CENN Electronic Bulletin #69 – 06/2004

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

69 Electronic Bulletin:
Caucasus Environmental News


1. Announcements
1.1. EIA report of the project on ” Processing of the andesite – basalt
deposit in Chkhorotsku Region” by “Kosta” Ltd
1.2. EIA report of the project on “Processing of the sand deposit in
Khashuri Region” by “Progress-2″ Ltd
1.3. EIA report of the project on ” Project on capture and bottling of
the mineral spring in Tbilisi ” by “Progress-2” Ltd
1.4. Surfing in the Internet space

2. News from Georgia
2.1. BP group to shut oil pipeline to Supsa 4-11 July
2.2. BTC launch will not affect Baku-Supsa pipe
2.3. Botas to finish Turkish section of BTC pipe on time
2.4. U.S. official: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline best route
2.5. BP says Ceyhan pipeline will not sink Supsa port
2.6. Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey to conduct exercise on
protecting Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
2.7. BTC oil and BTE gas pipelines construction progresses
according to schedule
2.8. Georgia: International Donors Conference Opens In Brussels
2.9. Georgia, Azerbaijan Sign Five Cooperation Agreements
2.10. Parliament to launch consideration of leasing water supply
company to French General Des Eaux
2.11. Police deployed to guard Georgian section of oil export

3. News from Azerbaijan
3.1. Baku hopes for resolution of Caspian status soon
3.2. Azerbaijan considers supplying Shah Deniz gas to Greece
3.3. Investment is required for oil recovery in deep zones of Caspian
3.4. Azerbaijan prepares drafted oil strategy

4. News from Armenia
4.1. Investigator -journalists’ organization lodges claim against
Yerevan municipality
4.2. Yervand Zakharyan is still selling land
4.3. World Bank Survey Highlights Shrinkage of Armenian Forests
4.4. Armenia invites Ukraine to bid for Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
4.5. Armenia refuses to close quake-zone nuclear plant

5. Legal News
5.1. The United Nations food and agriculture organization (FAO)
announced publication of a new set
5.2. Report issued on 8 June
5.3. Joint debate on water issues in Europe

6. NGO News
6.1. Environmental campaign “Rest from Waste”
6.2. Guria Youth Resource Center

7. International News
7.1. World Bank to be more selective in oil, gas loans
7.2. The death of green spaces
7.3. OSCE centre holds seminar on economy and environment in
7.4. EU seeks date for N-plant closure
7.5. Energy conference starts in Turkey

8. Calendar (International)
8.1. International Conference on Ecotourism Planning and
Management in Protected Areas


1.1. EIA Report of the Project on ” Processing of the andesite – basalt
Deposit in Chkhorotsku Region” by “Kosta” Ltd

Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), June 18, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Kosta” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental
permit for the activity of second category – Processing of the andesite –
basalt Deposit in Chkhorotsku Region.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
(68, Kostava str., VI floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits
and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19).
Interested stakeholders can analyze the document and present their comments
and considerations until August 5, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on August 5, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.

1.2. EIA Report of the Project on “Processing of the Sand Deposit in
Khashuri Region” by “Progress-2” Ltd

Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), June 3, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Progress-2″ Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental
permit for the activity of second category – Processing of the Sand Deposit
in Khashuri Region.

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
(68, Kostava str., VI floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits
and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19).
Interested stakeholders can analyze the document and present their comments
and considerations until July 27, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on July 27, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.

1.3. EIA Report of the Project on ” Project on Capture and Bottling of
the mineral spring in Tbilisi ” by “Progress-2” Ltd

Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), June 3, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, entrepreneur Bagrat
Mezurnishvili – Black Georgia submitted EIA report to the Ministry of
Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the activity of
second category – Project on Capture and Bottling of the mineral spring in

EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
(68, Kostava str., VI floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits
and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19).
Interested stakeholders can analyze the document and present their comments
and considerations until July 27, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on July 27, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry of Environment.

1.4. Surfing in the Internet space

The Internet could change the lives of people as much as the telephone in
the early 20th century or the television in the 1950s and 60s, argues
Psychologist Robert Kraut, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University’s
Human-Computer Interaction Institute. The Internet is and continues to
become more of a crucially integral part of our lives.

Look here is the amazing picture, he sits almost motionless, relaxed, his
eyes focused on a shining screen. His fingers tap carelessly as his mind
unites with the words and images that appear before him. At times it seems
like there is no difference between his thoughts and those images. Sometimes
it seems the distinction between inner and outer worlds almost disappears.
At times, time itself evaporates. All melts into a new reality that
transcends the rules of conventional reality.

Well this is not the typical situation for the computer user. Most of the
time we just press the buttons on the keyboard to get something done. But
many experienced computer users can recall moments like this. Cyberspace is
indeed an extension of the mind, which means it can extend all components of
mental life – including hypnotic reveries and other altered states of
awareness. Under the right conditions, cyberspace becomes a dream world, not
unlike the world that emerges when we sink into sleep.

The Internet entered in all the aspects of our files, it influenced each
components of the every day life, especially social sphere, social

Social skills can be defined the person’s ability to cope with different
types of social situations, following with our social experiences.
Application of Internet in interpersonal communication process adds the new
important elements to this experience and it probably changes users’ social
skills. Understanding of existing relationships allows creating new quality
of virtual classes or organizations. The wide knowledge about nowadays
people’s social behavior is necessary to make the distance learning students
and teachers friendly, to use human resources systems effectively or to
support electronic commerce satisfactorily for producers and clients, to
make electronic networks work more efficiently, in general to make the
Internet resources usage more successful.

All these served as the precondition for us to undertake simple online
interactive concerning Internet impact on users. Our interactive poll
consisted form five questions they referred mostly to the time type of
Internet use, time the respondents use the Internet, their view regarding
the application of Internet in interpersonal communication process.

30% of our respondents are whole day surfing in the Internet space, 30%
during 2 hours are using the Internet and 20%-20% for 6 and 4 hours are in
the Internet.

56% of respondents use the Internet for searching and collecting the
necessary information, 22%-22% for entertainment and communication.

89% of our respondents think that the application of the Internet in the
interpersonal communication process attaches the new important elements to
the social experience and therefore it even changes users’ social skills.
11% don’t agree with this point of view.

Due to the fact that the Internet is the faceless medium and easy ways to
find others that have the similar interests 89% of respondents consider the
Internet as the ideal place to socialize with others. To the above-mentioned
features of the Internet adds another most important characteristic of the
Internet communication that makes internet ideal for the socialization:
through the many ways of communication over the Internet, the common
prejudices of life are not evident. Thus the communication through it became
more easy and comfortable. 11% of respondents don’t share this idea.

89% of our respondents consider that the Internet is increasing social
involvement of the person, 11% on the contrary think that usage of Internet
is causing the decrease of social involvement.

Thus the results of this interactive show that the usage of the Internet by
our respondents is quite high, mostly they use it for retrieving the
information, they consider Internet as the ideal place for socialization
therefore they think that the internet is increasing the social involvement
of the person.
Prepared by CENN
Nino Tevzadze

2.1. BP group to shut oil pipeline to Supsa 4-11 July

Source: Reuters, June 1, 2004

A BP-led Azeri oil group will put its Caspian Sea offshore platform on
scheduled upgrade and maintenance from July 4 until July 11 and cut
shipments to the Georgian port of Supsa, the group said on Tuesday.

