Latest news in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, summary 23-27 October, 2023
Friday, October 27, Azerbaijan
● A 230 MW solar power plant has been commissioned in Baku’s Garadagh district.
● “Claims that cultural and historical monuments are under threat after Azerbaijan’s anti-terrorist measures are unfounded, which was confirmed by two UN missions,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in response to statements by French Culture Minister Rima Abdul-Malak during her visit to Armenia.
“France, being a country that has confiscated historical and cultural values belonging to other nations, has no moral right to raise such issues,” the ministry stressed.
● “The project of laying an electric cable along the Black Sea bed will play an important role in ensuring Europe’s energy security,” Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov said, speaking at the Silk Road International Forum in Tbilisi. “We hope the project will make an additional contribution to the energy security of many European countries,” he added.
● A tractor driver ran into a mine in the village of Talysh in the Tartar district. He received injuries of various degrees of severity. The man was taken to hospital where his hand was amputated.
● Azerbaijan will launch its own brand of bottled mineral water from fields in Kelbajar, Lachin and Shusha.
Friday, October 27, Armenia
● Moscow will directly clarify with Yerevan Pashinyan’s words about the need to “diversify relations in the security sphere” – Russian leader’s press secretary
● Armenia is ready to buy gas from Azerbaijan after the resolution of political issues. RA Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Vardanyan stated this and added that Armenia can be a transit country for transportation of gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.
● Zangezur section in the North-South ITC project is not considered now due to the absence of Armenia’s clear position – Russian Deputy Prime Minister.
● Canada joins EU observation mission in Armenia. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly visited the mission’s office in Jermuk and said she intends to discuss logistics and integration issues.
● Nikol Pashinyan met with the Prime Minister of Georgia in Tbilisi. The sides discussed relations between the countries and prospects for future cooperation.
● The Russian Federation is ready to host the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan with the prospect of a trilateral summit with Yerevan’s will – Maria Zakharova
● GDP per capita in Armenia has reached $8 thousand – Head of Armenian Ministry of Economic Development Vahan Kerobyan
● Yerevan Municipality has set new rules for street musicians and artists. From November, they will have to be located 100 meters away from residential and public buildings during evening hours (21.00-23.00) and 10 meters away during afternoon and morning hours (10.00-21.00).
● 220 bodies were transported from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia by ICRC representatives after September 19. These are the remains of those killed as a result of both fighting and an explosion at a fuel depot near Stepanakert.
Friday, October 27, Georgia
● The EU Delegation reacted to the amendments made to the Law on TV and Radio Broadcasting in Georgia, in particular the controversial amendments on “incitement to hatred”, and notes that “foul language” is not part of the directives, so it does not need to be regulated through a directive.
● The Georgian Cinema in Danger movement commented on the so-called coup d’état case. According to them, its aim is to suppress critical opinion and intimidate the public. In a published statement, the movement notes that film producer Tiko Nadirashvili, actress Tina Lagidze and film historian Nino Shvelidze were summoned for questioning by the SGB because of their participation in trainings.
● The Interior Ministry arrested a man for attempted rape of a tourist in Tbilisi. The investigation was initiated under Articles 19, 137 and 178 of the Criminal Code, which refer to attempted rape and robbery.
European Union Delegation in Georgia
Thursday, October 26, Azerbaijan
● Aliyev and Pashinyan will not meet in Brussels at the end of the month due to lack of time. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar stated.
● “Baku still does not write off the Zangezur corridor project. If it is on track, yes, if not, fine. The project is still on the table, but it will require a demonstration from the Armenian side that it is really interested in it,” Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev told Politico. He emphasized that “Azerbaijan has no plans to seize Syunik.”
“The Zangezur corridor project is no longer attractive for Baku, as similar initiatives can be worked out with Iran,” Hajiyev added.
●”Speaking with Azerbaijan in the language of threats is extremely wrong and cannot bring success to either side,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in response to the statements of the Canadian Foreign Minister.
