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Maxim Shevchenko: Russia still has no comprehensive policy in the Caucasus
 Saturday, June 29 2013 14:21

Mr. Shevchenko, the weapon deal between Moscow and Baku has had a wide public response. What made Russia sell weapons to a country – enemy of its strategic ally Armenia?  

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Henri Reynaud: There is no alternative to peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict
 Friday, June 28 2013 13:27

French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud urged the parties to the Karabakh conflict to adhere to the existing format of talks to resolve the conflict. 

During the Friday press conference, he quoted the recent statement by the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states, Russia, the USA and France, urging the sides to find solution within the existing format and within the reached arrangements.

Henri Reynaud said meetings of the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentary delegations within PACE are not bringing changes. The sides have to try to seek ways of solution exclusively within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, according to the Helsinki and Madrid principles.

"I urge the side to take this path. There is no alternative way," he said.

To note, official Baku used to come forward with an offer to switch the peace process into PACE format. However, presidents of the OSCE MG states think it is unacceptable.

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Paryur Hayrikyan: After the Russian-Azerbaijani weapon bargain the Armenian authorities had to freeze diplomatic relations with Moscow
 Friday, June 28 2013 11:52

After the Russian-Azerbaijani weapon bargain the Armenian authorities had to freeze diplomatic relations with Moscow, the leader of the National Self-Determination Union (NSU) party, Paruyr Hayrikyan, said at today's press-conference.

"It is not raising anti-Russian hysteria, but a correct approach to our "strategic partner", which sold weapon to the enemy at $500 per citizen to kill one Armenian", - he said. He is surprised with indifference of the Armenian society and the opposition to the fact, as he thinks the wave of protest should raise and sober Russia.

As for assassination attempt upon his live, Hayrikyan is confident that it was organized by the Russian "imperialists" which were tracing him for dozens of years.

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12 projects from Eastern Partnership countries to fight for the grant of Directors Across Borders joint film production forum
 Friday, June 28 2013 11:51

On sidelines of the GOLDEN APRICOT 10th Jubilee International Film Festival (July 7-11 in Yerevan), the 7th Directors Across Borders (DAB) Regional Co-production Forum will be held on July 9-14.

Art-Director of Golden Apricot Film Festival Susanna Haroutiunyan told media on June 28 that the goal of the DAB is to promote co-production between Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Three grants will be issues for development of the winner-projects out of the selected 12 projects from the Eastern Partnership Project member-states.

Last year DAP expanded its forma due to a EU grant. Under the 3-year project, the following large-scale programs were implemented in 2012:  Armenia - Turkey Cinema Platform, Cinema Journalism without Borders" training for young cinema critics from Eastern Partnership countries.  The above mentioned activities are organized by EU funded Directors Across Borders Project implemented by Eastern Partnership Culture Programme and GOLDEN APRICOT Fund for Cinema Development. She said that many of the project introduced earlier at DAP received local and international awards.  The GOLDEN APRICOT 10th Jubilee International Film Festival will take place from July 7 till 14. This year again the General Sponsor of the Festival, the proponent of subscribers' freedom of choice VivaCell- MTS and the Ministry of Culture of Armenia are by the side of the festival. The 2013 is special for the "Golden Apricot", celebrating its 10th anniversary. The festival will host world known cinematographers Krzysztof Zanussi, Godfrey Reggio and Jos Stelling, bestowed with the "Parajanov's Thaler" for their contribution in the industry. The Charles Aznavour star will be opened at the square holding the name of the world known singer and movie actor.

This year the festival has received around 1100 applications from 94 countries (to compare, in 2012 the number of applying countries was 67), which is an evidence that the interest in the world toward the festival grows year by year. This year again the festival will include international competition programs for full feature, documentary and the "Apricot Stone" short feature films, as well as the "Armenian Panorama" national competition program. The films included in the competition will be judged by four juries.  The jury of the international feature film competition will be headed by the celebrated Hungarian director Istvan Sabo; the international documentary film competition will be headed by the 2012 "Golden Apricot" laureate and famous director Sergey Loznitsa. The FIPRESCI and the Ecumenical juries will also work during the festival. The "Yerevan Premiere", "Retrospective Screenings" and "Tribute of Honor" programs expected to bring surprises from the worldly masters of cinema, occupy a special place in the festival events. The festival will celebrate Aram Khachaturian's 110th, Artavazd Peleshyan's and Nerses Hovhannisyan's 75th anniversaries.

The "Golden Apricot" 10th Jubilee International Film Festival will be covered by the leading Armenian and international TV channels and periodicals, such as the "Euronews", "Kultura" channels, as well as "The National", "Sight and Sound", and others.  Before its start the festival will include the "Cinema Journalism without Borders" training for young cinema critics from Eastern Partnership countries. The outcome of the training will be the publication of the "Golden Apricot" daily on the festival days.

