Greeks may give control over ArmenTel

Pan Armenian News
March 11 2004

GREEKS MAY GIVE CONTROL OVER ARMENTEL

The new Greek Government may sell its share of the OTE Company
possessing the 90% of ArmenTel.

”New Democrats” won the Parliamentary elections in Greece. After 10
years of governing the socialists became opposition. Change of the
government will not lead to serious changes in the foreign policy of
the official Athens, according to political observers. However, the
neighbors of Greece will feel those changes. Armenia as well.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ It’s evident that despite the informal alliance
between the socialists and the communists (which form the third
biggest faction in the parliament), the conservatives will form the
Cabinet of Ministers independently. Greece is suffering a serious
economic crisis and the new democrats believe its solution is the
”total privatization”. Leaders of the conservative party have
always stated their intention to sell the state share of OTE Company
holding the 90% of the shares of the Armenian telecommunications’
monopolist ”ArmenTel”. OTE used to be a state enterprise once but
then the 65% of its shares were sold. However, the government
continues to be the biggest shareholder of the company.

The shares of OTE hold by the state probably may be sold this year.
It is supposed that he privatization of the company will take 8-10
moths. So, next year ArmenTel may have a new shareholder. ”France
Telecom”, ”Telecom Italia”, the British `Cable & Wireless’ and
even the Turkish ”Turk Cell”, which is the biggest operator in
Azerbaijan and works also in Georgia, have shown interest towards the
privatization of the company.

The new holder of the biggest share of OTE will have to decide
whether to remain in the Armenian market of telecommunications or
not. The nowadays administrators of OTE has already started the
process of sale of ArmenTel’s shares. They started to negotiate with
Russian Rostelecom in autumn 2003. The negotiations were delayed
because of the elections but the privatization process may continue.
It is natural that in order to have a full control over the process
of privatization the Minister of Communication of Greece may change
the OTE administration. This will lead to change of ArmenTel’s
administration. So, the terms of depriving the monopoly on mobile
communication will be probably discussed with other people. While the
Executive Director of the company, Georgios Vasilakis, will evidently
have to leave the country.

Obiang ‘will eat my testicles’

News24, South Africa
March 11 2004

Obiang ‘will eat my testicles’

Malabo – A plot to abduct the president of the small, oil-rich west
African nation of Equatorial Guinea was unveiled on national
television on Wednesday by the alleged leader of a group of
mercenaries, apparently a 48-year-old South African.

“It wasn’t a question of taking the life of the head of state, but of
spiriting him away, taking him to Spain and forcing him into exile
and then of immediately installing the government in exile of Severo
Moto Nsa,” said the man, introduced as Nick du Toit.

Malabo called on Wednesday for the extradition of Moto, who tried to
mount a coup against Obiang in 1997 from Angola and recently set up a
government in exile in Spain.

“The leader of this mercenary operation whose aim was to topple the
current government had been recruited by the “escapee” from
Equatorial Guinean justice Severo Moto Nsa for a sum of $10m,” the
state radio said.

But Moto denied any involvement in the alleged plot. Severo Moto “has
at no time left Spain,” said a statement issued by his government in
exile.

Moto also went on the offensive, telling Spanish radio station Onda
Cero that Obiang was an “authentic cannibal” who “systematically eats
his political rivals.

“A while back he paid millions to those they call marabou (sorcerers)
to tell him if his power base was safe. They told him that to keep
his grip on power he had to kill people close to him.

Wants to eat my testicles

“Obiang wants me to go back to Guinea and eat my testicles. That’s
clear,” he told Onda Cero.

An earlier radio report had described du Toit as a “trafficker in
arms and diamonds”. It added that the rest of the 15 were from
Angola, Armenia, Sao Tome and Principe and South Africa, as well as
one German citizen.

But a South African diplomat based in neighbouring Libreville said he
had no knowledge of Du Toit’s background.

Du Toit said on television: “The group was supposed to start by
identifying strategic targets such as the presidency, the military
barracks, police posts and the residences of government members.”

“Then it was supposed to have vehicles at Malabo airport to transport
other mercenaries who were due to arrive from South Africa.

“But at the last minute, I got a call to say that the other group of
mercenaries had been arrested in South Africa as they were preparing
to leave the country.”

An Equatorial Guinean envoy was dispatched to Nigeria on Wednesday
for talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s junior foreign
minister Saidu Balarabe Samaila said on Wednesday.

Samaila also confirmed that Nigeria’s embassy in Malabo had been
surrounded by Equatorial Guinean soldiers with the consent of
Nigerian officials, and that around 150 Nigerian citizens had taken
shelter there.

Last year when the leader of another oil-rich Gulf of Guinea island
nation – President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome – was overthrown
in a coup, Nigeria took a leading role in returning him to power.

Edited by Trisha Shannon

BAKU: US happy with relations with Azerbaijan

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
March 11 2004

US happy with relations with Azerbaijan

On Tuesday, President Ilham Aliyev received Lynn Paskoe, U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Appreciating the high-level cooperation between Azerbaijan and the
United States, Aliyev said, “The large projects implemented in
Azerbaijan and in the region are directly supported by the United
States.

If there had been no support from the United States, it would have
been impossible to realize these projects.” Noting that Azerbaijan is
an ally of the United States in the anti-terror coalition, President
Aliyev said that Azerbaijan itself had been repeatedly exposed to
terrorism.

Stressing the need to solve the most outstanding problems, including
the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Upper Garabagh to achieve
long-term and firm peace in the region, Aliyev expressed his hope
that the United States’ stepping up its efforts as a co-chair of the
OSCE Minsk Group would result in a peaceful resolution of the
conflict soon. Updating the guest on the grave consequences of the
conflict, President Aliyev said that more than one million people had
become refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the
conflict.

US-Azeri relations
Expressing his adherence to President Aliyev’s opinions on the
Azerbaijani-U.S. high-level cooperation, Paskoe voiced his confidence
that bilateral relations would continue to develop. Underlining that
Azerbaijan is the United States’ close partner in combating
terrorism, the U.S. official said cooperation in this direction would
develop in the future. Highly appreciating the positive changes in
the South Caucasus region, particularly in Azerbaijan, Paskoe noted
that these changes are watched with great interest in Washington and
Europe. Paskoe also stressed that his country intended to cooperate
closely with Azerbaijan’s leadership on political and economic
issues. Reno Harnish, the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and his
deputy Nancy McEldowney were also present in the meeting.
From: Baghdasarian

BAKU: Saakashvili, Aliyev reaffirm two nations commitments

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
March 11 2004

Saakashvili, Aliyev reaffirm two nation’s commitments

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s March 4-5 official visit to
Azerbaijan, after only Russia and the United States, as well as
signing of a joint Declaration by the two presidents and the
settlement of the problems impeding

the development of bilateral relations, confirmed the continuation of
the relations established between the two governments by former
Azerbaijani and Georgian presidents Heydar Aliyev and Eduard
Shevardnadze in 1993. The Georgian President was welcomed at Bina
Airport by Prime Minister Artur Rasizada, Foreign Minister Vilayat
Guliyev and other state officials.

Talking to journalists at the airport, Saakashvili said that his
visit to Azerbaijan, after only Russia and the United States, proved
that he attached great importance to this country. He noted that he
would discuss a number of important issues with President Ilham
Aliyev. The Georgian President left Bina Airport for the Cemetery of
Honors to pay tribute at the graves of Heydar Aliyev and his wife
Zarifa Aliyeva. The Georgian President was accompanied by Mayor of
Baku Hajibala Abutalibov. Then, visiting the Cemetery of Martyrs,
Saakashvili put a wreath in front of the memorial complex for victims
of the 20 January tragedy and Garabagh war. He made notes in the Book
of Memory.

Presidential meeting
The same day Saakashvili held a private meeting with President Ilham
Aliyev. The two presidents focused on the development of bilateral
cooperation and the continuation of economic relations. The private
meeting was followed by a large meeting with the participation of
government delegations of the two countries. At the end of the
meeting, a number of bilateral agreements were signed. Aliyev and
Saakashvili signed a joint Declaration between Azerbaijan and
Georgia. Then the two countries’ ministers for education and foreign
affairs signed agreements on educational cooperation, as well as on
cooperation between the Azerbaijani and Georgian governments in the
sphere of information. Following the sighing of the agreements, the
two presidents held a joint news conference. President Aliyev said
that it was important to maintain and expand traditional friendly and
fraternal relations between the two neighboring countries. “Our
countries are strategic partners,” said Aliyev. Touching upon
bilateral economic cooperation including the implementation of huge
energy projects, President Aliyev noted that the constructions of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum
gas pipeline would be completed on schedule. He expressed his hope
that the economic projects would give impetus to the expansion of
bilateral cooperation. Saakashvili, in turn, said that the goal of
his Baku visit was to discuss with Azerbaijani state officials the
opportunities for expanding bilateral cooperation, the construction
of the BTC pipeline as well as the pre-parliamentary election
situation in Georgia. Noting that this was his first official visit
to Baku as Georgia’s President, Saakashvili underlined that
Azerbaijan remained as an exclusive partner for Georgia.

Georgia determined to realize Caspian oil, gas projects
Stressing that his country intends to develop bilateral relations in
all spheres, the Georgian President said, “This visit is a rare
opportunity for me to closely get to know the new leader of
Azerbaijan. I have a great respect for him and I’m ready to learn
from him.” Touching upon large energy projects, the Georgian
President stressed that the BTC pipeline was a “vitally important
issue” for his country. “A generation of new presidents, as well as
new energy and new force has come to Azerbaijan and Georgia,” he
emphasized. Saakashvili went on to say that Azerbaijan was not only a
neighboring and friendly country but also a fraternal one for
Georgia. He stated that during his meeting with President Aliyev the
further improvement of relations, the establishment of a unified
tariff system, the removal of a number of economic, customs and legal
impediments and the synchronization of the tax systems were in focus.
“Both countries have an opportunities to become the countries of a
common market and we will achieve our goals,” Saakashvili stressed.
According to the Georgian President, the establishment of a common
economic area between the two countries may lay the groundwork for
integration into Europe. Underlining that the Georgian government is
interested in developing relations with the United States, Russia and
Turkey, Saakashvili stated that the relations with Azerbaijan
shouldn’t be limited to oil pipelines. Touching upon joint energy
projects, the Georgian President said that his country would do
everything to complete the realization of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline projects, which
are issues of energy security for Georgia. Saakashvili noted that he
had information on the attempts by certain forces active outside
Georgia and Azerbaijan to hinder the construction of the BTC pipeline
under the pretext of ecological problems. “However, Georgia’s new
leadership won’t allow these forces to achieve their goals and the
project will be completed on schedule,” he stressed. Asked what kind
of measures will be taken in order to improve the living standards of
the Azerbaijani population of Georgia, the Georgian President said,
“The Azerbaijani population is ‘the most faithful’ to the Georgian
state. Their integration into all socio-political processes should be
ensured. If Azerbaijanis, by maintaining their own language and
culture as well as by learning Georgian, take an active role in the
country’s life, they can be represented in the governmental
structures. Commenting on the issue of granting Armenians living in
Javakhetiya province of Georgia autonomy, Saakashvili stated that
such demands originate not from the local population but from
‘foreign centers’. The Georgian President returned home in the
afternoon on March 5. Prior to leaving Baku the Georgian President
visited the Sangachal terminal and Deepwater Jacket Factory. Briefing
journalists at Bina Airport, Saakashvili said his talks with
President Ilham Aliyev were fruitful for the two countries. Stressing
that the Azerbaijani-Georgian relations would continue to develop,
the Georgian President called the two friendly countries ‘a unified
organ’. Expressing satisfaction with his visit, the Georgian
President voiced his confidence that the construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline would be completed on schedule. “No
one should doubt it. We will take measures against those who oppose
the project,” he emphasized.

