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Azerbaijan takes over ADB Board of Governors chairmanship for 2015
06.05.2014 00:26
Azerbaijan has assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the next year.

The country took over ADB chairmanship from Kazakhstan as the Board of Governors convened in Astana for its 47th annual meeting.

Entitled "Rethinking Asia's Challenges at the Crossroads of the Silk Road", the annual meeting saw much discussion on connectivity, innovation, and the need to keep up with the demands of a changing Asia and Pacific.

Participants came from ADB's 67 member countries and beyond, from government ministries and central banks, from business and finance, media, civil society, academia, and youth, cutting across professional, national, regional, and generational boundaries.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially opened ADB's 47th Annual Meeting in Astana.

At the opening session, President Nakao spoke of the need for ADB to sharpen its focus to better serve the needs of a developing Asia in rapid transition. He also looked forward to the end of extreme poverty in the region by 2020.

Mr. Nakao reiterated that the biggest challenge in the region remains poverty reduction. With 700 million people below the poverty line, Asia is still home to more than 60% of the world's poor. Using this measure of $1.25 a day, the region is likely to see an end to poverty in the region within the next decade.

"But more than 1.6 billion people living on less than $2 a day remain highly vulnerable to job loss, health problems, prolonged recession, inflation, crop failure, and environmental dangers."

"The challenge for ADB is to help developing member countries eradicate remaining poverty, and support greater inclusiveness to address inequalities," he said. "And there are other challenges: a huge infrastructure gap, environmental degradation and climate change. There is also the question of how to tap the full potential of regional cooperation and integration."

Addressing the event, chairman of ADB annual meeting of the Board of Governors, Kazakh Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dassayev noted that the next meeting would beheld in Baku as the chairmanship of the Board of Governors passed to Azerbaijan for the next year.

Azerbaijani Minister of Finance, member of the Board of Governors Samir Sharifov said Azerbaijan would try its best to use the Baku meeting to prove that it is "a trusted partner" of the Asian Development Bank.

The meeting featured the Day of Azerbaijan, which was attended by delegations of the Board of Governors member states, ADB leadership, and prominent public and political figures of Kazakhstan and other countries.

It featured demonstration of a promotional video about Azerbaijan.

Addressing the event, Minister Sharifov noted that the Azerbaijani President had already ordered the creation of the organizing committee for the 48th meeting of ADB Board of Governors to be held in Baku in May, 2015.

He highlighted the country's socio-economic development under President Ilham Aliyev.

ADB President Nakao hailed Azerbaijan's economic growth. He expressed confidence the Baku meeting would be a success.

He said that for the first time the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors would take place in the Caucasus, adding they had been looking forward to seeing Azerbaijan's rapid development.

The website of the 2015 Baku meeting was presented at the event.

On the sidelines of the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors, Minister Sharifov also held several meetings including with ADB President Takehiko Nakao, Secretary General Maria-Anne Birken, Vice-President of the WB Lora Tak, Director General of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Kiyoshi Kadero, and Director of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation Hirosh Vatanabe to discuss issues of expanding bilateral cooperation.
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    /By AzerNews/

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    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

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    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

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    At the moment, the economic ties between the US and Azerbaijan are at high level and we intend to strengthen them.

    According to Oxu.Az, the statement came from US ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta.

    "For more than 20 years, the two countries have been cooperating closely in the field of oil and gas. I see great potential in other areas. At the moment, we are working in other areas, such as agriculture, the Internet economy, the transport sector. We have a new program of assistance to help the development of these areas," he said.

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    "We are working with farmers. We can help you to export locally grown products," said the ambassador.
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

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  • Turkey to inspect Armenia's military infrastructure
    09.10.2015 15:57
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkey will send its servicemen to Armenia to inspect the military objects and infrastructure in accordance with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the message from the General Staff of Turkish Armed Forces said Oct.9.

    Turkish servicemen will take part in the inspection in Armenia on Oct.11-14, according to the message.

    However, the Turkish General Staff didn't specify the number of the servicemen to be sent to this country.

    The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed on Nov.19, 1990 in Paris by the authorized representatives of sixteen member states of NATO (Belgium, UK, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the US, Turkey and France) and six member states of the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO).

    Russia adopted a decision on March 10, 2015 to suspend its participation in the meetings of Joint Consultative Group from the next day.

    Edited by SI


    Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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  • Maros Sefcovic: Azerbaijan may become major supplier of gas to EU
    09.10.2015 15:56
    ''One of the major long-term projects to supply gas to the European Union is a Southern Gas Corridor,'' foreign media quoted the Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Maros Sefcovic as saying.

    He forecasts the EU's annual gas demand to be between 380 and 450 billion cubic meters in 2030, which is comparable to the present demands of EU.

    According to Sefcovic, the Southern Gas Corridor is the main project which is designed to bring gas from Azerbaijan to the European Union before 2020. "In addition, we are cooperating with Norway and Algeria. We are preparing a new strategy for liquefied natural gas," he added.
  • NATO steps up recon flights along Russiaв's borders
    09.10.2015 15:48
    NATO has substantially intensified reconnaissance flights along Russian borders, RIA Novosti quoted Russia's permanent representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko as saying Oct. 9.

    "We'd like to note that the number of reconnaissance aircraft flights along the Russian borders has increased significantly," he said during the Moscow-Brussels teleconference.

    "A constant naval presence of NATO groupings in Baltic and Black seas has been in fact achieved," said Grushko.

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  • TAP '" vivid example of co-op between Azerbaijan, Italy
    09.10.2015 15:47
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The project to build the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is a vivid, concrete example of active cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy, said Chief of the Cabinet of Italy's Economic Development Ministry Vito Cozzoli said Oct. 9.

    He was addressing a press conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, dedicated to the bilateral meetings of the representatives of Italian and Azerbaijani companies.

    Cozzoli said Italian companies are showcasing an increasing interest in Azerbaijan.

    "Azerbaijan has become a very important trade partner for us. Over the past few years [bilateral] trade turnover has intensified," he added.

    Cozzoli also noted that the growth in mutual exports amounted to 15 percent.

    "Both countries are implementing joint energy projects, and TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline] is a vivid confirmation of our cooperation," he added.

    TAP envisages transportation of gas from the Azerbaijani gas condensate Shah Deniz II field to the EU countries.

    The approximately 870 km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

    TAP's initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters per year.

    Edited by SI


    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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  • The Guardian: Putin's campaign to derail the west over Syria is working
    09.10.2015 15:38
    If Vladimir Putinв's game plan has been repeatedly to surprise the west and keep it off balance, it is working, The Guardian reads.

    "The scale of Putin's intervention in Syria has certainly caught western capitals unawares."

    The edition says that what appears to be unfolding goes beyond stabilising Bashar al-Assad's regime. The State Duma and the Federation Council earlier claimed that the information about Russia's hitting of non-IS targets is untrue, Oxu.Az reports citing

    "Although conducted under the banner of a campaign against Islamic State, the evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of Russian targets have been non-Isis groups, some of them supported by the US, others by Turkey and the Gulf states.

    "As the Nato meeting began, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to send troops to protect its southern flank in Turkey."

    The newspaper reads that in recent months, Turkey's allies, the US and Germany, actually withdrew Patriot anti-aircraft batteries, in part in protest at the Turkish government's targeting of Kurdish armed groups inside Syria, seen by the west as a bulwark against Damascus and Isis."

    "Springing surprises puts Putin at the centre of the world stage, the dramatic actor to whom the world is forced to react. This has a narcotic affect on Russian domestic opinion, helped by lots of video footage and graphics of missiles blasting off from ships and travelling hundreds of miles to pinpoint supposedly terrorist targets. In a new poll, 72% of Russian respondents declare themselves in favour of the Syrian adventure." the newspaper reads

    The article also says that standing by and watching Russia self-harm also carries costs for the west, since the bombardment of rebel-held areas around Idlib and Aleppo will boost the outflow of refugees, and put off the prospect of local ceasefires gradually dampening down the wider conflict.

    "The chance of a collision or shootdown between Russian, Turkish, US or other Nato war planes continues to mount, as does the risk of an escalating proxy war." the author says.
  • Azerbaijani delegation to observe presidential election in Belarus
    09.10.2015 15:29
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9


    Azerbaijani parliament members will leave for Minsk, Belarus on Oct.9 to observe the presidential election to be held there Oct.11, press service of Azerbaijani parliament said.

    The visit of the Azerbaijani delegation will end Oct.13.

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  • Italy to support Azerbaijan in diversification of economy
    09.10.2015 15:19
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    Italy intends to provide support to Azerbaijan to diversify its economy, President of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) Riccardo Monti said Oct. 9.

    He made the remarks during a press conference in Baku on the bilateral meeting of the representatives of Italian and Azerbaijani companies.

    He said that Italy is extremely interested in bringing economic ties with Azerbaijan to a new level.

    "We improve and expand our real partnership every year," said Monti. "More recently, a huge deficit was observed in trade between the two countries, but we were able to increase turnover by five times."

    He went on to add that Italy intends to support Azerbaijan to diversify its economy through increased investment in the non-oil sector.

    "To date, Italy has invested more than $480 million in Azerbaijan's economy, only $120 million of which alone accounted for non-energy sector," said Monti. "We are going to gradually increase investment in the non-oil sector of the economy [of Azerbaijan]."

    Between January and August 2015, Italy maintained its first place in the list of foreign trade partners of Azerbaijan with a trade turnover of $1.95 billion, accounting for 13.86 percent of the country's total trade volume, according to a statistic report from Azerbaijani State Customs Committee (SCC).

