Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Fighting in Karabakh

Kazakhstan General Newswire
February 9, 2017
President Aliyev sees fighting in Karabakh as internal affair of 

February 9, 2017 

President Ilham Aliyev has called the events that took place in the
Karabakh conflict zone in April 2016 and the current clashes on the
contact line in the region internal affairs of Azerbaijan.

"Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. We don't claim
Armenian territory, although everyone knows very well that today's
Armenia was created on Azeri lands. But we are not going to give our
territories to anyone. Therefore, the April clashes, and also the
tensions and clashes on the contact line are an internal affair of
Azerbaijan," Aliyev said on Thursday during a meeting with the family
of Chingiz Gurbanov, who was killed in a fight on the Armenian border
in December.
Strategic Assets Destruction of Which Would Restrain Baku
Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator
09 February 2017, 22:40 

The Azerbaijani media do not hide their country’s intention to escalate the situation in Karabakh. Though it is officially stated that the Armenian side is attempting attacks and sabotages, Baku communicates through experts that nobody in the world wants to change the status quo and therefore has to “defend its territorial integrity”.

The politician Tigran Abrahamyan thinks that Azerbaijan is fortifying the front line by stationing troops and equipment to continue the war of posts. He does not rule out that Azerbaijan is getting ready for a large-scale war. 

Tom de Vaal, an expert at the Carnegie, thinks that after the failure of the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s diplomatic initiatives there is a risk that Baku will be tempted to resume military actions to take new territories and impose a solution on the Armenians.

According to him, there is a risk that this time a small action will grow into a larger-scale and more dangerous actions than April 2016. The Azerbaijani authorities are going to be under strong pressure because this time the society of Armenia will demand the authorities to fight more vigorously and return the territories lost in April. 
The situation in the area of the Karabakh conflict is not quiet. The ministry of defense of Karabakh informs about artillery fire which has not taken place for a long time. The Armenian side announced about answering the fire, one victim and one severely wounded soldier.

Armenia calls for a disproportionate answer which may call Baku to attention. As a rule, destruction of strategic assets in Baku is considered as such an answer. It is not accidental that recently gas pipelines have been exploding in Baku, which worries the special services. 
Parliamentary elections will take place in Armenia on 2 April 2017 after which the format of the Karabakh settlement may change. At any rate the new parliament must decide whom to pass the mandate of negotiations. The process may stop for an indefinite period, hence the status quo will be maintained.

The geopolitical situation is changing too, and the status quo for international players is gradually becoming the most acceptable option. Aliyev is desperately trying to change the situation to be ready for possible agreements. Therefore, it does not feel sorry for the life of its soldiers. Will he sacrifice the security of his country’s strategic assets?
Russia, Armenia team up on military-technical cooperation — envoy
10 Feb 2017 

The military and technical cooperation between Russia and Armenia meets the friendly relationship between the two countries, Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin said in an interview with TASS.

“The military and technical cooperation between Russia and Armenia is complex and in line with the friendly relations between the countries,” he said.

The sides are consistently improving the contractual legal framework, Volynkin said, adding that an Agreement on creation of a combined force was signed last year, and an Agreement on creation of a combined regional air defense system has recently came into force in the Caucasus region.

According to the Russian Ambassador, “the intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation regularly discusses the pressing issues of Russia’s arms delivery, as well as expansion of cooperation between Russian and Armenian enterprises of the military-industrial complex (its 11th meeting was held last September).”

RFE/RL Report
Russia Unfazed By Armenia-EU Ties, Says Envoy
February 10, 2017

Armenia's continuing efforts to forge closer links with the European
Union will not damage its alliance with Russia, the Russian ambassador
in Yerevan, Ivan Volynkin, said on Friday.

"Russia and Armenia are bound by a relationship of alliance type and
the Russian and Armenian peoples are brotherly peoples," Volynkin told
the TASS news agency when asked about Moscow's position on a new
EU-Armenian accord which is expected to be signed later this year.

"Both states are part of integration structures -- the Eurasian
Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization --
whose members have economic and political obligations," he
said. "Based on the precedence of those obligations, relations with
the EU are naturally being built not to their detriment, and everybody
realizes that."

Armenian and EU officials concluded in the summer of 2013 negotiations
on a far-reaching Association Agreement. President Serzh Sarkisian
precluded its signing with his unexpected decision in September 2013
to seek Armenia's accession to the EEU. The U-turn was widely
attributed to Russian pressure.

