DATE=10/29/1999 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP TITLE=BLOODSHED IN ARMENIA: PARLIAMENT ATTACKED NUMBER=6-11539 BYLINE=ANDREW GUTHRIE DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS TELEPHONE=619-3335 CONTENT= 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 hard. 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 surprising. 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 in Yerevan. NEB/ANG/KL 29-Oct-1999 14:03 PM EDT (29-Oct-1999 1803 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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