    Edited by CN


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  • ''Recognition'' of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia threatens peace process
    09.10.2015 14:59
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    The former U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group has warned that ''recognition'' of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia will suspend the Minsk process on the settlement of the long-lasting Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

    ''Armenia realizes that if it recognized the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Minsk Group process would be finished and there would be no chance for a negotiated settlement,'' said Matthew Bryza, the former deputy assistant of the U.S. secretary of state for South Caucasus, ex-U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan and director of International Centre for Defense Studies in Tallinn, in an interview with Trend.

    Bryza was commenting on Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandianв's parliamentary speech claiming that in case of military action, Armenia would be the ''guarantor of security'' for Nagorno-Karabakh, which would include ''recognition''.

    ''In this situation, Armenia would face a serious risk of war with Azerbaijan, which it does not want,'' Bryza said.

    He noted that Armeniaв's biggest concern is the security of the citizens of Armenia and the Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh.

    ''I donв't think that Armenia wants to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh or it would have done so already,'' Bryza said.

    Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup of 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.

    Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal. Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far.

    He considered that the biggest power in the region '" Russia '" does not want a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan either.

    ''Russia wants exactly what is happening now, no peace no war. This status allows Russia to manipulate the situation. So, the only country benefiting from the current situation is Russia. Armenia is not benefiting because it doesnв't want the resumption of armed hostilities, Azerbaijan is not benefiting either, because it wants a negotiated settlement,'' Bryza said.

    Nalbandianв's statement is a diplomatic gesture within the context of the broader negotiations process, he added.

    ''The threat to use military force is a diplomatic tool that aims to achieve certain political objectives, albeit a fierce tool and usually one of last resort. We all know that military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said war is the continuation of politics by other means, which means that diplomacy and military force are tied together,'' Bryza said.

    Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated that in continuing to grossly violate the generally accepted norms and principles of international law and the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia implements a policy of maintaining the status quo based on occupation and aggression.
  • Turkey to send servicemen to Armenia
    09.10.2015 14:59
    Turkey will send a group of servicemen to Armenia in the framework of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces (CFE) in Europe, said the statement from the Turkish General Staff on Oct.9, according to the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper.

    Turkey will control the inspections to be held as part of the CFE in Armenia on October 11, said the statement.

    "The Turkish control group will also include a serviceman from Slovakia. After the implementation of inspections, the servicemen will return to Turkey on October 14," said the statement.
  • Dazzling performance of Midsummer Night's Dream stuns audience in Baku
    09.10.2015 14:50
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Bakuв's Rashid Behbudov Music Theater hosted a very special and exciting performance of ''A Midsummer Nightв's Dream'' by the prominent, William Shakespeare, during the nights of October 7 and 8.A dazzling and modern performance of the play stunned locals and foreigners alike in the capital.The touring play featured a TISA high school cast, with a TISA high school rock band and one special rock-guitar guest from TISA primarily school.

    Directed by Alexander Gardner-McTaggart and with Musical Director Margus Glanville, ''The Dream'' attracted a sufficiently wide foreign audience in Baku.

    The romantic comedy classic combined the music and dance of the Caucasian region, with a live rock band and a hint of the Renaissance. The combination made a worthy connection between Azerbaijan and classical Western drama.

    The high school students were brilliant in their performances. It was obvious that they had worked hard, bringing about roaring cheers from the audiences.

    Although the cast involved amateur actors, some professional actors and actress could even be envious of the studentsв' talent. Many of the performers were both singing, playing different musical instruments and had entered their characters perfectly.

    "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1597.

    The plot of the play starts with Hermia and Lysander, two young loves, who are about to run off with each other. Hermiaв's father her to marry Demetrious and Demetrious wants to marry Hermia, all while Helena wants to marry Demetrious, but he is bored of her, and is attracted to Hermia. It could all be so perfect: Hermia with Lysander, Helena with Demetrius ... if only Demetrius loved Helena! Enter the king of the Elementals, Oberon, armed with magic. He sees this unfold, and tells his servant Puck to use a magic flower to right the wrong. The craftsmen enter the forest to practice their play, their lead actor, Bottom, the prima donna is sighted by Puck ... Fortunately it all ends well, as the scenario is planned by the king.
  • Uzbek, Turkmen presidents mull situation in Afghanistan
    09.10.2015 14:50
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met in Tashkent to discuss the current state and prospects of further development of the two countries' cooperation.

    Earlier, Berdimuhamedov arrived in Uzbekistan for an official visit.

    During the meeting, the presidents exchanged views on pressing regional and international issues, said the Uzbek president's press service Oct. 9.

    While discussing the situation in Afghanistan, they reiterated the impossibility of establishing peace in that country through the use of military force.

    The presidents also discussed cooperation in the fight against threats such as terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.

    The parties also discussed the use of water of transboundary rivers.

    During the meeting, it was stressed that issues related to water and energy sector should be reviewed on the basis of universally recognized norms and principles of international law, taking into account the interests of all states in the region and with participation of international organizations.

    It was noted that in dealing with the construction of large hydropower plants on transboundary rivers, it is necessary to fully comply with the relevant UN conventions.

    During the talks, the sides also discussed the issues related to raising the volume of trade turnover, increasing the number of joint enterprises and developing the cooperation between the businessmen.

    Following the negotiations, Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov signed a joint declaration. Moreover, the governments, ministries and other structures of the two countries signed documents on further developing the relations in the spheres of economy, transport, customs, tourism, science and technologies, health care and sports.

    The volume of trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is growing consistently - it has tripled over the last six years. The volume of trade turnover between the two countries stood at $413 million as of 2014 and $245 million in Jan.-Aug. 2015.

    Uzbekistan exports vehicles, fertilizers, agricultural products, construction materials, electrical and mechanical equipment, metal products and services in various fields to Turkmenistan.

    This is while Turkmenistan exports petroleum products, polymers of propylene and other chemical products to Uzbekistan.

    The economic potential of the two countries creates opportunities for further expanding the cooperation.

    According to the intergovernmental agreement on mutual deliveries and the treaty on economic cooperation for 2013-2017 signed in 2012, consistent work to further diversify and increase trade volumes is carried out.

    Transport communications are another priority area of cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Roads and railways of the two countries are a well-integrated system and profitable transit complex for other countries as well. In this sense, an agreement to build a new Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman international transport corridor signed in 2011 has geostrategic importance.

    Both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are rich in hydrocarbon resources. Their export requires coordinated action. Close cooperation creates opportunities for diversification of energy industries and access to world markets for the two countries. Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline, which was commissioned in 2009 and increases its capacity, is a vivid example of this fact.


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  • Kazakh, Ukrainian presidents discuss intensification of economic cooperation
    09.10.2015 14:49
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who paid an official visit to Kazakhstan, discussed the ways of strengthening the cooperation in trade-economic sphere, the coal industry, transport and logistics area and the agro-industrial complex, the press-service of the Kazakh president said Oct. 9.

    Moreover, the presidents exchanged views on relevant issues of the international agenda, including the situation in the southeast of Ukraine and the course of implementing the Minsk agreements.

    President Nazarbayev welcomed his counterpart Poroshenko's first official visit to Kazakhstan, which will help improve the economic cooperation and consider regional and international issues, the statement said.

    President Poroshenko stressed the numerous political, economic, cultural-humanitarian and social ties between the two countries.

    President Poroshenko stressed the interest in intensifying the all-round cooperation between the two countries in various fields and appreciated President Nazarbayev's efforts to assist in maintaining peace in Ukraine.

    President Poroshenko also congratulated his counterpart Nazarbayev on the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate, stressing the importance of this anniversary, which is a symbol of statehood, deep historical roots of the country.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan '" first country in CIS for volume of investments in its economy
    09.10.2015 14:49
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9

    By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:

    Azerbaijan significantly outstrips the neighboring countries for the economic growth, Ziyad Samadzade, head of Azerbaijani parliament's economic policy committee said Oct.9.

    The MP made the remarks during the 5th Eurasian Forum of Accountants and Auditors in Baku.

    Rapid economic development has been observed in Azerbaijan over the last 10 years, said Samadzade.

    The country's GDP has grown by 3.6 times, the currency reserve, the number of social programs has increased and the poverty level has dropped from 49 percent to 5 percent during this period, the MP added.

    All these factors prove Azerbaijan's successful economic development, according to Samadzade.

    Despite the difficult situation in the region, Azerbaijan has not only preserved its investment attractiveness, but also took the lead in CIS for the volume of investments made in the country, according to the MP.

    He noted that around $200 billion worth investments have been made in Azerbaijan's economy over the last 10-15 years which is the highest level in CIS.

    Although the Azerbaijan lands have been occupied by Armenia for over 20 years, the volume of investments in Azerbaijan is by 8-9 percent more than the volume of investments which Armenia has made in its economy, the MP added.

    Edited by SI


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  • Iranian commander killed in Syria
    09.10.2015 14:49
    Iranian military commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani has been killed in Syria.

    Iranian military commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani has been killed in Syria, where he was giving military advice to the Syrian army in its fight against Takfiri militants in the Arab country.

    Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement carried by Sepah News on Friday that Brig. Gen. Hamedani, a commander with the IRGC, had been killed by Takfiri Daesh terrorists during an advisory mission on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo the night before.

    Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Around 250,000 people have lost their lives and millions more been displaced in the crisis. Takfiri terrorist groups, including Daesh and the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda (al-Nusra Front), have been engaging in a terror campaign in Syria.

    The Syrian military has been fighting the terrorist groups for over four years.

    Iran has been offering Syria military advice in its fight against terrorist groups.
  • Azerbaijan to join international book fair in Germany
    09.10.2015 14:41
    An Azerbaijani delegation led by first Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Vagif Aliyev will participate in the international book fair in Frankfurt, Germany.

