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Georgian government to change law on occupied territories
07.02.2013 17:06
Georgia, Tbilisi, Feb. 7 /Trend, N. Kirtskhalia/

The Georgian government is going to change its law on occupied territories, State Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili told journalists after a governmental meeting on Thursday.

He said according to the current law, foreign nationals who enter Georgia through Abkhazia and South Ossetia are immediately detained.

"Criminal cases are initiated against them and they serve sentences in Georgian prisons. We consider this is unfair, as many citizens of Azerbaijan and Armenia returning home through Georgia were imprisoned," Zakareishvili said.

He stressed that the new law requires punishment for the first time violators of the law, which does not allow visits to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a manner not agreed upon with the government.

"If the violation is repeated, criminal case will be initiated," he said.

Today, the Georgian Government approved this proposal.

Large scale military actions were launched in South Ossetia in Georgia on August 8, 2008. Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia late in August. Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow in response and has declared the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

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    Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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    Edited by CN


    Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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    Edited by CN

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    Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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    Follow the author on Twitter @Emilsmail

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    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

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    Edited by CN

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    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

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    Edited by CN

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    30.01.2015 18:00 soleimani.jpg soleimani.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Major General Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the al Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), paid a visit Thursday to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and several senior Hezbollah officials.

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    The strike took place on Jan. 18 in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line separating the Israeli and Syrian sectors. Five Hezbollah fighters including the son of the group's slain military commander, Imad Mughniyeh were also killed in the attack.

    The attack, targeting two vehicles traveling in the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights, came days after Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said Israeli strikes in Syria constituted serious aggression and that Syria and its allies had a right to respond.

    Edited by CN

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  • ''Ganja-2016: The Vision of The Future'' forum to be held in March
    30.01.2015 17:55
    "Ganja-2016: The Vision of The Future" forum is to be held in March.

    The "Ganja -2016: The Vision of The Future" forum will be held in Baku and Ganja on March 1-5, 2015 with the participation of National Councils of Youth Organizations of past European Youth Capital countries by National Assembly of Youth Organizations of Republic Azerbaijan (NAYORA), Youth Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan, AzerTag reports.

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    Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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    By Amina Nazarli

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  • Russian journalist claims he knows identity of Putin's daughter
    30.01.2015 17:20
    Vladimir Putin's 'secret' daughter is an acrobatic rock 'n' roll-dancing businesswoman and scientist,according to a Moscow journalist, SIA reports citing the Daily Mail.

    Ekaterina Tikhonova, 28, is claimed to be one of Putin's two daughters who until now has been mystery figures to Russians, who are not allowed to see pictures of or know about the personal lives of the President's children.

    It is claimed Putin's youngest daughterEkaterina is using her mother's maiden name,Tikhonova, and hasbeen put in charge of a ВЈ1.1billion expansion of Moscow State University.

    Journalist Oleg Kashin suggests that in reality that she has a number of faces - as befits the daughter of a former KGB spy - including the vice president of the world confederation of Acrobatic Rock 'n' Roll.

    A listing for dancer Yekaterina Tikhonova showed her birthday as 31 August 1986, the same date as Putin's younger daughter.

    Her middle name or patronymic is Vladimirovna, indicating her father's name is Vladmir.

    Tikhonova was also the Russian President's ex-wife Lyudmila's maiden name.

    Extraordinary footage has emerged of her enthusiastically high-kicking on the dance floor with male partner Ivan Klimov - but this is evidently not her only role, though it was sufficient to see the claims go viral.

    Tikhonova attended this month's World Economic Forum in Davos along with other members of Russia's golden youth, the offspring of influential figures, it was claimed.

    And she is in charge of the ВЈ1.1 billion expansion of Moscow State University (MSU), while serving as a member of the institution's scientific council.

    She appears in a number of university pictures at official ceremonies but has not been acknowledged as Putin's daughter though she appears strikingly similar in looks to Lyudmila.

    Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted saying: 'I do not know who she is. I cannot deny it, because I do not know.

    'Until now, many girls said that they were daughters of Vladimir Putin'.

    In a rare glimpse into his private life, Putin in November revealed both is adult daughters Maria and Yekaterina live in Russia - despite rumours they were domiciled abroad - but that he sees them only 'once or twice a month'.

    During his time in power, he has refused to reveal any details of their lives.

    Both are known to have attended a German international school in Moscow before quitting when he was appointed head of the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

    Koshin's theory was not confirmed by the Kremlin last night, and why the claims appeared now - as Russia is hit by severe economic woes caused in part by Western sanctions - is unclear.

    The journalist even suggested she could emerge as Putin's successor.

    'After fifteen years of hiding his daughter, he suddenly discovered that she is his last hope.

    'There's no one else, and, apparently, no matter how much she wanted to dance, her biography will develop now according to the interests of the state,' he wrote.

    Bloggers predicted Kashin would face a new attack, after already spending time in hospital after being beaten up several years ago.
  • NATO not to recognize Donetsk, Luhansk republics
    30.01.2015 17:15
    NATO cannot declare the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics to be terrorist organizations, the alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Friday, SIA reports with refrence to TASS.

    Stoltenberg told a news conference there is no way for NATO to do it.

    The secretary-general stressed that NATO condemns the violence in eastern Ukraine, adding that the alliance calls on all parties to the conflict to do what they can to uphold the Minsk agreements and to reach a peaceful solution.

    He also highlighted the increased need for a political dialogue in eastern Ukraine.

    Ukraineв's parliament on Tuesday adopted in the first reading a bill on amendments to declare the self-proclaimed republics terrorist organizations. The lawmakers also called on the international community to follow their example. However, the initiative didn't get international support. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Wednesday refused to declare the self-proclaimed republics terrorist organizations.
  • Search continues for suspects of Armeniaв's terrorist attacks against Azerbaijan
    30.01.2015 17:07
    The investigation into the criminal cases launched over terrorist attacks committed by Armenians against Azerbaijanis, APA reports.

    Deputy Prosecutor General, Military Prosecutor, Lieutenant-General of Justice Khanlar Valiyev said in his reporting speech during the board meeting at the Military Prosecutor's Office that 296 suspects of the Khojaly, Garadaghly, Meshaly, and Baghanis-Ayrem tragedies as well as torture against captives and other crimes committed by Armenian armed forces on the criminal case investigated under article 103 and other articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan which envisage responsibility for genocide. Intensive investigative operations are underway.

    Furthermore, the initiative of the Military Prosecutor's Office on the creation of the Genocide Memorial Museum at the administrative building of the Republican Military Prosecutors' Office in order to etch crimes against humanity and peace and mass killings committed with extreme cruelty and brutality by Armenian nationalists into the memory of history, let the world know biased truths about the Karabakh events, and provide solid evidence and detailed information to future generations in this regard was approved, and Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov signed a relevant order on 19 July 2013. The museum then opened on 24 February 2014.

    The Genocide Memorial Museum contains rich historical documents dedicated to the memorial of tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis killed in the mass killings committed by Bolshevik-Armenian armed groups since the early 20th century as well as a rich literary fund consisting of a wide range of books by Azerbaijani and foreign authors about the genocide, deportation and war crimes committed against our people.
  • Blast at Pakistani mosque killed 29
    30.01.2015 17:00
    Attacks against religious minorities have been on the rise in Pakistan, where radical Sunni Islamist groups often target mosques frequented by Shi'ites, whom they see as infidels.

    At least 29 people were killed, and more than 50 wounded, in an explosion that ripped through a crowded Shi'ite mosque in Pakistan on Friday, underscoring a growing tide of sectarian violence in the South Asian nation.

    According to police, it was unclear what caused the explosion during Friday prayers at the mosque in the busy center of Shikarpur, a city in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh.

    Part of the mosque collapsed after the explosion, burying some of the wounded under rubble. Bystanders pulled them out and piled them into cars for the journey to hospital.

    "The death toll has now reached 29," Shaukat Memon, a doctor at a city hospital, told Reuters. More than 50 people were wounded, officials said.
  • US embassy announces date of new ambassadorв's arrival to Azerbaijan
    30.01.2015 17:00
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Anakhanim Hidayatova - Trend:

    The newly appointed ambassador of the US to Azerbaijan, Robert Cekuta, will arrive in Baku on Feb. 12, the US Embassy in Azerbaijan tweeted Jan. 30.

