Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Kazakhstan, Israel eye direct flights between countries World news Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:33:00 +0400 By TrendKazakhstan and Israel are looking to launch direct flights between countries, Trend reports with reference to the press office of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The topic was discussed during the meeting between Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Israel Satybaldy Burshakov, Director General of the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority Joel Feldshukh and representatives of Israeli airlines.Burshakov informed the aviation experts about the open skies regime at airports in 11 Kazakh cities, which could help establish direct flights between Kazakhstan and Israel.Burshakov also talked economic, tourism, transport and transit potential, investment climate of Kazakhstan, as well as the current situation and prospects of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.He noted that since 2017, Israeli citizens enjoy visa-free regime to enter Kazakhstan, which significantly stimulated an increase in the number of Israelis traveling to Kazakhstan. Currently, Kazakh side is negotiating with Israeli experts on the conclusion of an agreement on mutual visa-free travel for citizens of both countries.Parties agreed that all the mentioned factors create good conditions for opening a direct flight between the two countries, which will undoubtedly be welcomed, first of all, by citizens of both states, business circles, as well expand cultural and humanitarian exchange and business contacts. Talks on Azerbaijani oil supplies to Belarus have real grounds - experts Business Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:13:00 +0400 By TrendTalks on Azerbaijani oil supplies to Belarus have real grounds, Director General of the Information and Analytics Center of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Sergey Rekeda told Trend.The political analyst said that Belarus is unhappy with the conditions on which it receives Russian oil and insists on new conditions that the Russian side isn’t ready to support.As a result, negotiations are stalled and therefore, Minsk has begun searching for new oil suppliers, including Azerbaijan, the director general noted.“Such actions by Belarus are not new; Minsk has already tried to buy oil in both Venezuela and Azerbaijan, but these purchases have never become an alternative to Russian oil,” Rekeda added. “Usually such purchases are made on a one-off basis. In fact, only one tanker is sent, and that’s all. The issue of alternative supplies is constantly the issue of price, which, given the complex logistics, is becoming significantly bigger than the Russian one.”Rekeda believes that the current oil disputes between Minsk and Moscow take place with higher probability of conflict (at least in the public space) and one can often hear from the Belarusian expert community that Belarus is ready to switch to more expensive oil this time.“Such an approach may undermine the profitability of Belarusian oil refineries, so it’s not worth expecting complete reorientation of Belarus to Azerbaijani oil,” the political analyst said. “If Minsk and Baku agree on some volumes of regular oil purchases, I think that Moscow will treat this with understanding and respect, just like the position of partner countries.”In turn, the Belarusian political analyst Alexei Dzermant believes that this is quite a real process, as the requests of the Belarusian side were officially sent and negotiations between Belarus and Azerbaijan on this issue are underway.“However, so far we don’t know whether it will be possible to agree on the price,” Dzermant said. “Still, there is a problem with the delivery of oil. It is important, first of all, to understand how profitable it is in terms of the price.”The Belarusian political analyst noted that Russia hasn’t yet reacted to Belarus’ search for alternative sources of oil.“Officials say that they won’t be opposed to this, but if Belarus finds something, then Moscow may offer a lower price, because Minsk is an important buyer of oil for it. However, this isn’t yet known,” Dzermant added. Forecast: Brent price may go up Business Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:42:00 +0400 By TrendThe price of Brent crude oil has been increasing at energy exchanges, and as long as the price remains above $65 per barrel, the rate can rise up to $68 per barrel, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani InvestAz investment company’s weekly report.It is expected that the price dynamics will be affected by important fundamental data on oil and gasoline reserves in the US, which will be released on Jan. 23, at 20:00 (GMT +4). The growth of geopolitical risks in the Middle East and the signing of a trade agreement between the US and China also strongly affect prices.InvestAZ analysts also presented data on the situation in international financial markets and short-term forecasts.EuroAt international currency exchanges, the euro to USD rate continues to decline. The analysis gives reason to predict that the depreciation of the euro will continue to the level of 1.1 euros per USD. Among the main reasons are the soft monetary policy of the European Central Bank and the announced negative fundamental indicators. In addition, after signing an agreement with China, the US government began to tighten requirements for Europe.British poundThe GBP - USD rate is also under pressure for the same reasons, and if the British pound passes the minimum of the past week ($1.30), then it may fall in price to $1.29.The data on the labor market in connection with retail sales and business activity of the country's production and services sectors was disclosed at 13:30 (GMT +4) on Jan. 21.Turkish liraThere is an increase in the rate of the Turkish lira, while it is forecasted that the rise in price can continue to the level of 5.78 lira per USD.GoldThe presence of political and economic risks in the world leads to the fact that the demand for gold in the markets of non-ferrous metals remains at the current level. So, the price per ounce last week began to rise again, although before that it had fallen in price to $1,540 ($49.5 per gram). According to the analysis, as long as the price remains above this level, the rise in price may continue up to $1,584 ($50.9 per gram). Azerbaijan discloses number of observers accredited in parliamentary elections Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:25:00 +0400 By TrendSome 112 international observers passed accreditation in connection with the early parliamentary elections scheduled for February 9 in Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) Mazahir Panahov said.Panahov made the remark at the CEC meeting in Baku on Jan. 21, Trend reports.“The accreditation of observers is underway and their number will grow,” the chairman said.Panahov said that the chairmen of the central election commissions of such countries as Turkey, Belarus, Moldova and others will personally observe the election process.“The number of local observers reached 30,231,” the chairman added. “Some 1,012 of them have been registered in the CEC while the rest in the district election commissions.” Currency rates for Jan. 22 Business Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:14:00 +0400 By TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro against Azerbaijani manat is set at 1.7 and 1.884 manat respectively for Jan. 22.Below are the rates of Azerbaijani manat against world currencies, according to the data from Central Bank of Azerbaijan.CurrenciesJan. 22, 20201 US dollar1 USD1.71 euro1 EUR1.8841 Australian dollar1 AUD1.16251 Argentine peso1 ARS0.0283100 Belarus rubles1 BYN0.80331 Brazil real1 BRL0.40351 UAE dirham1 AED0.46281 South African rand1 ZAR0.1174100 South Korean won100 KRW0.14611 Czech koruna1 CZK0.07511 Chilean peso100 CLP0.21981 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.24631 Danish krone1 DKK0.25211 Georgian lari1 GEL0.58941 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21871 Indian rupee1 INR0.02391 British pound1 GBP2.2176100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0124100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.0041 Swedish krona1 SEK0.17861 Swiss franc1 CHF1.75321 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.49181 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.29911 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.59791 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00451 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.0243100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11221 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.41731 Mexican peso1 MXP0.09061 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09651 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.10761 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.1891100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.01781 Polish zloty1 PLN0.44541 Russian ruble1 RUB0.02751 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.25951 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.45311 SDR (Special Drawing Rights of IMF)1 SDR2.34551 Turkish lira1 TRY0.28641 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05671 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.17531 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.48571 Ukrainian hryvna1 UAH0.07100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.54541 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.1204 Azerbaijan’s CEC: Some candidates deliberately submit documents in a wrong way Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:50:00 +0400 By TrendSome candidates for the upcoming extraordinary parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan scheduled for Feb. 9, deliberately act in such a way that Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) cannot register them, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov said at the CEC meeting, Trend reports Jan. 21.Panahov believes that this is being done for a specific purpose.