    The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented, as well as the number of visitors.

    It is held annually in mid-October at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The first three days are restricted exclusively to trade visitors; the general public can attend on the last two.

    Representatives from book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world come to the Frankfurt Book Fair in order to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees. The fair is organised by a subsidiary company of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. For five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part. The Frankfurt Book Fair is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading.

    /By AzerTac/
  • Privatization of public universities, hospitals on agenda
    09.10.2015 14:40
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    The government is considering the opportunity to privatize public universities and hospitals in the country.

    This was stated by Azerbaijani MP Gudrat Hasanguliyev during a discussion of the draft state budget for 2016-2019 at a joint session of the parliamentary committees on science and education, legal policy and state structure, regional issues, culture, human rights, international affairs and inter-parliamentary relations.

    Hasanguliyev mentioned that this system is popular in many countries around the world and what is more important, it brings effective results.

    In turn, the privatization of the public universities and hospitals will be a source for bringing additional incomes to the public budget and, as a result, it will significantly reduce the load on it, he said.

    Considering the recent statement about the decline of state budget revenues by 12.1 percent forecasted for the current year, the privatization of the public universities and hospitals could play a role in additional incomes to the state's treasury.

    Economy expert Oktay Hagverdiyev, however, considers the privatization of all public universities to have negative results for the country, as this system can deter potential students from studying in the universities.

    He believes that the governmental policy cannot be completely given to the private sector as the country is interested in creating specialists in different spheres of activity.

    The budget of the country will be provided with additional sources of income with adoption of a paid educational system, but it could result in poor-quality education, economist Vugar Bayramov told Azernews.

    He believes that it is needed to consider each university in an individual manner.

    Azerbaijan couldn't provide so many universities with financing, therefore, the country faced necessity to open paid faculties, Hagverdiyev added.

    He cited as an example the U.S., where this system is popular. ''But this country has passed all stages of the educational system, while Azerbaijan hasn't, therefore, our country isn't ready for such radical changes,'' he said.

    Currently, Azerbaijan has 52 public and private state universities.
  • Yerevan neglects position of intв'l community
    09.10.2015 14:40
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Unable to withstand Azerbaijan on the frontline, the Armenian government constantly threatens Baku to recognize the puppet separatist regime that Yerevan had established in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.

    Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has recently said in the countryв's parliament that in case of military action, Armenia will take all the necessary steps as the ''guarantor of security'' of Nagorno-Karabakh, including ''recognition''.

    However, such a statement by the Armenian government official once again demonstrates this countryв's ignorance, disregard for international law and disrespect to the position of the international community.

    ''Armenia, by showing a complete disregard for the position of the international community and by continuing to grossly violate the generally accepted norms and principles of international law, as well as the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, implements a policy of maintaining the status quo based on occupation and aggression,'' Hikmet Hajiyev, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry spokesperson said, commenting on the statement made by Nalbandian,В TrendВ reported.

    Hajiyev stated that in his speech during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, Azerbaijanв's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov once again clearly expressed the countryв's unwavering position on the process of conflict settlement.

    ''Mammadyarov reiterated that the Nagorno-Karabakh region has always been and will remain the integral part of Azerbaijan,'' the official noted.

    Hajiyev said Azerbaijan will never accept the occupation of its territories and the conflict can only be resolved within its territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders, adding that the international community also strongly supports this position.

    ''The internationally recognized borders of states canв't be changed by the use of force,'' he said.

    As Hajiyev said, during the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Elmar Mammadyarov reminded that if Armenia, following negotiations, doesnв't fully and unconditionally withdraw its military from the occupied territories, Azerbaijan will have to exercise its right '"in line with the UN Charterв's Article 51 '" to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

    ''In such a case, all responsibility rests solely on Armenia as an occupant country,'' Hajiyev emphasized.

    He noted that the sooner Armenia realizes this reality, the faster the conflict will be solved, and the countries and peoples of the region will benefit from cooperation and economic development.

    Meanwhile, Azerbaijanв's political scientist assessed Nalbandianв's statement as outright stupidity.

    Fikret Sadikhov, professor of Western University said if Azerbaijan decides to liberate its territories, Yerevanв's ''recognition'' of Nagorno-Karabakh will be nothing but empty words.

    Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor, causing a brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by U.S, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

    As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 were reported missing, almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were left disabled.

    The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on the Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijani territories, but they have not been enforced to this day.
  • Italy invests over $480M in Azerbaijanв's economy
    09.10.2015 14:29
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The volume of investments made by Italy in Azerbaijan's economy has exceeded $480 million, Azerbaijan's Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Sahib Mammadov said Oct. 9.

    He made the remarks during a press conference on the bilateral meetings between the representatives of Italian and Azerbaijani companies.

    The two countries have great potential to further develop their economic relations, the deputy minister said, adding that the relations between these countries are on the rise in all spheres, including in economy.

    Furthermore, Mammadov said that Italy is the main foreign trade partner of Azerbaijan.

    He pointed out that the trade turnover between the two countries exceeded $5 billion in 2014 and neared $1.8 billion in the first eight months of 2015.

    The deputy minister said that 66 companies with Italian investments operate in Azerbaijan and eight of them are the subcontractors in the projects financed by the public sector.

    He noted that very favorable investment and business climate has been created in Azerbaijan.

    Edited by CN


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  • Demand of releasing Leyla and Arif Yunusovs contradicts intв'l standards
    09.10.2015 14:29
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    Leyla and Arif Yunusovs have been punished for their crimes and an international organization's demand to release them contradicts the international standards, Elman Mammadov, Azerbaijani MP, told Trend Oct. 9.

    Earlier, Human Rights Watch urged to release the Yunusovs.

    Mammadov recalled that the investigative measures were conducted as part of the criminal cases filed against the Yunusovs, adding that the trial was conducted absolutely transparently in accordance with the laws of Azerbaijan.

    "Some international groups stand for such individuals as Leyla and Arif Yunusovs and others claiming that their rights are allegedly violated and that these people have been arrested for political reasons," he said.

    "These organizations do not protect human rights," he said. "There are more than one million refugees and internally displaced people in Azerbaijan whose rights have been grossly violated by Armenia. Did these organizations say anything to support them up till now? However, they are engaged in the protection of three to four people who have committed crimes."

    "In fact, these organizations are engaged in destructive activity in Azerbaijan and make provocations against Azerbaijani statehood," he said.

    "The Yunusovs and others are the organizers of the spy network created by these organizations in Azerbaijan," he said.

    Mammadov said that when the activity of this network is suppressed, these organizations begin to get nervous.

    "They are well aware that they stand against the international law and laws by their actions and the attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan," he said. "These organizations are trying to protect their spy networks. That's why, they conduct a smear campaign against Azerbaijan."

    Leyla Yunusova was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison with confiscation of property, and Arif Yunusov was sentenced to seven years in prison with confiscation of property Aug. 13 according to the decision of the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.

    The court sentence said that both individuals' bank accounts are confiscated, all their property in Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the Czech Republic are confiscated as well, and they aren't allowed to hold any office for two years after the end of their term of imprisonment.

    Leyla and Arif Yunusovs will serve their sentences in a general-regime correctional labor facility.

    Leyla Yunusova was charged under the articles 274 (high treason), 178.3.2 (fraud (by inflicting major damage)), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2.2 (evasion from a large amount of taxes), 320.1 (forging a certificate or another official document providing rights or exempting from duties, in order to use or sell that document, as well as making for the same purposes or selling forged state awards of Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms) and 320.2 (use of deliberately forged documents indicated in the article 320.1 of this Code) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

    Arif Yunusov was charged under the articles 274 (high treason) and 178.3.2 (fraud) of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code.

    A separate lawsuit was filed for both individuals on the criminal case under article 274 (high treason).

    The court's decision taken Aug. 13 applies only to criminal proceedings on the fraud, tax evasion, and others cases.

    Edited by CN

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  • Cekuta: US concerned over escalation of violence on contact line
    09.10.2015 14:29
    US does not consider the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict frozen, US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta told reporters on Friday.

    he US is very concerned over the escalation of violence on the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the ambassador said, adding the US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick along with his Russian and French counterparts is dealing with this issue.

    "What we talked to both sides about is that they need to take steps back to improve the situation. People think this is a frozen conflict. If people are dying, this is not a frozen conflict. We are trying to work with the parties to find a way forward. All the parties need to take steps to reduce the tensions and help find a way forward," he said.
  • Azerbaijan's permanent mission to OSCE issues statement
    09.10.2015 14:09
    Permanent mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the OSCE issued a statement on ''Situation in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan'' at the 1070th meeting of the Permanent Council on October 8, 2015.

    The statement says:

    "Unlike other protracted conflicts in the OSCE area, the occupied Nagorno Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts are ethnically cleansed from Azerbaijanis and since 1988 Azerbaijan hosts more than one million of refugees and IDPs on its territory. The Minsk process launched since 1992 so far yielded no result and the conflict remains unresolved until this moment. As the Minsk Group and its Co-chairmen are unable by peaceful means to end this injustice inflicted 2 upon Azerbaijani people, we more frequently observe attempts to freeze the conflict, rather than to resolve it. Every initiative suggested by us in the OSCE with a view to improve effectiveness and accountability of the Minsk process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairmen faces immediate opposition by Armenia. Our appeals to the mediating countries and Minsk Group members to persuade Armenia to do, at least very small steps in Vienna to advance negotiation process lacks the support of OSCE participating States. Such an indifferent attitude demonstrated by the OSCE Minsk Group creates an impression that the OSCE is satisfied with the current status quo in the occupied territories and the major concern is to prevent any further outbreak of hostilities.

