Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az Water management - greatest challenge for Central Asian nations http://www.today.az/news/regions/165024.html World news Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:59:00 +0400 By AzernewsWater remains one of the greatest challenges for Central Asian nations due to the lack of cooperation and regional dialogue on resource management between the upstream and downstream countries.Central Asia’s main sources of water are two rivers - the Amu Darya and Syr Darya - both of which are tributaries of the Aral Sea, once the largest lake in the world.The Amu Darya originates in Tajikistan, flows along the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and goes through Turkmenistan before returning to Uzbekistan and falls into the Aral Sea. Together, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers have about 77 cubic kilometers of water, 96 percent of which is used for irrigation.The impact of climate change on water problems in Central AsiaGlaciers are the main source of clean drinking water in Central Asia. Almost one third of the Central Asian glaciers are expected to disappear by 2050 due to the effect of climate change and global warming. Such disasters are devastating for the countries whose agricultural sector is the key contributor to the state’s GDP. Moreover, the key transport infrastructure might be washed away taking long time for further restoration.It is forecasted that due to the melting of mountain glaciers, the river runoff in the Amu Darya river basin will be reduced by 30 percent, compared with the average annual runoff over the past 10 years. This will lead to increased spring runoff, causing more flooding, as well as dramatically reduced water availability in the summer, causing more droughts.Such situation will negatively impact the agricultural sphere that dominates in the economies of Central Asian nations.Controversies over water issues among Central Asian nationsThe reason for poor water management lies in the fact that downstream countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) and upstream countries (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) have conflicting interests in how these water resources should be used.Downstream countries are strongly dependent on irrigated agriculture while upstream countries are more focused on expanding reservoir capacity and hydroelectric power generation. In summer the downstream countries want water for irrigation while the upstream countries want to accumulate it for winter power generation.In the Soviet times a system of compensation for the upstream countries with oil and gas from the downstream countries was introduced, but currently all five countries have their own national interests.International community’s efforts to solve water-related issues in Central AsiaA number of international institutions including the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, the Interstate Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia, and the Research and Information Centre have been established in the region to fight with water scarcity.These organizations, as well as a number of water management projects, have received financial and technical assistance from international agencies, such as Swiss, German, and American international development agencies, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union.Another high-level event 'Towards Implementation of the International Decade for Action 'Water for Sustainable Development' 2018-2028' within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly was held on September 19.Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon attended the event. He expressed the confidence that the realization of these goals and tasks is possible only if cooperation and mobilization of the necessary resources - human, financial and scientific - is enhanced.Rahmon said that efforts and aspirations in the framework of the UN and other organizations and institutions undertaken during this forty-year period contributed to the expansion of the process of access to safe drinking water, improvement of knowledge and skills in the field of broad water resources management, strengthening cooperation and integration in the water sphere, formation of new views and bases for consideration of world and regional problems connected with water resources.Despite these advances, the Tajik President in his speech suggested to take into account those factors that narrow the arena of further cooperation. Effective transnational cooperation can promote sound and sustainable management and use of water resources, and lead to a reduction in unjustified costs and a balance between different forms and uses of water resources, according to the president.Concluding his speech, Rahmon noted that as the initiator of the International Decade of Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ Tajikistan intends to create a Special Center to ensure coordination of activities for its implementation. Also in order to implement the National Action Plan to promote the International Decade, he proposed to hold an international conference on this topic in Dushanbe in 2018.The fate of hydro energy projects in Central AsiaBoth Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are involved in construction of hydro power plants aiming to provide energy security in their countries. Lack of electricity in these two states remains an extremely important issue.In 2007, Kyrgyzstan resumed construction of the Kambarata-2 project, abandoned in the 1990s. The first unit of the Kambarata-2 hydroelectric project will allow Kyrgyzstan to produce an additional 500 million to 700 million kilowatt hours per year of electricity. Kyrgyzstan's ambitions to control the flow of its rivers in order to generate more hydroelectric power are of particular concern to Uzbekistan as it relies on rivers that originate or pass through Kyrgyzstan and its mountainous neighbor, Tajikistan, to irrigate its cotton fields.The Kambarata project is only the first of several projects planned along the Naryn River, which rises in the Tien Shan Mountains and is dammed at Toktogul, the largest reservoir in Kyrgyzstan, before running on to merge with another river to become the Syr Darya. The power plant has received critique from energy experts who argue that the Kambarata dams are too expensive.The construction and exploitation of Kambar Ata HPP and the Upper-Naryn cascade will allow Kyrgyzstan to produce about five billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year and cover the growing needs of the population.However, the implementation of Kyrgyz ambitious project to construct the Upper-Naryn cascade remains questionable due to inability to attract foreign investment.Representatives of the Czech company Liglass Trading, which was the surprise winner of a tender last summer, acknowledged on September 18 that they do not have the money to proceed with the project.Tajikistan is also suffering from poor management of water resources, as during the winter months the country faces electricity shortages and severe cold.One of the most controversial dam projects is the Rogun HPP on Vakhsh river. This project also caused tensions with Uzbekistan because it claims that water flows will be seriously decreased.The Rogun HPP is seen as a solution to the energy independence and a tool for economic growth in Tajikistan. By implementing the project, Tajikistan will be able to generate about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This will not only help the country to meet its domestic needs but will also make Tajikistan a major exporter of electricity.The HPP is being constructed on the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River in the Pamir mountain ranges. The project is being developed by OJSC Rogun Hydropower Plant on behalf of the Government of Tajikistan.Approximately $4 billion is needed to complete the country's main energy project - Rogun HPP. About 2 billion somoni have been allocated from the state budget for the completion of the hydroelectric power station this year.The Rogun HPP construction project was developed during the Soviet era. Construction of the plant was initiated in 1976, but stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The dam should form a large Rogun reservoir with a total volume of 13.3 cubic meters.The project is criticized because of the location in the zone of high seismicity, landslide and mudflow processes, and the presence of a tectonic fault filled with rock salt under the base of the dam.Central Asian nations have to unite effortsIn order to find solution to the key water problems in the region, all five Central Asian nations should unite their efforts and begin constructive dialogue. The first attempts have already been made during the recent meeting between Kyrgyz and Uzbek leaders Almazbek Atambayev and Shavkat Mirziyoyev.Both sides stressed that one of the key factors of the Central Asia’s well-being is the integrated use of water and energy resources, taking into account the interests of all the states of the region.They also agreed on the rational use of water resources in accordance with the common interests.Although it doesn’t mean that Uzbekistan supports the construction of HPPs in Kyrgyzstan, the country demonstrated its readiness for open dialogue and compromise.  CBA announces manat rate for September 22 http://www.today.az/news/business/165022.html Business Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:51:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of Azerbaijan’s national currency, the manat, against the US dollar was set at 1.7008 AZN/USD for Sept. 22, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) said.Thus, the AZN/USD rate decreased by 0.0001 manats compared to the rate on September 21. President Aliyev extends condolences to Mexican president http://www.today.az/news/politics/165021.html Politics Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:59:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolence to President of the United Mexican States Enrique Pena Nieto.“I was deeply saddened by the news of heavy casualties and destructions as a result of a terrible earthquake that hit your country,” Ilham Aliyev said in his letter.“On the occasion of this tragedy, on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan and on my own behalf, I extend my deepest condolences to you, families and loved ones of those who died, and all the people of Mexico, and wish those injured the soonest possible recovery,” the president added.The quake struck the country shortly after 1pm local time on September 20, toppling dozens of buildings and killing at least 225 people.The 7.1 magnitude earthquake is deadliest to hit country in more than 30 years and has brought down buildings in the capital, Mexico City. CIS Economic Council approves number of joint projects http://www.today.az/news/regions/165023.html World news Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:46:00 +0400 By Sara IsrafilbayovaMoscow has hosted the 75th meeting of the Economic Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).The agenda included a wide range of issues of interaction of the CIS countries in the economic sphere. The meeting participants approved the drafts of the Concept of Cooperation of the Commonwealth States in the field of land reclamation and the Concept of Cooperation of the CIS Countries in the field of oil and gas engineering.Moreover, the protocol on amendments to the agreement on the rules for determining the country of origin of goods in the CIS, the protocol on amendments to the agreement on the harmonization of requirements for additional training and the professional competence of international road carriers of the Commonwealth States was adopted.The meeting participants discussed the preparations for the census of the population in the Commonwealth states in 2020.A number of budget, financial and organizational issues were discussed.The next meeting of the CIS Economic Council is scheduled for December 15.The Economic Council of the CIS was established in April 1999.The Council is the main executive body ensuring the implementation of agreements adopted within the framework of the CIS, decisions of the Council of Heads of States and the Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth on the formation and functioning of a free trade zone and other issues of socio-economic cooperation.The main functions of the Economic Council of the CIS are developing proposals for the creation of a system of mutual settlements and payments for trading and other transactions; creation of legal, economic and organizational conditions for the transition to higher levels of economic cooperation based on the free movement of goods, services, labor and capital; assistance in the entry of the CIS member states into the world economic system, etc.The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is free association of sovereign states formed in 1991 by Russia and 11 other republics that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. The CIS’s functions are to coordinate its members’ policies regarding their economies, defense, immigration policies, environmental protection, and law enforcement.The CIS united Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. However, in 2008 Georgia withdrew its membership. ASAN Volunteers restarts 'Parliament of Volunteers' http://www.today.az/news/society/165025.html Society Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:30:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe ‘Parliament of Volunteers’ project will be launched in Azerbaijan once again with the financial support of the Youth Foundation under the President of Azerbaijan, the organization of "ASAN Volunteers" and the Training Center of the Taxes Ministry.During the four-day project, which will take place in Shamakhi region, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their political analysis skills through discussions on various topics.The main objective of the project is to involve the youth in public and legislative life of the country, as well as promote constructive approach in solving problems.The ‘Parliament of Volunteers’ project will simulate the work of the Parliament of Azerbaijan. As many as 80 young people will be in Shamakhi to attend the four-day sessions of the Parliament’s simulation. Young people will also participate in various social activities.Young people who want to become participants of the "Parliament of Volunteers" project can register following the link https://goo.gl/c4mpLvThe selected candidates will participate in special training on topics such as political analysts, political scientists and MPs on October 6-8.Following the training on October 10, participants will demonstrate the information they learned in a written version. The selected individuals will be eligible to participate in a simulation exercise in Shamakhi.ASAN Volunteers was established in 2009. The main mission of the organization is to support young generation and create opportunities for volunteers to improve their self- development. Azerbaijani wrestlers shine at World Military Championships [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/sports/165020.html Sports Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:48:00 +0400 The top wrestlers from a number of countries came together to compete in the CISM World Military Wrestling Championships in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on September 18-25.Azerbaijani wrestler Galib Aliyev has claimed a gold medal at the 32nd World Military Championships. He secured the medal in the 61kg weight category.Other Azerbaijani wrestlers Afgan Khashalov (57kg), Aghahuseyn Mustafayev (65kg) and Joshgun Azimov (70kg) took bronze medals of the tournament.In women’s event, wrestler Turkan Nasirova has captured a silver medal.She sealed the medal in the 48kg weight category. Baku to host 2019 UEFA Europa League final http://www.today.az/news/sports/165019.html Sports Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:31:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe Baku Olympic Stadium has been named a venue for the 2019 UEFA Europe League final. The decision was made at a UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon on September 20.To be held on May 29, 2019, the final will be the first such decider played in the Azerbaijani capital, according to UEFA.The 69,870-seats Olympic Stadium was ready in March 2015, and in June 2015 it served as the main venue for the 2015 European Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletic games.In May 2017 the Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, as well as the athletics games of the event. The stadium will also host three group games and a quarter-final of UEFA EURO 2020. The facility consists of the main and auxiliary stadiums, an auxiliary building, as well as sections for VIP, CIP, media and disabled spectators.In August 2015, the Engineering News Record magazine declared the Baku Olympic Stadium the best sports facility of the year. The Baku Olympic Stadium was also recognized as "The best new stadium in the world" by the World Congress of Stadiums-2017 at its gathering in the capital of Qatar, Doha.As for the 2019 UEFA Champions League final, it was entrusted to the home ground of Atletico Madrid FC - Wanda Metropolitano stadium, and the UEFA Super Cup will take place in Istanbul at Vodafone Park stadium.Baku had put forward its candidacy to host the finals of either the Champions League or Europa League in 2019. Azerbaijan, Iran agree on funding for Rasht-Astara railway construction http://www.today.az/news/business/165018.html Business Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:59:00 +0400 By AzernewsA multi-million dollar project on Rasht-Astara railway route, a part of the International North-South Transportation Corridor, is expected to be launched this year.The construction of the section of Resht-Astara will cost Iran $1.1 billion. Azerbaijan will provide Iran with a loan of 500 million euros to complete the construction of the railway section.The two countries, within the International North-South Transport Corridor [a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe], are making efforts to connect their railways through the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara route, connecting Iran’s northern city of Astara to its namesake in the Azerbaijan.  Nourollah Beiranvand, the deputy for planning and investment at Iran Railways, told Trend that Azerbaijan agreed to allocate this fund.“Taking into account the mutual benefit of the Rest-Astara railway for the two countries, the Azerbaijani government agreed to finance the project,” Beiranvand said.He denied the recent rumors that Baku will fully finance the construction of the Resht-Astara, saying that half of the required amount will be provided by Azerbaijan, and other half by Iran.“The financing will be carried out in the form of a loan. The invested amount will be later deducted from the income of the project,” he said.Beiranvand also touched upon the construction of the Astara railway station and said that Azerbaijan agreed to invest in the construction of the station and cargo terminals.Azerbaijan earlier agreed to provide 60 million euros for developing railway facilities in Iranian city of Astara.“Approximately half of this amount is projected to be used to finance the construction of a 1.4-kilometer railway in Astara, as well as the station building,” Beiranvand said.The remaining half will be spent on the construction of four terminals, according the official.  This rail road link is important as it will significantly facilitate and expedite exchange of good and trade amongst Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia. The agreement signed between Azerbaijan Railways and Iran Railways envisages that Azerbaijan rents the railway line for a period of 15 years, and terminals for 25 years.The transport corridor "North-South" is designed to connect Northern Europe with South-East Asia, including the unification of the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the first stage, along the corridor, it is planned to transport five million tons of cargo per year, increasing later to more than 10 million tons of cargo. Azerbaijan to appoint trade representative to Hungary http://www.today.az/news/business/165017.html Business Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:48:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan plans to appoint its next trade representative to Hungary, a landlocked country in central Europe.The trade representative will work to expand Azerbaijan’s non-oil exports, promote the ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand in Europe and attract investment into the country. So far, Azerbaijan has appointed trade representatives to Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said that Azerbaijan is also considering other mechanisms to expand bilateral trade with Hungary, Azertac reportedThe trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Hungary amounted to $ 20.12 million in January-July 2017, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.The 7th meeting of Azerbaijan-Hungary Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation will take place in Budapest.In October, Budapest will also welcome the export mission of Azerbaijan’s entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs involved in the export mission are specialized in the production of fruits and vegetables, mineral water, fruit juices, sugar and confectionery products, wine and other alcohol products, honey and products from it, tea, hazelnuts and other industrial products.Since early 2017, Azerbaijan has already sent export missions to Qatar, Kazakhstan, Germany, Afghanistan and Pakistan.The export missions play an important role in expanding non-oil exports and promoting the “Made in Azerbaijan” brand.As of today, 92 trademarks of Azerbaijan are protected under the ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand, while the country’s total outputs nears  250 kinds of products in food, light, heavy and construction industries. The brand is highly successful in regional and world markets, and Azerbaijan’s local output meets all the necessary standards.In January 2017, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree “About appointment of trade representatives in embassies and consulates of the Republic”.Under the decree, the country’s economy minister appoints trade representatives in the Azerbaijani embassies and consulates abroad to facilitate business ties and increase the effectiveness of export promotion measures, represent and fully protect the trade and economic interests of the country and expand the delivery of Azerbaijani products to foreign markets.Trade representatives’ main mission is to take measures to expand Azerbaijan`s economic and trade relations with foreign countries, protect economic interests of Azerbaijan, increase export of Azerbaijani goods and services, promote Azerbaijan’s business environment and investment opportunities.Moreover, Azerbaijan opens Trade Houses in foreign countries. Azerbaijan’s first Trade House was opened in the Belarusian capital Minsk and the second one maybe opened in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region. It is also expected to open Trade Houses in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Going underground: Baku Metro expands network http://www.today.az/news/society/165016.html Society Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:46:00 +0400 By Azernews Strange as it may sound, the subway is one of those places that say something very special about each city. It remembers thousands of people walking through it every day for years, while they remember very little of the time they spend there.  Opened in 1967, Baku Metro, the first subway system in the East, has transformed the way the city moves, works and travels.  Serving the residents and guests of the capital for 50 years, Baku Metro is the most affordable and safest way to get around the city. With 25 stations on 3 lines -Green, Red and Purple, currently the metro is 36.63 km in length. About 600,000 passengers daily use the train network in Baku, travelling on the underground, to get around the capital, without ever thinking too much about how the system works. But hundreds of meters below the surface, a change is coming - a change that will reshape the transport system. Now, Baku Metro is working on expansion of the lines to make the life of the residents more convenient. Head of the Traffic Service Department Etibar Isayev said that the Metro has started working on expansion of the ‘Green’ line construction. “Work has already begun. The territory for new stations has already been allocated and fenced. But it is too early to speak about any concrete terms for its completion,” he told Trend. The ‘Green’ line of Baku Metro is planned to be turned into a ring road. The ‘Green’ line construction stipulates building of three stations between Khatai and Hazi Aslanov stations, as well as the connection between Darnagul and Hazi Aslanov stations. Nine new stations are planned to be built between the two stations. In the long term, when the tunnels between Jafar Jabbarli and Nizami stations are ready, as well as Y-14, Y-15 and Y-16 stations [between Khatai and Hazi Aslanov] are completed, Khatai station will be intermediate on the Green branch. This line is set to increase the rail capacity, and cut journey times across the capital dramatically, as well as lower congestion at many key points across the network. Isayev said that construction of stations on the ‘Purple’ line of Baku Metro is also underway. The new station, which bears the conventional name B-3, is being built near the Central Military Hospital along Jalil Mammadguluzade Street. The station, which is planned to be commissioned in 2018, is a part of the on the ‘Purple’ line, which also includes Memar Adjemi-2 and Avtovokzal stations.  “The construction work is also underway on the ‘Purple’ line. After their completion, it will take some time to deliver the necessary equipment, after which the new station will be commissioned,” he said. By 2030 it is planned to expand the infrastructure of Baku Metro and create a giant underground transport network. Then, Baku will have a train network consisting of five lines, including three available and two additional, as well as 76 stations and underground  network with a length of 119 kilometers. Korean Food Showcase in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/165015.