2021 May 14

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

May/14/2021: (1) Latest news from borders (2) France, USA & Russia side with Armenia. AM-RU maps match. France hints UN Security Council intervention (3) German leading party criticizes Azerb. (4) Azeris withdraw partially; Armenia triggers AM-RU agreement (5) Pashinyan speech (6) Army exercises
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Friday report in 2738 words.

update: border intrusion in Syunik and Gegharkunik

TLDR: after the snow melted in the mountains, during the border troop placement process Azeris came forward to their positions near Syunik's Sev Lake but ended up intruding into the Armenian territory by justifying it with their fake maps.

Some soldiers were also seen in Gegharquniq province's mountain slope while their positions were supposed to be on top of the mountain. Local authorities denied later reports that had claimed further advancements and accumulation of heavy equipment.

https://fip.am/15507 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213790

Read yesterday's news for context.

French President Macron called Pashinyan to discuss the borders

Macron expressed his support to the Armenian authorities and the Armenian people in the peaceful settlement of the issue.

Macron reaffirmed France's commitment to the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and stressed the need for immediate withdrawal of Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia.

Pashinyan thanked Macron for always caring about Armenians and the friendly attitude. Macron stressed that France is ready to help Armenia to resolve challenges and ensure the country's development.

Macron's office wrote: Ադրբեջանի զինված ուժերը ներխուժել են հայկական տարածք։ Նրանք պետք է անհապաղ հետ քաշվեն: Եվս մեկ անգամ ասում եմ հայ ժողովրդին` Ֆրանսիան համերաշխ է ու այդպիսին էլ կմնա

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052272.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052274.html

France hits the possibility of UN Security Council meeting

French govt said a Security Council meeting is an option, after yesterday's phone conversation between Pashinyan and Macron.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213784

Pashinyan called Putin yesterday evening

They spoke about the borders. Pashinyan informed him about Armenia's decision to contact CSTO.

Putin called any further escalation unacceptable and hoped for a speedy resolution and respect for Nov 9 and Jan 11 trilateral statement.

The report says Putin and Pashinyan both agreed that Azeris should retreat to their original May 10 positions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052301.html

Russia said Armenia has not asked for help directly from Russia [two options: Russia or CSTO], but Putin decided to summon a Russian Security Council meeting and schedule other meetings.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052322.html https://factor.am/370438.html

negotiations were held near a border village

Azeris said they are still waiting for their commanders to arrive. Armenia said they won't be negotiating over giving any territories, that it's all Armenian land, and that Azeris must leave to original positions (~30% of lake).

Parliamentary security committee official: The negotiations are around incidents in Gegarquniq as well, not just Syunik. Azeris said they have to clarify certain things internally with higher-ups; it's possible they could withdraw after that.

There is no talk about giving any pieces of areas elsewhere in exchange for Azeri withdrawal in Syunik... There are no negotiations over any Goris road concessions... If the sides agree to create a buffer zone near Sev Lake, the buffer zone lands must be taken from each side, not just Armenia.

QP MP Alen Simonyan: a mutual agreement was reached yesterday for Azeris to withdraw yesterday but they haven't, so we contacted CSTO.

https://factor.am/370464.html https://factor.am/370595.html https://factor.am/370606.html

Security Council chief Grigoryan discusses borders with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev

Armenia views this as an encroachment on Armenia's sovereign territory, which is unacceptable for Armenia, said Grigoryan. "The Azeri claims are unfounded. There are maps left from the Soviet period which prove that these territories are Armenian."

Patrushev praised the restraint displayed by Armenia and emphasized the importance of diplomacy. 'Russia is working on the speedy resolution of this issue,' said Patrushev.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052311.html

Canadian officials react

MP Michael Chong: I'm concerned about reports of Azerbaijani troops crossing into Armenia. Having approved arms exports that upset the balance of power in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, the Trudeau government must speak up to defend the territorial integrity of Armenia. [Canada recently suspended the weapon exports to Turkey].