    The statement says that Armenian President openly challenges the territorial integrity and internationally recognized sovereignty of Azerbaijan

    The Armenian president openly challenges the territorial integrity and internationally recognized sovereignty of Azerbaijan and through such actions violates fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act and relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. However, it looks like that in view of the Co-chairs that is ok as long as active military hostilities are not taking place. In the same vein, while the co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group put the responsibility to achieve progress in conflict resolution completely on two sides and cannot offer anything better than freezing the status quo, the Minsk Group and other OSCE participating States satisfy themselves only with extending their formal support to the efforts of co-Chairs. We hear strong support to the resolution of other protracted conflicts in the OSCE area on the basis of sovereignty and internationally recognized territories of conflict-affected countries extended by many OSCE participating States. In the meantime, with the exception of few colleagues, we hardly witness the same principled position by the OSCE Delegations in respect to the resolution of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, despite the fact that on bilateral level all OSCE participating States publicly extended their support to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

    Our Delegation wishes to reiterate that calls for introduction of such measures as investigation mechanism, withdrawal of snipers or deployment of OSCE monitors along the line of confrontation in absence of withdrawal of the Armenian troops cannot be considered, because in reality it would mean to surrender to the result of continued use of force by Armenia and occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan. In fact suggesting such measures and extending support to them under continued illegal presence of the Armenian troops in the territories of Azerbaijan is in defiance of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and relevant OSCE decisions, which explicitly demanded to unconditionally, immediately and completely withdraw the occupying troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and called for deployment of the OSCE multinational peacekeeping force. These are the 3 objectives and sequence of the conflict resolution process. What is required from the mediators and the Minsk Group is to put these objectives as a priority into their agenda and mobilize international pressure on Armenia to end the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan in line with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

    In light of all continuous sufferings of our people and our acceptance to make peace with Armenia on the basis of international law, the Delegation of Azerbaijan is prompted to ask the Co-chairing countries, members of the Minsk Group and other OSCE participating States if this situation serves the cause of peace and those who believe in political resolution of the conflict? Or does it serve the interests and aggressive ambitions of the current Armenian government, making them confident that they are above the law and principles that govern this House?"

    Azerbaijan remains the most interested party in the achievement of just and durable peace. However, as long as Armenia refuses to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, prevents the return of all displaced population to their homes of origin and the Minsk Group and its co-chairs take no action to persuade Armenia to abide by its commitments and obligations, we are left with no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only side bound to implement the commitments and agreements. Finally, I suggest the distinguished Ambassador of Armenia to take a constructive approach here in Vienna as it is primarily in the interests of our region and our future generations to move the negotiations forward. I hope that he will seriously consider the challenges to the Minsk process and looking to the future will accept for the entire people of Azerbaijan what he accepts for the people of Armenia."
  • NBCOs in Azerbaijan need cheap resources
    09.10.2015 13:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    The Azerbaijan Micro-Finance Association (AMFA) offers the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) to start direct lending to non-bank credit organizations (NBCOs), chairman of the AMFA, a board member of Aqrarkredit NBCO Suleyman Kalashov told reporters Oct. 9.

    "Under the law, NBCO cannot directly receive loans of the central bank, and they mainly attract funds of banks," he said. "However, the cost of credit is high. In addition, non-banking credit organizations cannot attract deposits from the public, that is, the sources of their funding are limited."

    Kalashov went on to add that the CBA recommended banks that their actual annual interest rate on consumer loans not exceed 29 percent, and micro-credits - 25 percent.

    "It is difficult to reduce rates on micro-credits," he said, stressing that in this regard, the NBCO should get cheaper loans. "Many people take loans, for example, worth 500 manats, but the maintenance costs for micro-credits are very large, especially considering the cost to evaluate the pledge and so on. As a result, this leads to the fact that the NBCO work to their detriment."

    The official exchange rate on October 9 is 1.0478 AZN / USD.

    Edited by CN

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  • Donв't impress me with '˜something differentв', just take me to dinner
    09.10.2015 13:48
    The other day, a seemingly nice and normal boy asked me on a date. After I accepted, he said,В ''What do you want to do?''

    ''I want to go get some prime rib,'' I answered honestly.

    ''You do know that there are things to do other than dinner, right?''

    And this is when I lost my sh*t.

    I feel like a switch has flipped in our culture. Over the past decade or two, guys have been presented withВ with all sorts of magazine articles and books and TV shows that try to convince them they should treat a girl to something ''better'' than dinner and drinks.

    Flip on the TV, and youв'll find a young, cool girl complaining about the ''boring''В dinner date she had. Open your favorite magazine to find a list of date options that are so much BETTER than dinner.

    In order to show trueВ interest, people feel like they have to suggest absurd things '" like a run or a hike or even a joint SoulCycle class.

    Like, um, Iв'm sorry, but are you f*cking kidding me!?

    I hate exercising byВ myself. So why in Godв's name would I want to exercise with you '" a virtual stranger who I may or may not be porking at some point in the near future (Iв'm thinking ''NOT'' after you suggested these bullsh*t ideas).

    And while weв're at it, letв's just go ahead and cross off pottery class, bungee jumping or any other weird sh*t you may have in mind for the two of us.

    Itв's as ifВ suddenly doing everything BUT going out for a nice, simple dinner and drinks has become the goal. And Iв'm left feeling like a boring loser for actually liking a good old-fashioned dinner date.

    I wanted to scream in that guyв's face, ''Yes. I understand that there are things to do other than dinner, you condescending prick. But did it ever occur to you that maybe '" just maybe '" I actually LIKE getting dinner?! Maybe getting a nice hunk of prime rib with a Moscow Mule (or seven) is exactly what I want. STOP SHAMING ME FOR IT.''

    Call me old-fashioned. Call me boring. Call me a c*nt, for all I care. I just really enjoy eating dinner, and the only thing I possibly enjoy more than that is drinking. So yes, going for dinner and drinks ISВ my ideal date.

    Iв'm sorry that dinner and drinks are too ''popular'' or ''mainstream'' for you, but did it ever occur to you that maybe there is a REASON for this?

    I want to make sure we have a real connection.I want to know we can sit across the table from each other for an extended period of time with no choice but to communicate (without me wanting to punch you in the face). And dinner is the best arena for this experiment.

    When I was brainstorming this article with my coworkers this morning, someone asked, ''But how do we make dinner more interesting?''

    Thatв's the whole point here. In order to make dinner interesting, your only option is to actuallyВ beВ interesting and, more importantly, interested in your partner. There are no art projects or exercise routines set to blaring dubstep music to distract you from getting to know each other.

    I want access to alcohol.Iв'll be honest here: If you are boring me to death, I am going to want a drink.

    What the f*ck would I do if you were boring me on our hike? Jump? I donв't want to LITERALLY be bored to death here.

    Besides that, first dates are awkward. I donв't think having a few drinks to loosen us both up is such a bad thing at all.

    I want to get a feel for who you really are.You get to know a lot about a personв's character at dinner.

    First and foremost, the uninterrupted conversation is the best gateway into his personality. But even beyond that, there are so many opportunities duringВ the dinner experience that tell me what sort of a guy you are.

    What did you order? How do you treat the waitstaff? How do you react when I make an attempt to pay? Do you hold doors open? How about my chair '" will you pull it out?

    By the same token, I want you to get a feel for whoВ IВ really am, too.

    When I eat, itв's not pretty. I do not order pretty things, and I do not use pretty table manners. I willВ absolutelyВ be ordering a giant hunk of meat and devouring itВ while I try to make conversation with a full mouth.

    A guy deserves to know what heв's getting himself into (literally'¦ hah) before he starts taking me to meet Mom and Dad.

    I want to make sure we have common interests.The bottom line is this: I love food, and I love drinking. They are two things that I am really, truly passionate about. If you canв't go to a delicious restaurant and genuinely enjoy it with every fiber of your being, we probably donв't have much of a future between us.

    My other interests include shopping, mercilessly gossiping about virtual celebrities with my friends and having Mafia movie marathons (we start with New York/Las Vegas Italian and move on to Boston Irish) in my footie pajamas.

    I have a feeling you have no interest in doing any of those things with me, so how about you just indulge me in my most socially acceptable interest?

    /By Elite Daily/
  • Foreign companies seek to enter Iranian market
    09.10.2015 13:30
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Foreign companies have lined up to take advantage of cooperation with Iran after the removal of international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program.

    This comes following the normalization of relations between Iran and the West after the July nuclear deal contributed to the development of cooperation between the Islamic Republic and European countries.

    Global energy giant Shell has voiced interest in Iranв's oil and gas projects, but says it is still too early to speak of any specific plans.

    Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said at the Oil amp; Money conference in London that Iran is an interesting country in terms of geological structure, and there are interesting prospects for investments in the countryв's energy projects, Press TV reported.

    Van Beurden also emphasized that his companyв's plans in Iran will depend on how the Iranian market develops in the short-term, the investments required and the general situation in the country.

    He further confirmed that Shell is engaged in negotiations in Iran but emphasized that the talks are mainly focused on settling of the companyв's debts to the National Iranian Oil Company.

    Iranв's media earlier reported that a delegation from Shell had recently arrived in Iran for talks with the countryв's oil officials.

    Shell has not been involved in any major oil and gas project in Iran over the past decade, mostly as a result of the U.S.-engineered sanctions that barred international corporations from the countryв's energy projects.

    Nevertheless, Shell was involved in the development of the Persian Gulf oil fields Soroush and Norouz and was expected to develop Persian LNG in South Pars, a project that was eventually scrapped mainly because of the sanctions.

    While many companies are in talks to resume their activities in the Islamic Republic, some are preparing to sign deals with Iran.

    German automaker Mercedes-Benz reported that it would soon sign a major deal with Iran over the production of medium-duty diesel engines.

