Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 04-01-24

 17:16, 4 January 2024

YEREVAN, 4 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 4 January, USD exchange rate up by 0.14 drams to 405.42 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.29 drams to 444.14 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.01 drams to 4.44 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 3.42 drams to 515.09 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price down by 322.43 drams to 26617.86 drams. Silver price down by 8.56 drams to 303.44 drams.

Armenian PM holds meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan has met with the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

PM Pashinyan welcomed the Iranian FM’s visit to Armenia.

“I am happy to see the high-level contacts and mutual visits between the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is important not only for the further development of our bilateral relations, but also in terms of being more understandable to each other in foreign relations and generally in our policies. Of course, we constantly discuss bilateral agenda issues and I am glad that there is a working and sincere atmosphere in these discussions. I am also aware that you have had a productive discussion with the Armenian foreign minister, and that you have active and intensive working contacts, for which I am also glad. I’d also like to hear from you the agenda of your visit and expected results,” the Prime Minister said.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian conveyed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s greetings.

“The President asked me to cordially congratulate you and the friendly people of the Republic of Armenia on New Year and Christmas. Your Excellency, I am very happy to meet you. I’ve had a very good, constructive and useful discussion with my colleague, Foreign Minister of Armenia Mr. Mirzoyan. We are here in the Republic of Armenia today to once again emphasize how much attention we pay to bilateral relations and its importance. Our assessment is that the two countries are on the right track. We are witnessing the development of relations in the political, economic, cultural, educational and humanitarian areas, and at the same time we pay special attention to the deepening of relations,” the Iranian FM said.

A number of issues related to the Armenia-Iran partnership agenda were discussed. They discussed the enhancement of bilateral trade-economic ties, as well as ongoing and upcoming projects in infrastructure and other sectors.

Issues of regional significance were also discussed, including on the processes around the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty, the unblocking of regional transport connections on the basis of the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality and reciprocity, and the Armenian government’s Crossroads of Peace project. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran supports the unblocking process based on the abovementioned principles, particularly the Crossroads of Peace project.

Iran’s historical relations with Armenia developing every day: Amir-Abdollahian


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS. The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said during Wednesday’s joint press conference, conveying congratulations to the Armenian people on behalf of the government and parliament of Iran for the upcoming New Year and Christmas.

"Iran has had historical relations with neighboring Armenia, which are further developing, deepening, and reaching a high level day by day.

We have had important discussions with my Armenian counterpart and  the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan regarding the necessity of establishing lasting peace in the South Caucasus and the role of Iran in that process, which can be a guarantee of stability and peace. We have a common opinion on various issues of cooperation.

We attach great importance to the opening of the consulate of the Republic of Iran in Kapan, which offers a range of services, promoting cooperation, particularly in the economic domain. I have conveyed Tehran’s official agreement to the Armenian authorities regarding  the establishment of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Tabriz.

I am hopeful that my colleague and I will witness this event at the beginning of the new year by participating in the official opening ceremony," noted  the Foreign Minister of Iran.

According to him, the Iranian side highly appreciates the development of bilateral relations, as a result of joint work over the past two years, as well as the important agreements reached during the telephone conversation between  Pashinyan and Raisi.

Iran’s Foreign Minister underscored the importance of strengthening cooperation between the government agencies, parliaments, and the private sector to ensure that the peoples of both countries feel tangible results.

“We especially support the launch of the North-South transit route and the uninterrupted operation of regional communication channels,”  Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian noted.

France committed to friendship with Armenia – Bertrand Bouyx


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 11, ARMENPRESS. Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan on Monday held a meeting with Member of the National Assembly of France, head of the French delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Bertrand Bouyx.

Speaker Simonyan lauded the warm relations and productive cooperation between the Armenian and French delegations in PACE.

He thanked the 97-member France-Armenia parliamentary friendship group, which includes Bouyx, for supporting Armenia, the parliament’s press service said in a readout.

During the meeting the sides discussed the strengthening and deepening Armenia-EU ties, the Armenia-EU visa liberalization dialogue, opportunities for intensifying bilateral economic ties and the unwavering implementation of democratic reforms in Armenia.

Bertrand Bouyx said it’s inspiring to see that democracy in Armenia is strong and visible despite the difficulties. He said Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute was an important step.

Speaking about regional challenges, the sides exchanges views on the ongoing talks around a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the immediate release of Armenian captives held in Azerbaijan, as well as the normalization between Armenia and Turkiye.

Bouyx reiterated that France is committed to its friendship with Armenia and stands with Armenia at this difficult time.

