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China bans new government buildings in corruption curb
24.07.2013 14:18
China has banned the construction of government buildings for five years, according to state media, BBC reported.

The move comes as part of a campaign by President Xi Jinping to show that the ruling Communist Party (CPC) is cracking down on corruption and waste.

Glitzy new government buildings, sometimes in impoverished areas, have been a source of public outrage.

The directive forbids luxury makeovers and expansions done under the guise of repair work, Xinhua newspaper said.


The notice says some departments and local authorities have built huge government office compounds against regulations, tainting the image of the CPC.

Among the buildings that have attracted widespread disapproval in recent years is the western-style government office building in the city of Fuyang in Anhui province, in eastern China.

It reportedly cost 30 million yuan ($4.89m, pound;3.19m) to build and is referred to as the 'White House' by residents.

A state-owned drug company also caused outrage after photographs emerged apparently showing a building decorated to mimic France's Versailles palace, complete with gold-tinted walls and chandeliers.

Some government agencies have reportedly built luxury offices in seaside resorts where officials can stay for free or at deeply discounted prices.

The ban - described as an "across-the-board halt" - includes training centres, hotels or government motels, Xinhua said.

It also says government organisations should not receive sponsorship or donations towards construction projects, or collaborate with private companies.

"Banning the building of new government buildings is important for building a clean government and also a requirement for boosting CPC-people ties and maintaining the image of the CPC and the government," Xinhua quoted the directive as saying.

Tackling corruption has been President Xi Jinping's most high-profile policy since he became China's leader earlier this year.

He has warned that "corruption and bribe-taking by some party members and cadres" pose "severe challenges" to the Communist Party's rule.

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  • Former Iranian president says has no plan for future elections
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    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

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    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

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    Edited by SI


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

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    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

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  • Azerbaijani oil prices for June 29 - July 3
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 4

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    The average price for AZERI LT, exported from Azerbaijan via the Ceyhan, Batumi and Supsa ports to Italian Augusta port, was $62.942 per barrel on June 29 - July 3, or $0.708 less than the previous week.

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    Follow the author on Twitter: @AzadHasanli

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  • Iran atomic bomb probe may be completed in 2015: IAEA
    04.07.2015 17:34
    A long-delayed investigation into whether Iran has sought to develop nuclear weapons could be completed by the end of the year with Tehran's help, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said Saturday.

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  • Armenia '" source of threat for Araz River, says Iranian MP
    04.07.2015 17:18
    Tehran, Iran, July 4

    By Temkin Jafarov - Trend:

    Dumping of wastes of Armenia's Metsamor nuclear power plant and aluminum plant into Araz River causes threat for this river and the people living in the surrounding areas, Iranian MP Kamaladdin Pirmoazen told Trend July 4.

    Each year, dumping of waste by Armenia into Araz River leads to cancer of thousands of people living in the Mugan region of Ardabil province, their death and other problems.

    The MP urged Iranian government to start talks with Armenia on resolving this issue in a shortest possible time.

    "Such actions by the neighboring country causes concern for our people, which is inadmissible," he said. "Iran and Armenia should find an acceptable way to save the Araz River and protect the environment."

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    Azerbaijan has faced the threat caused by the nuclear waste throughout many years.

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    Metsamor nuclear power plant was constructed in 1970. The experts believe that the plant causes threat due to the seismic activity in the region.


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  • Japan interested to find possible ways for co-op with TRACECA
    04.07.2015 16:52
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 4

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Japan is interested to find possible ways for cooperation with TRACECA, Toshihiro Katagiri, attache of the embassy of Japan in Azerbaijan and First Secretary Takao Imanishi said.

    They made the remarks during the meeting with the Secretary General of the Permanent Secretariat of TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission Mircea Ciopraga.

    The representatives of Japan's embassy expressed their interest in the latest developments within the framework of IGC TRACECA, member-countries involved in the activity of TRACECA as well as areas of cooperation, said the message from IGC TRACECA.

    Ciopraga informed that 13 countries are member states of the IGC TRACECA.

    As an international EU program, TRACECA is aimed at strengthening the economic relations, trade and transport communication in the regions of the Black Sea basin, South Caucasus and Central Asia, he added.

    The discussions also touched the issues of ongoing and completed technical assistance and infrastructure projects in road safety, maritime and aviation fields.

    Ciopraga exchanged views with the participants of the meeting on the issue of cooperation with Japan as well as with different stakeholders and international structures.

    Regarding the issue of TRACECA enlargement, Ciopraga added that Afghanistan and Pakistan express their interest in accession to TRACECA.

    The parties of the meeting agreed to continue discussion and find possible ways of cooperation.

    TRACECA is an international cooperation program in the field of transport between the EU and partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. The organization has a permanent secretariat in Baku.

    TRACECA member states are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Iran and Armenia.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @AzadHasanli

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  • Turkmenistan, Georgia against politicization of energy partnership
    04.07.2015 15:06
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, July 4

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    Turkmenistan and Georgia are against any attempts to politicize their energy partnership, said the message from Turkmen government following the state visit of the country's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov to Georgia July 2-3.

    The message said that Ashgabat hosted a quadripartite meeting on the development of energy cooperation with participation of the representatives of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the European Union.

    During that meeting, the sides expressed their agreed positions on Georgia's proposal on participation in the projects for creation of the pipeline infrastructure for delivering the energy resources from the Caspian Sea region to the West.

    Moreover, in the joint statement of Berdimuhammadov with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili, the two presidents expressed the importance of Turkmenistan's deliberate policy aimed at diversification of the routes of its gas supply to world markets.

    "The presidents stressed the importance of energy supply from the Caspian Sea region to Europe," said the message.

    Georgian officials earlier stressed that Georgia is an important part of the South Caucasus transport and energy corridor and is ready to ensure a reliable and safe transit of energy resources of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia through its territory.

    Turkmenistan is one of the promising partners for EU in the energy security sphere and in terms of diversification of the gas supply sources. One of the possible options for entering this market is the project for construction of a pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijani coast.

    Edited by SI

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  • Iran denies having military advisors in Yemen
    04.07.2015 15:02
    Tehran, Iran, July 4

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian has denied that Iranian military advisors have been sent to Yemen, ISNA news agency reported July 4.

    Abdollahian said that the only Iranian entity that is officially active in Yemen is the Iranian Embassy in Sana'a.

    Abdollahian statement came as a response to the claims of Al-Arabia TV channel, which said Iran has sent its military men to the war-torn Yemen.

    Meanwhile, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab television news channel had claimed that a number of Iranian military experts had been recently killed in Yemen.

    A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has started military operation in Yemen last March to oust the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who have taken most of the country and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia accuses the Islamic Republic of providing military support to the Yemeni Shiite rebels, something that Tehran denies.

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  • Chinese finance would threaten Iran в's electrical industry
    04.07.2015 13:02
    Baku, Azerbaijan, June 30

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Chinese finance would threaten Iran 's electrical industry, said Alireza Kolahi, the chairman of the Iranian Electrical Industry's Syndicate.

    Although Chinese finance has not yet reached Iran 's electrical projects, but it should be noted that Chinese finance would threaten Iran's electrical industry, Iran's Fars news agency quoted Kolahi as saying.

    Chinese finance is actually assets of Iran that have been blocked as a result of sanctions, he said, adding that Chinese finance is against the law and contrary to guidelines of the Supreme Leader.

    Vast use of Chinese goods and equipment in the Iranian electrical industry will damage Iranian manufacturers, he noted.

    "Iranian companies can compete with their foreign rivals if they are supported, but unfortunately we lost the Iraqi market for exporting electrical equipment to our rivals from Turkey and Saudi Arabia," he said.

    Iran's $22 billion worth of assets has been frozen in China. The country is not able to transfer its exported oil money into the country due to international sanctions.

    Chinese companies have agreed to invest 2-3 times the sum in Iranian projects.

    Asadollah Asgaroladi, the chairman of Iran-China joint chamber of commerce, has said that 80 projects have been defined to use the Chinese finance, including the construction of oil refineries, roads, power plants, and airports.

    Edited by CN

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  • Share of retail deposits increases in Kazakh banks
    04.07.2015 13:01
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 4

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    The share of retail deposits in the total deposit portfolio of Kazakh banks grows, according to the analytical service

    Thus, the population provides 4.3 trillion tenge from 9.29 trillion tenge (186.2 tenge = $1) of the bank deposits on the results of April 2015.

    The share of retail in the deposits portfolio reached 46.3 percent. For comparison, in April 2014 it was 43.7 percent, five years earlier - only 36.2 percent.

    At the same time, the volume of retail deposits decreases. In April, the volume of deposits has decreased by 742 million tenge (0.02 percent decrease), the increase over the year (April 2014-April 2015) was only 1.6 percent. For comparison, the increase was 19.4 percent in the previous year (April 2013-April 2014).

    Retail deposits market's approaching the point of saturation increases the banking competition for customers. Some 32 banks of 35 second-tier banks of Kazakhstan offer retail deposits. Some 25 banks of them give the best possible base interest rate - 10 percent per annum (effective - 10.5 percent).

    As an added competitive advantage, five second-tier banks (12 products with a maximum base rate - 10 percent per annum) offer prize drawings among depositors.

    Home Credit Bank offered the most significant prize - an apartment in Astana (there is a possibility to take the prize in monetary terms), as well as drawing of 100 valuable prizes monthly.

