News Digest

The welding works at the gas pipeline blown up last week in North Ossetia were finished on Saturday January 28th; the gas supply to Georgia and Armenia was resumed early the next day though some disturbances occurred in the evening. According to director of Gasexport Georgian office David Morchiladze they were “conditioned by some technical reasons”. On January 30th Kavkaztransgas Ltd. Director General Vasiliy Zinovyev told the gas is being pumped through the North Caucasus-Transcaucasia without disturbances.

The sitting of the EU Council on General Affairs and External Relations will be held in Brussels February 27th-28th. The sittings of the Councils on cooperation with Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan within the EU Neighborhood Policy will take place during theses days as well. It should be noted that Georgia demanded a separate cooperation plan with the EU due to the problems that emerged between the EU and Azerbaijan that impeded the process of Georgia’s joining the organization.

An All-Armenian National Conference will be held in Washington in March. It will focus on the political and propaganda work of the Armenian Diaspora over key issues and providing support to those issues in the White House, reported the Armenian Assembly of America. The Assembly along with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), as well as the Eastern and Western Dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church are organizers of the conference. The event will unite Armenian Diaspora activists from all US states. The conference chair Liza Yesayan says “The Armenian Diaspora has faced many problems, which can be solved successfully by joint efforts and using own resources”.

The history of the Armenian Genocide will be presented at the exhibition dedicated to the genocides of last century to open in Berlin August 10th. Head of the association of German migrants, Bundestag member Erika Steinbach stated that the “fate of 13 nations and ethnic groups” will be presented at the exhibition. The exhibition will cover the history of the Jews, Finns, Ukrainians and other people and will function till October 2006.

The Russian legislation does not provide for dual citizenship, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at yesterday’s press conference when asked by an Armenian journalist about the possibility of introducing the institute of dual citizenship in Russia and whether Armenians can have both Armenian and Russian citizenship. “Citizens of other countries if they wish to bind their lives with Russia should expatriate and then receive Russian citizenship. The corresponding procedures are provided and should be preserved,” he noted. “At the same time I suppose that we have a special situation in the post-soviet state and we should create the essential conditions for an easier way of receiving Russian citizenship for all who wish it.”

Iranian Economy and Finance Minister Davud Danesha Jafari told during the 6th session of the Armenian-Iranian inter-governmental commission on January 31st that Tehran is interested in speeding up the construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipe line and also supports the project on construction of the second branch of the pipe line. The minister said that Iran is ready to implement all the agreements previously signed with Armenia. He said that Iranian companies will participate in the construction of thermal power stations working on gas, power lines and construction of a sub-station for shipping Armenia-generated electricity to Iran. On his part, the head of the Armenian delegation Artashes Tumanyan noted that success has been registered in the Armenian-Iranian cooperation in gas, energy, transport and legal sectors. He said that the Iranian companies are establishing active contacts in Armenia. He also thanked the Iranian side for supporting Armenia's membership in the "North-South" international transport agreement.

Armenia’s population grew last year by 11,231 people making 3, 219,000. The growth rate, according to population census department of the national statistical committee, was 0.1 percent. Last year 23.6 percent of population was children up to 15 years. Active citizens made 63.3 percent, and 13.1 percent were beyond this age. The correlation between able-bodied citizens and the rest was 1000 to 594. The urban population made 2,062,000 (64.1 percent) and the rural population was 1,156,700 (35.9 percent).

Armenia’s foreign trade last year amounted to $2.718 billion, the National Statistical Committee said. Exports made $950.4 million and imports stood at $1.768 billion. The trade balance was negative with $817 million. Without counting humanitarian assistance it was $777.3 million. The share of trade with CIS countries was $690.3 million or 25.4 percent. Trade with these countries grew last year 35 percent. Trade balance with CIS was negative-40.5 percent. The biggest trade partner was Russia with $353 million turnover, followed by Ukraine-$137.7 million. Trade with EU countries made 34.8 percent and grew 58 percent to $946.2 million. The biggest European trade partner was Germany, whose share was 10 percent, followed by Belgium-9.9 percent. The Statistical Committee also said export of precious and semi-precious items grew 12.4 percent making $336.4 million, import of such items also grew 19.2 percent reaching $347.6 million.

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