In the frames of the Festival the 7th DAB Regional Co-production Forum and Armenia - Turkey Cinema Platform will take place. The above mentioned activities are organized by EU funded Directors Across Borders Project implemented by Eastern Partnership Culture Programme and GOLDEN APRICOT Fund for Cinema Development, the press service of the "Golden Apricot" Yerevan International Film Festival reported.

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Seyran Ohanyan: Despite the tension, likelihood of war in Karabakh is not strong
 Friday, June 28 2013 11:20

 Despite the tension in the Karabakh conflict zone, likelihood of a new war is not strong, Armenia's Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan told journalists today.

Asked about the lasting belligerent rhetoric by official Baku, Ohanyan noted that such statements are made to achieve a certain goal either to solve an internal problem, or to obtain unilateral concessions.

"We were once drawn into a war and we managed to defend Nagorno-Karabakh and our borders. Nowadays, it is impossible to make us accept unilateral concessions," he said, adding that Armenia stands for peaceful resolution achieved through talks and mutual understanding.

Defense Minister said we must be ready for war and improve the capabilities every day. However, he said the likelihood of war is not strong despite tensions.

He also added that Armenia worries about purchase of arms by the enemy, however, one should take into consideration that military and technical cooperation between Armenia and Russia is at a rather high level and  Armenia manages to maintain balance of forces due to the long-range weapons as well as high professionalism of the personnel.

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Russian political expert: Vladimir Putin prevented Damascus's seizure planned for Dec 2012
 Friday, June 28 2013 11:19

President of Russia Vladimir Putin held Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan from a military operation against Syria, Russian political expert, Professor Igor Panarin told ArmInfo.

He said that the latest anti-governmental manifestations in Istanbul and other big Turkish cities were organized by external forces that were displeased with Erdogan's refusal to war against Bashar Assad.

"Actually, Damacus's seizure was planned for December 2012 with Erdogan to have had the key role in it.  However, negotiations were held between Putin and Erdogan at the given period of time and I think Turkey certainly changed its stance after those negotiations. I'd like to see the reasonability reigning in the Turkish elite in order the latter refrains from participating in the anti-Syrian plots," the politician said.

Panarin shares the view that one of the targets for the Turkish mercenaries warring on the side of the Syrian terrorists, the so-called armed opposition, is the Armenian community, the successors of the Armenians that survived the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey in early 20th century.

"I think it is a delicate global game. The Islamic extremists are killing first of all the Christian population, both the Catholics, who number nearly 2 million people in Syria, and Armenians," he said.

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Eduard Sharmazanov: Armenians and Greeks should combine efforts to fight Turkey's policy of denial of the genocide of the Christian peoples
 Friday, June 28 2013 10:55

Armenians and Greeks should combine efforts to fight Turkey's policy of denial of the genocide of the Christian peoples, Eduard Sharmazanov, Head of Armenian-Greek Parliamentary Friendship Group, Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia, said at the meeting with the former speaker of
the Greek Parliament, Head of the Armenian-Greek Friendship Group Apostolos Kaklamanis in the Athends on June 27.

In the course of the meeting, Kaklamanis highly appreciated the friendly relations of the Armenians and Greeks and came out for prevention of new genocides, the parliamentary press-service told ArmInfo.  Sharmazanov, in turn, recalled the Genocide of the Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and other Christian peoples residing in the territory of the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century. Therefore, he said, the Armenians and Greeks must combine efforts to fight Turkey's denial policy.

"The National Assembly of Armenia has urged the world parliaments to recognize genocide of other Christian peoples, including the Pontic Greeks," Sharmazanov said.

The two parties discussed regional security issues as well as Greece's support to Armenia on the way towards European integration.

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Exchange rate of dram against US dollar and EUR
 Friday, June 28 2013 10:53

 Today, the maximum buying rates at commercial banks of Yerevan were 409 drams for 1 dollar, 532,5drams for 1 EUR and 12,45 drams for 1 Russian ruble. The minimum selling rates stood at 410 drams for 1 dollar, 536,5 drams for 1 EUR and 12,6 drams for 1 Russian ruble .

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Saakashvili on His Plans After Expiry of His Term in Office
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:07

Tbilisi. Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, says, he is going to engage in raising the level of political education in the country after expiry of his term in office - President said at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in Tbilisi, on June 27.

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Georgian Dream Continues its Attacks on Opposition - UNM
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:06

Tbilisi. Georgian authorities continue 'attacks' on the local government bodies and the former ruling party - the United National Movement (UNM) - said Giorgi (Goka) Gabashvili, an individual leader of the United National Movement.

