PEACE TALK: The European Union is very interested in a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Heikki Talvitie, the EU’s envoy to the South Caucasus said following his meeting with President Arkady Ghoukasyan of Nagorno Karabakh.
As reported by Regnum news agency, Talvitie indicated that the EU is prepared to contribute to any initiative aimed at facilitating the peace process. "It is crucial that an atmosphere of confidence is created between the conflicting sides," Talvitie said.
ELECTION ARGUMENT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic swept aside Azerbaijan’s claims that local government elections planned for August 8 are illegal because they run counter to international and Azerbaijani law, Armenpress reported.
In a statement, the ministry described Azerbaijan's assertions "as cut off from current realities". It added: “Nagorno Karabakh has been living independently for 16 years already and has nothing to do with Azerbaijan's law and therefore citing them is absolutely groundless.”
ARMENIA MAY USE VETO: Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian told a news conference on Wednesday that Armenia may use its right of veto to prevent Turkey assuming the presidency of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
"A presiding country should have normal relations with all the member states of the OSCE," Oskanian said. " Turkey has no relations with Armenia, so we will discuss the issue."
GENOCIDE ISSUE: The US administration’s position on recognition of the Armenian Genocide is unlikely to change as a result of the forthcoming presidential elections Arman Kirakosian, Armenian ambassador to the US, told Armenpress. Asked whether the US would change its policy if Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry wins in November, he replied that Turkey remained a key American ally and member of NATO.
Ambassador Kirakosian noted that both the former president Bill Clinton and the incumbent George W. Bush had promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide but did not stick to their promises in office. Any shift in this policy can be expected only by working with the Congress, Kirakosian noted.
MEDIA DEMANDS RESPECT: Armenia's leading media associations called on the authorities to respect freedom of speech, accusing them of failing to identify and punish the perpetrators of unprecedented violence against journalists covering the recent opposition demonstrations, RFE/RL reported.
The statement issued by three media associations dismissed as a `farce' the trial earlier this month of two men who were fined 100,000 drams ($185) each for taking part in the April 5 attack on photojournalists present at an opposition rally in Yerevan.
YEREVAN BRANDY: The Armenian brandy produced by Yerevan Brandy Company (YBC) will be 15 per cent more expensive in Russia from this month, Arminfo reported.
The rise is the result of demand exceeding supply in the market.
The company, owned by Pernod Ricard, said that YBC had 10-12 per cent of the Russian brandy market. Brandy production rose by 13.35 per cent to 1.648 million liters in the first five months of this year. Nearly 95 per cent went for export.
ARMY TO AZERBAIJAN: Seven Armenian officers will participate in the Cooperative Best Effort-2004 NATO exercises in Azerbaijan in September, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
Colonel Murad Isakhanyan, who participated in the exercise planning conference in Baku last week, said that Azerbaijan did not limit the number of Armenian officers participating in the NATO exercises. He said the list of Armenian officers participating in the exercises will be submitted to the organizers before July 10.
ARMENTEL KEEPS MONOPOLY: The Government of Armenia postponed moves to end the monopoly of the national telecommunication operator "ArmenTel" from June 30 to September 28.
A joint statement by the Government and the company said the decision had been taken to facilitate negotiations on a resolution of their dispute. Ministers had threatened to deprive ArmenTel of its monopoly over cellular communication and internet access, accusing the company of providing a poor quality service.
DATA ON DISABILITY: A data bank on invalids is being founded in Nagorno Karabakh, Arka agency reported. The Karabakh Minister of Social Welfare said that the bank would permit more detailed study of the difficulties faced by the estimated 3,000 disabled people registered in Karabakh today.
DEADLY BLAST: An explosion at Armenia’s Hrazdan thermal plant has left one person dead and seven others seriously injured, RFE/RL reported.
According to the Department on Emergency Situations, the blast ripped through a tank containing about 10 tons of sulphuric acid late on Wednesday. Officials said that the acid container had been successfully tested for high pressure shortly before the blast.
An investigation is being conducted by the prosecutor’s office,” said the plant’s chief architect, “There are unclear things and we need time to clarify them.”