Monday, 18 July 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Gyumri Capitalises

Gyumri Capitalizes on its Humor Industry and Stands Resolute 

29 June 2016 

Public Television of Armenia
June 28 2016
Armenian defence minister admits defence "flaws" in April war

Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan admitted that there were 
some "flaws" in the defence used in the April clashes with Azerbaijan,
however he disagreed that Karabakh forces were not ready for the
Azerbaijani army.

He was speaking in an interview with Public Television on 28 June.

"If we were not ready, if the Defence Army of Artsakh [Azerbaijan's
breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh] was not ready, the Azerbaijani Armed
Forces would have achieved their goal," he said. The defence minister
added that drills are now being held based on real situations that
took place during the four-day war.

Ohanyan also touched on the supply of Russian arms to Armenia,
purchased with loans provided by Moscow.

The minister brushed off accusations that the process has been
delayed, saying that the agreement was being implemented "in
accordance with the planned schedule".

He also said that shipment of some items has started.

Ohanyan noted that tension on the contact line has decreased recently,
and suggested that the meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani
presidents in Vienna and St. Petersburg have played a role.

"If we want to have progress in negotiations we first of all need to
build measures of trust between the conflicting parties," he added
underlining the need to set up mechanisms for detecting cease-fire
violations and to increase the monitoring along the line of contact
between Azerbaijan and Karabakh forces.
NKR Defense Army: Azerbaijan targeting civilians engaged in
agricultural activities

Azerbaijani forces have violated the arrangement for ceasing the fire
along some areas of the Line if Contact between Nagorno Karabakh and
Azerbaijan using firearms, NKR Defense Army reports. According to the
statement, the adversary has targeted civilians working on
agricultural lands near the border.

As the report reads, on June 30, at around14:10 an incident occurred
in an area near to Talish village during grain harvesting, which,
fortunately, resulted in no losses.

NKR Defense Army calls on the Azerbaijani side to refrain from
provocations and targeting civilians engaged in agricultural
activities, otherwise Azerbaijani military political leadership will
bear the whole responsibility for the consequences of the occurred

RFE/RL Report
Baku Rejects Key Measure To Prevent Karabakh Fighting

Seemingly backtracking on an agreement reached with Armenia and the
U.S., Russian and French mediators, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
has again spoken out against international investigations of ceasefire
violations around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Aliyev also made clear over the weekend that Azerbaijan will not agree
to the deployment by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe of a large number of monitors on the Karabakh frontlines and
the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The United States, Russia and France have been pressing for these
safeguards since the outbreak in early April of the heaviest fighting
in the Karabakh conflict zone since 1994. They are keen to prevent
another escalation of the conflict that could degenerate into an
all-out war.

The issue dominated Aliyev's meeting with his Armenian counterpart
Serzh Sarkisian that was held in Vienna on May 16 in the presence of
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov and French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem

In a joint statement issued after those talks, Kerry, Lavrov and Desir
said Aliyev and Sarkisian "agreed to finalize in the shortest possible
time an OSCE investigative mechanism." The two presidents also agreed
to expand an OSCE mission monitoring the shaky ceasefire, said the

Aliyev contradicted the mediators' statement, however, when he
addressed Azerbaijani military personnel in Baku on Saturday. "As
regards a mechanism for investigating [armed] incidents which the
Armenians have set as a condition, I think that there is no need for
that at this stage," he said remarks cited by Azerbaijani news

"What is the point of doing that?" he said. "If the idea is to
`freeze' the conflict and take some additional measures on the Line of
Contact, then Azerbaijan will certainly not agree to that."

Baku will allow OSCE investigations only if the Armenians and
mediators set "time frames for the liberation of our territories,"
added Aliyev. He also made clear that the OSCE will be allowed to
deploy only a few more field representatives periodically monitoring
the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone.

The OSCE's existing monitoring mission headed by Andrzej Kasprzyk
numbers several officers.

Aliyev had repeatedly rejected the proposed safeguards, strongly
backed by Armenia, even before the April escalation, saying that they
would only cement the status quo and thus play into the Armenians'

His latest remarks on the issue came the day after the U.S., Russian
and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group urged both sides to
implement the confidence-building measures that were agreed at Vienna
and a follow-up Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting held in Saint Petersburg on
June 20.

"We also urge progress in substantive talks and on a proposal to
establish an OSCE investigative mechanism," the co-chairs said in a
joint statement.

Official Yerevan did not immediately react to Aliyev's latest
rejection of that mechanism.

Aliyev also declared on Saturday that Karabakh must remain a part of
Azerbaijan while enjoying "a certain status." "But that status must
not breach the territorial integrity of our state," he said.