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:57:00 +0400 By AzernewsFans of delicious Asian food do not miss the chance to taste Korean cuisine in Baku.Korean Food Showcase will be organized in the capital city, near the Maiden Tower in Icherisheher between 11:00 and 18:00 on September 27.Organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Azerbaijan, Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Retail Affairs and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the event will feature Korean agricultural product tasting and Korean traditional tea ceremony demonstration.The products showcased at the event will include:Healthy Food : Red Ginseng Tea, Red Ginseng Extracts, Roasted and Ground Powder of Germinated Brown Rice, Super Food Mixed Grain Powder, Ginger Flavored Bellflower juice Ect.Tea and Snacks : Jujube Tea, Green Tea, Citron Tea, Omija Juice, Sweet Rice Puff, Rice Crispy Cookies, Traditional Korean Wheat Honey Cookies EctAlcoholic Beverages : Citron-flavored Soju(korean style vodka), Makgeoli (traditional liquor from rice ), Leegangju Ect.Korean cuisine was influenced by the well-defined four seasons and by the regional characteristics of the Korean peninsula.Local dishes are made from ingredients that reveal the geographical characteristics of each microclimate and region. The recipes reflect the wisdom of living healthily by eating seasonally.Koreans have a high regard for those who prepare food. They believe that one’s hands play an important role in food preparation and in putting one’s heart and soul into the cuisine.In Korea, staying healthy and cool during the summer is all about what you eat. Many Koreans try to beat the heat and counteract summer fatigue by eating cool dishes, as well as warm, healthy foods that are known for their restorative powers.Come to experience the diverse tastes and stories of Korean cuisine, filled with history, meaning and delicious taste! President Aliyev ends U.S. visit http://www.today.az/news/politics/165014.html Politics Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:59:00 +0400 By AzertacPresident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have completed their visit to the United States of America. President Ilham Aliyev met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/165011.html Politics Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:05:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York. President Aliyev: For 25 years Armenia holds Azerbaijani lands under occupation [PHOTO ] http://www.today.az/news/politics/165010.html Politics Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:04:00 +0400 The 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly has opened in New York.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.Moderator of the event was Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Dian Triansyah Djani.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressed the opening of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.Speech of President Ilham AliyevFor more than 25 years Armenia occupies 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other regions of our country.Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient and historical part of Azerbaijan. As a result of Armenian aggression almost 20% of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under Armenian occupation. More than one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons. Armenia conducted the policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis in Armenia, in Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other regions of Azerbaijan.Armenia committed genocide against Azerbaijanis in Khojaly. Khojaly genocide is already officially recognized by more than 10 countries. On February 26, 1992 Armenia committed war crime killing 613 peaceful residents of Khojaly, among them 106 women and 63 children. One of those war criminals who committed that terrible crime against humanity is current Armenian President.Leading international organizations adopted resolutions demanding withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. In 1993, United Nations Security Council adopted 4 resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan.Other international organizations, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Alignment Movement, OSCE, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and European Parliament adopted similar decisions and resolutions. Armenia doesn’t implement them. Armenia for 24 years ignores UN Security Council resolutions and unfortunately is not punished for that. In some cases, UN Security Council resolutions are implemented within days. In our case it’s 24 years that resolutions are not implemented. This is a double standards approach. This approach is unacceptable. International sanctions must be imposed on Armenia. One of the important reforms of the United Nations must be the creation of the mechanism of implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council.Armenia does everything to keep status-quo unchanged, blocks substantive negotiations. Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group –France, Russia, USA – on several occasions stated that status-quo is unacceptable.The question is how can this corrupt, failed state ruled by despotic, medieval regime afford to violate international law for so many years and ignore the resolutions of UN Security Council and statements of the leading countries of the world? And the answer is double standards. There is no international pressure on aggressor, no international sanctions imposed on Armenian dictatorship. This policy must be stopped.Such policy towards aggressor is not only demonstration of injustice, it also creates an illusion that Armenian dictatorship can continue their policy of terror.Last April Armenia committed another war crime on the line of contact attacking our cities and villages. As a result of this attack, 6 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, among them one child and 26 civilians were wounded. Hundreds of our houses were destroyed.Azerbaijan had to defend its citizens. As a result of successful counter-attack, Azerbaijan liberated some territories in the 3 occupied regions - Agdere, Fuzuli and Jabrayil and installed its national flag on the liberated territories. Armenian leadership should not forget this lesson. Otherwise, the result of the next Armenian provocation will be more painful for them.Losing on the battlefield Armenia uses its mean policy of attacking our cities and villages. On July 4, 2017 a targeted attack on Alkhanli village in Fuzuli district by Armenia with 82 and 120 mm mortars and grenade launchers killed 2 civilians – 2 years old Zahra Guliyeva and her grandmother.On August 7, 2017, a 13 years old boy in Tovuz region bordering with Armenia was wounded by Armenian soldiers. International community must stop Armenian fascism and terror. Azerbaijan is committed to peaceful resolution of the conflict but at the same time will defend its citizens in line with UN charter if Armenian military provocations continue and if necessary will punish once again the aggressor as it was done in April, 2016.Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved on the basis of international law, relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be completely restored. Despite the enormous difficulties caused by Armenian occupation Azerbaijan develops rapidly and successfully.Azerbaijan is an active member of the United Nations.In 2011, Azerbaijan was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. 155 countries voted for Azerbaijan. Absolute majority of the member states demonstrated their support to Azerbaijan and its policy. For the country which at that time was only 20 years old, that was a great success. Azerbaijan is a stable, modern, democratic country. Development of democracy, human rights protection are among top priorities of our government. All fundamental freedoms are fully provided in Azerbaijan, including freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of assembly, religious freedom.Azerbaijan is one of the world’s recognized centers of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a state policy in Azerbaijan. Representatives of all ethnic groups and religions live in Azerbaijan in peace and harmony. 2016 was declared the year of multiculturalism and 2017 the year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan.Unlike Armenia where there are almost no national minorities, which is a mono ethnic country and where xenophobia is a state policy, Azerbaijan is a multiethnic country, cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of our society is our big asset. Armenia, where Islamophobia reached its peak, committed many acts of vandalism destroying all our mosques on the occupied territories.Azerbaijan had hosted numerous international events aiming at strengthening interreligious dialogue. Among them are 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, World’s Religious Leaders Forum, 4 times international forum on Intercultural Dialogue, 5 times Baku International Humanitarian Forum and other important events.Being a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan in 2008 launched the Baku Process which is supported by the United Nations. Main goal of the Baku Process is to strengthen dialogue, partnership and cooperation between the Muslim world and Europe.In 2015, Azerbaijan hosted the First European Games. 6000 athletes from 50 countries participated at these Games. In 2017, Azerbaijan hosted 4th Islamic Solidarity Games with almost 3000 athletes from 54 countries.In two years in our capital Baku European and Islamic Games took place. This was also a great contribution to the promotion of multiculturalism. Azerbaijani team took the second place at the First European Games, and the first place at the Islamic Solidarity Games. This shows that Azerbaijan is one of the leading sporting countries of the world. Another proof of our sporting achievement is that Azerbaijan was number 14 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with respect to the number of medals. In total, Azerbaijan won 18 medals.Azerbaijan achieved big progress in social and economic development.Since 2004, Azerbaijan’s economy grew more than 3 times. More than 1 million 600 thousand jobs were created in our country. Level of unemployment is one of the lowest in the world – 5%. One of our priorities was reduction of poverty. In 2004, level of poverty was more than 40%, now it is 5-6%. Hard currency reserves are equal to the country’s GDP. Foreign state debt is less than 20% of GDP.Azerbaijan was assessed as “leading reformer of the world” in 2009 by the World Bank’s Doing Business report. Based on Davos World Economic Forum “Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-2017” Azerbaijan is ranked ?37 among 138 countries.In 2015, Azerbaijan received the 2015 South-South Award in recognition of its outstanding achievements in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and since 2010 has been classified into the category of countries with high human development.Rapid development of Azerbaijan’s space industry, 2 telecommunication and field observation satellites “Azerspace” and “Azersky” and a third one “Azerspace-2” to be launched soon – made it possible for our country to become a member of the world’s space club.Today Azerbaijan exports not only its industrial and agricultural but also intellectual products. “State Agency for Services and Social Innovations to the Citizens” - ASAN Service is a modern model of public relations and services.251 services under one roof, absolute transparency, zero tolerance to corruption and bribery made “ASAN Service” attractive to many countries.Being purely Azerbaijani brand during 5 years of its foundation ASAN Service provided over 1 million 600 thousand services to 5 million people. The total number of applications is 17 million. The rate of public appreciation of “ASAN Service” is 98 %.In 2015, in recognition of its contribution to excellence, creativity and considerable simplification of the delivery of public services, ASAN received the United Nations Public Service Award.Main goal of our policy is to make the life of our citizens better. Since 2004 salaries grew in our country 5.6 times, pensions 8.2 times.Without any foreign financial support, we built almost 100 new settlements and towns for refugees and IDPs suffering from Armenian occupation. Until today, the living conditions of more than 250 thousand people were improved and they were provided with new houses and flats. 152 schools, 59 medical centers, 60 kindergartens were built in these towns and settlements.In general, since 2004 more than 3000 schools, more than 600 hospitals and medical centers were newly built and renovated. Level of literacy in Azerbaijan is close to 100%. Every year more than 5 million people – half of the country’s population – get their medical check-up totally financed by the state budget.Azerbaijan plays an important role on the global energy market. Being a reliable supplier of oil and gas to the international markets - Azerbaijan is providing energy security for many countries of the world. Today, Azerbaijan together with its international partners is very close to the completion of the “Southern Gas Corridor” project. This project of 40 billion USD of investments is one of the largest infrastructure projects of the world.Another important priority is transportation. Situated between Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is wisely using its geographical location to become one of the leading transportation hubs in Eurasia.Relatively recently Azerbaijan built 6 international airports, 11,000 kilometers of modern highways and roads. Azerbaijan has the biggest trade fleet in the Caspian Sea with 270 vessels.Modern shipbuilding yard of Azerbaijan is capable to build all types and sizes of ships.Azerbaijan is modernizing its railroad infrastructure. Absolute majority of our territory is covered by railroads. Next year we will inaugurate the international trade sea port which will be the biggest in the Caspian region.Azerbaijan is largely investing in East-West and North-South transportation corridors. Both routes crossing our country will be the shortest routes from East to West and from North to the South.In conclusion, I would like to say that last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of our independence. Successful development of Azerbaijan once again shows that only when you are free and independent, when the destiny of the country is in the hands of its people you can achieve success. The biggest happiness of the people of Azerbaijan is that we live in the independent country which conducts independent policy, policy which is based on the national interests of its people. CBA announces manat rate for September 21 http://www.today.az/news/business/165008.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:57:00 +0400 By TrendOfficial exchange rate of Azerbaijan’s national currency, the manat, against the US dollar was set at 1.7007 AZN/USD for Sept. 21, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) said Sept. 20.Thus, the AZN/USD rate remained unchanged compared to the rate on Sept. 20. Over 2/3 of pipe stringing complete in TAP’s Greek, Albanian sections http://www.today.az/news/business/165007.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:51:00 +0400 By TrendMore than 2/3 of pipe stringing completed in the Greek and Albanian sections of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, TAP AG consortium said on its Twitter page.It accounts for 520km out of 765km of TAP’s section in those two countries.Approximately 95 percent of the total 55,000 pipes to be used for the construction of TAP have already been received in Greece, Albania and Italy.The last shipment of offshore line pipes has been offloaded in Brindisi, Italy, between 3 and 6 September 2017.TAP’s contractors have cleared approximately 70 percent of the project route in Greece and Albania (539km out of 765km). Also, over 45 percent of welded steel pipes are already in the ground (backfilled).TAP is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union. The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.The pipeline will connect to the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy’s south.TAP will be 878 kilometers in length (Greece 550 kilometers, Albania 215 kilometers, Adriatic Sea 105 kilometers, and Italy 8 kilometers).TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent). Over 36,000 tourists visit southern regions of Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/society/165005.html Society Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsAlthough Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, is among the most beautiful and visited cities in the world, this fascinating country has a lot more to offer foreign tourists.Mountains, forests, farmlands, coastal areas, and nine out of a possible eleven distinctclimate zones from subtropical to alpine climates allow the country to welcome a diverse group of tourists. In addition to the natural and rural attractions, Azerbaijan has a rich history and many destinations that would be of interest to tourists.Until recently, few travelers visited other regions and cities of Azerbaijan due to lack of proper information and infrastructure. However, today, one can see many foreigners traveling around the country with backpacks and cameras in their hands.The tourists mainly choose the most popular destinations –Gabala, Quba, Shamakhi and many other cities. But, this year the southern regions also welcomed more tourists than before. Director of Lankaran Tourism Information Center Ilgar Azimov told Azertac that about 36,000 tourists visited Lankaran, Astara and Lerik regions in eight months of the current year.Noting that more than 17,000 tourists came only to Lankaran during this period, Azimov said that the number of foreign tourists traveling to the region also grew.“Russian tourists take first place among the foreigners coming to Lankaran, followed by travelers from Iran and Arab countries,” he said.Favorable weather conditions in August-September resulted in tourist flow to the southern regions, according Azimov, who added that the tourists expressed their satisfaction with the conditions created in the recreation centers and tourism facilities of the region.The charming city of Lankaran, one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities of Azerbaijan, is located in the South-Eastern part of the country, right at the shore of the Caspian sea. Clean air and beautiful nature, abundance of attractions and hospitality of local people are that special factor, which annually attracts tourists from all over the world.Lankaran can be considered one of the oldest settlements of Azerbaijan -- its area was inhabited from the Bronze Age. Due to its location between Europe and Asia, Lankaran was a major stopover point for international caravan routes. In 1742, the city became the capital of the Talysh Khanate. Lankaran  has a lot of historical attractions – one of the most magnificent is the Lankaran Fortress. Built in the 18th century, it was one of the most important military fortifications in the Talysh Khanate.Russian tourist Sergei Abramov, who visited Lankaran for the first time, expressed his satisfaction with the travel.“We came from Moscow. The nature and atmosphere of Lankaran made us fascinate. People of Lankaran are both hospitable and very nice,” he said.Another tourist from Russia, Olga Abramova could not hide her enthusiasm for the national cuisine.“Your kitchen is so delicious,” she said. “Since weather in Russia is cold we cannot have breakfast outdoors. However, here we enjoyed the delicious breakfast in the open air.”If you ask an Azerbaijani about the most fruitful region of the country, he will probably name Lankaran. In agriculture of Lankaran citrus and subtropical fruit-growing occupies a special place, and it is no coincidence that Lankaran is called the land of citrus plants, such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, pomelo and others.Of course, when visiting Lankaran, you should definitely taste Lankaran tea, which is constantly exported to other regions of Azerbaijan and foreign countries as well. Tea is so popular in Lankaran, that it has tea monument beside the entry to the city – a huge samovar (tea boiler). Oil production from new platform on ACG block may start in 2023 http://www.today.az/news/business/165004.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:24:00 +0400 By TrendFirst oil production from the new platform, to be built and installed on the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block of fields under the new project agreement, may begin in 2023, an official with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has told reporters in Baku.An investment decision regarding the new platform is planned to be made in 2019, according to the official.“The platform will be installed between platforms "Central Azeri" and "East Azeri," and will be named “Central Eastern Azeri”. The total cost of the project, including the platform construction, is pre-estimated at $8-9 billion. The first oil can be obtained in 2023,” the official said. Korean Food Showcase in Baku http://www.today.az/news/society/165003.html Society Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:58:00 +0400 By AzernewsFans of delicious Asian food do not miss the chance to taste Korean cuisine in Baku.Korean Food Showcase will be organized in the capital city, near the Maiden Tower in Icherisheher between 11:00 and 18:00 on September 27.Organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Azerbaijan, Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Retail Affairs and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the event will feature Korean agricultural product tasting and Korean traditional tea ceremony demonstration.The products showcased at the event will include:Healthy Food : Red Ginseng Tea, Red Ginseng Extracts, Roasted and Ground Powder of Germinated Brown Rice, Super Food Mixed Grain Powder, Ginger Flavored Bellflower juice Ect.Tea and Snacks : Jujube Tea, Green Tea, Citron Tea, Omija Juice, Sweet Rice Puff, Rice Crispy Cookies, Traditional Korean Wheat Honey Cookies EctAlcoholic Beverages : Citron-flavored Soju(korean style vodka), Makgeoli (traditional liquor from rice ), Leegangju Ect.Korean cuisine was influenced by the well-defined four seasons and by the regional characteristics of the Korean peninsula.Local dishes are made from ingredients that reveal the geographical characteristics of each microclimate and region. The recipes reflect the wisdom of living healthily by eating seasonally.Koreans have a high regard for those who prepare food. They believe that one’s hands play an important role in food preparation and in putting one’s heart and soul into the cuisine.In Korea, staying healthy and cool during the summer is all about what you eat. Many Koreans try to beat the heat and counteract summer fatigue by eating cool dishes, as well as warm, healthy foods that are known for their restorative powers.Come to experience the diverse tastes and stories of Korean cuisine, filled with history, meaning and delicious taste! EU closely following Karabakh conflict developments http://www.today.az/news/politics/165002.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:31:00 +0400 By TrendThe European Union (EU) is closely following developments over the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Kestutis Jankauskas, newly appointed head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan, told reporters in Baku on September 20.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. Erbil referendum could lead to Ankara's military intervention, media says http://www.today.az/news/regions/165001.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:03:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan seem determined to hold an independence referendum despite the warnings of Iraq, Turkey, the U.S and others.Residents in provinces controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will vote on September 25on independence from Baghdad. The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas where the vote is planned.The long-awaited vote is strongly opposed by Iraq and neighboring Iran, Turkey and Syria, as they fear separatism may spread to their own Kurdish populations and also obstacle fight against terrorism.Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of sanctions against the KRG if it proceeds with its planned referendum for independence next week.“We have always supported the KRG,” Erdogan told reporters in New York after his address at the UN General Assembly. “We think this approach of theirs amounts to ignoring the Republic of Turkey, which has stood by them and counted them as a close ally.”The cabinet and the National Security Council will convene to make a final decision, Erdogan said."The cabinet will undoubtedly evaluate this situation and assess possible sanctions, which will not be ordinary," he said.Media reports that Ankara may cease the activity of the consulate of Iraqi Kurdistan operating in the country, and also close the border checkpoint Khabur in the province of Sirnak, which is the only checkpoint connecting the autonomous region with Turkey.Turkish media reports that the independence referendum could lead to military intervention by Turkey in the north of Iraq.Reportedly this option can be considered at a meeting on national security issues in Turkey, which will be held on September 22.The head of Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, previously threatened war if the central government in Baghdad interferes with the holding of the referendum.He noted that preparations for the referendum have been completed. “The Kurdish Autonomy does not intend to postpone holding the referendum on independence each time,” Barzani said.The Iraqi government opposes the poll, claiming it will affect the war against Daesh, cause instability and violate the Iraqi Constitution. Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the UN have all backed Baghdad in speaking out against the referendum.The Iraqi Prime Minister has slammed the planned vote as unconstitutional.  The UN called on Iraq’s Kurdish leaders to abandon the upcoming vote, saying it would undermine the ongoing battle in the Arab country against ISIS terrorists.Israel is the only nation to have openly supported the independence bid.Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East although they have never obtained a permanent nation state. In Iraq they make up an estimated 15-20 percent of the population of 37 million. Kurds acquired autonomy following the 1991 Gulf War. Azerbaijan seeks to export some products to China at lower prices http://www.today.az/news/business/164999.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe trade turnover in agriculture between Azerbaijan and China, which is the priority market for the country, amounted to $10 million in 2016.Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov, talking to reporters on September 19, said that the relations between the two countries in the agrarian sphere are currently growing, but some problems remain.“The main problem is the increase in export and export potential of Azerbaijani agricultural product,” said Asadov.The minister mentioned that China can buy wool, fruits and wine from Azerbaijan 2-2.8 times cheaper than it imports from other countries.  He added that the issue will be mulled in the subsequent negotiations between Azerbaijan and China.The agricultural imports between the two countries have never exceeded $8 million, while exports have never been higher than $2 million, he added, stressing that Azerbaijan may export certain products to China at lower prices.Trade and economic contacts occupy a significant place in bilateral relations between China and Azerbaijan. The process of interaction between the two countries was marked by constant tendencies of expansion and strengthening of cooperation. To date, more than 50 agreements were signed between the two countries.In June, Teymur Nadiroglu was appointed the trade representative of Azerbaijan in China, in a bid to expand non-oil exports, promote the ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ brand and attract investment in the country.AZPROMO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in early August. The document provides for the development of trade, economic and investment relations between the two countries, as well as promotion of export and exchange of experience.Last year, Azerbaijani companies agreed to deliver 500,000 bottles of wine to the country. The agreement was reached within the framework of participation of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs in international exhibitions in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. This year, local companies intend to expand the export of wine to China, the world's second-largest economy.        Overall, trade turnover between China and Azerbaijan has grown 800-fold over the past two decades. Initially, bilateral trade amounted to only $1.5 million, while in 2004, it jumped to $200 million, and $368 million in 2006. By 2013, the trade turnover reached around $1.5 billion.Today, China takes the 4th place in the overall trade turnover of Azerbaijan, 3rd place - in exports and imports.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China amounted to $964.68 million in January-August 2017, which is an increase by 78.8 percent as compared to the same period of 2016, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan. FM: Baku stands for two-state solution of Palestinian conflict http://www.today.az/news/politics/164998.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:01:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan is in solidarity with the Palestinian people and backs the just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, said Elmar Mammadyarov.The foreign minister of Azerbaijan made the remark while addressing a Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement on Palestine in New York on September 19."Azerbaijan as any other member of international community is deeply concerned over wars and armed conflicts in various parts of the world, which lead to political instability in some regions, large-scale displacement and unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The lack of settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poses threat not only to this region, but also to the international security,” Mammadyarov continued.The minister stressed that Azerbaijan supports peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stands beside the Palestinian people.“Azerbaijan stands for the two-state solution of the Palestinian conflict with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. In this regard, I would like to reaffirm Azerbaijan’s full support to the brotherly people of Palestine in their struggle for achieving peace, stability and sustainable development,” he said.Mammadyarov noted that Azerbaijan, as the future chairman of the NAM, will seek to use this function to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict based on international law, and the solid position of our Movement.The minister further spoke about his country’s close political dialogue and regular consultations with Palestine."Emanating from shared values and culture, Palestine and Azerbaijan historically cooperated and supported each other in all international forums and organizations. The spirit of this solidarity has been proved in different instances. Azerbaijan has hosted two successful conferences, namely, “The donor’s conference to finance the strategic plan for the development of the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif” and “The establishment of Islamic financial safety net in support of the state of Palestine” in 2013 and made significant donations for the development and maintenance of the holy city’s infrastructure. This year Azerbaijan hosted the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem under auspices of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People with the support of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. The Conference provided up-to-date information on the current situation in East Jerusalem under occupation, examined the latest developments, and explored practical ways,” the minister said.Mammadyarov believes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict underscores the urgency of acting collectively, immediately and determinedly “to end this five decade conflict in accordance with international law, including humanitarian and human rights law”.It requires international intervention and political will to address the root causes of the conflict in achieving a just, lasting solution to the question of Palestine in all its aspects based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, according to him."Having this opportunity, we once again support the Palestinian government in their efforts to realize their inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations for peace, freedom and justice," Mammadyarov said. Trump hopes Qatar crisis to be resolved quickly http://www.today.az/news/regions/164997.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:41:00 +0400 By AzernewsPresident of the United States, Donald Trump has said that the dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors would be resolved quickly.“We are right now in a situation where we’re trying to solve a problem in the Middle East. And I think we’ll get it solved, I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved pretty quickly,” Trump said in New York as he met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the White House press service reported.The meeting in expanded format was attended by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, National Security Advisor to General Herbert McMaster, Presidential Adviser Jared Kouchner, Economic Advisor to President Dinah Powell and two other U.S. officials.Trump continued: “It's my great honor to be with the Emir of Qatar.  And we've been friends a long time; people don't realize that.  We know each other for a long time. And we are right now in a situation where we’re trying to solve a problem in the Middle East, and I think we'll get it solved.”The Gulf crisis erupted after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism. Qatar has vehemently denied the charges as baseless.Trump earlier this month was optimistic he could force a breakthrough. 'I think you’d have a deal worked out very quickly,' he said. But a call he arranged between the leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia didn't bear fruit and led to disparate statements from the two nations.The Qatari Emir, in turn, confirmed that the relationship between the United States of America and Qatar is a very strong relationship, a historic relationship.“We have a lot to talk about -- trade, military cooperation, security cooperation,” he said, further adding: “We have a problem with our neighbors, and your interference will help a lot.” “And I'm sure that, with your interference, hopefully we can find a solution for this problem.  We've always said that we're very open for dialogue, and we'll always be open for dialoguethe Emir said.The four Arab states boycotting Qatar said that sanctions would remain in place until it met their demands and that they would keep a close eye on the tiny Gulf monarchy’s efforts to fight terrorism funding.They issued a 13-point list of demands to end the standoff. The demands include shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, closing a Turkish military base, cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and downgrading relations with Tehran.Qatar insisted it would not agree to any measures that threatened its sovereignty or violated international law. SOCAR President reveals Shah Deniz gas output http://www.today.az/news/business/164996.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:29:00 +0400 By AzernewsRoughly 85 billion cubic meters of gas and 21.2 million tons of condensate have been extracted from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field since the beginning of operation in 2006.Rovnag Abdullayev, President of the state-owned energy company SOCAR announced about this in his article, published in the country’s Respublika newspaper, on September 20.The Shah Deniz, discovered in 1999, is one of the world’s largest gas-condensate fields. The field is located on the deep water shelf of the Caspian Sea, 70 km south-east of Baku, in water depths ranging from 50 to 500 m.Shah Deniz field's reserves are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas.Abdullayev added that overall 25.6 million tons of oil and 18.7 billion cubic meters of gas were produced in Azerbaijan over eight months of 2017."Five million tons of oil and four billion cubic meters of gas accounted for SOCAR," he said.Shah Deniz Stage 1 has the capacity to produce around 10 billion cubic meters of gas per annum (bcma) and approximately 50,000 barrels a day of condensate. Shah Deniz Stage 2, or Full Field Development (FFD) will add a further 16 bcma of gas production to the approximately 9 bcma produced by Shah Deniz Stage 1.The project Shah Deniz Stage 2 is now over 92% complete in terms of engineering, procurement and construction, and remains on target for first gas from Shah Deniz Stage 2 in 2018. The gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline.Abdullayev further mentioned that SOCAR has injected 1.4 billion cubic meters of gas into the country’s underground gas storage facilities since the beginning of the gas pumping season until September 1, 2017.Currently, the active gas volume in Azerbaijan’s underground gas storage facilities amounts to 2.2 billion cubic meters, he said.There are two underground gas storage facilities – Kalmaz and Garadagh – in Azerbaijan. Capacity of the two underground gas storage facilities allows to store more than 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas. Azerbaijan eyes to earn $800M per year from Star refinery http://www.today.az/news/business/165000.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:09:00 +0400 By  TrendAnnual income of Azerbaijan’s economy from the Star oil refinery, being constructed by SOCAR on Aliaga Peninsula in Turkey, will exceed $600 million within the first five years after its commissioning, said SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev.He made the remarks Sept. 20 in Baku at an event dedicated to the Oilmen Day.Over the next 10 years, the annual income will exceed $800 million, according to him.“The refinery’s construction will be completed in the second half of 2018. The refinery will primarily provide naphtha to the Petkim petrochemical complex, which aims to take up to 30 percent share of the Turkish market,” Abdullayev said. Erdogan says restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity – main condition for peace in ... http://www.today.az/news/politics/164995.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:07:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia is the main condition for peace in the South Caucasus region.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the remark while addressing the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19.“We must make more efforts to resolve conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We must not forget that any crisis we ignore today may develop into a regional and even a global conflict tomorrow,” he noted.Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in conflict, which emerged over Armenian territorial claims. Since the 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijan's occupied lands, but they have not been enforced to this day.Turkey has always supported the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of the country's internationally recognized borders.Turkey and Armenia severed diplomatic relations in 1993 due to occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenian Armed Forces and Yerevan’s claims to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide.During his visit to Azerbaijan this March, Erdogan stated that the borders would only be reopened after Armenia ceases the occupation. Baku in Top 3 of most popular CIS cities for travel http://www.today.az/news/society/164994.html Society Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:40:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan’s beautiful capital Baku has repeatedly ranked first among the cities of the CIS on the popularity of summer travel. The autumn season also promises to be a good one for baku, dubbed as the City of Winds.Tourist service portal Turstat has revealed the most popular cities among the tourists from the CIS for travel this autumn.Baku is in the Top 3 cities of the CIS for popularity among tourists, followed by Tashkent, Ashgabat, Kiev, Kishinev, Bishkek and Erevan.The rating is based on the results of the analysis of the data of online booking systems for accommodation facilities for tourists.Tourists will visit Baku on average for 3 days and spend on living $ 78 per day, according to Turstat.The most inexpensive cities of the CIS for tourists are Bishkek and Kishinev, while the most expensive is Astana.Situated along the Caspian Sea, Baku is a great mix of Asian and Western cultures, of the old and new, all of which is best reflected in the city’s sights and landmarks. The capital Baku is on the Caspian Sea, but also home to oil drilling derricks and futuristic skyscrapers.Unique culture and history, delicious food and wine and plenty of adventures are awaiting travelers in the capital city of Azerbaijan.  Travelers can explore the famed medieval Old City, hailed as a “must-visit”, which houses the UNESCO-listed Shirvanshah’s Palace, and Maiden Tower. Admire the city’s contemporary buildings such as the Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the Flame Towers – a trio of skyscrapers covered with LEDs and displaying the mesmerizing movement of a flame.Over the past 10 years, the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased by five times. Here, the Caucasus Mountains are as earthy as you can get, peppered with traditional elevated villages such as Lahic, where subsistence farming and traditional art forms still alive. And then there is fire. Everywhere. From the permanently alight natural gas ‘flaming mountain’ of Yanardag to fire worshippers’ temple Ateshgah, both on the Absheron Peninsula. And as for air, just head to the omnipresent mountains, ideal for visiting any time of year, whether summer or winter.But beyond its nature, which is key reason for the tourism, the people of Azerbaijan are wonderfully welcoming and hospitable. Baku urges OIC countries to limit all forms of cooperation with Armenia http://www.today.az/news/politics/164993.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:22:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has urged the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to make every effort to support the measures to end Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan, avoid illegal economic and other activities in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, limit all forms of cooperation with Armenia.He was addressing the OIC Contact Group meeting on the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, which was held in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.It was noted that for the period after the first meeting of the OIC Contact Group, the situation on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement process didn’t change, on the contrary, clashes on the frontline, as well as cases of deliberate killing of Azerbaijani civilians residing along the contact line between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops increased.Mammadyarov also urged the OIC countries to refrain from Armenia’s armament in order to prevent the escalation of the conflict, and ban the transit of weapons and military equipment through their territories for this purpose.Azerbaijan relies on the consistent solidarity of the Islamic world in resolute condemnation of the use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and the occupation of its territories, Mammadyarov said.It should be noted that during its summit in Istanbul in April 2016, OIC made a decision to establish a contact group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which included the foreign ministers of the OIC member-states. The decision was made at Turkey’s initiative.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. Kazakhstan, Russia ink deal on nuclear energy cooperation http://www.today.az/news/regions/164992.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:09:00 +0400 By TrendKazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement on cooperation in scientific research and nuclear energy developments as part of the 61st annual regular session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna, the Kazakh Energy Ministry reported.The sides also signed the protocol to the agreement on cooperation and mutual calculations at utilization of nuclear ammunition between the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the government of the Russian Federation dated January 20, 1995, approved by the resolutions of the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.Moreover, a bilateral meeting with representatives of the European Atomic Energy Community was held.The issues on the main areas of cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, in particular, on nuclear safety, development of nuclear technologies, scientific and technical cooperation were discussed at a high level. 'Far horizons' group exhibition opens http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/165012.html Arts & Entertainment Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:47:00 +0400 By AzernewsYARAT Contemporary Art Space has opened doors to ‘Far Horizons’ exhibition within ARTIM project. ‘Far Horizons’ presents creative ideas of six young artists including Gulnara Kuzukova, Gafar Rzayev, Islam Hasanalizade, Aytan Abdullayeva, Natavan Hasanalizade and Sultan Babazade.Each of the artists has created works based on personal observation and research. Dealing with human rights, society problems, contemporary lifestyle, spirituality and heritage issues, the artists are expressing their position as "far horizon".In her installation, Gulnara Kuzukova addresses women’s rights in Islamic countries. According to the research on this subject, the artist concluded that the women’s rights have been excessively oppressed and even trampled in some countries.Sculptor Islam Hasanalzadeh, examining the question of "the factors under which the society has been deformed" focuses on the desire of people to change their appearance, which being as a key factor has already turned into some kind of illness.Natavan Hasanalzade’s King Midas Virus installation is based on the ancient Greek mythology criticizes promotion of luxurious lifestyle and immense interest of modern people in luxuriousness in our society. Ayten Abdullayeva’s installation tells about how important small details are in our life. The artist believes if one element of any item is missing, it will no longer be able to perform its function.In his Bidah installation, Gafar Rzayev comments on different severe and unjustified attacks that Islam is being subjected to in the light of material culture.Another installation of the artist, Azeri Light touches on the natural wealth and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.Sultan Babazadeh’s See Yourself installation is a logical continuation of the project that he has prepared in the streets of Baku for a while. Project urges people to find a solution of their problems by looking into themselves.The exhibition is open until October 1, 2017 at ARTIM Project Space (Icherisheher, Boyuk Gala str., 30, 001A). Entrance is free.  New PSA on ACG to be submitted to Parliament by late 2017 http://www.today.az/news/business/164991.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:41:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe new Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli contract is expected to be submitted to the Parliament before the end of 2017, coming into force after ratification.Rovnag Abdullayev, President of the state-owned energy company SOCAR announced about this while talking to Reuters.He said the main goal of the new contract was to spur interest among SOCAR’s foreign partners in new long-term investments and to secure sustainable exploration of the oilfields.BP and Azerbaijan agreed last week to extend to 2050 the contract to develop the country’s biggest oilfields - Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG), a deal dubbed “the Contract of the Century” when first signed in 1994 until 2024. “Today our financial and technological resources are much more advanced than back in the 1990s, when the first “Contract of the Century” was negotiated,” Abdullayev said. “That allows Azerbaijan to act independently, having an effect on the final outcome of all negotiations.”Abdullayev said that according to the new contract Azerbaijan’s direct share in profitable oil amounted to 75 percent and the ratio was not subject to any variations from the start until the end of the contract, thus contributing to stability of the national income.Under the new production sharing agreement, SOCAR will increase its share to 25 percent from 11.65 percent, while BP’s stake declines to 30.37 percent from 35.8 percent. BP will remain the operator.Shares of other firms in the BP-led consortium have also been reduced. Chevron (CVX.N) now has 9.57 percent, Inpex (1605.T) 9.31 percent, Statoil (STL.OL) 7.27 percent, ExxonMobil (XOM.N) 6.79 percent, TPAO 5.73 percent, Itochu (8001.T) 3.65 percent and ONGC Videsh (ONVI.BO) 2.31 percent.The ACG fields produce 585,000 barrels per day, accounting for three quarters of Azerbaijan’s oil output, but production is expected to rise as the partners could invest up to $40 billion in the next 32 years.From the beginning of first oil production in November 1997 and until September 1, 2017, some  435.6 million tons of oil and 136.3 billion cubic meters of associated gas were produced in the ACG block of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.Roughly 245 million tons of the total volume of oil produced at ACG account for Azerbaijan's profitable oil. Karate fighters grab 18 medals at Basel Open Masters http://www.today.az/news/sports/164989.html Sports Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:16:00 +0400 By AzertacAzerbaijani karate fighters have claimed a clutch of 18 medals, including nine golds at the 8th Basel Open Masters 2017 held in Switzerland.The gold medals came from Rafael Aghayev (2), Shahin Atamov, Roman Heydarov, Ilaha Gasimova, Irina Zaretska (2), Asiman Gurbanli and Farida Aliyeva. 22 children found dead after massive Mexico earthquake causes school to collapse http://www.today.az/news/regions/164988.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:43:00 +0400 By TrendA total of 22 children and two adults have died in the collapse of the school in Mexico City due to the massive earthquake, which hit the country earlier, local media reported Wednesday, Sputnik reported.Earlier in the day, the reports indicated that nine people died in the collapse, including eight children.”As a result of the collapse of Colegio Rebsamen, 22 children and two adults have died,” the Noticieros Televisa broadcaster reported.The earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 occurred on Tuesday near the town of Puebla de Zaragoza southeast of Mexico City. United Nations at crossroads http://www.today.az/news/regions/164987.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:18:00 +0400 By Alan Hope / TrendOn September 18 the President of the United States Donald Trump had addressed the world leaders in a much-anticipated high-level meeting on the United Nations reform proposal. As the world, fueled by that speech, holds its breath in anticipation Trumps inaugural speech at the General Assembly floor on Sept. 19 a deeper look at the US supported UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s reform initiatives proves to be prudent, if not imperative.What is UN?The United Nations Organization (UN) was created by the 51 original member states as an intergovernmental organization tasked with the promotion of international co-operation on Oct 24, 1945. It was established after the end of World War II, as a functionally decentralized system, organized as a set of loosely connected communities of interest, effectively replacing the inept League of Nations.At that time, the ongoing decolonization processes, as well as the onset of the Cold War, had derailed UN’s original mission, forcing it to focus mainly on the support of a large number of newly independent states. During the Cold War, the UN had played a role of a diplomatic platform that, to some extent, helped in handling the intricacies of the bipolar world’s reality. With the end of the Cold War and the acceleration of globalization, many had hoped for the UN lead development decade, which unfortunately was faltered by its fizzled peace keeping missions.In the post-9/11 era, the UN has played a certain role in strengthening the international cooperation and capacities in the global fight against terrorism, yet not as effectively as it could have as it was held back by its bureaucracy.As of late, the UN had become a complex system of organizations, agencies, funds, programs, and other bodies, the financing of which is very multifaceted and complex. Its funding is comprised of the assessed (obligatory payments made by member states to finance the UN regular budget and peacekeeping operations) and voluntary (left to the discretion of each member state) contributions.Due largely to the increase of the UN mandates, the organization’s overall budget, formation of which is frequently referred to as opaque (as an overload of data with little or no explanation), grew significantly over the past decade, which brought UN’s annual expenditures to almost $49B in 2016.Adding to UN’s bureaucratic and budgetary problems of the voting structure (one-country-one-vote) of the General Assembly constantly brings forth the complaints of a free-rider problem, whereby countries that contribute relatively minimal resources still have voting power and maintain control over financial decisions. As such, 77 states, whose membership includes over two-thirds of the General Assembly, consistently favor budget increases, while the countries which account for more than 85 percent of the UN budget are unable to prevent them.Thus, the present-day UN had turned into an overstaffed well-oiled bureaucratic machine, which doesn’t provide much needed impact on the current problems, including unraveling and frozen conflicts, constant humanitarian disasters etc., as its decisions and resolutions still carry more of an advisory, rather than obligatory character.It became an overspending enterprise with tarnished reputation, unjustifiably mismanaged and abused. Indeed, in view of ongoing military crises in Syria and Ukraine, frozen conflicts in Nagorno Karabakh and Transnistria, nuclear threats of North Korea, continuous humanitarian crisis in Myanmar amongst many others, the UN is proven itself ineffective, almost destined to follow the path of its predecessor.What Trump wants?Within the view of the abovementioned what does US President Donald Trump want of the UN?First of all, like with many other things, Trump views the United Nations as a business enterprise that can be salvaged, if properly restructured and managed. Thus, Trump encourages the organizational reform of the UN, aiming at the corporate restructuring, which could enhance the accountability framework aligning “authority with responsibility.”He wants to end the “business as usual” practice, by redesigning the UN’s mandate procedures, to exclude further redundancies and overlaps. Trump calls for the improvement of the UN’s management policies, including the human resources management, aiming at widening the geographical base to include those who are closer to the problem and may have an insider view of its resolution.As a true businessman, the US president perfectly knows that the UN peacekeeping operations are cost-effective, as UN missions overall are eight times cheaper than U.S. forces acting alone. They also constitute the largest deployed multinational military force in the world (125,000 personnel on 16 missions). Thus, by optimizing the UN peacekeeping efforts Trump wants to keep American boots off the ground of a conflict zone, and simultaneously preserve US lives and save money diverting it to more pressing domestic matters.At the same time, as UN’s prime donor, providing 22 percent of the organization’s biannual operating budget totaling at $5.4B, with the US’s total budgeted financial contribution of almost $5B in 2017 alone, Trump calls for fiscal responsibility.That call is not for intended for decrease of the US’s financial contributions share, but aimed to see “results in line with [its] investment,” an also to ease the “disproportionate [militarily or financial] share of the burden.”All-in-all, some adversaries of the Trump declaration are calling it autocratic and viewing it as a hostile takeover to be followed by the corporate raid. The reality of the fact is that present-day UN is already a lame duck, if not the one already dead in the water, which urgently needs a shock therapy. Fortunately, US president was bold enough to call on the so-much needed reforms as UN stands at the crossroads of following in its predecessor’s path or serving its true purpose. Iran unveils its foreign debts http://www.today.az/news/regions/164986.html World news Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:53:00 +0400 By  TrendIran’s foreign debts reached ?$9.122? billion by July 21, 2017, the country's Central Bank (CBI) said in its latest monthly report on September 14.The figure doesn’t include the deferred debts, which were over $2.38 billion by the end of the last Iranian fiscal year (March 20, 2017).Short-term foreign debts amounted to $3.302 billion, while long-term debts stood at $5.819 billion.According to the CBI, $4.152 billion of the debts should be settled by March 2018, $1.024 billion by March 2019, $1.135 billion by 2020, and the remaining volume during the following years.Iran’s foreign debt was on decline from 2007 to March 2015, dropping from $28.647 billion to $5.108 billion.The country’s foreign debts stood at $19.185 billion in 2012, $7.682 billion in 2013 and $6.655 billion in 2014, according to the Central Bank of Iran.The foreign debt is a part of the total debt in a country that is owed to creditors outside the country. The debtors can be the government, corporations or private sector.The debt includes money owed to private commercial banks, other governments, or international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Armenian troops keep high tension on frontline http://www.today.az/news/politics/164990.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:32:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 127 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on September 20.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. President Aliyev, First Lady attend reception hosted by President Donald Trump [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/164984.html Politics Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:10:00 +0400 U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife have hosted a reception in connection with the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Azerrac reported. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the event. President Aliyev earlier attended a state banquet held at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Baku may host 2019 UEFA Champions League Final http://www.today.az/news/sports/164985.html Sports Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:03:00 +0400 By  TrendThe 2019 UEFA Champions League Final, the final match of the UEFA Champions League for 2018/19 season, may be held in Baku, RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting the Spanish media.Earlier, the UEFA refused from holding the match at the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico Madrid’s new state-of-the-art stadium, due to a lack of VIP seats there, according to the Spanish press.The Wanda Metropolitano was vying with the Baku Olympic Stadium to host the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final.A decision on the venue will be made by the UEFA Executive Committee on September 21.The 2018 UEFA Champions League Final will be held in Kiev, Ukraine. September 20, the day that changed history of oil-rich nation http://www.today.az/news/business/164983.html Business Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:08:00 +0400 September 20, 1994 changed Azerbaijan forever, playing a big role in nation’s development in completely unbelievable way.This is the very day when young and newly independent Azerbaijan signed its first huge PSA deal with the world giants to develop largest oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.The deal, named the “Contract of the Century”, encouraged developments in national oil and gas industry and positioned Azerbaijan among the focal points of the global energy market. The country began exporting its hydrocarbon resources to world markets, thus becoming an important supplier for global industry.History shows that the country has been linked with oil for centuries, while the history of the world oil industry takes roots exactly from Azerbaijan. The world's first oil well was drilled at the Bibi-Heybat field in 1847, and turned Baku into a center of world oil trade and made the country by far the frontrunner in the world's oil and gas industry.The country attracted world oil investors, who gained millions on this industry. The Nobel brothers were the first to invest in oil extraction in Azerbaijan, making a great contribution to the development of the oil industry by establishing the Nobel Brothers Oil Extracting Partnership in 1873. The Rothschild Company and Shell led by Samuel Markus were also operated in Azerbaijan.The country was the world's leading oil producer in 1901, when the output reached 11.5 million tons of oil.  Moreover, the country produced 23.5 million tons of oil, which amounted to 71.4 percent of the Soviet Union's production in 1941, while the production guaranteed the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II and turned oil into an extremely important factor of the national economy.Azerbaijan also boats being the world's first offshore oil producer. The discovery of the Neft Dashlari (Oil Rocks) field 40 km offshore and 90 km from Baku on November, 1949 made the country famous worldwide.The giant Azeri, Chirag, Kapaz, and Gunashli fields were discovered at the depth of 80 to 350 meters in the late 1970s and early 1980s.The very ACG fields impacted the further development of oil industry and the economy of Azerbaijan as a whole.The “Contract of the Century” was a triumphant result of the policy based on the oil strategy pursued by national leader Heydar Aliyev, paving the way for bolstering the country's geo-political standing and economic integration.With signing the deal, Azerbaijan opened its doors to foreign investments and was able to prove the confidence of the world's leading countries in it, encouraging major companies to invest in the country and increase the prestige of Azerbaijan in the international arena.Major energy projects implemented in the Azerbaijan section of the Caspian have turned the region into one of the important world’s hydrocarbon provinces.Over the past 23 years, Azerbaijan witnessed many significant events– from discovering and developing new offshore and onshore perspective fields to putting them into operation; from considering several export routes to actually transporting Azerbaijan oil and gas to international markets; from building the local infrastructure to developing a high quality oil and gas industry; from an oil-rich country in East into a major player in the global energy market.Few days earlier BP and its partners in Azerbaijan's giant ACG oil production complex agreed to extend the production sharing contract by 25 years to 2049 and to increase the stake of state-owned SOCAR, reducing the size of their own share.The extension of the production sharing contract, which was to expire in 2024, reflects the growing financial and technological potential of Azerbaijan and SOCAR. And the deal will allow all the participating companies to further generating value from the asset for many decades to come.The Contract of the 21st Century is perhaps an even more important milestone in the history of Azerbaijan as it ensures that over the next three decades the country and its partners will continue to work for unlocking the long-term development potential of the ACG through new investments, new technologies and new joint efforts.Today, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani gas and oil industry workers do their best to make sure that millions of people have everything they need in modern life – gas, heat, electricity and fuel, while the national economy receives the needed boost. President Ilham Aliyev, his spouse attend opening of General Debate at UN General Assembly in ... http://www.today.az/news/politics/164982.html Politics Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:44:00 +0400 Trend:General Debate of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations has opened in New York.President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.General Debate was opened by Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres.President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly Miroslav Laj?