POSITIVE MEETING: The meeting of the Armenian
and Turkish Foreign Ministers that took place
in Brussels December 5 "considerably differed
from the two previous ones", Armenian foreign
minister Vardan Oskanian stated while commenting
on the outcome of his meeting with Abdullah Gul.
MEDIATORS ON THE MOVE: International mediators
of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation
in Europe Minsk Group arrived to Azerbaijan December
5 urging the country's leaders to renew efforts
to find a peaceful solution to its long-running
conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, RFL/RL
"We share the frustration over this conflict
and that we have not made greater progress in
resolving this over the last decade," said
Rudolf Perina, the US diplomat. "Our countries
are determined to help find a just, lasting peace,"
FLU ATTACK: Armenian health authorities
are bracing for a possible nationwide flu epidemic,
prompted by reports that flu has already killed
people in the USA, Russia and Europe, Armenpress
Addressing a roundtable at the health ministry
December 5, the officials said that in the last
week of November 3,000 cases of flu were reported.
Meanwhile doctors predict that January is going
to be the most severe month.
MINING WINNER: Armenia was selected by a jury
of London's ExCel Exhibition Center as winner
of the Year's Honorary Title for its achievements
in the mining sector, Armenpress reported December
A statement by the Exhibition Center said that
after passing the law on concessions and a mining
code Armenia has become the first of former Soviet
republics to adopt and apply a legislation that
fits into Western standards.
PHONE TARIFFS STILL DEBATED: The ArmenTel
Company and Armenia's Transport and Communication
Ministry continue their dispute over the issue
of raising the phone tariff in Jan 2004, Arminfo
reported December 9.
Armenia's Minister of Transport and Communication
announced that the ministry is going to sue ArmenTel
for having announced in the press that it is raising
the phone tariffs starting from Jan 1 2004. "This
was the company's response to our intention to
cancel its monopoly," the minister said.
HOMES FOR REFUGEES: Four blocks of apartments
were built this year for 138 families of Armenian
refugees from Azerbaijan on funds of the UN High
Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Armenian Agency,
Armenpress reported December 9.
The head of UNHCR press office said the housing
demands of the refugees are much more than the
agency's capacities. The utmost the agency can
do is to provide apartments to 150 families a
year, while according to a study of the government
there are still 3,500 families waiting for improved
NEW INVESTMENT: The Armenian-Russian CJSC
"United Systems of Communications Zvezda"
intends to invest 60 million Euro in development
of telecommunications network of Armenia, Arminfo
reported December 9.
CAPITOL HILL ASSISTANCE: The U.S. House
of Representatives has voted to allocate at least
$75 million in further American assistance to
Armenia which represents an almost 17 percent
drop from this year's level.
They also earmarked $3.4 million for separate
assistance to the Armenian military and $5 million
for U.S.-funded humanitarian programs in Nagorno-Karabakh,
RFE/RL reported December 9. Armenia, owing to
its influential community in America, has been
one of the world's leading per-capita recipients
of U.S. aid which has totaled more than $1.5 billion
BEING IN CHARGE: The authorities of the
Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR) hold responsibility
for the situation in the republic and its adjacent
territories, according to the statement, made
by the NKR Foreign Ministry.
Arka agency reported December 10 that the statement
rejects the allegations of Azerbaijani leadership,
trying to represent the NKR as "uncontrollable"
territory, hosting illegal drug circulation and
camps of terrorists. Meanwhile, according to the
annual report of the U.S. State Department on
international strategic control over drug circulation,
it is the territory of Azerbaijan that has become
a transit for the international drug traffic,
the NKR Foreign Ministry says.
HOSPITAL FOR CONVICTS: Sick prisoners are
to get better medical treatment AYB-FE daily reported
December 10.The therapeutic and psychiatric departments
of the new hospital for the convicts were open
in Yerevan this week. About 215 patients are currently
being treated in the hospital.
MEETING IN GENEVA: Armenian and Azeri presidents
Robert Kocharyan and Ilham Aliev met in Geneva
December 11, where they both were taking part
in the World Summit on the Information Society.
After the meeting that lasted an hour and a half
Kocharyan expressed satisfaction with the meeting
and noted the sincerity of the dialogue. "We
tried to analyze the new situation created around
the negotiation process and recall everything
Armenia and Azerbaijan discussed during the last
several years", Kocharyan told journalists.
POSTPONED VACATION: President Robert Kocharyan
signed the decree on calling a special session
of the National Assembly December 12, PanARMENIAN.Net
The agenda of the special session includes the
bill on alternative military service, the adoption
of which is one of the engagements to the Council
of Europe, Armenia is to fulfill before the end
of the current year. Besides, the parliament has
not adopted the state budget for fiscal year 2004.
Armenian parliamentarians are also to ratify the
memorandum on the basis of which the Armenian
military contingent forming a part of the Greek
peacemaking battalion will go to Kosovo.