    Gholam-Reza Razzazi, the managing director of Iranian Diesel Engine Manufacturing, told reporters that the cooperation with Mercedes-Benz will specifically involve the production of Arna mini-trucks as well as Arian mini-buses, both of which are upcoming products from IDEM.

    Razzazi added that both vehicles would be equipped with the Mercedes-Benz 900 engine.

    He said IDEM '"a subsidiary of the countryв's key auto brand Iran Khodro '" and Mercedes-Benz will also cooperate over the production of the German manufacturerв's flagship truck brand named Actros.

    Razzazi said Iran had requested Mercedes-Benz to provide an efficient customer support system as a precondition for cooperating with IDEM, adding that the related deals would be signed within weeks.

    A number of officials and company representatives from Western countries have recently visited Tehran to discuss boosting ties in the aftermath of sanctions removal.

    Earlier in July, world powers Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, reached a nuclear deal with Iran, aiming to curb Tehran's nuclear drive in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on its economy since 2006.

    With sanctions gone starting from 2016, foreign investment is due to return to Iran, a country rich with oil and gas resources.
  • Azerbaijan joins book fair in Seoul
    09.10.2015 13:19
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    SEBA Azerbaijan-Korean Cultural Exchange Association has realized another project in the Korean city of Seoul.

    The city hosted the opening of the international book fair ''Read the Culture, Read the World'' organized by the Korean Publishers Association on October 7.

    A total of 16 countries including Azerbaijan attend the book fair at COEX Centre.

    Sixty seven kinds of books, magazines, catalogues, brochures, postcards, video and music discs etc., reflecting the ancient history, rich cultural heritage and national and moral values of the Azerbaijani people, are being exhibited at the fair.

    The Azerbaijani stand, organized by SEBA (Seoul-Baku) Azerbaijan-Korean Cultural Exchange Association and the Azerbaijan Embassy in Korea, and with the support from the Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism Ministry, attracted the attention of the Korean public, as well as the other participant countries from the very first day.

    The Book Fair , which aims to increase reading habits,present participant countriesв' publications an make the world familiar with the capacity of Korean publishing industry, will last until October 11.

    The book fair dates back in 1954 and was originally called the Seoul Book Fair. Later in 1995, the name was changed to Seoul International Book Fair.

    The relations between Azerbaijan and South Korea cover many areas, particularly politics, economics, culture, and other fields.

    SEBA, which seeks to realize large-scale cultural exchange programs between Azerbaijan and Korea, was established in 2004. So far, the organization has implemented several projects in the fields of science, health, and culture.

    Meanwhile, Azerbaijanв's marvelous Gabala and Koreaв's Gyeongju have become sister cities.

    Earlier this August, the Korean Film Festival featured 10 films in Azerbaijan within ten days.
  • 67 Iranians still missing after Mina incident
    09.10.2015 13:19
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Sixty-seven Iranians are still missing after the Mina incident during the Hajj rites in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 24.

    Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization chief Saeed Ohadi said bodies of two pilgrims have been identified and the number of missing pilgrims has decreased to 67, Iran's IRNA news agency reported Oct. 9.

    Considering that the Mina disaster took place two weeks ago, the identification of Iranian pilgrims, who were missed during the incident, will take time, he noted.

    The process for identifying bodies of Iranian pilgrims started on Thursday and it is hoped that bodies to 87 pilgrims to be transferred to Iran today (October 9), he said, adding that a total of 395 bodies have been so far transferred to the country.

    On Sept. 24, a stampede occurred in the Mina valley, where Muslims were performing the Hajj rites. According to the latest reports, 465 Iranian pilgrims were among those who lost their lives in the Mina stampede.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Oct. 5 that Iran continues diplomatic talks on different levels regarding causes of the Mina tragedy.

    Edited by CN

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  • Armenia is a candidate default country
    09.10.2015 13:08
    /By AzerNews/

    By Laman Sadigova

    Armenia almost announced itself bankrupt after Nerses Yeritsyan, the Deputy Chairman of the Armenian Central Bank, reported to the parliament the absence of the nationв's gold reserves.

    He did not clarify where and how the reserves had disappeared, but made the revelation that the country is insolvent.

    The first discussions over the fact that Armenia has lost its gold reserves began in 2004, when it became known that the Central Bank sold off the countryв's 1.4 tons of gold. The price at which Armenia sold its gold was a paltry $200 per ounce, despite the true cost being much more.

    Gold reserves are held by national central banks as a store of value and as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors or to secure the national currency. In other words, gold reserves are a type of cushion that works to cover the country in its harshest days.

    Furthermore, since gold can be used as a method of payment at any time, gold reserves is a way to achieve economic independence. At a time when Armenian gold reserves are equal to zero, the country will be unable to carry out financial policy and cope with emergency situations.

    In other words, if any shocks were to occur, no one will accept their national currency, the dram, which is nothing more than paper, and will instead request gold, which the Armenian Central Bank lacks.

    The most interesting thing is that nobody knows who ordered the selloff and who is to be blamed for the countryв's desperate situation.

    Stable countries like Germany, Italy and France keep more than 60 percent of their state assets in gold. The Armenian government, however, has shamelessly plundered its state coffers, bringing the country to the precipice.

    As to who should be held responsible for the countryв's bankruptcy, remains a question to tackle. But the people should now think more about their futures, which seem doomed to fail...

    Where is all the money, and where has the Armenian government spent all the national reserves?
  • Nord Stream 2 has more chances than Turkish Stream, expert says
    09.10.2015 13:08
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    The Nord Stream expansion project has more chances of supplying Russian gas to the EU compared to the Turkish Stream project, Head of the Greek Energy Forum in Brussels Constantine Levoyannis believes.

    Levoyannis in an interview with Trend noted that several serious players have already expressed commitment to becoming shareholders of Nord Stream-2 project and the markets that this project is targeting are larger than the possible markets of the Turkish Stream.

    The shareholders of the joint company New European Pipeline AG, which will work on the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline signed an agreement in early September.

    The shareholders will include Russian Gazprom (with a share of 51 percent), German E.On (10 percent), Dutch-British Shell (10 percent), Austria's OMV (10 percent), German BASF/Wintershall (10 percent) and French Engie (9 percent). The project envisages the construction of two gas pipeline lines from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea with a total annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas.

    Regarding the Turkish Stream pipeline, Levoyannis believes that important determining factors with regards to the signing of any agreement on this project is political stability in Turkey.

    "If Turkey comes out of the next round of elections [which will be held on Nov. 1] with a stable government, then progress could be made in negotiations with Gazprom, but only for 1 or 2 of the envisaged strings of Turkish Stream," the expert said.

    He noted that Turkey has a voracious gas demand which continues to increase in line with population growth. Meanwhile, Levoyannis noted that Turkey and Russia are still in negotiations over the renegotiation of existing gas supplies through Blue Stream and these negotiations are important with regards to any future deal on Turkish Stream.

    In the framework of the negotiations Russia has offered Turkey a 6 percent discount on the current gas supplies as a concession for the right to build Turkey Stream through Turkey. Turkey insists on a 15 percent discount. No agreement on this point has been reached yet.

    "I think it is unlikely that any commercial agreement [on Turkish Stream] will be inked by the end of the year," Levoyannis said.

    With regard to the Europe's need of gas from the Turkish stream, the expert noted that the EU's gas import dependency is projected at around 380-450 billion cubic meters per year by 2030 - at about the current level, according to the latest EU statistics.

    Moreover Levoyannis noted that EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cantilde;ete at the European Parliament Plenary two days before said that existing transport capacity from Russia is currently used only at around 50 percent and already well exceeds the EU's needs for likely future supplies. Cantilde;ete also said that if Nord Stream 2 project is constructed, transmission capacity from Russia will increase excess even further and it will allow to dry out the transit through Ukraine.

    The Turkish Stream project includes the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey via the Black Sea. It was assumed that the gas pipeline would consist of four branches at 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas each.

    The gas of the first branch is completely designed for the Turkish market. The rest amount will be supplied to the Turkish-Greek border, where it is planned to create a gas hub. The construction was planned to begin in June, but the project is still being discussed.

    Edited by T.T.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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  • World Bank improves forecast for Azerbaijan's GDP growth
    09.10.2015 12:59
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    Following the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank has also improved its forecast on Azerbaijan's economic growth.

    In its report on Azerbaijan, published on October 8, the World Bank forecasts Azerbaijanв's annual GDP growth to stand at an average of 2.4 percent between 2015 and 2017.

    The growth of Azerbaijan's economy was predicted to stand at 1.5 percent in 2015, at 2.6 percent in 2016, and at 2.7 percent in 2017 in the World Bank's June report.

    The International Monetary Fund has also improved the economic growth of Azerbaijan to four percent in 2015, which was earlier predicted at 1.8 percent. IMF has kept its forecast for economic growth unchanged at 2.5 percent for next year.

    Asian Development Bank reported that it has kept its forecast for economic growth in Azerbaijan at a level of three percent in 2015 and at 2.8 percent in 2016, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development kept the growth forecast at 1.5 percent for 2015-2016.

    The Azerbaijani government expects that in 2015 the real growth of the countryв's economy will be 3.3 percent.

    Oil output to continue to decline

    According to the World Bank's new report, Azerbaijan's oil output will continue to decline, while capital expenditures of the government will be limited due to the decrease in world oil prices.

    Also, the share of Azerbaijan's state investments in GDP will fall to 10.3 percent in 2015-2017, bringing down the non-oil GDP growth to four percent.

    Meanwhile, the World Bank experts expect that in connection with construction of major gas pipelines --Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic pipelines-- between 2016 and 2017, the investments in oil and gas sector will significantly rise.