    The US Senate approved the candidacy of Robert Cekuta as the new ambassador to Azerbaijan on Dec.16, 2014.

    Cekuta's recent overseas assignments include Tokyo (2007 - 2009) and Berlin (2003 - 2007) where he led the US government's participation in the full range of economic issues.

    Cekuta's activity as Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the US embassy in Germany covered counter-terrorism activities and efforts to combat international crime. He also served as the Senior Advisor for Food Security in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs and as the Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Economic and Development Affairs at the US embassy in Kabul.

    Moreover, Cekuta served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the US Trade Representative from 1999 to 2000. He was also a Special Negotiator for Biotechnology in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs in 2002.

    Cekuta received a BS from Georgetown University, an M.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an M.A. from the National Defense University.

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  • Will Turkey play trump-ard at big "gas" table?
    30.01.2015 16:52
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:

    Turkey continues playing a trump-card of its geographical location on the border between Europe and Asia. Russia wants to supply additional volumes of gas to the European market via the so-called "Turkish Stream" through Turkey.

    A statement by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz that after determining the route of the lsquo;Turkish Stream' gas pipeline, a healthy competition has begun between this gas pipeline and the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project (TANAP), implemented by Azerbaijan as part of gas supplies to Europe, the next move was made.

    Along with Azerbaijan, Turkey urged Turkmenistan to join the TANAP project, which is part of the "Southern Gas Corridor", during a meeting of foreign ministers of the three countries in Ashgabat.

    Given the recent surprising events on the gas market, Turkmenistan's joining the Southern Gas Corridor is not far away, and this idea has its logical confirmation.

    Firstly, back in 1999, Turkey and Turkmenistan signed a contract for the supply of 15.6 billion cubic meters of gas. Secondly, the proposal of Turkmenistan's joining TANAP was already announced during last year's visit of the Turkish president to Ashgabat.

    To deliver Turkmenistan's energy resources to Europe, a gas pipeline of only 300 kilometers must be built. The construction of a pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea will allow to deliver Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan and then to transport it to the European market through Georgia and Turkey.

    In fact, it is much easier to implement the project of construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline compared to the Turkish Stream, because of the lesser work volume required.

    We can recall the statement of the Russian side that the Turkish stream will pass 660 kilometers in the old corridor of South Stream and 250 kilometers in the new corridor (towards the European part of Turkey).

    Accordingly, the construction costs will be significantly lower in the first case. On the other hand, only preliminary calculations have been made for the Turkish Stream, while there is significant development within the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project which has long been considered.

    The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project is not a pipedream and it can be easily implemented after reaching a clear agreement. The proof here is that real work is underway within the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion project, construction of TANAP and TAP which will allow the Caspian Sea gas to enter Europe.

    Moreover, the European Union, which is interested in the diversification of the gas supply routes and sources bypassing Russia, pays great attention to the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project.

    Although Turkmenistan exports its gas in three directions - to Russia, China and Iran - the creation of the western route can open a completely new page in this country's development history.

    Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that it is ready for the transit of Turkmen gas. On the other hand, Europe is ready to receive that gas, while Turkmenistan, which most likely hasn't yet received an attractive offer, still says it is ready to sell gas (up to 40 billion cubic meters per year) on its own border.

    However, even the absence of a decision on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline doesn't stop the Turkish side, which has long aspired for the EU, and now it has a chance to win back.

    Even given the fact that Turkey is a strategic partner of Azerbaijan, in the current condition in the gas market it is trying to snatch a bigger piece of the pie, resorting to open speculation and being drawn deeper into this rather complicated game...

    Edited by SI


    Emil Ismayilov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @Emilsmail

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  • Restoration of Kazakhstan-Russia customs posts benefits some businessmen
    30.01.2015 16:50
    Astana, Kazakhstan, Jan. 30

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    The idea of restoring the customs posts between Kazakhstan and Russia is advantageous for a few businessmen, not ready for the competition, Kazakh political analyst, head of "World of Eurasia" public fund Eduard Poletayev said.

    "The customs post principle does not fully coincide with the trend in the post-Soviet area," he told Trend. "Some experts think that the restoration of customs posts on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia will protect the interests of few businessmen, suffering from the competition with Russian goods."

    Poletayev was commenting on the recent debate in connection with the depreciation of the Russian ruble rate and mass purchase of goods by Kazakhs in neighboring Russia.

    He said that the majority of the population welcomes the customs post elimination because it is possible to freely move between the countries following the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) establishment.

    The director of the Macroeconomic Research Center Olzhas Kudaibergenov urged the Kazakh authorities to restore the customs borders with Russia.

    "It is necessary to do this to maintain the Kazakh economy in the current difficult situation and to protect the markets from the influx of Russian products due to the rapid collapse of the Russian currency," he said.

    Khudaibergenov said that Kazakhstan, after the collapse of the Russian ruble, needs to return the customs posts, which were abolished during creation of the Customs Union, to the Russian-Kazakh border.

    "We should restore customs posts and set quotas for products-competitors," Khudaibergenov said earlier at a press conference. "Such a measure will help to protect the economy of Kazakhstan and allow keeping a record of ruble movements. In the current situation it would be logical if Russia itself offered to Kazakhstan to restore the customs borders so that the problems in its economy wouldn't spill over to its partners in the Eurasian Union. Otherwise, the discussions about leaving the EAU will become more substantive and resolute."

    In his opinion, such measure as the restoration of customs posts may be temporary - for two years, with the possibility of extension for another year.

    In turn, Poletayev believes that such measure will facilitate the existence of only those members of the domestic business, which were in greenhouse conditions prior to January 1, 2015.

    He recalled that the customs posts within the EAU have been eliminated in order to ensure the principle of the four freedoms: capital, people, goods and technologies.

    "If you remember, the head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev warned the business about the need to be more competitive, but not all listened and had time to find their way in the new environment," Poletayev said.

    The ideas on restoring the customs posts emerged after the Eurasian Economic Union started operating in what has become a difficult time for Russia's economy [decrease in the prices for oil and raw materials, sanctions], according to the expert.

    "The Eurasian Economic Union hasn't still sufficiently outgrown the Customs Union," he said. "It is a small child who hasn't grown up yet."

    "All that is going on now are the remains of the Customs Union, therefore, it is too early to scold the Eurasian Economic Union," said the expert.

    The prices will rise soon in Russia as well, according to Poletayev.

    The Treaty of the Eurasian Economic Union does allow Kazakhstan to set customs posts in several cases. Member states have the right to impose restrictions in the mutual trade in goods if such restrictions are necessary for protection of the human life and health, public morality, law and order, environment, animals and plants, cultural values, fulfillment of the international obligations and ensuring the country's defense and security of the member states. However, such restrictions are not the means of unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction of trade.

    Edited by CN

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  • NATO to help Georgia achieve its goals
    30.01.2015 16:49
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 30

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    NATO will assist Georgia in achieving its goals, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said at a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

    Vershbow said that he will review the site for the NATO training center construction Jan. 30.

    "Together with Garibashvili we discussed the issue of opening a joint training center," he said. "I intend to review the site. Georgia and we share the idea that the center must begin working by late 2015. This will enable Georgia to strengthen the defense capability and security sector by the end of the year."

    "The training center will be designed for other NATO allies and partners," he said. "Georgia's geography and the high level of training of its armed forces create an opportunity to hold trainings. We have not yet completed the process. I have planned other meetings. These are common efforts. We will help Georgia in achieving its goals."

    Edited by CN

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  • Georgian Deputy PMs to visit Ukraine
    30.01.2015 16:49
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 30

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian Deputy Prime Ministers - Minister of Energy Kakha Kaladze and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kvirikashvili will pay a working visit to Ukraine Jan. 30.

    During the visit the bilateral meetings are planned to be held with representatives of the Ukrainian government, the State Chancellery of Georgia told Trend.

    In particular, the meetings will be held with Ukrainian Minister of Economic Development and Trade Aivaras AbromaviДЌius and Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vladimir Demchishin.

    The sides will discuss the economic cooperation issues.

    The Georgian government members' visit to Ukraine was planned long ago. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's visit was also planned but the date of the visit was postponed several times.

