OMRI Daily Digest I, No. 162, 21 Aug 96
TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
ARDZINBA REITERATES READINESS TO MEET
Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba, responding on 20 August to his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze's call for a resumption of talks on resolving Abkhazia's future status, reiterated his readiness for a face-to-face meeting if there is a real chance of reaching a settlement, but insisted that there could be no revision of the principles outlined in the UN-mediated statement of April 1994 on repatriation, AFP and ITAR-TASS reported. The most recent round of talks on a political settlement of the Abkhaz conflict, held in Moscow in late July, failed to make any progress. -- Liz Fuller
ARMENIAN DEMOGRAPHIC UPDATE.
The total number of Armenians in the world exceeds 10 million, Noyan Tapan reported on 20 August. Of these, 3.5 million live in Armenia, 2.5 million in the Russian Federation, and almost 1.5 million in the U.S. At the time of the 1989 Soviet census, the total population of the Armenian SSR was 3,304,800, of whom approximately 90% were Armenians. The figure cited for the number of Armenians currently living in Armenia is difficult to reconcile with reports that some 800,000 people, or 17% of the total population, have left Armenia since 1991, and that the sterility rate in Armenia is 20-25%, which is 10% higher than the world average. -- Liz Fuller
CORRECTION: Vahan Hovanessyan, one of the leading members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsyutyun) arrested on 29 July 1995 on charges of terrorism and planning a coup, was erroneously referred to in the OMRI Daily Digest of 16 August as the ARFD candidate for next month's Armenian presidential elections. The ARFD has not in fact nominated a candidate.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle