Saturday, 24 June 2017

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 Volunteers Needed for ASF
Volunteers needed for the ASF that takes place 16th July, from 12-7pm. Please contact the Primate's Office by phone or email.
London Phoenix Orchestra
An evening of music inspired by the Art and Folk Music of Eastern Europe. Click the button below for more details.
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Summer Fair and Barbecue
Enjoy the Sunday afternoon with barbecue and lots of fun.  
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More Details
Armenian Street Festival
This year ASF takes place on Sunday, 16th of July. Please click here to download the full details. 
To book a stall or sponsor a space, please click the link below to download the forms located on the ASF webpage.
ASF Webpage
The Primate's Office
c/o The Armenian Vicarage
Iverna Gardens
London W8 6TP
0208 127 8364
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Armenian News... A Topalian... Queen's Honours List

Queen's Honours List
June 2017 

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 

Professor Haro Bedelian OBE FREng 
for services to Engineering and International Trade 

Panorama, Armenia
June 21 2017
Serzh Sargsyan: Armenia attaches great importance 

to the development of multilateral cooperation with 
the United Kingdom 
On the occasion of the national holiday of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, President Serzh Sargsyan sent a congratulatory message to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

The President of Armenia congratulated and expressed good wishes to the Queen, the royal family and the friendly British people on the occasion of the national holiday, press department at the President’s Office reported.

“The Republic of Armenia attaches great importance to the development of multilateral cooperation with the United Kingdom. This year marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of Armenian-British diplomatic relations, and this is a good opportunity to reassess our joint path and reaffirm our mutual commitment to deepening and expanding interstate relations and friendship between peoples. I am confident that the decades-long experience of your leadership gives the British people additional confidence and strength on the way to prosperity and helps defy modern challenges,” the President of Armenia stated in his message addressed to Queen Elizabeth II.

On the occasion of the holiday, President Sargsyan visited the residence of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Armenia to congratulate Ambassador Judith Margareth Farnworth and the Embassy staff.

Noting that the authorities and the people of the United Kingdom faced a number of challenges during the recent period, and that Armenia, together with the United Kingdom, experienced great pain in connection with the tragic events that took place, the President of the Republic of Armenia wished that this day might become a new beginning for the United Kingdom so that any further development could bring progress for the country and its citizens.

President Sargsyan and Ambassador Farnworth discussed steps aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations and developing cooperation. The Ambassador of the United Kingdom stressed that her country is determined to continue assisting Armenia with the ongoing reforms.

RFE/RL Report 
Karapetian Promotes New Government Program
June 21, 2017
Tatevik Lazarian

The Armenian government pledged to speed up economic growth and
significantly reduce poverty in the country in its new policy program
which Prime Minister Karen Karapetian presented to lawmakers on

The National Assembly began debating the five-year plan of actions
more than two months after parliamentary elections won by the ruling
Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The program's almost certain
approval by the parliament would amount to a vote of confidence in
Karapetian's cabinet.

The more than 100-page document covers all major areas of government
policy and the economy in particular. It commits the government to
ensuring that the Armenian economy grows at an average annual rate of
around 5 percent on the back of soaring exports. It says that the
projected faster growth will cut Armenia's poverty rate, which
currently stands at roughly 30 percent, by 12 percentage points.

Karapetian said the government will strive to achieve these objectives
by improving the domestic investment climate, assisting
export-oriented manufacturers and combatting corruption
. He pointed to
a number of anti-corruption measures that have been taken in recent
months. Those include the impending creation of a special government
body that will scrutinize personal incomes of top state officials and
monitor possible conflicts of interest among them.

The prime minister stressed the importance of establishing an
"atmosphere of justice and trust" in the country.
 "Without that it
will be impossible to ensure the country's development and our
citizens' welfare," he declared.

For that purpose, Karapetian went on, the government will strive to
make Armenian court more independent and impartial
. It will propose
corresponding amendments to the Judicial Code later this year, he

Karapetian already promised a tougher fight against corruption, better
tax administration and "equal conditions" for all businesses in
October shortly after being appointed as prime minister by President
Serzh Sarkisian and forming his cabinet. Opposition politicians
dismissed that reform agenda as a publicity stunt.

The premier insisted on Wednesday that reforms initiated by the
government are already bearing fruit. Citing official statistics, he
reported double-digit increases in Armenian industrial output and
exports recorded in the first five months of this year.

Despite mapping out its policies for the next five years, Karapetian
and his ministers will have to resign when Sarkisian completes his
final presidential term and Armenia becomes a parliamentary republic
in April 2018. The president has yet to clarify whether he plans to
become prime minister, replace Karapetian by someone else or keep the
current premier in office.

Answering questions from opposition lawmakers, Karapetian reiterated
that he stands "ready" to stay on as prime minister after April 2018.

ARKA, Armenia
June 21 2017
Armenian economist speaks about hidden pitfalls in new government program 

Atom Margarayn, economist and professor at the Armenian State University of Economics, thinks that the new program upheld yesterday by the Cabinet ministers may contain particular risks.

In his opinion, the word ‘reform’ is abused here.

“Reforms have their price,” Margaryan told journalists on Tuesday. “The previous reforms cost $6 billion – the country’s foreign debt. Now it is impossible to continue this way – the majority of donors, such as the World Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, want their money back. The question is who will pay for the offered reforms?”

The National Statistical Service says Armenia’s foreign debt reached $4 836.5 million by late January 2017 after growing by $30.9 million over one month.

The government’s debt here amounts to about $4 325.2 million (up $24.3 million) and the central bank’s debt to $511.2 million (up $6.5 million).

New financial sources are needed for implementing these reforms, Margaryan said fearing that the society may become such a source.

“But we see how little the society’s income is and how poor our country is,” he said.

According to official statistical reports, poverty rate in Armenia stood at 29.8% in 2015.

At the same time, Margaryan pointed out some advantages in the program – its aim has changed into development from stability. .

The economist finds the program’s indicators achievable.

The program implies a five-percent annual economic growth. The share of exports in GDP is planned to be increased to 40% from the present 16%. It is also planned to raise the nominal minimum salary by 25%. --0---

Public Radio of Armenia
June 21 2017
International Association of Genocide Scholars slams SBS for appeasing Armenian Genocide denial 

The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) has written an open letter to Head of Australia’s Special Broadcasting Corporation (SBS), Michael Ebeid, slamming his mischaracterisation of the Armenian Genocide during Federal Senate questioning last month.

This letter, from the foremost global historical authority on genocides, pours cold water over SBS’s editorial policy not to refer to the Armenian Genocide as “genocide”, saying: “Genocide denial is not history: it is ideological. And we are disappointed that a reputable organisation, such as SBS, has chosen this route.”

During Australian Parliament’s Senate Estimates in May 2017, Ebeid was grilled on the broadcaster’s unacceptable editorial position on the Armenian Genocide during an Australian Parliament Senate Estimates hearing by Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam.

Ludlam, who is the Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the Australian Greens, asked Ebeid to shed light on a May 15th article in The Australian, which claimed: “…SBS News and Current Affairs has a specific policy on referring to the Armenian genocide that prohibits its reporters from naming it as such. Instead reporters are instructed to refer to the event not as a genocide but as a ‘mass killing of Armenians considered by many to have been a genocide, which Turkey denies’.”

Ebeid responded: “We at SBS refer to it as ‘mass killing of Armenians considered by many to have been a genocide’ and I think that way we make sure that our viewers understand that this is a matter of contention that historians the world over dispute…”

The IAGS open letter, signed by its President, Professor Andrew Woolford says: “During this hearing, you were asked by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam about SBS’s policy regarding the naming of the Armenian genocide, which you called the “Armenian situation”. This is akin to calling the Holocaust the “Jewish situation”.”

“The Armenian genocide is also referred to as “mass killings”, which, of course, was the intent of the genocide, but framing any genocide in terms of the perpetrators’ intent, ignores the people that Senator Ludlam argues you are offending: the survivors and generations of victims. Genocide is about destruction, which continues for decades after the event, especially if the genocide is continually denied.”

“Your reasoning behind SBS’s policy is threefold: that a) the Australian government does not recognise the genocide, b) the UN does not recognise it and c) that historians “world over dispute” the genocide and there is a “lot of debate” regarding the existence of the genocide.”

“The sticking point for SBS is a) – that SBS would probably “change our stance” if the Australian government officially recognised the genocide. Does this apply to all Australian government policy, such as the difference between migrants and refugees, which the Australian government often muddles for political purposes?”

“The sticking point for us as genocide studies scholars is your argument that academically recognised historians dispute the genocide. This is a falsity. There are a handful of historians who deny the genocide who are not recognised as scholarly academics by the majority of genocide studies scholars.”