    Edited by CN

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  • EY holds tax breakfast seminar in Baku
    30.01.2015 16:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.30


    EY Azerbaijan held a tax breakfast seminar at the Quba Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotels Baku on 30 January 2015. The seminar was led by EY's recognized tax professionals. Over 100 participants from major companies operating in various sectors of the economy attended the seminar.

    Arzu Hajiyeva, EY Tax amp; Law Partner, welcomed the guests with an opening speech and introduced the agenda. Ms. Hajiyeva noted that EY planned and developed the seminar to tackle the most recent changes in tax, labor and migration legislation. Ms. Hajiyeva also shared some of the most widespread new tax practice trends.

    Zaur Gurbanov, EY Tax amp; Law Manager, was the main presenter during the seminar.

    "To sum up the situation in one sentence, this year's tax code amendments have indirectly exempted individuals from Road Tax liability; on the other side they have ended the era of fully exempt interest income for individuals" - Zaur Gurbanov

    "Connoisseurs of luxury will be affected by the rise of the excise tax on cars with high capacity engines, precious metals and on diamonds," said Zaur Gurbanov.

    The presentations and discussions also provided insight into front-line tax compliance issues. The seminar continued the focus on new tendencies in property tax reassessment and the involvement of valuators as well as other frequent issues triggering tax risks.

    Seminar participants asked questions throughout the seminar and gave positive feedback about the presentation, showing appreciation for the work EY did as host of the event.

    "Presentations dedicated to recent updates gave the practical answers to the issues we face in business processes. I appreciate EY for such detailed information. And I also enjoyed the positive networking and format of the session", shared Jeyhun Abdullayev, Chief Financial Officer of Ata Holding.

    "During the session we had the opportunity to discuss different practical matters and focus on issues that claim attention", said Khangiz Aslanova, Legal and Tax Advisor of Total Eamp;P Azerbaijan.

    "It has become a tradition for me to participate in EY Tax events. EY has already proved its value in Tax services and today we see another evidence of this. I enjoy the whole presentation and the Tax practice part was particularly interesting", added Aynur Sultanli, Tax Advisor of Statoil.

    EY was happy to see all the participants at the seminar and thanked everyone for their time and consideration!

    EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

    EY is expanding its services and resources in accordance with clients' needs throughout the CIS. 4,800 professionals work at 21 offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Baku, Vladivostok, Ekaterinburg, Almaty, Astana, Kazan, Kyiv, Tashkent, Minsk, Tbilisi, and other locations.

    EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of EY Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. EY Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

    EY made a major commitment to Azerbaijan and the region with the opening of our office in Baku 20 years ago. Today, in addition to being the leading audit firm in Azerbaijan, we are the leading firm in the region. Because of our experience and depth of knowledge, we have been able to assist both domestic and international companies as well as state-owned entities in developing and in facing the challenges of the international economy.

    2014 was the 20th anniversary of EY in Azerbaijan. We currently have more than 170 staff in our Baku practice, who serves our clients in Azerbaijan. EY's strength in the Caspian Region and the firm's commitment of resources are important to the entities operating in the region. It means that as we grow, EY will continue to demonstrate a tradition of hiring and training local professionals to be leaders in our practice.

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  • NATO, Georgia plan to open joint training center
    30.01.2015 16:40
    /By AzerNews/

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    A NATO high-ranking official called on Georgian political leadership to press ahead with the European path by maintaining high standard reforms.

    Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General, met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on January 29 to talk over the country's recent reforms and partnership with NATO.

    "Georgia might become a security exporter country which is reaffirmed by its important military involvement in different peacekeeping missions," Vershbow said.

    He noted that NATO sees an almost mature democracy in Georgia and calls on the country to continue moving in this direction.

    "I also want to call on every party, every Georgian citizen to cooperate with each other for creating a better future for Georgia and its democratization of institutions. I evaluate positively the reforms that have been implemented and that are prioritized by the government, including the defense reform, rule of law and improving governance on every level,'' Vershbow added.

    He also said the NATO-Georgia training center could be opened in Georgia by the end of this year. Vershbow put a special stress on Georgia's commitment to implementation of the NATO-offered substantial package.

    "The package will prepare Georgia for membership at the alliance. I will visit the place, where the centre might be established. Both NATO and Georgia support the idea that the center should start operating by the end of this year, so that Georgiaв's defense and security capabilities will be strengthened,'' he said.

    Garibashvili, in turn, thanked Vershbow for his personal contribution to the process of Georgiaв's Euro-Atlantic integration and implementation of the substantial package.

    "We agree that timely and effective implementation of the support package will bring us closer in pursuing our ultimate goal of alliance membership," Garibashvili said.

    He added that Georgia appreciate the alliance's support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for the productive engagement in the non-recognition policy of Georgia's occupied territories

    Vershbow arrived in Georgia on a two-day official visit on January 29. He has already met with Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration David Bakradze and Defence Minister Mindia Janalidze.
  • Shakira's baby name revealed
    30.01.2015 16:33
    Celebrations are in order for Shakira and Gerard PiquГ© whose second baby boy arrived at 10pm local time on 29 January in Barcelona. Their son, born by caesarean section, is called Sasha, the player's proud grandfather has confirmed. Amador BernabГ©u told reporters that he had seen a photo of the baby, who supposedly looks like Gerard.

    "He's called Sasha which is Alexander in Russian," said Amador. "They've told me he looks like Gerard. (Their first son) Milan looked like Shakira when he was born but this one looks more like his father."

    The grandad hasn't had a chance to see his new great-grandson because of a pressing engagement on Thursday. At midday he had an appointment to make Sasha a member of Barcelona FC, where Gerard plays, just as he did for Milan.

    The birth comes two years after Milan made his debut in the very same hospital. The toddler turned two on 22 January and his parents both have their birthday on 2 February, making this a very special time in the PiquГ©-Mebarak household. Pop princess Shak will be 38, while her partner will be 28.

    Expectation had been high in Catalonia with reporters camped outside the city's Teknon Clinic as early as Tuesday. However, the couple kept up their normal routine, with Gerard training as usual and even travelling to Madrid for a match on Wednesday.

    However, on Thursday evening the duo slipped quietly into hospital by a side door, followed shortly afterwards by the singer's brother.

    The couple asked followers to donate money to UNICEF, an idea they had when expecting Milan. Their first Virtual Baby Shower in 2013 was a huge success; over 80,000 children were vaccinated against polio, nearly four tons of therapeutic food helped children suffering from malnutrition, plus around 1,000 anti-malaria bed nets and nearly 200,000 oral rehydration salts sachets were distributed.

    UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira was hoping fans would be just as generous this time around.

    Ahead of the birth, she said: "Now that we are soon welcoming our second child we want to help other children around the world and also contribute to a long-lasting solution for getting children living in extreme poverty the supplies they need to survive," she said.
  • Azerbaijani Ambassador to Italy meets Maltese businessmen
    30.01.2015 16:32
    Azerbaijani Ambassador to Italy Vagif Sadigov, who has got concurrent accreditation to Malta and San-Marino, has met Maltese businessmen at the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry as part of his working visit to Valletta.

    Addressing the event, the Ambassador highlighted the economic development of Azerbaijan as well as wide opportunities created in the country for foreign investors, AzerTag reports. He said there were a number of fields, which were open for foreign investment. Mr. Sadigov invited Maltese businessmen to Azerbaijan to get familiar with the economy of the country.

    He also touched upon Azerbaijan`s relations with the European Union and the country`s role in European energy security.

    Employee of the Embassy of Azerbaijan Zaur Gadimaliyev made a presentation on business and investment opportunities in Azerbaijan.

    During the trip, the Azerbaijani Ambassador also met Deputy President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry Anton Borg and Director General Kevin Borg. They exchanged views over prospects for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Malta. Mr. Sadigov proposed the organization of trade mission of representatives of Maltese companies in Azerbaijan.
  • Ziya Mammadov receives citizens
    30.01.2015 16:19
    Azerbaijan's Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov received residents of Barda, Agdam and Terter regions.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to AzerTag that the transport-related appeals of the residents were considered at the reception with participation of heads of other structures of the ministry.

    The residents' appeals were related to the repair of interregional and rural roads, bridges, as well as employment. Some issues were settled on the spot.

    Some of the issues were taken under control.