    Two other second-tier banks raffle off cars among the depositors: Bank CenterCredit - BMW, Sberbank Kazakhstan - Kia Rio.

    The depositors Home Credit Bank have the lowest amount of admission (access to prize draw) - only 1,000 tenge (the chance to get one or another prize increases with every 1,000 tenge). VTB customers can participate in the drawing by making the contribution starting from 15,000 tenge. The lower limit starts from 100,000 tenge in the Bank CenterCredit and Sberbank Kazakhstan and from 500,000 tenge in the Capital Bank Kazakhstan.

    VTB does not limit the period of a deposit. Home Credit Bank allows depositing savings for 30-90 days. Other banks have indicated a period of 12 months.

    Each winner can get no more than one prize (certificates from Technodom company) in the drawings of Sberbank Kazakhstan. The winner, who received a certificate, does not participate in the drawing of the car. Even those, who previously won a monthly prize, can participate among the contributors of Home Credit Bank in the drawing of the main prize. VTB conducts drawings every month, each participant of the campaign can take part in the first, second and third drawing in case if he(she) doesn't win in one of them.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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  • Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry gives iftar
    04.07.2015 13:00
    Ambassadors of Muslim countries expressed their gratitude.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov on behalf of the Ministry invited ambassadors of Muslim countries in Azerbaijan to iftar.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Khalafov said Azerbaijan is an integral part of the Islamic world, and attaches great importance to development of comprehensive relations with Muslim countries.

    He stressed that cooperation between the two countries in political, economic and cultural spheres are deepening on both a bilateral and a multilateral basis.

    Khalaf Khalafov said that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is on the rise.

    Touching upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the deputy minister praised the support of Muslim countries for the fair position of Azerbaijan and noted that the OIC has repeatedly expressed a clear position on the realities of the conflict by adopting resolutions that reflect the true picture of the conflict based on international law, and again expressed his gratitude to the member countries for their support.

    Khalaf Khalafov wished success to the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Azerbaijan and prosperity, happiness and development of their people and the governments in this holy month.

    Speaking on behalf of the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Azerbaijan, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco Hassan Hami expressed his satisfaction with the organization of Iftar, and thanked on behalf of his colleagues.
  • "Chorrord Ishkhanutyun": Azerbaijani goods imported to Armenia
    04.07.2015 12:20
    "The fact itself is remarkable."

    Goods produced in Azerbaijan were imported to Armenia.

    According to Oxu.Az, the Armenian newspaper "Chorrord Ishkhanutyun" writes about it.

    "However, the volume of imports is very small, but the fact itself is remarkable. The fact that the import of Azerbaijani goods to Armenia is seen by the report of the customs service of the Ministry of Finance of Armenia for 2014 according to which the imported goods were worth $ 600.

    It is expected that the carpet was imported. By the way, in 2011, Azerbaijani carpets cost $ 8500 were imported to Armenia," the newspaper said.

    In turn, it has to be noted that imports of any goods of Armenian origin is not allowed in Azerbaijan.

    For example, earlier in June 2015, Azerbaijani border guards prevented the importation of 8 tons of agricultural products of Armenian origin to Azerbaijan.

    According to the State Customs Committee, 8130 kg of apricots detected at the customs post "Sinig korpu" of Tovuz Customs administration were arrested. During the preliminary investigation it was found that the goods were brought from Armenia.

    Due to the absence of documents establishing goods-producing countries, and the absence of sufficient evidence that the goods of Armenian origin, vehicles were detained by border guards, and the import of goods into the country was prevented.
  • Georgian government raises compensation for families of fallen police officers
    04.07.2015 11:45
    Parliament approved with its final reading on July 3 legislative amendments increasing one-time payment for families of police officers killed in the line of duty to GEL 100,000 (about USD 44,500).

    The government-proposed amendment also sets monthly payment to those families at GEL 1,000, reports.

    Similar scheme will apply to employees of the planned State Security Service, after it is separated from the Interior Ministry.

    The same scheme of compensation was introduced for families of fallen service members of the Georgian armed forces in 2013.
  • Armenian armed forces use heavy machine guns on contact line
    04.07.2015 11:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 4

    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

    Over the past 24 hours, Armenian military, using heavy machine guns, opened a massive fire on the Azerbaijani armed forces' positions, violating ceasefire 78 times, said Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry July 4.

    Armenian armed forces stationed in Aygepar and Chinari villages of Armenia's Berd district, opened fire on Azerbaijani armed forces positions in Alibayli and Agbulag villages of Tovuz district.

    Armenians, stationed С‰n the nameless heights of Armenia's Krasnoselsk district, opened fire on Azerbaijani positions in the nameless heights of Gadabay district of Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijani army positions also came under fire from Armenians stationed near Gulustan, Talish villages of Goranboy district, Chayli, Goyarkh, Chilyaburt villages of Tartar district, Shuraabad, Shikhlar, Kangarli, Shirvanli, Garagashli, Sarijali, Javahirli, Marzili, Yusifjanli of Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, Horadiz, Garakhanbayli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages of Fizuli district, Mehdili village of Jabrail district.

    Azerbaijani army positions also came under fire from the nameless heights of Goranboy, Khojavand, Fizuli and Jabrayil 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.

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  • Dilgam Asgarov refuses to ask pardon from occupants
    04.07.2015 11:41
    He did not apply to the separatists to pardon.

    Dilgam Asgarov, who was captured by the Armenians in July last year in the occupied Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan and was sentenced to life in prison by the "court" of the self-proclaimed "Nagorno Karabakh Republic", did not apply to the separatists to pardon.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the Armenian media that this was announced by Eric Beglaryan, acting as a "lawyer" of Azerbaijani captive in the "court".

    According to Beglaryan, Asgarov refused to apply for pardon to the "president" of self-proclaimed "Republic" Bako Saakyan.

    Dilgam Asgarov, who crossed the border to visit the graves of his relatives was taken prisoner in the occupied Kelbajar district and sentenced to life imprisonment by decision the of the self-proclaimed "court". Hasan Guliyev, who accompanied him was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment.
  • Chatham House has no connection to British Government - Sir Andrew Wood
    04.07.2015 11:40
    News.Az interviews Sir Andrew Wood, British political scientist (Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs), former British Ambassador to Russia (1995 '" 2000).

    The Western community has been strengthening sanctions against of Russia. Are you sure that sanctions are the best way to force Russia to change its policy towards Ukraine? What other means can be used to impose such changes?

    Sanctions could never have been expected to deal swiftly with Russia's seizure of Crimea and its repeated violations of eastern Ukraine, carried out and continued not only despite international laws but also of specific agreements signed by Russia with regard to the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. It is arguable that Western countries should have acted more toughly when faced with earlier Russian adventures, against Georgia in 2008 for instance. For the EU and other Western countries to have done nothing, including after the way that Yanukovich tried to suppress Ukrainians protesting at his misrule in Maidan, and then fled the country, would have sent a message that they were content to live in a world where might was taken as right, not one where international agreements were to be respected. Sanctions are meant over time to encourage a process whereby Russia can return to a situation in which it acknowledges the rules which have governed our common European home since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and recognises that its true interests lie in living with a stable and prospering Ukraine rather than forcing its will on a country that overwhelmingly rejects its hegemony.

    There is an opinion that Ukraine is the single place at post-soviet space where the West attempts to openly resist the Russian policy towards its neighbor. What do you think about that? Don't you think that the EU's policy regarding other regions in the former USSR, suffering from the similar conflicts, is not quite active and decisive?

    We have as I said at the beginning to make the best of our past judgements, and no one would be so foolish as to claim that any of us has got everything right all the time. Earlier hopes that Russia would develop into a reliable strategic partner have been disappointed, though I would still hope and argue that Russia's destiny over time will be to recognise its interest in building on the advantages of integrating itself into the wider European cultural, economic and political world, not in pursuing the chimerical ambition of achieving some sort of Eurasian hegemony for itself. While therefore we must resist what Russia seems to want to achieve in Ukraine - which by the way it has never clearly set out, while pretending to deny its obvious intervention in that country - we cannot now try in present circumstances to go beyond the way that we are addressing other issues that we can all wish might have been better tackled in the past. The theoretical best can be the enemy of what is in practice available.

    A few questions about Russian policy towards its neighborhood in the South. The Russian officials say that there is no any political base and anti-Russian sentiments in mass protests in Armenia, and the protests are purely economic. Do you believe that? Can protests in Armenia weaken Russia's position in this country and in the region?

    It would be wrong of me to pretend to particular knowledge of that country, but it is surely the case that the protests there cannot be or remain exclusively economic. The Armenian government has as I understand it already taken political account of them. It would also be going beyond my expertise to comment on the way that Russia seeks to balance its policies and interests as between Armenia and Azerbaijan. That cannot be easy.

    British Ambassador to Azerbaijan Irfan Siddiq was summoned to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on July 1. Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov expressed the protest of the Azerbaijani government over the possible visit of Bako Sahakyan, introducing him as the head of the separatist regime created in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, and the invitation sent to him to participate in an event to be held at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, on July 8, 2015. How would you comment on Azerbaijan's position that such contacts with the separatist leader may harm relations between Baku and London?

