Search

 

Cablegate: Armenia News Highlights: September 1-12, 2007

VZCZCXRO5013
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHYE #1135/01 2550726
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120726Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY YEREVAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6309
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0427
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1318

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 001135

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/CARC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ECON ETRD EINV AM TU
SUBJECT: ARMENIA NEWS HIGHLIGHTS: SEPTEMBER 1-12, 2007


YEREVAN 00001135 001.2 OF 002

1. TABLE OF CONTENTS

POLITICAL NEWS:
-- FM: Armenia ready for an "effective political dialogue"
with NATO, will double Kosovo contingent by year's end
-- "Inauguration" Day in "NKR"
-- Air Tax to take flight?
-- Be careful with that!: GOAM reaction to more Turkish
"reconstructions"

ECONOMIC NEWS
-- Armenian and Russian scientists start to probe for
uranium in Armenia
-- Italians to introduce new type of farming to Armenia:
Wind!
-- UniStream remittances: Lots of people sending lots of
money the cheap and easy way
-- Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Monte Carlo . . . Yerevan?

2. FM: ARMENIA READY FOR AN "EFFECTIVE POLITICAL DIALOGUE"
WITH NATO, WILL DOUBLE KOSOVO CONTINGENT BY YEAR'S END

Foreign Minister Oskanian, speaking at a news conference
September 6, stated that during his September 4 meeting
with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in
Brussels, the two mainly discussed issues related to the
implementation of Armenia's Individual Partnership Action
Plan (IPAP). According to the Minister, one of the main
tasks of the IPAP is the implementation of defense reforms
and the strengthening of the civil component in the Defense
Ministry. Oskanian said the only obstacles he sees on the
way to completing those tasks are those of "resistance of
the system, which is natural in such cases." The FM noted
that by the end of the year, the number of Armenian troops
participating in the KFOR peacekeeping operation in Kosovo
would be doubled to 100.

3. "INAUGURATION" DAY IN "NKR"

September 7 marked the "inauguration" of newly elected
"Nagorno Karabakh President" Bako Sahakian in Stepanakert.
A large Armenian delegation attended the "ceremony," headed
by President Robert Kocharian, Defense Minister Mikail
Harutyunian, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and
Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian. Delegations from
South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as Deputy Speaker of
the British House of Lords Baroness Caroline Cox, were also
present. After taking his oath of office, Bako Sahakyan
pledged that he will "scrupulously adhere to the principles
of a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh-Azerbaijan
conflict. . .we hope that our opponents will eventually
realize that there is no alternative to the full
participation of the 'Nagorno Karabakh Republic' in the
negotiation process." He went on to say that cooperation
among Armenians in Armenia, the Armenian Diaspora and the
"NKR" is needed to achieve the most important task of his
presidency -- international recognition of the "Nagorno
Karabakh Republic."

4. AIR TAX TO TAKE FLIGHT?

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun)
Party (ARFD) announced plans to present a draft amendment
during the upcoming session of the National Assembly that
would change the way the airport departure tax is
collected. Hrayr Karapetyan, Head of ARFD's Parliamentary
Faction, claimed that an "air tax" such as the one
collected by the GOAM is charged only in Armenia and number
of African countries, and that it negatively affects
Armenia's image. "I don't think that the tax should be
abolished, but it could be a symbolic amount, or could be
included in the price of airline tickets," Karapetyan said.
(NOTE: the amount of the current departure tax is 10,000
Armenian drams, or approximately 30 USD. END NOTE.)

5. BE CAREFUL WITH THAT!: GOAM REACTION TO MORE TURKISH
"RECONSTRUCTIONS"

Responding to reports that the Turkish government has begun
preparations to implement a five-year program aimed at
rehabilitating the historical monuments in Ani, the ruined
capital of medieval Armenia, Deputy Foreign Minister Gagik
Gyurjian told Radio Liberty that he hoped the GOAM would be
able to involve local Armenian specialists in the Ani
reconstruction through the International Organization for
the Preservation of Historical Monuments. Referring to the
last major Turkish reconstruction of a venerable ancient

YEREVAN 00001135 002.2 OF 002


Armenian monument, Gyurjian said, "If our specialists had
participated in the reconstruction of St. Cross Church (on
Akhtamar Island, near the city of Van), we would not have
what we have now." Gyurjyan stressed that Turkey does not
have the appropriate specialists to ensure that the walls
of Ani will be reconstructed in the way that the original
9th-century Armenian architects envisioned. He added that
anything less than a faithful reconstruction would be
unacceptable.

6. ARMENIAN AND RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS PROBE FOR URANIUM IN
ARMENIA

According to Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan, Armenian and
Russian specialists have started to research possible
uranium deposits in Armenian territory. Without divulging
the location of the research, Movsisyan said the
"availability of uranium reserves in Armenia is a serious
economic and political lever for the country and its
exploitation may be very profitable." Segey Kirienko, Head
of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom,
commented in Yerevan on April 23 that the deposit is
located in Armenia's southernmost region of Syunik, and
estimated the uranium reserves at about 30,000 tons. By
previous agreement, all uranium extracted in Armenia will
be enriched at the Angarsk International Center for Uranium
Enrichment in Siberia.

7. ITALIANS TO INTRODUCE NEW TYPE OF FARMING TO ARMENIA:
WIND!

Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan told Parliament on
September 7 that the Italian Gierret Company has expressed
its desire to build a cascade of wind power plants (WPP) in
Armenia with a total generating capacity of 270 MW. The
minister noted that an earlier agreement signed with the
company stipulated an initial investment of 150-160 USD to
complete the first phase of the project, which would result
in a generating capacity of 90 MW. The first 2.6MW wind
power facility in Armenia was built in 2005 through a 3.5
million USD grant from the Government of Iran.

8. UNISTREAM REMITTANCES: LOTS OF PEOPLE SENDING LOTS OF
MONEY THE CHEAP AND EASY WAY

UniBank reported that its UniStream money transfer system,
which does not require a bank account and charges only 1
percent for remitted hard currency and nothing for
remittances in Armenian drams, showed a 75 percent increase
in money transfers in August compared with last year. This
is equivalent to an increase of almost 70 million USD.
According to Unibank's chairman, nearly half of the money
transfers to Armenia are handled by the bank. The amount of
money transfers processed by the system in the period
January through August 2007 rose by 364 million USD. The
total amount of remittances processed by Unibank is
expected to rise to 600 million by the end of the year.

9. LAS VEGAS, ATLANTIC CITY, MONTE CARLO . . . YEREVAN?

According to media reports, Storm International, Russia's
second largest gambling company, will invest 300 million
USD to build a casino and a network of gambling halls in
Armenia. Storm International intends to invest both its own
resources and those of "Armenian partners" to build a 15-
hectare gambling complex to be called "Shangri-La-Yerevan."
The company aims to link their casino to a 200-room five
star hotel that will include a concert hall, trade center,
restaurants and a night club. With Russia tightening its
gambling laws, the company has been looking to other CIS
countries, including Armenia, in which it can expand its
gambling empire. Currently, about 50 casinos operate in
Armenia under a 2002 law that precludes them from being
established within 10 kilometers of the capital.

PERINA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>