2021 January 7

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Daily news wrap-up

Jan/7/2020 news: __ Foreign Ministry about Artsakh status, official visits, trade routes to Nakhijevan, IR, and RU __ Rumors & rebuttals: Shushi shooting, Tavush villages __ Hin Shen village is safe __ Stats: COVID expenditures, aid programs, foreign aid, tourism __ POWs & searches __ Refugee aid
by ar_david_hh


Your 7-minute Thursday report in 1583 words.

Foreign Ministry about Artsakh's legal status

Question: Azerbaijan referred to Armenian MFA's visit to Artsakh as illegal and a provocation. Was the visit a violation of an agreement?

MFA: These are baseless accusations. The November 9 statement does not impose any restrictions on relations between Armenia and Artsakh. It does not change Artsakh's status. Artsakh's status must be decided through peaceful negotiations, based on the OCSE principles and the right for people's self-determination.

Question: is Azerbaijan following through with the November 9 statement terms?

MFA: the widespread military actions ended and peacekeepers were installed, but Azerbaijan later violated the ceasefire by attacking villages Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd, resulting in casualties.

Azerbaijan has not fully fulfilled the 8th point of the trilateral statement about exchanging POWs and search operations. They intentionally delay the process.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/203983

Pashinyan's spokeswoman about mutually lifting transportation block:

Azerbaijan wants a transport connection with Nakhijevan, while we want a railway connection with Iran though Nakhijevan, and a vehicle/railway connection to Russia (alternative to Georgia's mountainous road that's often closed). Armenia is ready to provide a link between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan.

However, a full discussion of these issues will be difficult without the full implementation of Paragraph 8 of the November 9th joint statement, about the exchange of war prisoners and bodies.

Recent statements by Azerbaijan on this issue (calling some POWs terrorists) are puzzling and call into question Baku's commitment to implement the November 9th statements. There are still Armenian captives held in Baku. There is evidence of cruel and humiliating treatment. This should be investigated in international institutions.

Armenophibic rhetoric continues in Azerbaijan. This must be stopped in order to establish stability and peace in the region.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/203984

update: phone conversation between Pashinyan and Emmanuel Macron

Macron expressed determination to reach a long-term political solution after November 9 ceasefire agreement. "France is ready to support the release of POWs, as well as the economic development of Armenia."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039624.html

leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan could soon hold a meeting

... on January 11th in Moscow. Opposition figures aren't happy about Pashinyan being the one to hold negotiations.

HHK Armen Ashotyan: Until the government changes, a new agreement with Azerbaijan must be ruled out, and before that, the return of POWs and the recovery of bodies must be prioritized.

ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan: Due to Pashinyan's exceptional dilettantism, the world began to perceive the Karabakh conflict not as a fight for the right to self-determination, but as a purely territorial dispute. Armenia entered the war without the support of a strategic ally and stable relations with its strategic partners. As a result, no country’s executive authorities expressed solidarity with Armenia.

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2021/01/07/former-MP/2432058 , https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2021/01/07/opposition-leader/2431812

rumors & rebuttals: villages being given to Azerbaijan

Tavush Governor: The latest rumors that several villages and a road in Armenia's northern Tavush province will go under Azeri control are false. Dear citizens of Tavush, don't fall for the misinformation spread by the enemy.

https://www.facebook.com/Tavush.Administrative.Region/posts/889530458464821

rumors & rebuttals: shots fired near Shushi

Artsakh govt says there are misleading rumors about a "shootout" near Shushi. "There were several untargeted shots fired in the air, not at our soldiers. A similar incident had happened on New Year's Eve," said Artsakh president's spokesman, noting that Russian peacekeepers and Armenian troops continue their joint mission to guard the borders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039632.html

Mets Shen and Hin Shen: villages in Artsakh's southern strip

During the war, Armenians held the area west of Azerbaijan's Shushi-Hadrut pathway. This is where skirmishes took place a few weeks ago. Azeris intruded in one of the villages and (temporarily) surrounded a few others.

The mayor of Mets Shen says the Azeris were removed from the nearby road, it's no longer surrounded, and it's already safe for the evacuated citizens to return. "We are trying to encourage residents to return home. The news about yesteday's shootout in the Shushi region was fake. It's peaceful and safe in our 4 villages. Come back and take care of your lands," said the mayor.

8 out of 114 Mets Shen residents are currently in the village.

https://www.lragir.am/2021/01/07/612799/

how Australian company's tech ended up in Azeri drones

Michael West Media: "Not Just Careless: Australian weapons part turns up on Armenian battlefield." How did an Australian-made transponder by Microair Avionics, a key part of drone technology, end up in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan where human rights abuses are prolific?

The investigative piece talks about the past and present contracts.

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/australian-weapons-part-on-armenian-battlefield/

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289121/

POWs and search operations

No bodies were discovered by the search crews in Hadrut, Fizuli, and Mataghis regions today. "The work will continue until we make sure the area is fully cleared."