    Your question as to the possible visit of Bako Sahakyan to London is an illustration, in its way, of the dilemmas faced by outside powers because of the outstanding problems arising out of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. I would however point out, as I am sure the British Ambassador did when he met with the Deputy Foreign Minister, that Chatham House is an independent organisation with no connection to the British Government, and that what it may do or whom it may invite has no implications for the British Government's policies in this matter.
  • Candidacy of Kazakh cosmonaut to fly on ISS approved
    04.07.2015 11:01
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 4

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakh cosmonaut Aydin Aimbetov will fly to the International Space Station, the press service of the Kazakh president said July 3 following the operational meeting with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

    Aimbetov's candidacy was approved by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to the press service.

    The agreement on the participation of the Kazakh citizen in flight to the International Space Station was previously reached between the heads of Kazakhstan and Russia. The decision about the flight of the Kazakh cosmonaut to the ISS was made after British singer Sarah Brightman refused to fly as a space tourist.

    The issues of development of the space industry of Kazakhstan were also discussed at the meeting, as well as the progress of implementation of the project to create a rocket-space complex Baiterek at the Baikonur cosmodrome was considered.

    Following the meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev gave instructions to the government.


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  • Armenians violate ceasefire 78 times
    04.07.2015 10:22
    Armenian Armed Forces violated ceasefire 78 times in various directions of the frontline within a day. reports with reference to the Defense Ministry that Armenian armed units fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces in Alibeyli and Agbulag villages of Tovuz district from the posts in Aygepar and Chinari villages of Armenia's Berd district, positions in nameless uplands of Gedebey district from the posts in nameless uplands of Krasnoselsk district.

    Armenians fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces from their posts near Gulustan, Talish villages of Goranboy, Chilaburt village of Terter, Shiklar, Shirvanli, Garagashli, Sarijali, Javahirli and Marzili villages of Aghdam, Garakhanbeyli, Horadiz, Gorgan, Ashaghi Seyidahmedli villages of Fuzuli, Mehdili village of Jabrayil district and nameless uplands of Goranboy, Khojavand, Jabrayil and Fuzuli districts.

    The enemy was silenced by retaliation fire.
  • Contract signed on exploration, production of oil and gas on Caspian Sea sector
    04.07.2015 10:21
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company KazMunaiGas has signed a contract for combined exploration and production on the Dead Kultuk site (Ustyurt), said the website of Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE).

    The company informed the KASE about the signing of this contract with an official letter.

    Dead Kultuk field is located in the transition zone from shallow waters of the Caspian Sea to the territory of Komsomolets gulf and the surrounding areas on the east coast of the Caspian Sea. The area, where this block is located, is one of most promising for oil and gas production in Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea.

    KazMunaiGas transferred its 50-percent right for subsoil use in the contract on exploration and production of Dead Kultuk block to Caspian Tristar (a group of Kazakh investors) in 2008.

    Edited by SI


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  • Azerbaijan, Afghanistan discuss expansion of cultural ties
    04.07.2015 10:20
    Azerbaijani minister of culture and tourism Abulfaz Garayev has today met Afghan Ambassador Mohammad Tagi Khalili to discuss ways of expanding cultural relations between the two countries, AzerTag reports.

    Minister Garayev emphasized the role of reciprocal visits in improving the bilateral relations.

    He recalled Deputy Prime Minister Elchin Afandiyev`s attending an annual Nowruz Summit of Islamic countries in Kabul last year. "Our people are bound together by ties of history, religious and spiritual values."

    The Afghan Ambassador also highlighted historical, religious and cultural closeness between the two nations.
  • Iran says 23% less dependent on oil revenue
    04.07.2015 09:59
    Tehran, Iran, July 3

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    An Islamic Republic official says Iran has grown 23 percent less dependent on oil revenues in its national budget.

    Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, government spokesman and director of the Management and Planning Organization made the announcement in a press conference, Fars news agency reported July 3.

    He further said that the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum has increased its export by 23.5 percent.

    Also, six South Pars refinery units and three production platforms were made operational, he said.

    Nonetheless, Nobakht stated, four rows of South Pars phases 15 and 16 and an offshore rig went on stream.

    The official said the production of gas condensates in Iran has reached 466 thousand barrels per day.

    Also, Persian Gulf Star refinery output has hit 360 thousand barrels, he stated.

    Iran's petroleum export revenues was $114 billion in 2011, but plunged to $53.652 billion last year due to sanctions, according to OPEC's annual report.

    After the second half of 2014, oil prices decreased dramatically. The OPEC oil basket price has decreased from $108 in last may to above $45 in late 2014 and currently is sold below $60.

    Iran's fiscal year starts on March 21.

    Edited by CN

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  • Turkish PM: We will not put country at risk over Syria
    04.07.2015 09:58
    Turkey's prime minister has said he will not take any steps which would "put the country at risk" following speculation that Ankara could take military action in Syria Anadolu Agency reported

    "We will never take a step that would put the country at risk and allow the formation of [threatening] structures on our borders," Ahmet Davutoglu said in a live broadcast on Turkish Kanal 7 television on Thursday.

    Davutoglu said that while his government would not panic and put Turkey into a war, neither it would remain unresponsive.

    Touching on "structures" on the Syrian border with Turkey, Davutoglu pointed to what he called a "threatening" relationship between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD).

    He said: "Turkey will not remain indifferent to relations between the PKK and PYD if they become threatening to the country."

    Turkey has designated the PYD as a terror organization.

    He said his government had made all preparations against any threats posed by the Daesh group, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as well as the PYD and its affiliates on the border.

    "All measures are ready, but if there is not a situation which poses a security risk, it would not be right to create an expectation that Turkey will make a unilateral intervention," Davutoglu said.

    He warned: "No one should have an expectation that Turkey would enter Syria tomorrow or in a short period," adding however, that the country would not wait for even one minute if security was attacked.

    Stressing that Turkey did not want to see terrorist organizations around it, Davutoglu said: "We want to see neither terrorist group nor [Syrian] regime atrocities."

    Davutoglu also claimed that there was cooperation between Daesh and the Assad regime, which he said paved way the PYD to gain several areas in the north of the conflict-hit Syria.

    "The Syrian government launched airstrikes on the moderate opposition which left their areas and Daesh later entered these areas," said the prime minister.

    This week, Turkey's National Security Council expressed concern over "actions aiming to change the demographic structure and terrorist acts targeting the civilian population living in Syria".

    Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would "never allow the establishment of a new state on our southern frontier", referring to the PYD.

    Turkey has already carried out a limited military operation in Syria this year. In February, tanks crossed the border as troops relocated the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

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  • Erdogan hopes Turkey forms new government soon
    04.07.2015 09:50
    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said a new Turkish government backed by the majority in the parliament must be established as soon as possible.

    "I call on all political parties to take responsibility in this regard," Erdogan said Friday at an iftar organized by the Green Crescent (Yesilay) in Istanbul, Anadolu agency reports.

    He said that Turkey should not have to deal with any issues in forming a government at a time when vital regional developments were taking place. He noted that Turkey was facing very serious problems in its region that required very important decisions.

    He believed that only a powerful majority government and not a minority government could face this situation in the best way.

    He said that the Turkish people had made their decision on June 7 by not giving the majority to any political party. But, he said that if the parliament did not succeed in establishing the government, then the country would head towards snap elections.

    He hoped that the Turkey would resolve the issue of forming a new government as soon as possible.

    The Justice and Development (AK) Party led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu came in first in the fourth consecutive general elections to secure the largest number of votes -- 41 percent -- and to claim 258 seats in the Grand National Assembly, 18 short of a simple majority in elections held on June 7.

    The second-placed Republican People's Party (CHP) saw 132 deputies elected while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the People's Democratic Party (HDP) both won 80 seats.

    Turkish president is awaited to give the mandate to form the new government to Davutoglu, who will seek the support of at least one other party to govern the country in a coalition set up.
  • Putin: Russia coming under pressure for not bargaining its sovereignty
    04.07.2015 09:31
    Russia is coming under pressure from other countries for its independent policy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday at a meeting of the Russian Security Council.

    "The reasons for such pressure are obvious mdash; we are conducting an independent domestic and foreign policy, we are not bargaining our sovereignty," he said. "Many might not like it and it is only natural", TASS quotes Putin as saying.

    "Obviously, attempts to split and dissociate our society, to speculate in certain difficulties, to find a weak link have failed to yield expected results, i.e. results expected by those who imposed and keep on supporting restrictive measures against our country," Putin said. "Citizens and key political forces in the country, as well as businesses clearly see what is going on and know what is to be done."

    Putin noted that the prompt measures had made it possible to stabilize the situation in the economy, in the financial sphere and on the labour market. "All strategically important economic sectors are functioning stably, major state programs, including those in the social sphere, continue to be implemented. Moreover, our companies, domestic manufacturers have proved that they are capable of developing in the rigid conditions, of finding new partners, developing both domestic and foreign markets," the president said, citing as an example the performance of Russia's agrarian sector.
  • SOCARв's drilling works reduced by 11.7% in June
    04.07.2015 09:16
    This June the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) reduced drilling by 11.7% against May 2015.

    SOCAR informs that if not to take into account drilling operations by joint ventures (JVs) and operating companies (OCs) in June it drilled 9,518 m versus 10,775 m in May, 12,393 m in April, 6,595 m in March, 6,990 m in February and 7,165 m in January. At that, development drilling made up 9,518 m, while exploration and wildcat drilling was not carried out.

    This year SOCAR has drilled 53,436 m, including 52,436 m accounted for development and 1,000 m for exploration drilling.