An alternative deal currently negotiated by Yerevan and Brussels will
likely contain the main political and some economic provisions of the
cancelled Association Agreement. But it will have no free
trade-related component due to Armenia's membership in the Russian-led

President Serzh Sarkisian reaffirmed his government's commitment to
deepen ties with the EU when he met with the EU's commissioner for
European neighborhood policy, Johannes Hahn, in Yerevan in
November. The head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, Piotr Switalski,
said last month that the two sides are inching closer to the new deal.

Volynkin was also confident that Armenian foreign policy will not
undergo radical changes as a result of Armenia's parliamentary
elections slated for April 2. He said the vote promises to be "very
interesting" because it will come one year before Armenia completes
its transition to a parliamentary system of government.

Volynkin noted a new constitutional provision that requires the
existence of a "stable majority" in the Armenian parliament, saying
that it should "ensure continuity in the political process in
Armenia." "Taking these facts into consideration, we see no major
reason for Yerevan to radically change it foreign policy course," the
diplomat told TASS. 

RFE/RL Report
Government Plans More Foreign Borrowing In 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
February 09, 2017

Despite a significant increase in Armenia's public debt, the
government will obtain $350 million in fresh loans this year to
finance its budget deficit, Finance Minister Vartan Aramian said on

The debt will thus rise to a new record high of $6.25 billion, a
figure equivalent to around 60 percent of the country's Gross Domestic

"As long as the state's fiscal and budgetary policy entails a [budget]
deficit, it is obvious that the deficit will have to be covered
through borrowing," Aramian told reporters. "As long as our revenue
lags behind our need for [government] spending, we will have to
borrow," he said.

The public debt stood at less than $2 billion before the 2008-2009
global financial crisis plunged Armenia into a severe recession. The
authorities in Yerevan have since borrowed heavily from the World
Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other external sources to
prevent massive spending cuts and finance infrastructure projects.

Economic growth in Armenia has been sluggish in the last few years,
translating into shortfalls in tax revenue and bigger budget deficits.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian's cabinet plans to rein in the deficit
through significant spending cuts envisaged by its 2017
budget. Aramian said in September that the planned cuts will also help
the government keep the debt under control.

The minister insisted on Thursday Armenia is still not a heavily
indebted country despite its increased debt burden. But he
acknowledged that budgetary expenditures on debt servicing will
continue to rise and will peak at $500 million in 2020.

The Armenian state budget is currently worth about $3 billion.

David Lipton, the IMF's first deputy managing director, said in
December that the Armenian authorities intend to "ensure that debt
remains below 60 percent of GDP over the medium term."\ 
Women not allowed to approach Armenia President in St Sarkis Cathedral, one of them feels bad

An incident took place during the liturgy served on occasion of the feast of St. Sarkis in St. Sarkis Cathedral of Yerevan, which was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan and other officials.

Three women tried to approach the President to tell him about their problems, Armenian News – correspondent reports.

The women didn’t wish to introduce themselves but presented the issues they would like to tell the President about, which they never managed to.

According to one of the women, her two sons died in the army in peaceful conditions. She wanted to ask the President to mediate in solving the case. One of the aides to the President listened to the woman and introduced her to the Defense Minister. Her contacts were taken and she was promised that the matter will be solved.

The second woman cried: “Mr President, I have something to tell you, I would like to speak.”In her words, her serviceman son has gone missing for six months and she has had no information about him. This woman was also surrounded by presidential aides and her contacts were also taken. At that time the woman felt bad: Ambulance was called and she was provided medical assistance on the ground.

The third woman had come with a batch of letters, wishing to hand them to the President. The letters were taken by the President’s aides.

Manchester United, UK
Mkhitaryan wins January Goal of the Month
Feb 10 2017 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s decisive run and finish in the Emirates FA Cup fourth-round win over Wigan Athletic has been voted Manchester United's Goal of the Month for January – the second successive month he has topped the poll.

Mkhitaryan's driving run kick-started a brilliant counter-attack that the Armenian finished following good work by Anthony Martial, putting the Reds three goals to the good in the 4-0 triumph over the Latics .

The breakaway goal received 52 per cent of fans' votes in our poll to take the prize ahead of Wayne Rooney’s landmark free-kick against Stoke City, which attracted 43 per cent of the vote, and Bastian Schweinsteiger's instinctive hooked finish in the tie against Wigan (3 per cent).

Mkhitaryan also scooped December's accolade for his outrageous 'scorpion kick' against Sunderland. And while, by his own admission, that Boxing Day strike was the best goal he'd ever scored , the swift move against Wigan is another addition to his growing list of eye-catching efforts for the Reds.

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