Sports: Armenian football team head coach: We have come here to win

Panorama, Armenia
Nov 16 2018
Sport 10:53 16/11/2018 Armenia

"We are preparing for the match, we hope that everything will be fine, we have come here to win, we’ll try to demonstrate our best qualities to reach the desired result,” head coach of the Armenian national football team, Armen Gyulbudaghyants said at a press conference in Gibraltar Thursday, according to the FFA official website.

Gibraltar-Armenia match is due today at 20h45 CET.
On October 10, Armenia-Gibraltar UEFA Nations League match ended with the score 0:1.

Pre-match training of the Armenian national team took place at "Victoria" stadium in Gibraltar.

Azerbaijani Press: Jean-Francois Mancel: Sahakyan’s visit to France is unacceptable

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Nov 16 2018

By  Trend

The France visit of the “head” of the separatist regime, created in occupied Azerbaijani territories, is unacceptable, Jean-Francois Mancel, President of the Association of Friends of Azerbaijan in France, told Trend.

He was commenting on the illegal visit of Bako Sahakyan to France.

“The Association has always demanded from the French government to prevent any links between the French local authority and representatives of the illegal regime created on Azerbaijan's occupied territories,” said Mancel. “Sahakyan’s entry to France even with Armenian passport is unacceptable.”

He pointed out that the Association expects the French government to reaffirm its position which has always been perfectly clear so far.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that France’s constant double standards approach makes Azerbaijan reconsider its ties with that country.

Bako Sahakyan's visit to France, presenting himself as the “head” of the separatist regime established in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, is another unsuccessful attempt to encourage that puppet entity at the international level, the Foreign Ministry said.

“France, which created conditions for that visit and accepted "representatives" of the illegal regime, by this step not only violates the spirit of bilateral relations and the signed agreements, but also demonstrates disregard for supremacy of norms and principles of international law and the undertaken obligations,” reads the statement.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

168: Cabinet rejects bill on banning same-sex marriage citing existing prohibition in Constitution


The Cabinet today issued a negative conclusion for the bill submitted by MP Tigran Urikhanyan on amending the Family Code of Armenia.

Deputy minister of labor and social affairs Arsen Manukyan said that the lawmaker proposes to add a ban on same-sex marriage in the code’s marriage regulations, thus ruling out same-sex marriages.

“Article 35 of the Constitution already defines that marriage is possible [only] between a man and a woman. In addition, the necessary conditions for marriage are also stipulated in Article 10 of the Family Code, according to which a marriage registration requires mutual consent between the man and the woman, as well as marriageable age – 18 or above,” the deputy minister said.

The Cabinet rejected MP Tigran Urikhanyan’s bill because the Constitution already bans same-sex marriage.

In order to avoid misinterpretations and manipulations, caretaker Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan asked the deputy minister: “Suppose two men or two women enter a [marriage registration office] and say they want to marry…is there any legislative way or possibility for their marriage to be in fact registered?”

The deputy minister said there is no such possibility, since the Constitution Cleary states that a marriage can be registered between a man and a woman.

168: Business Armenia CEO resigns


Executive Director of the Business Armenia Foundation Armen Avak Avakian resigned, Armenpress reports Avakian said on Facebook.

“Today I submitted my resignation letter to the Board of Trustees of the Business Armenia Foundayion.

Dear team, staff and foreign representatives of the Business Armenia,

Passing through many difficulties we have reformed the Development Foundation of Armenia by an interesting work and created the Business Armenia. Thanks to you and your work Business Armenia today not only has become one of the strongest structures in our country, but positioned Armenia either in the first or the highest ranks among 100 countries being appreciated by major international organizations. In any situation our team remained firm and maintained the “family warmth”. It is thanks to you and your work that the Business Armenia became the most important friend and supporter of investors and businessmen.

Thank you for the pleasant work, wish you new achievements.

Dear businessmen and investors,

The most pleasant part of my activities was to see the “fire” and “sparkle” of your eyes in terms of any solved issue, overcoming difficulty and decision-making for new investments. Regardless of the changes, the Business Armenia will continue working, solving issues and supporting you while making new investments or exports in our country.

The firm bases for the structure’s activity are already set up and it already operates like a system. In the status of acting CEO, I will ensure the continuation of investment programs and Foundation’s activities, and the smooth transition after the election of the new CEO.

I wish you good luck and productive work”, Avakian said.

Man suspected in statutory rape of 14-year old girl


A man from Aragatsnotn Province is suspected in kidnapping and raping a 14-year old girl from the province of Armavir, authorities said.

The 21 year old suspect has been charged and placed under arrest, the investigative committee said.

The girl’s mother reported on November 6 to police that her underage daughter has been kidnapped earlier on the same day in what is known as “bride kidnapping”.

Authorities initially launched criminal proceedings on kidnapping.

The investigation identified the perpetrator and several circumstances of the incident, authorities said.

The suspect was arrested on November 9.

The girl was examined by medical experts. The suspect was charged with statutory rape based on evidence. He was placed under pre-trial detention. Authorities did not disclose other details.

Investigation ain’t no conviction, tax chief on Gazprom Armenia probe


Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan attended the conference “Investments and trade”. Parliamentarians, ministers, business representatives, chairmen of trade and industry chambers, representatives of major companies from 20 countries participated in the conference.

Pashinyan saluted the intentions of the businessmen participating in the conference to invest in Armenia. “Unfortunately, not so long ago some people used the words corruption and poverty when referring to our country and emphasized the factor that Armenia is an agrarian country. Following the non-violent, popular velvet revolution of Armenia in April-May we set a task to make Armenia a lawful country and to encourage labor and high technologies. And for reaching this goal we consider businessmen our best allies, who want to make new investments in Armenia. We want to promote labor in the Republic of Armenia and tell each investor to come and do business in Armenia, to become rich and make others rich. We invite every investor to Armenia for recording success and inspiring others by their success”, the acting PM said.

Pashinyan emphasized that today favorable conditions for investments have been created in Armenia, since equality before the law has been established in Armenia. “I think it’s a tragedy when the head of a country is engaged in business and has business interests. I think it’s really a priority factor for promoting business. Therefore, I have good news for all of you. I am out of competition” Pashinyan said.

The participants of the 3-day conference will have the opportunity to get familiarized with the business and investment environment of Armenia, and discuss issues referring to the prospects of investing in Armenia. The delegates will visit various companies, and will get acquainted with the legal and economic specifications of investing in Armenia.

National Security Service reveals, prevents several corruption-related crimes involving officials


The National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia has revealed and prevented a number of corruption-related crimes, the press department of the service said.

One case concerns a group of locals of the Aragatsotn Province who are suspected in illegally appropriating and selling nearly 600 trucks of chernozem – a black-colored fertile soil. The group operated during April-November of 2018 and sold each batch (one truck) for 65-110,000 drams.

The NSS said that the suspects have regularly bribed two local officials of the ministry of nature protection to have a green light for their illegal activities.

Four people in total have been charged and are currently under investigation.

Another revealed case concerns the smuggling of automobile tires from Georgia. According to preliminary information, two citizens of Armenia have bribed a customs inspector at the Bagratashen checkpoint to carry out their illegal actions without obstruction.

The NSS is also probing misappropriations at the Tashir community municipality of Lori Province, where several officials are suspected in embezzling a total of 114 million drams.

Investigations into illegal loggings in Tavush involving officials are also underway.

RFE/RL Armenian Report – 11/15/2018


Armenian Gas Operator Accused Of Tax Evasion

        • Anush Muradian

Armenia - The Gazprom Armenia headquarters in Yerevan, 31Oct2014.

Tax authorities have accused Armenia’s national gas distribution owned by 
Russia’s Gazprom giant of evading millions of dollars worth of taxes.

The State Revenue Committee (SRC) announced the launch of criminal proceedings 
against the Gazprom Armenia operator on Wednesday. The SRC claimed that the 
company inflated its expenditures and underreported its earnings in 2016 and 
2017. It said that translated into “several billion drams” in unpaid taxes.

No Gazprom Armenia executives have been formally charged yet.

The head of the SRC’s investigative division, Eduard Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s 
Armenian service ( on Thursday that tax inspectors are still 
“ascertaining” the scale of the alleged tax evasion. “The criminal 
investigation has only just started,” he said.

Gazprom Armenia strongly denied the accusations. “I insist that they are 
baseless,” its chief executive, Hrant Tadevosian, told a news conference.

“Our company has repeatedly received SRC certificates of a ‘law-abiding 
taxpayer,’ most recently in September,” he said.

Tadevosian also accused the government agency comprising the Armenian tax and 
customs services of damaging the gas operator’s business reputation. He claimed 
that the criminal case has called into serious question Gazprom Armenia’s plans 
to obtain a multimillion-dollar loan from a Russian commercial bank.

The SRC brought the tax fraud case amid ongoing negotiations between the 
Armenian government and Gazprom on the price of Russian natural gas delivered 
to Armenia. The most recent Russian-Armenian gas agreement set the price at 
$150 per thousand cubic meters. It expires in December.

The government hopes that Gazprom will cut the tariff or at least keep it 
unchanged. The Russian gas monopoly has given no such indications so far.

Pashinian Demands Clean Elections

        • Nane Sahakian

Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian holds a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, 18 
October 2018.

Prime Minister on Nikol Pashinian on Thursday told relevant government bodies 
to ensure the freedom and fairness of Armenia’s upcoming general elections 
which he is expected to win by a landslide.

“We must not just hold the best elections in the history of the Third 
[Armenian] Republic. We must hold elections meeting the highest international 
standards,” he said at a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

In this context, Pashinian warned against any abuse of government levers that 
could influence the election outcome. He said that civil servants, school 
teachers and other public sector employees must not be forced to campaign for 
any political force, something which was commonplace in past Armenian elections.

Pashinian went on to warn that any election official miscounting ballots or 
committing other types of fraud would be strictly punished. He also ordered 
law-enforcement bodies to prevent vote buying, which was reportedly widespread 
in the last parliamentary elections held in April 2017.

The Armenian police chief, Valeri Osipian, has already promised tough action 
against any attempts to hand out vote bribes. He issued similar warnings ahead 
of the September municipal elections in Yerevan that were marked by very few 
reports of serious fraud.

In their assessment of the 2017 polls won by Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican 
Party, Western observers cited “credible information about vote-buying and 
pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies.”

Pashinian tops the list of his My Step alliance’s candidates for the December 9 
snap elections. The bloc is widely regarded as the election favorite thanks to 
the 43-year-old premier’s popularity.

Former Sarkisian Bodyguard Again Arrested

        • Arus Hakobian

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (L) and his chief bodyguard Vachagan 
Ghazarian, 11 July 2015.

A high-ranking officer who headed former President Serzh Sarkisian’s security 
detail for over two decades was again arrested on Thursday almost five months 
after being charged with corruption.

Vachagan Ghazarian stands accused of failing to declare to a state 
anti-corruption body more than $2.5 million in cash that was mostly held in his 
and his wife’s bank accounts.

Ghazarian was obliged to do that in his capacity as deputy head of a security 
agency providing bodyguards to Armenia’s leaders. He held that position until 
the end of May.

Ghazarian, was first detained on June 25 five days after police raided his 
apartment in Yerevan and found $1.1 million and 230,000 euros ($267,000) in 
cash there. The National Security Service (NSS) said he carried a further 
$120,000 and 436 million drams ($900,000) in a bag when he was caught outside a 
commercial bank in Yerevan.

A district court in Yerevan promptly allowed investigators to keep Ghazarian 
under pre-trial arrest on charges of illegal enrichment and false asset 
disclosure. But Armenia’s Court of Appeals ordered his release from custody on 
July 20 after he offered to post a 1 billion-dram ($2.1 million) bail.

The higher Court of Cassation struck down that ruling on Thursday following an 
appeal lodged by prosecutors. The Special Investigative Service (SIS), a 
law-enforcement body conducting the high-profile probe, took him into custody 
later in the day.

Ghazarian’s lawyer could not be reached for comment. The once influential 
officer denies the accusations leveled against him. He is the first person in 
Armenia facing such charges.

Sarkisian has still not publicly commented on the corruption case against one 
of his most trusted men.

Kocharian Risks Renewed Arrest

Armenia -- Former President Robert Kocharian gives an interview to the Russian 
NTV channel, Yerevan, 28Aug2018.

Armenia’s Court of Cassation overturned on Thursday a lower court’s decision in 
August to release former President Robert Kocharian from custody following coup 
charges leveled against him.

Kocharian was controversially arrested on July 27 on charges stemming from the 
deadly breakup of opposition demonstrations during the final weeks of his 
1998-2008 rule.

He is specifically accused of illegally using the armed forces against 
opposition supporters who protested against alleged fraud in a disputed 
presidential election held in February 2008. Law-enforcement authorities say 
that amounted to an overthrow of the constitutional order.

Eight protesters and two police personnel were killed when security forces 
quelled those protests on March 1-2, 2018.

Kocharian strongly denies the accusations, saying that Armenia’s current 
government is waging a political “vendetta” against him.

The Court of Appeals freed the 64-year-old ex-president on August 13, saying 
that the Armenian constitution gives him immunity from prosecution in 
connection with the 2008 violence. Both state prosecutors and Kocharian 
appealed against that ruling. The latter claimed that there were also other 
legal grounds for his release.

The Court of Cassation, the country’s highest body of criminal justice, 
rejected Kocharian’s appeal and only partly met the prosecutors’ demands. It 
ordered the Court of Appeals to examine the case anew. This means that the 
ex-president will not be held in detention pending another court ruling on his 
pre-trial arrest.

Kocharian announced his return to active politics just days after his release 
from prison. He has since repeatedly accused Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s 
government of endangering the country’s national security, undermining its 
relations with Russia and lacking economic programs. Still, he has decided not 
run in snap parliamentary elections slated for December 9.

Pashinian, who played a key role in the 2008 protests, has strongly defended 
the criminal case against Kocharian. “All murderers will go to prison,” he 
declared on August 17.


Press Review

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the upcoming parliamentary elections will be 
significantly different from past Armenian elections not just because there 
will be no more vote buying and abuse of administrative resources but also 
because they will lack a “political component.” The paper edited by Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian’s wife says that campaign platforms of the election 
contenders will hardly of interest to voters this time around. It says this 
will be especially true for the former ruling Republican Party (HHK). Also, it 
says, Armenians supporting Pashinian’s My Step bloc will not really care about 
its election manifesto. They will vote for My Step simply because they “pin 
great hopes on Nikol Pashinian,” according to the paper.

“Past” notes that a number of well-known parties have decided not to 
participate in the December 9 elections. They claim to be thus giving Pashinian 
and his team a chance to live up to the popular expectations. The paper laughs 
off these explanations, arguing that none of these parties can win more than 1 
percent of the vote at the moment. “These forces and politicians need to 
realize that if they give someone a chance then that someone is themselves,” it 
says. “By not participating [in the elections] those forces are getting a 
chance not to vanish from the political arena and to take part in future 
political cycles.”

“Zhoghovurd” reports that Belarus’s ambassador to Azerbaijan has briefed 
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on recent developments relating to the 
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The paper views this as a 
further manifestation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s 
pro-Azerbaijani stance.

(Lilit Harutiunian)

 Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2018 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

Sports: Netherlands U19’s started a four-nation tournament in Armenia with a comfortable 4-0 win over the hosts.

Football-Oranje, The Netherlands
Nov 14 2018

Netherlands U19’s started a four-nation tournament in Armenia with a comfortable 4-0 win over the hosts. 

  • Follow Football-Oranje

Armenia will host next years U19 European Championships, but over the next week the country plays host to a four-nation tournament involving Netherlands, Germany and Portugal.

On Wednesday, Netherlands came up against Armenia and eased to a simple 4-0 victory. By half-time, it was already 3-0 with Sepp van den Berg heading in the opener before Daishawn Redan and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp netted.

In the second half, CheickToure missed a penalty but the Feyenoord winger eventually added the fourth with a nice finish on the turn.

In the other game on Wednesday, Portugal beat Germany 1-0. Netherlands come up against Germany on Saturday.

Azerbaijani Press: Azeri leader lambastes Armenian "antics" towards Belarus

AzerTag, Azerbaijan
Nov 14 2018
Azeri leader lambastes Armenian "antics" towards Belarus

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that Baku's arms purchase from Belarus has caused "psychotic episodes" in Armenia. Baku and Yerevan are locked in the protracted dispute over breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh.

"We purchase military hardware from Belarus and are very pleased with its quality and characteristics. The Belarus military industry also performs at a very high level and we intend to continue cooperation in the military-technical sphere. But as you know that causes, let me call it, psychotic episodes in Armenia, which is very surprising because Azerbaijan does not only buy weapons from Belarus. Russia is the biggest arms supplier of Azerbaijan. We buy large amounts of ammunition and hardware from Turkey, Israel, Pakistan and European countries too. Therefore, it is surprising that they have reservations exclusively about Belarus," President Aliyev said in Russian at a meeting with the Belarusian ambassador in Baku. The video of the meeting was posted on the website of the state-owned AzarTAC news agency on 14 November.

Aliyev went on to say that Armenia has "inferiority complex" to Belarus which has managed to develop successfully over the past two decades despite Western sanctions imposed against it. In contrast, he said, Armenia is "one of the poorest countries in the world" which caused its people to overthrow "the government which had exploited and robbed its own people for 20 years".

The president said that Baku has watched the recent developments within the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) which both Armenia and Belarus belong to. He said that Baku was concerned that a representative of Armenia headed the CSTO.

"Armenia is the country which has occupied Azerbaijan's territories and naturally it cannot but concern us which country heads the CSTO, which is a military-political organisation. It is natural that these issues are discussed between partners and friends," Aliyev said.

He called "inappropriate" the Armenian foreign ministry commentary on Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's (Alexander Lukashenko) remarks about Armenia's chairmanship of the CSTO.

"We consider the recent statements by the Armenian Foreign Ministry as being absolutely inadmissible in international practice. A foreign ministry cannot comment on the deeds or remarks made by a foreign country's president, especially of a country considered to be an ally, and call them inappropriate. Inappropriate is this behaviour by the Armenian Foreign Ministry which allows itself to engage in antics of this sort. Probably, that is because they do not perceive the world and themselves on the world map very correctly. Simultaneously, as you know, the Armenian side said that there were problems within the CSTO. Surely they are right about that. These problems are Armenia itself and problems which it created," Aliyev said.

He recalled that the CSTO head Yuri Khachaturov was dismissed after criminal charges were brought against him in Armenia and said that "the appointment of this individual to an important international organisation like the CSTO discredited the organisation to some extent".

President Aliyev praised Azerbaijani-Belarusian relations as "unshakable". "As to our relations – they are unshakable. They have a solid foundation based on ties of friendship, mutual respect and support, and are oriented to the future," he said.

He added that his forthcoming official visit to Belarus would further strengthen bilateral relations. No date of the visit was announced yet.