    In 2014 drilling works reached 127,346 m, including 124,718 m of development and 2,628 m of exploration drilling. In December 2014 it was drilled 8,506 m and in May 15,635 m (last year's best index). In 2013 the best month figure was registered in April (17,190 m).

    The best month indicator for the entire history was registered in July 2012 (17.414 m). The best figure for 2011 was observed in September (14,866 m). The volume of drilling in February 2010 (12,890 m) was the best index of 2010, and 17,399 m in April of 2009 was earlier the best index over the last few years.

    In 2013 drilling works reached 142,656 m, including 135,665 m of development and 6,991 m of exploration drilling.

    In 2012 it was carried out 136,441 m of drilling works, including 128,968 m of development and 7,473 m of exploration drilling (2,150 m of wildcat drilling).

    In 2011 drilling works totaled 147,287 m, including 133,343 m of development and 13,944 m of exploration drilling (including 2,550 m of wildcat drilling).

    Drilling for 2010 totaled 136,324 m against 168,182 m for 2009 and 202,954 m for 2008. In 2010, development drilling totaled 127,858 m, exploration drilling 8,466 m (including 1,785 m of wildcat drilling) versus 160,326 m of development and 7,856 m of exploration drilling in 2009.
  • Navy commanders of Caspian states to hold consultations on collective security
    04.07.2015 09:10
    Navy Commanders of the Caspian countries agreed to hold a first round of consultations in October.

    Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Viktor Chirkov agreed with Azerbaijani, Iranian and Kazakh counterparts to hold consultations in October on establishment of the Caspian Sea collective security system. APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, in the frame of the International Naval Show in St. Petersburg, delegations from Azerbaijan, Iran and Kazakhstan raised issues of creating the Caspian Sea collective security system.

    In particular, it is reported that during the meeting the parties discussed the possibility of establishing a multilateral consultative body - the Committee of Navy Commanders of the Caspian states and the signing the Agreement on Prevention of Incidents on the Caspian Sea.

    "During the meeting with the Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov delegations reaffirmed their readiness to further work in these areas and have agreed to hold the first round of the relevant consultations in Russia in October," the statement reads.
  • President Ilham Aliyev congratulates Barack Obama
    04.07.2015 08:50
    Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev congratulated US President Barack Obama on the Independence Day of the United States.

    In hia congratulatory letter, President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan attaches great importance to relations with the United States, noting that relations between the two countries in many areas reached the level of strategic partnership.

    President Aliyev expressed hope for the efforts of the US as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country and personally the US President to settle the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, liberate our Armenian-occupied lands and return over one million refugees and IDPs to their homelands will succeed soon.
  • Turkmenistan looks for gas partners
    04.07.2015 07:37
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    The visit of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov to Georgia took place July 2.

    This visit was not announced in advance and, therefore, was somewhat unexpected. However, at the same time, in the light of events unfolding in recent months, the Turkmen-Georgian meeting at the highest level was expected.

    In recent months, negotiations on deliveries of Turkmen gas to Europe have notably intensified. The initiators of this activization are both Turkmenistan, which has repeatedly expressed its interest in exporting its gas to the European market, and the EU, which actively seeks alternative sources of gas in the light of tensions with its main supplier, Russia. The determination of the parties in this matter is so great that vice president of the European Commission's energy union Maros Sefcovic said at the last talks in early May in Ashgabat that the EU intends to get Turkmen gas already in 2019.

    However, the implementation of these plans requires not only the willingness and efforts of the EU and Turkmenistan, but also the consent and participation of the transit countries, in particular Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia. Georgia has long been aside from the negotiations on deliveries of Turkmen gas to Europe. Now, however, when the work on the construction of infrastructure of the Southern Gas Corridor from Baku to Southeastern Europe began, the European dream of Turkmen gas increasingly becomes real, and it is necessary to start working closely with all the constituent units of this project, including Georgia.

    At the last talks between Turkmenistan, the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkey in Ashgabat on deliveries of Turkmen gas to Europe it was decided to invite Georgia to participate in the next negotiations. It seems that the president of Turkmenistan decided to discuss the matter with the Georgian leadership in the bilateral format in advance and get its support in this project.

    It is therefore quite natural that energy cooperation and the establishment of the South Caucasus energy corridor was one of the main topics of the talks by Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov in Georgia. Evaluating the statements of Georgian officials, one can conclude that the purpose of the visit of president of Turkmenistan to Georgia was reached.

    Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that "this cooperation is beneficial" not only for Georgia and Turkmenistan, but also for "the entire region and for many countries in Eurasia."

    "Our joint transit and energy projects will make it possible to transit Turkmen energy resources to the European markets," the Georgian president said.

    A joint statement of the two presidents notes "importance of balanced policy of Turkmenistan, which is directed towards diversification of supply routes of its natural gas to the world markets."

    "The Presidents emphasized especially on the importance of supply of energy resources from the Caspian Sea to Europe," the joint statement reads.

    However, the readiness of Georgia to support the intention of Turkmenistan is hardly worth a doubt. Georgia has always been interested in the development of its transit potential, and the transit of Turkmen energy resources to Europe will further strengthen its role.

    Edited by CN


    Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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  • Iranian government transferred $150B of assets in 10 years
    04.07.2015 04:40
    Tehran, Iran, July 3

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    The Iranian Privatization Organization has transferred $150 billion of governmental assets in the past ten years.

    According to the head of the organization Mir Ali Ashraf Abdullahpour Hosseini, close to $10 billion of that went to creditors, and pretty much the same amount went into the Edalat Shares.

    Some $26.2 billion also went to pay for other governmental debts; $680 million of that went as wage to workers.

    He stated that although according to the law, the major transferences must have been completed in the time mentioned, the requirements of the law in this section have not been even half met.

    Edited by CN

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  • Egypt's ISIL offshoot attacks southern Israel
    04.07.2015 02:22
    ISIL militants operating in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula have launched a rocket attack on southern Israel, PressTV reported.

    "Three Grad rockets were fired at Jewish positions in occupied Palestine," militants from Velayat Sinai (Sinai Province), previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, said in a Friday statement on Twitter later in the day.

    The Velayat Sinai pledged allegiance to the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group last November.

    The rockets landed on Friday afternoon in an open area at the Eshkol Regional Council, close to the Egyptian border, causing code-red sirens to sound in nearby communities.

    The attacks caused no injuries or damage but forced residents to take refuge in shelters.

    The rocket fire came just two days after the Takfiri militants attacked Egyptian military posts in the Sinai Peninsula. Later in the day, the Egyptian army issued a statement, saying that it killed over 100 militants following the terrorist attacks, which left 17 army personnel dead.

    Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, in July 2013, gunmen have launched numerous terrorist attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, which has long been considered a safe haven for militants.

    A state of emergency has been announced in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula since a militant attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint killed more than 30 soldiers in October 2014.

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  • Nigeria's Boko Haram slaughters 11 defectors
    04.07.2015 00:53
    Baku-APA. Boko Haram killed 11 of its members in northeast Nigeria on Friday for attempting to defect from the militant group, according to two local sources, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

    Hassan Baba, a resident of Miringa village, the scene of the attack, confirmed the incident to Anadolu Agency.

    "Eleven Boko Haram members who ran to their relatives in Miringa village were killed today. They were slaughtered in the presence of their family members with a warning by Boko Haram militants that similar treatment awaits other 'traitors,'" Baba told Anadolu Agency.

    Jubrin Gunda, spokesman of a local vigilante network, also corroborated Baba's account.

    "Our network in Miringa confirmed to us that 11 Boko Haram defectors were killed in the presence of their family members. They also reported the burning down of their family homes," Gunda told Anadolu Agency.
  • Iran, Turkey start talks on mazut export
    03.07.2015 23:27
    Tehran, Iran, July 3

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Iran has started negotiations on mazut export with a Turkish company.

    A deal is expected to be signed soon if the talks succeed, after which the export will go operational, Mehr news agency reported July 1.

    Iran is facing a surplus mazut production of 41 million liters, some of which it delivers via bunkering firms to passing-by ships at the Persian Gulf ports.

    Iran also has a long-term agreement on mazut export with the UAE.

    The surplus production of mazut follows a surge in gas production at the South Pars, which enabled the country to move toward turning its industries gas-powered.

    Iran burned some 25.5 million liters of mazut in the past three months. That amount is much less than the mazut consumed the same period last year, which was 34.2 million liters.

    According to FGE, a global energy consultancy firm, Iran exported almost 300 kb/d of petroleum products in 2014, more than 50 kb/d higher than in 2013 but about 100 kb/d lower than in 2011 because U.S. and EU sanctions affected Iran's ability to sell petroleum products as well. Iran mostly exports fuel oil (mazut), LPG, and naphtha to Asian markets.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijani delegation head says PACE must respond immediately to Armeniaв's obstacles to rapporteurs
    03.07.2015 22:32
    Armenia denies entry not only to Robert Walter but also to Milica Markovic, the PACE rapporteur on Sarsang reservoir

    Baku. Malahat Najafova - APA. Armenia denies entry not only to Robert Walter but also to Milica Markovic, the PACE rapporteur on Sarsang reservoir. PACE was several times appealed for taking serious approach toward the issue, Samad Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to PACE, told APA.

