Thursday, 14 December 2017

Armenian TV Program
On the Armenian UK Community
UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening ties with the EU, Alan Duncan says
December. 5. 2017 

Yerevan/Mediamax/. UK Minister of State for Europe Sir Alan Duncan provided an op-ed to Mediamax on the eve of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit that opens in Brussels today.

The op-ed says:
“Today, Leaders and Foreign Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and across the EU, will gather in Brussels for our Eastern Partnership Summit.

Since our first Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague in 2009, much has happened across the region. The strength of the partnership has remained steadfast and only grown in importance as a signal of our shared commitment to building democracy, prosperity, stability and increased co-operation together.
We are gathering in Brussels today to take stock of progress, to agree future priorities and to ensure that the crucial work of reform across the region continues. The UK wholeheartedly supports the vital work of the Eastern Partnership. And we will continue to promote those shared objectives in our bilateral cooperation too.

In Armenia the UK continues to support the ambitious reform programme of the Government. As Armenia prepares for the transition from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary democracy, the British Embassy is funding a project to increase Armenian parliamentarians’ understanding of their role in a parliamentary democracy, including accountability to the electorate and effective scrutiny of the work of Government.

During my visit to Armenia in September 2017, I announced that Armenia would benefit from a new multi million pound fund from 2018 to support governance and economic reforms in Armenia. I am delighted that plans are on track for delivery and our Good Governance Fund will help deliver programmes to strengthen Armenia’s reforms.

The recent appointment by the UK Prime Minister of Mark Pritchard MP as Trade and Investment Envoy to Armenia reflects the UK’s commitment to strengthening bilateral trade and investment links between our two countries.

The UK is delighted that Armenia is strengthening and deepening ties with the European Union through the signing of a Comprehensive and Enhanced Part- nership Agreement.

At the Eastern Partnership Summit today, the United Kingdom will be clear on our strong support for the Eastern Partnership initiative. That remains the case today and it will remain the case in the future. As the UK leaves the EU, our shared objectives and priorities in the Eastern neighbourhood will not change and we will continue to work with our allies and friends across Europe to deliver on those objectives”.
Dec 11 2017
Trump's Jerusalem Gambit Prompts Opposition From Armenia, Concern From Georgia
Bradley Jardine 

United States President Donald Trump’s decision to defy international law and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has provoked opposition from Armenia, which has deep historic and religious ties to the holy city.

The Armenian Apostolic Church controls part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on the site where Jesus is supposed to have been crucified and buried. Jerusalem also is home to the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s old city, which dates back to the fourth century A.D., when Armenia adopted Christianity as a national religion. About 790 Armenians live there , in one of the oldest surviving Armenian diaspora communities

Following Trump's announcement, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, warned that the decision may result in instability in the region. Aram I also emphasized the need to respect “the legitimate rights of Palestinians” and to preserve the rights of the three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem. Since 1967, the UN has recognized the eastern part of Jerusalem as territory illegally occupied by Israel, but Israel has long sought international recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.

The Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem (an independent, self-governing Christian patriarchate dating to the Apostolic Age) issued a similar statement. Both Churches signed a written statement issued by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem calling for President Trump to reconsider the decision and “continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem.”

“Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm… We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division,” part of the statement read.

Armenia's secular officials weighed in as well: Minster of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan issued a statement calling for the preservation of peace and the need to protect Jerusalem’s historic Armenian community.

Israel has close ties with Armenia's rival, Azerbaijan, but in recent years Yerevan has been trying to woo Israel away . Nevertheless, neither side appeared to try to score points with Israel; Azerbaijan also issued a statement opposing Trump's move.

Trump's announcement prompted a measured response from Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which usually closely follows Washington's lead.

“We have looked carefully at the statement made by the President of our strategic partner, the United States of America, regarding Jerusalem,” and “are closely monitoring the developments as this issue is being widely discussed internationally, including at the United Nations” the Ministry said in a statement issued December 7.

“Georgia supports the efforts of the international community aimed at the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which should be achieved through an agreement based on dialogue,” it read.

The statement was issued after Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili rejected an appeal published on the personal Facebook page of MP Shota Shalelshvili urging Georgia to support President Trump’s position. Shalelshvili was later summoned for a “private meeting” with Georgia’s State Security Service.

According to Kvirikashvili, Georgia will state its position on “the basis of its national interests, considering the international situation and the threats that exist in the region.”, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Cyprus President proud of Armenian community's contribution

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has expressed pride for the contribution of the Armenian community in the political, social, and economic life of the island, Cyprus Mail reported.

Nicos Anastasiades recalled, during the event in honor of the Armenians of Cyprus that both nations have fallen victim to the same aggressor, noting that they did not surrender but fought and are continuing to struggle for the great principle of justice in order to prevail on the international scene.

“This is why Cyprus was one of the first European countries to recognise the Armenian genocide and we have jointly condemned the perpetrators of this crime,” the President said.

“As a state, we will always show off proudly the fact that your small community manages with its vigour to be present in all aspects of our country’s life – political, social and economic,” he said, referring to the Armenian community in Cyprus.

Anastasiades also spoke of his vision for a free and reunited Cyprus, where all Cypriot citizens will live in peace and prosperity: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians and other nations.

RFE/RL Report
IMF Still Sees Lack Of Competition In Armenia
December 12, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
Armenia's economy is continuing to suffer from a lack of competition,
a senior official from the International Monetary Fund said on

"Our assessment is that competition in the domestic market is indeed
limited and there is a lot of room for improvement," Yulia Ustyugova,
the head of the IMF office in Yerevan, told RFE/RL's Armenian service
( in an interview.

"We have been raising this question and having very candid discussions
with the authorities," she said. "According to our assessment, it does
impede growth."