AIOC group Vice President Neil McCleary told reporters the production halt
would be used to connect facilities of the platform on the Chirag field with
the newly built infrastructure on the neighbouring Azeri field.

The pipeline linking the Chirag field with the 130,000-barrels-per-day
Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa will therefore also be shut for a week.

McCleary said Supsa July exports would run as scheduled but declined to say
how many tankers the group would load at the port.

Trading sources in London said last week at least one and possibly two
cargoes, each containing one million barrels of Azeri Light crude, would not
load at the port in July.

The terminal’s usual monthly programme contains four or five cargoes.

Four cargoes were slated for June, although one of these was carried over
from May. Supsa has very little storage capacity. McCleary said the shipment
suspension would allow for modernization of the port’s facilities, including
the upgrade of the offshore loading buoy.

AIOC said last year output from Chirag would decline to 125,000 barrels per
day in 2004 from 131,000 bpd this year due to the platform maintenance.

Oilfields Chirag and neighbouring Azeri and Guneshli are set to become the
major source of crude for the BP-led one-million-bpd pipeline from
Azerbaijan to Turkey, due to start operations in 2005.

Production on the central part of Azeri field is due to be launched in late
2004, while first oil from Guneshli will be produced a few years later.

The group currently exports its entire output from Chirag to Western markets
via Supsa awaiting the construction of a pipeline to Turkish Ceyhan on the

2.2. BTC launch will not affect Baku-Supsa pipe

Source: Interfax, June 1, 2004

The launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline will not affect the operation
of the Baku-Supsa pipeline, stated BP Azerbaijan President David Woodward.

Mr. Woodward said that shareholders in Azerbaijan International Operating
Company – AIOC, the operator of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli project – would
fill the Baku-Supsa with 140,000 barrels of oil per day, and that anything
above this would be sent to the BTC pipe.

He said that in the first year the BTC pipeline is in operation,
transportation volumes through the pipeline would average 100,000 barrels
per day. He said that initial supplies would amount to 50,000- 60,000 bpd,
increasing to 200,000 bpd by the end of the year. However, he said that
transportation volumes through the Baku-Supsa pipeline would remain
unchanged and that the increase in BTC volume would depend on an increase in
production at the Azeri field.

Mr. Woodward said that the pipeline would be completely filled by 2010-
2014. He also said that if additional capacity is required, the pipeline
capacity could be increased by using chemical reagents or mechanical

He said that companies like ExxonMobil and Devon, which are participating in
the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli project but did not become shareholders in the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, would be able to pump oil through the
Baku-Supsa pipe only in proportion to their stake in the
Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli project. For the remaining oil they should decide
whether to pump it through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline or by other
routes, he said, adding that talks are currently underway with ExxonMobil
about the possibility of pumping that company’s oil through the BTC pipe.

He said that ExxonMobil might even become a shareholder in the BTC project,
if one of the current shareholders agrees to sell his share.

Drew Goodbread, general manager of the ExxonMobil office in Azerbaijan,
confirmed that his company is interested in pumping oil through the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. He said that the company is considering three
options to transport oil – the BTC pipeline, the Baku- Novorossiisk pipeline
and rail transport. He said that everything will depend on what proposals
the company receives. He also said that at the moment his company is
considering participating in the BTC project only as a freight owner, and
not as a shareholder.

The contract for the development of the Azeri, Chirag and the deep water
section of the Gunashli fields was signed on September 20, 1994 and came
into effect on December 12 in the same year. Participants in the project are
currently as follows: BP – 34.1367%; the U.S. companies Unocal – 10.2814%,
ExxonMobil – 8.0006% and Devon Energy – 5.6262% and Amerada Hess – 1.0413%;
Azerbaijan’s SOCAR – 10%, Japan’s Inpex – 10% and Itochu – 3.9025%, Norway’s
Statoil – 8.5633%, Turkey’s TPAO – 6.75%, and Saudi Delta Oil – 1.68%.

Participants in the BTC project are: BP (30.1%), the State Oil Company of
the Azerbaijani Republic (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%).

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 a capacity of 50 million
tonnes of oil per annum.

2.3. Botas to finish Turkish section of BTC pipe on time

Source: Interfax, June 1, 2004

Turkey’s Botas, the operator for the construction of the Turkish section of
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, plans to complete this section on time –
in December 2004- January 2005, stated General Director Mehmet Bilgic of the

He said steps have been taken to make up for delays. “At the moment any
delays are not being discussed. The Turkish government has set Botas the
task of completing construction on time, and we will do everything possible
for this,” he said.

The Botas chief said that some delays are natural in a project of this
scale. “Our aim is to complete the construction process on time for the
agreed amount of $1.4 billion. Here, any deviation is not even up for
discussion,” Bilgic said.

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 a capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum. The Baku- Tbilisi-
Ceyhan project will cost $3.6 billion.

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

BTC signed a contract with Botas to build the Turkish section of the
pipeline, costing $1.4 billion.

2.4. U.S. official: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline best route

Source: Interfax, June 1, 2004

The U.S. State Department senior adviser on Caspian basin energy diplomacy,
Steven Mann, has argued that the planned Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is the
best route for Caspian oil exports.

He said the United States also supported a proposal for Kazakhstan to use
the pipeline but added that the success of the project did not depend on
Kazakh oil and that Azerbaijan had enough oil to fill the pipeline.

He said the U.S. government also supported other transportation projects.
They included the Odessa-Brody Pipeline, Caspian Pipeline Consortium, and
Kazakhstan-China Pipeline projects.

Mr. Mann praised the Odessa-Brody pipeline as a good way of taking oil to
Europe and said Turkey was in favor of the project as a way of relieving
ship traffic along the Bosphorus.

However, the United States, he said, was categorically against a proposed
trans-Iranian pipeline, a project in which Kazakhstan would be involved, and
said there were better alternatives in commercial terms.

2.5. BP says Ceyhan pipeline will not sink Supsa port

Source: Reuters, June 2, 2004

The mid-sized Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa will survive competition from
a huge Azeri-Turkish oil pipeline due to launch in 2005 and its shipments
will remain stable in the long-term, oil major BP said on Wednesday.

BP is the main player in Azerbaijan as it leads the only big offshore oil
project, Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG), which is set to be piping a million
barrels of oil per day (bpd) later this decade to the Turkish Mediterranean
port of Ceyhan.

The Baku-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is also being built under BP’s leadership.
Until its completion, the firm and its partners are sending their output of
around 130,000-140,000 bpd to Supsa.

Traders have predicted shipments to Supsa would gradually fall to zero as
the fields’ investors would want to pump as much output as possible via the
$3.6-billion BTC to avoid the crowded Bosphorus straits and bring the
project to profit sooner.

“After the launch of the BTC pipeline we would see a continual use of the
Western export route (to Supsa),” BTC chief executive Michael Townshend told
an annual oil show in Baku.

“Baku-Supsa will be kept for the ACG oil and anything above 140,000 bpd will
go to Baku-Ceyhan,” the head of BP in Azerbaijan David Woodward told

The ACG fields’ partners include BP, U.S. ExxonMobil, Unocal, Delta Hess,
Devon, Japan’s Inpex and Itochu, Norway’s Statoil, Turkish TPAO and Azeri

Exxon and Devon decided against joining the pipeline to Ceyhan, but Woodward
said the pipeline to Supsa would continue to be filled with volumes
proportional to the stakes of partners in the fields.

“ExxonMobil and Devon still have to decide with their oil in excess of their
shipping share to Supsa whether it comes to Baku-Ceyhan or whether they
export it by some other means,” said Woodward.

The head of Exxon in Azerbaijan Drew Goodbread told reporters his company
was considering whether to send excess production to Ceyhan, paying higher
tariffs than its shareholders, or whether to export oil by rail to Georgian
or Russian ports.

He said another option was to use the route to Russia’s Black Sea port of
Novorossiisk, which pumps 50,000 bpd of Azeri crude but could boost
shipments to 100,000 bpd.

Supplies to Ceyhan may reach 200,000 bpd in 2005 rising to 600,000 bpd in
2006 and to one million bpd by 2008-2009, Townshend said.

2.6. Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey to conduct exercise on
protecting Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline

Source: Interfax-AVN, June 15, 2004

The largest anti-terrorism command post exercise (CPX) since the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline started to be constructed will be held in
Baku in August.

“The Eternity exercise, to be held in Baku on August 21-27, enjoys special
importance: it will be conducted in light of that fact that the construction
of the oil pipeline is nearing completion,” Irakly Batkuashvili, chief of
Coordination Staff of the NATO-sponsored Partnership for Peace (PfP) program
in the Georgian General Staff, told Interfax-Military News Agency on

“The CPX plan will be adopted at the conference of NATO member- states to be
held in Baku on June 28-30,” he said.

Batkuashvili noted that earlier exercises on protecting the oil pipeline had
been aimed at refining tactics against terrorists.

“This time Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey will jointly refine cooperation
in standard emergencies, including terrorist attacks, and ensuing oil
pipeline disasters,” he noted.

He also said that each side would allocate 15 operation-level officers to
participate in the exercise.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, designed to pump Azerbaijani oil to
Turkey via Georgia, is expected to become operational in 2005.

2.7. BTC oil and BTE gas pipelines construction progresses according to

Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag, June
8, 2004

The construction of the main export oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan is
progressing according to the schedule. In all, 65% of the construction work
has been done. Some 75% of the pipes passing trough the territories of
Azerbaijani and Georgia and 50% of those passing through Turkey have been

According to president of BP-Azerbaijan David Woodward, the total capital
inputs amount to $2 billion 950 million. Two third of this sum will be given
as credit in 15 commercial banks through the International Finance
Corporation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other
export-credit agencies while the rest will be paid by BP and its partners.
Financial problems were settled in February as Azerbaijan has received $1
billion 650 million tranche. The construction of the pipeline will end in
early 2005 and first oil will be delivered to Ceyhan port in five months.

D. Woodward said that the construction of the South Caucasus export gas
pipeline, 42 inches in diameter, had begun. It will stretch from Sangachal
terminal to Erzurum. The first 8,5 billion cubic meters of gas will be
delivered to markets of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in late 2004.

At present, the construction of both pipelines is going on in accordance
with schedule.

2.8. Georgia: International Donors Conference Opens In Brussels

Source: RFE/RL, June 16, 2004

An international donors conference for Georgia opened this morning in

Held under the aegis of the World Bank and hosted by the European Union, the
event brings together potential donors from dozens of nations, among them EU
member states, the United States, Japan, and Russia.

The Georgian government has said it expects pledges to reach 485 million
euros for the period 2004 to 2006.

Opening the event, the EU’s external relations commissioner, Chris Patten,
said the international community must seize the opportunity to assist

The European Commission has said it will pledge 125 million euros ($150
million), which officials’ say is likely to be the largest contribution. It
wills also double the bloc’s previous assistance to the country.

However, Patten warned that the support would be conditional on continued
reforms. He also underlined the EU’s strengthening engagement with regard to

Referring to the two remaining South Caucasus countries, Armenia and
Azerbaijan, Patten said the EU will treat each country “on its individual
merits” within its European Neighborhood Policy.

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania promised his country would consolidate
the reform policies launched by President Mikheil Saakashvili in the wake of
the “RoseRevolution” seven months ago.

Addressing donors this morning, Zhvania said Georgia aims to become
self-sustainable and that it will make a clean break with the “donor
addiction” prevalent before.

“We want to change completely this philosophy. And the first thing I want to
convey as the main message from President Saakashvili, from myself, from our
cabinet, is that we want to use this degree of your support to stop these
practices and move towards a situation when Georgia will not any longer be
dependent on international assistance,” Zhvania said.

Zhvania said his government wants donors to support projects aimed at
reforming Georgia’s administration, cutting law-enforcement personnel,
rehabilitating the country’s energy sector and infrastructure, and funding
social benefits.

He said Georgia also expects donors to prioritize the reintegration of
regions such as Adjara. The European Commission has said that — in addition
to today’s pledge another grant for 12 million euros will go for the
rehabilitation of areas affected by the conflicts in Abkhazia and South

Calling on donors to contribute generously, the World Bank’s regional vice
president, Shigeo Katsu, said Georgia has all the preconditions necessary
for success.

“Georgia is blessed with abundant natural resources, geographical advantage
as a major transit route, and most importantly, a talented, energetic and
engaging population with a rich history and diverse cultural heritage,” he

Katsu said that, in the light of the reforms undertaken by the Georgian
government, the World Bank is “optimistic about the outlook for economic
growth” in the country.

2.9. Georgia, Azerbaijan Sign Five Cooperation Agreements

Source: Novosti-gruziya/Civil Georgia/Prime News, June 14, 2004

The presidents of Georgia and Azerbaijan today signed five cooperation
agreements aimed at strengthening ties between their two Southern Caucasus

The agreements were signed on the sidelines of Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev’s visit to Georgia.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in Tbilisi today: “Our economic
relations are developing rapidly. Our trade turnover has practically doubled
since you, Ilham Heydarovich [Aliyev], became [Azerbaijan’s] president and
since the change of power in Georgia. This is a very remarkable indicator.
We appreciate your understanding of our struggle against smuggling [in South
Ossetia] and we would like all of our neighbors also to regard this
situation with understanding.”

Both sides notably agreed to coordinate steps in the development of their
respective railroad networks and expand cooperation in the energy sector.

An oil pipeline linking the Azerbaijani capital Baku to the Turkish
Mediterranean port of Ceyhan via Tbilisi is expected to become operational
next year. It should be coupled in 2006 with a natural-gas pipeline
stretching between Baku, Tbilisi, and the Turkish eastern Anatolian city of

Aliyev today described the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline as “an
important element of future Georgian-Azerbaijani integration and economic


Source: Sarke, June 16, 2004

The Parliament plans to conduct hearing in committees on the question of
Tbiltskalkanal (the Tbilisi municipal company of water supply and sewerage)
leasing to French company General Des Eaux for 10 years.

Today MP Zviad Dzidziguri (representing Union of National Forces) doubted
the results of the tender conducted at the beginning of last year, and
demanded suspension of signing agreement with the French company.


Source: EurasiaNet, Jun 10, 2004

Some 20 police officers have been deployed in Krtsanisi, eastern Georgia, to
protect the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil-export pipeline currently under
construction, Caucasus Press reported on 10 June, quoting “Mtavari gazeti.”
On 9 June, police used force to disperse residents of Krtsanisi who blocked
access to the construction site to demand compensation for plots of land
across which the pipeline is to be routed. They also alleged that the
subsidiary of British Petroleum that is building the pipeline violates
safety norms, thus creating a potential ecological hazard.

3.1. Baku hopes for resolution of Caspian status soon

Source: Interfax, June 1, 2004

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the Caspian Oil and Gas 2004
exhibition, which opened in Baku on Tuesday, that he hopes that the problem
of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be resolved soon.

“I hope for a solution to the problem of the Caspian’s status soon,” Aliyev
said. “Before there was a certain amount of tension over the legal status of
the Caspian. But Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan have signed bilateral
agreements on the legal status of the Caspian,” he said.

The president said that the signing of bilateral agreement between a number
of Caspian states, “Indicates that in difficult international issues,
mutually acceptable solutions can be found.”

3.2. Azerbaijan considers supplying Shah Deniz gas to Greece

Source: Dow Jones, June 13, 2004

Azerbaijan is considering supplying natural gas from its Shah Deniz field to
Greece in the second stage of the development of the field, President of the
State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Natik Aliyev said.

“We have an agreement to sell gas within the framework of the first stage of
development of Shah Deniz,” Aliyev told. “In 2006, we will be supplying gas
to Turkey, and in 2007 we could send it to Greece. But this will depend on
the Turkish market.”

“If Turkey can’t absorb all of the agreed volumes of gas, taking into
account supplies of Iranian and Russian fuel, then we will have the right to
transfer (these volumes) to Greece,” he added.

There are currently four contracts relating to sales of gas from the Shah
Deniz project. Turkish pipeline company Botas signed a contract to buy 6.3
bn cmpy of gas, Azerbaijan has agreed to buy 1.5 bn cmpy, and Georgia has
two contracts to purchase 800 mm cmpy. Negotiations are also underway with
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline company for a contract to purchase 200 mm
cmpy of gas, which will be used as fuel for pumping stations installed in
the BTC pipeline.

3.3. Investment is required for oil recovery in deep zones of
Caspian Sea

Source: Tehran Times, June 12, 2004

Iranian and foreign financiers are being invited to get involved in oil
exploration activities in the southern section of the Caspian Sea, a senior
official said. Managing-Director of Caspian Oil and Gas Company, Mohammad
Hossein Dana, said that “the state-of-the-art” technology was required for
oil recovery from deep zones in the Caspian Sea.

“To this end, huge investment is required.” He said that an Iranian-Swedish
consortium was building a semi-submersible platform for drilling operations
in the Caspian Sea. “Eighty % of operations are over and the project is to
be finished this year as scheduled,” Dana said. The Caspian Sea countries
have moved at snail’s pace towards a comprehensive deal on delineating the
sea since the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse created four independent littoral
republics — Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan — to rival the
southern power Iran.

The legal free-for-all in the Caspian has slowed efforts by foreign
investors to exploit the area’s energy resources — estimated by some
experts at 75 bn barrels of oil and 6.9 t cm (230 tcf) of natural gas. Iran
has opposed dividing the sea in proportion to the length of each country’s
coast — giving it a 13-% share — and objected strongly a three-way accord
between Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan last year. Backed by
Turkmenistan, Iran has argued that the Caspian should be divided equally
between the five, which would give it control of some prospective oilfields
claimed by Azerbaijan.

The dispute nearly spilled over into armed conflict three years ago, when an
Iranian warship threatened to fire on an Azeri vessel, chartered by oil
giant British Petroleum, which was prospecting for oil in the disputed area.

3.4. Azerbaijan prepares drafted oil strategy

Source: RBC, May 27, 2004

A drafted oil strategy has been prepared in Azerbaijan, the Trend news
agency reported with reference to Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister
Farkhad Aliyev.

According to the minister, the drafted strategy is now being discussed with
different ministries of Azerbaijan and international financial institutions.
In the minister’s opinion, no problems should be expected with regard to the
adoption of the strategy. The drafted strategy is fully in line with the
recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Aliyev pointed out
that in general, the government had no problems with the IMF, although there
were some disagreements. For example, the government disagrees with the
fund’s recommendations envisaging an increase in prices of oil products and
fees for public utilities, as the Cabinet believes that these prices should
correspond with the purchasing power of citizens.

The minister declared that talks with the IMF would be continued. At the
same time he did not rule out the possibility of some changes next year. “We
will try to avoid any negative effects of these measures on citizens and
businesses,” Aliyev stated


Source: Arminfo, June 6, 2004

On June 9, the minor court of Yerevan’s Center and Nork Marash communities
is to start hearing a claim lodged by the “Investigator-Journalists”
organization against the Yerevan Municipality.

According to the organization’s statement provided to ARMINFO, on April 14,
Chairman of the organization E. Baghdasaryan lodged claim with the minor
court of the Center and Nork-Marash communities against Yerevan Mayor
Yervand Zakharyan, who rejected the organization’s inquiry for decisions
made by the Yerevan Municipality in 1997-2003.

Specifically, the investigator-journalists are interested in the legality of
Yerevan Mayors’ decisions allotting the green zones nearby the National
Theater of Opera and Ballet for a number of cafes. After the journalists
addressed a complaint to President Robert Kocharian, Mayor Yervand Zakharyan
did not provide the information. The “Investigator-journalists” public
organization hopes that court will oblige the plaintiff to observe the law.

4.2. Yervand Zakharyan is still selling land

Source: Hetq Online, June 1-8, 2004

In a decision made on December 26, 2003, Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharyan
parceled off an additional 2,050 square meters of land in the Hrazdan gorge
for 25 years, adding to the 2,050 square meter plot already controlled by
Akumb Complex, Ltd. There are now eleven cafes and restaurants in the
Hrazdan Gorge. Three of them were built without any formally documented land
allocation; the rest are on land provided by mayors Suren Abrahamyan (one
plot), Albert Bazeyan (two plots), Robert Nazaryan (four plots), and Yervand
Zakharyan (one plot). There is no sewage system in this area so sewage from
the restaurants is dumped directly into the Hrazdan River, whose waters are
used by residents of the nearby villages for irrigation, to grow the fruits
and vegetables they sell in the markets of Yerevan.

What compelled Mayor Zakharyan to make this decision on the eve of the New
Year? It may have something to do with the fact the founder of Akumb, and
the owner of Monte Carlo, the biggest establishment in the gorge, is Levon
Harutyunyan, a former official in the Mayor’s Office and current mayor of
the Arabkir District of Yerevan.

4.3. World Bank Survey Highlights Shrinkage of Armenian Forests

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 24, 2004

Armenians continuing use of firewood as a source of heating remains a
serious threat to the country’s endangered mountainous forests, new research
funded by the World Bank concludes.

The study conducted recently by a team of British and Swedish experts found
that 73 percent of people living near the Armenian forests still resort to
logging for keeping their homes warm in the winter. It’s a hard situation,
said Andrew Mitchell, a British forestry consultant involved in the effort.

The total volume of wood that’s removed each year is approximately 750,000
cubic meters, stated Mr. Mitchell. And this is a very large volume if you
compare it with the officially planned volumes. So it is likely to have an
environmental impact.

The total area of lands covered by woods in Armenia has already shrunk
considerably since the severe energy crisis in the early 1990s, which left
the population without electricity and central heating. Although the power
shortages were eliminated by 1996 many people, especially in rural areas,
still prefer firewood to the more expensive electricity, and the authorities
have still not restored natural gas supplies to the majority of households.

The authors of the World Bank study believe that poverty is the main driving
force of the continuing deforestation. But Armenian environmentalists say
there are also powerful commercial interests involved, local firms producing
construction materials and furniture heavily uses pointing to the fact that
wood. They warn that the deforestation is causing soil erosion and having
other negative effects on the country’s ecological system.

It’s a devastating business, admitted Ruben Petrosian, the recently
appointed head of Hayantar, the government’s main forestry agency.

Petrosian complained that the state now spends less than $300,000 a year on
forest protection and restoration — a far cry from Soviet times when an
equivalent of $4 million was annually budgeted for that purpose. In 1985,
for example, new trees were planted on 3,500 hectares of land, creating new
forests, he said.

However, Hayantar itself is viewed by many as a major cause of the problem.
Its employees are thought to routinely sanction illegal logging in exchange
for kickbacks. Their modest salaries only contribute to the corruption.

The temptation for corruption must be very large,. Mitchell said. If I was
in that position and my family was sick and I needed to send them to
hospital, I would take a bribe.

Mitchell added that tougher penalties alone would not remedy the situation.
Besides, he continued, the government’s existing logging regulations are not
clear enough. It is difficult to say what is legal and what is illegal, he

Hayantar, which was previously controlled by the Armenian Ministry of
Environment, was transferred to the Agriculture Ministry in January amid
protests from 14 environmental protection groups. In a joint letter to
President Robert Kocharian, they warned that the move could have dangerous
consequences for the country’s shrinking green areas. They claimed that the
Agriculture Ministry lacks the expertise and commitment to protect them.

4.4. Armenia invites Ukraine to bid for Iran-Armenia gas pipeline

Source: Interfax, June 12, 2004

Armenia is inviting Ukraine to bid in a tender for the building of an
Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan
announced together with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich in the
Ukrainian capital.

Margaryan said this was one of the main topics discussed by the
Armenian-Ukrainian commission for trade and economic relations. He noted
that his country and Iran are engaged in technical consultations, after
which will be discussions of financial details and then the announcement of
the construction tender.

“We are confident Ukraine will take part in it,” Margaryan said. As reported
earlier, a final agreement on building the gas pipeline is expected to be
signed during a visit to Yerevan by Irani Oil and Gas Minister Bijan
Zanganeh. The actual construction is slated to begin late this year and be
completed sometime in 2006.

According to documents signed earlier, the Iran-Armenia pipeline will run
141 km, 100 km in Iran and 41 km in Armenia. The project price tag is
estimated at $ 120 mm. Plans are for Armenia to receive 700 mm cmpy of gas
via the pipeline initially, up to 1.5 bn cm later on. Armenia will pay for
the Irani gas with electricity at 3 kWh per cm of gas.

Building this pipeline has been a discussion subject since 1992. Aside from
the main project players, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, China and some
European Union countries have shown interest.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced
its readiness to be part of the project financing.

4.5. Armenia refuses to close quake-zone nuclear plant


The EU has announced it will freeze ?100 million in aid to Armenia after the
country refused to set a date for closing down a dangerous Russian-built
nuclear power plant located in one of the world’s most volatile earthquake
zones. The Metsamor nuclear plant, located some 40 kilometers west of the
Armenian capital of Yerevan, was shut down after a major earthquake in 1988,
but officials reopened the plant in 1995. That earthquake killed 25’000
people only 80km away from the plant. The EU says the plant poses a major
danger to the entire Caucasus region. “Our position of principle is that
nuclear plants should not be built in highly active seismic zones,” the BBC
quoted the head of the EU’s delegation in Armenia, Alexis Loeber, as saying
on Thursday. The EU had granted Armenia ?100 million (over US$122 million)
to help the country decommission its dangerously outdated nuclear power
plants and to find alternative sources of energy. The Armenian government,
in response, was to set a definitive date for the plant’s closure, which it
has so far refused to do. Armenia is concerned that closing the plant would
result in a severe energy crisis, as it did in 1988. And officials have
insisted that much work has been done to upgrade the plant’s safety. But EU
officials disagree and have warned Armenia that if the government fails to
set a closure date, the grant could be permanently withdrawn.

EU officials have also expressed concern over how nuclear materials are
transported to the Metsamor plant, citing the fact that border and railway
links in surrounding areas have been closed, forcing the plant to fly its
materials from Russia. “It is the same as flying around a potential nuclear
bomb:it’s an extremely hazardous exercise,” Loeber told the BBC. Armenian
and EU officials are due to meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss the

5.1. the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
announced publication of a new set


On 1 June 2004 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
announced publication of a new set of guidelines to determine if a living
modified organism (LMO) poses a hazard to plants.

Mr. Niek van der Graaff, Chief of the FAO Plant Protection Service noted
that the internationally accepted guidelines would help countries to reduce
the risks of releasing LMOs that are weedy and could seriously harm crop and
plant ecosystems.

According to FAO some 130 countries have adopted this unique international
standard on how to assess the risks of LMOs to plants. With some LMOs there
is a potential risk of introducing a gene that could cause a normal plant to
become a weed. The guidelines also cover other LMOs that may be harmful to
plants, such as insects, fungi and bacteria.
A commission of the governing body of the International Plant Protection
Convention, which helps to stop the spread of pests and diseases affecting
plants, adopted the guidelines already in April 2004.
The new guidelines will help countries assess the risks of LMOs and
determine whether some should be considered as weeds or other organisms that
damage plants. Their introduction could then be regulated in order to
protect crops and ecosystems.
The guidelines harmonize and standardize the way countries analyze risks
that LMOs may pose to plant health. They can be used to determine which LMOs
pose a threat and, if necessary, can subsequently prohibit or restrict their
import and domestic use. This is of particular value to developing
countries, which can now use the same risk analysis criteria as developed

5.2. Report issued on 8 June


According to the Report issued on 8 June 2004 by the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) more countries say they are fishing
responsibly, altering their laws and practices to adhere to an international
code of conduct on fishing.

52 of FAO Member States have reported changing their fisheries management
plans to include provisions such as banning destructive practices, promoting
the use of selective fishing gear and allowing depleted fish stocks to

These provisions are part of the 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible
Fisheries, endorsed by 170 countries, which sets non-binding standards for
governments to protect marine flora and fauna and to conserve ocean

At least 50 countries said they have taken steps to ensure that when their
ships operate in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of other countries,
they are properly authorized. They are also more closely monitoring the
activities of ships in their own EEZs.
Mr. Ichiro Nomura, FAO Assistant Director-General and head of its Fisheries
Department, said the changes reflect a growing worldwide recognition that
taking care of the environment actually benefits the long-term health of the
fishing industry.