    "PACE should provide appropriate conditions for its rapporteurs. Unfortunately, the Armenian side ignores it. To evade its responsibility and cover up these issues, the head of the Armenian delegation at the latest session said they are investigation the issue regarding Walter and considering the issue of Sarsang reservoir. One year passed since the first one and 1,5 year since the other. They are still investigating one and considering the other. Obviously, this is just a pretext to gain time. I am not surprised by the position of the Armenian side. We have seen it several times. If we took the same steps and banned any rapporteur from enetring Azerbaijan, PACE would issue numerous statements. Where are such statements today? This testifies that the PACE leadership doesn't take an unbiased position. PACE needs to intervene in this matter very seriously, issue statements and exert pressure on Armenia," said Seyidov.

    As for the possibility of Robert Walter's visit to occupied territories through Azerbaijan, Samadov said his visit to Nagorno-Karabakh through the territory controlled by Azerbaijan is not a problem for the government.

    "Unfortunately, Armenians placed mines there, and "rulers" of Nagorno-Karabakh do what says Armenia. They don't let anyone who wants to cross into Nagorno-Karabakh through the territory controlled by Azerbaijan. Another option is passing through Armenia. I don't see anything unusual in Armenia's delaying the process. They have committed a crime and don't want to show these lands to anyone in order to cover up the crime. But I am interested in PACE itself. PACE must respond immediately to Armenia's obstacles to its rapporteurs. It is unpleasant that PACE is turning blind eyes to this issue. PACE should change its attitude to avoid possible problems in the future," Seyidov completed.
  • Turkish PM bets on strong figures
    03.07.2015 22:00
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The reappointment of Turkish former Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul as defense minister testifies once again that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu bets on stronger figures.

    Gonul has great working experience. Gonul worked as an advisor in the Turkish interior ministry. He was the governor of Ankara and Kocaeli province. Gonul is one of the founders of the Council of Higher Education.

    Gonul was defense minister during nine years from 2002 to 2011.

    Earlier, Gonul's candidacy was not mentioned. One of two MPs from the Justice and Development Party were expected to be appointed defense minister. Alpaslan KavaklД±oglu and Mahir Unal were those candidates.

    Alpaslan Kavaklioglu earlier served as the deputy governor in Erzincan and Sakarya provinces. He has worked at the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Cabinet of Ministers for many years. Kavaklioglu has graduated from the National Security College. He speaks English and Japanese.

    Mahir Unal has graduated from Marmara University. He has served as the strategic consultant in the election campaigns of the Justice and Development Party since 2004. Unal speaks Arabic and English.

    Davutoglu said that the reason for appointing Gonul the defense minister is that he has great experience in the country's defense sphere.

    Given the current situation in Turkey, to be more precisely, the issue of creation of a safe zone in Syria, as well as the activity of the "Islamic State" terrorist organization and the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party - Democratic Unity Party (PYD) - this appointment was necessary.

    Even the current authorities don't hide this fact either. For example, one can mention the words of Davutoglu that given the dangers for Turkey on the southern borders, this post should not remain empty.

    In case of formation of a new government in Turkey, the whole composition of the government will change. But it is worth noting that since Gonul is a powerful figure, he will remain at the post of the Turkish defense minister even in case of formation of a new government.

    Edited by CN


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

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  • Turkish Cypriot government quits
    03.07.2015 21:37
    The Turkish Cypriot government stood down Friday after the prime minister was defeated in a party leadership election, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Premier Ozkan Yorgancioglu submitted the coalition government's resignation to President Mustafa Akinci after he was defeated in a vote on the leadership of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces on June 14.

    Yorgancioglu said he would quit as prime minister after losing the vote to former President Mehmet Ali Talat, who is not a member of parliament and so cannot hold government office. Yorgancioglu's government was formed in September 2013.

    Akinci must now seek another candidate to stand as prime minister and establish a government.

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  • Turkey fears fresh influx of Syrian refugees
    03.07.2015 21:27
    Turkish Foreign Ministry has urged the international community to act to stop Daesh and the Bashar al-Assad regime before it may result in another huge influx of Syrian refugees into Turkey, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Daesh is currently pushing its forces into the Syrian town of Mare and Azaz regions of Syria's Aleppo governorate.

    "In this region, there are at least four million people. So, it is important that the Syrian regime and Daesh should be stopped and Syrian people should not be pushed towards the Turkish border," Tanju Bilgic, ministry spokesman, said at a press briefing in Ankara on Friday.

    He added that Turkey was worried about the influx of refugees. "Recently, this concern has been heightened. Following this influx, the burden on Turkey's shoulder would increase. We call on the international community to act," he said.

    Turkey is already hosting around two million Syrian refugees at a cost of an estimated $2.6 billion.

    The spokesman added that Ankara was in talks with the U.S. to create a no fly zone and a restricted area within Syria territory where people displaced by the war could find refuge.

    Bilgic also criticized the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) for its alleged attempts to change the demography in certain parts of Syria.

    "Turkey will not accept the party's demographic operations and its creation of de facto situations. In fact, our concerns are very well known by the PYD," he said.

    Turkey designates PYD as a terror organization. The Syrian Kurdish group recently captured the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad that fuelled concerns that the group is aiming to found an independent Kurdish state or a fully autonomous region in the area. The People's Defense Units (YPG), the PYD's military wing, captured the border city on June 15 with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on Daesh targets.

    About media reports that Turkey may intervene directly in Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu clarified in a televised interview Thursday that Ankara would never take a step that would put the entire country at risk and allow the formation of "threatening structures" on Turkish borders.

    Davutoglu added that while his government would not panic and put Turkey into a war, it would also not remain unresponsive.

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  • TAP begins construction of access roads and bridges in Albania
    03.07.2015 20:54
    By Aygun BadalovaВ 

    The Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP) started construction and rehabilitation work on access roads and bridges along the pipelineв's route in Albania, TAP reported on July 3.The occasion was marked by an inauguration ceremony near the town of Г‡orovoda, attended by the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, Minister of Energy and Industry Damian Gjiknuri, and TAP Managing Director Ian Bradshaw.

    Prime Minister Rama and Minister Gjiknuri emphasised the importance of the project to Albania. As one of the largest foreign investments in the country, TAP will have a positive impact on the countryв's energy sector and will help encourage other foreign investments, they said.

    TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe. The approximately 870 km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

    TAPв's routing can facilitate gas supply to several South Eastern European countries, including Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and others. TAPв's landfall in Italy provides multiple opportunities for further transport of Caspian natural gas to some of the largest European markets such as Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland and Austria.

    TAPв's shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), EnagГЎs (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).

    TAPв's initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters per year. First gas within the Shah Deniz II project will be delivered to Europe via TAP in early 2020.

  • Indian PM to discuss TAPI gas pipeline construction in Central Asia
    03.07.2015 20:53
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss the acceleration of implementation of the gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India (TAPI) during a tour across the Central Asia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of India Navtej Sarna said at a briefing July 3, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

    The Indian leader will visit five Central Asian countries - Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan July 6-13.

    "TAPI will certainly become an issue that will be discussed (during the tour of the prime pinister)," Sarna said. "We need to explore the possibilities of implementation of this project as soon as possible. It has a huge potential, which will allow India access to Central Asian gas."

    The meeting of the TAPI steering committee was held in Ashgabat in late 2014. A decision was made to announce an international tender to choose a TAPI Ltd. consortium leader in early 2015.

    Turkmengaz State Concern, Afghan Gas Corporation, Pakistan's "Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited" and Indian "GAIL (India) Limited" with equal shares have recently established "TAPI Ltd." operating company. It will own the pipeline in the future. The project implementation can begin in 2015.

    The basic document for its implementation is Ashgabat's interstate agreement signed among the participating countries in 2010.

    The length of TAPI gas pipeline will be 1,800 kilometers, of which 200 kilometers will run though Turkmenistan, 773 kilometers - Afghanistan, 827 kilometers - Pakistan (to Fazilka settlement on the border with India). It is designed to meet the gas demand of the industry of the countries with the population of over 1.5 billion. The annual pumping capacity of the gas pipeline will be 33 billion cubic meters.

    Edited by CN

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  • Greece tries to improve its financial situation at expense of energy projects
    03.07.2015 20:48
    By Aygun BadalovaВ Greece, which is currently experiencing a serious crisis, is trying to find every opportunity to improve its financial situation, in particular by using the energy projects that it participates in, director of the Russian National Energy Institute Sergey Pravosudov told Trend.He said that Greeceв's possible leaving the European Union will not affect its obligations under signed agreements on energy projects. However, in his view, Greece will try to initiate a review of these agreements.''Probably, they will initiate a review of these agreements, but I donв't think it will be linked with Greeceв's possible withdrawal from the EU,'' said Pravosudov.On June 28, creditors refused to grant a deferring of payments on the IMF loans to Greece and refused to renew the international program of financial assistance to the country for the third time without the agreement on the Greek reforms program.This may result in withdrawal of Greece from the euro zone, which will become a serious blow not only to the single European currency, but also have a negative impact on the world economy as a whole.Earlier, Turkey stated that it is ready to render financial support to Greece. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that stability in Greece is important for Turkey.''Turkeyв's desire, in particular, is based on the energy projects,'' Pravosudov said. ''These are the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Turkish Stream. Both countries are participants there.''"Turkey is turning into a very large gas transportation hub now,'' he said. ''TAP and Turkish Stream are connected with Turkey and eventually they reach Greece. Everything is somehow connected here.""Moreover, Turkey and Greece have many other partially resolved issues," he added.Greece is one of the countries through which TAP being implemented as part of the Southern Gas Corridor will stretch. TAP is currently the only project that will soon provide the EU countries with alternative sources and a gas supply route.Gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijanв's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field is the initial source for the project.Greece has signed a number of both political and technical agreements within this project. The governmental agreement between Greece and the TAP consortium, as well as the intergovernmental agreement on construction of TAP that was signed and then ratified by Albania, Italy and Greece are among such documents. The country will receive 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year within the contracts signed with Azerbaijan.Despite the remarks regarding the commitment to the implementation of this project, the new government in Greece periodically hinted that it would like to get more benefits from the gas transit through the countryв's territory.Nevertheless, TAP consortium stated that Greek government fully supports the TAP project and the project for construction of Greek section of the pipeline (545 kilometers) is being implemented on schedule.