“The CEC isn’t interested in not registering the candidate,” the chairman noted. “We try to resolve issues in favor of the candidate, if possible. However, they submit documents in such a way that we cannot register them. Apparently, by this, they serve other purposes.” Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 23 times Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:42:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 23 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Jan. 22, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using large caliber machine guns.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, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions. Azerbaijan discloses number of MP candidates registered for early parliamentary election Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:31:00 +0400 By TrendAs many as 2,431 people have applied for participation in the early parliamentary elections scheduled for February 9 in Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) Mazahir Panahov said.Panahov made the remark at the CEC meeting in Baku on Jan. 21, Trend reports.“During the CEC meeting the candidacies of 2,358 people were approved,” Panahov said.Panahov said 2,247 people obtained signature lists and 1,774 of them have returned the lists. About 1,542 people have already been registered.Early parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan on Feb. 9. President Ilham Aliyev attends session as part of World Economic Forum Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:17:00 +0400 President of  Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a session on "Strategic Outlook: Eurasia" held in Davos as part of the World Economic Forum.The issues of cooperation between the Eurasian countries in trade, energy and transport areas were discussed, the importance of the fourth industrial revolution for the region was emphasized at the session.The session participants included President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga. Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakhariya, Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti and other influential people. President Ilham Aliyev meets Pakistani PM in Davos Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:00:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan in Davos. President Ilham Aliyev meets OPEC Secretary General in Davos Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:50:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Mohammad Barkindo in Davos. President Ilham Aliyev met with President of World Economic Forum in Davos Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:50:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende in Davos. President Ilham Aliyev met with EBRD President in Davos Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:42:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti in Davos.The improvement of the investment climate in Azerbaijan in recent times was praised at the meeting. The successful reforms in tax and customs areas, ease of administration, activities of “ASAN xidmet” and DOST agency, process of digitization of public services were emphasized.They exchanged views on the EBRD projects in the country and the determination of priority areas. The bank`s great potential for expanding its activities by taking advantage of the favorable investment climate in Azerbaijan was highlighted. President Ilham Aliyev met with Turkish Foreign Minister in Davos Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:35:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in Davos.The sides hailed the successful development of bilateral friendly and brotherly relations and underlined that the bilateral ties were expanding in all areas.The role of high-level meetings between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey in strengthening relations was emphasized. The importance of globally significant projects jointly implemented by Azerbaijan and Turkey was stressed. President Ilham Aliyev met with Croatian Prime Minister Politics Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:26:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic.The sides hailed the level of relations in accordance with the strategic partnership document signed between Azerbaijan and Croatia.They exchanged views over prospects for cooperation between the two countries in energy, transport, information and communication technologies and other areas. President Ilham Aliyev met with LUKOIL president in Davos Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:50:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of Russian LUKOIL company Vahid Alakbarov in Davos.They discussed the joint development of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan and Goshadash fields with LUKOIL company and adopted a decision on the issue.The sides also exchanged views on prospective structures and SOCAR-LUKOIL cooperation. President Ilham Aliyev met with Chief Executive Officer of Signify in Davos Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:40:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today met with Chief Executive Officer of Signify Eric Rondolat in Davos.Hailing the recent reforms carried out in Azerbaijan, Eric Rondolat informed the head of state of their projects implemented in the country. He noted that the ongoing reforms provided a good basis for improving the business and investment climate and implementing new projects in Azerbaijan. Underlining that Signify was one of the world leaders in the field of lighting, Eric Rondolat affirmed the company`s readiness to provide all kind of support to Azerbaijan in bringing new technologies to the country. He noted that the company offered various solutions in economy, including in the agricultural area, as well as “smart city” projects and integration of internet technologies with lighting systems. The CEO also pointed out the company`s interest in discussing with Azerbaijan`s relevant authorities opportunities for investing in new solution options through lighting in the agricultural sector and other areas. He offered assistance in bringing new technologies to the country in the relevant sphere.President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of speeding up the ongoing project on the illumination of the city of Baku.At the same time, the head of state gave relevant instructions to improve the quality of lighting in Sumgayit and other largest cities of Azerbaijan at the next stages, apply new solutions that ensure significant savings in electricity, as well as to discuss with the relevant government bodies the bringing of advanced technologies through lighting systems in various areas of agriculture. Black January through lens of photographers Society Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:44:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan Museum of Independence has hosted exhibition dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Black January.In 1990 the Soviet army entered Baku, killing and wounding hundreds of innocent and defenseless people.About 137 people were killed, 611 were wounded, 841 were illegally arrested, and five went missing.The exhibition featured fifty photos of the tragic events of January 20 captured by Tahir Jafarov, Sanan Alasgarov, Rauf Umudov, Oleg Litivin and Asim Talibov as well as works of People’s Artist Ashraf Geybatov and Honored Art Worker Sara Namitokova-Manafova.Moreover, the museum displayed sixty personal items of Black January victims.In their remarks, Deputy Cultural Minister Rafig Bayramov and the museum's  executive director Sadi Mirseibli noted that January 20 will never be erased from the memory of the Azerbaijani people.At the evening, the album created on the base of the museum’s collection was also presented as part of the event. The project is headed by the Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev.The families of martyrs then shared their memories about the tragedy. Azerbaijan's ski resorts among top 10 in CIS Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:13:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaRussia’s TurStat analytical agency has included Azerbaijan’s ski resorts - Tufandag in Gusar region and Shahdag in Gabala region – into the list of top 10 best recreation centers among the CIS countries for January-February 2020.The agency said that Azerbaijan is one of the five countries that Russian tourists visit for skiing and snowboarding.Following the results of the analysis of tours and offers at winter resorts, the top ten places among the CIS countries also included: Shymbulak, Altai Alps and Nurtau in Kazakhstan, Logoisk and Silichi in Belarus, Tsaghkadzor in Armenia, Karakol in Kyrgyzstan and Chimgan in Uzbekistan, TurStat said.Azerbaijan’s Shahdag Tourism Center ski resort was set up in 2013. The resort is located 200 kilometers away from Baku - on the territory of the Shahdag national park, in the Gusar region of Azerbaijan, 32 kilometers from the regional center Gusar. Shahdag is a unique resort that can receive guests all year round. The temperatures at Shahdag ranges from winter lows of -20°C, -22°C to pleasant summer evenings of 15-20°C. Thus, it is not just a ski resort.Tufandag complex provides visitors with skiing slopes and cable roads with a total length of 17 km with red, black and blue stripes. Ski pass for the day costs 20 manats (about $12), and a training lesson of ski riding is 35 manats (about $20). Similar prices are applied for services in Shahdag, which offers 12 lifts and 14 trails of varying difficulty - five "green" and "blue" and four "red".In 2019, 3.17 million tourists from 194 countries visited Azerbaijan, and this indicates a 11.4 percent growth compared to the same period of 2018. Cloudy weather expected in Baku Society Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaCloudy and rainless weather is expected Baku and Absheron peninsula on January 22.  It will be in some places. Mild southwest wind will blow.Air temperature on the Absheron peninsula will range from 0 to +3 °C at night, +6-10 °C in the daytime.In Baku, the temperature will be +1-3 °C at night, and +7-9 °C in the daytime, the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported.The atmospheric pressure will drop from 770 to 765 mm. Relative humidity will be 70-80 percent at night and 50-55 percent during the daytime.The weather will be mainly rainless in the country's regions . Fog is predicted at night and in the morning. The west wind will blow and occasionally intensify in some places.The air temperature will range from -3 °C  to +2 °C at night, +7-12 °C in the daytime. In the mountains, the temperature will vary from -5 to -10 °C at night, 0-3 °C in the daytime.As for the medical-meteorological forecast, the weather will be unfavorable for people sensitive to the weather. Azerbaijan to host World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad 2020 Sports Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:46:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijan’s Nakhchivan region will host World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad 2020 on 2-12 October, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) reported in its official website.Earlier, the 42nd Chess Olympiad (also known as the Baku Chess Olympiad), was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 1–14 September 2016. The forthcoming Olympiad in Nakhchivan will be the first such a large-scale chess event since 2016.Note that the Nakhchivan Open International Tournament takes place annually.In 2019, Azerbaijani players become the winners of the FIDE World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad held in Corum, Turkey. Later, Azerbaijan appealed to FIDE with a proposal to hold a similar competition in Nakhchivan.Note that the 44th World Chess Olympiad among adults will be held this year in Moscow on 5-18 August 2020.For centuries, chess has been a popular game in Azerbaijan. The country could preserve chess traditions as the chess remains to be a very popular sport in Azerbaijan today.  Since Azerbaijan gained its independence, Azerbaijani chess players have achieved high results in various international competitions, world and European championships.In 1992, the national team of women for the first time at the World Chess Olympiad in Manila, Philippines represented independent Azerbaijan and ranked 7th among 67 teams.In 1993, the women team won bronze medals at the European Championship held in Debrecen, Hungary.In 2007, the national team of men won bronze medals in European Championship held in Greece.Men's team won the title of “Europe’s strongest team” in Serbia in 2009, won silver medals in 2011 in Greece and in 2013 in Poland.In 2012 and 2014, the men's team “SOCAR-Azerbaijan” won inter-club European Championships twice. Azerbaijani grandmasters Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Teymur Radjabov and Vugar Hashimov managed to rise to the 4th and 6th places in the world rankings.Radjabov became the first owner of the World Chess Cup in the history of Azerbaijan on October 4, 2019, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Georgian companies participate in international exhibition in Berlin World news Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:34:00 +0400 By TrendSixteen Georgian companies are taking part in the 85th International Green Week Berlin 2020 exhibition in Germany, Trend reports referring to Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture.International Green Week Berlin is one of the most important international exhibitions in the food, agriculture and gardening industries, which has been held since 1926. Every year, about 1,500 national and international exhibitors present their unique regional products and services in a total of 26 exhibition halls.At a Georgian stand in Berlin, Georgian wine, chacha, honey, lemonade, natural juices, tea, dried fruits are presented.The opening ceremony was attended by Georgian Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture Khatia Tsilosani.Within the framework of the exhibition, Tsilosani held meetings with her counterparts from Lithuania, Estonia, and Belarus, at which continuation of cooperation between Georgia and these countries in the field of food industry including the areas of phytosanitary and veterinary medicine were considered along other issues of mutual interest.The 85th International Green Week Berlin 2020 presents almost the entire range of food industry products: meat, sausages, fruits, tea, seafood, wines, seeds, agricultural equipment, greenhouses, equipment and household appliances.The exhibition includes sales, displays of goods for agriculture, forestry, etc.Georgia has been participating in the event for 11 years. 95 candidates withdraw their candidacies in Azerbaijan within parliamentary election Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:27:00 +0400 By TrendAs many as 95 candidates have withdrawn their candidacies for the early parliamentary elections scheduled for Feb. 9 in Azerbaijan, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Mazahir Panahov said at the CEC meeting, Trend reports Jan. 21.Panahov reminded that members of 19 political parties are represented in the elections, and 1,542 candidates have been registered so far. Country’s consumer spending increases Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:22:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaThe value of the products sold by retail trade facilities in Azerbaijan reached 39 billion 319.7 million manats in 2019, thus, increasing by 3.6 percent compared to 2018.Over the year, the population’s expenditures on the purchase of food products, beverages and tobacco products amounted to 19 billion 967.4 million manats (a 3.2 percent increase), and to 19 billion 424.3 million manats on the purchase of non-food products (a 4 percent increase), local media reported.During the reporting period, 45.8 percent of consumer spending in the retail trade facilities was spent on food products, 4.9 percent on beverages and tobacco products, 17.5 percent on textile products, clothes and shoes, 6 percent on electrical appliances and furniture, 5.9 percent automobile fuel, 1.3 percent on pharmaceutical and medical products, 0.9 percent on computer, telecommunication and printing equipment, and 17.7 percent on other non-food products.Per capita expenditures for the purchase of food products, beverages and tobacco products in 2019 amounted to $98, whereas for the purchase of non-food products - to $96.Earlier, the State Statistics Committee noted that prices of consumer goods and services in Azerbaijan increased in 2019.According to the information, the consumer price index grew by 2.6 percent, as did prices for food, beverages and tobacco products by 3.8 percent, for non-food items by 1.2 percent, for services - 2.1 percent.The prices increased by 0.5 percent, prices for food, beverages and tobacco products by 0.9 percent, for non-food items - 0.2 percent, for services - 0.1 percent in November compared to October.Meanwhile, based on the government's medium-term forecasts, inflation rate in the country is expected at 4.6 percent in 2020, 4.5 percent in 2021, 4.1 per cent in 2022, and 3.9percent 2023. Azerbaijan, Georgia ink Bilateral Cooperation Plan for 2020 Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:10:00 +0400 By TrendThe Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, who is on an official visit to Georgia, has met with the Minister of Defense of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili on Jan. 21, Trend reports with reference to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.The official welcoming ceremony of the Azerbaijani delegation took place at the Georgian Defense Ministry.In accordance with the protocol, the defense ministers passed in front of the guard of honor and the national anthems of the two countries were played. Then, the meeting was held.During the meeting, a thorough exchange of views was held on the various areas of military cooperation, as well as on other issues of mutual interest.Touching upon the military-political situation in the region, the parties noted the importance of mutual support of the territorial integrity of the two countries and emphasized that the development of bilateral military cooperation will contribute to ensuring stability and security in the region.Following the meeting, a Bilateral Cooperation Plan for 2020 was signed between the defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The document provides for the organization of mutual visits of expert groups, the holding of joint combat training events and the exchange of best practices, as well as other important issues.Then, a press conference of the defense ministers of the two countries was held for media representatives. Fitch forecasts stable GDP growth in Azerbaijan Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:01:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaAzerbaijan’s GDP growth will be 2.2 percent in 2020-2021, International rating agency Fitch Ratings has reported.“Real GDP growth continues to recover from the oil shock and devaluation crises since 2014. Fitch estimates that real GDP growth reached 2.4 percent in 2019 from 1.4 percent in 2018, driven by 3.5 percent non-oil growth and just 0.8 percent for the oil and gas industry. We forecast the growth to stabilise at 2.2 percent in 2020-21,” the report reads.The agency reported that this growth will be driven by new gas production coming on-stream, and supported by the government packages announced in the first quarter of 2019.“Inflation averaged 2.6 percent in 2019, remaining closer to the lower bound of the 4 plus or minus 2 percent target band, helped by the stable exchange rate and lower imported food prices. Fitch forecasts inflation to rise to average 3.3 percent in 2020 due to stronger demand pressures from government measures and policy rate cuts,” the report reads.Fitch also informed that it does not expect any major changes to macroeconomic policy-making from the upcoming snap parliamentary elections in February.The agency has also affirmed Azerbaijan's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB+' with a Stable Outlook.The agency has affirmed the country’s short-term local and foreign currency IDRs at 'B', the issuer rating for senior unsecured debt in local and foreign currencies at 'BB +', the country ceiling rating and the issuer rating for senior unsecured short-term bonds in local currency at ' BB + ".It was noted that Azerbaijan's 'BB+' IDRs reflect its strong external balance sheet and low government debt, set against weaknesses from its heavy hydrocarbon dependence, an underdeveloped, albeit improving policy framework, weak governance indicators and continued banking sector vulnerabilities.Note that the Azerbaijani government forecasts GDP growth at 3 percent in 2020, and 3.7 percent in 2021. The government predicts an average annual inflation of 4.6 percent in 2020. Azerbaijan, NATO discuss partnership Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovPresidential aide, Head of Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Hikmat Hajiyev and NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoan? have discussed Azerbaijan-NATO partnership during Hajiyev’s visit to NATO Headquarters on 20 January.In the course of discussions, Hajiyev with counterparts from NATO exchanged views on the Azerbaijan-NATO partnership, the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, regional security and other issues of mutual interest.He informed the allied nations about the ongoing reforms in the country.The NATO countries highly appreciated Azerbaijan's active participation in the Partnership for Peace program, contribution to NATO-led operations and its progress in enhancing interoperability and defence reforms.Hajiyev’s visit to NATO HQ coincided with the 30th anniversary of the 20 January tragedy. Presidential aide spoke about the significance of this event in the history of Azerbaijan. NATO officials and member states have expressed their solidarity with the Azerbaijani people and profound respect to the memory of martyrs. Azerbaijan-NATO relationship dates back to March 1992 when Azerbaijan together with some Central and Eastern European countries, joined a newly established consultative forum – the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), which was transformed into the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council later in 1997.The cornerstone of the substantive partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO was laid down on 4 May 1994 when the late President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev signed the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Framework Document.Azerbaijan conducts political dialogue with NATO on a broad range of issues of common concern based on the PfP principles. Within the political dialogue, which is held in different formats and levels, the issues like partnerships, regional security, Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, peace support operations, contribution to Afghanistan, emerging security challenges etc. are the matters of bilateral discussions and consultations. The high-level political dialogue based on mutual understanding promotes progress in the practical cooperation.Azerbaijan actively supported the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from 2002 to the end of the NATO-led operation in 2014. The country currently supports the follow-on Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces. The country has been participating in the NATO’s Resolute Support Training, Advice and Assistance Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan since 1st January 2015 after the completion of ISAF. In January 2018, Azerbaijan increased the number of its peacekeepers in the RSM Mission from 94 to 120 servicemen, including 6 officers, who are represented at various headquarters of the RSM Mission, and also 2 military doctors.In the past two years Azerbaijan has been hosting the meeting between military officials from NATO and Russian Armed Forces. Income of Azerbaijani football clubs revealed Sports Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:31:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijani Premier League football clubs earned 27.2 million euros in 2018, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has revealed in its financial report detailing the distribution of revenue from the 2018/19.On average, each of the eight Azerbaijani clubs earned 3.4 million euros in 2018. By this indicator, the Premier League of Azerbaijan ranked 28th among 55 European countries.According to the report, 51 percent of the income made by Azerbaijani clubs came from sponsors and advertising, while 36 percent of revenues came from the UEFA. Other incomes account for 11 percent of the overall incomes. Two percent of incomes were from transfers and one percent from ticket sales.Azerbaijani football clubs also increased their expenditures in 2018 and the salaries of football players accounted for 12 percent of the expenditures.In the above mentioned period, eight Azerbaijani Premier League clubs paid football players a total of 17 million euros as a salary.On average, each of the eight Azerbaijani clubs paid salaries worth 2.1 million euros. This indicator allows the Azerbaijani Premier League to be in top 30 in Europe.English Premier League occupied the first place in the report, the average club income of which amounted to 272 million euros. German Bundesliga ranked second with 175.3 million euros, while Spanish La Liga was third- 157.3 million euros.The English Premier League also holds first place for the amount of money spent on football players' salaries, in which clubs spent a total of 3.235 billion euros on clubs in total for salaries of players in 2018.Football is a popular sport in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani football is organized by the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), which runs the national, professional football league, the AFFA Supreme League, and the Azerbaijani national football team.The national team takes part in all competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA at both senior and youth levels.Currently, there are eight football clubs competing in Azerbaijani Premier League: Qarabag FC, Neftchi PFC, Keshla FC, Sumgayit FC, Zira FC, Sabah FC, Qabala FC, Sabail FC.In the last six years, Qarabag FC was the best in Premier League seasons 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, and 2018/2019. Legendary rock hits to sound in Baku Arts & Entertainment Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:24:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaRussian IP ORCHESTRA will surprise rock music fans in Baku. The orchestra will  perform at Heydar Aliyev Palace on February 15.The program titled "Legendary Rock Hits" will feature songs by world famous bands, including AC / DC, Metallica, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Green Day, Placebo, Blur, Corn, Rammstein, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Marlin Manson, Cranberries and others. The special guest of the evening will be famous tar musician Shahriyar Imanov.Igor Ponomarenko repeatedly delighted music lovers in Baku. The orchestra's "Rock Hits Show" and " Cinema Hits Show" left no one indifferent.Symphonic orchestra is conducted by an iconic figure of the music world Igor Ponomarenko.He performed in such famous concert halls of the world as L’Olympia in Paris, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Turin Opera House etc.Until 2000, he was known as a musician of the famous "Terem-Quartet", but he left the ensemble and organized his own ensemble "Ma.Gr.Ig.Al."In 2009, Ponomarenko founded IP ORCHESTRA. Today, he successfully collaborates with world famous singers.For the IP Orchestra, there are no boundaries in genres and styles. Highly professional musicians can play everything, and thanks to Igor Ponomarenko the concert turns into a real magical act.Thousands of listeners around the world admire the energy and professionalism of this collective.IP Orchestra has performed at the most significant concert venues and has taken part in the iconic cultural events of the country and abroad. It is a team that is not afraid of experiments, communicates closely with its audience and really loves the work they do. President Ilham Aliyev meets Carlsberg Group CEO in Davos Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:18:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Chief Executive Officer at Carlsberg Group Cees't Hart in Davos. PACE delegation to make pre-electoral visit to Azerbaijan Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:58:00 +0400 By TrendA delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is to make a pre-electoral visit to Azerbaijan on 22-23 January 2020 to assess the election campaign and political climate ahead of the 9 February early parliamentary elections, Trend reports citing PACE's website.In Baku, the delegation is due to meet the Speaker of the Milli Mejlis, the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE and leaders and representatives of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary parties.Talks are also scheduled with the Chairperson and members of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), as well as with representatives of the media, civil society and the international community.The delegation is due to publish a statement at the end of its visit. A full delegation will travel to Azerbaijan to observe the elections on 9 February. TAP updates on progress in construction Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:41:00 +0400 By TrendThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, is 91 percent complete as of late December 2019, Trend reports citing TAP AG consortium.“TAP is currently moving further into the project construction phase. Every day hundreds of meters of TAP’s Right of Way (ROW) are cleared, strung, welded, lowered into the trenches and backfilled, in line with the project construction steps and schedule.At the end of December 2019, the TAP project was 91 percent complete,” said the consortium.TAP project, worth 4.5 billion euros, is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union (EU). The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016.Once built, TAP will offer a direct and cost-effective transportation route opening up the vital Southern Gas Corridor, a 3,500-kilometer long gas value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe.TAP shareholders include BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent). National pianist to perform in Russia Arts & Entertainment Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaFamous pianist Riad Mammadov will perform at Botanical Garden of the Moscow State University on February 28. The musician is going to surprise music lovers with second concert of the cycle "Four Tales from the Thousand and One Nights". In four concerts, pianist and his jazz trio tell the story of 20th century music."The collection 'A Thousand and One Nights' about the Persian king Shahriyar and his spouse Scheherazade is built on the principle of a framed story that allows you to include new texts of independent significance. We use this principle to build our cycle of concerts. Four musical tales will reflect different attitudes, personal stories, experiences of composers and performers associated with the emergence of new music," the pianist told Trend Life.Riad Mammadov is a prodigy pianist, accomplished in Classical and Jazz and also known for beautifully combining various styles and genres of music.In 2014 Riad was appointed special musical advisor for the 1st European Games Ceremonies under Musical directors, Maestro Teodor Currentzis, Vangelino Currentzis and Artistic Director Dimitris Papaioannou.He was a student of such prominent music teachers as V. Merjanov, A. Bonduryanskiy, M. Lidskiy, E. Nazirova, S. Beybutova and others. While studying, Riad became a scholarship holder of the Azerbaijan H. Aliyev Presidential Fund. Upon graduating he was invited as guest artist to the Tchaikovski Opera and Ballet Theatre.The musician has successfully performed in over 15 countries. She shared the same stage with the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra, Gare Garayev State Chamber Orchestra, Canadian Chamber Orchestra, New Munich Orchestra, the State Academic Chamber orchestra of Novosibirsk Philharmonia, headed by famous conductors T. Currentzis, R. Abdullayev, M. Emelyanychev, A. Skoryer, T. Geokchayev, E. Kuliyev and others.As a pianist he has been a participant of such music festivals as Niagara Music festival (Canada), Diaghilev festival (Russia), Primavera Classica festival (Russia), Music ark project by V. Martinov (Russia), Summer jazz festival in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the U. Hajibeyli International festival (Azerbaijan), Caspian Jazz and Blues Festival, International Baku Jazz Festival (Azerbaijan), International music festival in Gabala (Azerbaijan), Electro Jazz Festival in Electrotheatre named after Stanislavsky and others.His performances have been broadcast on television and radio in Russia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Belgium and the U.S. and other countries.Moreover, Riad has extensive teaching experience and is an author of a number of scientific articles on classification of genres in Azerbaijan modern music. He is considered a founder of the new term "hybrid genre" in modern music. Azerbaijan’s incomes from hosting Formula-1 exceeds $500.000 Sports Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijan’s incomes from hosting Formula One race held in Baku between 2016 and 2019, amounted to $506.3 million, according to the estimates of PricewaterhouseCoopers international audit company (PwC).Of the $506.3 million, the country’s budget received $300.6 million directly, and the rest $205.7 indirectly."The share of revenues in tourism and transport sector during the four years amounted to 24.5 percent. These sectors were directly linked to the maintenance of racing weekends. In general, the total estimate of direct income during the four years of the ‘royal races’ in Baku is $300.6 million," PwC representative Bahruz Huseynzade said at a press conference held in Baku on January 15 dedicated to the results of F1 races.Accordingly, the share of indirect income that is generated from the sale of goods and services is $ 205.7 million. In addition, indirect income includes $53 million, Huseynzade said.Huseynzade noted that incomes came from such types of services as hotel accommodation, transportation services, restaurant services, construction and telecommunication services."In particular, thanks to the Formula 1 races, the number of hotels that spend money on utilities has increased. The number of tourists who have started spending more on visiting restaurants and other services has also increased," Huseynzade said.He also noted that F1 in Baku resulted in creating 5,000-10,000 jobs mainly for the youth.Addressing the conference, Nigar Arpadarai, the Head of Marketing and Communications Department of Baku City Circuit, which is a motor racing street circuit located in Baku, said that over the past years, the income from the race in the capital of Azerbaijan has increased significantly due to the infrastructure and an increase in the number of tourists attending racing weekends."Formula 1 is a global brand that has attracted the attention of car racing enthusiasts around the world. Moreover, two of the four stages of the races held in Baku were recognized by the world community as the best races of the planet," Arpadarai stated.She further noted that Azerbaijan is decreasing expenses in connection with F1 races.Arpadarai reminded that in the first period of holding the races, there were expenses associated with the creation of infrastructure, as well as with advertising."Now these costs have been reduced, the infrastructure of the competitions has been created, not so much money is spent on advertising, because Azerbaijan is already well known in the world," she explained.Arpadarai added that in 2018, some 82.3 million viewers watched the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and this figure reached 90.2 million people in 2019.In the meantime, BCC's Head of Commercial Bulent Ozerdim said that negotiations on sponsorship of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2020 are underway."The negotiations will be completed within two to three months.”As he added that most of the tickets (81 percent) for the upcoming races have so far been bought by foreigners."We first sold many tickets in a short period of time. Perhaps this year we will have a record for the number of sales," Ozerdim noted.He considers the satisfied guest who returns to his country and talks about Baku as the best advertisement for Azerbaijan."Our Grand Prix is ??in the top five for the ratio of satisfied guests. Compared to the first years, the number of viewers coming from far abroad is increasing," he said.Ozerdim did not exclude the possibility that the number of stands at the F1 races in Baku may be increased in 2020.He noted that the interest of foreigners in the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix has noticeably increased, including the number of VIP guests arriving from other countries.Ozerdim noted that there are plans to increase the number of tickets. As tickets run out, he added, additional tickets will go on sale.The landmark 5th successive F1 race weekend to be staged on the streets of Azerbaijan's capital city is taking place on the new date of 5-7 June 2020. Ganja to host Kapaz 2020 Cup Arts & Entertainment Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:50:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaGanja State Drama Theater will host Kapaz 2020 Cup on January 26.The art contest is co-organized by the Azerbaijan Youth Union and Dance Association with the support of the Cultural Ministry and Jam Group.The competition will held in the following age categories: babies (6 years old), children (7-10 years old), juniors (11-15 years old), adults (16 years old and older), Trend Life reported.Speaking about the competition, the head of the Azerbaijan Dance Association and board member of  the Youth Union, Aziz Azizov, stressed that the contest aims to enable the younger generation to demonstrate their skills, competing with each other on various projects."For the fifth year in a row, we are holding Kapaz Cup. We need to develop our art in the regions and encourage talented youth, help make dreams come true, stimulate their development. Youth is our future and our followers...," he added.For more information, please partners of the event are,, Iran eyes opportunity to change Asia's Football Confederation decision World news Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:33:00 +0400 By TrendAsia's Football Confederation (AFC) decision to ban hosting games in Iran should be based on technical issues, not on the political reasons, said Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman."The pretext for the decision is related to politics. However, despite some events, Iran is far more safe than other countries that claim to have safety which is sought by the federation," said Abbas Mousavi, Trend reports from his press conference."The government and Foreign Ministry will respect the clubs' decision and support them, but we hope sports and politics will not be mixed," the spokesman added. "We will offer help to use the remaining opportunity to do something about it."The spokesman noted the military presence of South Korea in the Gulf of Aden."The South Korean government should have announced their intention of dispatching their fleet in Aden region. We have announced that the action is unacceptable, as friendly relations between Iran and South Korea do not require this approach," Mousavi said."There are many links between Iran and the South Korea, so we have started a diplomatic action and will make the necessary decision," the official said. Holiday charity fair wraps up Arts & Entertainment Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:21:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaNargis Fund hosted another charity fair "Cold hands, warm heart" from December 1, 2019  to January 13, 2020.Following the fair’s tradition, all the funds raised from the fair will be transferred to the treatment and surgeries of children who applied to Nargis Fund for help. The honored and beloved guests of the fair were children from orphanages and boarding schools.The sum collected directly from the organization of the 2019/20 fair amounted to 401,459 AZN."On behalf of our children, their families, as well as the staff of the Nargis Foundation, we want to sincerely thank the sponsors, participants, and also all the guests of our charity fair! Thanks to you and your support, many families have regained happiness - the happiness of seeing their child healthy. All detailed information, as well as invoices from the hospital, fund transfers, are provided on, "the Nargis Foundation said in a statement.Nargis Fund was created in 2012 by the editor-in-chief of the Nargis magazine, Ulviyya Mahmudova and began its activities in 2013.  It was the start of a good tradition of holding annual charity fair "Cold Hands, Warm Heart".Since then, the Fund organized and held a number of charity projects including providing financial support to the families and children in need. Azerbaijani defense minister starts official visit to Georgia Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:05:00 +0400 By TrendThe Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov has left for Tbilisi for an official visit on Jan. 21 at the invitation of the Minister of Defense of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Trend reports with reference to Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.During the meetings with the Georgian military and political leadership, which are planned to be held as part of the visit, the Azerbaijani defense minister will discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation, as well as international and regional security issues. Azerbaijan to produce Turkish goods Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:46:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan will produce some Turkey's food, industrial, textile and electronic goods, as well as spare parts for electronic products, Ministry of Industry and Technology of Turkey told Trend.Currently, the negotiations on the subject are ongoing.Turkey will also expand the cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of scientific research, and between the technology parks of these two fraternal countries.Further strengthening of cooperation in the research field and between technology parks, along with the expansion of contacts, is very important for the exchange of expertise, the ministry said.For this purpose, mutual visits will be organized in the period from 2020 to 2022. Turkmenistan, Turkey aim to strengthen multifaceted co-op World news Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:32:00 +0400 By TrendMinister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov met with newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to Turkmenistan Togan Oral, Trend reports referring to Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The parties noted the high level of cooperation between Turkmenistan and Turkey in political, trade-economic and cultural-economic spheres and confirmed the readiness to actively cooperate to further strengthen the Turkmen-Turkish relations, the ministry said.It was noted that the high-level mutual visits play a vital role in the advancement of Turkmen-Turkish relations based on the principles of mutual respect, openness and trust.The parties also emphasized the role of collaboration between the foreign ministries of the two countries and the closeness of positions on the key aspects of the international agenda.Turkey is one of the largest trade partners of Turkmenistan, where about 600 of Turkish companies are operating in the spheres of trade, investment, construction, energy, transport, and communication in textile and processing industry.Turkmenistan exports textile, fuel and energy, chemical and agricultural products to Turkey, and imports metal and metal products, household goods, equipment, building materials, electrical engineering, chemical and light industry products, food, vehicles, and medicines from Turkey.In addition, Ashgabat and Ankara aim to developing energy cooperation. In particular, Turkey has declared its readiness to promote the supply of the Caspian energy to Europe through its territory, one of the options of which is laying pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan mulls oil delivery to Belarus Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijan has the technical potential to supply oil to Belarus, deputy head of the Public Relations and Event Management Department of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) Ibrahim Ahmadov told local media on January 14."The Belarusian side has expressed its interest about the delivery of oil for its processing in Belarus. However, no decision has been made so far with this regard. In the past, we supplied oil to Belarus and there is potential for delivery,” Ahmadov noted.He said that the Belarusian side is currently reviewing various opportunities available on the market, including supplies from SOCAR.The economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus were also discussed during the meeting between Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei and Azerbaijani Ambassador Latif Gandilov on January 15. On January 14, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoy said that Minsk had sent commercial offers on oil imports to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, and the Baltic countries."We've sent the relevant commercial offers. All the commercial departments of the refineries of Belarusian Oil Company conduct negotiations virtually every day. I think we will be able to secure alternative ways of delivering specific oil soon,” Dmitry Krutoi said. “All possible countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Baltic states, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. We are working on it," Krutoy added.Belarus leader Lukashenko has managed to convince Azerbaijan to join the Belarusian-Venezuelan oil deal through swap contracts. Thus, in place of direct deliveries from Venezuela, since 2011 Belarus has been receiving Azerbaijani oil.In 2016, Belarus imported a total of 560,000 tones of Azerbaijani oil Azeri Light and CPC Blend, but these deliveries stopped in January 2017.In November 2016, Ukrainian minister for regional development Hennadi Zubko reported that Ukraine would possibly be transporting Azerbaijani and Iranian oil to Belarusian refineries.By buying oil from Iran and Azerbaijan, Minsk is reacting to the Kremlin's attempts to impose its own terms of economic cooperation and integration on Belarus.On 23 April 2019, while commenting on opportunities of oil supply from Azerbaijan to Belarus, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Belarus Latif Gandilov told Belarusian media that Azerbaijan is ready to help Belarus in oil supply if it appeals.Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus were established in 11 June 1993.Cooperation in the economic sphere has been developing dynamically in the past decade.Products of the machine engineering industry, petrochemistry, woodworking, pharmaceuticals, military-technical cooperation made up the main Belarusian export items to Azerbaijan. In turn, Azerbaijan mainly exports to Belarus petrochemicals, vegetables, fruits and other non-oil products.Meanwhile, Belarus is interested in the North-South project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and aims to create the Minsk-Baku railway route. Earlier, Belarusian Railways and Azerbaijan Railways signed an agreement on mutually beneficial cooperation for the interaction of the railways of the two countries to contribute to the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor. Azerbaijan to issue travel documents to foreigners with refugee status Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijan will soon provide travel documents to foreigners residing in Azerbaijan with refugee status, head of the State Migration Service Vusal Huseynov said during a press conference to sum up the results of 2019, on January 15.Huseynov noted that the document, the preparation of which has been conducted since 2019, is ready and will be issued as of February 23."With this travel document, those living in Azerbaijan with refugee status will be able to freely travel to other countries.”Huseynov further informed that the number of foreigners and stateless persons in Azerbaijan increased by 11 percent from January through December 2019 compared to the same period of 2018."During this period, the number of temporary residents increased by 10 percent, those who received permit to work increased by 8 percent, and people residing on the basis of refugee status by 7 percent," Huseynov said.The number of decisions made in terms of violations of the requirements of Migration Code decreased by 23 percent, he added.The State Migration Program of Azerbaijan was approved on 25 July 2006. Its main purpose is to realize the State policy in the field of migration, to develop the migration management system, to regulate and forecast the migration processes, to improve the legislation in this field in accordance with international norms and current requirements, to ensure the efficiency of the law implementation, to create unit database in the field of migration as well as the modern automated control system, to prevent illegal migration and to undertake measures related to development of international cooperation.On the base of approved State Migration Program, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, taking into account the importance of establishment of a special state authority implementing unified state policy in the migration sphere, signed Decree on establishment of State Migration Service of Azerbaijan ? 560 dated on 19 March 2007.At the same time, the Regulation of the Service was approved according to the Decree. Since the establishment of State Migration Service necessary normative legal acts have been adopted and a number of institutional and organizational measures have been taken for the purpose of enhancing state control over migration processes.In order to regulate migration processes with single and prompt procedures and facilitate the documentation, the head of state signed Decree on “Application of “one-stop-shop” principle in the management of migration processes” ? 69 dated on 4 March 2009.The application of the mentioned Decree results in management of migration processes in the country with more prompt and flexible mechanisms, provision of efficiency in this area and elimination of problems to be solved. According to the decree “one-stop-shop” principle began to be applied in the management of migration processes from 1 July 2009 and the competences of unified state authority on this principle were entrusted to State Migration Service of Azerbaijan.In the framework of “one-stop-shop” principle, State Migration Service carries out issuance of permits for temporary and permanent residence in Azerbaijan and relevant cards to the foreigners and stateless persons, registration of them, extending temporary staying period in the country of the foreigners and stateless persons arriving in Azerbaijan, as well as issuance of work permits for engaging in paid labour activity on the territory of the country.Furthermore, the Service participates in citizenship issues and determines refugee status. In order to enhance preventive measures against illegal migration, to improve activity of the Service, State Migration Service obtained law enforcement status with the Decree ? 76 dated 8 April 2009 sighed by President Aliyev. Embassy: US remains strongly committed to helping sides achieve peaceful resolution of Karabakh ... Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:27:00 +0400 By TrendThe United States, as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, remains strongly committed to helping the sides achieve a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a representative of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend.“We reiterate, as the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have done many times, that a fair and lasting settlement must be based, in particular, upon the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples,” said the representative.The embassy representative noted that the United States fully endorses the joint statement of the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries at the Bratislava OSCE Ministerial Council meeting last December, which called for additional concrete humanitarian and security measures to foster an atmosphere conducive to peace and for the sides to engage in good faith substantive negotiations, and which stressed that the status quo is unacceptable and there can be no military solution to the conflict.“In that connection, the United States welcomed the intention of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers to meet again in early 2020 under Co-Chair auspices. The OSCE Minsk Group format remains the indispensable focal point for efforts to reach a sustainable settlement,” added the representative.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, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions. ADB summarizes results of cooperation with Azerbaijan in 2019 Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:15:00 +0400 By TrendIn 2019 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) significantly increased the provision of its technical assistance and knowledge support to government agencies in Azerbaijan, ADB told Trend."The outgoing year was a special for our partnership. We marked its 20-year anniversary with number of events," said the Bank.As the ADB said in summer the Azerbaijani government and the Bank endorsed the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) which outlines directions of cooperation for the next five years."The CPS’ overall objective is to support diversified and inclusive growth in Azerbaijan in line with the government’s strategic road maps," said ADB.The CPS includes three strategic pillars: Boosting private sector development: 1) More sustainable and diverse non-oil private sector (e.g., improved business and investment climate environment; stronger micro, small, and medium enterprises; stronger value chains) 2) Deeper and more inclusive finance sector (e.g., stronger nonbank credit institutions, new financial instruments, capital market development, building up capabilities of financial intermediaries, effective risk-mitigation schemes); Raising Public Sector Efficiency: 1) Strengthened public resource management (e.g., fiscal rule on use of hydrocarbon revenues, medium-term expenditure framework, budget information management system, public procurement capacity, fiscal risk and public debt management, tax administration efficiency, enhancing social protection systems), 2) Increased efficiency and financial sustainability of state-owned enterprises; Improving Infrastructure and Strengthening Human Capital: 1) Better and more sustainable infrastructure to reduce cost of doing business and regional inequalities, and to support regional cooperation and integration; 2) Utility regulation and tariff reform; 3) More private sector participation in infrastructure; 4) Improved labor skills and productivity through better access and quality of technical and vocational education."In November ADB approved a $250 million policy-based loan in support of the government of Azerbaijan’s efforts to strengthen public sector governance and fiscal management, and encourage private sector development. Overall, this year can be assessed as another productive and fruitful year of our successful partnership," said ADB.As the Bank said, since Azerbaijan joined ADB in 1999, ADB approved about $5.1 billion in sovereign and nonsovereign loans, guarantees, and technical assistance in various fields such as transport, energy, water supply and sanitation, public sector management, finance, agriculture and natural resources.Of this amount, $1.9 billion went to energy, $1.4 billion – transport, $1 billion – public sector management, $583 million – water and other urban infrastructure and services, $214 million – finance, $1.2 million – agriculture, natural resources and rural development and $0.6 million – health. A total of 82 projects were supported in Azerbaijan by the ADB as of September 1, 2019."The priority areas of our cooperation are set in our Country Operational Business Plan (COBP) for 2020-2022. The COBP is the document which is being updated on annual basis. The updating process will start in early 2020 and new COBP will be finalized by summer," said ADB.Azerbaijan, a group C developing member country, is eligible for regular ordinary capital resources (OCR) lending. The indicative resources available during 2020–2022 for sovereign operations total $820 million. Co-financing and funding from other sources, including the regular OCR regional cooperation and integration set-aside, will be explored.During 2020–2022, ADB also expects to commit technical assistance (TA) amounting to $5.8 million to be financed from internal sources and supplemented, whenever feasible, by ADB-administered trust funds and other external sources. Oil prices ease as supply risk concerns fade Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:59:00 +0400 By TrendOil prices eased on Tuesday as investors appeared to shrug off earlier supply concerns following a force majeure declared by Libya on two major oilfields amid a military blockade, Trend with reference to Reuters reports.Brent crude LCOc1 was trading down 30 cents, or 0.5%, at $64.90 per barrel by 0318 GMT, after rising to their highest in more than a week on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were down 14 cents, or 0.2%, at $58.40 a barrel.“Every time we get a big geopolitical event, the market spikes up but everybody looks at that as a chance of a selling opportunity,” said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.Two major oilfields in southwest Libya began shutting down on Sunday after a pipeline was closed off, potentially reducing national output to a fraction of its normal level, the country’s National Oil Corp (NOC) said.A document sent to oil traders and seen by Reuters on Monday said the NOC had declared force majeure - a waiver on contractual obligations - on crude loadings from El Sharara and El Feel oilfields in Libya’s southwest.If Libyan exports are halted for any sustained period, storage tanks will fill within days and production will slow to 72,000 barrels per day (bpd), an NOC spokesman said. Libya has been producing around 1.2 million bpd recently.Anti-government unrest in Iraq, another major oil producer, also had initially supported oil prices, but officials later said production in southern oilfields has not been affected by the unrest.Any supply disruptions could be offset by increased output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which could limit the impact on global oil markets, the head of Japan’s petroleum industry body said.“We are caught in this ($65 per barrel) trading range,” Nunan said. “Anything below and OPEC is going to have a tough time balancing their budgets ... and anything above, shale (output) will rebound.”Another factor reassuring the market is OPEC spare capacity, which stands in excess of 3 million bpd, of which the bulk sits in Saudi Arabia, analysts from ING Economics said in a note.Adding to supply, Guyana exported its first-ever shipment of crude on Monday, marking the tiny South American nation’s debut as an oil exporter.Meanwhile, Bank of America Global Research raised its 2020 oil price forecasts on Monday, citing risks to supply from the Middle East, an improving demand outlook and higher OPEC+ compliance to deepen output cuts. Azerbaijanto to invest $181 million in Southern Gas Corridor Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:41:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan’s Southern Gas Corridor closed joint-stock company (CJSC) is expected to invest around $181 million in the Southern Gas Corridor projects in 2020, Ibrahim Ahmadov, deputy head of the public relations and events department at Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, told Trend.He noted that to date, Southern Gas Corridor CJSC has invested about $9.9 billion in the Southern Gas Corridor projects using its revenues from the projects, authorized capital and borrowings."Since early 2019, the company has spent nearly $400 million to finance its share in the Southern Gas Corridor projects. It is planned to spend additional $6 million by the end of 2019," noted Ahmadov.The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority projects for the EU and envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.The launching ceremony of the first stage of the Southern Gas Corridor was held in Baku on May 29, 2018, while opening ceremony of TANAP’s Phase 0 was held on June 12, 2018 in the Turkish city of Eskisehir. TANAP-Europe connection was opened on Nov.30 in Ipsala, Edirne, Turkey.Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) were connected on the Turkish-Greek border. Azerbaijan-Italy trade turnover see 10 pct increase in 2019 Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:26:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaThe trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Italy increased by 10,5 percent in the period of January-September year-on-year in 2019, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov has said.Addressing the 5th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Italian Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation held in Rome on January 14, Shahbazov said that Italy is one of Azerbaijan’s main trade partners and some 113 Italian companies operating in various fields are registered in Azerbaijan.Italy has so far invested $770 million in Azerbaijan’s economy, and Azerbaijan has invested $1.7 billion in the Italian economy.Shahbazov noted that the economic partnership between the two countries is primarily based on the energy sector and Azerbaijan is one of Italy's major oil suppliers, saying that SOCAR has supplied 15.9 million tons of crude oil, 189,000 tons of oil products and 43,700 tons of petrochemical products to Italy over the last two years.Noting that Italian companies are involved in Azerbaijan’s important energy projects, the Minister spoke about the importance of TAP as a project to strengthen energy cooperation.“This year the Southern Gas Corridor will be commissioned, and this is of strategic importance for ensuring the energy security of our countries, partners, and Europe. The implementation of more than 90 percent of the project is an indicator of the support that Italian government has provided for the project,” he said.Shahbazov said that the joint efforts will ensure the timely completion of the TAP project, noting that it will also contribute to address issues such as safe, diversified and competitive energy supply, as well as decarbonization.He also spoke about the reforms carried out in the country under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, diversification of the economy and measures to increase the availability of the business environment.He invited Italian companies to benefit from the economic opportunities available in Azerbaijan and cooperate in areas such as energy, non-oil sector, new technologies and investments.Addressing the event, Manlio Di Stefano, Secretary of State of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the meeting will play an important role in assessing existing cooperation and developing relations in new areas.Joint measures to deepen cooperation in trade and economic, energy, logistics and infrastructure, agriculture, culture and tourism and other fields were identified during the meeting. AZPROMO, Azerbaijan Investment Company, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan and relevant Italian agencies reviewed Investment opportunities in both countries.Following the meeting, a protocol was signed by the co-chairs of the intergovernmental commission - Parviz Shahbazov and Manlio Di Stefano.As part of the 5th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Italian Intergovernmental Commission, Parviz Shahbazov met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano. During the meetings, the sides exchanged views on measures to expand political and economic relations, as well as the Southern Gas Corridor and its integral part TAP.It was noted that the Azerbaijani-Italian trade and economic partnership, in particular in the energy sector, is strategically important, and the meeting of the intergovernmental commission and meetings will provide important steps to strengthen these relations.Shahbazov also met with the leaders of 8 Italian companies, including “Maire Tecnimont”, “Ansaldo Energia”, “Tenaris” and “Technip Italy”. Gold, silver prices up Business Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:11:00 +0400 By TrendGold, silver and platinum prices increased in Azerbaijan on Jan. 21, compared to the prices on Jan. 17, Trend reports referring to the data published by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA).The price of gold increased by 18 manat and amounted to 2,663 manat per ounce.The price of silver increased by 0.2056 manat and amounted to 30.8486 manat per ounce.The price of platinum increased by 21.2 manat and amounted to 1,739 manat per ounce.The price of palladium increased by 315 manat and amounted to 4,286 manat per ounce.Precious metalsJan. 21, 2020Jan. 17, 2020GoldXAU2,663.16902,645.0810SilverXAG30.848630.6430PlatinumXPT1,739.84801,718.6150PalladiumXPD4,286.26953,971.2170The precious metals are gold, silver, platinum and metals of platinum group (palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium) brought to the highest fineness (999.9).The precious metals are sold as ingots, coins or powder and have the appropriate quality certificates.Troy ounce is a unit of mass equal to 31.1034768 grams.(1 USD = 1.7 manat on Jan. 21) Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 22 times Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:47:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 22 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Jan. 21, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using large caliber machine guns and sniper rifles.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, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions. President Ilham Aliyev meets with founder and Co-Executive Chairman of Carlyle Group in Davos Politics Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:34:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with founder and Co-Executive Chairman of Carlyle Group David Rubenstein in Davos.Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of Carlyle Group David Rubenstein hailed the cooperation between the organization headed by him and Azerbaijan's State Oil Fund and informed the head of state of prospects for future cooperation.President Ilham Aliyev pointed to the development of Azerbaijan's economy, saying that the non-oil sector industry grew by 14 percent, while the agriculture by 7 percent in the country last year.The favorable investment climate created in Azerbaijan was hailed. The ample opportunities for the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and one of the world's leading companies Carlyle Group in funds management area was also emphasized at the meeting.