    The appeals not related to the Ministry's powers were registered for transfer to the respective structures.
  • INOGATE to develop electricity market between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey
    30.01.2015 16:11
    Agreement reached on providing of technical assistance of the new European Union through the INOGATE program to promote dialogue on the future development of a regional electricity market in the South Caucasus region.

    This is stated in the report on the INOGATE Programme website, reports.

    "Azerenergy" (Azerbaijan), "Georgian State Electricity System" (Georgia) and Turkish company "TEIAS" are invited to take part in such a dialogue over the next six months. Turkey participates in the project as an observer.

    INOGATE experts will provide practical guidance for the "Georgian state electrical system" for the further development and standardization of planning functions, and to "Azerenergy" JSC - with regard to legal and regulatory requirements for cross-border trade.

    The South Caucasus region is a problem area for cross-border cooperation in the power sector, taking into account the complex and delicate political balance in the region, INOGATE notes.

    "Considering that Turkey has completed the synchronous operation of the power system with its system of ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity), and Georgia is preparing to join the Energy Community Treaty, the applicability of some of the regulatory practices of the EU seems to be more effective and feasible than two years ago," the statement says.

    It is expected that the result of the dialogue will be the roadmap, agreed by three sides, for the future of the organization and functioning of the electricity market in the South Caucasus region.
  • Work underway to provide customs with modern control means
    30.01.2015 16:10
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The development of an appropriate legislation is among the main priorities of Azerbaijanв's State Customs Committee, Aydin Aliyev, SCC Chairman, Lieutenant General of Customs Service said.

    He said the SCC made a lot of work to improve the normative legal framework in the customs field in 2014.

    ''In particular, 'The rules of placing processing products under special customs procedureв', 'The rules governing the activities of customs representative officesв' and 'The rules of placing transit goods under the special customs procedureв' were developed and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, while a number of regulations were included to the state registry,'' Aliyev toldВ Trendon January 29.

    He noted that the SCC and its local structures took measures to improve the customs controls in the export and import operations, strengthening the fight against smuggling and customs rules violations.

    ''In this sense, the mobile customs offices, which simplify the control, are of great importance,'' he said. ''Last year, the activity of such offices unveiled over 352 cases of deviation of vehicles from the route or attempts for such deviation. Operative measures were taken in regards to such trucks.''

    The SCC chairman also said that in order to speed up the operations on customs control and increase their efficiency, work is underway to provide the customs authorities with modern technical control means.

    He also noted that measures adopted for the current year include an action plan for the development of SCC in 2012-2016.

    ''Relevant work will be made for executing the tasks set in the development concept 'Azerbaijan 2020: A Look into the Futureв', to further improve the 'single windowв' principle at the customs checkpoints in the country,'' said Aliyev.

    The ''single window'' principle has been in use at customs in Azerbaijan since January 1, 2009.

    Aliyev noted that in 2015, the government is expected to fully automate the customs procedures and to adopt measures for ensuring the timely consideration of citizensв' appeals. It will also make customs control in line with modern requirements, simplify customs procedures, strengthen financial discipline and combat customs offences, use widely modern information systems, expand the number of e-services, use the e-signature and VAIS system, and ensure the SCCв's integration in the state program "Electronic Azerbaijan".
  • Enjoy warm sun rays in February
    30.01.2015 15:56
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Many are now wondering what the weather has in store for Azerbaijan in the upcoming February. This comes as the beginning of January created a few problems for Azerbaijanis.

    And now, there is some good news from National Hydrometeorology Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

    This February is predicted to be warm enough for the winter month. The monthly precipitation will be close to normal in Azerbaijan and only sometimes will exceed the norm.

    The monthly average temperature will be 2-4 degrees C above zero in Baku and Absheron Peninsula.

    At night the temperature is expected to be 2-6 degrees C, however, in some days, the temperature may stand at 0-5 degrees C below zero.

    During days the temperature will be 7-12 degrees C and in some days from 2 degrees C above zero to 3 degrees C below zero.

    February will also please us with sunny warm days. So, sometimes in the afternoon the temperature will reach up to 15-18 degrees C above zero.

    The monthly precipitations will be close to normal in the capital of the country 21-24 mm.

    In a nutshell, in February the weather will cheer you up and warm your face with gentle rays of the sun.
  • Traders in Armenia make ultimatum to government
    30.01.2015 15:55
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30


    The representatives of small and medium-sized businesses in Armenia will temporarily cease their activities if the government doesn't suspend the lsquo;Law on Turnover Tax' before Feb. 1, the participants of a rally held near the presidential residence said, news website reported Jan. 30.

    On Jan. 31, traders will launch a process of submitting documents to the tax service for temporary suspension of business activity. Their applications will be collected and presented in one package to the government.

    Armenia's new lsquo;Law on Turnover Tax' stipulates that the rate of the turnover tax for small and medium-sized businesses gets reduced from 3.5 percent to one percent for trade entities.

    However, the traders are required to submit documents on the trade turnover to relevant authorities, otherwise they will be fined.

    However, the representatives of large business often do not provide documents about the products for small and medium entrepreneurs.

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  • Five more soldiers killed in fighting with rebels
    30.01.2015 15:55
    Ukraine's military reported more heavy fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine overnight into Friday and a spokesman said five Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the past 24 hours.

    A military statement said the rebels used mortar, "Grad" rocket systems and artillery in attacks on government positions at Debaltseve, an important rail junction in the east, and near Mariupol, a strategic city on the Sea of Azov coast.

    It said Kiev's forces were holding their positions but returning artillery and mortar fire when fired upon.

    "Ukraine lost five service personnel and another 23 were wounded during firing and military clashes in the past 24 hours," military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov said in a morning briefing.
  • Armenians join petition to recognize Serzh Sargsyan war criminal
    30.01.2015 15:53
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    A petition called "100,000 votes to recognize Serzh Sargsyan war criminal", has also been joined by the Armenians.

    The petition was initiated by a working group at the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan, to submit it to the UN Security Council.

    The main purpose of the petition is to recognize the direct participant of the events in Khojaly, Serzh Sargsyan as an international criminal.

    The working group plans to collect 100,000 votes on the petition in a short period of time.

    The petition is available on this page. In order to sign the petition, a registration on the website is required.

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  • Georgia approves action plan in youth policy
    30.01.2015 15:47
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 30

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgia's government approved an action plan for the state youth policy for 2015-2020, the Sport and Youth Affairs Ministry of Georgia told Trend Jan. 30.

    The plan is aimed at implementing the goals and objectives included to a document on state youth policy adopted in 2014.

    The plan stipulates the realization of over 200 projects, in particular in equal and inclusive participation of young people with specific needs; creation of infrastructure and adapted environment, which should ensure maximum involvement of young people with disabilities; expansion of sports infrastructure, etc.

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  • Iranian FM to be questioned by lawmakers on strolling with Kerry
    30.01.2015 15:35
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran's foreign minister will present himself before the country's parliament to answer 25 lawmaker's questions, most concerning his stroll in Switzerland with US Secretary of State John Kerry during the nuclear negotiations and about the negotiations themselves.

    According to IRNA, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be present in Parliament on Feb.3.

    Iran's ISNA agency reported Jan.25 that at least 25 Iranian MPs have signed a petition to question Zarif about his stroll with Kerry.

    Zarif and Kerry took a stroll in downtown Geneva and along the Rhone River for almost 15-minutes on Jan. 14 as part of bilateral talks to reach a comprehensive deal over Iran's nuclear program.

    The MPs also are critical of Zarif's visit to Paris to meet his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius within the framework of nuclear talks.

    The lawmakers' petition reads that traveling to Paris in the same period when the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo published an insulting cartoon of Prophet Muhammad as well as his "symbolic stroll" with Kerry were diplomatic mistakes.

    It should be noted that the January 14th cover of the French weekly featured Prophet Muhammad shedding tears while holding a sign that says "Je suis Charlie."

    Last week thousands of Iranians held protests against the cartoon in front of the French Embassy in Tehran, while some hardliners accused the government of not reacting more strongly to the controversy.

    The Iranian foreign minister earlier on Jan. 6 took part in a parliament open session and respond to MPs questions on the nuclear talks with P5 1 group.

    Zarif emphasized that the negotiating team doesn't pursue any party's agenda in nuclear talks.

    "Our strategy is based on the views of Islamic revolution's leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)," he added.

