Latest news in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, summary 6-10 November, 2023
Friday, November 10, Azerbaijan. The FM is calling for the dispatch of a UNESCO mission to Armenia to assess the destruction of Azerbaijani cultural heritage
● The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry labeled Armenia’s calls for a Karabakh assessment mission as hypocritical. The ministry stated, “It is unacceptable that Armenia, which has committed massive crimes against humanity and violated the fundamental rights of about a million Azerbaijanis, hypocritically continues to accuse Azerbaijan of ‘ethnic cleansing.'”
● Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Elnur Mamedov, urged UNESCO to “send a factual mission to Armenia to study the Azerbaijani cultural heritage destroyed by Yerevan in Karabakh and on the territory of modern Armenia.”
● “The conclusion of a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is possible only if Yerevan stops imitating its participation in the peace process and resumes constructive work,” stated Presidential Representative for Special Assignments Elchin Amirbekov in an interview with the Italian agency Adnkronos.
● During the ECO summit, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran discussed plans for constructing railway and road bridges across the Araz River, establishing a corridor to Nakhichevan through Iran. They also explored increasing railway infrastructure capacity along the North-South transport corridor on Azerbaijan’s territory and the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway.
● Azerbaijan will host the 17th Economic Cooperation Organization summit in 2024, as decided in a meeting in Tashkent.
● A cinema in Lachin, previously destroyed during the Armenian occupation, has been restored and reopened within eight months.
Friday, November 10, Armenia. Armenia will not permit Russia "to control any part of its sovereign territory"
● Pashinyan and Macron discussed bilateral cooperation, the Granada quadripartite meeting outcomes, humanitarian issues for Nagorno-Karabakh displaced people, and the importance of international aid.
● The Armenian Foreign Ministry refuted Zakharova’s statement, stating that a third country cannot control any part of Armenia’s sovereign territory. Zakharova had suggested Russian border guards overseeing communications between Azerbaijan and its autonomy Nakhichevan.
● Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that Western countries are trying to court Armenia and befriend it against Russia.
● Armenian Foreign Minister Mirzoyan and UNESCO Director Azoulay emphasized the need for an independent monitoring mission in Nagorno-Karabakh to safeguard Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage.
● The government of Armenia allocated $300 thousand for the OSCE PA autumn session in Yerevan from November 18 to 25.
● “Yerevan is actively working to secure the release of compatriots unlawfully detained in Baku,” stated deputy foreign minister Vahan Kostanyan.
Friday, November 10, Georgia. Member of the European Parliament urged Georgia to reconsider relations with Russia
● Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss the European Commission’s recommendation for Georgia’s EU candidacy and bilateral relations.
● President Salome Zurabishvili announced her participation in the Peace Forum in Paris on November 10-11, where Prime Minister Garibashvili will also be present.
● French President Emmanuel Macron praised the Georgian people, stating, “Bravo to the Georgian people, whose commitment to democracy and Europe no longer needs to be proven. Join your efforts to move forward. France supports you.”
● President Salome Zurabishvili stated, “We would not have achieved this recommendation for joining the EU if it were not for Ukraine and the struggle of Ukrainians.”
● Member of the European Parliament Marina Kaliurand urged Georgia to reconsider relations with Russia, citing recent incidents and Russia’s occupation of Georgian territory.
● Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II congratulated Georgia on the EU candidacy, affirming the Church’s longstanding support for European integration.
● Levan Dotiashvili, kidnapped by the Russian military and taken to South Ossetia, is now released and on the Georgian-controlled side. His fellow villager, Tamaz Ginturi, was killed during the abduction, and Dotiashvili reportedly has a facial injury.
● Ruling party deputy Irakli Zarkua, present at the November 9 funeral of Tamaz Ginturi, killed by the Russian military, stated, “The criminals have been identified, and the investigation continues.” Other deputies and the speaker of parliament also attended the funeral.
● The Ministry of Internal Affairs commented on the disappearance of Russian activist Rafael Shepelev in Georgia, stating that he “voluntarily crossed the line of occupation in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.” Read more here
● Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Zakharova criticized the EU for condemning the murder of Tamaz Ginturi, accusing bias and neglect of Ossetian explanations.
● Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the Agmashenebeli Strategy party, expressed support for President Zurabishvili, stating opposition’s non-support for impeachment.
● Leaders of Georgian religious denominations issued a joint letter endorsing the European Commission’s recommendation to grant Georgia candidate status for EU membership. The letter was published on the official page of the Evangelical Baptist Church.
● The prosecutor’s office charged a Deme furniture company representative with fraud for stealing around $110,000 from consumers, who reported the accused fleeing after receiving the funds.
