Armenia's Ministry of Agriculture said some 309,120 tons of vegetables have been
gathered so far this harvest season, 60,000 tons more than this time last year.
Armenpress reported September 12 that the ministry expects that the total volume
of gathered vegetables to reach 510,000 tons.
Meantime, the expected harvest
of grapes is about 65,000 tons, only half of last year's level. The decline is
due to the severe cold period that descended over Armenia last December and early
January, hitting the vineyards in the Ararat valley.
Turkey does not intend to open the border with Armenia. Mediamax agency reported
September 12 that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told this to journalists
in Ankara following talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Vilayat Guliyev.
considers Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan's recent assumption regarding
the possibility of opening the border within the next several months to be "far
He said: "We wish to contribute to the process of
Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, for once peace is achieved, the region will
become a safe and prosperous one."
MOSQUE PROTEST: Azerbaijan
is going to ask international organizations to prevent restoration work by Armenians
at the mosque of Shushi, Karabakh, aimed at turning it into a museum, members
of the State Committee on Work with Religious Institutions told Interfax-Azerbaijan.
reported September 13, that the Azerbaijani authorities plan to send a protest
to the OSCE, Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international organizations.
FROM CHINA WITH LOVE: The Government of China has pledged 5
million yuans to Armenia ($625,000) to help eliminate the aftereffects of natural
calamities that hit the country's agriculture this year, Armenpress reported September
Assistance will come as a grant and in the form of machinery, materials
and equipment, delivered before the end of the current year. Trade turnover between
Armenia and China has grown by 100 percent this year over the previous one.
OF INFLUENCE: According to a survey conducted by AZG daily and Panorama, a
Moscow information-expert center, President Robert Kocharyan is the most influential
figure in Armenia.
The President is followed by Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan,
Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan, Speaker of the National Assembly Artur Bagdasaryan,
and then opposition political figures Stepan Demirchyan, Leader of the People's
Party of Armenia and Artashes Geghamyan of National Unity.
CALLING: President Rolandas Paksas of Lithuania paid a three-day official
visit to Armenia. Armenpress reported September 15 that Armenia and Lithuania
signed a range of documents including: treaties on legal assistance and legal
relations in civil, family and criminal matters, on the readmission of persons
with unauthorized stay and on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of
diplomatic passports. Kocharyan noted that Lithuania's experience in building
closer ties with Europe is of great importance for Armenia,
PLOT FOILED: Armenian special services have uncovered an alleged plan to kill
Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, Agence France Presse reported September 17.
State Prosecutor's press service acknowledged that a suspect named Levon Abramyan,
"intending to carry out the attack by means of an explosive device"
arrested and charged with planning an attack on a senior state official.
Armenian daily Hayots Ashkar speculated that Abramyan had a score to settle with
the Defense Minister after being evicted from the National Security Council in
the course of an anti-corruption campaign
YALTA CONFERENCE: President
Robert Kocharyan left September 18 for the Ukrainian resort city of Yalta to participate
in a meeting of heads of state in the Council of the Commonwealth of Independent
States, Arka news agency reported.
The council's agenda includes the development
of economic cooperation between member countries, including decisions to finalize
the formation of a free trade zone.
NUCLEAR DEAL: The Armenian
government formalized the handover of management of the debt-ridden nuclear power
station at Metsamor to the Russian company RAO Unified Energy Systems. RAO will
have control for five years, RFE/RL Yerevan bureau reported.
The deal, which
will clear Metsamor's $40 million debts to Russian nuclear suppliers, was signed
in Yerevan September 18. The Russians will primarily be responsible for the plant's
financial management and operational safety. As part of the arrangement, they
will also own five Armenian hydroelectric plants.
NEW ASPHALT PLANT:
A new recycled asphalt plant was opened September 18 in Yerevan. Construction
of the new plant was stipulated by a Japanese-Armenian agreement in August 2002.
The $35 million plant was built with funds released by the Government of Japan
and will be ecologically pure with a capacity of producing 45 tons of recycled
asphalt an hour. According to estimates, recycled asphalt is 50 percent cheaper
than new material. Around 100 people are employed to work at the new plant.