    At the same time, according to the bankв's expectations, the state budget deficit is projected at 1.4 percent of GDP in the medium term.

    The report also said that the oil prices will gradually recover in 2016-2017 and the government will consolidate the expenditures, its fiscal position will improve.

    Local experts believe that the main factors that can affect the dynamics of the GDP are oil prices, the global competitiveness of the national currency, and funds allocated from the state budget for investment.

    The total volume of Azerbaijanв's GDP in the first half of 2015 amounted to 26.3 billion manats, or 5.7 percent more than in the same period of last year, according to Azerbaijan's State Statistics Committee.

    Azerbaijan plans to export products worth $26.8 billion in 2015, some $2.7 billion of which will be goods in the non-oil sector. The Azerbaijani government predicts the share of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan's GDP to be at 65.1 percent for 2015, which is 5.5 percent higher than the forecasts for 2014 and 8.5 percent higher than in 2013.
  • Armenia using intв'l tourism exhibition in Italy for political purposes
    09.10.2015 12:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9


    Armenia is using the international tourism exhibition in Rimini, Italy for political purposes to popularize the separatist regime created in Azerbaijan's occupied territories, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said Oct.9.

    Story still developing

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  • Azerbaijani female wrestlers cement places in world rankings
    09.10.2015 12:52
    Azerbaijani women wrestlers have strengthened their positions in an updated world ranking released by the United World Wrestling.

    The new list included 7 Azerbaijani athletes.

    Silver medalist of the last world championship held in Las Vegas, USA, Mariya Stadnik remains second in the list, while Yulia Ratkevich climbed from 4th to 7th spot.

    Anjela Dorogan jumped to 6th place.

    Irina Netreba is placed 5th in the new ranking.

    /By AzerTac/
  • Russians on top of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's blacklist
    09.10.2015 12:39
    The Minsk Group co-chairing states and developed European countries lead the list of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan which includes the citizens of foreign countries who illegally paid a visit to the occupied Azerbaijani lands.

    According to Oxu.Az, the blacklist includes 501 people from 49 countries. Russia accounts for most of them (133 people). The United States (41 people) which is also the Minsk Group co-chair is second. Germany is the third with 38 people.

    36 people who visited the occupied lands of Azerbaijan were from Italy, 30 people from France, which is also the Minsk Group co-chair.

    They are followed by Great Britain (19 people) and Switzerland (10 people).

    Among the countries bordering Azerbaijan on the shore, 16 people visited the Azerbaijani occupied lands without permission. Of them 11 are from Georgia, two from Turkey and three from Iran.
  • IRGC commander Hossein Hamedani killed in Syria
    09.10.2015 12:37
    One of the top Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani has been killed in Syria on October 8, IRGC's official website reported.

    Hamedani was killed near the city of Aleppo during his mission to provide consultations services to Syrian Islamic front forces against ISIL, the public relations department of the IRGC said in a statement.

    Hamedani was appointed as the Deputy Commander of the IRGC in 2005.

    He was serving in Syria as both an advisor to the Syrian government during the Syrian Civil War and as overseer for Quds Force operations in support of the Syrian government.

    A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, brigadier general Jabbar Darisawi also has been killed in Syria, IRNA reported on October 17, 2014.

    Since the protests which changed to internal war in Syria in spring 2011 have started, several reports were published about death of IRGC members in Syria.

    Iran says it provides military consultant for Bashar Asad regime.

    Before, IRNA reported in May that brigadier general Abdollah Eskandari, another IRGC commander was killed in Syria.

    Before him, Iran's media reported that Brig-Gen Mohammad Jamali-Paqaleh a top commander of a paramilitary arm of the Revolutionary Guard (Qods force) was also killed in Syria.

  • Baku hosts joint EFPM and CIFP Congress
    09.10.2015 12:36
    The joint Congress of the European Fair Play Movement (EFPM )and International Committee for Fair Play (CIFP) has today kicked off in Baku.

    In his opening remarks, Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov expressed his gratitude for awarding the congress and the 21st Assembly of the European Fair Play Movement to Azerbaijan. The Minister said Azerbaijan occupies a unique place on the global sports arena thanks to its sports achievements and the organization of prestigious international competitions and events. ''In this regard 2015 was a remarkable year not only for Azerbaijan's sports history, but for the history of Europe and the whole world as Azerbaijan's capital hosted the first ever European Games.''

    The Minister hailed the Azerbaijani President`s attention to sport. "The head of state, President of the National Olympic Committee Ilham Aliyev pays special attention to the protection and promotion of Olympism, values of justice. The athlete's social status is above all," Mr Rahimov said.

    President of the European Fair Play Movement Christian Hinterberger underlined the importance of the congress. He noted that the Fair Play Movement is a combination of social dialogue and understanding.

    ''It is an integral part of sport. At the end of each large scale race victories and Fair Play Movement are always the center of attention and become a topic of discussion. Baku 2015 first European Games were also organized on the basis of the principles of fair play.''

    President of the International Committee for Fair Play Jeno Kamuti applauded the accomplishments of Azerbaijani athletes and the government`s attention to the development of sport in the country. He also praised the country's ''excellent'' organization of the first European Games.

    He noted that Azerbaijani President, President of the National Olympic Committee Ilham Aliyev was awarded the Commemorative Medal of the International Fair Play Committee for his contribution to the development of sports in Azerbaijan and support of the Fair Play Movement. The award was presented to Azad Rahimov.

    The event featured a video clip highlighting the Fair Play Movement in Azerbaijan and in the world.

    Main topic of the two-day congress is "Fair Play in Competitive Sport - Making it Real or just an Ideal."

    /By AzerTac/
  • CBA: Global challenges real for Azerbaijan's economy
    09.10.2015 12:09
    The ongoings in global economy and structural transformations define the new challenges facing the world economy, especially the financial sectors.

    Oxu.Az reports that the statement came from general director of Azerbaijan's Central Bank Rashad Orujev speaking at the exhibition of investors 'Road to responsible microfinancing'.

    He said that for this reason the financial, especially the banking sector, must be set new tasks:

    "There is no doubt that these global challenges are real for Azerbaijani economy. In order that Azerbaijani economy responds to these challenges, banking sector must assume new tasks. Thus, financing of economic growth must play a more important role. Microfinancial organizations also have new duties. Small and middle entrepreneurship accounts for greater part of GDP in world countries. This deal sometimes exceeds 50%. In this respect, expansion of their access to financial services is one of the main provisions for successful activity of small and middle entrepreneurship."

    The general director also added that there are opportunities and prospects for development of microfinancial system in Azerbaijan. He said there is a need to develop institutions and resources of microfinancial organizations.
  • Is the CoE truly interested in protecting human rights?
    09.10.2015 11:47
    By AzerNews

    In a time when peace and dialogue is as important as ever, the Council of Europe is demonstrating its unwillingness to constructively cooperate with member-countries of the organization.

    CoE Secretary General Thorbjoslash;rn Jagland has announced a decision to withdraw the participation of his representative in the joint working group on human rights issues in Azerbaijan. Describing his decision, Jagland said that "the overall situation of human rights defenders in the country has deteriorated dramatically." Without citing any concrete argument, he accused the Azerbaijani authorities of increasing the number of human right defenders in prisons.

    Jagland's statement was met with deep surprise and regret by the Azerbaijani members of the Joint Working Group.

    "We, members of the Joint Working Group, believe that an intergovernmental organization, instead of running messages of certain circles, should have an objective approach to each and every Member-State, make correct assessment of the positive results achieved within the framework of cooperation, and support dialogue between the civil society and authorities," the group said.

    The CoE secretary's announcement also disappointed public and political circles in the country, who regarded Jagland's decision as part of the dirty game played by anti-Azerbaijani forces.

    The CoE was called to foster constructive cooperation, rather than breaking it. If the organization is really interested in ensuring the protection of human rights and the preservation of democracy in the country, it needs to bolster ties.

    Azerbaijan as a young democracy has always stated its readiness to adopt measures that will protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The country has always been open to criticism and is ready to cooperate with all European democratic institutions in this regard.

    Before making such statements, Jagland was to take in mind that the CoE is not an NGO that can take such emotional decisions. As an organization that presents itself as a true guard of universal democratic values, Jagland would be better off insisting in further interaction in the name of protecting human rights.

    In 2005, the Joint Working Group on human rights issues, composed of representatives of human rights organizations was established in Azerbaijan. Despite the fact that anti-Azerbaijani forces prevented dialogue between civil society and the authorities in Azerbaijan and succeeded in terminating the activities of the working group, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev demonstrated goodwill to Jagland's offer and agreed to restore the Joint Working Group in 2014.

    Jagland's groundless decision - taken under the influence of anti-Azerbaijani forces - is believed to affect only the credibility of the CoE as such manipulations cannot create obstacles to the development of human rights and continuing dialogue between civil society and authorities in Azerbaijan.

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  • Nagorno-Karabakh conflict promises widespread terror in South Caucasus
    09.10.2015 11:30
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sevil Mikayilova

    While the international community is focused on the hot points like Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict '" frozen in the crossroad of Europe and Asia for many years '" continues to remain in the background.

    However, this situation is quite dangerous and could result in igniting the conflict into a more severe form and to new scale. One should not forget that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict itself has many years of ''experience'' and separatist regimeв's actions in re-igniting this fire will be a source of danger and instability not only for Azerbaijan, but also for neighbor countries.

    It is no secret that a complete lack of control reins in those areas and as contemporary history shows, such an environment is favorable for the proliferation of terrorism and other dangerous tendencies. Ideologists never miss such an opportunity.

