News and Views (June 5, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— The big news this week is the US Secretary of State’s visit to the Republic of Armenia. Secretary Hillary Clinton touched down in the Caucasus on Monday. Clinton arrived in Yerevan and expressed “concern about recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan as she hopes to mediate progress on a slew of trade and territorial disputes.” Clinton was in Georgia today and will be in Azerbaijan on Wednesday. This is Clinton’s second trip to the region since US President Obama’s election.
— What does the Clinton trip mean? A Russian source senses (of course) some problems for Georgia:
It should be noted that Georgia is politically the most troublesome ally for the U.S. in the region.
A Turkish paper says Turkey has rebuffed Clinton’s call to normalize relations with Armenia:
Ankara has rebutted a statement by the United States calling on Turkey to take steps to normalize its relations with Armenia, citing the Armenian Constitutional Court’s previous rulings on the two countries’ diplomatic protocols.
Reuters has the most (inadvertently?) humorous take on Clinton’s whirlwind tour. They titled their post, “If It’s Tuesday, Clinton Must Be in Batumi.”
— While Secretary Clinton was in Yerevan she attended the 2012 Universal Rights Award ceremony and there are many photos of the event on Counterpart International Armenia’s Facebook page. You can watch the video of Sec. Clinton’s speech at the event, which has been posted online. The always opinionated ArtMika of Unzipped has his take on those who were invited to the ceremony.
Also, if you are curious what the USAID-aided Counterpart does in Armenia then here’s is an infographic that helps you understand their potential impact.
— Beirut’s The Daily Star newspaper wrote about the Symphony of Colors exhibition of 64 work by “Armenian Masters” at the Jeweler’s Souk, in Downtown Beirut.
— The historic mansion of AGBU’s second president and major diasporan Armenian benefactor Calouste Gulbenkian in Kayseri, Turkey, was recently purchased by a Turkish businessman. He has yet to renovate the building, according to reporters who visited the site.
— The civil war in Syria has deeply impacted the small Armenian community of Homs, according to Tert.am. The news source explains why many fled after opposition forces took over:
Following the Houla massacres that left over 100 people dead, the Islamic forces in Homs are urging the local Armenians to leave their homes. They reportedly walk from house to house in Syria’s Armenian populated city, forcing the Christians to leave their abodes immediately.
As a point of fact, Homs is not an Armenian populated city. Perhaps the news source intended to write “Armenian-populated neighborhood,” but even that appears questionable as very few Armenians have ever lived in Homs and a number of Syrian Armenians I have spoken to could not confirm if there indeed there was an Armenian neighborhood in the city.
— According to Australia’s Greek Reporter, a memorial to the genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks was unveiled in South Australia on May 20.
— And finally, Armenia was renowned for its vast vineyards but they appear to be shrinking. According to ArmInfo, today Armenia has 16,288 hectares of vineyards, while in the 1980s it had 36,000 hectares.
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News & Views is published every week. It is a summary of the week’s most interesting, provocatiove and thought-provoking links to articles, videos, photos and commentary of interest to the readers of Ararat.