Thursday, November 9, Georgia. The country celebrates the European Commission's recommendation to grant Georgia candidate status for EU membership
● EU Ambassador to Georgia, Pavel Gerchinsky, emphasized that the recommendation for candidate status is tied to crucial steps, marking a decisive move to the next stage. He highlighted the need for continuous reforms to prepare the country for full EU membership.
● US Ambassador Robin Dunnigan shared her enthusiasm for the positive recommendation, expressing a shared history and values with Georgia. She conveyed wishes for success to the Georgian people, calling it a great day for the transatlantic space.
● Prime minister Irakli Garibashvili credited Ivanishvili for a turning point, citing unprecedented peace and development in the country.
● President Zurabishvili expressed her dedication to lobbying for Georgia’s EU membership, citing her participation in a forum in Paris, alongside the prime minister, as a response to Russia and the occupation.
● Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky congratulated both Ukrainians and the Georgian people on the positive assessment by the European Commission.
● Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations and representative of the ruling party, Nikoloz Samkharadze, emphasized that “Georgia has to align its legislation with European standards, and this process will take 5-6 years. That is why we have chosen 2030 as a benchmark. The EU also recognizes this date as the next stage of enlargement. We will do everything to ensure that by that time, Georgia will be ready to join the EU.”
● European Parliament member Andrews Kubilius believes it is evident that “the Georgian government did everything to avoid obtaining candidate status. Now the country’s authorities are probably not too pleased that their efforts failed. I hope this will be a valuable lesson for the ruling party, for Ivanishvili himself, who attempted to create obstacles for the Georgian people. Their efforts proved ineffective, and the Kremlin will likely be dissatisfied with such a decision by the European Commission.”
● “I think the ruling party is more grieving than celebrating,” Nika Gvaramia, a well-known journalist and creator and former director of the popular Mtavari archi TV channel, wrote on his FB page about the European Commission’s recommendation to grant Georgia candidate status for EU accession.
● Giorgi Vashadze of the “Agmashenebeli Strategy” party declared, “The Georgian Dream lost; the European spirit of the Georgian people won.”
● Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II condemned the murder of Tamaz Ginturi by Russian military, labeling it a great crime and great shame.
Photo JAMnews/David Pipia
Thursday, November 9, Armenia. "Cargo transportation through the territory of Azerbaijan is more profitable for Armenia, but it is impossible to launch this route without a document on peace"
Thursday, November 9, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan celebrates National Flag Day
● Azerbaijan celebrates National Flag Day today. The Azerbaijani tricolor with an eight-pointed star and crescent was officially approved as the state flag on November 9, 1918.
● In honor of Victory Day in the second Karabakh war, a military parade took place in Khankendi. Read more here
● Ilham Aliyev is currently in Tashkent, attending the summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, where the participation of presidents and prime ministers from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey is expected.
● Azerigaz has initiated gas supply to the city of Lachin. Initially, meters have been installed in 150 out of 600 houses. Gas supply efforts are also ongoing in the Lachin village of Zabukha, with plans to provide gas to 200 houses in the initial phase.
Wednesday, November 8, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan celebrates Victory Day in the Second Karabakh War, a military parade will be held in Khankendi
● Azerbaijan is celebrating Victory Day in the Second Karabakh War today. President Ilham Aliyev will host a military parade in Khankendi, with festive processions taking place in Baku and other cities.
● President Ilham Aliyev paid a visit to Vengli village in Kelbajar, where a wall displaying license plates of Azerbaijanis who lived there before the Karabakh conflict was created during the Armenian occupation. Aliyev ordered the wall’s removal.
● Vagif Khachatryan, detained in Lachin district, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Baku military court. He was accused of participating in the massacre of the Azerbaijani population in the Karabakh village of Meshali in December 1991.
● The general prosecutor’s office reported the discovery of a human skull during engineering reinforcement works in the village of Agdam in Khydirli.
● The 16th Economic Cooperation Organization summit is commencing in Tashkent, with president Ilham Aliyev expected to attend.
● Azerbaijan has been elected as the vice-president of the 42nd General Conference of UNESCO.
● Sixteen illegal immigrants were detained in Azerbaijan, with 14 of them being brought to the country by their compatriots who promised them jobs in the construction sector.
Wednesday, November 8, Armenia. Armenia protests against Vagif Khachatryan's sentence in Azerbaijan
● Vagif Khachatryan, a 68-year-old, was sentenced to 15 years in an Azerbaijani prison, with the initial 5 years in a regular prison and the rest in a high-security facility.
