Arts Preview: Chamber ensembles travel easily in classical world

Arts Preview: Chamber ensembles travel easily in classical world

Friday, April 16, 2004

By Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In these days of supersized consumption, it’s the small fries who
might be in the best shape.

I Musici de Montreal: Conductor Yuli Turovsky. Appearing as part of
the Quebec Festival. 8 tonight; Byham Theater, Downtown; $20-$25;
412-456-6666. Program: Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances,” Bloch’s
“Three Jewish Pieces,” Komitas’ “Armenian Folk Songs and Dances,”
Gougeon’s “Coups d’archet” and Tchaikovsky’s String Serenade in C
major.

Nuance: Conductor Andres Cardenes. Pittsburgh Symphony chamber
orchestra series. 8 p.m. tomorrow; JCC Katz Auditorium, Squirrel
Hill. $15-$29; 412-392-4900. Program: Bach’s Concerto for Three
Violins, Piazzolla’s “Grand Tango,” Mozart’s Wind Serenade in C minor
and Huebner’s “New York Stories.”

Australian Chamber Orchestra: Leader Richard Tognetti with soprano
Dawn Upshaw. Presented by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society. 8
p.m. April 26; Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland; $15-$30;
412-624-4129. Program: Corelli’s Concerto Grosso (Op. 6, No. 4),
Lentz’s “Te deum Laudamus,” Bach cantata arias, Schubert’s “Death and
the Maiden” lied and quartet (arranged for orchestra).

Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival: Conductor Lucas Richman. “Klezmer
Concertos.” 8 p.m. April 27; JCC Katz Auditorium; $12-$15.
412-394-3353. Program: Finkel’s “The Fiddle,” Krasa’s “Brundibar,”
Glick’s “The Klezmer’s Wedding,” Hoffman’s “Self-Portrait with
Gebirtig” and Richman’s “Kol Nidre.”I Musici’s conductor Yuli Turovsky

No, this is not another story about diets, but about the orchestra
world.

Full-size orchestras are expensive to record, to maintain and
certainly to tour. In today’s classical musical world, their smaller
counterparts — chamber orchestras — have distinct financial
advantages .

Pittsburgh, a city which once entertained large visiting orchestras,
hosts a number of smaller ones over the next two weeks. I Musici de
Montreal and the Australian Chamber Orchestra visit, complementing
performances by local ensembles, Nuance (Pittsburgh Symphony’s chamber
orchestra) and the chamberorchestra of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music
Festival.

“Touring costs us an enormous amount for our budget, but in comparison
to a large orchestra of course it is a pittance,” says Richard
Tognetti, artistic director and leader of the Australian Chamber
Orchestra. “For example, whenthe Sydney Symphony toured Europe with
Strauss’ ‘Alpine Symphony’ they took 13 or so horns … four players
less than our 17 core players. So indeed a chamber orchestra is a far
more flexible beast.”

The appearance of the 16-member I Musici is part of Pittsburgh
Cultural Trust’s Quebec Festival and is supported by the Quebec
Government House andAlcoa Foundation. Still, the concert will happen
only because the ensemble is already touring nationally.

For I Musici conductor Yuli Turovsky, the benefits of touring outweigh
the costs. “I think it is necessary to tour. First, I think we should
use our flexibility as an ensemble, to compare with big symphonies who
could afforda tour every other year or so. The bigger ensemble has a
bigger budget, but the smaller one is more mobile — it is our
strength.”

Tours can also be a part of the mission statement for a smaller
orchestra, as is the case for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. “We
are the national orchestra, and we are obliged therefore to travel as
much as our schedule permits,” says Tognetti. “I would like to get
more to the outback and places that are not near our urban centers,
but then we can’t do everything.”

The flip side of a tour is the destination city. In the past,
Pittsburgh has hosted such big-ticket orchestras as the Israel
Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and even the Cleveland and
Philadelphia orchestras. A chamber orchestra costs less than these to
present, however it often comes on a series that has less money to
spend. The Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, bringing the Australian
Chamber Orchestra, typically presents quintets, quartets or trios. It
can only offer a larger group so often.

“Chamber Orchestra appearances are rare on the series,” says Natalie
Forbes, executive director of PCMS. “The last chamber orchestra on the
series was in 1994, when the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra performed
with Benita Valente. List prices for better chamber orchestras are
close to $60,000, whereas more standard ensembles may have a list
price in the range of $15,000.”

One major reason why the Nuance series in the JCC Katz Auditorium was
created by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1999 was to offer
different repertoire in an intimate setting. Another was to have a
presence in the Squirrel Hill region with a minimum of expense. A
chamber orchestra of the members of the PSO fit the double bill. Some
of the same players perform in the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.

Large and small ensembles do share some attributes when touring. With
only one stop in a given city, all touring ensembles must program
carefully to show their best side. Both the Montreal-centered I Musici
and the Sydney-based Australian Chamber Orchestra chose to represent
the quality of culture in their homes, but in different ways.

“I am no missionary, but should people continue to be surprised that
Australia has cars and TV, the telephone and culture, then I am more
than happy to persuade them that Australia is as rich and vibrant in
our need to express artistic ideas as any people anywhere,” says
Tognetti. Rather than show indigenous culture of Australia, therefore,
he booked American soprano Dawn Upshaw to sing Bach arias. The group
will perform a new arrangement of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden”
Quartet (with Upshaw first singing the original lied) and more.

At the other pole is Turovsky’s decision to display the cosmopolitan
nature of Quebec when his strings visit Pittsburgh. “Quebec is a very
international society,” he says. “I wanted to represent the real
picture of Quebec cultural life, which exists of many cultures.”
Romanian, Armenian, Jewish folk worksare programmed with a
French-Canadian composer’s work and Tchaikovsky’s String Serenade in C
major.

Perhaps the best reason to hear a chamber orchestra is the greater
electricity that can result from the communication of fewer players,
no matter if they come from Australia or Shadyside to perform.

“It is difficult to travel, but it is exciting for the musicians — it
makes life more exciting,” says Turovsky.

CENN Regional Daily Digest – 04/16/2004

CENN – APRIL 16, 2004 REGIONAL DAILY DIGEST
Table of Contents:
1. Announcements
1.1. Youth Volunteer Day in Georgia: Capital Renovation of Heroes Square
Underground Complex
1.2. Call for Papers — REC Caucasus
1.3. Integrated Regional Development Center (IRDC) Announces Tender for
Hydro geological Works

2. Georgia
2.1 BTC Co. Gets $1.6 bln Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Project Loan Tranche
2.2 For Examination BTC Worker’s in Georgia
2.3 Georgia’s Forest Await Aid

3. Azerbaijan
3.1. SOCAR Announces Tender for Second May Oil Consignment
3.2. Shah Deniz Expenditure $341 mln in Q1

4. Armenia
4.1. Armenian President Received World Bank Armenian Office Head Rodger
Robinson
4.2. Armenia Trade Deficit Grows 13.5% in Q1
4.3. Armenia to sell copper mine by End 2004

1. ANNOUNCEMENTS
1.1. YOUTH VOLUNTEER DAY IN GEORGIA: CAPITAL RENOVATION OF HEROES SQUARE
UNDERGROUND COMPLEX

A group of NGO’s representing local youth organizations, including the
American Councils for International Education, Tbilisi YMCA, project
Harmony, New Generation for Georgia (NGG), and the Georgian Scouts
Movement will gather over 15,000 young people to work on remodeling the
underground complex at Heroes Square over a 14-day period from April
4-18.

On Sunday, April 18, the initiators of this work will organize an
official presentation and opening of the underground.

The aim of this presentation is to promote the idea of volunteerism and
to present the clean, decorated, and newly remodeled subway complex.
After the presentation, different entertainment activities will be
carried out, such as Children’s Picture and Photo Exhibition, theatre
performances, various games, speeches, informational announcements,
Street musicians, etc.

JOIN TO CELEBRATE THIS MOST IMPORTANT DAY WITH US!

For additional information please contact:

Keti Botchorishvili 877-461619
Berdia Natsvlishvili 893-333282
Tengo Gogotishvili 899-421209

Check the Advocacy.Ge for a press release and invitation in English and
Georgian:

1.2. CALL FOR PAPERS — REC CAUCASUS

REC Caucasus IV Annual International Conference
“Environmental security of South Caucasus Region”
Beginning of September, 2004
Tbilisi, Georgia

About Conference

IV International Conference of REC Caucasus tackles problems and
perspectives of Environmental Security of South Caucasus. Overall
objective of the Conference is to promote exchange of information and
experience within and beyond the region in the field of Environmental
Security among governments, parliaments, nongovernmental organizations,
scientists and international organizations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and
Georgia.

Conference aims to:

§ Be a forum of all stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia
working on Environmental Security
§ Promote exchange of information and experience within and beyond the
region in the field of Environmental Security among governments,
parliaments, nongovernmental organizations, scientists and international
organizations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
§ Promote exchange of information and experience within and beyond the
region
§ Support awareness rising of target groups
§ Try to find common definition of Environmental Security for the South
Caucasus Region
§ Facilitate development of concept of Environmental Security for the
South Caucasus Region

Working languages: Russian and English.