Melanie Joly earlier at a meeting with her Armenian counterpart did not rule out the introduction of sanctions as a measure against Azerbaijan.
● Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov flew to Tbilisi, where he will take part in the Silk Road International Forum today.
● Joint exercises “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk-2023” with the Turkish Armed Forces have been completed in Azerbaijan.
● It became known how much Tbilisi paid for Azerbaijani gas this year. Azerbaijan exported 1 billion 623 million 817.7 thousand cubic meters of gas to Georgia in January-August, the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan reported. The value of these exports amounted to $269 million 091,000.
● 1,175 women were killed in Azerbaijan last year on the grounds of domestic violence. This is evidenced by the report of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Problems.
● A law banning sexual harassment in the workplace has been proposed in Azerbaijan. The State Committee for Family, Women and Children Problems has sent recommendations for its adoption to the relevant bodies.
● “Women should not work on Saturdays and Sundays”. MP Rauf Aliyev made such a proposal. According to him, foreign countries have such experience. “The role of women in the family is great. They should spend more time with children,” the member of the Azerbaijani parliament added.
Thursday, October 26, Armenia
● Nikol Pashinyan sees no advantages in the presence of Russian military bases in Armenia. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said Yerevan is looking for new partners because Russia “failed to fulfill its allied obligations.”
● The planned trilateral Pashinyan-Michel-Aliyev meeting will not take place. The Armenian PM said the Azerbaijani president has not confirmed his participation, but Yerevan is ready for the meeting.
● IDPs from Nagorno-Karabakh will be granted temporary protection status. This will allow fixing their refugee status, solving the issue of their further acceptance of Armenian citizenship and protecting their rights, the Prime Minister said in the parliament.
● Yerevan will send its concept of “Crossroads of Peace” in the South Caucasus to international partners – Pashinyan.
● The head of the Armenian Interior Ministry urged the displaced persons from Nagorno-Karabakh to hand over the weapons they brought. According to Vahe Ghazaryan, there are data that a certain amount of weapons and ammunition was transported from NK. He said that there are already cases of their voluntary surrender.
● Azerbaijan has no plans to seize Syunik – this statement was made by Aliyev’s aide in an interview with Politico.
● The government’s position is not to give second hand clothes or used clothes to displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh, but to pay funds to buy what they need – Nikol Pashinyan.
● Canada’s Foreign Minister opened a Canadian embassy in Yerevan with her Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan.
Canada’s first Ambassador Andrew Turner had earlier arrived in Armenia and presented his credentials to the country’s leadership.
● Canada will allocate additional funds to help IDPs from Nagorno-Karabakh – Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
Thursday, October 26, Georgia
● Former public defender and founder of the Civic Platform Nino Lomjaria, answering a question on the air of Formula – whether she is thinking about joining an alliance with Giorgi Gakharia and Salome Zurabishvili and political activism – noted that she remains on the civic platform for the moment and will consider the possibility of cooperation only after the development of processes is more clearly defined.
● Gia Volsky: “If society supports European integration, the lion’s share belongs to the Georgian dream”.
● Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili responded to a question about US-Georgian relations: “We should forget unpleasant precedents and think about the future”.
Wednesday, October 25, Azerbaijan
● Gubadli City Day is celebrated today in Azerbaijan. The town was liberated on October 25, 2020 during the second Karabakh war after 27 years of occupation.
●Russian peacekeepers have toppled 24 out of 30 observation posts in Karabakh since September 19, the Russian Defense Ministry said. 6 posts, including 2 jointly with the Azerbaijani side, have been put up to ensure traffic safety along road routes.
● The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia Ceyhun Bayramov and Sergey Lavrov discussed by phone “Increasing efforts for normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan, as well as promotion of the “3+3″ platform”.
● Ensuring and protecting the rights and freedoms of Karabakh Armenians is at the center of Baku’s attention,” Azerbaijani Ombudsman Sabina Aliyeva said at a meeting with CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic.
