Latest news in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, summary 16-20 October, 2023
Friday, 20 October, Georgia
● UEFA revoked the coaching license of former women’s soccer coach Paata Dograshvili. He was accused of sexual harassment. The organization “Partnership for Human Rights” spreads information on the base of the Georgian Football Federation. According to them, the organization is also waiting for news from the federation about the revocation of the license of another coach of the women’s soccer team – Givi Kvaratskhelia. Sexual harassment by the said coach has been confirmed by two instances of the court.
● Tbilisi City Court sentenced Tornike Akopashvili to two years of suspended imprisonment and a fine of GEL 3,000. He was arrested during protests against the Russian law on March 7, and was released from the courtroom on March 10 on GEL 3,000 bail. He was accused of assaulting a police officer. The case proceedings ended on October 19 with a GEL 3,000 fine and two years of probation.
● The Georgian Parliament approved amendments to the “Law on Broadcasting” in three readings in one day in an accelerated procedure.
● According to the Airport Union, Kutaisi International Airport served a record number of people – 1,216,372 passengers from January through September. The passenger rate increased by 92% compared to the same period in 2022.
● According to the non-governmental organization Center for Social Justice, the health condition of Georgian citizen Irakli Bebua, arrested by the Abkhazian authorities, has deteriorated. Irakli Bebua was arrested on September 30, 2020 for burning the Abkhazian flag in front of the House of Culture in Gali and sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Friday, 20 October , Azerbaijan
● Zangilan City Day is celebrated today in Azerbaijan. This city was liberated on October 20, 2020 after 27 years of occupation during the Second Karabakh War.
● Another 23 families – 83 IDPs moved from Baku suburbs to Lachin city for permanent residence. Thus, the number of those who moved to their hometown reached 1,135 people.
● Resettlement of Azerbaijani citizens in Shusha will start in the first quarter of 2024. Aydin Kerimov, special representative of the Azerbaijani President in Shusha district, said that about 400 families will be resettled at the first stage.
● Russian peacekeepers have set up ten checkpoints in Karabakh to ensure safe movement along road routes. Five of these posts have been set up jointly with Azerbaijan, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
● The license of one of the oldest Azerbaijani banks, Muganbank, was revoked. A day before the announcement of this decision, ATMs of this financial organization suddenly stopped working all over the country.
● In Azerbaijan, those convicted of sexual exploitation of children will not be able to engage in teaching activities. This clause was added to the amendments to the Law “On General Education”.
● Activist Mahyaddin Orujov was sentenced to 30 days of administrative arrest. He was charged under the articles “petty hooliganism” and “resistance to representatives of the authorities”. According to his family and friends, Orujov was arrested for critical posts in social networks against the Azerbaijani authorities. It is also noted that the activist was subjected to violence at the police station before the court session.
● The European Court of Human Rights ruled on several cases on the basis of applications from Azerbaijani citizens against the Azerbaijani government. The European Court obliged the Azerbaijani authorities to pay a total of over 60,000 euros to the plaintiffs.
● Azerbaijani Air Force special forces take part in the Erciyes-2023 exercise in the Turkish city of Kayseri.
● A branch of Azerpocht, Azerbaijan’s state postal service, started operating in Khankendi.
Friday, 20 October, Armenia
● Many bodies, including children’s and women’s bodies, with traces of torture and mutilation were brought to Armenia from Karabakh, Armenian Ombudsman said. She said that the preliminary report has already been submitted to the Hague Court and the information has been presented to international partners.
● Baku announced about the forthcoming meeting of the Foreign Ministers in the “3+3” format with Armenia’s participation: Yerevan does not confirm or deny this information.
● The State Property Committee and the Protocol Service will decide on the fate of gifts more expensive than $150 received by officials. According to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, they can be given to museums, the National Library, or left to the official himself until the end of his term of office. They will also be sold at auctions if the gift does not comply with the rules of protocol and cannot be returned to the donor.
● The Armenian government has approved the concept of creating Akademgorodok.
● The Austrian Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Baku’s ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian Embassy in Austria reported.
● The State Duma Energy Committee supported ratification of a protocol on expanding the possibility of supplying oil products to Armenia.
● China is interested in opening a cement plant and a tractor production workshop in Armenia – Ministry of Economy.
● ICRC teams continue to visit communities in Nagorno-Karabakh to help people left behind by the mass exodus of Armenians. In total, during recent visits, ICRC staff found 4 people who wanted to evacuate.
Tuesday, 17 November, Georgia
● According to the Georgian president, she is going to attend the parliament session where the impeachment vote will take place. Salome Zurabishvili advised opposition members to enter the hall.
● Anna Buchukuri, For Georgia Party : “We respect the institution of the President, but our team will not enter the hall.”
● Tina Bokuchava, National Movement Party : “Our position was known to the public from the very first day of the announcement of this political circus, that the National Movement will not participate in Ivanishvili’s dirty game, which serves to sabotage the country’s European integration. Therefore, our faction will not be in the plenary hall during the impeachment process, and we call on other opposition members to do the same in order to limit the Georgian Dream’s space for manipulation.”
● The reform of the hourly minimum wage for medical personnel is being expanded.
Tuesday, 17 November, Azerbaijan
● Fizuli City Day is celebrated today in Azerbaijan. On October 17, 2020, during the Second Karabakh War, this town was liberated after 27 years of occupation.
● During his visit to Fizuli, President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation of a sports complex, second and third residential complexes, a 240-seat kindergarten and an administrative building. He also took part in laying the foundations of two villages of Fizuli district – Juvarli and Gojaahmedli.