Vice Speaker Ruben Rubinyan, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE, also participated in the meeting.

Milken Institute [GWU] launches chronic disease research partnership with Armenian university

George Washington University
Dec 11 2023

The Milken Institute School of Public Health will partner with an Armenian university to research the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease for the next five years, officials announced last month.

Milken and the American University of Armenia Turpanjian College of Health Sciences, or AUA, in Yerevan, Armenia, will annually enroll five to six Armenian students to take courses on chronic diseases from Milken and AUA faculty and conduct research between September 2023 and 2027 on AUA’s campus. Carla Berg, a principal investigator of the project, said the institutions aim to develop a formal prevention program for noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs — diseases like heart disease and diabetes that do not spread through infection — allowing both institutions to share research findings to help inform health policy related to NCD prevention.

Unhealthy eating habits, smoking tobacco, infrequent exercise and high alcohol consumption are the behavioral origins of susceptibility to NCDs. Generational poverty can also increase the risk of developing NCDs because of insufficient access to health care, indicating the growing need for global research into their prevention, according to a 2023 study published in the National Library of Medicine.

“We hope to enhance research capacity related to NCD prevention and control, emphasizing social determinants of NCD risk factors,” Berg, a professor of prevention and community health at GW, said in an email.

Berg said selected Armenian citizens studying medicine receive covered tuition from the U.S National Institute of Health Fogarty International Center and additional funds to conduct research. Principal investigators Berg and Nino Paichadze, Milken professors, and AUA professor Varduhi Petrosyan are leading the project.

Berg said researchers want to share practices that mitigate the development of NCDs, like improving social conditions and reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption, to advance their research. She said the program looks to widen the scope of research into NCD prevention with the students launching research careers focused on NCDs at the end of the program’s five years.

AUA held the introductory meeting for the program from Oct. 9 to 11 where program leaders convened to share their research findings related to NCDs, like the high risk of NCD development linked with global tobacco use, with participating students who will research similar topics.

“One of my mottos is, ‘To whom much is given, much will be required,’” Berg said. “I feel like it is incumbent on countries with resources and expertise to share and elevate our neighbors around the globe.”

Experts in global health and NCDs said cooperation and education across national borders is crucial to advancing research into NCDs, which affect people globally.

Olatunji Alese, an associate professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University, said international partnerships can be beneficial in reducing the time required to make necessary medical breakthroughs to help patients.

“Being able to collaborate with investigators, clinicians all over the world is advantageous because that way there can be a rapid translation of advances toward patient benefit,” Alese said. “Literally reducing the time it takes for such discoveries, usually in the lab, to be translated into actually helping patients at the bedside.”

Alese said mentored research ensures that medical students are equipped to respond to current circumstances in global health, like the increasing of chronic degenerative diseases like cancer and progress toward treatment of infectious disease in developed countries.

“One of the biggest ways to improve outcomes is training the next generation of health care providers,” Alese said. “That’s no no-brainer. Making sure there is adequate education and training for the next generation of oncologists not just in the U.S., but globally, is extremely important.”

Cher Dallal, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Maryland, said the rising toll of global deaths caused by NCDs indicates the growing need to study their prevention.

“Educating medical students on noncommunicable diseases, and particularly the risk factors for these diseases, such as obesity and physical inactivity, is crucial for prevention and ultimately, reducing mortality rates and improving the overall health of adults worldwide,” Dallal said in an email.

Dallal said there are specific benefits to studying these diseases from a global perspective, like progressing research regarding cancer control and prevention. She said global inequalities in socioeconomic factors like health care access influence the likelihood of developing a NCD.

“Incidence and mortality rates for cancer differ globally with documented geographical heterogeneity,” Dallal said. “These differences are, in part, due to the distribution and prevalence of risk factors, screening modalities, access to care, social determinants of health and other potential factors.”

Caryn Peterson, an assistant research professor studying epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said studying NCDs from a socioeconomic perspective can help researchers understand the global health disparities that countries experience and can inform policies of targeted prevention. She said structural factors like access to quality health care and an individual’s exposure to risks like air pollution can increase susceptibility to NCDs.

“All of these things play a huge role and to ignore them is to create an incomplete picture of the cause of disease and in particular, the cause of health disparities,” Peterson said.

"You can’t invade Armenia’s territory". Response of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia to Aliyev

Dec 7 2023
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Armenia’s response to Aliyev’s statement

“You cannot kill an Armenian soldier, invade Armenian territory and then say you are afraid of revanchism,” Armenian Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan said.