Peace proposals made by the three mediating powers for the past decade
effectively pave the way for an eventual international recognition of
Karabakh's de facto secession from Azerbaijan. They call for a
referendum on Karabakh's status that would be held in the disputed
territory years after Armenian withdrawal from districts surrounding

TASS, Russia
June 30 2016
Azerbaijani president, U.S. state secretary note progress in
Nagorno-Karabakh talks

The phone conversation occurred on the initiative of the American side

BAKU. Meetings of the presidents of Azerbaijan andArmenia,
Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, on the Nagorno-Karabakh
settlement in Vienna and St. Petersburg gave new dynamics to the
negotiating process aimed at solving the problem, Aliyev and U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry said during a phone conversation

"Work to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, conducted recently, was
discussed during the conversation; it was noted that the Vienna and
St. Petersburg meetings gave the negotiating process new dynamics,"
says a statement on the official website of the Azerbaijani leader.

The statement also noted that Kerry and Aliyev discussed prospects of
the negotiating process. Besides, the sides "expressed satisfaction
with the successful development of the Azerbaijani-American relations
and exchanged views on the future cooperation."

The phone conversation occurred on the initiative of the American side.

The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2, and
fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other
of violating the truce. The defense ministries of Armenia and
Azerbaijan agreed on a ceasefire with Russia's mediation and later
reported that hostilities stopped in Nagorno-Karabakh from 11:00 a.m.
Moscow Time April 5.

Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called
Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Russia,
France and the United States - in December 2007 in the Spanish

They include three key principles written in the Helsinki Final Act:
refraining from the threat or use of force, territorial integrity and
the right to self-determination.

Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the
1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that
claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994. Since
then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia.

The OSCE Minsk Group acts as a mediator. It is a mechanism designed to
promote a peace solution to the conflict between Armenia and
Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The group is led by co-chairs France, Russia and the United States. It
also comprises Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey,
as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Interest Rate Continues To Fall

The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on Tuesday lowered its benchmark
interest rate for the fourth time this year amid accelerating consumer
price deflation registered in the country.

The CBA's governing board cut the refinancing rate by 0.25 percentage
points to 7.5 percent. The three previous rate cuts were announced in
May, March and February.

The minimum cost of borrowing stood at 6.75 percent when the Armenian
dram began weakening against the U.S. dollar in October 2014 amid
falling cash remittances from Armenian migrant workers in Russia. The
CBA raised it to 9.5 percent in January 2015 and 10.5 percent in
February 2015, a move that helped to stabilize the Armenian currency's
exchange rate.

The Central Bank began gradually easing its monetary policy in August
2015. The authorities in Yerevan have since reported a steady decrease
in inflation.

In a statement explaining the latest rate cut, the CBA said the
national consumer price index was actually down by 2.1 percent year on
year as of the end of May.

The bank reported a deflation rate of 1.4 percent in
February. Consumer prices continued to fall in the following months,
even though economic growth in Armenia accelerated, according to
government data, in the first quarter of this year.

The National Statistical Service (NSS) said last month that the
Armenian economy expanded, in real terms, by 4.4 percent in
January-March. Both the government and the International Monetary Fund
had forecast much slower growth for 2016.

The CBA said that consumer demand in the country remains weak but is
now "recovering faster than expected." Nevertheless, the bank said it
expects the "low inflationary environment" to persist in the coming
months and is therefore easing its monetary policy further. The rate
cut will help to reverse the deflation in the second half of this
year, added the statement.
Three reasons Manchester United fans should be excited as 
Henrik Mkhitaryan nears Old Trafford switch
June 28, 2016
 By Alan Clark
THE Armenian playmaker looks certain to be arriving in England soon
and we look at what to expect from the Dortmund star.

MANCHESTER UNITED are closing in on the signing of Borussia Dortmund
playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the Armenian said to be eager on a

He helped the German outfit to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga
last season and Jose Mourinho wants him in his new-look United side
for an assault on Leicester's Premier League crown.

But what type of player will United be getting? Here's three reasons
why the United faithful should be excited as the forward edges closer
to Manchester:

Some football nations are lucky to have several big-name stars in
their sides but others, like Sweden, Portugal and Wales for example,
have to rely mainly on the one world-class player to carry them

Armenia are one of those nations with Mkhitaryan. He is the standout
of their national team but has enjoyed a successful club career as

He's spent three seasons at German giants Borussia Dortmund since
joining from Shakhtar Donetsk, making 240 appearances at the pair.

At the age of 27 he is entering what many class as the peak of a
footballer's career and could flourish around team-mates that may be
an upgrade of what he has enjoyed in Germany in recent years.