Submission of papers

Papers are solicited in the following areas:

§ Legal background of environmental Security in South Caucasus
§ Natural disasters and environmental security
§ Environmental and economical consequences of natural disasters
§ Respond systems on natural and industrial disasters in the South
Caucasus
§ Environmental security of transboundary projects in the Region
§ Nuclear safety of the Region
§ Environmental security of water resources of the South Caucasus
§ Biosefaty of the Region:
§ Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture
§ GMOs in food products
§ National legislation and Cartakhena Protocol
§ Environmental safety and health
§ Education and public participation in Environmental security process
§ Information and awareness raising on environmental security

Reports may cover any of these themes, merging or separation of topics
is not restricted.

Reports should be developed specifically for the Conference, and should
not be presented earlier on any other conference or printed in any
publication.

Reports should be provided in electronic form to the address bellow in
English or Russian, Word template, in Times New Roman, font
size-12 and include following:

1. Title of the report
2. .Name of the author
3. Contents
4. Summary (450-500 words in Russian and English)
5. Report (4-5 pages, A4, margins: Top and Bottom 2.5 cm, left and right
2.2cm)
6. List of publications used

Papers should be sent to [email protected]

Deadline for submission is May 19, 2004

The best reports will be published in conference proceedings.

Authors of selected reports shall be invited to participate in the
Conference. Organizers will cover accommodation and transportation
(train or the bus) costs. REC Caucasus shall cover expenses of one
author per report.

For more information please visit or contact

Mrs. Keti Esakia
Administrative Department

REC Caucasus

74, Chavchavadze Ave., office 901
0162 Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel/Fax: +99532 253649 / 253648
E-Mail: [email protected]

* * * * * * * *

CALL FOR PAPERS FOR STUDENTS
III Annual Conference Youth Conference shall be organized

“Environmental Security – Youth Vision”
Beginning of September, 2004
Tbilisi, Georgia

REC Caucasus announces call for paper summaries for the first -fourth
year students of highest education institutions of the Caucasus, for its
III International Conference, dedicated to the environmental security.
Summaries are solicited in the following areas:

§ Legal background of environmental security in the South Caucasus
§ Natural disasters and environmental security
§ Environmental and economical consequences of natural disasters
§ Nuclear safety of the Region
§ Environmental security of water resources of the South Caucasus
§ Biosefaty of the Region
§ Environmental safety and health
§ Education and public participation in Environmental security process
§ Information and awareness raising on environmental security

Summaries may cover any of these themes, merging or separation of topics
is not restricted.

Summaries should be provided in electronic form to the address bellow in
English or Russian, Word template, in Times New Roman, font size-12 and
include following:

1. Title of the report
2. Name of the author
3. Contents
4. Summary (450-500 words in Russian and English)
5. Papers should be sent to [email protected]

Deadline for submission is May 19, 2004

The best two students from each country shall be invited to participate
in the Conference. Organizers will cover accommodation and
transportation (train or the bus) costs.

For more information please visit or contact

Mrs. Keti Esakia
Administrative Department

REC Caucasus

74, Chavchavadze Ave., office 901
0162 Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel/Fax: +99532 253649 / 253648
E-Mail: [email protected]

1.3. INTEGRATED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER (IRDC) ANNOUNCES TENDER FOR
HYDRO GEOLOGICAL WORKS

Duty Station: Tbilisi

Integrated Regional Development Center (IRDC) announces tender for hydro
geological works.

Description of works:

Drilling and cleaning of the drinking water wells; installation of the
water pipes in Tirdznisi sakrebulo of Gori district.

** Number of wells: 2 (two)
** Approximate depth: 70 m.
** Pipe diameter: 216 mm.

Deadline for submission of proposals is April 26, 2004. For detailed
information and submission of proposals interested parties may apply at
the following address:

15a Tamarashvili str., 3rd floor, Tbilisi
Tel: 25 09 01
E-mail: [email protected]
Contact person: David Labadze.

2. GEORGIA
2.1. BTC CO. GETS $1.6 BLN BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN PROJECT LOAN TRANCHE

Source: Interfax, April 15, 2004

Operator for the building and use of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
BTC Co. has received from international financial organizations the
first tranche of a construction credit in the amount of $1.6 billion.