● Armenian FM spokesperson Ani Badalyan criticized the trial of Vagif Khachatryan in Baku, calling it a show and deeming the charges false.
● Armenian ombudsman Anahit Manasyan urged international human rights organizations to respond to the verdict handed down by the Baku court on Vagif Khachatryan, asserting that “it disregarded international human rights standards.”
● The criminal prosecution of Jalal Harutyunyan, former commander of the defense army of the unrecognized NKR, has been partially terminated. Legal experts confirmed he acted in good faith and competently during a counterattack on October 7, 2020 [during the second Karabakh war].
● Armenia’s permanent representative to the UN accused Azerbaijan of ignoring International Court of Justice decisions and avoiding compliance.
● South Korea plans to open embassies in numerous countries next year, including Armenia, according to the foreign ministry.
● Head of the security council Armen Grigoryan will not attend the meeting of CIS colleagues in Moscow on November 8.
Wednesday, November 8, Georgia. A European Commission report will be published today, which will determine whether Georgia will receive EU candidate status
● Tamaz Ginturi’s brother believes his killing by the Russian military might have been deliberate, as he was a participant in the 2008 war, and they were searching for him. Read more here
● Nino Tsilosani, an MP from the ruling Georgian Dream party, reiterated the accusations against the president that deputy speaker of parliament Gia Volsky had made the previous day. The ruling party believes that “a group of politicians, including Salome Zurabishvili, is pleased with the death of Tamaz Ginturi [because it allows them to gain PR from this event].”
● The president of Georgia commented on Giya Volsky’s statements, saying, “I cannot call this either politics or politicking. We all understand that such behavior cannot be called humanity.”
● Archpriest Zaza Tevzadze emphasized the Georgian state and church’s obligation to prevent pro-Russian capitulation amid recent statements by some members of the Georgian Orthodox Church advocating a less confrontational approach with Russia.
● “Russia is Georgia’s historical enemy, and making concessions to this enemy is an illusory policy,” stated a representative of the former PM Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia party, which is now in opposition.
● The European Commission will release its enlargement report today, evaluating Georgia’s readiness to become an EU candidate. This report will play a crucial role in the final decision to be made in December. Read more here
● The prosecutor’s office has charged two individuals with an armed attack on former Dmanisi mayor Giorgi Tatuashvili.
● The Committee on Education and Science has supported the Ministry of Health’s initiative to amend health laws, aiming to increase the number of nurses and midwives in the healthcare system and enhance their qualifications.
● Tbilisi’s mayor met with MAN company representatives in Munich and inspected 18-meter buses intended for Tbilisi. Buses are expected to be on the streets of the capital in December.
📷 Pictured is Tamaz Ginturi’s brother, killed by the Russian military.
Tuesday, November 7, Georgia. Russian military killed a Georgian citizen in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict
● “The occupation of the country by Russia is a challenging legacy of the treacherous policies of the National Movement,” stated Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party referring to the period of Saakashvili’s presidency.
● The foreign minister addressed Moscow on his official page: “Russian occupation forces killed a Georgian citizen and detained another. I urge the immediate release of the arrested individual.” Read more here
● In response to the murder and capture of Georgian citizens by the Russian military, Patriarchate representative Andria Dzhagmaidze appealed for “lessons to be learned, preventing further tragic outcomes.”
● Giga Bokeria, the leader of the opposition party “European Georgia,” accused the government of failing to take effective measures to reduce risks and threats from Russia.
● Parliament speaker Shalva Papuashvili, in a Facebook post, referred to the murder of local resident Tamaz Ginturi by Russian military in the village of Kirbali as “a terrible tragedy that underscores the ongoing severe consequences of the occupation for both those living near the occupation line and the state as a whole.”
● A delegation of representatives from EU countries is visiting Georgia, with discussions focusing on the prospects for the Eastern Partnership program’s development.
● Tomorrow, November 8, the European Commission is set to release its annual report on EU enlargement, a significant factor in deciding whether Georgia will attain candidate status for joining the European Union. Detailed analysis here
● In Kakheti, individuals forced a man, under threat of violence, to wear women’s clothing and parade through the village as a form of punishment for an offense. Three local residents have been charged with violating human dignity and may face sentences ranging from 3 to 10 years in prison.
📷 Pictured is the village of Kirbali, where Russian soldiers killed one Georgian citizen and kidnapped another.
Tuesday, November 7, Armenia. Criminal cases against 20 representatives of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan
● Armenia has submitted an application to host the International Sports and Cultural Games of Francophonie in 2027, as announced by deputy foreign minister Vahe Gevorkyan.
