Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... More messages of Condolence

news.am , Armenia
June 4 2017
Armenia president conveys condolences over London terror attack 

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan conveyed a message of condolences 

to UK Prime Minister Theresa May over terrorist attack in London.

“At this grave moment of loss, I express my support to you, the friendly 
people of the United Kingdom and families of the victims, wishing fortitude 
and resolve, and a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the message reads.

President Sargsyan condemned “inhumane act” and reaffirmed Armenia’s 
readiness to join the fight against violence and terrorism.

RFE/RL Report
EU Lauds Armenian Constitutional Reform
May 31, 2017 

The European Union has praised President Serzh Sarkisian's sweeping
constitutional changes that will transform Armenia into a
parliamentary republic.

Senior EU representatives mentioned the constitutional reform,
denounced by the Armenian opposition, during an annual "human rights
dialogue" with Armenian officials held in Brussels this week. The
Armenian delegation at the meeting was headed by Deputy Foreign
Minister Karen Nazarian and the state human rights ombudsman, Arman

"The European Union and Armenia welcomed the continued progress on
human rights in Armenia," the bloc's European External Action Service
(EEAS) said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

"The EU concurred with the Venice Commission [of the Council of
Europe] that the new Constitution represented a positive development
and underlined the importance of its prompt and effective
implementation," it added.

The constitutional amendments enacted in a disputed December 2015
referendum call for Armenia's transition from a semi-presidential to
parliamentary system of government. Most Armenian opposition groups
objected to the reform, saying that it is primarily aimed at allowing
Sarkisian to extend his decade-long rule.

The president and his allies have denied the opposition claims. They
have at the same time made clear that Sarkisian will not retire from
the political arena after serving out his final presidential term in
April 2018.

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Armenian Foreign
Minister Edward Nalbandian shake hands after a joint news conference
in Brussels, 23May2017.

The EEAS statement said the Brussels meeting also touched upon the
conduct of Armenia's recent parliamentary elections and the situation
with human rights in the country. "The Dialogue highlighted the
importance of a free and pluralistic media environment, and political
pluralism as a prerequisite for the conduct of democratic elections,"
it said.

The EU gave a largely positive assessment of the April 2 elections,
while expressing concern over vote buying reported by European
monitors. Its foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said through a
spokesperson on April 4 that the official vote results, which gave a
landslide victory to Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia, reflect
"the overall will of the Armenian people."

June 3 2017
In which cases do Armenian rural women consider beating by their husbands justifiable? 

The attitude of women and men towards spousal abuse is an important indicator in assessing the social status of rural women, says the report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations entitled “Gender, agriculture and rural development in Armenia.”

According to the authors of the report, “women from the lowest wealth quintile, with the lowest educational levels and from rural areas are the most likely to accept this subordination in the form of domestic violence.” In particular, the respondents were asked if it was justifiable that a husband beats his wife in the following cases: 1) burning the food; 2) arguing with the husband; 3) going out without telling the husband; 4) neglecting the children; and 5) refusing to have intercourse.

18.2 percent of women with lower educational levels considered spousal abuse to be justified in at least one of these situations, a figure that is almost four times lower in case of women with higher education.

13.9 percent of women from the lowest wealth quintiles, and 25.1 percent of women with five children or more also consider it justifiable in one of the abovementioned situations, a figure that is three times lower in the case of women with no children or women from the highest wealth quintiles (20 percent of the population).

“Women in rural areas are more permissive of spousal abuse: 11.8 percent of women from rural areas consider this aggression to be justifiable, compared with 8 percent of women from urban areas. Moreover, in the Region of Tavush, 23 percent of women accept this type of spousal abuse.

The figures are much higher among men. 28 percent of men living in rural areas consider it justifiable, compared with 14.8 percent of men from urban areas. The percentages are also higher among men with basic or secondary education and from the lowest wealth quintiles, with more than 25 percent and 31 percent of men respectively considering this type of violence to be justifiable. 56 percent of men from the Region of Lori see this kind of behaviour as acceptable and justifiable,” the report reads.

Lragir, Armenia
June 2 2017
Aliyev Changes Staff: What's Happening in Azerbaijan?
Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator

The Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev has suddenly changed his staff and 6 assistants. Fuad Aleskerov has been appointed as assistant for military affairs and law enforcement agencies.

Aliyev’s nervousness is evidence to his stalemate due to his policy and geopolitical developments.

Azerbaijan’s central bank has declared default, Azerbaijan has appeared amid a scandal in OSCE where an investigation is underway into the case of bribing PACE members by Azerbaijani officials.

Besides, Azerbaijan has appeared amid another scandal. The Georgian president has called to investigate the abduction of the Azerbaijani journalist in Georgia and illegal border crossing. Georgians are protesting against the actions of the Azerbaijani special services.

The so-called Peace Platform has failed which Azerbaijan tried to conceal its destructive stance in the talks on Karabakh. The OSCE Minsk Group has bluntly blamed Azerbaijan for ceasefire breaches. The foreign ministry of Armenia has called for applying sanctions on Azerbaijan.

Aliyev is worried and is taking incomprehensible steps. The Armenian military say the Azerbaijani army is inventing targets, hitting them and then reporting hitting Armenian positions. 
Yesterday the International Crisis Group published a report on the Karabakh settlement which highlights the dissatisfaction of Azerbaijan with Aliyev’s policy. It is said that some circles in Azerbaijan demand implementation of the militaristic “triumphant” intentions Aliyev has been speaking about for many years. There is an opinion that Aliyev has hardly been able to suppress pressure.

May 31 2017
Foreign direct investments in Armenian economy grew by 30% in quarter one, 2017 

Foreign direct investments (FDI) into the Armenian economy in the first quarter of 2017 amounted to the equivalent of 19.743.2 billion drams, up from 14.987.2 billion drams in the same time span of 2016, an increase of 31%, the National Statistical Service (NSS) reported today.

The largest amount of foreign direct investment came from the island of Jersey (British Crown Domains) - 5.7 billion drams, 4.7 billion drams came from Russia, 3.9 billion drams from Germany, 3 billion drams from Cyprus and 2.1 billion drams from Lebanon. ($ 1 - 482.13 drams). -0-

May 31 2017
Armenia c.bank ups 2017 inflation forecast to 2.5 pct from 0.6 pct
Armenia's central bank has revised its annual inflation forecast for 2017 to 2.5 percent from 0.6 percent, the bank said on Wednesday. 

Armenia has seen consumer prices decline recently as it felt the pain from the economic crisis in Russia, which hit consumer demand as remittances from Armenians working in its former Soviet ruler went down.

Annual deflation in 2016 was 1.1 percent.

The central bank said that its monetary policy helped "to neutralise deflationary environment and created conditions to achieve inflation target."

"The central bank estimates 12-month inflation will reach the low level of the fluctuations' corridor and in the projected term stabilise around the target of 4 percent," the bank said in a statement.

Annual inflation was at 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, up from a forecast of 1.1 percent, mainly due to rise in consumer prices on fruits and vegetables and restoration of consumer demand.

The central bank governor Artur Javadyan told in an interview to Reuters in March that prices would remain at a low level over the short term, gradually boosting annual inflation to 4 percent by early 2019.

The Armenian central bank started cutting refinancing rates in August 2015 in order to spur both inflation and consumer demand. It last trimmed the rate to 6 percent in mid-February and kept it unchanged at 6 percent in March and May. (Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan, writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by Maria Kiselyova and Pritha Sarkar)


Panorama, Armenia
June 1 2017
Key handover ceremony of Charles Aznavour House-Museum held in Yerevan 

Prominent Armenian chansonnier Charles Aznavour announced on Thursday about the establishment of Aznavour foundation and its first project of Charles Aznavour interactive House Museum launched in Yerevan. The House Museum will seek to preserve the global heritage of the Maestro and realize social and cultural programmes.

The solemn ceremony of the key handover ceremony was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who handed over the symbolic key of the Museum to Aznavour.

“It is great honor for me to be here and receive the keys of the House Museum, this culture center. I am immensely thankful for this generous gift. I made the decision to set up Aznavour foundation with my son Nikola with great confidence to continue my benevolent activity coming since 1988,” Aznavour said in his remarks.

Armenian President in his turn stated: “We are happy to be your contemporaries and regularly enjoy your art and your performances. In fact, you are performing rather than signing on the stage, since every song of yours is a full-fledged artistic performance.”

“Aznavour is a legend, a walking legend, which belongs not only to France, Armenia and the Armenian people, but to the whole humanity. The Armenian-French relations are interconnected by thousands of ties and the proof of that is that the last three presidents of France – Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande – have visited Armenia. François Hollande has paid three visits to Armenia; twice as the President of France. I do hope that this tradition will be upheld by President-elect Emmanuel Macron, and together with you, dear Maestro, we will host him in this house-museum,” the President added.

Lragir, Armenia
June 4 2017
What's the Possibility of New War and What's the Format?
Igor Muradyan, Political Analyst

The political leadership in Azerbaijan is trying to differentiate the impression of possibility of a new war with Armenia.

The Americans continue to claim that Ilham Aliyev is not inclined for a war while his entourage prefers using large-scale military actions. Washington does not believe in this much and judging by the information about Azerbaijan, they have concluded that the present-day Azerbaijan is not determined enough.

Who in Azerbaijan’s political elite might initiate a new war? Such initiatives in Azerbaijan are ruled out to a significant extent, if not fully. Azerbaijan is governed from the outside, and this is taken into account in the political circles of the West and Iran.

Iran’s warning was made with consideration of intrigues in Turkey and partly in Russia.

Currently Turkey, as before, is not interested in a big war in the Caucasus. It concerns Russia too. The two countries are interested in maintaining the military situation in the region but not in a big war.

Many Armenian military officers do not have a substantial understanding of the war threat and continue to hope for Russia’s assistance including in terms of weapons supplies. Nonetheless, Russia’s actions are discussed by officers.

Russia’s cynical behavior is becoming hostile and is not limited to large-scale supplies of weapons to Azerbaijan. Armenia has not been able to raise this issue before the Russians, nor internationally.

What are the causes of such outrageous attitude to Armenia?

First, the Armenian leadership was unable to restore the opinion of the Armenian public towards such cynical attitude by Russia. However, this is not the cause of the situation Armenia is in. Since independence Armenia has had a superficial attitude towards its own sovereignty, technically failing to conduct an equal policy on different big states and political and security blocs. As a result, the country depends heavily on Russia and has not been serious about NATO, the global security system.

Currently the West is not interested in a war but there comes a time when the West may put forth the issue of failure of Russia’s regional policy, especially in terms of military conflicts.

Azerbaijan understands this very well and is ready for the military adventure, a demonstrative action for a military strike on Armenia. Azerbaijan is aware that the Western community, NATO will not take serious action to intervene in the war in the South Caucasus unless Turkey takes part in it.

Formerly NATO was intended to prevent the defeat of one of the Caucasian countries. Currently the setting is different, and Armenia must lose. This is not NATO’s strategic goal but such results would be the most favorable one for the alliance.

For the time being NATO is trying to involve Armenia and Azerbaijan in its political and security programs, enabling them to increase the defense capability of their armed forces. The political component is important to the Caucasian countries, which supposes integration with NATO organizations.

The participation of Armenia and Azerbaijan is titular for the time being, and the two countries do not express interest in close cooperation with NATO.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan is currently better off than Armenia. Azerbaijan is Turkey’s vassal, in fact, which does not worry the West. On the contrary, it leads to the understanding that Azerbaijan is in close partnership with it.

Besides, Azerbaijan has close relations with Georgia without being dependent on Russia. Armenia does not have freedom of relations with Georgia and cannot normalize its relations with Turkey. This leads to the perception that Armenia is not a sovereign state.

Hence, Azerbaijan remains under Turkey’s strong influence and its interests are in contradiction to the Euro-Atlantic community, as well as have not been agreed with the interests of Russia.

Turkey has to take into account the positions of Russia and Iran and is in heavy dependence on the United States and NATO. However, Turkey does not initiate the start of military actions and prefers strengthening its influence in the South Caucasus.

Turkey needs to deal with a series of political and security issues in the Near East but has no idea of how to resolve those issues. It would be highly dangerous to add these to the problems relating to the South Caucasus.

Turkey’s involvement in regional issues would lead to NATO’s involvement in the Black Sea-Caucasus but with a different format. Neither Russia, nor Turkey agree to this.

Russia and Turkey are not interested in a big war but they would like to impose not big wars on the countries of the region. A local war is the destiny of the South Caucasus.

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