On April 14, 2004 President of the company BP-Azerbaijan David Woodward
said at the press conference in Baku that the funds were received in
late March, and that $1 billion of it was returned to the BTC
shareholders for financing the construction work until the credit monies
were received.

The remaining $600 million will be used on work done until September
2004, he said. The second tranche is expected that month in the amount
of $400-$600 million, the next in the first quarter of 2004 in an
amount that will round out the overall credit size of $2.6 billion.

The initial loan funds were supposed to have been received in mid- 2003,
the project participants using their own money to finance the building
work until that time. However, talks with financial institutions were
drawn out and the BTC shareholder-companies continued to put money into
the project, spending an additional $1 billion in the period from
mid-2003 to March of 2004.

Woodward noted that a little under $2 billion has already been spent,
60% of the work has been done and 766 kilometers of pipeline have been
laid over three countries-44% of its overall length.

First-quarter spending this year came to $424 million against the
planned $1.371 billion for the year. Woodward said that additional
people and equipment would be found to make up for lost time in Georgia
and Turkey. Additional work is being down in the two countries, and the
issue of whether the spending will go against subcontractors or BTC Co.,
he said, but in any case the project cost will not go up, as additional
unforeseen spending funds have been built in.

The first tanker is scheduled to be filled with Azerbaijani oil in late
June 2005. This based on the first oil from the Azeri deposit being
extracted in the beginning of that year, so changes are possible.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project will cost $3.6 billion. The future
pipeline will stretch 1,767 kilometers (443 km through Azerbaijan, 248
km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey) and will have throughput
capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum.

Of the project price tag, $1 billion will come from the shareholders’
own pockets, $2.6 billion from credits. The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Finance
Corporation (IFC) are lending $250, fifteen commercial banks $936
million, Japan Bank for International Cooperation $480 million, and four
company-participants-BP, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Total-another $923
million.

The commercial banks are extending loans under guarantees from the EBRD,
IFC and seven import-export and insurance agencies at an average rate of
Libor+3.5% for 10-12 years. Pay-back begins at the end of 2006 and will
run until 2015. Participants in the BTC project are: British Petroleum
(30.1%), SOCAR (25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), ENI
(5%), Itochu (3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), TotalFinaElf
(5%), and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

2.2. FOR EXAMINATION BTC WORK’S IN GEORGIA

Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
April 15, 2004

Natiq Aliyev, the president SOCAR (The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan)
and David Woodward the president of BP Azerbaijan have paid joint visit
to Georgia.

The two oil chiefs have examined the construction work in the Georgian
sector of Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

Mr. Aliyev and Mr. Woodward have met with Georgian Prime Minister Zurab
Zhvania and the president of Georgian International Oil Corporation
Giorgi Chanturia in Tbilisi.

Mr. Woodward has told reporters he was satisfied with the BTC’s
construction pace. Woodward said, he was confident that the BTC pipeline
would be ready for exploitation in the first part of 2005.

2.3. GEORGIA’S FOREST AWAIT AID

Source: The Messenger, April 16, 2004

The Forest Development Project of the World Bank will begin drafting
national policy on the forestry sector this April. With the financial
help of the Food and Agriculture Organization and active public
participation, the analysts working on the project hope that as a result
the country will have an actual plan for utilizing forest resources and
fighting deforestation.

Mike Garforth, who works in Georgia on improving Georgian legislation on
forests, believes the government can find solutions to the problem of
illegal logging and deforestation, only “if there is political will.”

Given this political will, Mr. Garforth has a list of necessary steps
that must be taken. “People in the sector should get adequate salaries,
and also there should be investments to modernize business plans and
develop successful management and accounting policies,” he advises. The
elimination of corruption and development of the energy sector are other
conditions affecting forestry, he adds.

According to Giorgi Gachechiladze, the leader of Georgian Green Party,
Georgia’s best timber is all going for export leaving Georgian’s with a
lower quality to work with. “70 percent of trees in Georgia are old and
plus the variety of forest types is falling rapidly as a result of
illegal logging,” he, says. Mr. Gachechiladze explains the most affected
forests are near populated areas (cities, villages). According to
official statistics, forests occupy 45 percent of the territory of
Georgia. Of the 400 different flora species in Georgian forests, 61 are
native to Georgia and another 43 are found only in the Caucasus region.

Still, there is no verified data regarding the volume of forest products
cut and how much timber and other forest products are exported from
Georgia. For example, according to the Forestry Department, officially
400,000 cubic meters of timber are cut with permission each year, while
the Custom Department claims up to 2 million cubic meters was exported
in 2002. According to the World Bank data, “total timber harvest in
Georgia is composed of legal and illegal harvest and equals nearly, 1.2
million cubic meters.” Mr. Gachechiladze claims all official data should
be at least multiplied by 2 to arrived at the real numbers.

