Thursday, 12 February 2009

Armenian News‏

National Assembly of RA
Feb 4 2009

On February 3 RA NA Speaker Mr Hovik Abrahamyan received Mr Charles
Lonsdale, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland to Armenia.

Welcoming the Ambassador, the RA NA Speaker underlined the necessity
of activating and developing the inter-parliamentary relations and
highlighted the cooperation of parliamentary friendship groups,
exchange of experience in the legislative field and cooperation in
international structures. In this context the NA Speaker expressed
satisfaction for the support of the British delegation in PACE last

Touching upon the inner-political situation of Armenia RA NA Speaker
Mr Hovik Abrahamyan highlighted the strengthening of stability in
the country and the mutual trust between the authorities and the
society. Mr Abrahamyan noted that from the first day of being elected
Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia he had
proposed that the parliament would be a rostrum of plurality and
constructive criticism for all political forces. Touching upon the
necessity of the amendment of Articles 225 and 300 of the Criminal
Code, he noted that a working group was set up headed by Mr Davit
Harutyunyan, Chairman of the RA NA Standing Committee on State and
Legal Affairs, which should present within a month amendments in
compliance with European standards. In this context touching upon
the problem of the detained persons after the March 1 events the NA
Speaker emphasized that nobody could be condemned for political views,
trial is going on.

The RA NA Speaker said that constructive reforms were underway, and
the parliament should completely implement the authorities reserved
by the Constitution.

Expressing gratitude for the meeting Ambassador Mr Charles Lonsdale
also highlighted the activation of inter-parliamentary relations,
noting the necessity of the development of cooperation of the
parliaments' staffs in concrete directions.

At the end Mr Abrahamyan reaffirmed the invitation of the Speaker of
the House of Commons of Great Britain to Armenia.
Feb 2 2009

Armenia should attain the international recognition of the right
to self-determination of the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh,
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said at a meeting with representative
of the Armenian diaspora in Zurich.

"Armenia's position on the Karabakh settlement is clear and
unambiguous: we should attain the international recognition of the
right of Nagorno-Karabakh people to self-determination. We do not
set another task for use," the Armenian presidential press service
quoted Sargsyan as saying on Monday.

"Stories that some people try to tell that we can under some pressure
or proceeding from some goals make unilateral concessions in the
Karabakh settlement have nothing to do with the reality. We cannot
sacrifice our national goal for the sake of background tasks," the
Armenian president said.

Speaking about the Armenian-Turkish settlement, Sargsyan said that
Davos saw meetings with the Turkish prime minister and the foreign
minister. "I think that the establishment of civilized and natural
relations between the two countries corresponds to our interests,"
he said.

However, "the establishment of relations with Turkey does not mean to
forget genocide," he said. Yerevan wants to "establish diplomatic
relations without preconditions, to open borders and create an
intergovernmental commission and then discuss any other question in
relations between the two states and people," he said.
Russia Approves $500 Million 'Crisis' Loan to Armenia
Published: Thursday February 5, 2009
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--Russia will lend $500 million to Armenia to help its regional
ally cope with the effects of the global economic crisis, official Yerevan confirmed
on Thursday.

The Armenian authorities asked Moscow for a “stabilization credit” late last year.
Negotiations between the two governments on the size and terms of the assistance
have been going on since then.

Speaking in London on Wednesday, Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin
disclosed the amount of money his government is ready to allocate to Yerevan.
“We will be helping neighboring countries that we work with,” Russian news agencies
quoted him as saying. No further details were reported.

The Armenian Finance Ministry confirmed the news the next day. A ministry
spokeswoman told RFE/RL that Armenian and Russian officials are now discussing
the terms of the $500 million loan. She could not say just how the Armenian government
plans to use it.

Large-scale external assistance is vital for the success of the government's efforts to
minimize the global downturn's impact on the Armenian economy. The World Bank
announced last week that it will provide Armenia with up to $800 million in loans in the
next four years. More than $80 million of the promised funding is due to be disbursed
this month. These loans will be used for rural infrastructure projects and channeled into
small and medium-sized businesses through Armenian commercial banks.

Kudrin made the announcement just hours after Russia promised to contribute
$7.5 billion to a rescue fund of five ex-Soviet republics on top of more than $3 billion
already promised to some individual allies. The presidents of the republics making up
the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) met in Moscow on Wednesday. With
Armenia having an observer status in the Russian-led grouping, President Serzh
Sarkisian also took part in the summit.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made clear at a news conference held after the
summit that Moscow will give no non-refundable handouts to its ex-Soviet allies.
"Terms should be acceptable for the countries finding themselves in a difficult situation,
similar to those under which international financial organizations issue their credits,"
he said, according to Reuters news agency.

Russia itself has been hit hard by the global recession and, in particular, the sharp
decline in international prices of oil and other commodities. Its stock markets have lost t
hree quarters of their value and gold and currency reserves plummeted to under $
390 billion from more than $600 billion last summer.

“To think that this Russia can help someone now would be unserious,” Aleksey Malashenko,
a senior analyst the Carnegie Moscow Center, told RFE/RL. “Because of the crisis Russia
has found itself in a quite difficult situation.”

Malashenko said that Russian loans to countries like Armenia are therefore likely to come
with strings attached. Moscow has already won major political concessions from Belarus
and Kyrgyzstan. After securing a $2.15 billion Russian rescue package this week, the
Kyrgyz government announced the impending closure of a U.S. military base in the Central
Asian state.

Vartan Ayvazian, chairman of the Armenian parliament's economics committee,
acknowledged on Tuesday that Russian assistance will “help increase Russia's political
influence in Armenia.” “Russia and Armenia are strategic partners,” he told journalists.

Armenia had borrowed heavily from Russia in the early and mid-1990s. The country's
largest thermal-power plant and four other enterprises were handed over to state-run Russian companies in 2003 in payment for Yerevan's remaining $100 million debt to Moscow

RIA Novosti
18:57 | 04/ 02/ 2009

YEREVAN, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Federal Security Services
(FSB) border guard has been found dead in the Armenian capital of
Yerevan, an Armenian police press release said on Wednesday.

"On Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. (16:00 GMT), the police department received
a report stating that the body of a man dressed in military clothing
had been found under the Kiev Bridge," the report read.

The dead man was identified as Artur Matyevosyan, 27, a Russian border
guard. The investigation into his death is ongoing.

On Tuesday evening, the deputy head of the Armenian Police, Gevorg
Mgeryan, was shot dead by an unknown assailant just 100 meters from
the Kiev Bridge.

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