  • The African soldiers dragged into Europe's war
    03.07.2015 20:32
    More than one million people died in East Africa during World War One. Some soldiers were forced to fight members of their own families on the battlefield because of the way borders were drawn up by European colonial powers, writes Oswald Masebo.

    I was born and raised in a simple home in the rural district of Ileje about 1,000km from Dar es Salaam, in south-west Tanzania. The district is at the border with Malawi where the hilly plateaus of Ileje and Rungwe districts rise above the plains of Lake Nyasa and Kyela district.

    My family has made a living from the land of Ileje for generations. During the Word War One, Ileje and the surrounding environments became a battle ground between German forces and British allied forces from Malawi.

    Although the war began in 1914, it was the battles fought in 1915 and 1916 which were most intense and which had grave consequences to the generation of my great-grandparents.

    Ten years ago, I asked my own grandfather Jotam Masebo what he knew about World War One. His recollections remind us of grinding hardship. I quote:

    "Our parents narrated to us a lot about this war. The timing of the war was bad. It broke at the time when our parents were about to begin planting maize, beans, cassava, groundnut, and potatoes... The fighting created fear and insecurity that disrupted the agricultural production of our parents and led to the most acute famine that killed many people. The fighting killed innocent men, women, and children."

    The fighting at the river Songwe border was particularly notorious because some of the soldiers and carrier corps involved in it were related to enemy soldiers.

    People living on both sides of the border lived together as a single community until the notorious Berlin Conference created a boundary to separate the German colony of Tanzania and the British colony of Malawi. The boundaries passed through the middle of these people and divided them. They would come to fight during World War One, representing the interests of their respective colonial masters.

    The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 was convened by Otto von Bismarck to discuss the future of AfricaThe Berlin Act of 1885, signed by the 13 European powers in attendance, included a resolution to "help in suppressing slavery"The colonial powers were more interested in protecting old markets and exploiting new ones though, and they began carving up Africa leaving people from the same tribe on different sides of European-imposed borders

    /By BBC/
  • Azerbaijani cyclists to join Tour de Qinghai Lake
    03.07.2015 20:13
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The Synergy Baku Cycling Project is returning to racing at the Tour de Qinghai Lake, which it last rode in 2013. The 13-stage race runs from July 7 to 18, and is ranked UCI 2.HC.The team will send a strong squad to the race, with Maksym Averin, Matej Mugerli and Ioannis Tamouridis. They will be supported by Elchin Asadov, Alex Surutkovych, Markus Eibegger and Samir Jabrayilov.Qinghai Lake offers nine mountain stages, three circuit courses and one flat stage.''Matej and Ioannis will go for the GC,'' said sport director Tomaz Poljanec. ''Elchin is of course always good for a break group, Alex can look to the climbs, and we will ride for Max on the few sprint possibilities. It will also be good preparation for Samir for the upcoming European Championships. Markus will continue with his come-back from his injury and we assume he will continue with his good progress.''
  • Looking for beneficial exchange deals?
    03.07.2015 20:00
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The exchange rate for the national currency is a major question for travelers to another country. Any rise or drop in the financial markets can be beneficial for us, but it also makes us think twice before acquiring cash currency.

    The Azerbaijani manat was considered one of the most stable national currencies before its devaluation in early 2015 as a result of fluctuations of oil prices in the world market.

    The 34 percent devaluation follows a February 16 decision to shift from a dollar-peg policy to tying the manat to a basket, including the euro.

    The exchange of money is well-organized in Azerbaijan and banks carry out sale and purchase operations based on the exchange rate of manat with regard to major hard currencies, which is set by the country's Central Bank.

    Azerbaijanв's Central Bank announces the official exchange rate of the manat daily. For instance, U.S. dollar and Euro against to the Azerbaijani manat was set at 1.0489 and 1.1612 manats, respectively as of July 3.

    While exchanging money we desire to get the maximum benefit and look for the best bank rates.

    People first of all look at the electronic boards displaying the figures. These rates are final and no extra are incurred during the operation.

    The AZN.Today services website provides the top five of banks offering the best rates of exchange for hard currency. Last week they were Unibank, Az?r-TГјrk Bank, Deka bank, International Bank, and Turan bank.

    For instance it is more profitable to sell dollars at Unibank. This bank buys this currency at 1.0488 manats per $1, and it is the highest price for the U.S. currency in the national market.

    However, it is better to buy dollars in the Az?r-TГјrk Bank, where the dollar is cheaper than in any other bank of the country, selling it at 1.0507 manats per $1.

    With regards to Euro, Deka bank gives you the best deal, offering 1.16 manat per 1 euro.

    Unibank is also a good choice for the purchase of European currencies, as here 1 euro can be purchased at 1.1687 manats.

    The manat is very similar to the Euro or USD in value and therefore it does not pose difficulties for foreign nationals in assessing the value of goods and services.

    Non-cash payments

    Although many countries have long ago moved to the credit card system, in Azerbaijan people still prefer to use cash money, due to its convenience in payments for travel fares in public transport.

    Credit card machines have not yet been introduced in city buses, which is why people still enjoy the good-old method, using cash to pay for their bus fare. However, the government is planning to implement this system in the coming years.

    People generally use social, salary, and pension cards to pay utilities, or pay online bookings in Azerbaijan.

    Although bank cards are not as popular in the country, by the 2nd quarter of 2015, Azerbaijan with a population over 9.6 million issued the record number of payment cards. The number of bank cards in the country reached 6,038,000, some 1,281,000 of which are credit cards. Remaining 2,461,000 consist social cards, while salary cards amount of 1,442,000.

    The number of ATMs operating in Azerbaijan comprises 2,633 units'"some 1,481 have been installed in Baku, while 1,152 operate across the countryв's regions.

    By April 2015 the number of POS terminals installed in the country stood at 77,631 units. Some 50,229 of these terminals are operating in the capital and 27,402 in the regions.
  • Azerbaijani, Russian customs Services sign several documents
    03.07.2015 19:58
    Today, several documents have been signed between Azerbaijani and Russian customs Services in Moscow.

    State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan told APA-Economics that the signing ceremony was held within the visit of delegation led by SCC chairman Aydin Aliyev to Russia.

    Before signing the documents, the delegations spoke at the meeting with the Russian Federal Customs Service Director Andrei Belyaninov about political and economic relations and cultural relations of both countries. The sides also noted that bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are developing successfully, the cooperation in all spheres, including customs sphere, is at high level.

    Thereafter, Azerbaijani and Russian Customs Services signed several documents - "Protocol between State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan and Russian Federal Customs Service on mutual identification of results of the customs control in relation to certain sort of goods" and "Schedule of Regularity of working meetings at the level of chairmen of customs departments and posts of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan and Russian Federal Customs Service".

    The documents were signed by SCC Chairman Aydin Aliyev and Russian Federal Customs Service Director Andrei Belyaninov.
  • Kazakhstan attracts over $30 bln FDI in industrialization program
    03.07.2015 19:55
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    Kazakhstan has attracted about $33 billion foreign direct investment during the period of the first five-year plan of industrialization, half of which was invested in a program for the industrial-innovative development of the country.

    This remark was made by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was addressing a ceremony commemorating the Day of Industrialization, dedicated to the implementation of the ''Nur Jol'' state program and forced industrial-innovative development program on July 2.

    The president noted the second five-year plan of industrialization has a clear focus.

    "We have identified six priority sectors-oil refining and metallurgy complex, food, and chemical industries, industrial equipment and construction materials. It is based on the cluster approach. We tried to take into account the accumulated experience of the first five-year plan in the new program," he added.

    Nazarbayev also said Kazakhstan plans to implement 22 new projects in the processing industry with participation of foreign investors.

    "Works on a number of large systematic projects are underway. The construction of a full-cycle automobile plant and Technology Park engaged in the production of automotive components has been started together with the Renault-Nissan alliance," Nazarbayev said. "The Italian Tenaris Company has invested in a plant engaged in the production of pipes of premium class. The plant for the production of drilling rigs will be put into operation together with English Dando Drilling. Russian Eurochem plans to produce mineral fertilizers. Canadian Kudu Industries intends to establish the production of screw pumps for the oil and gas industry."

    Nazarbayev referred to industrialization as a core component of the economic policy of Kazakhstan in achieving the main goal of its Strategy-2050, that is, to become one of the 30 most developed countries in the world.

    Later, the Kazakh president launched 10 new industrial projects: the production of aluminum profiles in the Aluminum of Kazakhstan LLP in Almaty region; the production of polymer products in the Atyrau region; the production of titanium sponge in the UKTMK JSC in the East Kazakhstan region; the production of milk and dairy products in the Leader-2010 Company in Kostanai region and etc.