● 2 billion 250 million dollars has been allocated from the state budget of Azerbaijan for the reconstruction of Karabakh in 2024.
● “Azerbaijan is ready to lay the Zangezur corridor on Iran’s territory if Armenia delays the process,” said Elchin Amirbayov, the Azerbaijani president’s representative on special assignment. “We recognize that this is Armenia’s sovereign territory. But it is important for us to know how the other side will ensure the safety of traffic along the corridor,” he added.
● Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov contacted his German counterpart Annalena Berbock. The sides discussed the current situation in the region, as well as prospects for the peace process between Baku and Yerevan.
● Russian peacekeepers closed another temporary observation post in Karabakh. A total of 8 observation points and 16 temporary observation points of the RCC have been closed since September 19.
● Eight men were detained by police while trying to break into the not yet cleared territory of the Terter district. Reports have been drawn up against them. The offenders will appear in court.
● Azerbaijan increased exports to Russia by 38% in 9 months of 2023. Trade turnover between the countries for this period amounted to $3 billion 133 million dollars, the State Customs Service of Azerbaijan reported.
● Azerbaijan is among the 20 countries most affected by water scarcity. More than 70% of water resources in the country are used for agriculture, FAO representative in Azerbaijan Muhammad Nasar Hayat said.
Tuesday, 17 November, Armenia
●Yerevan is ready to open borders with Turkey, the ball is on the Turkish side – Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan
●149 Armenian citizens and ethnic Armenians flew from Tel Aviv to Yerevan by special flight – Armenian Foreign Ministry.
● Nikol Pashinyan left for Strasbourg on a working visit. He will make a speech at the European Parliament and meet with its head Roberta Metsola.
●Armenia will allocate €50,000 to Slovenia to fight the consequences of the summer floods.
Monday, 16 October, Georgia. A rally in support of Israel was held in Tbilisi
● A rally in support of Israel was held in Tbilisi. Citizens of Georgia and Israel joined the rally.
● Vaccination against seasonal flu will start on October 16 across the country. According to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, flu vaccination will be free of charge under the state program for risk groups with an increased risk of complications.
● The Law on Broadcasting is being amended again on the issue of dissemination of hate speech and calls to terrorism in the media. Georgian Dream deputies have prepared a draft according to which such a violation can be appealed to the Communications Regulatory Committee against the decision of the broadcasting self-regulatory body.
● According to the prosecutor’s office, charges have been filed against the uncle and cousin of the accused in the premeditated murder of a 14-year-old girl arrested for failing to report the crime.
Monday, 16 October, Azerbaijan. 25 more IDP families left for Lachin city
● On the 20th anniversary of his first election as President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev paid a visit to the towns and villages of Karabakh liberated as a result of the counter-terrorist operation of September 19-20, 2023. After raising the country’s flag in Khankendi, he delivered a speech. More on this soon on JAMnews.
● A commandant has been appointed in Khankendi. By Aliyev’s decree, he became Police Major General Sardar Safarov, previously head of the Public Security Department of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry.
● Today, 25 more IDP families consisting of 96 people left for Lachin city.
● “Realization of Zangezur corridor will be an important step for the Middle Corridor countries. And the Kars-Nakhchivan railroad project will connect all of Europe with Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan via Nakhchivan,” said Abdulkadir Uraloglu, Turkey’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
● “Araik Harutyunyan’s health is fine, he is satisfied with the conditions of detention,” said Alov Safaraliyev, lawyer for the former president of the unrecognized NKR detained by Azerbaijani security services in Khankendi. “He asked for a book, it was provided to him. Araik also contacted his family. I am implementing all necessary measures to protect him. None of the international organizations has yet held a meeting with him,” the defender said.
According to the legislation of Azerbaijan, foreign lawyers are not allowed to practice law in the country.
● The flow of tourists to Azerbaijan from Central Asian countries has increased. According to the State Tourism Agency, in January-September 2023, 42124 people arrived from Kazakhstan, 27976 from Uzbekistan, 18494 from Turkmenistan, 3841 from Kyrgyzstan and 3436 from Tajikistan. Azerbaijan’s land borders have been closed since March 2020.
Monday, 16 October, Armenia. President Vahagn Khachaturyan signed the law on ratification of the Rome Statute
● Armenia celebrated the 2805th anniversary of its capital, Yerevan.
● Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan signed the law on ratification of the Rome Statute, the website of the head of state reported.
● 40 member states of the UN Human Rights Council joined the statement on Nagorno-Karabakh, naming Azerbaijan’s military actions and the blockade of the Lachin corridor as the reason for the exodus of Armenians, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ani Badalyan reported.
● I don’t see any problems that could prevent the conclusion of a peace treaty now, after the events in Karabakh: Putin on Yerevan and Baku.
● Pope Francis issued a call for the protection and respect of monasteries and places of religious worship in Karabakh.
● Fraudsters are trying to deceive IDPs from Nagorno-Karabakh under the guise of charity. It is reported that unknown people are trying to get their bank details. A link is sent to them, where they can supposedly receive financial aid by entering their data.
● Narek Manasyan (92 kg), representative of the Armenian national boxing team, became the winner of the first ever EUBC Cup 2023. The Armenian athlete won the title automatically – his opponent from Italy did not show up for the fight due to health reasons. The Armenian national team won 6 medals at the tournament in Montenegro – 1 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze.
Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 9-13 October, 2023