The Forestry Department usually points out that often illegal harvesting
is carried out by local populations who rely on the forest products for
fuel or other needs. But, according to the Georgian Environmental NGO
Network — CENN, there are no statistics showing how much timber is
being cut by locals for their private needs. Mr. Gachechiladze and his
party estimate that a Georgian family annually uses 6-10 cubic meters of
forest products. Environmentalist from Green Alternative and CEE
Bankwatch, Network Manana Kochladze, says that the poverty and energy
crisis forced people to turn to forest resources as a fuel. Although,
“the main reason of the deforestation is the illegal commercial
logging,” she adds. “It should also be underlined that while timber
export is free, the import is taxed by 34. 76 percent which creates
economic incentives for export,” reads a report compiled by Green
Alternative and CENN.

Mr. Gachechiladze thinks that legalization of the illegal logging cat be
a solution. “Let them pay at least some money for this into the budget,”
he says. Ms. Kochladze agrees, “This will increase our revenues.”

Environmental NGOs ask for reduction of import tax on timber products
and imposing a tax on timber export. In this case, they argue, the
Georgian budget will benefit from the exploitation of natural resources.

“We are not exporting timber just to Australia,” jokes Mr.
Gachechiladze, saying the list of export countries includes four
continents and identified China and India and Iran as well as European
countries as some of the largest importers of Georgian forestry
products. Meanwhile, during the Soviet period Georgia did not even use
its own domestic resources for industries that produced finished wood
products, rather it imported timber from Russia.

Ms. Kochladze agrees with Mike Garforth that the government should
properly finance the sector. The Green Party claims the central budget
transferred only 6 tetri on each hectare of the state owned forests last
year. The analysts working for the Forest Development Project laugh that
forests did not receive even half of this tiny sum. “How can one
forester protect dozens of hectares of forests from people who want it
for fuel or for export? They are so poor that they do not even have
shoes to wear,” says Mr. Gachechiladze.

On December 3,2002 an agreement was reached between Government of
Georgia and IDA (World Bank group), on implementation of the Forestry
Development project. The project should be implemented from 2003 to
2008.

Five districts (Oni, Ambrolauri, Lentekhi, Tsageri and Mestia) have been
selected as target areas for the project.

The World Bank project will work not only on developing the national
policy but also on improvements in legislation governing sector. In
1997, the Georgian Parliament passed a law putting a moratorium on
timber export for seven years, but the former president Eduard
Shevardnadze vetoed the law. The next law did not envisage either a
moratorium on timber exports or any taxation for exported forest
products. In 2001 the Parliament introduced a one-year ban on timber
export, which it opted not to prolong a year later

The government also created two commissions to address the forestry
sector in 2002 however the public was not presented with the findings
and recommendations of these commissions. MS. Kochladze says the public
should be closely involved in discussing the problems in the sector and
decision-making. According to Mr. Garforth it will take 5-10 years for
Georgia to learn to maintain its forests well.

3. AZERBAIJAN
3.1. SOCAR ANNOUNCES TENDER FOR SECOND MAY OIL CONSIGNMENT

Source: Interfax, April 15, 2004

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) has announced
a tender for the second May consignment of Azerbaijani Urals oil
exported via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline..

This consignment will amount to 140,000 tones and should be shipped on
May 26-27, the source said.

The companies Total and Glencore bought the January consignments, Sonol
and Vitol Broking bought the February consignments , Vitol and Lukoil
bought the March consignments, Litasco bought the April consignment and
Arcadia – the first May consignment. SOCAR plans to export 2.5 million
tonnes of oil in 2004, the same as in 2003.

3.2. SHAH DENIZ EXPENDITURE $341 MLN IN Q1

Source: Interfax, April 15, 2004

Spending on the development of the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan in
the first quarter 2004 amounted to $341 million, David Woodward,
president of the project’s operator BP Azerbaijan, said at a press
conference in Baku on April 14, 2004.

He said that the company is continuing pre-drilling a third well and
will complete it in the third quarter this year. He also said that
construction of the upper module of the TPG-500 platform is continuing
in Singapore and has been 60% completed. Woodward said that in total the
company would spend $1.081 billion on the project in 2004.

In turn, BP Azerbaijan Vice President Rob Kelly said that 30% of the
work in Phase-1 has been completed. He said that the company plans to
start gas production on October 1,2006. He said that the third pre-
drilled well is a reserve and it will be used if there is a problem with
the other two.