Biography
Saakashvili was born the son of an educated man in Tbilisi on
December 21, 1967. His father Nikolos Saakashvili is a doctor and his
mother – a historian. After leaving secondary school in Tbilisi with
a golden medal in 1984, Mikhail Saakashvili went to the faculty of
international law of Kiev University. He worked as the head of the
office for the Committee on Human Rights and International Relations
in Georgia in 1993. Then he continued his education at the Strasbourg
University on Human Rights and Columbia University getting a master’s
degree. Saakashvili also graduated from George Washington University
with a PhD. He also attended Florence Law Academy and Hague Academy
of International Law, worked for the Norwegian Institute of Human
Rights and then acted as an advocate at a legal company in New York.
He is married to Sandra Roelofs, who is Dutch. Returning to Tbilisi
in 1995, Saakashvili was elected an MP from the bloc of the ruling
Union of Georgian Citizens, became chairman of the committee on
constitution and legal issues and then the leader of “The Union of
Georgian Citizens” faction in 1998. He represented Georgia at the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1999 and worked as
the Georgian Minister for Justice in 2000. Resigning from this post
in 2001, Saakashvili took the side of opposition and sharing the
majority of votes with the Labor Party during the municipal elections
the same year, he was elected a chairman of Tbilisi Sagrebulos
(council). Together with his supporters Saakashvili, founder of the
National Movement political union, managed to invalidate the results
of the parliamentary elections held on November 20, 2003 and forced
former Georgian President Shevardnadze to resign. Saakashvili was
elected President on January 4. This is his first official visit to
Baku as Georgia’s President, but he visited Baku to attend the
funeral of Heydar Aliyev before presidential elections in Georgia.

By Azernews Staff

BAKU: Chairman of Milli Majlis received Amb. of G.B.

AzerTag, Azerbaijan State info agency
March 11 2004

CHAIRMAN OF MILLI MAJLIS RECEIVED AMBASSADOR OF GREAT BRITAIN
[March 11, 2004, 12:05:25]

On March 10, Chairman of Milli Majlis Murtuz Alaskarov received the
newly appointed ambassador of the Kingdom of Great Britain to
Azerbaijan Lawrence Bristow.

As was informed, the Chairman congratulated the visitor with new
assignment, dwelt on the development of relations between the two
countries, and noted that inter-parliamentary links have acquired
dynamical character. Chairman of Milli Majlis told: `The national
leader of Azerbaijan people President Heydar Aliyev has played a
special role in development of our relations’.

In detail informing the visitor about the history, the reasons of
occurrence of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorny Karabakh conflict,
the fair position of Azerbaijan in connection with settlement of the
problem, the Chairman stated that the approach of some western states
to the said question from the position of double standards causes a
regret. Azerbaijan actively participating in the international
antiterrorist coalition, for the last 10 years, 32 times was
subjected to the Armenian terror. The civilized world has not
expressed objective and principle position on the said question,
Azerbaijani Speaker underlined.

Chairman of Milli Majlis has noted that under the initiative of
official Baku in the region a number of projects is carried out.
Armenia stands on the aggressive position that impedes realization of
some international projects.

Mr. Alaskarov expressed hope that the ambassador would assist in
bringing the just cause of Azerbaijan up to the world community, the
further development of relations between Azerbaijan and Great
Britain, search of ways of settlement of the mentioned problem.

Having expressed gratitude for warm reception and the detailed
information, Mr. Lawrence Bristow has noted that with attention would
consider the problems of Azerbaijan.

The ambassador emphasized that he would use the best efforts for
successful application in the Country the international project on a
transparency of oil incomes, try to use the best efforts for the
further development of bilateral relations, reach a due business
practical level.

BAKU: OSCE PA chairman to visit region

AzerTag, Azerbaijan State info agency
March 11 2004

OSCE PA CHAIRMAN TO VISIT REGION
[March 11, 2004, 12:04:45]

Speaking of conclusions of the visit of reporter on the
Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorny Karabakh conflict Mr. Goran Lenmarker to
the region, Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE George
Bruce said that he would visit the region, head of the Azerbaijan
parliamentary delegation at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, chairman
of the MM standing committee on economic issues Sattar Safarov told
AzerTAj correspondent. In his report, Mr. Lenmarker confirmed the
fact of occupancy of the Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, stressed the
necessity of quick release of the occupied territories, mine clearing
of the areas, and return of the refugees to their homelands. He also
criticized activity of the OSCE Minsk Group. After the reporter made
his remarks, Mr. George Bruce met the delegation of Azerbaijan and
stated on his forthcoming visit to the region to discuss peaceful
ways of settlement of the conflict.