    At the end of that session the MPs voted on the foreign ministers' comments, to show if they were satisfied with the answers. 125 lawmakers voted in favor, 86 voted against, and 8 abstained.

    Talks between Iran and the P5 1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) has been extended until July 1, 2015 to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan's agriculture presented in Berlin
    30.01.2015 15:34
    /By AzerNews/

    By Nigar Orujova

    Azerbaijan has presented over 200 kinds of agriculture products and goods at annual trade fair in Berlin.

    The country participated at the International Green Week on January 16-25. The anniversary 80th Green Week exhibition this year attracted 68 countries with 1,660 companies and 415,000 visitors.

    The Azerbaijani pavilion organized by the Economy and Industry Ministry, included the delegates of the Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), and more than 20 local companies.

    Azerbaijan was represented for the eighth time at the exhibition. A huge interest accompanied the national pavilion.

    Guests of the pavilion were informed about business and investment opportunities in Azerbaijan and agricultural products that have comparative advantage produced in the country.

    The visitors of Azerbaijani pavilion had chance to get different promotional printed materials, journals, brochures, and video materials. The products that produced by local companies of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic were also exhibited during the Green Week.

    During the week, Ilham Quliyev, Azerbaijanв's Deputy Minister of Agriculture met with Agricultural associationв's representatives of United Nations, European Union, and agriculture ministers of different countries. The sides discussed possible collaborations in the future.

    He also participated in the 7th ''Agriculture and Food Forum'' for the ministers of agriculture.

    Established in 1926, International Green Week is a one-of-a-kind international exhibition for the food, agricultural and horticultural industries.

    Producers from all over the world come to IGW to test market food and luxury items and reinforce their brand image.
  • Ukrainian MPs want to deprive Yanukovych of presidentв's title
    30.01.2015 15:34
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30


    The MPs of Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, presented a draft law, which proposes to deprive the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, of the honorary title of president, RIA Novosti agency reported Jan. 30.

    Under the Ukrainian law, the presidents of Ukraine have the honorary title of president for life.

    "The title of the president of Ukraine is protected by law and is retained by him for life, unless the president of Ukraine is removed from office on impeachment," according to the country's constitution.

    The draft law was published on the website of the parliament on Jan. 30. Among the initiators of the draft law there is the leader of the Radical Party Oleg Lyashko.

    A coup took place in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014. Verkhovna Rada ousted President Yanukovych, made changes to the constitution and scheduled election for May 25, as a result of which Petro Poroshenko became the new president.

    After the coup the new authorities launched a number of criminal cases with regard to the former officials.

    Edited by SI

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  • Bulgariaв's ex-president passes away
    30.01.2015 15:23
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.30


    Bulgaria's first democratically elected President Zhelyu Zhelev has passed away, RIA Novosti reported citing Reuters.

    Zhelev became Bulgaria's president on Aug.1, 1990. He was re-elected the country's president in 1992.

    "Zhelev's contribution to the democratic progress and the European path of Bulgaria will always be remembered and honored by society," said the Bulgarian politician Tsetska Tsacheva.

    Zhelyu Zhelev was born in the Shumen province Bulgaria in 1935. He graduated from the Sofia University. Zhelev became a member of Bulgarian Communist Party in 1960.

    He is also famous as the author of the book entitled "Fascism" that was published in 1982.

    Translated by LZ

    Edited by SI

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  • New tax law fueling businessmen's uproar in Armenia
    30.01.2015 15:19
    /By AzerNews/

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    A group of small and medium business owners in Armenia, including market traders held a rally again in front of the government office in Yerevan calling for an immediate answer to their demands, on January 29.

    The businessmen threatened to go on further protest marches unless the planned controversial amendments to the sales tax law is withdrawn.

    The desperate traders said they wanted to continue their business activity based on the current rules, as the new law imposes an extra burden on them contrary to the government's claim that it is beneficial for small and medium businesses.

    Despite the fact that the new law provides a reduction of sales taxes for trader to 1 percent from 3.5 percent, its stricter rules for the submission of sales-related documentation to tax authorities inflict serious blows on small and medium businesses.

    The law should have came into force earlier on November 1, 2014, but, following a series of protest rallies by small and medium business owners along with hundreds of workers of Yerevan fairs, the government sat back and postponed the activation of law until February 1, 2015.

    The protesters also claimed that the new law may well serve the government's plan to use the small companies as a tool in fight against tax evasions by larger companies, which is an unprecedented violation of rights.

    Even the traders from the provinces, including Gyumri, flocked to the capital city to join the protests calling for Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryanв's resignation. They marched towards the presidential palace in central Yerevan and closed the Bagramyan avenue where the president's residence locates, according to, a local media outlet.

    The demonstrators threatened a nationwide strike against the government, saying they will stop paying taxes from February.

    "If they do not listen to us with their ears, they will have to listen to us with their pockets," one of the protesters said.

    Vilen Khachatryan, an economist, said the small and medium businesses should not be pitted against the large companies in an effort to suppress tax evasion by the latter.

    "Here again the small companies will suffer the most, since the larger businesses in Armenia have more power to put pressure on them,'' he added.

    Back in January 26, some 500 market employees gathered in front of the government building in Yerevan to express their unanimous concern over the new law to the government. Even though they called on the prime minister to emerge before the crowd and lively respond to their complaints, no one from the ruling cabinet did walk up to the protesters.
  • Erdogan: Turkey ready to take steps if 'found guilty' of Armenian killings
    30.01.2015 15:19
    ErdoДџan says Turkey is ready to take required steps if 'found guiltyв' of Armenian killing, Hurriyet Daily reports.

    Accusing Turkey of committing genocide is a form of execution without trial, President Recep Tayyip ErdoДџan has indicated, while also stating that Ankara is "ready to pay for any misdeed" if an "impartial board of historians" concludes that it was at fault for the events of 1915.

    "We are not obliged to accept that the so-called Armenian genocide was lsquo;made-to-order,'" ErdoДџan said late on Jan. 29, speaking during a live interview on public broadcaster TRT Haber.

    He mentioned that during his period as prime minister, he had sent a letter in 2005 to former Armenian President Robert Kocharian, proposing that historians investigate the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians during the Ottoman era.

    "We are saying, lsquo;If you are sincere on this matter, then come, let's leave this to historians, let historians study the issue, let's open our archives,'" ErdoДџan said

    "We have opened our archive. We have revealed more than one million documents on this. If Armenia also has an archive, then they should open it too. If third countries have archives, they should do the same. Let them study and then let them present their reports to us. Then let's sit around the table as politicians," he added, referring to his proposal for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 together.

    "If the results reveal that we have committed a crime, if we have a price to pay, then as Turkey we would assess it and take the required steps," ErdoДџan said.

    "But let's be careful here. The 1915 events are out in the open as history. The State of the Republic of Turkey is out in the open. Our archives have been opened and are out in the open, but the archives on the opposite side are not open. They are just saying lsquo;Turkey is guilty,' but Turkey is not guilty just by saying so," he added.

    Armenia says up to 1.5 million people were killed by Ottoman forces during World War I, in what it calls an act of genocide. But modern Turkey has always rejected the term genocide, putting the toll at 500,000 and blaming the deaths on starvation and unrest in the broader context of the war.

    Earlier this month, ErdoДџan said he would "actively" challenge a campaign to pressure Turkey to recognize the massacres as genocide, though a year ago he offered an unprecedented expression of condolences for the 1915-1916 killings.
  • Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to be constructed on time
    30.01.2015 15:13
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 30

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    There are no problems with the timely implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) construction project, Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili told reporters Jan. 29.

    "The project will be implemented on time," he said.

    He assessed the work conducted in Georgia as part of the BTK project implementation as successful.

    Kvirikashvili said that the Georgian side has successfully coped with the task.

    Kvirikashvili and Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov have recently attended the presentation of the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and observed the test run of a train.

    Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

    The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.

    A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A post is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.

    The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.

    The project is planned to be implemented in 2015.


    follow the author on Twitter: @Emilsmail

    Edited by CN

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Temperature to rise up to 15 C in Azerbaijan
    30.01.2015 15:01
    On January 31, the weather will be rainy in Baku and Absheron Peninsula and partly cloudy and gloomy in the afternoon.

    The south-east wind will blow, the National Hydrometeorology Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources told APA.

    The temperature will be 2hellip;5 C at night and 7hellip;10 C in the daytime. The atmospheric pressure will be 764 mm Hg, relative humidity - 85-95% at night, 60-70% in the daytime.

    On January 31, the weather will be mainly dry in Azerbaijan's regions and rainy in Lankaran-Astara region. It will be foggy and drizzly in some areas at night and in the morning. East wind will blow.

    The temperature will be 0hellip;5 C at night, 10hellip;15 in the daytime and in mountains 0hellip;5 C and in high mountainous areas -5hellip;-10 at night and 4hellip;9 C in the daytime.
  • 1st European Games, mirror showing effects of European Championship
    30.01.2015 15:00
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The 2015 will be a particular year in the world sport history. Surely Azerbaijan wonв't stay outside this history, Alexander Gusyatnikov, UEC Vice-President said in his interview with the AzVIF press office.

    He highlighted the importance of the first Baku European Games which will be a great step towards the brightest future.

    The UEC official visited the training camp in Calpe, Spain, where the worldв's most professional teams, such as Itera Katyusha (Russia), Astana (Kazakhstan), CCC (Poland) and Azerbaijanв's Synergy Baku have winter training.

    He also commented on the planned games-time road race competition.

    ''Since many years ago, there have not been any European Road Race championships in Elite category. This is because of the highest rank of the athletes coming from Europe which will affect the rankings of the World Championship. However, the UEC has planned to reinstate the Elite European Championship program as of 2016. Therefore we are sure that the first European Games will be a clear mirror showing the effects of European Championship,'' he said.

    According to the UEC vice-president, the Europeв's leading teams keep supporting the reinstatement of the European Championship, because of which the road cycling competition has been included in the European Games competition program.

    He was doubtless about successful organization of the games in this mid-year, and highlighted the expected visit of the strongest athletes to Azerbaijan.

    ''The last stage of the Tour of Azerbaijan 2014 was held in Baku and this plan worked very well indeed. This also grabbed the attention of the UEC officials in terms of approving this route for the games-time road race event. The UEC is working on a plan to confirm it as a 100% safe route to operate the road race competition. Who would refuse to hold this event in the heart of such a beautiful city?" he said.

    "Regarding the BMX venue, it is almost finished according to the UCI requirements. In general, I will admit that there are superb works are being done in Baku. Throughout these works we see how President Ilham Aliyev supports the sports in the newly flourishing Azerbaijan,'' said Gusyatnikov.

    As the biggest sporting event in Azerbaijan's history, Baku 2015 European Games will attract more than 6,000 athletes to represent 49 countries in 20 sports on June 12-28.

    The Baku 2015 Games will take place in 21 stadia and facilities. The official opening ceremony of the Games will take place in the 68,000-seat Baku Olympic Stadium. The Athletes Village will accommodate up to 7,300 people.
  • Saudi king reshuffles cabinet
    30.01.2015 15:00
    King Salman of Saudi Arabia has announced a major cabinet reshuffle, a week after he acceded to the throne.

    The chief of intelligence and the head of the national security council have both been replaced.

    Other top officials, including the ministers of defence, oil, and foreign affairs, have kept their jobs.

    The governor of Mecca and the governor of the capital Riyadh were replaced as were several senior religious officials.

    King Salman - who was a half-brother of the late King Abdullah - also gave a bonus of two months' salary to all Saudi state employees and military personnel. Pensioners and students received similar bonuses.

    The changes were announced in 30 royal decrees.

    "Dear people: You deserve more and whatever I do will not be able to give you what you deserve," the king said later on his Twitter account.

    He asked citizens to "not forget me in your prayers".

    The Saudi Press Agency said King Salman had relieved intelligence chief Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of his post.
  • The world distance record for a flight in a helium balloon
    30.01.2015 14:53
    Two pilots have surpassed the world distance record for a flight in a helium balloon after crossing the Pacific Ocean. American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev also hope to set a new duration record.

    They left Japan in their "Two Eagles" balloon on Sunday and had aimed to land in Canada or the US.

    However, weather has forced them to change course towards Mexico where they are due to land sometime on Saturday.

    Their hi-tech balloon is made of a strong Kevlar and carbon-fibre composite, but weighs only 220 pounds (100kg). It is fitted with monitors and other instruments that track their course and compile data to be submitted to record-keepers.

    The specially-designed capsule sits beneath a huge helium-filled envelope and is designed to stay aloft for up to 10 days. The pilots live in a closet-like space with a very low ceiling.

    To set new distance and durations records the team needed to beat the existing records by 1%.

    For distance that meant a journey of about 5,260 miles (8,465km) to beat the existing record of 5,209 miles set in 1981.

    On Thursday, the Two Eagles team tweeted: "The pilots have just surpassed the distance needed to set a new record. 5,261 miles or 8,467km."

    "We're not taking any time to celebrate,'' said head of mission control Steve Shope.

    "We have a lot of work we have to do, and we're just taking this flight one hour at a time."

    On its website, the team says Two Eagles will not have "broken the record" until documentation is approved by the US National Aeronautic Association followed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale - a process that could take several weeks or months.

    The existing duration record they hope to beat was set in 1978 when three pilots made the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight, spending 137 hours, 5 minutes and 50 seconds in a gas balloon.

    Americans Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman travelled on the Double Eagle II balloon from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey, France, about 60 miles northwest of Paris.

    The Double Eagle II gondola is displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum annex at Washington Dulles International Airport.

    Two Eagles should pass the existing record about 15:50 GMT. To set a new record, the team must stay aloft for about 138 hours and 45 minutes.

    In 1981, the Double Eagle V was the first gas balloon to successfully cross the Pacific Ocean and set the existing distance record.

    Crew members Mr Abruzzo, Mr Newman, Ron Clark and Rocky Aoki made it from Nagashima, Japan, to Mendocino National Forest in California in 84 hours and 31 minutes.

    The current team named its craft in honour of the existing record holders
  • Turkish presidentв's advisor submits resignation letter
    30.01.2015 14:49
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.30

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkish president's advisor Aydin Unal has submitted a resignation letter, as he will participate in the parliamentary election to be held in the country in June 2015, Milliyet newspaper reported on Jan.30.

    It was earlier reported that chief of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan is also expected to resign in connection with the participation in the upcoming parliamentary election.

    Fidan is expected to submit the resignation letter by Feb.10, 2015.

    However, there are different views on the expected resignation of the intelligence chief, since in this case he will lose the mandate intact.

    The chief of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan is one of the key figures in the country in fighting the movement of Fethullah Gulen [Islamic public figure currently residing in the US].


    Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • "The Picasso of pastries'' launches beautiful boutique in Baku
    30.01.2015 14:43
    Pierre Hermeacute; Paris is proud to announce the launch of a new location in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. Offering a true Parisian experience, the collections of Macarons amp; Chocolats now is available in The Port Baku Mall.

    Chef Pacirc;tissier Pierre Hermeacute; comes from a long heritage of pastry professionals and began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice to Gaston Lenocirc;tre. The influence of this legendary Master Pacirc;tissier was the beginning of a journey for Pierre Hermeacute; who went on in his early 20's to become Head Chef Pacirc;tissier of the exclusive Parisian Food Hall, Fauchon, where he remained for 11 years until 1996 when the Pierre Hermeacute; Paris story began.

    Pierre Hermeacute;'s macarons have evolved over the course of his career. His initial foray into his lifelong relationship with the macaron started in the mid 1970's when he questioned the traditional approach to this French delicacy. In 1986, he introduced new, bold flavours for that time like Rose and Pistachio which have now become classics. His passion continued to grow and he began to develop textures and flavour combinations like Lime amp; Basil, he created seasonal macarons such as White Truffle amp; Hazelnut and played with texture and flavour release with Olive Oil amp; Vanilla containing small pieces of olive.

    Like a perfumer, Pierre Hermeacute; has created his own blend of flavours such as the house vanilla selection, which combines 3 different types of vanilla - from Tahiti, Madagascar and Mexico, or his exclusive chocolate used to create Mogador - a signature milk chocolate and passion fruit flavour. The respect given to the raw ingredients allows an intensity of flavour where, in the opinion of Pierre Hermeacute;, sugar is added only as a condiment and where salt gives balance.

