2021 September 3

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Sept/3/2021: Lavrov gives details of 2009 Armenia-Turkey protocol talks __ Armenia's energy sector __ Russia uses term "Republic" to describe Karabakh __ ARM & RUS deny AZE claims about Shushi shooting __ When will demarcation begin? __ Artsakh Minister busted __ New fuel importer __ iGorts
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Friday briefing in 2832 words.

today in history

1804: Russo-Persian war is raging. Russians besieged the 7,000 Iranian troops outside the Yerevan fortress. The Iranians fought with more effectiveness than the Russians had expected them to. They prevented the Russians from receiving reinforcements, while the fortress garrison blocked the direct attacks. Russian artillery did its job as in Echmiatsin, but the Iranians were able to inflict heavy casualties. Russian army lifted the siege and returned to Georgia.

1826: Russian general Valerin Madatov's army defeats the Persians in the battle of Shamkhor.

1953: European Convention on Human Rights goes into effect.

1967: Sweden switches to driving on the right lane.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062253.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Erivan_(1804)

Armenia and Russia deny Azeri claims that Armenian soldiers opened fire at Azeri positions near Shushi

The Artsakh Army denied "opening fire at 1:00 am and suspending only after sustaining casualties". The Army said, "our troops only open fire when it's necessary to prevent provocations".

A report released by Russian peacekeepers states that they have not recorded any ceasefire violations in the past 24 hours. It says they monitor the situation around the clock from 27 locations in Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062284.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062338.html

Defense Minister Karapetyan held arms negotiations with Russian defense experts

The Russian MOD envoy visited Yerevan. They discussed priorities set forth by the Armenian side.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062280.html

Defense Ministry accuses a media outlet of spreading misinformation about expenditures

MOD reports: the 168 outlet cited a proposal that truly exists, but circulated misinformation on what's in the proposal. There are no plans to spend $2.2 million on renovating the MOD facility "instead of buying weapons". On the contrary, the expenditures will be reduced and the budget will be redistributed to make purchases that will increase the army's combat effectiveness. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062275.html

Russian MFA Lavrov on AM-RU-AZ agreements:

The Nov 9 and Jan 11 statements are being successfully implemented with the involvement of Russian MFA and MOD, as well as the EAEU trade bloc that's engaged in talks to unblock the regional communication routes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062287.html

Russian MFA Lavrov spoke about the 2009 efforts to establish Armenia-Turkey relations

Lavrov had sent a letter to then-MFA Edward Nalbandyan during the 2009 talks. A reporter asked Lavrov to comment on that latter, which reportedly contained only a few words: Edward, agree to the protocol without making any announcements.

Lavrov recalls: well since you dug it up, it's necessary to give you the context. Our Armenian friends contacted us in 2008 and said that Turkey offered them to normalize the relations. We said that's great, and asked if there are preconditions. There were no preconditions.

It was decided to sign it in Zurich, attended by MFAs of Armenia and Turkey. The U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton was also present, and so were the EU representative, yours truly, and others. We were supposed to be witnesses to that important event.

Ahead of the event, our Turkish partners said they will sign the protocols but with reservations about the Nagorno Karabakh issue. The text offered by Turkey was not accepted by Armenia. I had told Nalbandyan that I didn't believe there wouldn't be any preconditions. But we were where we were. Everyone had already arrived. There was a deadlock.

In the end, the Turkish colleague agreed to withdraw their formal precondition [about Karabakh], but the Armenian side was insisting that they would need to make a public statement about Karabakh. Turkey responded by saying if Armenia makes such a statement, then Turkey will do it as well.

We watched football while the Armenian and Turkish MFAs argued until late night. We realized there was a need to end the deadlock somehow, so I sent the letter to Nalbandyan, urging him not to insist on making public statements on Karabakh. That's how it ended up happening.

