A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has reportedly killed more than 220 people, including 20 school children, and caused serious damage in Mexico City, the Guardian reports.
The magnitude 7.1 quake, the deadliest to hit the nation since 1985, struck shortly after 1pm local time, causing violent, prolonged shaking which flattened buildings and sent masonry tumbling onto streets, crushing cars and people in the capital Mexico City and surrounding areas.
Emergency crews and ordinary people were digging with their bare hards through rubble in search of trapped survivors after a powerful earthquake stuck central Mexico on Tuesday, toppling dozens of buildings and killing at least 224 people.
Power blackouts left much of the capital in darkness. Many people remained outdoors, fearful of aftershocks.
It was the second major temblor to hit Mexico in two weeks and came on the anniversary of the 1985 quake that devastated Mexico City. Tuesday’s earthquake came more than one week after a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the southern coast of the country, killing at least 90.
The epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 34.1 miles (55 km) south-southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, according to the US Geological Survey, CNN says. The source says rescuers searched for survivors through the night after the powerful earthquake.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian is scheduled to hold a number of meetings in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
In particular, the Armenian Foreign Minister is scheduled to meet to with his counterparts from several countries and heads of international organizations.
Edward Nalbandian will also meet with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov.
On September 19, Serzh Sargsyan, who is in New York on a working visit, met with President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda at the UN headquarters.
Noting that 2017 is a symbolic milestone for Armenia and Poland, as the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations is being marked this year along with the 650th anniversary of establishment of the Armenian community in Poland, Presidents Sargsyan and Duda expressed satisfaction with the dynamically developing interstate relations based on centuries-old friendship between the two peoples.
Taking the opportunity, President Serzh Sargsyan thanked the Polish President for the kind remarks addressed to the Armenian community on this occasion and highly appreciated the Polish people’s friendly attitude towards the Armenian people.
President Andrzej Duda offered warm congratulations and best wishes on the Independence Day of Armenia, which the Armenian nation is celebrating in two days.
Evoking the ongoing efforts aimed at strengthening the Armenian-Polish ties on bilateral and multilateral levels, the heads of the two countries highlighted the importance of top-level contacts and the need to achieve a new quality in political dialogue.
President Duda thanked the President of Armenia for support of Poland’s non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. In turn, Serzh Sargsyan congratulated Poland on that occasion and expressed the hope that the traditions of mutual assistance and understanding will be continued.
President Sargsyan attached importance to the role of parliamentary diplomacy in the development of political dialogue. Considering the fact that Armenia has shifted to the parliamentary system of governance as a result of constitutional amendments, Serzh Sargsyan expressed confidence that inter-parliamentary ties will be strengthened in the future.
Serzh Sargsyan stressed once again that our country highly appreciates the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Polish Sejm.
The parties touched upon the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement process. Serzh Sargsyan stressed the need to abide by a balanced position in line with the common standpoint of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the European Union.
President Duda emphasized that Poland’s position on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not changed, and Poland is confident that the problem should only be resolved peacefully on the basis of international law.
On September 19, Serzh Sargsyan partook in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in United Nations headquarters in New York. President of the Republic delivered a speech.
Statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the general debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly
Distinguished President of the General Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I congratulate and wish success to Mr. Miroslav Lajčák upon his election as the President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly.
I avail myself of this opportunity and congratulate anew Mr. António Guterres upon his election to the office of the UN Secretary General. Distinguished Mr. Secretary General, we wish you success in carrying out your important mission. The priorities you declared enjoy Armenia’s support.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In 2017 we marked the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s accession to the United Nations. On March 2, 1992 the Armenian tricolor flaunted at this headquarters of the United Nations family as a logical and sought for outcome of the exercise by our people of its fundamental right to self-determination.
Over the years, Armenia has become a fully-fledged and responsible member of the international community. There had been numerous challenges in before of us, and we withstood them with dignity. The most important and intricate one was the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
It is for the fifth time that I have an opportunity to speak from this eminent podium and again I am compelled to address the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. I should have rather preferred to talk of peace, progress and cooperation, but unfortunately we are not there yet. Hence, it is my duty to explain why we are so much away from that desirable stage.
The new phase of the struggle for self-determination by the people of Artsakh began almost 30 years ago. The peaceful calls by the Armenians of Artsakh to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as well as every step to that effect was met by use force, to which Azerbaijan continuously resorted to.
The policy of the official Baku culminated in the massacres, ethnic cleansing and mass deportation of the Armenian population of Azerbaijan. Once flourishing Armenian-populated districts in their entirety have been wiped out of the Armenians, and the Government of Azerbaijan continues with its policy of systematic destruction of the vast Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage on the territories under its control.
