One of the most influential Armenian lobbying groups in America has accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of stacking the deck in favor of a friendly audience according to the list of organizations invited for a February dialogue with the stateswoman.
Afghanistan and Iran were the topics of prime concern as US President Barack Obama hosted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an official meeting Monday in Washington, D.C.
The American president used the occasion to try to draw Turkey into the fold of allies providing troops for the US-led war in Afghanistan, while also courting Turkey’s friendship and support in corralling Iran, America’s perennial nemesis.
I have the terrifying pleasure of living with a five-year old philosopher.
A year before she reached the seasoned maturity that now reveals itself in alternating identifications with Barbie and/or Scooby Doo, her analytical skills emerged while a morning fashion crisis loomed over whether she’d be more kindergartenly stylish in her purple or in her turquoise tights.
Prompted by some toy that found its way to the top of the mountain of plush and plastic that is her world, Barbie Doo engaged in a debate with her mother over what animals are called.
Politically split by last week’s presidential election, Armenia’s capital center today was also physically divided as newly-elected president Serzh Sargsyan and his nemesis Levon Ter-Petrosyan held mass rallies on opposite ends of Northern Avenue.
Separated by less than a quarter-mile, the messages couldn’t have been more polarized.
According to widely-published analyst on Armenian affairs, Richard Giragosian, the initial and unofficial reaction from some US State Department sources to Tuesday’s election in Armenia is “surprise and outrage”.
Giragosian, who frequently contributes to ArmeniaNow and is a regular contributor for Radio Free Europe and a consultant to international agencies that include the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, lives in Yerevan but is on business in Washington.
In contrast to societies in which companies spend millions on public-relation ploys to attract media attention, business practice in Armenia remains an insular, guarded realm in which corporate heads discourage attention rather than solicit it. Efforts to profile businesses for this series of articles was a reminder that even successful businessmen would rather turn off the spotlight than be found in it.
Reluctance to discuss finances or taxes or inside trade secrets is surely not peculiar to Armenia. Here, though, presumably harmless questions from a reporter are met with resistance, suspicion and often rudeness. Consistent with the situation in politics or virtually any other area, trust between media and the business world is a phenomenon still waiting to happen in Armenia.
Evidence of a city alive is seen at sunrise, far earlier than a recent past when only street dogs and street sweepers of Armenia seemed aware that the clock holds a 7 for morning as well one on the p.m. side.
Signs of life changing are as simple as the changed signs on sidewalks, where cafes and restaurants invite residents and visitors to breakfast. Until very recently only hotels and one restaurant, Artbridge, opened for breakfast. Now, others have followed the trend common in the UK and North America – opening their doors as early as 8 a.m. Tiny-cupped Armenian coffee now shares the menu with the brewed variety. Iced tea is available in flavors that include pomegranate, and while service still remains stuck somewhere in transition, it now comes with a 10 percent charge to the bill.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who was elected to office in 1991, re-elected in 1996, and resigned in 1998, announced his intentions Friday before what appeared to be the largest opposition rally crowd since the 2003 presidential campaign.
Standing where his rise to popularity began in 1988 as a leader of the Karabakh Committee, with his declaration of candidacy Ter-Petrosyan delivered a long speech that ended long months of speculation over whether he would return to politics.
The 62-year old scholar said he is a candidate for next February’s election, because he “cannot allow” the current regime to continue what he called the moral deterioration of the country.
Yerevan’s Freedom Square overflowed with rally participants who had been drawn by two weeks of publicity, even though state-dominated television refused to run announcements about the historic re-emergence of Armenia’s first president to public life.
Today Armenia chooses its fourth parliament since independence in a vote that will put 131 lawmakers in charge of implementing an amended Constitution that lessens presidential autonomy and empowers the National Assembly.
Since last autumn, internal and international bodies have been calling for the May 12 vote to be “free and fair”.