As a result, the documents were signed, but they were later "lost" because of the same reason, because the sides had a different stance on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Now that the war is over in Karabakh, there are grounds for lifting economic blockades. It would be logical for Armenia and Turkey to resume the efforts to establish relations. Russia is ready to actively aid again. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062294.html

Tags: #FootballDiplomacy #ArmeniaTurkeyRelations

Russian government used the term "Republic of Nagorno Karabakh" on an official website

Kremlin has a website where they disclose army expenditures. One of the reports mentions the funds spent on Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh. The report uses the term "Republic of Nagorno Karabakh".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062303.html

Security Council Armen Grigoryan about border demarcation:

We are waiting for Azerbaijan's response [withdrawing troops from Syunik and Gegharkunik] regarding the launch of border delimitation and demarcation. As we've said before, Armenia is ready to launch the works on delimitation. We hope Azerbaijan will respond positively, which will help launch the process quickly and resolve the border crisis.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062316.html

Russian peacekeeper Muradov visited the "mentally ill" Azeri soldier who was recently caught in Martakert

Soldier Jamil Babayev was arrested after breaking into an Artsakh house and taking food from children. No one was harmed. Azeri MOD claimed the soldier was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital.

Russian peacekeeper chief Muradov visited Babayev, who is being held in Stepanakert prison. He will be given the opportunity to contact relatives. There were calls in Armenia to release him in exchange for all Armenian POWs in Azerbaijan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062300.html

Justice Minister Andreasyan met Red Cross to discuss efforts to rpatriate Armenian POWs

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062325.html

the army conducted exercises involving equipment

https://factor.am/412531.html

anti-corruption: Artsakh authorities will press criminal charges against a Minister

Artsakh prosecutors: a member of the executive branch, who served as Minister, abused his powers in August of 2020, causing ֏6 million in damages to a state-run trade organization. //

The name was not officially disclosed. The investigation continues at SIS.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062292.html

anti-corruption: police investigating alleged bribery in school No. 122

Yerevan municipality: there were reports about the director of No. 122 school taking a bribe from a teacher then withholding part of her salary. The materials have been sent to the police for investigation. //

Later that day, the Education Minister signed a decree to fire director Marina Malakhyan after receiving an internal report about the alleged bribery.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062296.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062335.html

new fuel importer will enter the Armenian market to "bring new standards" with a $60M investment

Petrocas Energy, a Georgian-Russian company, will enter the Armenian market after presumably acquiring the Mika gas station chain. Petrocas Energy is a big regional oil and cargo distributor that uses Georgia's Poti port. It owns the GULF gas stations in Georgia, which also provides fuel for aviation.

It delivers oil products to Caucasus, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Russia. It's financed by European EBRD bank and others.

Its founder Irakli Yakobashvili sold 49% of the shares to Russian "Rosneft" for $144M in 2013.

ports & deals

In 2020, Pashinyan visited Georgia to hold trade negotiations, during which he asked his counterpart to help diversify Armenia's cargo routes. The goal was to buy access to Black Sea's Batumi port, but the negotiation failed because the port was leased by a Kazakh firm for the next 49 years.

However, sources say a deal was struck during the meeting to transport Armenian cargo through Terminal-1 not far from the Batumi port. This terminal has infrastructure for processing oil cargo as well. It was subsequently revamped to accept larger loads, and a deal was signed with the Georgian railways to transport the cargo. One thing led to another, and Armenia gained a new route to the Black Sea via this Terminal. It reportedly did not reduce the fee that's being charged to deliver fuel to Armenia.

Petrocas entry

Petrocas Energy decided to invest $60M in the Armenian market to build a new gas station network. When asked if the entry of this large player could make it a monopoly, Economy Minister Kerobyan said Armenia's current fuel import system is "archaic and has low efficiency", with regular complaints about quality and cheating.

He said the new investor will operate on lower margins and increase the standards. He criticized the existing fuel importers for refusing to invest in next-generation technologies. Minister Kerobyan also denied rumors that the co-owner of the Georgian-Russian firm is "friends" with Azerbaijan and that it could pose risks for Armenia.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/631505/հայաստանի-բենզինի-շուկայում-առաջիկայում-նոր-խաղացող-է-հայտնվելու՝-petrocas-energy-ընկերությունը/ https://a1plus.am/hy/article/366351

after years of negotiations, the EAEU bloc might have a common gas market soon

... according to a ranking EAEU official. "It will be possible to buy gas at the stock exchange. To this end, an exchange procedure will be adopted, which is already being developed jointly with the governments and national exchanges of member states."