5.3. joint debate on water issues in Europe

On 25 June 2004 the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly held a joint
debate on water issues in Europe. It was noted that the countries working
together to manage transboundary river basins and lakes can also encourage
good governance, sustainable development, greater decentralization and even
the resolution of conflicts.

The Assembly also called for water plans to be made an integral part of
national economic and social policy, and proposed an integrated project,
`’Euro-water”, to bring together all players and disseminate good practice.

More detailed information about this debate as well as relevant reports
(Report on Transboundary Water Basins; Report on Water Resources) of the
Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs can
be viewed at

6.1. environmental campaign “Rest from Waste”

On May 25, 2004 in Bakuriani by initiative of the CENN Bakuriani Public
Environmental Center was held the environmental campaign “Rest from Waste”.
The photos of this action are available on the following address:
The aim of this action was to make the
population of Bakuriani think about the issue of waste management in
Bakuriani and make the relevant governmental agencies to take appropriate
measures against alarming situation in the city regarding the waste.

The action already has the positive results. Today, on June 16, 2004 the
local Government (Gamgeoba) has purchased the sanitation truck, which will
collect waste from the population twice a week. The waste will be disposed
on the landfill at the entrance of Bakuriani. Though the landfill is legal,
it is located near the riverbank. Therefore presently the alternative
solution of the landfill issue is of the vital importance. This will be
another step that should be taken by the CENN Bakuriani PEIC and the local
active population.
Prepared by CENN
Marina Makieva

6.2. Guria Youth Resource Center

In December 2003 (the project completed in April, 2004) Guria Youth Resource
Center in cooperation with the Georgia Integrated Coastal Management Project
started to implement the project “Wetlands in danger – let’s know more about
it”. The objectives of the project are: – To raise conservation awareness
among the youth about the Kolkheti Wetlands Protected Areas; To support
youth active involvement in the protection of wetlands; – To generate an
interest and start celebrating World Wetlands Day. Under the terms of the
Project we have – Established Young Environmentalists’ Groups at 5 schools
of Guria Region (three villages in Lanchkhuti and two in Ozurgeti). –
Celebrated WWD – February 2, arranged Nature walk to Paliastomi Lake, Young
Environmentalists Group Members of selected schools participated in this
event. Kolkheti National Park representatives provided tour and guidance for
children. Art contest has been organized for participant schools on the
topic “From the Mountains to the Sea – Wetlands at work for us”. Pictures
have been exhibited on the Bill Board arranged at each school within the
project – essays were published in the booklet format.

For the more detailed information please contact:
Tamar Ghlonti
The Youth Resource Center of Guria
Contact: 3 Chavchavadze St., Ozurgeti 3500 Georgia
Tel: +995-99 156 384;
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

7.1. World Bank to be more selective in oil, gas loans

Source: Reuters, June 18, 2004

The World Bank will continue funding oil, coal and mining projects, but will
be more selective, it said on Friday in response to a review that
recommended it phase out support for such projects.

“Our future investments in extractive industries will be more selective,
with greater focus on the needs of poor people and a stronger emphasis on
good governance and on promoting environmentally and socially sustainable
development,” the bank said in an executive summary of its response obtained
by Reuters.

World Bank President James Wolfensohn commissioned the independent review of
the bank’s activities in oil, gas and mining projects in 2000, following
concerns by environmental and human rights groups that its participation in
the sector contributed to poverty instead of alleviated it.

Led by Emil Salim, Indonesia’s former environment minister, the review
recommended the bank radically change its approach to funding such projects
and even stop supporting some.

In the past year, World Bank affiliates have helped fund two major private
sector oil projects in developing countries — the Chad-Cameroon and the
Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipelines — which both help carry crude thousands of
kilometers overland to the coast.

Bank directors met earlier this week to discuss its official response to the
review following three months of consultations with governments, industry
and non-governmental groups.

The bank said it would dramatically increase its support for more
environmentally friendly renewable energies and clean energy sources.

It said its participation in oil, gas and mining projects is expected to
remain relatively small at less than 5 percent of its total lending per


The bank said the impact of its involvement in such projects would mean
greater environmental and social standards.

“By staying engaged on a selective basis, we can have an influential role in
ensuring that the best environmental and social practices are followed and
that the goal of sustainable poverty reduction is achieved,” it said.

The institution said oil, gas and mining for many developing countries were
important assets that will have to play a role if their governments are to
reach global poverty targets.

Salim said in comments published earlier this week he expected the bank’s
response to represent the interests of the world’s poor and “to inspire
governments, industry and civil organizations to pave the path for
sustainable development”.

Based on the review, he said the bank was not paying enough attention to
good governance and transparent institutions in resource-rich countries to
ensure private investments benefited the poor.

Environmental groups said the bank’s response lacked clarity and ignored the
recommendation to get out of oil and coal.

“The World Bank’s response is fuzzy and lacks clarity,” said Jon Sohn,
campaign director for Friends of the Earth.

“Judging from past bank behavior, unless implementation is absolute, binding
and subject to public input, a historic opportunity to alleviate poverty
will be missed,” he added.

7.2. The Death of Green Spaces

Source: Transitions Online, May 28, 2004

In 1988, the large, leafy public square next to the Opera House in Yerevan
was renamed Freedom Square, in honor of the movement that eventually led the
country to independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

With its benches, open spaces, and trees, the square has long been a popular
place for people to come and relax. Grandparents come to take their
grandchildren for a walk, kids to roller-skate, and couples to romance each
other. It has also long served as a gathering point for the opposition.

All that is changing at alarming speed, however, as the square’s green
spaces are paved over to make room for cafes, restaurants, and dance clubs.
So many of these places have sprung up that in some corners of the square it
is impossible to tell where one establishment stops and another begins – the
outdoor tables and chairs all run together, and the music from competing
loudspeakers merges.

Every time a cafe is built, another bit of public space is lost. Here,
dozens of trees have been felled, benches have been ripped up, and cement
patios have replaced grass. It’s a phenomenon that can be seen across the
city. According to the Social Ecological Association, more than 700 hectares
of trees have been chopped down over the past decade in Yerevan’s
construction boom.

“I don’t bring my grandson [to the park] anymore, because there are cafes
everywhere and no benches,” said Sargis Torosian, a 72-year-old pensioner.
“We used to spend every evening here, but now we have no place to go.”

“What happened to the Himalayan cedars that are so rare in our city? Or the
grapevines and persimmon trees that used to grow where the Astral Disco is
now?” asks biologist Gohar Oganezova. “Most of the firs have dried up over
time as their roots come up against the concrete base of the cafes. A plane
tree whose branches got entangled in the fence has withered. Two years ago,
it was a wonderful, viable tree. The fir trees along the path next to the
Atlantic Café are drying up, too. Last season they were almost leafless,
their roots are so damaged.”

By law, it shouldn’t be happening this way. According to government records,
the building permits for most of the cafes violate the city’s own ecological
and planning standards. The rules say that before construction can begin on
a new establishment, an owner must submit a design that meets the approval
of ecologists. According to 2002 data from the Ecology Ministry, only one of
the 12 cafes in Opera Square, the Astral, followed that procedure.