Mkhitaryan is an attacking midfielder who can play wide so he is
always in and around the penalty area - and that has led to him being
a goalscorer wherever he has played.

At his first club, he was on the scoresheet regularly, bagging 35
goals from 2006 to 2009. At Metalurg Donetsk and Shakhtar Donetsk, he
tallied an impressive 61 in 149 games.

And in the highly challenging environment of the Bundesliga, the
attacker managed 40 goals in 136 games, with 23 goals in 51 last

With speed and technical ability, he loves getting into the 18-yard
box and shooting from distance so it should fit United's idealogical
way of playing the game.

In most of Mourinho's sides down the years, there's been a central
attacking midfielder present and Mkhitaryan could be the man to play
in that 'hole' behind a striker.

He is naturally a No.10 but the Armenian also has the speed and skill
to play in a wide position and even once claimed he'd be a sprinter if
he wasn't a football player.

Some say he also possesses the calmness and composure to play deeper
as a central midfielder, so he can be used in a variety of roles and
that may come in handy as United seek to return as title challengers. 

[an implausible link between Brexit and Armenian Genocide?]

Channel One TV, Russia
June 28 2016
Panellists split on Britain leaving EU
A late-night political talk show on Russia's most watched TV channel,
state-controlled Channel One, became a platform for discussion of the
effect the British referendum on EU membership might have on Europe
and Russia. Panellists differed on whether Russia will benefit from
Brexit but linked Turkish President Erdogan's apology for the downing
of a Russian Su-24 bomber aircraft to the outcomes of the referendum.

The panellists in the 28 June edition of the weekly talk show
"Structure of Moment" (Rus: Struktura momenta) were chairman of the
Federation Council's international affairs committee Konstantin
Kosachev; editor in chief of the Ekho Moskvy radio station Alexei
Venediktov; Polish political analyst Jakub Korejba; German filmmaker
Felix Schultess; director general of Mosfilm studio Karen Shakhnazarov
and Russia Today correspondent Daniel Hawkins. The programme lasted
slightly over 60 minutes and was presented by Ekspert magazine editor
in chief Valery Fadeyev.

Consequences of Brexit

When asked whether the outcomes of the British referendum will trigger
a wave of similar referendums in the EU,Schultess said that those
willing to leave should do so. Kosachev referred to such attitude as
"putting a brave face on a sorry business" and added that the EU had
made a mistake when it had begun expanding and substituting the notion
of Europe with that of the European Union. Britain will definitely
leave the EU, Kosachev said but warned against gloating over the EU's
problems as they will inevitably affect Russia as well. Later in the
programme he expressed concerns that the weakening of the EU may
result in its collapse and then chaos.

Brussels will never let Britain leave the EU as it would mean ruining
an ambitious "project of building a European empire", Shakhnazarov
said and warned that the EU will be becoming an increasingly
authoritative structure where referendums will mean nothing.
Venediktov echoed the opinion, saying that Britain will remain part of
the EU but the referendum has revealed serious problems within the EU
and they must be dealt with.

Speaking about consequences for Russia, Shakhnazarov said that Russia
would definitely benefit from Brexit as a "consolidated Europe is more
dangerous for us" especially now amidst "a new cold war". In the short
run, all this fuss over Brexit is advantageous for Russia as the EU
will shift the focus of its attention from "the fight for Ukraine with
Russia" to its own problems, which will lead to an ease of
anti-Russian sanctions, Venediktov said. However, in the long run, it
will affect Russia badly as the EU is its main trade and economic

Erdogan's apology linked to Brexit?

We have already benefited from the possibility of Brexit as it has made
Turkey take steps towards rapprochement with Russia, Fadeyev said
referring to Turkish President Erdogan's apology for downing a Russian
Su-24 in November 2015. Shakhnazarov agreed that there is a direct
correlation between the outcomes of the British referendum, which
"showed the West's weakness", and Turkey's apologies. Kosachev
partially agreed with Shakhnazarov saying that the Brexit issue did
have certain influence on "a half turn" in Turkey's policy, which is,
however, rather limited and should not be overestimated. There are
more reasons behind the change of Ankara's policy regarding 
Russia as "Erdogan's policy on all international issues has failed," 
he added and referred to Germany's recognition of the genocide 
of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire, economic losses from 
Russian sanctions and Washington's refusal to stop supporting 

The outcomes of the British referendum have exposed "a deep split
within Britain and peoples of European countries". While some people
are lining their pockets with hundreds of millions feel the injustice
of the existing EU structure hence the need for the EU leadership to
find some foundation for the structure based on justice, Fadeyev said
concluding the programme. 

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