● ICRC staff visited former leaders of the unrecognized NKR detained by the Azerbaijani side, the organization’s Baku office said. Conditions have been created for the detainees to establish contacts with their families.
● Vagif Khachatryan, detained on the border with Armenia, apologized for the actions of Armenians in the village of Meshali in 1991. He himself denies his participation in those events. The trial of the prisoner, who is accused of participating in the massacre of Azerbaijanis, will continue today.
● “France is damaging the prospects for advancing the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process and undermining security in the South Caucasus. Paris, abusing its leading role within a number of international platforms, has recently been promoting highly biased anti-Azerbaijani initiatives,” Elchin Amirbekov, special representative of the Azerbaijani President, told the BBC.
● A new group has been created in the Azerbaijani parliament. It will support the struggle of the Corsican people in restoring their national identity, as well as ensuring their fundamental rights and freedoms.
● The construction of the Ahmedbeyli-Fizuli-Shusha highway is scheduled to be completed next year. The length of the road is 81.7 kilometers. The section of the road up to the 48th km has 4 lanes and the other section up to Shusha has 6 lanes.
● Short-term vacations have been granted to convicts in Azerbaijan. Prisoners held in closed correctional institutions of the Penitentiary Service are released to their families for 7-8 days. Then they return to the places of detention in a free order without the escort of the service staff. So far, eight prisoners have been sent on leave and returned.
● In Baku’s Bina settlement, 20 schoolchildren were poisoned by doner (shawarma). Three of them are in intensive care.
Wednesday, October 25, Armenia
● Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia was handed a note of protest over yesterday’s program on Channel One. Yerevan considered that the program aired insulting and completely unacceptable statements about high-ranking Armenian officials.
● France will send a military adviser to Armenia and train special units for the Armenian Armed Forces – Head of the French Defense Ministry.
● The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a meeting on the margins of the 3+3 platform in Tehran.”
● Russia will not recognize Armenian driver’s licenses for business and labor activities . The State Duma has decided to indefinitely postpone the issue.
● Nikol Pashinyan was awarded a knighthood by Pope Pius the Ninth for strengthening ties with the Holy See . The award was presented by Nuncio Jose Aveline Bettancourt on behalf of Pope Francis.
●An opposition MP wrote poems about the Armenian authorities and recited them at the parliamentary session.
Wednesday, October 25, Georgia
● Nika Melia, former Chairman of the National Union of Youth and Sports, on TV Pirveli: “Kezerashvili, Ivanishvili and Merabishvili have a fetish for informal governance.”
● Levan Khabeishvili, Chairman of the National Assembly: “Sometimes they don’t like Khabeishvili’s teeth, sometimes they don’t like his coat, sometimes his glasses, sometimes my training – this is Russian propaganda, it turns out that Khabeishvili is controlled by someone” a puppet somewhere, this is Russian propaganda, who will believe it…”
● According to Zura Makharadze, leader of the radical pro-Kremlin group Alt-Info, the reason for summoning him for questioning is the nervousness of the “second flank” about the fact that they have not formed Antimaidan – he said after the questioning. “When you say that someone is going to make a coup, show me the footage and then no one is caught – this is a serious problem,” Makharadze said.
● The National Tourism Administration of Georgia publishes data on foreign visitors for January-September 2023. According to the data of the first three quarters of 2023, the most visitors came to Georgia from the Russian Federation (1,149,053 people). The second country by number of visitors is Turkey (1,081,419 people), the third is Armenia (736,086 people).
Tuesday, October 24, Azerbaijan
● Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia Ceyhun Bayramov and Ararat Mirzoyan held talks on the margins of the 3+3 meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Russia and Turkey.
Following the meeting in Tehran, the Foreign Ministers of the 5 countries adopted a 9-point document, which is devoted to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, inviolability of internationally recognized borders, prohibition of threats or use of force and other issues. The statement also emphasized the importance of cultural and economic cooperation between the South Caucasus countries.