Yerevan’s chief architect, Narek Sargisian, defends the onslaught of
development as a market response to public demand. “If so many cafes are
being built, it means that there is a demand for them,”
he said. Sargisian admits that the park’s planners didn’t anticipate the
displacement effect that the retail establishments would have on people who
are looking for a public green space to relax in. On the other hand, he
said, “the cafes are always full.”

But they’re not making much money, or so believes Srbuhi Harutiunian, head
of the Social Ecological Association. Harutiunian said the group had
undertaken an unofficial survey of the park’s café and restaurant owners and
came up with surprising results.

“We found that 40 percent of these establishments are unprofitable,”
Harutiunian said. “Among the rest, 40 percent don’t worry about profit at
all [and are more interested in the prestige of their location], and the
remaining 20 percent secure a profit only by not paying their taxes.”

Yet the building continues. To understand why, it’s necessary to look at
who’s behind the chattering crowds, loud music, and frothy cappuccinos.


Ordinary Armenian businesspeople patronize the restaurants and cafes around
Opera Park, but they certainly don’t own them. So far, at least, it seems
that ownership is a privilege reserved for the political elite – members of
parliament, ministers, influential bureaucrats, and their cronies. The
concreting over of Yerevan’s green spaces has been enabled by a loophole in
the city’s law on allocation of land that has allowed the city to chop up
and sell small café-size plots that it owns. Any plot larger than 20 square
meters must be sold at public auction; anything less can be quietly sold to
any buyer, for any price. Former Mayor Robert Nazarian, a man appointed by
the president, was a champion of the loophole.

Although he is no longer in office, Nazarian’s legacy of political
favoritism continues to deprive the city treasury of public funds and to
line the pockets of government officials who “bought” parcels of land. A
case in point: recently, according to reliable sources, a café in Freedom
Park that was owned by a senior government official sold for $250,000. The
official had spent $15,000 on the land on which the café has constructed.
His final take after including construction costs? More than $220,000.

Some estimates of the total losses to the state treasury from corrupt land
sales near the Opera, where 15 companies have built cafes, exceed $1

Typically, the new owner begins to expand his cafe. After the event, the
Mayor’s Office “legalizes” the expansion of the café rather than taking
action against the owners – who are high-level public officials.

Whatever the procedure, the results can be gargantuan. In early 2002,
Nazarian “sold” a 20-square-meter plot of parkland to a company
(inappropriately) named Magnolia. The area of the plot has continued to
expand until today. According to the city’s Architecture and Planning
Department, the Magnolia Café occupies a staggering 2,615 square meters,
making it the largest establishment in the park. The businessman who managed
to take over so much land? Grigor “Bellagio Grish” Margarian, a member of
parliament from the Orinats Yerkir Party.

Nazarian has explicitly intervened in some developments. In January 2002, a
company named Only Merriment requested permission to buy a plot of land and
build a video arcade next to Freedom Square. Permission was granted, and
approval from the city planning department awarded. One month later, Only
Merriment was allowed to acquire an additional 312-square-meter plot of land
adjacent to the arcade site, to build an outdoor café.

Then, one month after that, Nazarian abruptly amended both decisions and
issued blanket permission to Only Merriment to build a combined arcade-café,
although this hybrid had never been approved by the city’s architecture
department. Only Merriment was re-registered as Atlantic Garden and,
according to official documents, was authorized to occupy 332 square meters
in a public tender. Today, it’s hard to tell how much of the park Atlantic
Garden occupies – much more than 332 square meters, though, since, during
construction the building was considerably expanded by its owner. The owner?
Anush Ghazaryan (better known as Kamvolny Anush, or Pretty Anush), a man
widely thought to enjoy the protection of National Security Minister Karlos

Levon Khachatrian, a member of parliament, has also benefited from the
generosity of the Mayor’s Office. Just as with Only Merriment and Magnolia,
the major expansion of his café was within the law: Khachatrian first
received a 20-square-meter plot and then permission to expand the plot.
Khachatrian’s café today obscures part of the Opera House from Sayat-Nova

Asked recently if any establishment in Freedom Square of the area near the
Opera House was built according to city-approved plans, chief architect
Sargisian replied with one word: “No.”


Official corruption in Armenia is a problem recognized by a host of
international organizations. The Office for Security and Cooperation in
Europe has been at the forefront of international efforts to bring attention
to the problem and help the government tackle it, in part with the help of a
joint OSCE-Armenian task force. President Robert Kocharian has even
appointed a special adviser to coordinate the fight.

So why hasn’t anything been done to stop the corrupt practices that are
doing obvious damage to public life in the capital? “Unfortunately, the
people with power in this city are above the law,” says biologist Oganezova,
voicing a common public sentiment. “But they don’t realize that they, too,
lose. We lose our city’s environment, literally and figuratively.”

He may have final approval over all new construction and land sales in the
capital, but chief architect Sargisian says he can do nothing. “I try to do
everything in my power, but there are too many senior officials in our
government. They build these structures and consider themselves to be above
the law,” he said. But, as someone who has kept his post through three
mayors, Sargisian has become vulnerable to accusations by some
nongovernmental organizations that he allows the situation to continue.

In November 2003, two months before he was dismissed from office, Mayor
Nazarian admitted to reporters that he had come under pressure by government
authorities to approve the land sales. Ninety-nine percent of the cafes near
the Opera House were illegal structures, he acknowledged, adding, “We did
not approve these designs.” But none of the structures was torn down. In
fact, since he made those remarks, new ones have gone up.

According to City Deputy Kamo Areyan, current Mayor Yervand Zakharian has
given his staff a “strict order” to examine how building licenses and land
sales are approved.

Armenia’s Association of Investigative Journalists has tried several times
to gain access to mayoral decisions on land allocations during the period
from 1997 to 2003, without success. Zakharian has refused to provide the
group with this public information and has not given an explanation for his
refusal. President Kocharian has refused to intervene. The matter is now
with the courts.

7.3. OSCE Centre holds seminar on economy and environment in

ASHGABAD, 26 May 2004 – A seminar on the national economy and the
environment is being held in the capital of Turkmenistan on May 25-26, 2004.

The OSCE Centre in Ashgabad and the Government of Turkmenistan organized the
two-day event.

“Since its establishment, the OSCE Centre in Ashgabad has organized a number
of activities in the field of economy and the environment and is preparing
new projects to be submitted to the attention of the Turkmen partners,” said
Ambassador Paraschiva Badescu, Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

Participants will discuss the role of the World Trade Organization, the
links between the national economic and environmental policies, financing
mechanisms available for solutions to regional environmental problems,
perspectives of environmental policy development and elements of the
National Environmental Action Plan.

Issues relating to international commitments and obligations of
Turkmenistan, stemming from environmental conventions, and Turkmenistan’s
domestic investment policy are also on the agenda.

After the event a final report with conclusions and recommendations for
further interaction between Turkmenistan and the donor community in economic
and environmental areas will be released.