Kelly said that construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline would
begin in the third quarter 2004. Pipe supplies are already underway, he
said.

The contract for the Shah Deniz field was signed in June 1996.
Shareholders in the project include also SOCAR – 10%, British Petroleum
– 25.5%, Norway’s Statoil – 25.5%, NICO – 10%, Total -10% and TPAO – 9%.

Recoverable reserves at Shah Deniz amount to 625 billion cubic meters of
gas and 101 million tones of gas condensate.

Phase-1 of the development of the field involves production of 178 bcm
of gas and 34 million tones of condensate. During the period of maximum
production in Phase-1 the field will produce 8.4 bcm of gas per annum
and 2 million tones of condensate. Gas will be produced from the TPG-500
platform at 15 wells, with water depth of 105 meters.

In total, at further stages of development it is planned to produce
about 16 bcm of gas per annum.

Phase-1 also includes the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum
pipeline. The future pipeline will stretch 1,767 kilometers (443 km
through Azerbaijan, 248 km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey).
The cost of Phase-1 is $3.2 billion, of which $2.3 billion will be spent
on the development of the Shah Deniz field and $900 million – on the
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline.

4. ARMENIA
4.1. ARMENIAN PRESIDENT RECEIVED WORLD BANK ARMENIAN OFFICE HEAD RODGER
ROBINSON

Source: Armenpress, April 15, 2004

On April 15, 2004 Armenian President Robert Kocharian received the
Resident Representative of World Bank Rodger Robinson. The two men
discussed World Bank projects in Armenia and prospects for their
development.

They also spoke about including new fields in these projects,
particularly social and industrial infrastructures. Both sides expressed
their satisfaction with the current level of cooperation and noted that
WB has played a major role in the reform processes in Armenia.

4.2. ARMENIA TRADE DEFICIT GROWS 13.5% IN Q1

Source: Interfax, April 14, 2004

Armenia’s trade deficit grew 13.5% year-on-year in the first quarter of
2004 to $140.7 million.

Foreign trade amounted to $445.9 million, up 14.5%, First Deputy Trade
and Economic Development Minister Ashot Shakhnazarian said at a press
conference Tuesday. Exports increased 9.6% to $152.6 million and imports
rose 9.1% to $293.3 million.

4.3. ARMENIA TO SELL COPPER MINE BY END 2004

Source: Interfax, April 15, 2004

Armenia plans to sell the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine by the end
of this year, stated Ashot Shakhnazarian, a first deputy trade and
economic development minister.

A tender called in March has drawn interest from leading international
companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Glencore Interm, and Russia’s RusAl
and Norilsk Nickel.

Ashot Shakhnazarian said the deadline for submitting bids would be in
September. Although Armenia is offering up to 75% of the Zangezur
plant’s shares at the tender, the government will agree to sell all of
the stock to an investor that makes the right offer, he said.

The Zangezur combine is profitable, Shakhnazarian said. Last year, its
net profits topped $7 million.

The government expects to raise at least $130 million from the sale of
the shares and licenses to the Kadjaran field, which contains the FSUTs
biggest molybdenum reserves. Shakhnazarian said he did not consider the
price to betoo high in view of current metal prices.

The government will require the Zangezur plantTs new owner to triple or
even quintuple output to 30 million-40 million tones of ore per year and
to implement new, more environmentally friendly mining technology.

Zangezur obtained 6,300 tones of molybdenum concentrate and 11,000 tones
of copper in copper concentrate from 8.1 million tones of ore in 2003.


*******************************************
CENN INFO
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

Tel: ++995 32 92 39 46
Fax: ++995 32 92 39 47
E-mail: [email protected]
URL:

http://www.advocacy.ge/news_http/desc.php?id=194
www.rec-caucasus.org
www.rec-caucasus.org
www.cenn.org

People Are Resolute

A1 Plus | 22:51:24 | 16-04-2004 | Politics |

PEOPLE ARE RESOLUTE

Despite the heavy rain, the meeting of joint Opposition took place. Many
people gathered at Matenadaran. “Mr Kocharyan, you are doomed”, “National
Unity” Party Chair Artashes Geghamyan said.

The statement by poetess Silva Kaputikyan condemning April 13 events was
read out at the meeting. “Kocharyan has nothing to do in the political life
of Armenia any longer”, she concluded.

Opposition representatives stated dialogue is out of the question as far as
violence continues and people are kept in detention. They reconfirmed their
resoluteness for power change. It was also announced that a nationwide
meeting would take place on April 21.