● A regular court session on the case against Vagif Khachaturyan will be held in Baku today. He is accused of crimes committed during the first Karabakh war, including an attack on the Khojaly village of Meshali.
● The Azerbaijani Parliament condemned the statement of the chairman of the Bundestag’s International Relations Committee. “Michael Roth’s non-objective, reality-distorting statements made by him during his visit to Yerevan are regrettable,” the statement reads.
● Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Gülar has arrived in Baku. He will observe joint exercises of Turkish and Azerbaijani special forces in Karabakh together with his Azerbaijani counterpart.
● Passengers of Toronto-Delhi flight spent more than a day in Baku. On Sunday, an Air Canada plane was forced to land in the capital of Azerbaijan due to low oil pressure in the left engine of the airplane. Another airliner came to pick up the passengers last night. They departed the Baku airport at 19:21.
● There was a shootout on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. Two Iranian smugglers, ignoring the demands of Azerbaijani border guards, opened fire at them and tried to escape. To neutralize the violators, the border guard unit engaged them in hand-to-hand combat, the State Border Service said. Drugs weighing more than 9 kg were seized from the detainees.
● A passenger bus fell into a ravine in the city of Ganja. As a result of the accident, 15 people were injured, there were no fatalities.
● “Reduction of potato supplies from Iran may provoke a price rise. In the coming months, the price of potatoes may reach 2.8 manat [$1.7] per kilogram,” said Eiyub Huseynov, chairman of Azerbaijan’s Free Consumers Union.Azerbaijan has imposed a ban on potato imports from Iran.
Tuesday, October 24, Armenia
●Armenia and France have signed a deal for Yerevan to purchase arms “to protect civilians and borders.”
According to Reuters, Armenia will purchase three GM200 radar stations from France. In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed for the future delivery of French Mistral short-range SAMs.
A meeting of the 3+3 platform was held in Tehran. A 9-point joint statement was adopted. It is devoted to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, inviolability of internationally recognized borders, prohibition of threats or use of force and other issues.
The statement also emphasized the importance of cultural and economic cooperation between the South Caucasus countries.
●Armenia is interested in railroad communication with Russia, Iran and Central Asia through the territory of Azerbaijan – Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.
● Russia is not against contacts between Yerevan and Baku in the EU, let them try their luck in Brussels too, but everyone knows that all necessary for delimitation, including maps, is only with Russia – Sergey Lavrov.
● Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov confirmed their participation in the Silk Road Forum to be held on October 26-27 in Tbilisi – Georgian Ministry of Economy.
● Bundestag deputy Michael Roth at a press conference in Yerevan. ● Sanctions will be imposed on Azerbaijan in case of continuation of its aggressive policy: they are currently being worked out.
● Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi discussed deepening of bilateral relations, as well as regional and international security issues in Tehran.
● Tehran and Yerevan will form a working group to build another border bridge on the Arax River – Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development.
● Armenia “will not boycott the Russian platform” of negotiations with Azerbaijan – Head of the Parliamentary Defense Commission.
Tuesday, October 24, Georgia
● One of the three people injured in the explosion in Vazisubani died after being taken to the hospital. On October 23, a fire broke out in a building in Vazisubani. According to preliminary information, the cause of the fire was an explosion of accumulated natural gas.
● Former Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria does not rule out coordinated actions with the President in the future, including joint visits to Georgia’s partner countries.
● Acting Chairman of the United National Movement Levan Khabeishvili on former Chairman Nika Melia: “His speeches coincide with the narrative of Garibashvili, POSTV and Imedi”. Nika Melia stated that he cannot stay in a party where there will be informal governance.
● Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Levan Davitashvili spoke about possible abolition of visa regime for Georgian citizens from the Chinese side. As the Minister noted, for the first time in 8 years a commission on trade and economic cooperation was held in China, where the issue of visa-free regime between the countries was discussed.