It is obvious that, under such circumstances, the people of Artsakh were left with no other choice than to resort to self-defense. The grievous war of 1992-1994, its aftermath and negotiations that followed did not serve as a lesson for Azerbaijan. Last year in April, Azerbaijan unleashed a four-day war, which came to prove that Azerbaijan pursues the objective of extermination of the people of Artsakh.
In the course of the military offensive unleashed in 2016, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan committed a number of war crimes against civilian population and the prisoners of war. Here I am compelled to mention that a serviceman who committed such atrocities has been decorated with a high state award, and the President of Azerbaijan personally decorated him in front of the cameras.
Distinguished Mr. President,
It has been for years that hate speech and Armenophobia was made part and parcel of the Azerbaijan’s state policy. It has taken deep root in the school curricula, intoxicating the younger generation. It has been for years that a number of inter-governmental and non-governmental specialized organizations dealing with racism and xenophobia have been ringing alarm bells about it.
All of these leads us to believe that the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of Artsakh is of existential significance. In this regard, I convey the consolidated view of Armenia and Artsakh as well as the one shared by Armenians from all over the globe. I bring this message from Yerevan, where right now Armenia-Diaspora conference is taking place.
Everyone should be aware that for the democratically developing Artsakh Azerbaijan simply symbolizes medieval backwardness. Azerbaijan has got no legal or moral ground whatsoever to present any claims towards Artsakh. Artsakh has never been part to independent Azerbaijan, and therefore the attempts of its annexation to that particular state framework cannot be justified.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today free Artsakh is an established democratic society. Our shared motto and commitment of “Leaving no one behind” should be the milestone guiding the work of the United Nations family. It is exactly for that reason, I believe, that people of Artsakh should never be isolated from the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
I strongly believe that the unresolved status of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict should have no impact on the people of Artsakh as they exercise their rights. It is, first and foremost, about inalienable rights for any human being. It is about the right to life, the right to organize public life, the right to form freely one’s own government, the right to communicate unimpededly with the outer world, and many other rights.
Armenia consistently contributes and will contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the people of Artsakh, its sustainable and democratic development. No one has a right to create hindrances to the implementation of initiatives and projects to that effect. The legal status of Artsakh, or, to be more precise, the lack of the international legal recognition, is not and cannot constitute an obstacle for the women and men who live there to exercise their rights.
We strongly believe that there is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Right now, from this eminent podium, I reiterate our commitment to that effect.
Meanwhile, everyone should be aware that the Nagorno Karabakh issue is a human rights issue. It can be resolved exclusively through one of the fundamental and inalienable human rights – the people’s right to self-determination.
At the end of the day, whatever option for the conflict resolution we arrive at, the Republic of Artsakh should not enjoy a status and liberty that might be inferior to the one it enjoys today. Azerbaijan shall recognize and respect the right of the people of Artsakh to decide its own future through a free expression of will. All available international and domestic mechanisms should guarantee the security of the Armenian population of Artsakh.
All remaining issues are collateral. All remaining issues will find their logical and fair solution in parallel to the general resolution process.
Distinguished Mr. President,
When I last time spoke from this eminent podium and addressed the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, I considered it my duty to express our gratitude one by one to all nations that recognized the horrendous crime that was committed against my people in the Ottoman Empire.
It is my duty to express gratitude from this eminent podium of Honor and Responsibility to all those countries that have recognized or reiterated their position on the Armenian Genocide.
I thank them for it, regardless of the format and language adopted.
I thank the numerous countries and individuals, state bodies, regional entities and organizations, who called things by their proper names. That is, indeed, important since denial paves the way for new crimes of genocide.
In this context, we recall that next year the family of the United Nations will mark the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Armenia will bring up a new initiative upon that occasion, and we invite all to join us and defend that initiative.
We, nevertheless, have never made the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a precondition for the normalization of the bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey. Moreover, it was upon the initiative of Armenia that a normalization process was launched, resulting in the conclusion of the Zürich protocols in October 2009.
Up to this day, those documents have not been ratified, instead, they have landed in some dark drawers of the official Ankara. The Government of Turkey came up with preposterous preconditions for their ratification that run counter to the letter and spirit of the Protocols. I expressed the clear-cut views of the Armenian people on this issue three years ago, when I spoke from this eminent podium.