    Armenia certainly is not interested in achieving peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, which it turned to a conflict zone, and holds quite a destructive position that is shattering the peace process.

    Serzh Sargsyan, who heads a military dictatorship, long ago demonstrated that he doesnв't recognize international law and is politically illiterate, as his criminal acts in the occupied territories have become public. Various terrorist and extremist groups are conducting training operations in these areas under the auspices of the Armenian government.

    The bloody conflict, which emerged over Armeniaв's illegal territorial claims against neighbor Azerbaijan, resulting in the occupation of 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territories, has not been settled yet even though over 25 years have been passed since. UN Security Council resolutions on the unconditional return of Azerbaijani territories have not yet been implemented and the international community even does not think to exert pressure on Armenia in this regard.

    Impunity and indifference make the Armenian government even more rampant and constant violations of the ceasefire reached in 1994 and repeated provocations on the front line have become a daily occurrence. Such a situation is in full compliance with a ''frozen'' status of the conflict.

    Taking a look to the history, one can see that no conflict remains frozen and ignites into a more severe form after a certain amount of time.

    The efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia and is engaged in the resolution of the conflict, have not yielded any results for over 20 years. In the meantime, the status quo has reached its limit. It seems that the establishment of peace and security in the South Caucasus region, where political interests intricately cross, isnв't of interest to some.

    In this case, the countries of the region should take the initiative and think about creating new format for the settlement of the conflict. It should be stressed that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be seen as a regional threat and its solution should be implemented as part of antiterrorism operations. The Armenian occupying forces must withdraw from Azerbaijani territories and a legitimate government must be restored on these lands. Otherwise, the world will face more severe and dangerous conflict.
  • Kazakhstan spends $367.5 million for forex intervention
    09.10.2015 11:29
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    The National Bank of Kazakhstan has spent $367.5 million on foreign exchange intervention since the beginning of October 2015.

    The Bank reported that these measures were needed in order to support the national currency, tenge.

    The National Bank of Kazakhstan conducted foreign exchange intervention on trading of Kazakh Stock Exchange JSC in the amount of $119.9 million on October 1.

    On October 2, foreign exchange intervention of the National Bank of Kazakhstan amounted to $106.5 million.

    Foreign exchange intervention of the National Bank of Kazakhstan amounted to $54.5 million on October 5, $20 million on October 6 and $66.6 million on October 7.

    Earlier, the National Bank of Kazakhstan continued its foreign exchange interventions at the auction of Kazakhstan Stock Exchange JSC in the amount of $225 million on September 30, in order to carry out foreign exchange intervention to stabilize the national currency, tenge.

    The Bank, with the aim of ensuring the implementation of a new monetary policy, canceled the currency corridor for the tengeв's rate and switched to an inflation targeting and free floating exchange rate on August 20.As a result, the tengeв's rate against the USD fell by 26 percent.

    In mid September, the National Bank of Kazakhstan said that it started to hold the foreign exchange intervention due to the increased of volatility of the exchange rate of tenge, which is due to speculative operations of participants of the currency market in the absence of objective and significant changes in fundamental macroeconomic factors.

    As a result of currency interventions, the tenge rate has increased from nearly 300KZT/1USD in mid-September to 270.89KZT/1USD as of October 1.
  • Azerbaijani MP candidates begin election campaigns
    09.10.2015 11:29
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9

    By Azer Niftiyev - Trend:

    The MP candidates taking part in the parliamentary election to be held in Azerbaijan Nov. 1, have today started their election campaigns.

    The candidates, as well as their authorized representatives and delegates can be engaged in the election campaign.

    The campaigns will stop 23 hours before the election, that is, on Oct. 31, at 08:00 Baku time (UTC/GMT 5 hours).

    As many as 1,233 people have been registered in Azerbaijan as MP candidates.

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  • Anadolu Agency reporter killed in ISIS bomb attack in Syria
    09.10.2015 11:28
    Anadolu Agency reporter Salih Mahmoud Leyla was killed in a car bomb attack near Aleppo on Thursday.

    Local sources said that Leyla died in a bomb attack which was carried out by ISIS terrorists.

    The AA correspondent was injured in June while he was covering the clashes in Aleppo's al-Zahra district and was brought to Turkey for treatment.

    Leyla's works covering the ongoing violence in northern Syria have been published on various international media outlets.

    Syria has become the world's most dangerous area for reporters. Reporters Without Borders counted 66 journalists killed only in 2014 while 119 were kidnapped and 178 were imprisoned.

    According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists' report at least 84 journalists have been killed since the fighting began in 2011.
  • Turkish PM rules out Syria solution with Assad at helm
    09.10.2015 11:18
    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has ruled out a Syrian transitional government with the Bashar al-Assad regime, saying that Syrians would not accept such a solution.

    Davutoglu's comments came during a live interview aired on Turkish private television network Star on Wednesday evening, Anadolu agency reports.

    Asked if Turkey's Syria policy could change if the situation deteriorated, Davutoglu said that it was out of the question.

    "In what areas do they expect us to be lenient regarding this policy? Even if we accepted a transition with Assad, would the Syrian people approve it? Would the people living in [refugee] camps believe that someone who drops bombs on them, and use chemical weapons could bring peace?

    "All this talk about a transition with Assad is easily said on paper and behind closed doors in diplomacy rooms... But who are you going to persuade?" the Turkish premier asked.

    Davutoglu also commented on Russia's military operation in Syria, saying that they would expect Russia not to be a party to the Syrian war as a "foreign force".

    He reiterated that Russia was not targeting Daesh, but moderate opposition groups.

    "We are facing a very dangerous situation. There is a foreign intervention in Syria today. The operations by coalition forces in which Turkey participated are against a terrorist organization and it didn't interfere with other factions that are fighting in Syria.

    "Yet, now unfortunately Russia is conducting 90 percent of its operation against moderate operations to comfort the Assad regime. And it is making a cosmetic intervention against Daesh; 55 of 57 of its air operations are against oppositional forces. The military intelligence we have indicates that; only two of the operations were against Daesh," he said.

    As for the upcoming early general election on Nov. 1, Davutoglu vowed not to leave the country without a government, saying the goal of his Justice and Development (AK) Party was to come to power single-handedly.

    "Whatever I said [on the previous election] on June 7, I will say the same for the Nov. 1 election. We will not leave Turkey without a government and will not run from our responsibilities. [...] God willing, we will come to power single-handedly on the morning of Nov. 2," he said.

    Turkey is heading for an early general election after no party succeeded in creating a ruling coalition after the June 7 general election.

    More than 54 million people are eligible to vote on Nov. 1.

    Turkish nationals living abroad will begin casting their votes between Oct. 8 and 25 at embassies, consulates and border gates.
  • Ceasefire violations on Azerbaijani, Armenian troops' contact line continue
    09.10.2015 11:16
    Armenian military 57 times violated ceasefire on various parts of the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops over the past 24 hours.

    Azerbaijanв's Defense Ministry said Oct. 9 that Armenians opened fire from positions near the Tapgaragoyunlu and Gulustan villages of Goranboy district, the Seysulan and Goyarkh villages of Terter district, the Sarijali, Kangarli, Shikhlar and Yusifjanli villages of Agdam district, the Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, the Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Veyselli, Gorgan and Garakhanbeyli villages of Fuzuli district.

    Armenian military was also firing at Azerbaijani positions from nameless heights in the Goygol, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts.

    In view of the operational situation, Azerbaijani armed forces inflicted 57 strikes on enemy positions, said the ministry.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

  • Bryza: Not allowing a PACE rapporteur to visit Karabakh is a strange decision
    09.10.2015 11:16
    Former US ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza has commented on the decision of representatives of the established separatist regime on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh after their refusal to allow Robert Walter, the Rapporteur of the PACE, to visit the region.

    "In my experience, it's a very unusual situation that the forces which control occupied Nagorno-Karabakh refused such a famous man in the world as Robert Walter to visit this region. In addition, both parties should be interested in the report of this expert," said Matthew Bryza in an exclusive interview for Vestnik Kavkaza.
  • Depreciation of Kazakh tenge can put Samruk-Kazynaв's financials under pressure - Fitch
    09.10.2015 11:07
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Fitch Ratings international rating agency has affirmed Kazakhstan-based JSC Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna's (SK) Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB ', Long-term local currency IDR at 'A-', National Long-term rating at 'AAA(kaz)' and Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F2', the message from the rating agency said Oct.9.

    The outlooks on the long-term ratings are Stable.

    Fitch has also affirmed SK's senior unsecured domestic bonds at Long-term local currency 'A-' and at National Long-term 'AAA(kaz)'.

    "The affirmation of the IDRs and senior debt ratings reflects SK's unchanged strategic importance, and its special legal status as a sovereign wealth fund and the state's key asset management company, 100 percent owned by Kazakhstan (BBB /A-/Stable)," said the message.

    Samruk-Kazyna's ratings are equalized with those of Kazakhstan, which reflects SK's status as an extension of the government in managing its strategic assets, tight control by the government and 100 percent state ownership, according to the Fitch Ratings.

    They also reflect the fund's strong operational and financial integration with the sovereign, said the message.

    Samruk-Kazyna manages stakes in the country's strategic companies in prime sectors of the local economy, i.e. oil and gas, electricity, mining, transportation and other sectors. SK's portfolio covers 31 second-tier companies, which in turn consisted of 593 entities at end-2014.

    Fitch views the government's control and oversight over SK's operations as strong. SK's board comprises key national ministers, as well as independent directors and is chaired by the republic's prime minister. The state mandates SK's key policies on debt, dividends and investments, appoints its audit committee and external auditor, monitors and controls the use of government funds allocated to the entity.

