Armenpress: Putin wishes good luck to Armenia during EEU presidency


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 25, ARMENPRESS. Russian President Vladimir Putin has wished good luck to Armenia during its upcoming presidency in the Eurasian Economic Union.

Armenia will assume the EEU presidency on January 1, 2024.

“Russia will hand over the chairmanship functions in the EEU to Armenia on January 1,” Putin said at the EEU summit in Saint Petersburg. “I’d like to wish good luck to our Armenian partners. We will certainly offer any necessary assistance,” the Russian leader said.

Ucom Attains Prestigious ISO 27001 Certification for Information Security Excellence


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 22, ARMENPRESS.  Ucom is proud to announce the attainment of the esteemed ISO/IEC 27001 certification, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining advanced information security standards.

Following extensive assessments by international experts, Ucom, the leading national telecommunications operator, has successfully met the criteria of the ISO/IEC 27001 standard, the highest global benchmark for information security management systems (ISMS).

"In today's landscape, where information security holds unprecedented importance, attaining ISO 27001  certification marks a major milestone for both the local telecommunications market and our company. However, beyond this achievement, our primary message to subscribers and partners is that safeguarding their data and ensuring overall information security is our top priority," stated Ucom General Director Ralph Yirikian.

Adhering to ISO/IEC 27001, recognized as the global gold standard, signifies that a certified company has an effective risk management system for information security, cybersecurity, and privacy protection. This enables proactive awareness of security risks and their prevention through early detection.

"To realize its strategic objectives, Ucom has established new targets, with a crucial requirement being the implementation of necessary reforms and, consequently, the acquisition of the ISO/IEC 27001 certificate. The primary aim of system implementation is the safeguarding of personal data for both subscribers and employees, a focal point in the company's priorities. The certification was awarded following an audit conducted by QuayAudit, an English auditing entity," stated Ucom General Director.

This marks Ucom's second ISO certification. In 2023, the company effectively cleared the international certification audit, securing the ISO 9001 quality management system certificate.


Ucom is the fastest fixed and mobile services provider in Armenia. The company is the absolute leader of the local IPTV and fixed internet market, as well as occupies the key position on the Armenian mobile internet market. With modernized 4G+ and own fiber optic networks meeting the best international standards, Ucom provides a complete set of fixed and mobile communication services to more than 700,000 subscribers.

Bad News For Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan Axis: India To Export Akash Air Defence System To Armenia Under Rs 6,000 Crore Weapons Deal

Dec 20 2023

India is preparing to supply Armenia with an indigenous anti-air system, continuing to broaden its export list to the European nation. This list currently features multi-barrel rocket launchers, artillery guns, various types of ammunition, and drones.

The deliveries of the Akash anti-air systems, produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), is expected to commence shortly, as part of a deal estimated to be worth Rs 6,000 crore, Economic Times reported citing sources.

This homegrown system is currently utilised by the Indian Armed forces and is also available for export to countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.

In April, the Ministry of Defence had mentioned an undisclosed export order for the anti-air system, without specifying the recipient country.

Previously in March, the Army had acquired two more regiments of the air defence system in a deal worth Rs 8,160 crore.

The enhanced version of the system, created by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, boasts a smaller footprint, advanced seekers, and a 360 degree Engagement Capability.

The system has an indigenous content of 82 per cent and 60 per cent of the project cost is awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, to maintain a supply chain for the system.

In November last year, Kalyani Strategic Systems had announced a $155 million deal with an undisclosed international client for artillery guns. This order reportedly too was for Armenia.

This arms sale is part of India's larger geopolitical strategy, which has raised concerns among nations like Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan.

These countries perceive India's growing defense and strategic partnerships with Armenia and Greece as a challenge to their interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Armenia, a traditional ally of Russia, and Greece, a NATO member, are pivotal in India's efforts to assert its influence in the region.

The strengthening of ties with these nations is seen as a direct response to the informal alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan.

India's relationship with Armenia has been growing since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, culminating in a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2019.