    The boutique in Baku will offer Pierre Hermeacute; Paris Macarons such as Infiniment Chocolat Paiuml;neras (Pure Origin Brazilian Dark Chocolate), Infiniment Rose (Rose amp; Rose Petal), Cregrave;me Brucirc;leacute;e (Vanillas amp; Caramel Bits), Infiniment Pistache (pure Sicilian Pistachios), and Mogador (Milk Chocolate amp; Passion Fruit), to name just a few.

    Also available in Baku, the Pierre Hermeacute; Paris chocolate collection. With a selection of house flavours and exclusive chocolate blends, this collection echoes the macarons with ganaches and pralines housed in a shell of exclusively blended chocolate.

    The Pierre Hermeacute; Paris Bonbons de Chocolat selection includes Makassar (Salted-butter Caramel Mousse Ganache, enrobed in Dark Chocolate) and Ouvre-toi (Sesame Praline amp; Sesame Nougat, enrobed in Milk Chocolate). But also, among others, Lou (Ginger and Milk Chocolate Ganache, Candied Ginger, enrobed in Dark Chocolate) or unique Choc Chocolat (Bitter Chocolate Ganache, Nougatine with Cacao Nibs, enrobed in Dark Chocolate).

    "Pierre Hermeacute; Paris" opens at January 2015 in the Port Baku Mall.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkey, Azerbaijan urge Turkmenistan to join TANAP
    30.01.2015 14:32
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkey and Azerbaijan urge Turkmenistan to take part in the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) project implementation, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ashgabat Jan. 29, Turkish news portal Haber 46 reported citing the sources at the country's foreign ministry.

    Cavusoglu made this statement during a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, held in Ashgabat Jan. 29.

    The TANAP project envisages the transportation of gas of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey. TANAP's initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

    Around six billion cubic meters will be delivered to Turkey and the rest of the volume to Europe. Turkey will obtain gas in 2018. The gas will be supplied to Europe in early 2020 after the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is constructed. The project's cost is estimated at $10-$11 billion.

    Contracts for the supply of pipes for the construction of TANAP were signed in Turkey's Ankara on Oct.14 with six Turkish and one Chinese company.

    Turkey's Mannesmann-Noksel-Erciyas and Umran-Emek consortiums, and the company Toscelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi, as well as the Chinese contractor Baosteel Europe won the tender for the supply of pipes for the TANAP project.

    All the companies that will participate in the construction and supply of the TANAP project in Turkey are exempt from the VAT.

    Edited by CN

    follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • The Washington Times: Tovuz, the land of antiquity and natural beauty
    30.01.2015 14:32
    The Washington Times has published an article headlined 'Tovuz, the land of antiquity and natural beauty'.

    The article reads:

    "The region draws its name from two of the ancient Turkish tribes that settled there: the Tovuz and the Ovuz. Its buildings and monuments preserve some of the region's rich culture and history, dating to medieval times.

    For history buffs, there are 64 official historical sites and monuments sanctioned by the Culture of Ministry, including the 13th-century Haji Bagir mosque in Duzgirigli village and the Kirzan temple dating to the 12th century. Other architectural attractions worth exploring include eight-corner sepulchers in Gazgulu village, a railway bridge built in 1880, and 19th-century tombs in Yukhari.

    Tovuz also is home to one of the main and ancient Alban settlements. The Alban temple, dating to the fifth century, and several other preserved structures once served as shelters for dervishes who led ascetic lifestyles.

    The region is also one of the Caspian's richest agrarian centers, perfect for nature lovers who want to explore rugged mountain lands or Alpine forests teeming with oak, beech, walnut, hornbeam and iron trees as well as wild fruit shrubs. A rare Eldar Shami pine is protected in the Garayazi State Reserve in Jeyranchol. Animals also abound, and it is easy to spot gazelles, roe deers, wolves, foxes, hares, francolins and partridges along the fields and forests of Tovuz.

    Keeping the tradition of its Turkish settlers, Tovuz also offers numerous hunting opportunities. With government permits, visitors can hunt hares and various swimming birds skipping across the Kura, Akhindja, Tovuz and Zayam rivers.

    For the curious, there is a sour water spring in Catakh village. Because of its sour taste, the water is known by the locals as Turshsu. It contains various chemical minerals that are used for medicinal treatments. In Asrik, there are 36 water springs. Among the most famous are the Findigli, Maral and Shalala. Most of the spring-fed water bodies boast nearby restaurants.

    The vast sub-Alpine meadows are the center of Tovuz's agriculture industry, providing winter and summer pastures for livestock farmers as well as vineyards that gave rise to the region's booming wine industry. Archaeological finds, including ancient vessels for wine storage, pinpoint the industry's origins to the seventh century. The industry flourished as German settlers brought new skills and recipes. The area also became famous for producing cognac, which supplied the entire Russian market. Tovuz Baltiya Ltd. is the main producer and exporter of wine products.

    The Tovuz region also affords a variety of cuisines, rich in dough meals as well as dishes made with abundant greens and potatoes. Other delicacies include pilaf, barbecue, fried vegetables and the hometown favorite dish known as khingal. Drinks such as buttermilk, dovga, atlama and fresh fruit juices complement the area's wide selection of wines and cognac.

    It is impossible to imagine Tovuz without saz music. Saz is the national musical instrument of Azerbaijan. It is popular in Tovuz. Weddings, parties, local or state-level ceremonies as well as many restaurants are enriched by the musical talents of ashigs, the performers of saz music".
  • Bordyuzha: CSTO will not fight with Azerbaijan over Karabakh
    30.01.2015 14:25
    ''This is contrary to the Charter of the Collective Security Treaty Organization''

    The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only by peaceful means. In connection with the escalation of tension in the conflict zone, in 2014 and before, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) repeatedly issued statements calling the parties for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

    CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha made remarks on Friday at a briefing in Rossiya Segodnya information agency, APA's Moscow correspondent reports.

    Answering Armenian journalist's question on why the CSTO did not given any response to what happened on the contact line of Azerbaijani-Armenian troops in January 2014, Nikolay Bordyuzha said in 2014 and before, the CSTO and Russia's Foreign Ministry made numerous statements regarding the escalation of tension in the conflict zone.

    "The CSTO has clearly expressed its position through these statements. Do you want us to give a military response? No, it is impossible and contrary to the Charter of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The OSCE Minsk Group deals with the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The co-chair countries are making efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As for the CSTO, it was chaired by Russia last year. In August 2014, the Russian president met with presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi where the sides underlined the importance of resolving the conflict only by peaceful way. This is the position of the CSTO member states as well," he noted.
  • Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan
    30.01.2015 14:20
    Over the past 24 hours, Armenian military 79 times violated ceasefire on various parts of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Jan. 30.

    Armenian armed forces stationed in Parakavar and Berkaber villages of Ijevan district of Armenia fired at the Azerbaijani armed forcesв' positions in Kohnegishlag village of Agstafa district, Qizilhajili village of Gazakh district.

    Armenian armed forces stationed in Mosesqekh and Chinari villages of Berd district of Armenia fired at the Azerbaijani armed forcesв' positions in Aghdam and Kohanebi villages of Tovuz district.

    Azerbaijani armed forces located in the nameless heights of Gedabey district also took fire from the nameless heights in Krasnoselsk district of Armenia.

    The Azerbaijani military also came under fire from positions near Goyarkh, Chileburd villages of Terter district, Tapqaraqoyunlu village of Goranboy district, Yusifjanli, Bash Gervend, Shikhlar, Javahirli, Shuraabad, Novruzlu villages of Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, Qarakhanbayli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Abdurrakhmanli villages of Fizuli district and Mehdili village of Jabrayil district.

    Meanwhile, Azerbaijani positions took fire from the positions located at the nameless heights of Jabrayil, Goranboy, Khojavend and Fizuli districts.

    The opposing side was silenced with return fire.

    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 four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

  • Turkish police intensively work at airports
    30.01.2015 14:10
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The Turkish police began working intensively at the country's airports, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported Jan. 30.

    The reason is the information about more than two hundred militants from different countries willing to arrive in Turkey to leave for Syria to join the militants of the Islamic State terrorist organization.

    It also reported that ten people, whose nationality was not disclosed, were deported from the country as part of the measures against "Islamic state" organization.