“We enclose the official IAGS policy on the Armenian genocide to counter SBS’s damaging denial claims and ask you to reconsider your policy. We also thank Senator Ludlam for his recognition of the genocide.”

Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian thanked the IAGS for their support.

“Denial of the Armenian Genocide is based on the myth that historical consensus has not been achieved on this matter,” Kahramanian said. “There is no greater global historical authority on genocides than the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and SBS will recognise that they have erred in their judgment when determining this offensive editorial position.”

Kahramanian added: “We hope SBS can admit this error by correcting it, and we will continue to make that case on behalf of Armenian-Australians and all who have suffered from genocide.”

The Ebeid hearing can be watched below:

View video at 

Plus Company Updates(PCU)
June 20, 2017 Tuesday
Profile of Armen Sarkissian Board Member of World Public Forum -
Dialogue of Civilizations

Moscow: Following is the Profile of Armen Sarkissian Board Member of
World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations:

Dr. Armen Sarkissian is founding President of Eurasia House
International in London
, which fosters critical dialogue and
cooperation among political and business leaders. It is involved in
bridge building between the West and the vast geographic space
extending from Eastern Europe to Russia, to CIS and China. He was the
founder and Director (until 2011) of the Eurasia Centre at the Judge
Business School, Cambridge University, with expertise in
state-building structures and free market transition processes.

In October 1991 Dr. Sarkissian established the first Embassy of the
Republic of Armenia in the West - in London.
 In addition to his
diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom, he went on to become Senior
Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Europe (Deputy Foreign
Minister) and concurrently represented Armenia as Ambassador to the
European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and The Vatican.
In 1995-96 he was Head of Mission of the Republic of Armenia to
Europe. He was reappointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1998
and again in 2013
. Dr. Sarkissian is one of the initiators of the
Eurasian Media Forum, held annually in Kazakhstan. He holds honorary
and executive positions in numerous international organisations,
including Member of Dean’s Advisory Board, Kennedy School of
Government, Harvard University; Dean’s Advisory Board, Harris School
of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; Board Member of IREX;
International Economic Alliance; Global Leadership Foundation (headed
by former President of South Africa F. W. De Klerk) and Honorary
Senior Research Fellow at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen
Mary & Westfield College, London University
; the National Academy of
Sciences of Armenia, National Competitiveness Council of Armenia, and

Thursday, 22 June 2017

** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 731 21 June 17



Stevie, a nice middle-class wife, suspects her equally bourgeois husband Martin of having an affair. With a mysterious female called Sylvia. She is hurt but gets real ballistic when she finds out Sylvia isn’t human. She is…a goat!

Such is the quirky plot of Edward Albee’s play, The Goat, or who is Sylvia? (It got the playwright the Pulitzer Prize.) Weird? Absurd? Disgusting? Yes, but not impossible. The Bible prohibits bestiality. Exodus 22:19 warns that ‘whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death’. Consider: why should such a stern prohibition be necessary, unless people existed who were drawn to it? There is no need to forbid sex with sticks and stones, is there?

Indeed, bestiality was not unknown to the ancient world. The myth of Pasiphae alludes to it. A Queen of Crete, Pasiphae burnt with love for a bull. Her unlovely offspring was the fierce Minotaur, half human and half beast. In partial excuse the myth says Pasiphae’s lust was the effect of a curse by the god Poseidon. In another version, the Queen has artisan Daedalus construct a wooden cow with cowhide covering, so she can copulate with the thing to her heart’s content. An intriguing Lesbian twist to the story…

To be blunt: Martin’s love for Sylvia isn’t abstract or platonic. He actually fornicates with the animal. ‘You are f…ing a goat?’ screams distraught Stevie at him. Again and again – can you blame her? Never mind how lyrical Martin waxes about Sylvia’s eyes, ‘her purity’, ‘her innocence’, the reality is that he loves her physically, i.e. has intercourse with the beast. Disagreeable and revolting but also comically thoughtful. How low can human beings sink in perversion?

Western countries, wallowing in the decadence they call ‘freedom’, scoff at religious morality. Yet, many still draw the line at bestiality. Ultra-liberal Germany has a ban on sex with an animal or ‘zoophilia’. (A German bloke called Oliver Burdinski three years ago demanded the right to have sex with his Siberian pet dog, Joey. The dog’s views are unclear.) The rationale though is curious. It is an offence to hurt an animal but also to ‘force’ it into unnatural sex. What’s wrong with bestiality is that it is against animal welfare, is that the idea? But imagine, if you can bear the thought, a wretched beast whose behaviour suggested…it enjoyed it. (Like poor Joey?) Would that make the thing right? When St Thomas Aquinas wrote about ‘sins against nature’ he taught they were grave offences against God, love of neighbour and reason, not against ‘consent’. Bestiality was for the Saint the most monstrous of all unnatural transgressions.

