Saturday, 16 July 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian...Population statement
2.994.000 people live in Armenia, UN report says
July 11, 2016 

Armenia had a population of 2.998.000 on January 1.
The figure, however has shrunk by 4000 in Q1 of 2016 to total
2.994.000 residents overall, theUnited Nations Population Fund’s
(UNFPA) Armenia office said Monday, July 11.

Speaking on the World Population Day, UNFPA Armenia representative
Anna Hovhannisyan said that if the same trends are observed next year,
the population will further dwindle by 16.000.

According to Executive Representative of UNFPA in Armenia Garik
Hayrapetyan, if the current decreasing pace continues, an abrupt drop
will be registered in 50 years.

“In 2050, we’ll have 3.100.000 people at best, and some 1.700.000 at
worst,” Hayrapetyan said, according to

“But this is mere prediction. Everything can turn upside down in case
the events of early April recur.”

Azerbaijan unleashed a lar scale offensive against Nagorno karabakh on
April 2, which claimed hundreds of lives on both sides. The parties
agreed on a cessation of hostilities on April 5. 

Daily Sabah, Turkey
July 11 2016
Turkey, 3 other countries claim lavash as common heritage

Lavash, a traditional thin flatbread widely consumed in Armenia, Iran,
Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, as the latter countries have
disputed UNESCO's recognition of Armenian lavash as an Intangible
Cultural Heritage of Humanity. According to the Turkish daily
Habertürk, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have
prepared and submitted a document to UNESCO regarding lavash, calling
for its recognition as part of the common heritage of these countries.

UNESCO will discuss the document named "Flatbread-making and sharing
culture: Lavash, Katyrma, Jupka, Yufka," and a final decision will be
announced at the 11th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for
the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, to be held
between Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 in Ethiopia. Azerbaijan and Turkey had
previously disputed Armenia's request for recognition of lavash as its
traditional food. The UNESCO document was revised to state "lavash as
an expression of culture in Armenia." Turkish ministerial officers
state that lavash has also a ritual place in Turkish culture,
especially weddings.Mostly prepared by women in villages, lavash is
commonly consumed with cheeses, greens or meats. Throughout Turkey,
lavash bread is usually served as an appetizer in restaurants and used
in all kinds of rolls, with vegetables, beef or chicken.

The UNESCO website describes lavash thus: "A simple dough made of
wheat flour and water is kneaded and formed into balls, which are then
rolled into thin layers and stretched over a special oval cushion that
is then slapped against the wall of a traditional conical clay oven.
After thirty seconds to a minute, the baked bread is pulled from the
oven wall." 

Iran endorses visa-free regime with Armenia
11 Jul 2016

A session of Iran’s Cabinet made decisions on abolition of visa
requirements between Armenia and Iran,Mehr News Agency reports.

Members of Iran’s Cabinet gathered together for a session on Sunday
chaired by President Rouhani.

The meeting made relevant decisions on setting regulations for
abolition of visas for holders of diplomatic and ordinary passports as
well as holders of travel documents (leaf of travel) between the
Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Armenia.

Previously on June 16, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed an agreement on
abolishing the visa between the two state.

The agreement, which was approved by the Armenian government aiming to
regulate the mutual visits of the two countries’ citizens, was also
endorsed by the Iranian government during the Sunday session.

Visa-free travels between Iran and Armenia mainly aim to boost
bilateral ties, deepen mutual trade as well as to escalate economic
relations between the two states.

Accordingly, citizens with ordinary or diplomatic passports of Armenia
and Iran are allowed to stay maximum of 90 days in in the other
country without a need to obtain a visa. 
The important messages of Armenian President’s speech at NATO
11 Jul 2016

Armenian President’s speech at NATO summit included three important
messages, Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly, Spokesman for the
Republic Party of Armenia Edward Sharmazanov told reporters today.

First, he said, the President stressed that “Armenia and Artsakh stand
for the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

According to Sharmazanov, another important point was the statement
that “NATO is not the platform for the discussion of the Karabakh
issue.” The President deemed the attempts to move the consideration of
the issue to other platforms inappropriate and contradicting to the
statements of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries.

The third message was the importance of unconditional implementation
of the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg, Sharmazanov

According to him, the reference to the status quo was also essential.
“The status quo will change when the people of Nagorno Karabakh
receive the opportunity to exercise their right of
self-determination,” President Sargsyan stated in Warsaw.

“This means, it’s necessary to eliminate the reasons of the conflict,
not the consequences. President Sargsyan made it clear in Warsaw that
the primary issue is that of Artsakh’s status and the realization of
the people’s right to self-determination, not the territories or
refugees,” Edward Sharmazanov said.
Sargsyan and Aliyev Revealed Subject of Negotiations
Haikazn Ghahriyan, Editor-in-Chief
11 July 2016, 11:44

Serzh Sargsyan and Aliyev made speeches at NATO Summit in Warsaw and
met with the U.S. Secretary Kerry. They discussed the peace settlement
of the Karabakh issue, the commitment to the agreements reached in
Vienna and Saint Petersburg.

NATO’s concluding communique dwells on the territorial integrity of
countries, as well as the three basic principles of conflict
resolution, including the right to self-determination.

As always, Aliyev talked about territorial integrity and “occupation”
of 20% of the country. He also said Azerbaijan supports the Minsk
Group statement, which mentions the unacceptability of the status quo.
“A change of status quo means ending the occupation of the territory
of Azerbaijan,” he said.

For his part, Serzh Sargsyan mentioned in his speech that the “status
quo will change if the exercise of the right to self-determination of
the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized.”

Hence, NATO Summit clarified the new stage of Karabakh settlement. The
problem is that Azerbaijan must recognize the status of Karabakh. Baku
insists on the stage-by-stage option: first, return of territories,
and at the end, a discussion of the status. Armenia insists on the
package settlement: first status, then discussion of the other issues.

It should be noted that following Vienna and Saint Petersburg Aliyev
spoke about the possibility of discussing the status of Karabakh but
in the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan for the first
time in the recent years. He said they will not allow a second
Armenian state in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Armenia insists that Karabakh cannot remain within Azerbaijan with any
status, and the people of Karabakh will decide everything.

The April war had bad consequences for Azerbaijan. Both military and
political diplomacy failed, and the mediators are obviously forcing
Baku to recognize the status of Karabakh. If Armenia had conducted a
more staunch and sovereign policy, such pressure on Baku would have
been stronger.

However, in the result of Armenia’s current policy which is only an
annex to the Russian-Azerbaijani plans, Baku has got a chance to
thwart both the main achievement of Vienna, i.e. the introduction of a
mechanism of investigation, which means international recognition of
the status quo, as well the political process itself.

If Armenia continues to implement this policy, the mediators will have
no reason to meet Azerbaijan’s claims.

Armenia must make sovereign decisions, not decisions that stem from
the Russian-Azerbaijani interests. The patience of the mediators is
not endless. And, it must be ready for the next war provoked by
Azerbaijan after which Azerbaijan must speak about the “occupation” of
40%, not 20% of its territory, without a suspicious ceasefire. In this
case, this will be the way to exercising the right to
Armenia’s jewelry industry sees triple rise in five months

YEREVAN, July 11.Armenia’s jewelry industry saw a triple
year-on-year rise in the first five months of 2016 producing a total
of 12.5 billion drams worth products, the National Statistical Service
(NSS) said today.

However, in terms of weight, more products were produced in the first
five months of 2015 -460 kg against 288.5 kg in January-May 2016, it

It also said 44,794 carats of diamond were cut in the first five
months of 2016 against 19,072 carats in January-May 2015.

Also exports of precious and semi-precious stones, precious metals and
products in January-May 2016 amounted to about $127.4 million, an
increase of 81.8% from the year before, while imports of  these same
types of goods increased 2.4 times to $90.6 million. -0- 

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Villages Hit By Hailstorm
July 11, 2016
Ruzanna Gishian

An unusually powerful hailstorm swept through parts of Armenia late on
Sunday, destroying crops in about two dozen villages and stripping
most local residents of their main source of income for this year.

The hailstones were so big that they punctured greenhouses in some of
the villages located in the Aragatsotn and Armavir provinces west of
Yerevan. They were aggravated by violent winds that toppled power
poles and left several communities without electricity.

"I was going to harvest 500 kilograms of grapes this fall. Now I'm not
sure that I will get even one-tenth of that," Sahak Asatrian, farmer
in the Aragatston village of Voskevaz, said as he showed serious
damaged caused to his vineyard.

"I also have a fruit orchard up there," Asatrian told RFE/RL's
Armenian service ( "It too was destroyed."

"One year's worth of our income is gone," grimly noted a woman also
residing in Voskevaz.

The damage to agriculture was just as severe in Armavir villages. "It
was like a hurricane," said one farmer in the fruit-growing area. "I
lived in Siberia for seven years and never saw such a thing."

At least some of the affected villages were supposed to be protected
by nearby hail cannons installed by the central and local governments
in recent years. But they proved of little or no use against the hail
for reasons that were not immediately clear.

"If our hail cannons had worked a large part of our harvest would have
been saved," said Gohar Khachatrian, a Voskevaz resident.

The farmers lost the source of not only their income but also money
which they planned to spend on repaying their expensive loans extended
by commercial banks. "They should at least freeze our bank debts,"
said one of them.

Armenian Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetian visited several
hailstorm-hit villages on Monday. Karapetian told local residents that
he will set up a task force that will calculate the damage caused by
the hailstorm and submit compensation proposals to the government

Many villagers were skeptical, however, arguing that government
compensations paid to them have always been very modest in the past.

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