Ustyugova said the government should ensure that companies dominating
various types of business do not abuse their positions. It is also
essential to improve the investment climate so that new firms can
enter those sectors, she added.

"We are convinced that the business environment in Armenia is
improving," Prime Minister Karen Karapetian declared a month ago. "But
we also acknowledge that we have weak spots which we must definitely
work on."

Speaking in the parliament last week, Karapetian insisted that his
government is liberalizing lucrative sectors of the Armenian economy
that have long been dominated by a handful of wealthy
entrepreneurs. But he said more time is needed to complete that

Ustyugova pointed out that the government's five-year policy program
approved by the Armenian parliament in June contains major anti-trust
measures. "But the question is implementation," she stressed.

A World Bank survey released in 2013 said that "oligopolies" control
68 percent of economic activity in Armenia, making it the most
monopolized economy in the former Soviet Union. The lack of
competition has been particularly acute in lucrative imports of fuel
and basic foodstuffs such as wheat, sugar and cooking oil. Economists
have long said that de facto monopolies hamper the country's
sustainable economic development.

Echoing government forecasts, Ustyugova said the Armenian economy may
grow by more than 4 percent this year after practically stagnating in
2016. But she cautioned that that will not be enough to significantly
reduce very high unemployment which official statistics put at about
20 percent. The government should focus on more job creation,
including by "retraining those who need jobs," added the IMF official.

Visiting Yerevan in April, the head of an IMF mission, Hossein Samiei,
said the current Armenian government is committed to implementing
major reforms needed for speeding up economic growth and reducing
poverty. "I'm not saying everything is perfect," he told
reporters. "But hopefully things are moving in the right direction."

Karapetian has repeatedly pledged to create "equal conditions" for all
business since he was named prime minister in September 2016.

ARKA, Armenia
Dec 12 2017
European court of human rights rules against Azerbaijan and Armenia 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that the government of Azerbaijan pay Vladimir Sargsyan and Tsovinar Sargsyan jointly, within three months, EUR 5,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage they sustained as a result of Azerbaijani aggression. Azerbaijan is obliged to award also the sum of EUR 30,000 to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.

The applicant, Minas Sargsyan, was Vladimir Sargsyan’s and Tsovinar Sargsyan's father who had lodged an application against the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006, but died in 2009.

The Minasyans family lived in Gulistan, in the Shahumyan region of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (present-day Goranboy region of the Republic of Azerbaijan). The applicant, his wife and their four children had to flee in June 1992 when the village came under attack during the military phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Subsequently, the applicant and his wife lived as refugees in Yerevan.

On the same day, the ECHR passed a ruling in the case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia. The application had been lodged by Elkhan Chiragov, Adishiri Chiragov, Ramiz Dzhebrailov, Akif Khasanov, Fehredi Pashayev and Sagatel Dzhabrailov against Armenia. As noted in the court's decision, they were residents of Lachin, but as a result of military actions in 1992 had to flee their homes leaving their property behind.

Armenia must pay compensation of 5,000 euros to each of them as well as 28,642.87 pounds sterling (about 32475 euros) to cover the applicant’s costs and expenses.

Public Radio of Armenia
Dec 12 2017
Garo Paylan brings the issue of Armenian Patriarch’s election to Turkish Parliament 

Member of the Turkish Parliament, ethnic Armenian Garo Paylan raised the issue of Armenian patriarchal elections in the Turkish parliament, reports.

In a written note to Süleyman Soylu, Paylan asked about the reasons of the Turkish government’s intervention in the elections of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul.

“Armenian Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan has not been able to perform his duties for nine years because of illness. To start the process of election of a new Patriarch, clergymen of the Armenian Patriarchate elected Karekin Bekchyan as Locum Tenens,” Paylan noted.

He reminded that the Patriarchate then sent a notice to the Ministry of Interior through the Istanbul Governor’s Office. “No response has been received, although the two-round elections were planned to be held on December 10 and 13,” he added.

The lawmaker cited media reports claiming that Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin does not recognize Karekin Bekcyan as Locum Tenens and offers to choose between the two other Archbishops of Istanbul.

Garo Paylan then voiced the concern of the Armenian community connected with the dragging out of the process and the government’s intervention “in the organization of the election, which the Armenian community has the right to.”

Paylan then asks to clarify the grounds of the government’s intervention in the process, explain the reasons of the delay and demands clarification on when the “government will stop creating obstacles in the organization of the Patriarchal election.”

Aravot, Armenia
Dec 11 2017
Killer Ramil Safarov promoted to colonel-lieutenant 

Azerbaijani serviceman Ramil Safarov who axed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan to death in Hungary got a new rank, reports .

According to the information on the social networks, some time ago Ramil Safarov got the rank of colonel-lieutenant.

In 2006 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Budapest, Hungary for axing to death sleeping Gurgen Margaryan. In 2012 he was extradited and transferred to Azerbaijan, where Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, freed from the term of his punishment., Armenia
Dec 12 2017
UN forecasts 5.8% GDP growth in Armenia this year 

The UN forecasts a 5.8 percent GDP growth in Armenia in 2017, says the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report published by UN.

According to the report, the GDP growth is expected at 3.8 percent next year, and at 3.6 in 2019.

“In Armenia, the economy has bounced back strongly, amid rapid industrial growth and higher copper prices,” the report says.

It is also mentioned that the recovery of remittances from the Russian Federation is contributing to the acceleration of economic activity in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Overall, in 2017 global economic growth reached three percent and two-thirds of the world’s countries have experienced stronger growth in 2017 than in the previous year. The UN says movement is expected to remain steady at three per cent in 2018 and 2019.

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