Despite the queer subject, The Goat has hilarious lines. When Martin tells distraught wife Stevie that he had joined a support group for people with similar syndromes, he runs through the unlovely gamut. A bloke physically loved a pig, he tells her. ‘A PIG?!’ yells Stevie. ‘A small one’, Martin qualifies. Another man fancied a dog. A third screwed a goose. Whereupon Stevie starts throwing and smashing plates around, like a fury. Can you blame her?

Albee was an openly gay man. In the play you encounter Martin’s gay teenage son, Billy. Initially shocked and hurt by his father’s confession, Billy eventually comes to some kind of acceptance and reconciliation with dad. They ‘talk things over’. Which allows Martin to set out his anti-social opinions about ‘love’. It was a bit like that old fraud, Dr Freud, expounding his sinister theories about infantile sexuality being intrinsically ‘perverse and polymorphous’. A convenient cover for all sorts of abominations. I am so glad Freud is dead. Hope he and his nutty, bogus ideas stay dead, too.

God in the Book of Leviticus commands that not only the man who commits bestiality should die but the animal too (20:15). This is echoed in Sharia’, the Holy Law of Islam. A Prophetic hadith enjoins: ‘If someone engages with sex with an animal kill him and kill the animal.’ There is no suggestion in the play, of course, that Stevie goes in for Old Testament or Islamic morality. She doesn’t kill Martin. Her terrible revenge is of a more exquisite, feminine type. ‘You brought be down, but I will bring you down!’ she shouts at her husband, and goes off. Later she reappears, bespattered with blood, dragging on the stage a large, bloody bundle: Stevie has slaughtered the goat. ‘Why?’ Martin cries. The play ends with his puzzling ‘I am sorry!’ Bit lame, perhaps.

Man lives ‘In this waning age’, lamented Shakespeare. A reference to the Elizabethan notion that mankind is declining from an original, pristine ‘Golden Age’ to the current, corrupt state of mankind. Even Milton thought the same. For the poet human beings were getting physically smaller, becoming like elves and fairies. Poetic imagery perhaps signifying an indictment of the monsters of nascent modernity. Makes you think that all is not well in the ‘tolerant’ and ‘enlightened’ Western world. It is the moral state of humanity that is in the dock. Will sentence soon be passed? Insh'allah!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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Public Radio of Armenia
June 20 2017
UNHCR welcomes Armenia’s approach towards persons displaced due to conflict in Syria 

UNHCR welcomes the very receptive approach both the Government of Armenia and the overwhelming majority of the Armenian population have taken in receiving persons displaced due to the conflict in Syria seeking protection in Armenia. 

According to Government source, since the start of the conflict in Syria Armenia has welcomed over 22,000 persons, primarily of ethnic Armenian background. While some of them have moved on to other countries, serving as migrant workers in the Golf states, having made use of resettlement opportunities or united with family members elsewhere UNHCR estimates that about 15,000 displaced continue to stay and UNHCR notes with appreciation the significant progress many families where able to make towards achieving self-reliance and integration into the Armenian society. 

“The highly developed service culture, diligence and quality of work of the displaced businessmen and workers has brought ‘fresh wind’ to the Armenian economy and society and contributes to their development” emphasized Mr. Christoph Bierwirth, the UNHCR Representative in Armenia adding that “this fits very well, the new directions of the government as to the economic development of the country giving increased attention to small and medium size enterprises and the development of the tourist sector.” 

UNHCR has also noted with appreciation that the new Prime Minister has repeatedly and publicly acknowledged the value of the displaced population for Armenian economic development, sending a clear message of welcome to the population. 

Despite all progress made there are still challenges and more needs to be done to successfully conclude the multifaceted integration process, UNHCR says. Some families, in particular those consisting of elderly, single headed households or students or having family members with disabilities face more problems in their integration, given constraints in their ability to work, limited number of job opportunities and low wages. 

In addition to persons displaced due to the conflict in Syria seeking protection in Armenia, the country faces other displacement challenges. Among the over 360,000 persons who were displaced between 1988 and 1992 in context of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict, Some 2000 have not yet availed themselves to the opportunity of naturalization in Armenian and remain de jure refugees. 

The escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in early April 2016 resulted in, at peak, over 2000 persons, overwhelmingly women, children and elderly, having fled from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Most of them found shelter with relatives or family friends often belonging to the poorer segments of the society. UNHCR was impressed by the level of hospitality and support extended to the displaced. The cash based intervention allowed for a more dignified and flexible response. Most of those displaced from Nagorno-Karabkh were able to return; by the end of 2016 a total of 573 persons (representing 172 households), primarily originating from the conflict affected village of Talish, remained in displacement. 

Moreover, Armenia also hosts refugees displaced due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as well as refugees from Iraq, Iran and in smaller numbers originating from a variety of African and Asian countries. UNHCR wishes to emphasize that refugee protection needs to be offered without discrimination and irrespective of ethnic background or religion of the displaced. 

In conclusion of the media briefing on the occasion of World Refugee Day 2017 the UNHCR Representative in Armenia, Mr. Christoph Bierwirth expressed: “In Armenia the recollection of the terrible and tragic events which started 102 years ago entail the memory of many Armenians having survived because protection, asylum was offered to them by other nations, in Europe, in the Americas, but also in many Arab countries. The institution of asylum is valued high in the Armenian society. This collective memory and experience should also govern approaches to today’s displacement challenges.” 

He emphasized: “Refugee protection and integration is not only a task for the authorities, everyone, every member of the society can contribute to the creation of a receptive environment. Everyone can and should care; be it the landlord who offers rent at a fair price, the employer who offers a fair salary to the displaced employee and patience during the initial coaching and adaptation period, the neighbor who offers a helping hand to the refugee who moves in next door, the consumer who makes a choice between cheap and sometimes low quality imports and the products offered by displaced entrepreneurs, or the student who shows his new displaced fellow student around the campus and familiarizes him or her with the study system in Armenia. There is no limit for creativity as to ways how to address the plight of refugees and means to demonstrate that you care.” 

Panorama, Armenia
More than 2000 people left Karabakh for Armenia amid 2016 NK conflict escalation
– UNHCR representative in Armenia
June 20 2017 

As a result of the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April 2016, more than 2000 people moved to Armenia from Karabakh, Christoph Bierwirth Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia said at a press conference on Tuesday. The meeting was dedicated to the World Refugee Day and We Stand With Refugees campaign. 

The UN official noted that women, children and the elderly made up the greatest part of those displaced, while the men stayed in Karabakh to protect their homes or to take part in operations. The majority of the displaced people were housed by their friends and relatives, who, according to Mr. Bierwirth, mainly belong to lower social class. 

Mr. Christoph Bierwirth also noted that the UN Commissioner was impressed with the support and hospitality shown to the displaced people, noting that the situation prompted the UNHCR to take immediate action. The UN representative noted that at the annual meeting of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee “the Government of the Republic of Armenia highly appreciates UNHCR’s rapid and efficient humanitarian response, which immediately reached to the people in need.” 

In Mr. Bierwirth’s words, the majority of the displaced Karabakh people did not manage to make it back to their country. At the end of 2016, 573 people (172 families) mainly from the conflict-stricken village Talish, continued to remain displaced since Talish is not safe yet. 

Panorama, Armenia
June 20 2017
UK Ambassador expressed condolences on the death of the four servicemen in Artsakh 

The United Kingdom supports the approaches of the OSCE Minsk Group and sees the solution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict exclusively through negotiations, Judith Farnworth, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Armenia noted at a meeting with Armenian National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ara Babloyan. 

According to the NA release, Judith Farnworth expressed her condolences on the death of the four servicemen, who died on the frontline in recent days, noting that those young people’s death is really painful and inadmissible in war and ceasefire conditions. 

The Ambassador has stated that the countries cannot choose their geographical position, but can choose their future: the steps being taken in direction of democracy, protection of human rights, and freedom of speech are visible in Armenia, the release said. 

Speaking about the Nagorno Karabakh problem, Ara Babloyan, in turn, thanked the Ambassador for the position of the United Kingdom over that issue and noted that Armenia is resolute to solve the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. 

The NA Speaker documented: “As a doctor I mostly highlight the human life and feel pain, when in peaceful conditions, young people die during the ceasefire. This is inadmissible in the 21st century and in the civilized world.” 