    In Fitch's view, SK is highly integrated with the national budgetary system. The government uses SK as a financing vehicle to channel funding to shareholding companies in its portfolio, and as a guarantor in viable economic projects.

    To fulfill its quasi-fiscal role, SK has received subsidized government loans and equity injections, as well as subsidized loans from the National Bank and the National Fund since inception in 2008. These funds were mostly passed through to subsidiaries to aid more efficient asset management of SK's portfolio.

    Fitch rates the fund as a standalone entity and does not factor in group obligations. SK's debt is not referenced in the state budget. However, its debt obligations are viewed by the government as moral obligation of the state and considered as quasi-sovereign liabilities.

    Fitch notes that the recent depreciation of tenge in August 2015 could put the group's consolidated financials under pressure in 2015-2016, due to increased forex risk.

    "To mitigate this our baseline assumes extraordinary support from the sovereign would be forthcoming for SK," said the message.

    Fitch reminded that SK divested some of its stakes in distressed financial institutions, although its portfolio remains large.

    Following the divestment and after certain development institutions were transferred to Baiterek (BBB /F2/Stable) in 2013 SK should become more focused on profit-generating subsidiaries, said the message.

    A positive rating action could result from an upgrade of Kazakhstan. Conversely, a negative rating action on Kazakhstan or a weakening of the fund's links with the state would lead to a downgrade.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

  • Saudi Arabia adjusting to new reality of cheap oil
    09.10.2015 11:06
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 8

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    Saudi Arabia, the world largest oil exporter, is now adjusting to the new reality of cheap oil.

    Recent reports surfacing that Saudi Arabia is to undertake a significant fiscal squeeze come as little surprise and support the view that, although the country's economy has held up well this year, GDP growth looks set to slow in 2016-17, according to Jason Tuvey, Middle East Economist at British economic research and consulting company Capital Economics.

    Saudi Arabia is ordering a series of cost-cutting measures as the slide in oil prices weighs on the kingdom's budget, Bloomberg reported with the reference to two people familiar with the matter.

    The finance ministry told government departments not to contract any new projects and to freeze appointments and promotions in the fourth quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn't public.

    It also banned buying vehicles or furniture, or agreeing any new property rentals and told officials to speed up the collection of oil revenue, they said.

    "The announcement of such measures comes as little surprise given that the Kingdom is grappling with a more than 50 percent plunge in oil prices (oil accounts for almost 90 percent of government revenues) and a budget deficit that is likely to widen to an eye-watering 20 percent of GDP this year," Tuvey said in a report obtained by Trend.

    For now, these measures only apply for the remainder of this fiscal year, but they may well set the tone for 2016, he noted.

    "These measures provide the first evidence that policy in the Kingdom is now being adjusted to match the new reality of cheap oil," Tuvey said.

    And given the heavy reliance on government spending to fuel the economy, this simply reinforces the view that growth will slow over the coming years, according to the economist.

    Oil prices have been experiencing dramatic fall since the middle of 2014. The position of Saudi Arabia, which is the largest producer and exporter within OPEC, has been an obstacle in cartel's quota reduction, which could have somehow stabilized oil prices.

    The International Monetary Fund expects Saudi government spending in 2015 to remain elevated despite a sharp decline in oil prices which could put pressure on government finances, resulting in a surge in fiscal deficit. Saudi Arabia's government is projected to run a fiscal deficit of about 20 per cent of GDP in 2015, according to IMF.

    Real GDP growth is projected to slow to 2.8 percent this year, and then further to 2.4 percent in 2016 as government spending begins to adjust to the lower oil price environment.

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  • Azerbaijan, Iran to launch cargo transportation route (exclusive)
    09.10.2015 11:06
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 7

    By Temkin Jafarov, Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    Azerbaijani-Iranian working group on analysis of the current situation and the coordination of positions regarding the North-South railway project will consider the option of a new route of cargo transportation within the framework of the project, Director General of the Department of International Relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR) Abbas Nazari told Trend Oct.6.

    He said that discussion of the new cargo transportation route will become one of the important tasks of the working group.

    "Currently, a railway from the Persian Gulf to the port of Amirabad on the Caspian Sea operates in Iran," said Nazari. "From there, trains will be transported on the ferry to the port of Baku, and after that, they will be sent to Russia and Georgia via the railway again."

    He went on to add that this route was agreed upon at the level of heads of railways of Iran and Azerbaijan.

    "The working group should discuss and analyze technical issues in the implementation of such a route," said the head of the department. "Over 4,000 trucks run every year between Azerbaijan and Iran, and the opening of this corridor will transform Azerbaijan and Iran to important transit countries for Russia, Georgia, the Gulf states and India."

    North-South railway will connect Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will serve as a bridge to connect the railways of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

    This project envisages creating a border railway bridge between Iranian and Azerbaijani Astara, as well as laying 8-kilometer-long branch on Azerbaijan's territory.

    The railway's capacity will stand at 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million metric tons of cargo per year, according to the preliminary estimations. As many as 22 tunnels and 15 bridges will be built throughout the railway.

    The volume of cargo transportation through the corridor will amount to 6 million metric tons at the initial stage and will reach 15-20 million metric tons in the future.


    Follow the authors on Twitter: @JafarovTemkin , @MaksimTsurkov

    Stay up to date with latest Iran news on our specialized Facebook page

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  • Baku hosts conference of Turkic intelligence services
    09.10.2015 10:57
    Baku hosted the 18th session of the Conference of Turkic intelligence services.

    Oxu.Az reports that the event was attended by representatives of the security bodies and special services of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    High-ranking officials of the respective services of Russia, Ukraine and Georgia were represented in the session as observers.

    During the event it was noted that the National Security Ministry of Azerbaijan regularly draws the attention of the international structures to the fact that for expansion of their criminal activity and creation of uncontrolled zones, the terrorist organizations set such strategic goals as the seizure of the territories of different countries. The heavy implications of this threat have already been proved on the example of the policy of state terrorism and aggressive separatism of Armenia against Azerbaijan.

    "For this reason, the soonest resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will create conditions for closer and multifaceted cooperation between the special services. In the future, such a close cooperation will help prevent the threat posed by the illegal armed formations, such as ISIL that the world community is now encountering. By acting in the territory of several states and trying to expand its circle of influence, this organization continues to pose a serious threat to stability in the world," National Security Minister Elmar Mahmudov said.

    He also noted that he highly appreciates the growing cooperation between the bodies of security and special services of the Turkic-speaking states and noted the importance of exchanging information and experience in the sphere of rational provision of national security of the cooperating parties. The Minister expressed confidence that the 18th session of the Conference will have a positive impact on the joint cooperation and raise effectiveness of professional relations between the special services of the states.

    Speaking at the session, head of the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey Hakan Fidan spoke about prospects of cooperation of the special bodies in the sphere of raising effectiveness of fight against terrorism and other transnational crimes. The director of the Kazakh external intelligence service Gabit Baijanov stressed the importance of adopting measures against the processes of radicalization, creating the ground for terrorism and strengthening joint fight against any manifestations of extremism.

    The speeches and multimedia presentations of other participants were greeted with interest in the event, discussions were held on intensification of cooperation in fighting transnational organized crime, ways of improving the exchange of operative information about the different threats and crimes, and other issues of mutual concern.

    A final protocol on results of the session was signed by the end of the event. The next session was scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan next year.
  • Ceasefire violations on Azerbaijani, Armenian troops' contact line continue
    09.10.2015 10:38
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 9


    Armenian military 57 times violated ceasefire on various parts of the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops over the past 24 hours.

    Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said Oct. 9 that Armenians opened fire from positions near the Tapgaragoyunlu and Gulustan villages of Goranboy district, the Seysulan and Goyarkh villages of Terter district, the Sarijali, Kangarli, Shikhlar and Yusifjanli villages of Agdam district, the Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, the Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Veyselli, Gorgan and Garakhanbeyli villages of Fuzuli district.

    Armenian military was also firing at Azerbaijani positions from nameless heights in the Goygol, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts.

    In view of the operational situation, Azerbaijani armed forces inflicted 57 strikes on enemy positions, said the ministry.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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  • Pentagon chief warns of Russia casualties in Syria
    09.10.2015 10:21
    US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday predicted Russia would soon begin suffering casualties in Syria.

    Russia began bombing in Syria last week, radically changing the course of the four-and-a-half-year conflict and providing a massive boost to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

    But the military campaign "will have consequences for Russia itself, which is rightly fearful of attacks," Carter said.

    "In the coming days, the Russians will begin to suffer from casualties."

    In a major development, Russia fired cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea on Wednesday as cover for a Syrian army ground offensive.

    Carter said Moscow has been reckless in its military commitment, risking clashes with US and other planes targeting Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria as part of a 60-plus member coalition.

    "They have shot cruise missiles from a ship in the Caspian Sea without warning; they have come within just a few miles (kilometres) of one of our unmanned aerial vehicles," Carter said.

    NATO diplomatic sources said Moscow gave no advance warning of the cruise missile strikes, which came as a complete surprise.

    A Syrian general said the Russian intervention had weakened IS and other opponents of Assad, but Washington insists the vast majority of Moscow's strikes have targeted Western-backed moderate opposition groups.

    "There's a pattern of saying one thing and doing another" by the Russians, Carter said.

    "They said they were going to fight (Islamic State) but that doesn't match up with the targets."

    Russia has justified its intervention in Syria as part of global efforts to fight "terrorists" and also to target Russian jihadists who may one day attack their own country.

    Like Carter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of a "troubling escalation" in Russian military activity in Syria.

    "We will assess the latest developments and their implications for the security of the alliance," Stoltenberg said.

    Russia's defence ministry said Thursday that its warplanes had conducted 22 flights overnight, striking "27 terrorist targets".
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