A day ago Ilham Aliyev said, “Azerbaijan needs guarantees that there will be no attempts of revanchism in Armenia.” Responding to the Azerbaijani President’s statement, Simonyan said that Aliyev “should look for these guarantees in himself and his policy, a lot depends on the Azerbaijani side”.

The Speaker of the National Assembly believes that it is also impossible to refuse meetings, discussions on the peace agreement and at the same time worry “about revanchism”. And if there are such fears, Simonyan suggests Azerbaijan “establish normal relations with its immediate neighbors, which it cannot change”.

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According to the Speaker, the peace agreement can be signed as soon as possible if Azerbaijan does not delay the process.

“If the Azerbaijani side does not change anything, does not present a new proposal, then of course the agreement can be concluded within a few days.”

He believes that peace can be achieved if the Azerbaijani president starts taking “positive steps, changes his rhetoric and participates in the meetings that are organized on various platforms.”

He says that what matters for Armenia is not what negotiating platform the agreement will be signed on, but that this platform be effective.

Regarding Azerbaijan’s refusal to participate in negotiations on Western platforms, he expressed the following opinion:

“The matter is the consequences of the ethnic cleansing carried out by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. The approaches and methods that international partners saw put Azerbaijan in a rather difficult situation. This is a fact.”

According to political scientist Gurgen Simonyan, Armenia should insist that Azerbaijan “appear at the negotiations on impartial platforms of Europe and the United States”

Simonyan also touched upon Aliyev’s statement that if Armenia wants to include the issues of the rights of Karabakh Armenians in the draft peace agreement, it should also include the issue of the return of Azerbaijanis who left Armenia:

“Azerbaijan is trying to put on the agenda issues that artificially, perhaps, will make it difficult to conclude a peace agreement. This is a negative trend. The parties know very well what they are negotiating about.”

The Speaker assures that the Armenian side truly seeks peace, not just to sign a paper, and it is not a pretense.

The head of the parliament says that manifestation of hatred towards Armenians has become a “brand” in Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, he does not notice such attitude towards Azerbaijanis in Armenia.

“Moreover, oppositionists and journalists accuse Armenian officials of being too loyal to Azerbaijan. Time will pass, and I do not rule out that Armenians will go to live in Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijanis will come to live in Armenia and trade with each other. We are going toward peace, there is no other way,” he said.

For Simonyan, the statements “that this is an unsolvable problem because we had conflicts” are unacceptable. He cites the example of France and England, which “waged war for 116 years” but managed to overcome the conflict.

As an example, the Speaker recalled the sending of humanitarian aid from Armenia to Ukraine, due to which “there was a lot of noise” in Russia. Although Azerbaijan sent aid to Kiev more than once, “we did not hear a single word from the ‘fair’ Russian Foreign Ministry,” Simonyan said.

He went on to list violations by the Azerbaijani side of points of the November 2020 statement, including the return of prisoners. He also recalled that the Azerbaijani military killed Russian peacekeepers:

“Unfortunately, Russia reacts very sharply in the case of Armenia, while in the case of Azerbaijan it either cannot or pretends not to have noticed in order to save face, the good face in a bad game.”

In Simonyan’s opinion, Moscow is trying to keep control of the situation in the region for itself, not realizing that it lost it long ago. He considers the military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2023 the most vivid example of this. He says that the Azerbaijani side itself launched the operation, but Moscow’s appeals were addressed to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Russia as a partner and guarantor of the November 9, 2020 document did not fulfill its functions. What were the peacekeepers doing, escorting Armenians leaving Artsakh? Was that their function? The peacekeepers did nothing in Nagorno-Karabakh. And there were casualties among them 2-3 hours after the end of hostilities.”

Armenia still has not received weapons worth hundreds of millions of dollars paid to Russia. According to the parliament speaker, there is a chance to solve the problem of undelivered weapons in the atmosphere of partnership:

“And the Russian side has a chance to show that it remains faithful to its proclaimed principles and signed documents. If the commitments are not fulfilled, which is a fact, Armenia should unequivocally defend its interests”.


Asbarez: EU Says Azerbaijan’s Attack on Artsakh was ‘Brutal Power Politics’

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign affairs chief, addresses a human rights forum in Brussels on Dec. 5

Baku Urged to Guarantee Rights of Artsakh Armenians

The European Union on Tuesday faulted Azerbaijan for attempting to resolve the Artsakh conflict through the use of force and urged Baku to guarantee the rights of the Armenians of Artsakh to return to their homes.

Addressing the EU-NGO Forum in Brussels, Josep Borrell, the EU foreign affairs chief lamented the current world order of what he called “the return of brutal power politics.”