Now the time has come for additional explanations. The leadership of Turkey are mistaken if they think that those documents can be held hostage forever and ratified only at the most opportune occasion from their very point of view. The Protocols were negotiated in the existing circumstances in order to find solutions to the actually existing issues.
Armenia will declare those two Protocols null and void since they continuously lacked any positive progress towards their implementation. We will enter the spring of 2018 without those, as our experience has demonstrated, futile Protocols.
Armenia, nevertheless, continues to believe that any two neighboring states need to establish and enjoy normal relations in order to address all possible disagreements between them and find solutions to such a discord.
This is the conviction we are guided by in our engagement with various integration processes. Today, Armenia is an active member of the Eurasian Economic Union and with its active work spares no effort in order to contribute to the unimpeded movement of goods and services in that large economic area and, hence, contribute to and promote welfare for all. We have already registered certain achievements in that regard, and that makes us feel hopeful for future. We also plan to conclude this November Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with European Union, which, in our view, will help us to give a new impetus to the institutional reforms implemented in Armenia.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
The current instability in the Middle East regretfully remains as a serious challenge.
It is with great pain that we have been following the crisis in Syria and the humanitarian situation there, which has brought about suffering of the civilian population, including the Armenian community of the country. Within its means, Armenia strives to mitigate the suffering of the Syrian people by providing humanitarian assistance. We also express our willingness to engage into possible discussions on the peacemaking efforts in Syria under the UN auspices and with an appropriate mandate.
Distinguished Mr. President,
I have no doubt that our family of the United Nations is able to guarantee a new quality of cooperation that will allow us to withstand the contemporary global and regional challenges. It is with that objective in mind that Armenia participates in a number of the UN peacekeeping operations. Moreover, we stand ready to increase our contribution in Lebanon and Mali to UNIFIL and MINUSMA missions, respectively.
Armenia, as a landlocked country located in the complicated region, a country with scarce natural resources, has continuously emphasized that human capital is its most valuable resource. It is, indeed, correct both for Armenia and for our whole family of the United Nations: we should focus on people, we should strive for peace and a decent life for all, on a sustainable planet.
I thank you.
When will Sasstex sewing factory be put into operation? Citizens of Armenia’s Gyumri city are worried about the fate of the factory.
The construction started several months ago but no one knows when it will be finished,
Works are delayed every time for different reasons, including lack of necessary equipment and unfavorable weather conditions. These are the main excuses.
A representative of the company says they will keep their promise and will not disappoint the locals. They do not encounter financial problems and are going to continue the construction.
Details can be found in the video of Tsayg TV
Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan is not sure that emigration will stop, if living conditions better in Armenia.
Journalists observed that he [Karapetyan] has been in office for a year and life in the country has gone from bad to worse. “On what criteria do you assess the government’s work? Do you want us to feel everything on our skin? Your skin has a different feeling. Everyone’s skin has a different feeling. How are you going to differentiate?” Karen Karapetyan said.
Karen Karapetyan claims that the records of his government are the best not only in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) but also in the region. Of course, it is not enough for citizens to feel good. “Some citizens may feel something on their skin, others may not; this is very subjective. We have had 6.2% economic growth and 12.7% growth in the industry,” Mr. Karapetyan continued.
Prime Minister hints that he is not worried about citizens’ dissatisfaction and complains: nowhere in the world are citizens pleased with their government. “Is it possible to change everything in one year? No, it is not.”
Likewise, the prime minister does not care about complaints of Diaspora Armenians concerning the investment climate in Armenia. “There are few businessmen who admit that they have done wrong calculations. Everyone blames others [for their failure],” Karen Karapetyan stressed.
In reply to journalists’ observation that Serzh Sargsyan has been heading the country for nine years but no progress was recorded in the economy ever since, the prime minister said, “I do not know whether the question betters or worsens your life. What will change in your life?”
Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan is one of the Republicans, who, as Galust Sahakyan said, are considered irreplaceable by Serzh Sargsyan.
Recently, Galust Sahakyan, the former speaker of the National Assembly, said that the majority of Republicans see Serzh Sargsyan as Armenia’s next premier.
Talking to journalists on Tuesday, Taron Margaryan said, “Yes, I think that no one can replace the Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).”
“It is important to understand that most Armenians live in the Diaspora. We shall continue to have Diaspora in 100-200 years, but many of them are half-Armenians and great efforts are needed to preserve Armenian identity in the Diaspora. We need to show the new generation of [the Diaspora] that Armenians are a powerful nation, a nation of geniuses. The more powerful the Diaspora is, the stronger Armenia will be,” says Andreas Rubiyan, a U.S.-based Armenian businessman.