According to the source, the interlocutors also touched upon the issues regarding the parliamentary system of government, the development of democracy in Armenia and the Armenian-British parliamentary cooperation. , Armenia
June 20 2017
Former MP: Armenia has only two friends 

YEREVAM. – The last five years were to serve a good lesson for Armenia, as they showed the country has no friends, former Armenian MP Tevan Poghosyan told reporters. 

The only friends are Karabakh and Armenian diaspora, as a big network organization, head of the International Center for Human Development said commenting on Russia's arms sales to Azerbaijan. 

According to the ex-MP, Armenia is a country that has its own interests. He noted that the Armenian side has a number of advantages: it can analyze and understand interests of other countries and make so that its interests and interests of these countries coincide in most cases. 

Pogosyan emphasized that Armenia can also try to make everyone realize that unless Armenian interests are taken into account, their wishes will not be implemented. 

“To do this, it is necessary to change the policy so that neither Russia, nor Belarus or Ukraine, had desire to sell arms to Azerbaijan, and so that Turkey could have no opportunity to do that,” Tevon Poghosyan said. 

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
June 19, 2017 Monday
3000 jobs created in Armenia within three months 

According to the last monitoring, 3000 jobs have been created in 
Armenia within the three months, Suren Karayan, Minister of Economic 
Development and Investments told 

He informed that the monitoring has been conducted two months before. 

Commenting on the question how is the process of implementation of the 
PM’s tasks to grant privileges to enterprises operating in light 
industry field, the minister said currently they are holding 
discussions over it. 

“We are holding discussions so that more investments will be made in 
certain branches of light industry, be it textile, shoes-making and 
etc, through provision of possible privileges, as well as new jobs 
will be created. At the moment we hold discussions on this, if 
clarified we will report”, the minister added. 

Panorama, Armenia
June 20 2017
Armenia’s economic activity index increases by 6.4% 

According to the data released by Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSS), the economic activity index (EAI) of Armenia increased by 6.4% in January-May 2017 to compare with the same period of 2016. 

As the NSS reports, the index rose by 11.9% in May compared with April of the ongoing year, reports. 

According to the NSS, the utmost growth was registered in the industry sphere in the mentioned period. Namely, in January-May of this year, the industrial production volume rose by 14.4%, increasing by 12.7% compared to the previous month and 20% to compare with the production volume of May 2016. 

Electricity production sphere also saw an increase amounting for 4.6%. Compared to January-May 2016, this year the service volume (excluding the trade) rose by 11%. 

The trade turnover increased by 12.8% in January-May 2017 to compare with the same period of 2016. The consumer prices, according to the NSS statistics, also increased by 0.4% compared to January-May 2016. 

The gross agricultural output decreased by 3.5% in January-May 2017 to compare with the same period of 2016, with the construction volumes dropping by 12.1% 

As for the external trade turnover, it rose by 23.1% in January-May 2017 with the exports increasing by 20.9% and imports by 24.4%. 

According to the NSS data, the average monthly salary in Armenia rose by 1.9% and the average annual wage by 2.7% in January-May 2017. In the public sector the average salary decreased by 0.5%, totaling to 156.000 AMD and in the private sector the average wage rose by 2.4%, amounting to 224.613 AMD. 

ArmBanks, Armenia
June 20 2017
EFSD has provided $490 million to finance infrastructure projects in Armenia 

EFSD has provided $490 million to finance infrastructure projects in Armenia 

YEREVAN, June 20. /ARKA/. The Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) has provided $490 million to finance a string of infrastructure projects in Armenia, Alexey Cherekaev, an EFSD project group director, said in an interview with ARKA news agency. 

He said the total funding consists of a budget assistance loan to the tune of $300 million, a loan for the construction of the North-South highway ($150 million) and an irrigation project loan ($40 million). He added that EFSD is considering another project for the construction of the Mastara reservoir worth $40 million. 

He said since Armenia is entitled to claim assistance for another $510 million from EFSD, the latter is ready to consider new projects in the same sectors. In his words, the issue of additional financing is primarily linked with Armenia’s debt sustainability and its budget rule. 

"Now, as you know, Armenia has a rather complicated debt situation, and all the loans provided by the EFSD are sovereign loans. This means they are added to the country’s external debt. Therefore, if the situation improves slightly and the debt burden becomes easier, the consideration of new projects will go faster,’ he said. 

The Eurasian Stabilization and Development Fund ($8.513 billion) was established on June 9, 2009 by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to support economic stability in member countries.-0-