For further information, please contact:
Dieter Matthei
Political Officer
OSCE Centre in Ashgabad
15 Turkmenbashy Shayoly, 744005, Ashgabad, Turkmenistan
Tel.: +993 66 30 35 51 (mobile); +993 12 35 31 16; +993 12 35 30 92
Fax: +993 12 35 30 41
E-mail: [email protected]

7.4. EU seeks date for N-plant closure

Source: BBC News, June 2, 2004

The EU is freezing 100m euros of aid to Armenia because of the country’s
refusal to set a date to close an old Russian-built nuclear power station.

The Metsamor plant, which is sited some 40km west of the Armenian capital
Yerevan, is built on top of one of the world’s most active seismic zones.

The station was closed after one major quake in 1988, but reopened in 1995.

“This plant is a danger to the whole Caucasus region,” says Alexis Loeber,
head of the EU’s delegation in Armenia.

“Our position of principle is that nuclear power plants should not be built
in highly active seismic zones.”

Protective shell

Metsamor is a pressurised water reactor that was first commissioned in the
mid 1970s.

It is about 80km from what is believed to have been the epicentre of the
1988 earthquake, which killed 25,000 people.

The European Union, as part of its general policy seeking the closure of
elderly nuclear plants constructed in territories of the former Soviet
Union, agreed to give the grant aid ($122m; ?66m) to Armenia for finding
alternative energy sources and for helping with decommissioning costs at the

In return, the government in Yerevan would commit to a definite date for the
plant’s closure.

“We cannot force Armenia to close the plant,” says the EU’s Mr Loeber.
“Originally it was agreed the plant should cease operations this year – now
Brussels is asking the government to give a definite date as to when it
proposes to close it.

“We feel that should definitely be well in advance of the end of Metsamor’s
design lifecycle in 2016.”

The Metsamor plant has no secondary containment facilities, a safety
requirement of all modern reactors.

Power needs

Another concern is that due to border and railway closures with surrounding
territories, nuclear material to feed the plant is flown into Armenia from

“It is the same as flying around a potential nuclear bomb,” says Mr. Loeber.
“It’s an extremely hazardous exercise.”

Earthquakes happen here and there is danger. On the other hand, we do not
have any other options for work

Gohar Bezprozvannkh, former Metsamor worker Armenian and EU officials are
due to meet in Brussels this Friday to discuss Metsamor’s future. The EU has
warned that if no progress is made on the issue, its grant aid offer might
be withdrawn altogether.

At present, however, there is no indication that the Armenian government has
any intention of closing Metsamor.

Areg Galstyan, the country’s deputy minister of power, says $50m (40 million
euros; ?27m) has been spent on upgrading safety at Metsamor.

“It was a big mistake to shut the plant in 1988,” says Mr Galstyan. “It
created an energy crisis and the people and economy suffered.

“It would be impossible for the government to cause the same problem again
by shutting off the plant.”

The deputy minister also insists that all necessary safety measures are
taken with flying in fuel to feed the reactor, though he says exact details
of the operation are kept secret “to avoid alarming the people”.

Gas option

Alvaro Antonyan, president of Armenia’s National Survey for Seismic
Protection, says Russian scientists had built the power station on a special
raft to resist earthquakes.

Dr Antonyan says the 1988 earthquake – a magnitude 6.7 event – had not
damaged the reactor.

The Metsamor plant supplies about 35% of Armenia’s total energy output.

The debate centres on the energy needs of the country Electricity industry
specialists say that due to the expansion and updating of existing thermal
and hydro-energy plants, the country has become an electricity exporter in
recent years.

A major new power source will come on stream in 2006 when a pipeline
supplying gas from neighbouring Iran is due to be completed.

In a country where jobs are scarce and per capita annual incomes are less
than $600 (490 euros; ?326), people have mixed feelings about the Metsamor

“I fear for my two children because I do not think the plant is safe,” says
Gohar Bezprozvannkh, who worked at the plant for two years.

“Earthquakes happen here and there is danger. On the other hand, we do not
have any other options for work.”

Martiroian Harazat, now retired, had worked at the plant since it opened.
“If they shut down the reactor we will die of hunger. People have to eat.
There’s no alternative place to work.”


Source: AzerTag, June 17, 2004

According to information received by AzerTAj, The Energy Conference
organized jointly by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), started in Istanbul on

Fuel and Energy Development Minister Majid Karimov of Azerbaijan, CERA
Chairman Joseph Stanislav, DEIK Executive Board member Nihat Gokyigit,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Undersecretary Alev Kilic, U.S. President
George W. Bush’s Senior Advisor for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy Steven
Mann and Iranian Special Representative Mahdi Safari are attending the 2-day

Sending a message to the conference, President Sezer said, ”I believe that
the conference will create an appropriate ground to discuss new
opportunities and risks emerged in a vast geography including the Middle
East, the Russian Federation and Caspian regions under the light of recent
developments in the world energy markets.”

Referring to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, one of the most
significant energy projects in the world, President Sezer noted, ”the first
tanker to carry the Caspian oil is planned to be loaded in Ceyhan in the
second half of 2005. The project will make an important contribution to the
security of environment and transportation both in the Black Sea and in the
Turkish Straits by reducing the annual transportation by 50 million tons.
Meanwhile, it is one of our targets of priority to add Kazakhstan into the

”As you know, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline project is the
second important part of the Easter-Western Energy Corridor. The project to
transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Turkey is expected to be finalized in
the fall of 2006. The project will constitute the first leg of
Caspian-Turkey-Europe energy route,” President Sezer added.

8.1. International Conference on Ecotourism Planning and
Management in Protected Areas

HNB Garhwal University,
Srinagar Garhwal India
February 28 – March 3, 2005

Call for Papers:

Following the success of past conferences the High Altitude Research
Institute, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar Garhwal, Uttaranchal , northern
India, invites participants to submit abstracts for papers to be considered
for inclusion in the 2004 conference.

The theme of the conference is on Ecotourism in Protected Areas and all
subjects relevant to this topic are invited. Particular interest will be
given to papers, which examine Ecotourism in High Mountain areas but not
with standing this the invitation is made for papers to be presented on any
aspect of Ecotourism research. Topics will include the planning,
development, management and monitoring of ecotourism as well as issues of
marketing, impacts and advancement. Contributions related to community
ecotourism development will be ascribed a particularly high priority.

Both Academic and Professional abstracts are invited but it is important
that at least one author of each submitted paper must register and be
present at the conference. Prospective contributors should email the
organising committee immediately with their abstracts to ensure inclusion in
the final program.

Academic papers should include an abstract of no more than 300 words, which
should be emailed immediately to the conference organising committee. Once
accepted a full paper of no more than 3000 words (including the 300 word
abstract) should be submitted to the conference organising committee for
refereeing on or before 31 August 2004 in order to allow time for the
double-blind peer review process.

Professional abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted on or
before 31 October.

Send abstracts or inquiries to the Conference Paper Review


Professor Ross K. Dowling,
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Edith Cowan University
Joondalup WA 6027
Tel: IDD+ (618) 6304 5891
Fax: IDD+ (618) 6304 5840
Email: [email protected]

Prof. S.C. Bagri,
Centre for Mountain Tourism and Hospitality Studies
HNB Garhwal University
Srinagar Garhwal – 246174,
Uttranchal, IndiaTel: 01346 – 251051 (O) – 252650″Þ
Fax: 01346- 252174 & 252424
Email- [email protected]


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