Opposition Recurrent Rally Gathered Several Thousands in Yerevan

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION RECURRENT RALLY GATHERED SEVERAL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN
YEREVAN

16.04.2004 20:01

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Despite rainy weather several thousands of people joined a
rally organized by the united opposition at the depository of ancient
manuscripts of Matenadaran. To note, this time it is held not on the Liberty
Square as planned before, because of a measure dedicated to the Day of
Police, which has been arranged in the Theatre and Ballet Hall. Opposition
leaders, namely deputy representing Justice bloc Shavarsh Kocharian,
National Unity party leader Artashes Geghamian and some others stated that
in spite of “the authorities’ violence and persecution did not subdue the
will of the opposition and it still intends to urge the resignation of
President Robert Kocharian”. That is why many of them noted of symbolic
nature of the rally. However the opposition leaders refrained from making
any concrete statements regarding their further plans.

Oct. 27th Gunman Commits Suicide in Prison

SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR TERRORIST ACT IN ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT
COMMITTED SUICIDE

16.04.2004 17:55

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Vram Galstian, sentenced to life imprisonment for the
terrorist act in the Armenian parliament on October 27 committed suicide in
the Nubarashen prison at about 11.00 a.m. today. As reported in the press
office of the RA Ministry of Justice, V. Galstian hanged himself with a
sheet. The incident was brought to the notice of relatives of the deceased,
RA Office of Public Prosecutor as well as a number of advocacy and public
organizations engaged in issues of penitentiary service. Criminal case has
been initiated.

US names new special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh, Caucasus

US names new special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh, Caucasus

AFP
WASHINGTON, April 16

The United States on Friday named a new special envoy for the
Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan and other
conflicts in the Caucasus region, the State Department said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed veteran diplomat Steven
Mann, who delivered the note establishing US relations with Armenia in
1992, to be “special negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and Eurasian
Conflicts,” it said.

Mann, who is currently US pointman in dealing with Caspian Sea energy
issues, including construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline,
replaces Rudolf Perina as the special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh, the
department said.

Mann will retain his responsibilities for the pipeline in his new
position, it said.

Mainly because of energy issues, Washington has taken a keen interest
in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian enclave claimed by
Azerbaijan but which is currently ruled by a self-styled independent
government recognized only by Armenia.

Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia went to war in the early 1990s when
Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, seceded from
Azerbaijan at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and the two
Soviet Caucasian republics became independent.

More than 30,000 people were killed before a ceasefire was agreed in
1994 but Azerbaijan and Armenia remain in an undeclared state of war
over the enclave.

The United States, along with France and Russia, is a co-chair of the
Minsk Group, a 13-nation within the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that has been seeking to mediate between
Armenia and Azerbaijan.

One of US President George W. Bush’s first diplomatic initiatives
after taking office was to bring the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan
to the United States for Minsk Group negotiations in Key West, Florida
and Washington in April 2001.

Armenia’s opposition protests to demand president’s resignation

Armenia’s opposition protests to demand president’s resignation

BY CHRISTIAN LOWE

AFP YEREVAN, April 16

An estimated 6,000 protesters gathered in Armenia’s capital on Friday
to call for the resignation of President Robert Kocharian, defying a
government ban on opposition protests in the poverty-stricken former
Soviet republic.

The protest was a show of strength by Kocharian’s opponents, after
police used water cannon and stun grenades to break up the last mass
demonstration earlier this week.

Opposition parties in Armenia, a nation of three million people in the
Caucasus mountains, have been staging a wave of protests, drawing
comparisons with last year’s “rose revolution” which ousted the
leadership in neighbouring Georgia.

There is widespread discontent in Armenia over low living standards
and flawed elections, but analysts say Kocharian is too strong, and
the opposition too weak, for the Georgian scenario to be repeated
there.

The atmposphere in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, was tense on Friday,
with many people fearing a repeat of the clashes with police earlier
this week which left dozens of people injured.

There was only a handful of police in evidence at the protest, in a
park at the end of Mashtots Avenue, Yerevan’s main thoroughfare.

But outside the nearby government compound, which houses the
parliament building and Kocharian’s office, there were busloads of
interior ministry troops, military ambulances and trucks carrying
rolls of razor wire.

The compound was the scene of this week’s clashes with police and
Kocharian has warned the area is strictly off limits to protesters.

Protesters at Friday’s rain-soaked rally chanted “Kocharian out!” and
waved placards claiming the 50-year-old Armenian president was at the
head of a military junta.

