Saturday, July 7, 2007

In Brief: U.S.-Armenia military talks; film about Karabakh war; Genocide affirmation in Canada, Swirtzerland

First published in the Armenian Reporter on June 30, 2007

From Washington, in brief
by Emil Sanamyan

U.S.-Armenia military consultations held in Washington

On June 27-28, an Armenian Defense Ministry delegation visited with counterparts in the Pentagon for annual talks on security issues. Delegation head Gen. Mikael Melkonian, who directs the ministry’s international cooperation division, told the Armenian Reporter, “the bilateral defense consultations are intended to review the cooperation of the last two years and discuss projects for following years.”

The delegation held talks with the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO, Dan Fata, and other U.S. officials. They also went to the Walter Reed hospital to talk with Capt. Georgi Nalbandian, who is completing his rehabilitation treatment there after being seriously wounded in Iraq.

After that visit, Gen. Melkonian thanked the hospital staff for the care provided to Capt. Nalbandian and expressed certainty that the officer will soon return to active duty in the Armenian army.

Before arriving in Washington, the delegation visited the U.S. Defense Language Institute in San Antonio, Tex., where sixteen Armenian officers now study.

PBS program previews Karabakh war film

A Story of People in War and Peace, a documentary by Yerevan film director and war correspondent Vardan Hovannisian, was previewed on a public television (PBS) program on June 17. “Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria” ( aired a five-minute cut of the hour-long film about the conflict it described as “an unsolved remnant of Soviet Union’s demise.”

To accompany the film excerpt, Zakaria’s show editors misquoted a factually flawed CIA fact book, describing the war as stemming from Armenia’s “territorial claims” and resulting in a “land grab.” Zakaria is an editor of Newsweek International and a prominent Washington commentator.

Hovannisian’s documentary has won awards at European and U.S. film festivals and is due to be shown in full by Documentary Television, available via U.S. Dish Network, Channel 197.

Canadian government, Swiss court stand ground on affirmation

Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada reaffirmed his country’s policy on the Armenian Genocide. In comments delivered at the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) on June 15, Mr. Harper said, “Canada’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide . . . is the position of the Government of Canada,” the Armenian National Committee of Canada reported on June 19.

Mr. Harper also called “unacceptable” any foreign government’s efforts to pressure the Canadian government and media not to affirm the Genocide.

A Swiss appeals court upheld on June 20 the conviction against the leader of the Turkish Workers’ Party Dogu Perincek, The Associated Press reported the same day.
On March 9 a Lausanne court sentenced the veteran Turkish politician to a fine under Swiss anti-racism laws for denying the Armenian Genocide, a ruling protested by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Mr. Perincek’s lawyer said he would continue the appeals process.

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