Browne states that the U.S. remains committed to the project and adds that British Petroleum is still considering a role in the project's financing.

23 June: The trial of a group of six defendants from the Disabled War Veterans organization is halted as one of the defendants attempts to commit suicide during the court proceedings. The disabled veterans group has been targeted by security forces for anti-government activities, including demonstrations and hunger strikes to protest the Aliyev government's failure to provide disability and veterans benefits.

25 June: Speaking at a ceremony marking the country's official "Armed Forces Day," President Geidar Aliyev commends the military as the only force "able to restore Azerbaijan's territorial integrity" and promises to continue efforts to bolster the military, including the recent increase in overall state spending on defense and the introduction of a fifty percent military pay raise.

Republic of Nagorno Karabagh

Total area:
4,800 sq. km
Slightly smaller than Delaware

Bordering states:
Azerbaijan

Population:
150,000
31 persons/sq. km

Ethnic composition:
95% Armenian
5% Assyrian, Greek,
Kurdish, other

Leadership: Arkady Gukasyan, President; Anushevan Danielian, Prime Minister; Naira Melkoumian, Foreign Minister; Oleg Yessayan, Parliament Chairman

Independence: The Republic of Nagorno Karabagh was established on September 2, 1991 and declared its independence on January 6, 1992.

CIS membership status: Nagorno Karabagh is not a member of the CIS.

Constitution: The Parliament approved a constitution in June 1992.

Elections: Parliamentary elections were held June 18, 2000. Presidential elections were held September 1997.

Diplomatic representation: The Nagorno Karabagh representative to Armenia is Garen Mirzoyan. Artak Haroutiounian is the representative of Nagorno Karabagh to the European Community and the European Parliament. Vartan Barseghyan is the representative of the Office of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in the U.S.

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance to Nagorno Karabakh As of the end FY 2000, USAID had obligated $11.8 million for programs within Nagorno Karabakh. Save the Children Federation (SCF) is implementing subgrants for work in the areas of health-care financing, housing rehabilitation, and subsistence-level income generation in Nagorno Karabakh. Accomplishments in FY 2000 included the rehabilitation of an additional 680 shelter units (for a total of 1,051 to date), completion of the rehabilitation of medical facilities in Stepanakert as part of a mental health program to aid victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, and the issuing of 1,126 micro-loans to women to meet subsistence-level needs for food security.

MONTHLY CHRONOLOGY

4 June: In a report on the government's reconstruction effort in the Hadrut district, district administrator Vahan Badasyan announces that there has been significant rebuilding of roads and irrigation systems and a marked increase in Hadrut's agricultural production. The report also mentions that over 90 former residents have returned to their homes in the district, after fleeing fighting with Azerbaijan several years ago. The Gukasyan government has allocated nearly $1 million for aid in the reconstruction of the district's housing, as well as its hospitals and public buildings.

6 June: A delegation of military monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conducts an inspection of the border area between Nagorno Karabagh and Azerbaijan. The OSCE military observers routinely inspect the border area to ensure the continued observance of the cease-fire agreement in place since May 1994.

11 June: In a statement to reporters during a press conference, Nagorno Karabagh President Arkady Gukasyan states that he fully agrees with recent statements by Armenian President Robert Kocharian laying the blame for the breakdown of the OSCE-led mediation talks on the Azerbaijani side. Gukasyan also reiterates his position that Karabagh must be included in the peace process for it to be successful.

19 June: A special cabinet session is convened in Stepanakert to consider "urgent social and economic issues" and to review a report by Deputy Minister of Health Armen Petrossian on problems in the Nagorno Karabagh distribution system for essential medicine and medical supplies. The ministers also debate the next stage of the Karabagh government's privatization program targeting several state-owned retail and trade firms.

20 June: A conference of the public group Nagorno Karabagh Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs is held in Stepanakert to examine the group's plans for developing a broad job creation program which will utilize state assistance and incentives. Karabagh Prime Minister Anushevan Danielian and Parliamentary Speaker Oleg Yessayan both address the conference, each welcoming the Union as a partner in the government's emphasis on developing the Karabagh economy. The conference also reviews the group's charter and elects a new leadership consisting of a chairman, a 5-member presidium, and a 19-member operating council. The new chairman, Samvel Hakopian, promises to pursue closer ties to the Karabagh government in an effort to better coordinate development programs. Although the Union was first created in 1993, it has suffered from long periods of inactivity.

20 June: The third in a series of special music festivals begins with the scheduled tour of the "Amadeus" young musician and performer group. The group will perform concerts in Stepanakert, Mardakert and Marduni.

21 June: Nagorno Karabagh Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian dispatches a letter to the three co-chairing nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation's (OSCE) Minsk Group, timed for their meeting in Yalta. Melkoumian expresses concern over the delay in the OSCE's peace process and cites the danger of Azerbaijan's long standing practice of expressing "the image of the Armenian as a historical enemy." According to the letter, this policy has led to a hardening of Azerbaijani domestic politics over the Karabagh conflict and threatens to be "an insurmountable obstacle to the negotiation process."

22-24 June: Official representatives of the OSCE's working group on the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, the so-called Minsk Group, meet in Yalta to discuss ways to restart the OSCE mediation effort in the wake of Azerbaijan's refusal to agree to the planned summit meeting in Geneva initially set for this month. Setting an ambitious agenda exploring various measures to support the peace initiative, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov, French co-chairman Phillipe de Suremain, and U.S. Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh also consider utilizing the planned August meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents as a vehicle for returning to OSCE mediation. The co-chairmen reaffirm their commitment to supporting the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents "in their efforts to settle the Karabagh conflict as soon as possible and restore peace and stability in the region." From Yalta, the Minsk Group co-chairs are to meet with senior OSCE leaders in Bucharest to brief them on plans for the next stage of talks on the Karabagh conflict.

23 June: Meeting with a visiting delegation of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabagh President Arkady Gukasyan discusses the planned development of a formal program aimed at encouraging Russian investment in Karabagh.

26 June: In a meeting with the leadership of the Democratic Artsakh Union, the largest political party in the Karabagh Parliament, President Arkady Gukasyan, Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian and Parliamentary Chairman Oleg Yessayan commend the party for its "contribution to democracy in Karabagh." The party is regarded as the foundation of political support for the president and his government.

27 June: Nagorno Karabagh Science and Education Minister Hamlet Grigorian announces that nine private universities in Karabagh will be closed, effective July 1, due to a severe decline in enrollment. The minister's announcement follows the report of a special governmental commission of education experts and officials empowered to examine the state of Karabagh's higher education and university system.

27 June: Nagorno Karabagh Prime Minister Anushevan Danielian departs for a tour of the United States and Canada that includes a series of fundraisers and meetings with business leaders in the Armenian diasporan communities.




The source for the Overview of U.S. Government Assistance to the Caucasus profiles is the:
U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with the
New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union
FY 2000 Annual Report
Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to the NIS, January 2001
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