This partnership encompasses trade, investment, defense, and cultural cooperation.

Similarly, India's relations with Greece have been on the upswing, with a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in 2020, enhancing cooperation in defense, trade, and energy.

These developments come at a time when the alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan faces internal challenges, including disagreements between Turkey and Azerbaijan over the Eastern Mediterranean.

India's strategic and subtle approach in building these relationships is seen as a long-term strategy to counterbalance the influence of these nations and China's expanding presence in the Mediterranean region.


Greece, Cyprus and Armenia sign tripartite military cooperation plan for 2024

Dec 20 2023
The joint Greece-Cyprus-Armenia action plan for 2024 was signed on December 18 in Yerevan by the Head of the International Organisations Section of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA), Brigadier General Vasileios Tsamis, the Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Cyprus National Guard General Staff, Colonel Alkiviadis Alkiviadis, and the head of the Department of Defence Policy and International Cooperation of Armenia’s Ministry of Defence, Levon Ayvazyan.

As announced today by GEETHA, the 2024 plan is a continuation of the 2023 plan, is part of the Greece-Cyprus-Armenia Tripartite Military Dialogue, and includes, among other actions:

● Staff participation in operational training exercises and activities.

● Joint training of Special Forces – Special Operations Forces.

● Carrying out co-training using simulators.

● The exchange of experiences and lessons learned from the use of Air Defence Systems and Unmanned Combat Aircraft, and more generally on items related to Air Defence.

● Co-training on Management and Leadership subjects.

● Staff meetings and conversations on matters of mutual interest.

With the signing of the plan for 2024, the statement added, the already close military cooperation between the Armed Forces of the three countries is further deepened in the context of their defence coordination, and the joint effort to address common challenges is strengthened to strengthen peace of security and stability in the Caucasus and Eastern Mediterranean region.

Prime Minister receives the President of the International Crisis Group


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received the President of the International Crisis Group, Comfort Ero.

The interlocutors discussed issues related to the regional situation. Reference was made to the possibilities of establishing stability and lasting peace in the South Caucasus, the process of normalizing Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the latest developments, the PM's Office said in a readout.

It is noted that the Prime Minister Pashinyan presented the positions of the Armenian side, including over the principles of the peace treaty.

The sides exchanged ideas on the humanitarian problems of people forcibly displaced from Nagorno Karabakh as a result of ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan, and the programs implemented by the Armenian government to solve them.

The support of the international community was emphasized by both sides.

Armenia’s Artistic Gems: A Must-See Museum Trail

Dec 3 2023

These museums are not just repositories of dusty artefacts; they are vibrant storytelling hubs that bring Armenia's rich heritage to life

Veidehi Gite

Armenia, a country in the heart of the Caucasus region, boasts a rich heritage that spans thousands of years. From its ancient historical sites to its vibrant contemporary art scene, Armenia is a treasure trove for travel enthusiasts. One of the most captivating aspects of this country is its many museums, each housing a unique collection of gems that offer a glimpse into the country's past and present. Embarking on a museum trail across Armenia promises an enriching and immersive experience, unveiling the diverse facets of its art and history.

In 1919, an ethnographer, archaeologist, and folklorist named Yervand Lalayan laid the foundation for what became the first museum of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan. This three-story edifice, now a cornerstone of Armenian cultural heritage, houses an astonishing collection of 400,000 artefacts, including unique archaeological finds, numismatic treasures, and ethnographic specimens. While the museum's first two floors showcase a rotating array of temporary exhibits, it is the third floor that holds the permanent collection.

Begin your journey on the first floor, where a room next to the reception unveils the museum's journey through its formative years, from 1921 to 1931. As you ascend to the third floor, the museum's permanent collection unfolds before you, with a 1,800,000-year-old basalt chopper from Tavush, and the 1,200,000-year-old basalt hand axe from Kurtan, the oldest of its kind in Western Eurasia.

Stone Age exhibits amaze with the artefacts from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods, offering a glimpse into the lives of prehistoric ancestors. exhibit, marvel at stones adorned with The Kingdom of Gods gallery is a veritable feast, offering a glimpse into Armenian wall painting fragments, a 9th-century phallus, and sculptural portraits of men. The statuette of goddess Arubani and God Teisheba, as well as other artefacts from the 4th to 6th centuries BC, are the standouts.

Getting There: For a swift commute from Yerevan Zvartnots Airport to Republic Square, consider a taxi. These reliable rides cost $6 and whisp you to Republic Square in 30 minutes.

Timings and entry fee: The museum is open to the public from 11am to 6pm, with the exception of Mondays when it is closed. The entry fee for adults is INR 312.

Address: 4 Republic Square, 375010, Armenia

Agulesti, a renowned Armenian painter, is affectionately called the "Van Gogh of Armenia.Her home, appropriately named "Armenia in one room," serves as a poignant tribute to Agulesti's profound love for her homeland. Founded in 1982, and housed in the artist's former home, this heritage house museum, nestled on Muratsan Street, is dedicated to the life and work of Lusik Agulesti.

The museum's labyrinthine corridors are a display of Agulesti's portraits and paintings. Intricate silver belts, adorned with intricate motifs and delicate gemstones, shimmer under the soft glow of museum lights. While traditional Armenian garments with elaborate embroidery, invite you to imagine the grace of those who once wore them. Utensils, dolls, weapons, carpets, and sculptures, all lovingly collected and preserved, offer a glimpse into Aguletsi's multifaceted talents and her deep appreciation for Armenian craftsmanship.

Getting There: The Lusik Agulesti House Museum is a mere 15-minute stroll from Yerevan's central train station and a 10-minute cab ride from the city centre.

Timings and entry fee: For a nominal entry fee of INR 415, the Lusik Agulesti House Museum welcomes visitors with open doors from 12 to 7pm.

Address: 79 Muratsan St, Yerevan, Armenia

Another captivating museum that ranks among the top three must-visit destinations in Armenia, is the Dzitoghtsyan House Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life in Gyumri, established in 1984. Built in 1872 by the affluent Dzitoghtsyan family, this stately residence, adorned with the distinctive red tuff stone, stands as a timeless testament to the city's architectural heritage.

Step inside and immerse yourself in the lives of Gyumri's elite, as the meticulously preserved interiors and traditional furnishings transport you back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Furniture, wood carvings, metalwork, carpet weaving, textiles – these are just a few of the artistic expressions that adorn the museum's walls and shelves, each telling a story of the craftsmanship that flourished in Gyumri. Exhibits showcasing woodwork, carpets, hat crafting, embroidery, shoe making, tinwork, and silversmithing will open your eyes to the skills of Gyumri's artisans. But the Dzitoghtsyan House Museum isn't just about objects; it's about the people who breathed life into these spaces.

Getting There: The Dzitoghtsyan House Museum in Gyumri is a 2-hour drive from Yerevan by a cab.

Timings and entry fee: It is open from 9am to 5pm and closed on Mondays. The entry fee is INR 208 for adults.

Address: 47 Haghtanaki Avenue, Gyumri 3116, Armenia

Armenia and Azerbaijan Discussing a Swap of Exclaves

Jamestown Foundation
Nov 29 2023
(Source: Le Monde diplomatique)

On November 28, Alen Simonyan, head of Armenia’s National Assembly, told journalists that “the ball is in Azerbaijan’s court” regarding peace negotiations between the two countries. He added, “Armenia fully supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. … If desired, the peace agreement can be signed within the next 15 days if the government of Azerbaijan demonstrates [real] political will” (AzerNews, November 28). The international community has long insisted that the solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict lies in the restoration and recognition of the Soviet administrative borders between the two republics. Yerevan and Baku, under pressure from the West, have edged toward a solution along these lines, which would involve swapping their respective exclaves. Russia, however, is wary that such an arrangement could finally lead to a comprehensive peace agreement between the two sides, which could further disrupt Moscow’s influence in the South Caucasus.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani exclaves came about during Soviet times as a means of Moscow asserting and maintaining its administrative control. Until the disillusion of the Soviet Union, there were eight Azerbaijani exclaves inside Armenia subordinate to Baku and two Armenian exclaves inside Azerbaijan under Yerevan’s control, despite each being surrounded by the territory of the other. The exclaves were small: the Armenian ones totaled only 124 square kilometers, while the Azerbaijani ones totaled only 50 square kilometers, typically encompassing a single village or group of villages. This led to the exclaves being ignored by outsiders until now, though these regions have remained symbolically important to both Armenia and Azerbaijan (Stoletie, October 28;, November 18;, November 24).

