- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 September 19, 2003 



A Week in Seven Days: Matters that made the media since last Friday .

FERTILE SEASON: 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.

STAYING SHUT: 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.
Gul considers Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan's recent assumption regarding the possibility of opening the border within the next several months to be "far from reality".
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."

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.
Arminfo 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 15.
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.

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.

LITHUANIA 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,

ASSASSINATION PLOT FOILED: Armenian special services have uncovered an alleged plan to kill Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, Agence France Presse reported September 17.
The State Prosecutor's press service acknowledged that a suspect named Levon Abramyan, "intending to carry out the attack by means of an explosive device" had been
arrested and charged with planning an attack on a senior state official.
The 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.



According to Agnes
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  Photo of the week
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September 15, Progressive Youth Union of Armenia demonstrated its attitude towards ArmenTel by protesting in front of the buiding of the telecommunication company with posters saying, "We demand quality communication". People passing by joined the protesters trampling down telephones. No connection, no need in phones.



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