    Economic diversification has been spurred by the implementation of the 2010-2014 state program for forced industrial-innovative development.

    The first five-year plan of industrialization in Kazakhstan ended up with completion of 770 out of 1,042 projects.

    The second five-year plan of industrialization has been in operation since the beginning of this year. The main purpose of the program is to stimulate diversification and increase competitiveness of the processing industry.

    The state plans to spend total of 200.7 billion tenges on the implementation of the State Program on forced industrial-innovative development in 2015.
  • Azerbaijan, Vietnam find new prospects for cooperation
    03.07.2015 19:42
    /By AzerNews/

    By Laman Sadigova

    Azerbaijan`s Justice Minister Fikrat Mammadov held a meeting with Le Thi Thu Ba, the deputy head of Vietnamese Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform to discuss prospects of developing the bilateral judicial cooperation.

    Mammadov stressed dynamic development in the relations between the two countries. He recalled Azerbaijani national leader Heydar Aliyev`s visit to Vietnam as well as Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh`s visit to Azerbaijan. The minister said the reciprocal visits of the heads of state played a profound role in tightening the bilateral ties between the two countries.

    He also highlighted reforms in Azerbaijan`s judicial system.

    Thu Ba, in turn, noted Vietnam`s interest in expanding its relationship with Azerbaijan in a variety of fields, including judicial one.

    She hailed Azerbaijan`s supporting Vietnam in its struggle for independence, and also stressed national leader Heydar Aliyev`s assistance in increasing professional skills of oil workers, lawyers and soldiers.

    Mammadov further informed the Vietnamese delegation about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying it resulted in the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan`s lands and emergence of more than a million refugees and IDPs.

    Azerbaijan`s Ambassador to Vietnam Anar Imanov was present at the meeting.

    Improved ties between Azerbaijan and Vietnam, countries with the fast growing economies in strategically important regions, represents a great opportunity for them and their otrade partners.

    According to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Vietnam amounted to $79.76 million in late 2014, which is almost four times less than in 2013. Thus, in 2014 the export of Azerbaijani goods to Vietnam fell by $75.37 million.
  • Saipem prepares to start Turkish Stream pipeline construction
    03.07.2015 19:41
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Italian Saipem's pipe-laying vessel Castoro Sei has set sail to Russian waters to prepare for offshore construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in the Black sea, a source close to the project told Trend.

    The Castoro Sei is a S-lay vessel suitable for both shallow and deep waters. It has already laid several trunklines, including the North Stream Pipeline.

    Saipem will work within the euro;2 billion contract awarded by subsidiary of the Russian Gazprom - South Stream Transport BV in March 2014. Saipem has been contracted for the construction of the first line of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline, but in December 2014 the project was abandoned and the contract was delayed. The project has changed its route and had been renamed to the South Stream so far, but Saipem will work on a project within the mentioned contract.

    According to the contract, Saipem would construct the first line, at depths of up to 2, 200 meters within the contract. In addition to Castoro Sei vessel, Saipem will employ Saipem 7000, the state of the art J-Lay vessel suitable for ultra-deep water for the construction of the first line of the Turkish Stream pipeline. Saipem 7000 has already constructed the Blue Stream pipeline in the Black Sea.

    In December 2014, Russia terminated its South Stream project, which was planned to pass in the Black Sea and through Bulgaria and deliver gas to the Balkan republics, as well as Hungary, Austria and Italy. This cancellation made way for a new project, dubbed the Turkish Stream pipeline. The new pipeline will pass through Turkey, with a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution to consumers in southern Europe.

    The offshore pipeline of the Turkish Stream will consist of four parallel pipelines running through the Black Sea. The pipelines will enter the water near Anapa, on the Russian coast, and come ashore on the Turkish coast some 100 kilometres west of Istanbul, near the village of Kiyikoy.

    From Kiyikoy, an underground pipeline will be developed connecting TurkStream to the existing network at Luleburgaz. The route will reach Turkish town of Ipsala as a final point.

    Edited by S.I.

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  • IAEA says Iran uranium stockpile reduced, but questions remain
    03.07.2015 19:40
    Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas dropped below the maximum level required under a 2013 interim nuclear agreement with world powers, a U.N. report showed, but a U.S. think-tank suggested Tehran had not entirely met its obligations, Reuters reported.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its monthly report on Iran, a confidential document seen by Reuters on Wednesday, that Iran's stockpile of uranium gas enriched up to a fissile purity of 5 percent was at 7,537 kg at end-June - below a roughly 7,650 kg ceiling stipulated in the November 2013 interim nuclear deal with six world powers.

    A U.S.-based think-tank, however, issued an analysis of the IAEA report that questioned whether Iran had indeed complied with the requirement to convert its low enriched uranium (LEU) to a form with less risk of proliferation, uranium dioxide.

    "The IAEA's recent report on the implementation of (the interim deal) shows that only 9 percent of Iran's stockpile of newly produced LEU hexafluoride has actually been converted into uranium dioxide form," the Institute for Science and International Security said in a press release.

    "When it became clear that Iran could not meet its commitment to convert the LEU into uranium dioxide, the United States revised its criteria for Iran meeting its obligations," the institute said, adding that the LEU had apparently been converted into a form different from uranium dioxide.

    "Iran had two requirements under the (interim deal): to end the time period with the same amount of UF6 they began it with, and to convert any excess UF6 produced into an oxide form. They've done both," a senior U.S. official told Reuters.

    The IAEA did not have an immediate response to a query about its report.

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  • Trial date set for Leyla and Arif Yunus case
    03.07.2015 19:34
    A jury trial for the cases of Leyla Yunus, the imprisoned director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, and his husband Arif Yunus has been scheduled for July 13.

    The trial will be presided over by judge Afgan Hajiyev. Investigation into the cases of Leyla and Arif Yunus has alreayd been sent to the Baku Court of Grave Crimes, APA reports.

    On 30 July 2014, Nasimi district court in Baku sentenced Leyla Yunus to three months in prison. A criminal case was launched against her under articles #274 (treason), 178.3.2 (fraud with causing damage in the large size), 192.2.2 (illegal business with extraction of income in the large size), 213.2.2 (tax evasion with causing damage in large amount), 320.1 (Fake of certificate or other official document giving the rights or releasing from duties, with a view of its use or selling of such document, as well as manufacturing in same purposes or selling of counterfeit state awards of the Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms) and 320.2 (use of obviously counterfeit documents provided in article 320.1) of the Criminal Code.

    Arif Yunus was arrested on 5 August 2014 over charges under articles #178.3.2 (fraud with causing damage in the large size) and 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code.

    The criminal case on Leyla and Arif Yunus under article #274 (treason) has been sent to a separate trial. The Baku Court of Grave Crimes is currently considering the cases on fraud and other crimes.
  • President congratulates Lithuanian medalists of European Games
    03.07.2015 19:17
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has sent letters of gratitude to the country`s seven medal winning athletes as well as their coaches and doctors, who participated in the inaugural European Games held between June 12 and 28 in Azerbaijanв's capital, Baku, ELTA, Lithuanian National News Agency says.

    With a tally of two gold, one silver and four bronze medals, Lithuania ranked 24th in the overall medal table of the Games.

    The gold medals came from Henrikas Zustautas (canoe sprint) and Andrius Sidlauskas (swimming) won Lithuania`s only silver. Kestutis Navickas (badminton), Radvilas Matukas and Ruta Aksionova (sambo), Monika Povilaityte and Ieva Dumbauskaite (beach volleyball) grabbed bronze medals.

    The European Games were surely a mega event hosting 6,000 athletes from 50 nations. These Games are the equivalent of the Olympic Games for the European nations.

    Athletes competed in 20 sporting events, 16 of which were Olympic disciplines and 12 used the Games as an Olympic qualifier for Rio 2016.

    Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
  • Tehran calls on IAEA to not to be influenced by world powers
    03.07.2015 19:16
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    The Iranian president has urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to play its proper role in the nuclear talks between Iran and the P 1 group without being influenced by world powers.

    During a meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Tehran on July 2, Hassan Rouhani underlined that Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog can resolve the remaining issues in a short period of time, Iranian media reported.

    Amano traveled to Tehran for talks with senior Iranian officials over ongoing cooperation between the Islamic Republic and the IAEA.

    ''Iran is still ready to achieve a fair framework for settling the remaining issues in the specified time under the safeguards and existing regulations,'' Rouhani said.

    Negotiators from Iran and the P5 1 group of countries - the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany - are working to reach a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program in Vienna, Austria. The two sides have agreed to continue talks to strike a final deal by July 7.

    The Iranian president noted that the expansion of peaceful nuclear activities and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons are two important duties of the IAEA, which should be fulfilled in a balanced way and without discrimination against its member-states.

    ''Iran's transparent cooperation with the IAEA is a golden example of a large number of examples and it has been proven for the IAEA that the accusations on Iran's diversion from nuclear activities have been baseless,'' Rouhani added.

    He also reiterated that Iranв's non-diversion from its nuclear obligations over the past 12 years of close cooperation with the IAEA should be the best evidence for international public opinion as to whether or not Iran will keep its commitments.

    Iran joined the nuclear NPT and signed the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA in 1973. The accord came into force in 1974.

    Amano, for his part, appreciated the Islamic Republicв's cooperation with the IAEA, saying that the country has always abided by its commitments.

    He also expressed hope that a report, which the agency will release after his trip to Tehran, would aid the successful trend of the nuclear talks.

    While the nuclear negotiations are underway in Vienna, some of the parties to the talks expressed hope for the successful competition of negotiations.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on July 2 that there was a strong likelihood Iran and the six world powers would succeed in reaching a nuclear accord in the coming days, though he cautioned that there were still difficult issues to be resolved, Reuters reported.

    Wang said there's a high possibility for an agreement by July 7.

    However, he added that Iran and the six were "faced with some important and sensitive issues which no one can shy away from."

    Russia also expressed confidence that Iran and the P5 1 group can strike a final deal over Tehranв's nuclear program in the coming days.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said all delegations present in the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna are ''determined'' to strike a deal by the extended July 7 deadline.

    Ryabkov also claimed that the text of a possible final deal over Tehranв's nuclear activities is "91 percent finished."

    The removal of sanctions against Iran and access to the countryв's military sites were cited to be among the major issues of disagreement between the sides.
  • Azerbaijani President allocates AZN 1.5 mln for road construction in Fuzuli
    03.07.2015 19:13
    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has issued an order on extra measures regarding construction of inter-settlement motor roads among the Birinji and On birinji Gayidish settlements in Fuzuli region, APA reports.

    According to order, AZN 1.5 mln has been allocated to the Fuzuli Executive Power from the Azerbaijani president's reserve fund for construction of inter-settlement motor roads among the Birinji and On birinji Gayidish settlements, which connect 11 settlements.

    The Finance Ministry is to provide funding.
  • Kazakhstanв's banks exchange their subsidiaries
    03.07.2015 19:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Hereby "BTA Bank" JSC (hereinafter - Bank) informs about alienation of shares of the Bank subsidiary companies to the "Kazkommertsbank" JSC on the basis of the signed Contract on Simultaneous Transfer of Assets and Obligations dd. June 15th 2015, BTA Bank said July 3.

    Kazkommertsbank was transferred to Limited Liability Partnership Titan-Inkassatsiya, dealing with cash delivery vehicle and conveyance of bank notes, coins, values and Limited Liability Partnership "Subsidiary of "BTA Bank" JSC "AlemCard", dealing with collection and centralized processing of transactions applying of payment card. BTA Bank had 100 percent shares in both companies.

    Also Bank notifies about acquisition of participation interest of Limited Liability Partnership "KAZKOM Realty", dealing with purchase and sale of other real estate, within mentioned Contract on Simultaneous Transfer of Assets and Obligations signed on June 15, 2015.

    Kazkommertsbank and BTA Bank signed an agreement on the simultaneous transfer of assets and obligations on June 15. BTA Bank's some assets and liabilities were transferred to Kazkommertsbank. Kazkommertsbank's other distressed assets were transferred to the BTA.

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  • WB to allocate $200M to Uzbekistan for reconstruction of roads
    03.07.2015 18:21
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, July 3

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    The Board of Directors of the World Bank (WB) approved the allocation of a loan to Uzbekistan in the amount of $ 200 million to implement the project of reconstructing local roads last week, the WB representative office in Tashkent told Trend.

    The project worth $ 240 million envisages the overhaul of 10 sections of local roads with a total length of 90 kilometers in Tashkent region at the first stage, a representative of the office said. The second stage envisages the similar work in three areas of the Fergana Valley - Andijan, Namangan and Ferghana.

    The project implementation period is four years.

    The funds will be allocated from the International Development Association's funds (IDA, the WB structural unit) in the form of an interest-free loan for 35 years, including a 10-year grace period with payment of fees.

    At present, the total length of roads is about 150,000 kilometers in Uzbekistan. Some 45,000 kilometers of them account for main highways, including 3,200 kilometers - highways of international importance and 18,800 kilometers - highways of national importance.

    As many as 20 international transport routes run through Uzbekistan.

    Annually, 220 kilometers of roads are laid and reconstructed and 400-450 kilometers are overhauled in Uzbekistan.

    Uzbekistan became a member of the World Bank in 1992. In total, the WB allocated around $2 billion worth loans to Uzbekistan for implementing projects in the field of privatization, financial sector development, modernization of agriculture, electricity sphere, improving social infrastructure, health and education.

    WB intends to allocate a total of $1.3 billion to Uzbekistan to implement 15 investment projects in the sphere of energy, transport, melioration, petrochemistry, textile industry, processing of agricultural products and increasing the quality of medical services in 2012-2015 in accordance with the WB partnership strategy with Uzbekistan.

    Currently, the total volume of the bank's current liabilities in Uzbekistan exceeds $1 billion.

    Edited by CN

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  • Turkmenistan, Georgia sign package of intergovernmental documents
    03.07.2015 18:19
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, July 3

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    A package of intergovernmental documents was signed during the visit of Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov to Georgia on July 2-3, said the message from Turkmen government.

    The following documents were signed between Turkmenistan and Georgia: memorandum on cooperation between the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan and Georgia's National Academy of Sciences; memorandum of understanding between Turkmen Finance Ministry and Financial Monitoring Service of Georgia on cooperation in exchange of financial information related to the money laundering and financing terrorism.

    Moreover, the sides inked such documents as a memorandum of understanding in the sphere of sports between Turkmenistan's State Sports Committee and Georgia's Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs; memorandum on cooperation in the sphere of education between Turkmenistan's Ministry of Education and Georgia's Ministry of Education and Science; agreement between the governments of Turkmenistan and Georgia on cooperation in the sphere of culture and art and on Turkmen-Georgian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation.

    Edited by SI

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  • Iskander-M: expensive sedative panacea for Armenia
    03.07.2015 18:15
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

    By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:

    The media rumors had been around long ago (and, most likely, the rumors will prove to be true) that Russia decided to supply the Iskander-M modern tactical missile systems to Armenia. In this case and in case of supplying other modern weapons, several questions arise.

    At first glance, Russia's decision on Iskander-M supplies is sudden. However, may be this is not so sudden as it seems?

    An extraordinary session of the Armenian National Assembly was convened July 2 to discuss an agreement on Russia's delivering a soft loan to Armenia.

    Using these funds Russia will supply the advanced weapons worth $200 million to the Armenian armed forces.

    It is clear that another soft loan promises Yerevan a lot of problems. A calming loan agreement for the Armenian authorities will increase the country's huge external debt. Supplying of more weapons in debt (and it must be paid anyway) must disturb people in Armenia, who have nothing to eat. It is clear that finally, the debt for the authorities' serenity will be a heavy burden for the future generations of Armenians, who will unlikely to need the outdated by that time and greatly corroded complexes which Moscow will not allow Armenia to use.

    But the questions remains, why does Moscow need it? To tell the truth, the Russian authorities are not inclined to deliver their strategic weapons to third countries, and some misunderstandings between the Russian defense ministry and the Kremlin have taken place more than once because of that.

    However, Moscow has suddenly decided to help starving Armenia by giving it weapons. Given the fact that nowadays one can hardly call the economy of Russia itself thriving because of the sanctions and falling oil prices (while a lot of money are needed for rearmament of Russia's own army), such a gesture clearly looks forced.

    The only question is what prompted Moscow to take such a controversial decision.

    The agreement on granting a loan by Russia was reached in late June, at a time when, by a strange coincidence, protests against the increase in electricity tariffs, insisted upon by the Russian company Electric Networks of Armenia, began in Yerevan and other cities of the country.

    Naturally, the Armenian people are tired. They can no longer make permanent concessions to the government and therefore, protest it. Nevertheless, such protests are a very convenient excuse for explaining to Russia's everyman the reason for providing the neighboring country with assistance, which is supposed to prevent any western influence to Armenians and prevent them getting out of Kremlin's "sphere of influence" as Ukraine did. From this point of view, the protests in Armenia became a very convenient justification of Russia's activities on the loan issue. Isn't it too convenient to be just a coincidence?

    Moreover, possession of modern Russian weapons by Armenia is a convenient reason for Russia to sell its weapons to Azerbaijan for several billions dollars. Azerbaijan doesn't need loans and can buy what it needs, thereby assisting Russia's defense sphere with vital financial injections.

    However, it won't be difficult for Moscow from the technical or moral point of view to control the Russian weapons delivered to Armenia.

    Edited by CN


    Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer, follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver

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  • SOCAR suspends shipment of oil from Novorossiysk port
    03.07.2015 18:14
    The company has disseminated information.

    In June 2015, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) exported 339 020 tons of crude oil from the port of Supsa and 1 699 925 tons from the port of Ceyhan.

    Oxu.Az reports wth reference to SOCAR that in June 2015, oil was not shipped from Novorossiysk port, despite the fact that in the first half of 2015, 678 046 tons of oil were shipped from this port through the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, which is 33.4% more than in the same period last year.

    SOCAR notes that in general in January-June 678 460 tons were exported from Novorossiysk port, 1 524 900 tons - from the port of Supsa, 9 203 947 tons of crude oil - from the port of Ceyhan.

    Figures of volume of crude oil exported by SOCAR, include crude oil belonging to the Azerbaijan state, as well as to the company itself.

    In addition, in June 2015, 2 597 725 tons of Azerbaijani oil were exported on via main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC).

    And 14 544 284 tons of oil were transported in January-June this year. In total, since the commissioning of the pipeline and up to 1 July 2015, the amount of pumping was 278 369 216 tons.

    In addition, BTC pipeline transported 343 394 tons of Kazakh and Turkmen oil in June this year and the figure was 482 622 tons in May.
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