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Georgia to Explain to Russia that NATO Integration Will not Affect Its Interests - Ivanishvili
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:06

Tbilisi. Georgia will be able to explain to Russia that Georgia's integration into NATO will not affect the interests of the neighbor states - Georgian Premier, Bidzina Ivanishvili, stated at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in Tbilisi, on June 26.

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Rasmussen Says, Georgia Achieved Significant Progress on its Path Towards NATO - Rasmussen
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:06

Tbilisi. Georgia has achieved significant progress on its path towards NATO integration - NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stated at a joint news conference with Georgian Premier, Bidzina Ivanishvili, in Tbilisi, on June 26.

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More torture occurring in Azerbaijan prisons
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:05

Baku. On Thursday, a Public Alliance "Azerbaijan has no political prisoners" presented a report titled:  "The conditions in places of detention and the situation with the rights of prisoners."

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Leyla Yunus: Do not aggravate pre-election period with new repression
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:05

Baku. Leyla Yunus, Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), wrote a letter to Interior Minister Ramil Usubov to take action to stop pressure on the adviser to the leader of the Musavat Party, Yadigar Sadykhly.

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EU: We will keep recommending
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:04

Baku. EU leaders responded to a letter of appeal sent by civil society in Azerbaijan prior to a visit to Brussels by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

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Ararat Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Churches once again refutes reports on Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan's complicity in 'offshore case'
 Friday, June 28 2013 08:02

 Ararat Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Churches once again refutes the reports by Hetq.am on Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan's complicity in 'offshore case.'

In a statement disseminated overnight, the Diocese says that quoting businessman Ruben Mkrtchyan, Hetq.am reported on June 27 that Leader of the Ararat Diocese Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Ashot Sukiasyan met with businessmen Rubem Mkrtchyan, Sergey Tryukazyuk and Alexander Valchikovski at Noyan Tapan Restaurant in 2010. After the lunch, Ruben Mkrtchyan accompanied Ashot Sukiasyanand Archbishop Kchoyan to the airport.  "Kchoyan declares that the report does not correspond to reality and it is a logical continuation of the slander made before. Ararat Diocese urges the public not to yield to the influence of such misreports that are disseminated intentionally," the statement reads.


To recall Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office for verification of the damaging information against him published by Hetq.am. The prime minister is discontented at the recent publication on hetq.am saying that WLISPERA HOLDINGS LIMITED, an offshore company registered in Cyprus has three equal shareholders - RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Primate of the Ararat Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan and Ashot Sukiasyan. WLISPERA (WHL) is directly connected to a case businessman Paylak Hayrapetyan's bankruptcy. The source published also a copy of the document allegedly confirming the given information.  Lately Businessman Ashot
Sukiasyan said he had registered an offshore company in the name of Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Leader of Ararat Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan without their consent to protect his business.

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ArmenTel Director General: We are determined to launch IP-Television service promptly and to an accomplished standard
 Friday, June 28 2013 07:15

ArmenTel CJSC is determined to launch IP-Television via public electronic- communication network (fixed-line telephony) as soon as possible, ArmenTel Director General Andrey Pyatakhin told media, on June 27.

He said that before launching the service the company is to coordinate certain terms and conditions with the Public Services Regulatory Committee of Armenia (PSRC) and conduct planning activities.  "We need to select the optimal technology for IP-TV now," Pyatakhin said.

He assured media that ArmenTel's fixed-line telephony is profitable and company pursues the trends of switchover from landline to Internet-based technologies and balances its portfolio of services in all segments. As for tariffs, the company is negotiating with the PSRC. Pyatakhin said that the company has an efficient network of mobile base stations and is going to invest in development of mobile Internet services.  He said that ArmenTel's line network is leased by 10 telecommunications operator-companies and the leasing tariffs are determined by the PSRC.

Commenting on introduction of mobile number portability - MNP in Armenia starting 2014, Pyatakhin said that the company assigns high priority to proper preparation for provision of the service. The success of the service in the market will depend on the positive experience of a subscriber.  He outlined the high-quality mobile Internet and small number of independent distributors of SIM-cards as the main peculiarities of the local telecommunications market.

Pyatakhin said that VimpelCom Ltd. Shareholders have set a task to ArmenTel. They need a sustainable long-term development of ArmenTel in order the company meets the interests of both VimpelCom and customers as long as possible, he explained.

As of late Dec 2012 the company's shareholders were Telenor (42.95% voting stock) and Altimo (47.8517% voting stock), as well as minority shareholders (9.1983% voting stock).  At the end of Q1 2013, the number of the subscribers of the Public Electronic Communications Networks of ArmenTel totaled 561.9 thousand, with 158.5 thousand having Internet access. At the same time, ArmenTel served 756.4 thousand active mobile numbers with a 0.5% annual growth and 27.9 thousand broadband Internet users (exclusive of the users of mobile devices) with a 13.9% annual growth, and 119.6 thousand subscribers using other data-transfer services  (5.3% growth).

According to the Analytical Bulletin "Financial Analysis of the Biggest Industrial Companies of Armenia" prepared by ArmInfo Agency of Rating Marketing Information on the basis of financial reports, ArmenTel Company's assets for 2012 totaled 125.5 bln drams ($312.4 mln), commodity stocks totaled 2.5 bln drams.  The company has no bank loans. The proceeds for 2012 totaled nearly 63.3 bln drams, with a 10% decline over the year, with net profits totaling 5.7 bln drams (down nearly 1%).

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Armenian Parliament Speaker submits Supervisory Chamber's report to Prosecutor General's Office
 Friday, June 28 2013 07:12

Armenian Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan has submitted the Supervisory Chamber's report for 2012 to the Prosecutor General's Office, Spokesperson of the Prosecutor General Sona Truzyan told RFE/RL Armenian Service.

She said that Hovik Abrahamyan's letter has already been introduced as stipulated by the law. The Department for Protection of the State Interests of the Prosecutor General's Office is currently studying the violations exposed by the Supervisory Chamber and will give relevant assessments to the violations of legal nature.

Earlier, Head of the Supervisory Chamber Ishkhan Zakaryan introduced the report for 2012 in the Parliament. The report exposed a big number of embezzlements in the sphere of construction and state procurement. In response, Hovik Abrahamyan said that there are no irreplaceable officials and the statesmen engaged in embezzlement of the government funds will be dismissed.

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ArmenTel's new CEO promises to conduct more active and aggressive marketing policy
 Friday, June 28 2013 06:22

ArmenTel's new CEO Andrey Pyatakhin promised on Thursday to conduct a more active and aggressive marketing policy.

He said that being part of VimpelCom, the world's sixth biggest telecoms group, ArmenTel is following its new line – to act local and to think global. "We will try to use all the advantages VimpelCom offers to its customers, these including low prices and new technologies," Pyatakhin said. 

Pyatakhin is sure that ArmenTel has enough experience and technologies for active growth. "Armenia is a highly competitive market, where it is really vital to quickly react to customers' needs," he said.

Pyatakhin said that 89% of new telecoms customers in the world are mobile internet users. "So, we are committed to become more attractive in this segment. At the same time, we will continue our efforts to develop fixed line internet in the country and will keep appearing with new products in this field," Pyatakhin said.

Before his appointment of ArmenTel's CEO Pyatakhin was Beeline Vice President and Director for Moscow region.

In Q1 2013 ArmenTel had 756,400 mobile subscribers and 27,900 internet users.  According to ArmInfo's Financial Analysis of Armenia's Biggest Manufacturing Enterprises, in 2012 the company's assets made up 125.5bln AMD, revenues 63.3bln AMD, net profit 5.7bln AMD.

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UK and US ambassadors visit Amulsar gold project site
 Friday, June 28 2013 06:20

 On June 26 Ambassador of the UK Katherine Leach and Ambassador of the USA John Heffern visited the Amulsar gold project site and the two of the surrounding villages, namely Gorayk and Gndevaz.

The press service of Geoteam reports that the trip was for the Ambassadors to familiarize themselves with the project details and with some of the social development projects Geoteam is undertaking in the neighboring communities, as part of their on-going Local Economic Development and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
 
During the trip, the Ambassadors were briefed by Lydian/Geoteam mining, environmental and social development teams about the current state of the project as well as the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) preparation and the Armenia permitting process.

At the conclusion of the visit Ambassador Leach said: "At the G8 Summit last week our Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the importance of countries and companies working together to drive up global standards in the extractives sector.   As a UK based company Lydian International represents potentially the largest British investment in Armenia. It is important to us that this project is backed by investors, such as the IFC and EBRD, who demand the highest international standards in the mining industry. This includes making sure that local communities are kept closely informed and receiving positive economic and social benefits from the project."

Ambassador Heffern said: "Lydian International's Amulsar mine represents an important foreign investment project in Armenia. Since many of the company's shareholders are US based investors, I was interested in having a closer look at the project.  The project has the potential to create a considerable economic impact in Armenia, and we hope it will provide an example of how a mining company can operate responsibly, in line with international best practice"

Geoteam CJSC the 100% owned subsidiary of Lydian International. Among its investors are worldwide known investment institutions such as New York based Amber Capital, First Eagle Investment Management, Franklin Templeton and Invesco Trimark Canada. Two of the largest and long term shareholders are IFC (part of the World Bank) and the European bank of Reconstruction and Development. Their continued provision on the work Lydian and Geoteam are undertaking is always under scrutiny to stay in line with corresponding regulations of the 'Equator Principles', setting the standards for the Environmental and Social management, which Lydian/Geoteam is highly  committed to follow.

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