He says it is very important to talk about our geniuses, to show them to the world and be proud of them. He has a large collection of Aivazovsky’s paintings. “I did not buy Aivazovsky’s paintings to earn money. I could have sold them ten times more expensive. The West perceives him [Aivazovsky] as a Russian artist, people get surprised when they learn that Aivazovsky born in a family of Armenian origin. My aim is to exhibit my collection in America and Europe and to show the world our geniuses. Art is a great weapon in the West and it does not matter whether you are an Armenian, Turk or a representative of other nationality. People in the West are impressed when they see what geniuses the given nation has had and what they have done for mankind. This is their approach. Let them see the contribution made by Armenians. Let them respect Armenians,” he added.
Armenia’s Levon Aronian has tied his game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the first game of the FIDE World Cup Semifinals underway in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Round 2 games will be played on September 20. Levon Aronian will play with black pieces. If the game ends in a draw, tiebreak rules will be used to determine the winner.
In the case of a draw, the winner of the pair will be eliminated in the tie-breaker, and the winning of one of the parties will give him a ticket to the final round.
In the hills, just down the road from the Noravank Monastery, is a cave known as Areni-1. At first glance, it would be easy to miss. But as archeologists worked in the cave they found some important items, such as the earliest-known human shoe and the earliest winery. This speaks to our shared human heritage, cutting across borders and tying us all together as one people.
As word of the discoveries spread, more and more tourists flocked to the site, endangering any unfound objects and interfering with ongoing archeology. That is where the U.S. government stepped in, funding a preservation effort with a grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). The $52,870 grant, awarded in 2013, helped fund the installation of a protective fence around the site, installation of lighting and pathways to allow for visitors without disturbing the site, and conservation of the site to protect it from deterioration.
“We as humans share a common story. Armenians, Americans, no matter where you are from, it is ancient cultural sites, like the Areni cave, that help us understand our interwoven history. That is why the U.S. government’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation supports efforts like the preservation work here in Areni,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., during a ceremony marking completion of the renovation project on September 19, 2017.
Ambassador Mills was joined at the Areni Cave by Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan and the Embassy’s Armenian partners who worked on the preservation, including Boris Gasparyan and experts from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, led by Director Pavel Avetisyan.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Mills pointed out that the preservation not only helps protect the Areni cave and its historical finds, but can help support tourism in Armenia by encouraging sustainable, non-impact visits by tourists to the cave.
“We are not only protecting the finds that will be made here tomorrow,” he said. “We are also building Armenia’s future, allowing sustainable and protective tourist visits to the site, and helping to stimulate Armenia’s economy by strengthening options available for tourists. With the paths and lighting installed now, thanks to the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, visitors can see the home of these unique artifacts without trampling on tomorrow’s discoveries.”
Since 2005, ten sites in Armenia have been funded through the AFCP, totaling $934,000. These include grants to create a climate controlled storage space for the Armenian National Film and Photo Archive, preservation of khachkars at the Noratus Medieval Cemetery, the reinforcement of a medieval bridge in the Garni Gorge, and the moving and renovation of two murals in Gyumri, one by Rafayel Atoyan and another by Hakob Hakobyan. A major restoration of the St. Hovhannes Church in Meghri, with its amazing medieval frescos, is on-going thanks to the AFCP.
“The fact that so many projects in Armenia are funded by the highly competitive U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation speaks to two facts, I believe. Frist, it shows Armenia has a valued place in our shared human history. And second, it speaks well to the close partnership and support we find here with our Armenian partners,” Ambassador Mills said.
While in Areni, Ambassador Mills announced the latest project to be funded by the AFCP, a $143,000 grant to continue restoration and preservation work at the Dashtadem fortress. Building on a grant awarded in 2013, the latest funding will allow us to support archaeological excavations and restoration of the inner surrounding wall of the fortress.
Yesterday evening, the international Alliance for Torture-Free Trade was launched during the United Nations General Assembly week in New York. Armenia is one of the countries that have joined the Alliance. The initiative – a joint effort by the European Union, Argentina and Mongolia, with a total of 58 participating countries – aims to stop the trade in goods used to carry out the death penalty and commit torture.
International law bans torture in all circumstances. Despite this, tools of death and pain are still traded across the globe. These include batons with metal spikes, electric shock belts, grabbers that seize people while electrocuting them, chemicals used to execute people and the forced injection systems that go with them.
“These products serve no other purpose than inflicting terrible pain and killing people. Now, we are taking concrete action to shut down this despicable trade. I am thrilled that so many countries around the globe have signed up to the joint Declaration and joined this Alliance. By standing together, we demonstrate that we will not tolerate this trade any longer,” said European Union Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.
Today’s launch saw 58 countries from all over the world – Africa and the Americas, Europe and Asia – adopting a joint political declaration. By signing up to the Alliance, countries have agreed to four action points:
Partly as a consequence of tougher rules in the EU and elsewhere, drugs for lethal injections and torture goods have become more difficult to get and more expensive to buy. However, producers and traders of these goods try to circumvent such laws, so the more countries that commit themselves to banning these exports, the more effective efforts will be to put an end to the trade. The Alliance for Torture-Free Trade is a way to take specific steps to stop the trade in such goods globally, making it significantly more difficult to obtain them.
For more information about the Alliance, go to http://torturefreetrade.org
Armenian businessman Khachatur Sukiasyan has commented on his Facebook page on the statement of Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia made during the Sixth Armenia-Diaspora Conference.
“I think this was one of the most significant speeches of the first day of the conference which focused on the role and involvement of the Diaspora. The Government, Diaspora and we all should listen to the speeches and thoughts expressed at the conference. I welcome the conference,” Khachatur Sukiasyan wrote.
On September 19, Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly (Parliament) Ara Babloyan received members of the delegation of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress.
Vahram Baghdasaryan, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly who heads the parliamentary group of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) , Nikol Pashinyan, Head of the Yelk (Way Out) faction, Aghvan Vardanyan,Secretary of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun faction,Vahe Enfiajyan, Secretary of Tsarukyan faction, and member of the same faction Vardevan Grigoryan, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard MIlls and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannisyan participated in the meeting.
Welcoming the guests in the parliament, Ara Babloyan highlighted the further strengthening and deepening of the relations between the two countries, documenting that the United States of America is Armenia’s friendly country and one of the important partners.
Touching upon the regional problems, Ara Babloyan underlined the role of the U.S. as OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country in the peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The Head of the parliament emphasized the visits to Artsakh Republic and getting acquainted with the problems on the spot.
Mr. Babloyan referred to the Constitutional reforms implemented in our country, noting that Armenia had passed into the system of the parliamentary government.
Thanking the NA Speaker for the warm reception, the U.S. Congressmen emphasized the mutual visits and the active cooperation. The guests underscored the further expansion and development of the cooperation between the two countries in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres. The U. S. Congressmen greatly highlighted the contribution of the Armenian community to the public, political, economic, cultural and other spheres of the United States.
Regarding the Karabakh conflict problem, they assured the Armenian side that the U. S. is for the settlement of the issue through negotiations: the borders will be opened by the solution of the problem, which will promote the development of the trade relations.
At the meeting the representatives of all factions of the National Assembly expressed their viewpoints on the discussed issues, National Assembly’s Press Service reports.
Today, there are no historians who will be able to put aside subjective thinking and accurately record the facts, says the director of the National Archives of Armenia.
“We are not ready to tell the truth about March 1 and October 27. History must become history to be presented to generations and everything depends on the writer,” Amatuni Virabyan said today.
He says they will see to it that confidential documents are deciphered in time and sent to the archive. This year they have received from the Government the documents which were deemed as confidential until 2015.
Mr. Virabyan says judicial documents will be stored in the national archives starting from 2017. Documents of the Defense Ministry will be included in the national archives after 50 years.
“This will facilitate citizens’ work as ordinary citizens do not have access to those structures while the archive is accessible to all, including foreigners,” he added.
Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan today spoke about successful and unsuccessful businesses while answering journalists’ questions at the Sixth Armenia-Diaspora Conference in Yerevan.
“There are very few businessmen who admit that they had made wrong calculations and everyone blames others,” the prime minister said adding that many Armenians from the Diaspora return to their homeland expecting the government to do for them what no other country would do.
“They do not even dream of having such a reception or conditions in any country. But the fact is that we have to work on a regular basis in order to be able to change the atmosphere of distrust if of course there is such. We have to work in that direction,” Karen Karapetyan said.
In reply to a journalist’s request to comment on the statement of Zareh Palian, a Diaspora Armenian public figure, businessman from the United States, who said he did not trust Armenian authorities; he was let down in Armenia and he was left without his businesses.
“I do not know. If he produces facts, we will move very consistently in that direction, because we cannot develop the economy, if we do not have confidence in the property, business rules and equal opportunities. That is why, I am very open. Moreover, we have clearly announced the phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses of my staff members and advisors. Let them provide information and we will respond to it,” Mr. Karapetyan said.