● According to the special investigative service, more than 300 photos, video and audio files depicting personal life were seized from all over Georgia, 14 people were found guilty of the crime, 7 of them were arrested.
● Nana Sharikadze resigned from the post of rector of the conservatory. He wrote about it on Facebook and in a long post he evaluated his 4-year activity. In the post, Sharikadze also talks about recent events and recalls the meeting held “behind closed doors” on April 11, 2023. Autonomy and academic freedom remain a challenge for the conservatory, she says.
●Mayor of the capital Kakha Kaladze: “I say with 100% guarantee – our country will get candidate status.”
●Prime Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan Nikol Pashinyan and Ali Asadov will attend the Fourth International Silk Road Forum in Tbilisi.
Photo: Explosion in Vazisubani
Monday, October 23, Azerbaijan
● Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and Russia will meet today in Tehran in the so-called “3+3” format. Georgia refused to participate in the talks.
●Azerbaijani medics perform first surgical operation in Khankendi. Ataturk Taghizadeh, a policeman, was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and the operation was successful, TƏBİB reported.
● “Mines planted by Armenia continue to threaten the lives of civilians and wild animals,” said Hikmet Hajiyev, aide to AR President Hikmet Hajiyev. “Remains of a brown bear cub killed by a mine explosion in Lachin. The markings of the mines collected in the area of the explosion indicate that they were made in Armenia in 2021. The country has mined the previously occupied lands of Azerbaijan with millions of mines,” he wrote on social media.
● Joint exercises of Azerbaijani and Turkish land forces start in Azerbaijan today. They will last until October 25.
● Azerbaijan’s state budget revenues in 2027 will exceed 37 billion manats [about $21.8 billion]. This is 9.3% more than the 2023 state budget revenues, the country’s Finance Ministry said. It is predicted that state budget expenditures will reach AZN 39.6 bln [about $23.3 bln] in 4 years.
Monday, October 23, Armenia
● The Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran will meet in Tehran today in the “3+3” format. Georgia still does not join the initiative.
● The head of the French Defense Ministry said that Paris and Yerevan will formalize agreements on the purchase of French arms, particularly in the field of air defense.
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan is already in France at the invitation of his French counterpart.
● Iran will switch to the national currency in trade operations with Armenia, Russia and Belarus. Besides, Iran’s customs borders will be fully open for import of goods from these countries. This was announced by a representative of the Russian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
● 11 citizens are detained after a scuffle and shooting in the Kasakh Gorge with the participation of Ashtarak administration. About 50 people were involved in the incident, the city’s vice-mayor Vardan Safaryan was wounded, the Armenian IC reports.
● The ICRC continues to search for Armenians remaining in Nagorno-Karabakh. They are being provided with medical care, food, and given the opportunity to contact relatives and leave for Armenia.
Monday, October 23, Georgia
● Tinatin Kajrishvili’s film “Citizen Saint” will be released in Georgian cinemas on October 26. The picture will compete for the 2024 Oscar award. The film is a participant of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and winner of the Batumi International Film Festival.
● Georgia will not participate in the 3+3 meeting in Tehran. This was reported by the Georgian Foreign Ministry. According to their own data, Georgia has never participated in the said meeting. On October 23, the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkey will hold a meeting in the 3+3 format in Tehran.
● On Twitter, former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly reacted to Shalva Papuashvili’s statement that they have not received evidence from the US about the sanctions against Fartskhaladze and the judges. “Strategic partners will not like the idea that they are lying,” Kelly wrote.
● Ambassador Lasha Zhvania spoke about direct and indirect flights from Israel to Georgia. He said Airzena will discontinue direct flights from Tel Aviv and add Larnaca.
● Iago Khvichia, Girchi Party: “Dream wants to convince people that Zurabishvili is different and they are different.”
📷 A still from the movie “Citizen Saint”/cavea
Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 16-20 October, 2023