News Digest

No progress was made at the meeting between Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Bucharest, on June 5th Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian said. In his words, matters over which Armenian and Azeri presidents failed to reach consensus in Rambouillet, were not agreed upon in Bucharest.

The World Bank Board of Directors has approved a $6.25 million credit for Armenia to fight bird flu, Director of the WB Yerevan Office Roger Robinson said on June 5th. A $800,000 grant assigned by the Japanese government will contribute to the implementation of the program. In Robinson’s words, the program consists of three components. “These are health, veterinarian measures, public awareness and compensation to the farmers, who may be deprived of fowl in case an epidemic breaks out,” he said.

Azerbaijan has assumed the presidency in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly for the next 6 months. Milli Mejlis speaker Oktay Asadov will become the next chairman of the BSEC PA. The decision was taken at the 27th plenary session of the General Assembly of the BSEC PA in Yerevan by rotation principle.

Zvartnots airport will have flights round the clock beginning July 2nd, Airport Director Juan Pablo Gechijian said. In his words, owing to repair works at the landing strip all flights since this March were put off till evening. “The arrival hall of the new complex will open in September, while the waiting room will be ready by spring 2007. The new complex provides an opportunity to receive 2 million passengers annually instead of today's 1.2 million. After construction works finish in 2011, the airport will have the capacity to receive 3 million passengers,” Gechijian remarked.

The third Armenia-Diaspora Forum will be held in Yerevan September 18th-20th, Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian stated at a news conference in Yerevan.

Russia will observe its commitments to supply Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov said June 2nd. "The contract was signed and we need time to fulfill it. It will be fulfilled if nothing unforeseen happens," he said. Ivanov, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said the Tor-M1 was designed for operation at medium, low and very low altitudes and "could not be used in hypothetic terrorist activities." At the end of 2005, Russia signed a $700 million contract on supplies of 29 Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran. Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iranian air space.,