It's scheduled to go into effect in 2025. The Armenian government has been supportive of a common market.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062333.html http://arka.am/en/news/economy/agreement_on_common_market_of_natural_gas_is_likely_to_be_signed_by_eeu_members_in_2022/

electricty production in Armenia, and regional energy trade

Expert Ara Marjanyan: the loss of 60MW electricity production in Artsakh [mostly hydro] had a major negative impact in Artsakh, but not in Armenia.

The nuclear plant's 440MW-capacity No. 2 bloc will soon resume operations after the successful procedure that [heats and cools off the reactor to restore properties in metal]. It will extend the lifespan to 2026, followed by more renovations that will extend to 2036.

Armenia has the most diversified energy market in the region, with the main sources being nuclear, hydro, and thermal production. The only reason we recently purchased electricity from Georgia is that it was cheaper [than Armenian thermal] because the nuclear plant was suspended. Otherwise, Armenia can export electricity to Georgia but the Azeri-Turkish lobby in Georgia prevents that from happening. Armenia could also export electricity to Turkey.

Even today, under immense stress on the hydro sector due to temperatures, and the nuclear plant being suspended, Armenia still exports electricity to Iran in exchange for gas. The tensions will ease when the nuclear plant resumes.

solar projects in Armenia

Renewables are also an option. But firstly, let's realize that renewables have various branches and solar is a small part of it. The main branch is "bioenergy" which can produce electricity, gas, engine fuel, heat, etc. You could say that Bioenergy is 80% of overall renewables.

The other 20% are solar (which is split into electrical and thermal), wind (land and sea), hydro (10% of all renewables), and other exotic options.

Armenia is witnessing unprecedented progress in solar energy today. It's the first time we have projects of this scale. [Ayg solar projects, co-invested by the government and Arab investors]

But solar, hydro, and wind cannot provide a reliable and consistent capacity, so you can't build the entire system on them. Solar photovoltaic energy is actually very expensive. If we take into account all the factors, photovoltaic is 12x more expensive than Vorotan cascade hydro, and 6x more expensive than nuclear energy.

electricity wars in the region

A regional electricity delivery chain was proposed in the early 2000s. Beginning in 2004, Turkey put efforts to push Armenia and Iran out of the negotiations, to prioritize the northern Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan bridge instead.

After the pressure in 2006-2009, they built the Akhltskha line. Turkey was hoping to import electricity because just as Iran, they have a severe deficit. Armenia fell behind the regional development projects during this period. Now we are collecting its fruits.

However, that project completely failed. Georgia and Azerbaijan were unable to deliver anything significant to Turkey, which is unsurprising because neither state had large additional capacities. Armenia could have helped, but Turkey would rather stay without power. This was the story.

Armenia was able to break through the "blockade" and sell electricity to Iran in exchange for gas. Unfortunately, it didn't reach its full potential. We had planned to import 1 billion m^3 gas in exchange for 3 billion KWh electricity, but less than half of it is being done. Today a new power line is being built to Iran.

More: https://youtu.be/xoJNp-rbJA0 https://youtu.be/M_CcbyhDyk0

Tags: #electricity #energy #solar #nuclear

VIDEO: iGorts program enters second phase, 50 diasporans will help govern Armenia

The government has invited 50 diasporans to join various Ministries and agencies.

Marina Nersisyan (born in Beirut) from Boston University and Hakob Makdis from Aleppo University are among the five experts who will join the Education Ministry.

Marina Nersisyan: I am an English teacher by profession, I have been teaching for 25 years. I came to Armenia because I love my country, I want to be as useful as I can. I am sure that I will learn a lot from you and there will be an exchange of knowledge. //

Others came from Russia, Estonia, and France to work in Central Bank's macroeconomic department, the High-Tech Ministry, etc.

iGorts program was launched in 2020 and hosted 52 experts last year.

https://youtu.be/U1IqhSns6t4 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062304.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062315.html

nine Armenian students will receive Chevening Scholarships to study in UK

They'll depart this month to receive a Master's degree education at any British university for one year, funded by the UK government. The students met the ambassador on Thursday.