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052286.html

Senator Leo Housakos: Violation of the sovereign territory of Armenia by the Azerbaijani troops is dangerous and illegal aggression that underscores the relentless threat that the people of Armenia continue to face.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052297.html

more US Congress members react

Rep. Bob Menendez: Violation of Armenia's sovereign territory by Azeris is an act of dangerous illegal aggression. The US and world must react very strongly to this intrusion so that Azerbaijan understands that its malicious actions will have serious consequences.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052288.html

Netherland officials react

The president of the Netherland's GSP party expressed concern over "Azerbaijan's aggression" and called for international response.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052316.html

reactions from Russia

Russian Federal Security Committee chief Bondarev: I hope that CSTO's potential will be used to regulate the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. I am confident that the Russian peacekeeping mission will prevent an escalation.

The reason these confrontations still happen is that the relations have not yet been regulated after the recent war. The important part is to prevent similar incidents in the future.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052348.html

US State Department spoke with Azeri MFA

Azeri MFA has informed that the commanders of Azerbaijan's Border Guards [who presumably gave the order to intrude] have joined the negotiation table. The 250 Azeri soldiers who are currently in Armenia had earlier said they would only leave if they receive an order from commanders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052349.html

US State Department called for immediate Azeri withdrawal from borders

Troop movements in disputed territories are irresponsible and unjustifiably provocative, said the State Department.

https://ria.ru/20210514/gosdep-1732392533.html

EU spoke with Azeri MFA

Stefano Sannino, EU Rep. for Foreign and Security Policy, spoke with MFA Bayramov. The latter expressed "Azerbaijan's readiness to ease tensions."

https://factor.am/370641.html

Germany's Alliance 90/Greens party releases a message in support of Armenia and democracy:

The reports about Azeri soldiers crossing the Armenian border are concerning. If it's confirmed that Baku is conducing military occupation in Armenia, it will be absolutely unacceptable.

Germany and the EU must be more active in this region. Regardless of the Azerbaijani government's hidden intentions, this move is already an attempt to influence the upcoming elections in Armenia.

The EU cannot allow the endangerment of that democratic process that began with the Velvet Revolution [2018].

[Green party was ahead of Angela Merkel's party in polls]

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213846

LHK leader Marukyan about why Article 2 was triggered instead of 4:

If the Azerbaijani side does not withdraw through negotiations, Armenia has a legitimate right to use force. But the ongoing diplomatic efforts are important and they must be fully exhausted before the use of force. There is a hope that negotiations will succeed. I welcome the decision to contact CSTO.

I have analyzed the documents and came to the conclusion that Armenia decided not to fire "all the shots" yet by triggering Article 2 instead of Article 4 of CSTO.

We did not immediately request for CSTO troops be sent to Armenia, because we have an army, too. If things escalate, obviously Article 4 will be used.

This incident should not be used internally to score political gains. We need to be united as we were on September 27.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052324.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052343.html https://factor.am/370558.html

Foreign Minister Ayvazyan spoke with CSTO General Secretary Zas

Armenia has sent letters to CSTO member-states and CSTO chief about triggering Article 2.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052327.html

Pashinyan contacted CSTO's Security Council

The Council is headed by Tajikistan nowadays. The Premier sent a letter about a need to organize discussions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052329.html

Deputy Premier Avinyan about the ongoing process:

Negotiations continue. There are no final results yet. Azeris are using false maps with unknown origins. Nonetheless, they reaffirmed their commitment to resolve this peacefully and said they will not (and do not want to) take any steps to escalate the situation. We are ready for any scenario, however.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052333.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052335.html

commander of Russia's Southern Military District visits Armenia

MOD Vagharshak hosted Alexander Dvornikov today. They discussed Syunik borders and the ongoing army reforms. The Russian base in Gyumri is part of Russia's Southern Military District.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213817

MOD Vagharshak held a phone call with CSTO Secretary Zas

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052356.html

Armenia informs Russia that Azeri soldiers' fate is in Armenian hands

MOD Vagharshak spoke with Russian counterpart Shoygu: all the places, including the Sev Lake where the Azeris intruded, the terrain, the Azeri soldiers, the roads that connect Azeri soldiers to Azerbaijan, are all under the full control of the Armenian army.

Peaceful settlement is important, but at the same time, any encroachment on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia is unacceptable.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052346.html

Pashinyan: Armenia and Russia possess the same maps, this gives us the right to trigger Article 4 if needed / France ready to send military

Parliament held a session to discuss borders.

Pashinyan: Azeri groups earlier crossed the Armenian border and attempted to install a position within Armenia. Armenian forces took counter-measures, without using weapons, to prevent them. [talks about fake maps used by Azeris and this being a planned provocation].

We kickstarted a mechanism that envisions political and military solutions. We chose not to use military force in order not to complicate further diplomatic processes about who shot and who moved first. This is a more global issue.

Yesterday we reached an agreement with Azerbaijan at the highest levels for their withdrawal from Armenia. They withdrew only partially, which prompted us to contact CSTO.

The representative of the Russian military base joined the negotiations today. We learned that the maps possessed by Armenia and Russia match each other. This means the territory falls under CSTO protection.

This means the situation can fall under Artifice 4 because it can be described as aggression against a CSTO member.

I did not ask Russia directly for help during my phone conversation earlier. Why? First of all, Putin also said he believes Azeri troops should withdraw. Second, we gained an agreement for Azeris to withdraw by today. So far Azeris have withdrawn only partially.

Since they haven't withdrawn fully yet, I decided to contact directly Russia [not just CSTO] for military aid, per the AM-RU military agreement.

The negotiations will continue tomorrow.

During the phone conversation, French President Macron said that France is ready to provide military aid to resolve the conflict through international efforts, at the UN Security Council level.

https://youtu.be/iKX8wYE5Q_w https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052365.html https://youtu.be/BoC9a3hU-74

https://factor.am/370720.html https://factor.am/370742.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052369.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052373.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052377.html

Parliament adopts a resolution condemning Azerbaijan's violation of Armenia's territorial integrity

The resolution says the Azeri actions are reprehensible and a violation of UN international law. "Decisive action will be taken to maintain sovereign territory."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052379.html

5th Military Unit conducts training exercises

MOD reports that Armenian units conducted training in mountainous terrain with tank divisions and personnel to control the actions of a potential adversary.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052376.html

4th Military Unit conducts shooting training

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052381.html

COVID stats

3361 tested. 230 infected. 715 healed. 10 deaths. 7627 active (down).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052296.html

families who lost sons in war have begun applying for fertility program to have more children

Three months ago the government launched a fertility program in case families who lost sons in the 2020 war want to have more children. 70 families have applied so far. The program is gaining popularity. Two families have already reported successful pregnancy. The exams and procedures are covered by the government.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052276.html

IRS charges a gas station with tax evasion

Uncle Samvel reports: a gas station in Gyumri evaded ֏37m in taxes by fabricating financial difficulties. In 2019 it was declared bankrupt by the court. Liquidation proceedings were initiated after an appointment of a trustee.

However, the company continued to provide services as usual, without reporting income to IRS. The director was charged with a felony in 2020 but that did not stop him from continuing the practice. The authorities confiscated parts of the gas station equipment recently.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052299.html

Serj Sargsyan's fuel theft trial resumes

Serj and his friend Beglaryan, the owner of Flash Fuel, are accused of stealing ֏0.5b forth agricultural fuel that was meant for farmers.

Today the court rejected their petition to remove the travel restrictions. The next session is on June 3.

The key witness who testified against Serj has recently died from COVID. He was Sergo Karapetyan, Serj's agriculture Minister.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052334.html https://factor.am/370528.html

taxing the rich... reimagined

Ֆիքստուլ folks love driving with gold license plates. Armenia currently uses 18 English letters. The police want to add 8 more to increase the number of gold combinations because they will run out soon.

From each additional letter, the expected revenues are $15m from gold and $1.3m from regular plates.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213748

talks begin with investors to build "dry port" in Gyumri

Economy Ministry is in talks with investors to build a logistics center (dry port) in Gyumri. The nearby railways and airports will play a major role. Back in March the Minister discussed it with Russian railway company SouthCaucasus Railways; the latter said Gyumri railway has the needed capacity.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052293.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/m6ic1i/mar162021_1_bill_army_dodgers_could_return_2/

new $12m leisure zone in Armavir / water sports and family time

Armavir's Dasht settlement will have an entertainment complex with a wakeboarding lake, cottages, etc. The investor is Wake Park Armenia, mostly consisted of diasporan Armenians, but the owner is unknown (which one of you criminals is behind this, raise your hand in the comment section). An interview with its representative Hovakimyan:

What is this?

Wakeboarding lake. It's a combination of water skiing, snowboard, and surfing. It will soon become an Olympics sport. The lake will have barriers for jumping. It'll be for professionals.

The second small lake will be for training newcomers. There will be an area with an inflatable aquapark for children. Kids will play while parents wakeboard.

There will be a separate area for children to learn languages, skills, and healthy lifestyle. Parents can leave the kids there for several days. It's like a combination of recreation area and a ճամբար camp.

Who are the investors?

Our compatriots from Belarus. It took great effort to convince them to build it in Armenia and not Georgia. One of the foreign investors was suggesting in Azerbaijan but we were against it.

Why in Armavir's Dasht settlement?

It's a desert area with Veolia Water company's main pipeline not far away. We will buy freshwater instead of polluted irrigation water. We will replace the 80,000 m3 water once every two years. There will be no chemicals because we plan to donate the recycled water for irrigation later.

Is the government of any help?

There is definitely support. Armavir governor's office, local authorities, and Economy Ministry are aiding us. We have an issue with the Cadastre Committee because they [are hesitant to give free/cheap land] for a project that's not meant to generate income but rather develop the country.

What's the problem with Cadastre?

They want to charge the regular $1 rate per meter. It's 19 hectares. That'll be $190,000 just to be able to build the lake. The Economy Ministry and Governor are trying to resolve the issue.

Economy Minister said they expect $3m in investments. Is that the full amount?

$3m for wakeboarding lake alone. $12m by the end of three construction phases. We plan to expand the area from 19 hectares to 39 to build the other infrastructure.

When?

When the documents and construction permits are ready. Up to 1 year for the big lake. Everything together: 4 years.

160 job positions?

After the first phase. In the end, we will have 350. That includes teachers, coaches, lifeguards, chefs, etc.

Who will be your visitors?

We expect ~80 foreign and 20% domestic tourists.

Why exactly wakeboarding?

It doesn't exist in Armenia and it's gaining international popularity. It's also financially beneficial. It'll help tourism. In Armavir, the swimming season lasts 7 months which is very long.

How much will the ticket cost?

Much cheaper than spending two days elsewhere in Armenia with a family.

How long do you have to operate to reach the breakeven point?

Normally in 3-7 years if there is no new pandemic [բարանդ խերով բաց այ ախպեր]. But we expect 7-10 because some of our services will be free.

How many tourists are expected?

Weekly 200-500.

PHOTOS: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213625

Tags #ArmavirWakeboarding #wakeboard #investment #sports

Top-10 bestseller translated books in April

5) Normal People, by Sally Rooney

4) My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. (about a friendship between women that began in the 1950s in a poor neighborhood of Neopli and continues for 60+ years.)

3) The Reborn, by Zara Babayan (1915)

2) The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides (famous painter has a seemingly perfect life, then weird things happen)

1) Three apples fell from the sky, by Narine Abgaryan (story unfolds in a mountainous village)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052014.html

today in history

1939: a 5-year-old Peruvian child gives birth, becoming the youngest mother in history

1948: Israel declares independence

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052264.html

end of report

The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.

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

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ncg9av/may142021_1_latest_news_from_borders_2_france_usa/

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