TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
TITLE=BLOODSHED IN ARMENIA: PARLIAMENT ATTACKED
INTRO: U-S editorial pages continue to express
outrage at the assassination of Armenia's prime
minister and several other officials in a terrorist
attack in the parliament on Wednesday. The deaths of
Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and the speaker of the
Parliament Karen Demirchian, along with several other
leaders of the small Caucasus republic, have hit the
Armenian-American sections of this country especially
We get a sampling of editorial comment from __________
in today's U-S Opinion roundup.
TEXT: Many Armenians and Armenian-Americans live in
California, and we go first to The Fresno [California]
Bee, where a local aspect of the killings is brought
into the editorial.
VOICE: The killing of [the] Prime Minister . and
other top government officials at the Armenian
parliament . stunned the world's Armenian community
just as the celebration of the election of the
catholicos (leader) of All Armenians was beginning. A
San Joaquin Valley [California] delegation was in
Yerevan helping to select Karekin Nersessian as the
head of the Armenian church during the election at the
4th century church of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The Valley residents experienced the joy of the
historic election and the pain of the political
assassinations. It was a roller coaster ride of
emotions, but their presence in Yerevan reinforced the
deep and lasting ties between the [San Joaquin] Valley
and Armenia. /// OPT /// . The ceremony scheduled for
Sunday has been delayed because of the assassinations,
but is expected to be held next week. Armenian
citizens are looking forward to it. /// END OPT /// .
The Armenian people undoubtedly will pull together
after this tragedy, just as they have so many other
times - after the brutal wars and the murderous events
of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman
Empire between 1915 and 1923.
TEXT: Out in the Pacific, The Honolulu Star-Bulletin
suggests "The attack was not a coup attempt by an
organized force but an . outburst by a few men."
VOICE: Independence came to the small, mountainous
region of Armenia following the collapse of Communism
eight years ago but, as in many areas of the former
soviet Union, political and economic stability has
been elusive. The resulting frustration appears to
have erupted in gunfire that assailants called a coup
but was more likely an isolated attack by a small
group of angry men with little if any political
following. . Given the economic condition of the
former soviet republics, such explosions should not be
TEXT: On the other side of the nation, The Boston
Globe is concerned that the assassinations may derail
the long and carefully constructed peace plan for
Nagorno Karabakh, the predominantly Armenian enclave
inside neighboring Azerbaijan.
VOICE: The timing of the murders could not have been
more opportune for forces opposed to a peaceful
outcome in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
There has been a cease-fire since 1994, but the 800-
thousand Azeri refugees who fled their homes and
Armenian de facto control of what had been
Azerbaijan's territory have created a cycle of
resentment and vengefulness, perfect fodder for
extremist demagogues in both camps. . Whether or not
the assassins were acting to prevent a diplomatic
breakthrough on Nagorno-Karabakh, their action has
made a breakthrough more difficult.
TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle says the
assassination was the result of "long-festering
political wounds" in the former Soviet republic.
VOICE: The violence was the latest chapter in the
tortured post-Soviet history of Armenia. It was
feared . the attack would plunge the tiny,
impoverished country into a major international
crisis. .. While the motives were not clear
immediately, the bloodshed is believed to be about the
disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, [which] is
populated by ethnic Armenians but is under the control
of neighboring Azerbaijan and is a bone of contention.
TEXT: In the Midwest, The Chicago Tribune sees a
glimmer of hope coming out of the mayhem.
VOICE: . the way the Armenian government defused the
armed takeover Thursday, not to mention the poignant
last words of Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen
Sarkisian, offer at least a modicum of hope that the
turbulent region is not doomed forever to violence.
"Everything is being done for you and the future of
your children," [Mr.] Sarkisian, standing at the
parliament rostrum, told his assailant, who then
killed him. [Prime Minister] Sarkisian had been
working with U-S encouragement to secure a peace with
neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of
Nagorno-Karabakh. The gunmen said they opened fire to
punish corrupt officials. But their terrorist assault
seems yet another convulsion sparked by Armenia's
desperate poverty and isolation, and perhaps
nationalistic fears [Mr.] Sarkisian would make too
many concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh.
TEXT: With that we conclude this sampling of
editorial comment so far from the U-S press on the
terrorist attack at the Armenian parliament building
29-Oct-1999 14:03 PM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1803 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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