“There is no place for Robert Kocharian any more in Armenia’s
political life,” said opposition party leader Artashes
Geghamian. “What sort of leader is he if he can only talk to his own
people from behind police barricades?”

The wave of protests has been fuelled in part by opposition claims
that Kocharian rigged a presidential election last year to secure a
second term in office.

“I came here to defend my rights and to help remove this illegitimate
leader,” said Ayk Mkhrtchian, a 23-year-old unemployed man. He had
come to the protest with a European Union flag, because, he said:
“Europe stands for humam rights and so they are on our side.”

The protests’ leaders said they would not be calling on their
supporters to march on the government compound this time but they
promised another mass demonstration for next Wednesday.

Kocharian has called the opposition protests “extremist” and vowed to
take firm action. But he has been chided by the US State Department,
which has said the police’s strong-arm tactics are “not conducive to
dialogue”.

Armenia’s economy is almost crippled by an economic blockade imposed
by two of its neighbours, Turkey and Azerbaijan, because of historical
disagreements.

Although Kocharian has won plaudits for some economic improvements
during his time in office, critics say he has trampled on democratic
freedoms and surrounded himself by corrupt cronies while ordinary
people struggle in poverty.

Kocharian’s supporters meanwhile, say the opposition is recklessly
trying to provoke a confrontation to revive its flagging popularity.

“Of course there are problems and people are not living as well as we
would like,” Tigran Torosian, the pro-government deputy speaker of
Armenia’s parliament, told AFP. “But… holding protests is not going
to improve peoples’ lives.”

Armenia, the world’s first state to adopt Christianity, has a history
of political violence. The speaker of parliament and prime minister
were killed in 1999 when gunmen burst into the parliament chamber.

Western governments are anxious to see stability in the region. The
Caucasus is becoming a strategic crossroads for oil exports from the
landlocked Caspian Sea to western markets.

Armenian rebel found dead in jail cell

Armenian rebel found dead in jail cell

AFP
YEREVAN, April 16

One of the men who attacked Armenia’s parliament, killing eight people
including the prime minister in 1999, was found dead in his jail cell
Friday after apparently committing suicide, the justice ministry said.

“This morning around 11, Vram Galstian, who was convicted in the
attack, committed suicide in his jail cell. He was found hanging from
a sheet,” justice ministry spokesman Ara Sagatelian told AFP.

Galstian is the uncle of former Armenian journalist Nairi Unanyan, who
led a group of rebels into parliament on October 27, 1999 in a
dramatic siege broadcast on national television and later aired across
the globe.

They shot dead prime minister Vezguen Sarkissian and the parliament
speaker, along with six deputies in parliament, before giving up after
an extended siege.

Their demands were never clearly spelled out, but analysts at the time
believed that they opposed Armenian efforts to strike a peace deal
with its neighbor and arch-foe Azerbaijan.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenia Sees Russian Diamond Supplies Resuming Soon

Armenia Sees Russian Diamond Supplies Resuming Soon

TASS
April 16, 2004 Friday

Russia is expected to resume rough diamond supplies to Armenia in the
near future, First Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister,
Ashot Shakhnazaryan, said.

Since December 2003, there haven been no supplies from Russia, but
corresponding agreements to resume imports have already been signed by
Armenia’s four major diamond-cutting companies.

Only 130,000 carats were imported into Armenia in 2003 out of the
planned 400,000 carats, he said.

Analysts said the decrease in diamond imports from Russia was caused
by liberalization of the Russian market, which made Russia’s rough
diamond monopoly ALROSA hike prices.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenia working to upgrade ANPP safety level – Kocharyan

Armenia working to upgrade n-plant safety level-Kocharyan

By Tigran Liloyan

TASS YEREVAN, April 16

Work is in progress to enhance safety at the Armenian nuclear power
plant, which the European Union wants to be closed down, Armenian
President Robert Kocharyan said at a meeting of the Council on Safe
Nuclear Power.

He said nuclear power specialists had recently taken a number of steps
to raise the safety level at the plant in accordance with the
recommendations issued by the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Armenia used its own funds to implement the program of upgrading the
plant safety level, while technical assistance came from the United
States, Great Britain, the European Union and the IAEA.

In 2003, an IAEA mission conducted an independent expert assessment of
the safety level at the Armenian nuclear plant at which work related
to the introduction of IAEA design standards has since been completed
or nearing completion, the president said.

The Armenian nuclear power plant, which became operational in 1979,
now meets 40 percent of the country’s demand for electric power.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress