Thursday, 22 June 2017


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-

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