The former Armenian or Azerbaijani residents fled these exclaves in large numbers as the conflict intensified between Yerevan and Baku and military forces on both sides began to occupy these areas. Today, these exclaves contain few, if any, residents of the nationality that led to their creation due to the ongoing conflict over the past three decades. As a result, many believe that these exclaves must be returned to their original countries due to legal precedent and national pride. These supporters take heart from the insistence of the international community that a peace agreement between the two countries must be based on the restoration of the 1991 borders (Eurasianet, August 3, 2021; Window on Eurasia, August 7, 2021; Zerkalo, May 10, 2022)

The issue of transferring these exclaves is attracting increased attention both in the region and, to a lesser extent, internationally. Some observers stipulate that the status of these exclaves is closely tethered to any lasting peace agreement. Others worry that the restoration of these exclaves to their national status before 1991 or an exchange of the exclaves could destabilize the situation, possibly becoming the basis for future conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In a wider sense, the swapping of exclaves between Baku and Yerevan could set a precedent for the resolution of the status of 40 additional exclaves throughout the post-Soviet space. Thirty of these exclaves can be found in Central Asia, where they continue to spark violence.

Since the end of the Second Karabakh War in November 2020, the issue of what to do with Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s exclaves has moved from the margins to center stage (YouTube, July 21, 2021; Kavkaz Uzel, November 3, 2021, December 24, 2021; Window on Eurasia, February 12, 2022). Azerbaijan’s restoration of full control over Karabakh has further elevated the need to fully resolve the situation. On November 24, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said as much and indicated that his earlier calls for the exchange of these territories would serve as the foundation for a broader peace agreement  (Zerkalo, June 14, 2021; TASS, November 24).

Russian and Armenian commentators suggest that Pashinyan’s statement and his continued promotion of an exchange of territory will inevitably undermine his position in Armenia. They argue that such sentiments could raise troubling discussions about future exchanges of territory within the South Caucasus, including the revival of talks about the transfer of control over the Zangezur (Syunik) Corridor from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Additionally, Moscow is anxious that the swapping of exclaves could become a dangerous precedent for the resolution of other border disputes in Central Asia and, more generally, in the post-Soviet space (Vzglyad, November 25). Pashinyan has put himself in an increasingly untenable position politically, in which he is being heavily criticized by those Armenians who fled Karabakh. In contrast, his pursuit of an accord with Baku has pleased many in the international community. Some commentators point out that, though a simple territorial swap would give Armenia more territory than it would Azerbaijan, many Armenians view any further yielding of Armenian territory as completely unacceptable and a threat to the country’s future, even if doing so would facilitate a peace treaty (Vzglyad, October 11).

In agreeing to the principle of an exchange of territory, Pashinyan has exacerbated the conflict over the opening of the Zangezur Corridor. The corridor connects Azerbaijan proper to the Nakhchivan exclave, passing through Armenia’s Syunik Oblast. Some analysts have argued that the opening of this corridor could trigger a new war by reopening the possibility for territorial exchanges. This idea was widely talked about shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. At that time, some proposed that the two countries could resolve their differences if Baku yielded Karabakh, which had an Armenian-majority population, to Armenia in exchange for Armenia yielding the Zangezur Corridor to Azerbaijani control (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 8, 2000; see EDM, October 11).