The program has so far retrained 170 members of the Armenian government, Parliament, and others, since its foundation in 1983.

In other news, the University of York and City College in Greece has invited an employee of the Education Ministry to travel and receive education for free.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062301.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062306.html

HR Ombudsman: financial stability allows women to be independent and avoid violence

Human Rights Defender Tatoyan visited several businesses that focus on providing jobs to women. "Active involvement of women in the socio-economic life of the country and decision-making processes is in the public interest."

The UN has a program in Syunik's border Tegh village, where women work at a sewing workshop.

In Verishen village, there is a Resource Center for women in distress. They receive the opportunity to prepare handmade wool products, carpets, and toys for children. The center currently helps 40 women who have disabilities or became IDPs. They learn new skills (including computer tech) to become competitive in the job market.

Ombudsman Tatoyan also visited the Kapan resource center for women, where they make clothing.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062312.html

Italian researcher Angelo Palego has passed away

He had focused on finding Noah's Ark on Mt. Ararat since 1989. Per his death wish, he will be buried in a Bayazet cemetery not far from Ararat.

Armenian Technological Academy had given him the status of an honorable member and a certificate for his efforts to find the Ark in December of 2000.

http://www.noahsark.it/studies_by_palego.htm https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062299.html

COVID stats

6138 tested. 595 infected. 488 healed. 16 deaths. 9713 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062278.html

health inspectors enforced the mask rule in Yerevan public transport

4 of the 36 bus drivers were not wearing masks.

https://factor.am/412574.html

Lithuania has donated 27,500 AstraZeneca vaccines to Armenia

https://factor.am/412550.html

4-5 point earthquake near the Georgia-Armenia border was felt in northern regions

Read more about Armenia's earthquakes and how well the housing stock is seismically resilient, in September 2 report.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062305.html

VIDEO: Emergency Ministry conducted exercises involving drones

The new technology is being used to rescue people in Lake Sevan and extinguish fires. Rescuers were also trained on how to handle the situation after a large earthquake.

https://youtu.be/oj_06K1RCdE?t=9 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062344.html

professional and amateur civilian drone engineers will soon use a new drone facility

16 teams, consisted of professional and amateur electronics producers and drone engineers from ArMath labs, will gather on September 18 to test the new drone site near Lernapat village, not far from Vanadzor city.

The facility has a runway and a workshop, where the drones can be built and repaired.

The Sept. 18 competition is part of a ResponDrone project financed by the EU and South Korea. Its goal is to aid emergency agencies by creating technologies that can detect an object, locate its position, drop aid packages, find wildfires, and pour water.

https://armeniasputnik.am/armenia/20210903/28868832/hayastan-ats.html

legendary and slightly crazy singer Ruben Hakhverdyan will mark his 70th anniversary

... with concerts in Yerevan and Gyumri starting September 25. The tour is titled "Կեսգիշեր, եկ հարբենք ու խոսենք լավ ու վատ օրերից".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062279.html

Stanislavski Russian Theatre of Yerevan

... will launch the new season tomorrow with "The Imposture of Scapin" by Moliere.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062281.html

Aimchess US Rapid chess: Levon Aronian was unable to defeat Magnus Carlsen

The first round was a draw. Magnus won the second. Aronian is out.

https://factor.am/412751.html

World Cup 2022: it's been a year since the Armenian team has lost a match

Macedonia 0:0 Armenia. Here are the current standings with every team having played an equal number of matches:

Armenia 10 pts

Germany 9

Macedonia 7

Romania 6

Iceland 3

Liechtenstein 0

Armenia will try its luck against Germany on Sunday in Mercedes-Benz Arena (good thing Armenian players will feel at home).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_FIFA_World_Cup_qualification_%E2%80%93_UEFA_Group_J https://hetq.am/hy/article/135300

El Salvador villagers received free houses in an expensive district after losing theirs in a mudslide, just to realize they can't afford the new monthly upkeep

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/gift-el-salvador-mudslide-victims-steep-price-79806036

end of report

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

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/phcipl/news_sept32021_lavrov_gives_details_of_2009/

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