“More and more conflicts are being solved by the use of force,” Borrell emphasized. “Something that was supposed to be forbidden. Not the use of force to solve conflicts, but what I see is that there are more and more conflicts [are] being solved by force.”

“Look for example at what has happened in Azerbaijan and Armenia. A long-frozen conflict that suddenly has been – I would not say solved – but decisively determined by a military intervention that, in one week, made 150,000 people move. In one week. Like this. 150,000 people had to abandon their houses and run. And the international community regretted [it], expressed concern, sent humanitarian support, but it happened [with] the use of force,” Borrell added.

Borrell reminded that the European Union had condemned Azerbaijan’s military attack against Artsakh in September and had criticized the human casualties and the mass migration of Artsakh Armenians that took place due to the violence.

Later, while responding to written questions submitted by forum participants, Borrell called on Azerbaijan to protect and guarantee the rights of Artsakh Armenians, including allowing them to return to their homes.

Borrell also said that Brussels wants a permanent international presence in the region.

“The property and cultural heritage of Karabakh Armenians must be protected,” Borrell also said.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry reacted with a scathing statement that not only condemned Borrell, but accused the EU of having an anti-Azerbaijan bias.

“EU official’s erroneous opinions which once again gravely distort the reality are unacceptable,” Aykhan Hajizada, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokesperson said.

“The indifference by Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the EU Commission toward the illegal existence of the Armenian armed forces in the territory of Azerbaijan, which was the primary source of threats to Azerbaijan and led to counter-terrorism measures, is an example of a clear bias against our country,” added Hajizada.

The foreign ministry spokesperson scolded Borrell for saying that 150,000 Armenians had fled Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s attack, saying that the EU leader’s “exaggeration” could “lead to serious misunderstandings.”

“Such false statements by Josep Borrell undermine EU’s mediation efforts and EU Council President Charles Michel’s mission in this direction,” added Hajizada.

Revolutionising rehabilitation in Armenia

EBRD – European Bank
Nov 24 2023

By Nick Thompson

Based in Yerevan, Armenia, QaylTech is the first Armenian company to specialise in the production of innovative devices that employ virtual reality headsets to aid in the rehabilitation process of people with disabilities. The aim is to improve their quality of life and, where possible, restore mobility.

With support from the EBRD’s Women in Business programme and Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), QaylTech sought to develop a comprehensive business development plan and roadmap for growth, unlocking new markets and enabling it to build on its innovations.

Founders in motion

Officially founded in 2020, QaylTech is run by business – and real-life – partners and pioneers, CEO Lilit Guroghlyan and her husband, Dr. Davit Arsenyan. The couple are leaders of innovation in the next frontier of healthcare, specialising in the creation and production of rehabilitation devices, equipment and assistive technologies for children and adults with temporary or life-long disabilities.

In Armenian, ‘Qayl’ translates to ‘walk’ or ‘move’, and the name QaylTech blends this with the company’s novel use of emerging technology to help its patients.

Driven by humanitarian and social concerns, “The aim of the company is to help solve global problems with technological solutions,” says Lilit.

EBRD support

When QaylTech was still at the start-up stage, its founders realised it needed new investment to grow, which was impossible without a financial evaluation and plan.

“After learning that the EBRD would support us and provide co-financing, we decided to apply,” Lilit explains. “It was then possible to present an assessment of the company to investors and obtain seed financing. Thanks to this opportunity, we have added new members to the team, developed new products, and acquired new partners in foreign markets.”

Since the EBRD project, the company has recorded growth of around 300 per cent and QaylTech was valued at about $8.5 million last year: “We have seen a leap in growth, resulting from new licenses and entering international markets. Now we are moving on to the next stage – investment,” she says.

Virtual innovations

Rehabilitation can be a long and onerous journey, often leading to frustration and disengagement.

QaylTech’s latest innovation, the MetaGait device, seeks to address this through its unique mobility rehabilitation process. It comprises a special mechanism which activates the leg and arm muscles – as well as other parts of the body – and is complemented by an immersive virtual reality (VR) headset, which allows patients to explore other worlds in the metaverse and even ski in the mountains while they undergo therapy.

This simulated environment provides some practical escapism for the patient while they use the MetaGait device and establish new neural connections in the brain, activating their muscle memory accordingly. The device provides the flexibility to allow therapies to be tailored to individual needs.

With this complementary technology, QaylTech is demonstrating that VR is no longer confined to the realms of gaming and entertainment and that these cutting-edge technologies can also make remarkable breakthroughs in healthcare, particularly in the field of rehabilitation.

Creating a new reality

Virtual reality has the potential to change the face of rehabilitation for individuals with mobility issues and disabilities around the world.

By enhancing engagement, personalising therapy, promoting neuroplasticity, and improving accessibility, these technologies are revolutionising the approach to the rehabilitation process. As they continue to evolve and become more widely available, we can expect even more breakthroughs in the field, offering newfound hope and independence to those on their journey to recovery.

Looking to the future, QaylTech’s goal is to build on its success: expanding further into international markets and continuing to offer large-scale, high-quality and innovative approaches to rehabilitative medical equipment.

“Every idea is led by a team who appreciate the importance of the work being done despite the challenges. At QaylTech we have fostered a dream team, with a unity that allow us to develop and make our ideas a reality,” says Lilit. “We are all motivated by being in a position to give a boost to production in Armenia: creating new employment opportunities, solving health problems, and contributing to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities,” she concludes.

A very noble goal from a CEO who is clearly committed to nurturing a more inclusive society for her patients and more broadly in Armenia and beyond.

Armenia bolsters defence capabilities with Indian MArG 155mm howitzers

  Nov 21 2023

Armenia is planning to enhance its military capabilities by procuring MArG 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers manufactured by Pune-based Bharat Forge in India. These howitzers are a modern artillery system that offers power, precision, and mobility. With the ability to negotiate gradients up to 30°, the MArG 155mm/39 caliber stands out for its exceptional all-terrain maneuverability. Its ‘shoot and scoot’ capability adds versatility, making it a formidable weapon in modern combat scenarios.
India's export of indigenous defence technology has reached a pivotal moment with this recent move. The MArG 155mm/39 caliber – BR is an exceptional artillery system that offers mobility and precision. Its acquisition by Armenia is considered a significant development for India's defence industry. Armenian officials have visited India recently to test the howitzer and finalize the deal with Bharat Forge. This acquisition strengthens the strategic partnership between India and Armenia and positions India as a key supplier of defence equipment to Armenia.
In 2020, Armenia procured four Swathi mobile radar units from India, and in September 2022, a US$245 million contract was signed for Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank rockets, and various types of ammunition. This latest purchase adds to a series of acquisitions by Armenia from India since 2022, including the Akash Surface-to-air missile system, 155mm towed ATAGS howitzers, Zen Anti-Drone Systems, 30mm and 40mm grenades, PINAKA multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank munitions, and ammunition. These acquisitions underscore the deepening collaboration in defence between the two nations, reinforcing Armenia’s defence capabilities.
Based on information in the public domain, since 1991, tensions have brewed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, sparked by the Armenian military’s occupation of Karabakh an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan along with seven neighboring regions. It has been reported in a section of the media that in a decisive move during the autumn of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated a significant portion of this territory through a war that concluded with a Russian-brokered peace agreement, paving the way for diplomatic normalization.
In a recent development in September, the Azerbaijani army launched a counter-terrorism operation in Karabakh with the aim of establishing constitutional order. This resulted in the surrender of illegal separatist forces in the region. Both sides have agreed to basic principles for a peace treaty, according to Russia's Tass News Agency. However, there are still differences in their diplomatic language.

U.S. developing record of what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh, says State Department official

 10:39, 16 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 16, ARMENPRESS. The United States is developing a record of what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh and is working on support for Armenia, James O’Brien, Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, announced during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reported.

During the hearing on “The Future of Nagorno-Karabakh” held by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, James O’Brien noted that the subject of investigation is not only what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh during September when the region’s virtually entire ethnic Armenian population fled their homes within a matter of days after a lightening military operation launched by Azerbaijan, but also during the months preceding it.

“We have commissioned independent investigators, we have our own investigators working in the field. There is information available from international non-governmental organizations and other investigators. And as we develop the record of what happened, we will be completely open about what we are finding. I can’t put a timeline on this investigation, but we will inform you as we go forward,” RFE/RL’s Armenian service quoted O’Brien as saying.

“The second thing we are working on is support for Armenia… I am very impressed by the Armenian government’s commitment to reforms and diversifying relationships that it has – economic, political, energy and security – particularly in the Trans-Atlantic community. And I think we owe it to the people of Armenia to help them through this difficult situation so that those choices they have made very bravely are able to help them to make them have a more secure, stable and prosperous future,” the U.S. diplomat added.

Speaking on behalf of the Department of State, O’Brien said that Washington insists that Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians have complete access to the territory, on the protection of the property and culture and that they receive adequate information “so that they can make real choice about their future.”