● Levon Kocharyan, the son of the former Armenian president, has been released after nearly 2 months in custody. He had been accused of assaulting police officers and now serves as a member of parliament from the Hayastan faction. Read more here
● In Yerevan, criminal prosecutions have been initiated against 20 high-ranking Azerbaijani military and political figures as part of the investigation into the 44-day war. A separate case has also been opened against Nurlan Ibragimov, the former head of the press service of the Karabakh football club, who was removed from his position during the war at the request of UEFA due to radical statements..
● Armenia has witnessed a 48% increase in tourist visits during the first nine months of 2023, with Russians, Georgians, and Iranians being the top three nationalities among visitors.
● A documentary film about Yerevan, published in Azerbaijan, has stirred controversy in Armenia. The Armenian ministry of education denied granting permission for the filming, citing historical distortions in the film. The ministry has called reports of its involvement manipulation and urged the media not to spread them.
● Approximately 150,000 young individuals in Armenia are currently unemployed, according to the ministry of labor.
● The Armenian team secured 9 gold and 2 silver medals at the World Powerlifting Championships in Italy.
Tuesday, November 7, Azerbaijan. Holidays are commencing in anticipation of tomorrow's Victory Day in the Second Karabakh War
● Today marks the last working day of the week in Azerbaijan, as holiday celebrations commence tomorrow and extend until Sunday. November 8 is Victory Day in the country, followed by National Flag Day.
● In anticipation of Victory Day, a “Flag Procession” occurred in Lachin.
● The Russian ministry of defense has reported the completion of personnel rotation for Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. The shipment of weapons and military equipment to Russia for scheduled repairs has also been finalized. Notably, 10 observation posts and 16 temporary observation posts of peacekeepers have been closed since September 19.
● The latest coronavirus data for Azerbaijan has been released, with 48 active patients reported today. The special quarantine regime in the country has been extended until January 2, 2024. Azerbaijan’s land borders have remained closed since March 2020, attributed to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
● The finance minister has announced an anticipated 50% reduction in next year’s inflation rate compared to the current year, with a projected figure of approximately 5.3%.
● An exhibition featuring artwork by veterans of the Karabakh war has opened at the Museum Center in Baku, showcasing 55 pieces.
Monday, November 6, Azerbaijan.
● Azerbaijani foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov accused German counterpart Annalena Berbock of using Armenian names of Azerbaijani settlements during a joint press conference in Baku.
● “It is necessary to follow the norms of international law regarding the names of cities of sovereign states. Germany declares that it supports the sovereignty of Azerbaijan, but when speaking about the cities of Shusha and Khankendi, for some reason it uses Armenian names,” Bayramov said.
● During her visit to Azerbaijan, German foreign minister Annalena Berbock met with representatives of the country’s civil society, but later – in an interview with a local television – she described it as a meeting with IDPs from Armenia during the first Karabakh war. “The West Azerbaijan Community” (a public organization uniting Azerbaijani refugees) accused Berbok of “outright lies.”
● “The number of victims of mine terror on the territory of Azerbaijan after the end of the second Karabakh war has reached 337 people”: Azerbaijani foreign ministry.
● Military machinery of the Azerbaijani army is being mobilized in Khankendi ahead of the Victory Day parade due on November 8.
Monday, November 6, Armenia
● Former President Robert Kocharyan’s son Levon Kocharyan, who was arrested during September’s anti-government rallies on charges of assaulting police officers, will become an MP. Now, according to his lawyer, his detention is illegal.
● Yerevan calls for urgent action by international institutions to ensure rights of Karabakh citizens: deputy foreign minister at Francophonie conference.
● Families of peacekeepers killed in Karabakh will receive 1 million rubles from the Russian Peace Foundation.
● Noel Mikayelyan became world boxing champion according to the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Monday, November 6, Georgia
● Editor of Radio Liberty’s European bureau Rikard Jozwiak: It is very likely that Georgia will get the status of a candidate for EU membership, but it will come with certain conditions.
● “Instead of attacking and weakening the party from within, leave it and do something of your own,” former President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed members of his United National Movement party, whose ranks have recently become increasingly divided. He said that “the priority now is to put forth new faces” and promised to announce his “plan of struggle” in the near future.
● Facts of alleged physical and verbal violence against minor pupils were revealed in the orphanage in Gori. Information about this is disseminated by the local TV company TV Monitoring.
● The Northern Lights phenomenon known as “Aurora” colored the skies in certain regions of Georgia a striking shade of blood-red. This unusual event was also witnessed in Ukraine and certain areas of Russia.
The photo, authored by Tata Merlani, was taken in the region of Svaneti, above Ushba.
Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 30 october - 3 November, 2023