Mr. Sattar Safarov also said that Mr. Lenmarker would make his large
report in summer (July) session of the Organization in the city of
Edinburgh. The OSCE Minsk Group is expected to make its report, too.

Delegation of Azerbaijan will try to put on the agenda the issue of
activity of the Minsk Group.

BAKU: Illegal broadcast of Armenian TV to be in focus

Azer News, Azerbaijan
March 11 2004

Illegal broadcast of Armenian TV to be in focus

Representatives from the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technologies left for Moscow on Wednesday at the invitation of the
CIS Regional Cooperation Organization (RCO).

The key goal of the visit is to discuss the illegal broadcast of
Armenian TV programs in Azerbaijan at the RCO meeting. The
coordination of broadcasting radio and television programs at the
Azerbaijani-Armenian border and frequencies will also be mulled at
the gathering.

Recently the population of many regions in Azerbaijan has protested
against the broadcast of Armenian TV programs.

BAKU: German gives advice on how to defeat Armenia

Azer News, Azerbaijan
March 11 2004

German gives advice on how to defeat Armenia

Dr. Wilhelm German, an expert on the security, military and political
issues of Germany, has arrived in Baku for a fact-finding visit. Dr.
German will help Azerbaijani experts develop laws on some relevant
issues, as agreed at a Wednesday meeting held between Vice Speaker
Ziyafat Asgarov and the German expert.

Stressing that it is necessary to take into account national
interests while adopting laws, Asgarov voiced criticism towards the
Council of Europe on the issue. Dr. German, in turn, underlined that
he would help Azerbaijan as much as possible in military and security
issues.

He said that the most serious problem impeding Azerbaijan’s
development was the Upper Garabagh conflict. “Don’t wait for Armenia
to weaken in order to settle the Upper Garabagh conflict. You can
solve the problem in your favor by achieving socio-economic
development in the country,” Dr. German stressed.

BAKU: Araz Azimov: EU could take more active role in peace process

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
March 11 2004

Araz Azimov: ‘EU could take more active role in peace process’

European Union’s special representative for South Caucasus Heikki
Talvitie will visit Azerbaijan on March 18, 2004.

11/03/2004 15:12
Baku Today

Commenting on European Union’s(EU) role in peace process over Nagorno
Karabakh conflict deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov said, European
Union could take more active role in mediating a settlement to the
conflict.

Azimov said, there are two possible ways for EU involvement in the
process.Either EU might delegate one of its member states France,
which is presiding over Minsk group, to act on its behalf for the
mediation, or EU may participate together with Minsk group in the
peace process.

Talking on next meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia
Azimov said, the time of a meeting has not been fixed yet. However,
Azimov said, deputy foreign ministers of the two countries might meet
in the near future.

Tehran: Armenia seeks broader cooperation

IranMania
March 11 2004

Armenia seeks broader cooperation

MOSCOW, March 10 (Iran Daily) — The Head of Armenia’s Presidential
Office and Chairman of Iran-Armenia Economic Commission Artashes
Toumanian reiterated the need to bolster cooperation between the two
states, IRNA reported.

Speaking to the visiting Governor General of Ardebil province Javad
Najafi-Azar and his delegation in Yerevan, Toumanian called for
closer ties in various fields, particularly agriculture and
industries.

Turning to the role of the joint economic commission in broadening
ties, he noted that Armenia’s president and other high-ranking
Iranian and Armenian officials have focused on developing economic
collaboration, in particular at the provincial level.

“Given the significance of expanding ties to both sides, it is
inevitable for Iran and Armenia to undertake joint projects in
various sectors including industries, agriculture, trade, foodstuff,
engineering services and tap existing potentials for the purpose,” he
added.

Toumanian also called for broader cooperation between Armenia and
Ardebil province, given the latter’s diversity of industrial and
trade potentials.

For his part, Najafi-Azar referred to the potentials of Ardebil
province and called for bolstering bilateral relations, given the
capabilities available in industrial, commercial, tourist,
agricultural sectors as well as exchange of technical and scientific
expertise.