UNSAFE BORDERS: Deputy Defense minister of Armenia denied allegation that a road connecting two Armenian towns of Ijevan and Noyemberyan was surrendered to the Azerbaijani side, Arminfo reported.
The road stretching along the border was the scene of attacks on Armenian vehicles, buses and local farmers during the recent weeks. The latest skirmishes erupted after Azerbaijani troops tried to occupy a hill near the regional town of Ijevan which overlooks the water reservoir. Armenian forces responded by moving their positions forward in order to defend the water pumping facility supplying irrigation water to five nearby villages.
CONFLICT IN GEORGIA: Armenia is concerned over exacerbation of the situation between Georgia and South Ossetia and hopes for peaceful settlement of the conflict, said Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian.
In his words, the conflict situation in Georgia threatens the whole of the region and especially Armenia. The Minister said that among others Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania invited the Armenian Ambassador in Tbilisi for consultations over the situation.
SOUTH CAUCASIAN INITIATIVE: During July meeting of the so-called South Caucasian Parliamentary Initiative in Bulgaria's capital of Sofia, the chairmanship was passed from Georgia to Armenia, Armenpress reported.
The Initiative that brings together ten parliament members from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia holds its plenary sessions twice a year. The decision to pass the rotating chairmanship to each of the sides for six months was made last year. The Armenian side presented its plan of actions for the next six months, focusing on promoting European integration, for which a conference will be held in October with participation of lawmakers from Central and Eastern Europe.
EUROPEAN ARMENIANS: The first Convention of European Armenians will take place at the European Parliament in fall in Brussels, Yerkir reported. Organized by the European Armenian Federation, this pan-European meeting will be a forum for sharing ideas and concerns on topics of importance to the Armenian communities across Europe and will allow participants to come together on various topical themes.
European citizens of Armenian descent now number more than two million, stemming from three large waves of immigration that resulted from the Genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey (1915), war in the middle-east (1975) and the fall of the USSR (1991).
PUBLIC TV EXPANDS COOPERATION: The Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia has become associate member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
The EBU based in Geneva directs large TV and radio networks in Europe and contributes to processes of accreditation. Owing to the EBU the Public TV of Armenia transmitted the games of the European Football Championship, as well as will show the coming Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
OSCE COMMENTS ON DOMESTIC SITUATION: The controversial imprisonment of several Armenian opposition activists may have been too harsh, but it was not completely unfounded, the head of the Yerevan office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said.
“The principle of proportionality has been violated in some cases, but we see no cases of absolutely innocent individuals jailed for nothing,” Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin told RFE/RL. Over the past two months six persons have been sentenced to between 9 and 18 months in prison on criminal charges stemming from their participation in last spring’s campaign of opposition demonstrations against President.
RETURNED AWARD: One of Armenia’s most renowned writers, the poetess Silva Kaputikyan returned on Tuesday a prestigious state award given to her by President Robert Kocharyan in 1998, in protest against his government’s controversial crackdown on the opposition last April, RFE/RL reported.
Kaputikyan, 85 said that it was a very difficult decision for her. “I keep wondering why the situation in our independent republic should be such that I have to return the medal carrying the name of Mesrop Mashtots,” she said.
ENERGY ISSUES: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has worked out a program of development of the energy sector of Armenia till 2020, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
According to a Chief of Armenia's Department for Control over Nuclear Energy Secure Use the program provides for two options: replacing the capacities of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) with alternative energy sources or building a new NPP in Armenia. According to IAEA experts' estimates, from the point of view of the environment the building of a new NPP in Armenia is preferable, as in case of building thermoelectric power stations, the emphasis will be laid on substitution of the capacities of the Metsamor NPP, increasing the carbonic acid gas discharges into the atmosphere.
CRIMES RATE INCREASED: In the period from January to May 2004, 4,251 crimes were registered in Armenia according to the information center of the Police of Armenia. The number of crimes is 385 more than within the same period of 2003.
1,268 crimes were committed against the state service system, 1,656 crimes of stealing property. The most crimes are registered in Shirak region, while the least is in Vayots Dzor.
STREET TRADE: Yerevan mayor Yervand Zakaryan who had promised to remove traders from the capital's streets by last April 15, but failed to do it, took another stroll this week across several Yerevan streets, Armenpess reported.
The mayor argued that not only the municipality or community offices, but also the residents of Yerevan should fight against open-air trade. "People should understand that street traders violate all health requirements and their goods pose a threat to public health," he said. According to him, by mid-October street trade will be removed from 80 percent of central streets.
TRAFFICING : Two Russian citizens are under arrest following a joint operation undertaken by Russian Interior Ministry and the Armenian police service aimed at curbing the activities of criminal groups involved in selling girls in Armenia into sex slavery in the United Arab Emirates, Interfax agency reported.
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that Armenians are in command of about five criminal mobs in Russia who are involved in economic crimes, and order killings. The work aimed at stopping them is being carried out currently with the help of the Armenian police.