    Earlier, the Turkish authorities said that the intelligence services of the European countries do not share the data about the individuals suspected of terrorist activity. As a result, these individuals arrive in Turkey and then leave for Syria.

    The Turkish side explained that a number of countries are trying to get rid of radicals within the country.

    Following the start of military confrontation in Syria between the armed opposition and the government forces, the IS penetrated the country in 2013. The organization said at the time it refuses to take the oath of Al-Qaeda and declared lsquo;a holy war' against all groups in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Syrian government forces.

    Strengthening of the IS in Syria allowed it to return to Iraq, deploying military actions against government forces there.

    In late June of 2014, the IS announced about the creation of the lsquo;Islamic Caliphate' on the territories under its control in Iraq and Syria. In turn, Iraqi authorities asked the international community for help in fighting the IS.

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  • Tehran offers Baku using national currencies in trade
    30.01.2015 14:09
    /By AzerNews//

    By Sara Rajabova

    Iran offered Azerbaijan using national currencies in the calculations in mutual trade of the two countries.

    Ali Tayyebnia, Iranian Minister of Economy and Financial Affairs made the remarks at a press conference on January 29, local media reported.

    He noted that currently Iran is already carrying out foreign trade settlements in national currencies with a number of countries and is interested in expanding this tendency with others with which it is cooperating in different fields.

    ''We have not yet discussed this issue with the Azerbaijani government, but the negotiations in this area should be carried out by the central banks of the two countries,'' Tayyebnia said.

    He went on to say that the economic opportunities and the potential of the two countries contribute to the further development of ties and increasing their trade significantly.

    Tayebnia said the Iranian companies have extensive experience in engineering and technology, noting that they can take part in major projects and construction works implemented in Azerbaijan.

    He also stressed that Iran can play a role in supplying Azerbaijani goods via the railways to the Gulf countries, adding that Iran is a proper route for transit of goods from Azerbaijan to the Gulf states.

    Speaking about the Azerbaijani investments in Iran, Tayyebnia said in recent years, the Azerbaijani investors in the Islamic country have been investing mainly in the oil and petrochemical branches of industry, in housing construction and production of building materials.

    Noting that there are no obstacles in the way of development of relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, he said Azerbaijani investors in Iran can take advantage of the significant potential existing in the industry, mines and other areas.

    He said there is no accurate data on the capital of Azerbaijani investors in Iran, however, added that Azerbaijani investors have recently interested in investing in Iran, in particular, in the "Aras" free economic zone, located on the border with Azerbaijan and "Maku" free trade zone.

    Iranв's top official has also voiced his countryв's readiness to help better fulfillment of development projects in Azerbaijan by sharing Tehranв's significant technical experiences with Baku.

    Outlining outcomes of his two-day visit to Azerbaijan Tayyebnia noted that he had fruitful and constructive talks with senior officials of Azerbaijan, IRNA reported.

    He said implementation of agreements made during the visit of presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan was one of major goals of his visit to the neighboring country.

    Tayyebnia added that promotion of Tehran-Baku relations and cooperation would benefit both capitals as well as all regional states.

    Noting that economic ties between Iran and Azerbaijan are not as good as their political relations, he said the volume of bilateral economic exchange stood at $500 million which can be multiplied to suit the political relations of the two neighboring countries.

    Tayyebnia went on to say that Tehran and Baku can have useful cooperation in the field of health tourism and banking activities.

    Referring to Iranв's successful economic policies, Tayyebnia said Tehran has succeeded to reduce its over 40-percent inflation to lower than 16 percent through proper monetary and financial policies.

    He added, after eight seasons of consequent recession, the rate of Iranв's economic growth mounted to four percent in the first half of the current Iranian year (from March 21-Septemeber 22, 2014).

    Tayyebnia noted that according to domestic and international forecasts, this growing trend will continue in the future and reach its highest level in the entire Middle East and North African regions.

    Iran and Azerbaijan have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.

    Tehran has in recent years focused seriously on development of ties with neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan which enjoys various commonalties with Iran in religious, historical and cultural fields.
  • Baku to host 3D Print Conference
    30.01.2015 14:09
    The 3D Print Conference will be held in Baku on February 12.

    It is the first of four shows, which will also reach Kiev, Ukraine, and Almaty, Kazakhstan, to end in Moscow's Sokoliniki next October, AzerTag reports.

    The conference will introduce participants to the technology that has already used in various industries, and that is becoming more common and affordable throughout the world. The innovative market shows interest in 3D printing technology, in this regard the conference organizers, Smile-Expo, has decided to show what opportunities are available for business due to three-dimensional printing and the prospects of its use.

    The conference will discuss "3D printing. New business opportunities: how, where and on what can you earn?", "3D printers in different spheres: medicine, education, science", "3D printing. Advanced spheres of application: gold, fashion, food and architecture", and "the future of 3D printing. Whether to be afraid of technology?".

    Workshops will demonstrate the perspective of usage of 3D technology in every home. Experts will give interactive sessions not only for adults but also for children! Each participant of the master class will arm himself with practical knowledge and applying this knowledge it will be possible to save time and money creating unique custom-made things made in accordance with individually created models and sketches.
  • Islamic Financing, alternative investment source to Azerbaijani economy
    30.01.2015 13:46
    /By AzerNews/

    By Gulgiz Dadashova

    The International Bank of Azerbaijan, the largest lender and the only state-owned bank in the country remains confident to promote Azerbaijan as an Islamic Banking hub in the region.

    Behnam Gurbanzade, Director of the Islamic Banking Department of the IBA, spoke quite positive about the prospects of Azerbaijanв's eventful role in the Islamic finance markets.

    ''Developing Islamic Financing in Azerbaijan gives us an advantage to set up a center for the development of Islamic Financing in the CIS based in Baku,'' Gurbanzade wrote in an e-mail to AzerNews.

    ''Thus, in 2015 we are planning to increase the amount of Islamic financing in Azerbaijan. To this end, an alternative banking division was set up within Bank IBA-Moscow where the Islamic Banking is also part of new duties,'' he said.

    The IBA concluded last year with $526 million sharia compliant assets compared to the Islamic Banking assets at the level of $220 million at the beginning of 2014.

    Islamic finance has not developed well in Azerbaijan, which has a predominantly Muslim population. The IBA assists the government to draft the relevant regulation. It also plans to convert its Islamic unit into major Shariah-compliant lender after the country OKs the Islamic legislation licenses.

    The Baku-based bank actively works in this direction, which is encouraging the development of Islamic Finance here. The bank currently offers Shariah-compliant products through an Islamic window introduced in September 2012, a practice which allows conventional lenders to provide Islamic financial services as long as client money is segregated from the rest of the bank.

    Gurbanzada said the IBA Islamic Banking department is working on draft legislation together with consultants. ''The initial documents including Islamic Financial Policies and Procedures, Operational procedures and Products and Services are under consideration,'' he said.

    Laws allowing Azerbaijan to OK Islamic bond offerings is expected to be passed in 2015, and the government may issue securities that adhere to Islamв's ban on interest the next year.

    Speaking about the role that the Islamic bank could play in driving the banking sector of the country, Gurbanzada said Islamic Financing is considered as alternative investment sources to the economy of Azerbaijan.

    ''Azerbaijan and CIS markets are growing and there is a huge demand for direct investments. The IBA realizes that sources of funding should be diversified in order to secure economic safety. All this comes against the backdrop of the world financial crisis in which the liquid capital stands as the primary issue,'' he noted.

    Gurbanzada said the current Islamic Banking portfolio of the IBA is 386 million manats ($493 million) which is approximately 6.2 percent of the total credit portfolio.

    The loan portfolio of the Bank hit 5.868 billion manats as of early January with an increase of 16.6 percent since early 2014.

    IBA Islamic presented a new Murabaha card which was set up on MasterCard Gold basis. The card is for retail financing in Azerbaijan and outside of the country. ''Furthermore we are also strutting Musharakah refinancing products and unrestricted and restricted Mudarabah financing. Most of products and services will be implemented after legislation development,'' he concluded.

    The bank, 50.2-percent owned by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Finance, holds over 40 percent of banking assets in the country and enjoys huge importance for Azerbaijan's economy. The IBA's reported consolidated total assets of 8.8 billion manats, aggregate capital of 1.008 billion manats and net profit of 64.5 million under audited IFRS as at year-end 2014.
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