Russian commentators, in particular, are worried that a territorial swap leading to a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan would be detrimental to the Kremlin’s presence in the South Caucasus. They worry that a peace agreement would reduce Russian influence by eliminating the frictions between Baku and Yerevan that Moscow has routinely exploited and highlight the West’s growing influence in the region. Perhaps even more so, Russia fears the broader impact that peace in the South Caucasus could have on Central Asia, where Soviet-era exclaves are the most numerous and the sites of serious border disputes. The resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict—especially if it involves the swapping of exclaves—could trigger a significant decline for Russian influence not only in the South Caucasus but in Central Asia as well.

Armenia, Iran intend to expand energy ties: Sanosyan

Mehr News Agency, Iran
Nov 28 2023

TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (MNA) – Armenia and Iran seek to increase their cooperation under the gas for electricity program, Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Gnel Sanosyan said today.

As part of gas for electricity swap deal Armenia has been receiving natural gas from Iran since 2009, which is converted into electricity here and is shipped back to Iran- 3 kWh of electricity for one cubic meters of natural gas, local Armenian media ARKA news agency reported.

Armenia imports annually 365 million cubic meters of gas from Iran. In 2023 August Armenia and Iran signed a document to extend the Natural Gas for Electricity agreement until 2030.

Under the revised agreement Iran will increase exports of natural gas to Armenia while Armenia will increase exports of electricity to Iran, the Armenia media said.

Sanosyan noted today that the Iran-Armenia natural gas pipeline has the capacity to ship more gas from Iran and there is no need for a new pipeline as the existing one is not used to its full capacity.


PM Pashinyan: Armenia fully and unequivocally defends Georgia’s territorial integrity

European Interest
Nov 25 2023

On November 24, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan answered video questions of Armenian citizens. The Armenian Prime Minister stressed that Armenia fully and unequivocally supports the territorial integrity of Georgia. 

The public asked Pashinyan whether Armenia can recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories.

“We fully and unequivocally defend the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and democracy of Georgia,” the Prime Minister said.

Since August 2008, the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been under Russian occupation. The Russian forces created two “independent republics” not recognised by the UN. 

Pashinyan underlined noticeable differences in Armenia’s UN voting preferences before and after 2019.

After its independence, Armenia aligned with Russia and joined the Russia-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The Kremlin also politically controlled the country.

However, after the 2018 Armenian Revolution, which consisted of pro-democracy, anti-government protests led by the actual PM Nikol Pasinyan, the relations between Armenia and Russia deteriorated. Since 2020, due to the developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh War and the 2023 Azerbaijani offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia has moved a significant distance from the Kremlin.

Prime Minister Pasinyan is trying to bring his country closer to the EU and Western democracies.

Armenia and Georgia are increasing their cooperation and exchange of diplomatic support internationally and bilaterally.

On 17 November 2023, Prime Minister Pashinyan received a delegation from Georgia led by the Minister of Defence, Juansher Burchuladze.

During the meeting, the Armenian PM noted that relations between Armenia and Georgia continue to develop dynamically, and the two countries cooperate in various fields. 

The Prime Minister emphasised that this is important for the Armenian government.

During the meeting, the two parts discussed issues related to cooperation and exchange of experience in security and defence, as well as regional peace and stability.

Armenia, Saudi Arabia establish diplomatic relations

MEHR News Agency
Nov 26 2023

TEHRAN, Nov. 26 (MNA) – Armenia and Saudi Arabia have established official diplomatic relations, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

"The two countries established diplomatic relations guided by the intention to strengthen bilateral relations and expand the scope of cooperation as well as to support international security and peace," the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The protocol on the establishment of the ties was signed in Abu Dhabi by Armenian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Karen Grigoryan and Saudi Ambassador to the UAE Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Angari, the statement added, TASS reported.

Saudi Arabia had not established diplomatic relations with Armenia for several decades due to Baku-Yerevan disputes over the Karabakh region.

Saudi Arabia's policy towards Armenia changed in October 2021 with the visit of the then President of Armenia, Armen Sargsyan, to Riyadh.