1188 bodies have been found since the establishment of the ceasefire on November 9.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039620.html

A group of families gathered in front of the military commissariat in Ejmiatsin. They have been waiting for news about missing relatives.

https://youtu.be/xmpJ3EAKbxs

QP MP Nazeli says they contacted the Council of Europe's Torture Prevention Committee to receive guarantees about the safety of 62 POWs who were captured earlier in southern Artsakh during skirmishes. Dozens of others were released earlier. The ones who still remain captivated are volunteers who had traveled from Tavush Province to southern Artsakh to guard the borders.

https://www.1lurer.am/hy/2021/01/07/Շիրակի-մարզից-գերեվարված-62-քաղաքացու-հարցով-դիմել-եմ-Եվրոպայի-խորհրդի-խոշտանգումների-կանխարգելման/390886

Rafik Ordoyan

Rafik earned the title the "Sky Lord" for having shot over three dozen Azeri drones. He died during the 44-day war. The Polytechnic student decided to enlist in the army before joining the Aviation University. Interview with the 26-yeard-old Senior Lieutenant's wife:

https://freenews.am/post/4d8766e021c865c735a41a1d93a735f6

social aid for Artsakh refugees / payments could continue

Artsakh President Arayik met the Armenian Labor Minister and others to discuss social aid for refugees residing in Armenia and Artsakh.

One of the aid packages was a $130 payment to every household member. There is a suggestion to continue this aid in the form of a monthly payment, this time to anyone who isn't a working-age male. Armenian govt will discuss this.

They also spoke about housing issues. Artsakh will soon complete the inventory of vacant housing in rural areas. These houses will be renovated and equipped with furniture before being given to residents who lost their homes during the war.

With the help of charity and public funds, they will install rapid-deployment housing blocs that come with basic accommodations.

President Arayik: we were able to quickly renovate most of Artsakh's vital infrastructure that was destroyed by enemy missiles. We plan to lay asphalt on the roads between villages. We will expand the irrigated lands and implement incentives to help develop agriculture.

https://factor.am/326342.html

refugees continue to return to their homes

47,650 people have so far returned through the Lachin corridor guarded by Russian peacekeepers.

https://factor.am/326350.html

food is getting more expensive around the world

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization says the food prices rose in December, for the seventh month in a row. There is an upper-single-digit price increase over 2019 for some of the commonly consumed items, but a double-digit decrease compared to 2011's peak prices.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/203986

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1366924/icode/

COVID stats

+1218 tested. +201 infected. +812 healed. +11 deaths. 10700 active.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/203973

COVID infections among doctors

Doctor Karen Poghosyan: our facility was converted to treat COVID patients. The wave subsided during the summer and we had some free beds, but with the arrival of the Autumn wave and the war, the number of patients doubled. Some of them had to wait at home for available beds.

4,509 medical workers contracted COVID as of December 1st, of whom 45% were nurses, 30% doctors, 14% nursing assistants, 11% drivers/accountants/non-medics.

https://factor.am/326361.html

how much was spent on COVID? / international aid / impact on tourism

government expenditures & aid

Healthcare Ministry spent ֏15.2 billion ($30.3 million) as of December. ֏5 billion to repurpose hospitals and upkeep, ֏3.4 billion on medical devices, ֏3.4 billion on medication and safety gear, ֏954 million on doctors' salary bonuses during the pandemic, etc.

Economy Ministry rented hospitals to quarantine symptom-less patients during the first wave. The sum hasn't been published yet.

The Government subsidized utility bills, distributed aid to workers who lost their jobs, aid for businesses, aid for low-income families, aid to promote high-tech and agriculture. Over 40 aid programs were implemented. For example, as part of the 8th COVID program, ֏9 billion was spent to help the industries that were hit the hardest.

tourism, not Sal, is the biggest loser

Tourism declined by 77% in the January-September period, with 327,735 arrivals this year. Revenues at tourism agencies declined from ֏36 billion to just ֏4.3 billion this year.

international aid

The UN, US, EU, Japan, UNICEF, and others provided $453 million in aid to fight COVID and help with the economy.

The EU provided $122 million. Asian Development Bank $2 million. WHO $80K. Japan $3.8 million, USA $4.9 million, Canada $500K, Russia donated medical equipment, etc.

COVID casualties

Over 160,000 infections and 3,000 deaths.

https://youtu.be/nmm9w1oALpY?t=28

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/01/07/Քո-գրպանից․-կորոնայի-տարին՝-թվերով/415260

it's freezing cold in Yerevan

Chief meteorologist Surenyan says it's -10 Celsius but feels like -20c. The reason is high humidity.

https://factor.am/326393.html

soccer news

Several Armenian Premier League soccer clubs resumed training after the winter break. The current leaders are Ararat, Alashkert, and Ararat-Armenia, with each one having 18 points.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039636.html

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/kskmlg/jan72020_news_foreign_ministry_about_artsakh/


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