ák, President of Brazil Michel Temer, President of the United States of America Donald Trump addressed General Debate. World Bank: Azerbaijan shows greatest growth in region for 25 years [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/business/164981.html Business Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan has shown the greatest economic growth in the region of European countries and Central Asia for 25 years.The vice-president of World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region, Cyril Muller, announced about this at a ceremony dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan-WB cooperation in Baku on September 19.Muller stressed that the Bank has been cooperating with Azerbaijan since the 1990s, the most difficult period for the country.“During the period of cooperation, Azerbaijan has shown the greatest growth in the region I oversee. During this period the poverty level in the country fell below the rate of 10 percent,” he said, adding that the WB is proud that it can link itself to the successes achieved by Azerbaijan in 25 years.Azerbaijan joined the WB Group in 1992. Over the past years, the WB has allocated about $3.5 billion for the implementation of more than 50 projects in Azerbaijan. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is also a member of the WB Group, has issued loans worth $470 million for Azerbaijan to implement 56 projects.Chairman of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) Elman Rustamov, in turn, noted that currently, the WB is implementing 10 projects in Azerbaijan totaling $1.4 billion.He stressed that the WB portfolio in Azerbaijan is one of the largest among the CIS countries.The Bank supports the development of education and healthcare in Azerbaijan, transport, water supply and sewage systems, agriculture, energy sector, etc, he added.The WB has helped introduce independent technical supervision, which is now used in all road construction projects in Azerbaijan. The Agricultural Competitiveness Improvement Project of the WB has supported a country-wide vaccination program against brucellosis. This vaccination program makes meat and dairy products safe for people. The Bank also supported the improvement of the education system by helping develop a new curriculum, teaching materials and methods and by training around 160,000 teachers across the country.  Further Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov stressed that the WB has allocated up to $170 million for projects related to IDPs and refugees in Azerbaijan.Hailing that Azerbaijan has benefited from cooperation with the World Bank, he said the WB was also able to use the management system and mechanisms, created by national leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev, in improving the socio-economic situation of IDPs and refugees.Hasanov added that subsequently, the World Bank managed to use these mechanisms in other countries.Azerbaijan has become an attractive investment destination for foreign investors, Finance Minister Shahin Mustafayev said when addressing the event.“The number of the country`s trade partners reached 180,” he said. “The investments in the fixed capital of Azerbaijan amounted to about $200 billion. At the same time 76 billion of direct investment has been made in Azerbaijan by foreign investors.”Mustafayev further added that the EU countries invested $3 billion in the non-oil sector of the Azerbaijani economy, which accounts for 35 percent of the total investment in this sector. Currently, there are over 1,300 European companies operating in the country.Over the past years, total output in Azerbaijan has increased 22 times and the state budget has seen more than a 26-fold growth, the minister emphasized.“The World Bank has provided technical support to increase competitiveness, develop industrial parks and districts in our country,” the Minister said.Today, the World Bank program in Azerbaijan supports the country’s economic diversification agenda, as well as the delivery of quality, accessible and effective public services.The World Bank Group is also financing the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) with a $ 800 million loan from IBRD and up to US$ 1.2 billion from a MIGA guarantee to support the diversification of energy export markets and to increase revenues. Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, commenting on the WB-Azerbaijan cooperation, said that Azerbaijan has become a middle-income country, and increased its per capita income.“Today, Azerbaijan is actively cooperating with five World Bank members, and I believe that our cooperation with the World Bank will continue to be successful and will serve the development of Azerbaijan, " he noted.Later, the event saw presentation of a new postal stamp dedicated to the 25th anniversary of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the WB.Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Elmir Velizadeh, presenting the stamp, noted that 25,000 copies of these stamps were issued.“We hope that this stamp will be known throughout the world as a symbol of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the World Bank,” Velizade said.Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov and WB Regional Director Mercy Tembon then signed and approved the stamps.The WB further awarded gratitude certificates to a number of government officials.The certificates were handed to Abid Sharifov , Ali Hasanov, Elman Rustamov, Shahin Mustafayev,   Samir Sharifov and head of the Cabinet of Ministers on work with international financial institutions Nail Fataliyev.Founded in 1944, the WB has 189 member countries, staff from more 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations.Today the Bank Group’s work touches nearly every sector that is important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries. Turkmenistan remains key natural gas holder in Central Asia http://www.today.az/news/regions/164980.html World news Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:12:00 +0400 By AzernewsTurkmenistan remains a key natural gas holder in the center of Eurasia, an area which has long failed to realize its huge potential due to geopolitical developments and economic changes.The total natural gas reserves of Turkmenistan are estimated at 50.4 trillion cubic meters, Trend reported citing a source in the country’s fuel and energy complex.As many as 19 oil and gas-oil and 65 gas fields were identified in Turkmenistan so far.After the UK’s Gaffney, Cline & Associates carried out an independent appraisal of reserves and resources of natural gas at the Galkynysh field, Turkmenistan ranked 4th in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves. As for the world’s second biggest gas field, Galkynysh, located in the eastern part of Turkmenistan, it is stated that this filed is unique for its geological conditions.The recently revised data shows that the reserves of Galkynysh and the nearby fields are estimated at 27.4 trillion cubic meters. Of them, 21.2 trillion cubic meters of gas account for Galkynysh, 5 trillion cubic meters account for Yashlar and 1.2 trillion cubic meters account for the nearby Garakel field.Today, Turkmenistan is among the main suppliers of natural gas in the Central Asian region and is the largest supplier of natural gas to China. Turkmenistan earns much of its GDP from the natural gas extraction and export.Turkmenistan does not border directly with huge markets such as Europe, China, or India, and depends on transiting gas through other countries. The Turkmen government's preference is to route transportation through those countries with which it has no or the lowest possible degree of conflict.Today the three main export routes of the country are Central Asia – Center Pipeline (CAS) to Russia, Central Asia – China pipeline (CACP) and two routes to Iran, which are Korpedzhe-Kurt Kui (KKK) and Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipelines.Turkmenistan lost Russia as a customer a year ago, and has since provided gas only to China and Iran. The country’s relations with Iran were also seriously damaged by the gas dispute over Iran’s debts. China remains Turkmenistan’s biggest consumer.The latest major export pipeline system built in Turkmenistan is the Central-Asia China Pipeline system (CACP). It is designed to use four lines (A, B, C and D) starting in Turkmenistan and passing through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before reaching China. A, B, and C are parallel pipelines. Line A and B became operational in 2009 and 2010 respectively while line C followed in 2014. Line D will go through a different route passing Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.The different path for Line D is probably associated with a Chinese preference to avoid having all its lines run through Kazakhstan and, more importantly, to be able to import gas from Tajikistan, where CNPC is already negotiating exploration and production contracts.Being the forth in the world for the volume of natural gas reserves, the country is considering the European market as one of the most promising areas of gas supply..Turkmenistan has long been showing interest in the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline Project which involves the construction of a 300-km pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to the coast of Azerbaijan. It is considered to be the optimal solution for the delivery of Turkmen energy resources to the European markets. Further, along the way, Turkmen gas can be transported through the existing pipelines to Turkey, which borders European countries.The issue was recently mulled in Baku, where President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a declaration on strategic partnership, which envisages cooperation in the area of energy deliveries to Europe.Both countries have long been working on organizing natural gas deliveries from the Caspian Sea region, including from Turkmenistan, to Europe while Turkey and the European Union supported this initiative.Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan stand in favor of the construction of the Trans-Caspian subsea pipeline with the consent of the states whose territories the new pipeline will cross. At the same time, Russia and Iran strongly oppose the project, insisting on the realization of the plan only when the Caspian Sea status would be resolved and the consent of all five littoral states received (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan).Turkmenistan also regards developing the Galkynysh field and building a branch of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline from this field as one of its strategically important areas.The construction of the Turkmen section of the TAPI was launched in December 2015. The total length of the pipeline is 1,814 kilometers, including 214 kilometers - on the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 kilometers - Afghanistan, 826 kilometers of Pakistan to the settlement of Fazilka on the border with India.Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 billion cubic meters. Total length of TAPI will be 1,814 kilometers. The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion.The trans-regional energy project expected to be inaugurated in 2019 is being hailed as a major initiative for bringing peace and enhancing connectivity in the region.The Central Asian country also plans to build several large gas complexes in the coming years. The country aims at strengthening the development of the gas industry in the next 10 years by implementing numerous projects in this area. Particularly, it is planned to reconstruct a natural gas processing plant and launch production of liquefied gas at the Bagaja deposit in Lebap province.A big investment project is proposed to be implemented at the field of Central Karakum, located near the Yylanly gas compressor station in the Dashoguz province. As part of the project, it is planned to build a plant to process two billion cubic meters of natural gas and produce 70,000 tons of liquefied gas.The energy-rich Central Asian nation invites foreign investors to participate in the development of the gas and chemical industry. Kazakhstan sees economic growth http://www.today.az/news/regions/164979.html World news Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:05:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe economic growth in Kazakhstan stood at the level of 4.3 percent in the first eight months of the current year.This was stated by Kazakh First Vice-Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov at a government meeting on September 19, Kazinform reported.“After the slight slowdown of 4 percent in July, the economic growth accelerated to 4.3 percent during the eight months of 2017, according to preliminary estimates. Foreign trade has grown by almost a third, while the inflation has slowed down within the target corridor. On this background, Moody's and S&P rating agencies improved the outlook for the sovereign credit rating from negative to stable,” Dalenov said.The contribution of the non-extractive sector, which amounted to 2.3 percentage points, was recorded, while the contribution of the commodity segment was 1.6 percentage points.The vice-minister also stressed that high dynamics of growth is observed in four basic industries of six, which are industry, trade, transportation and warehousing, information and communication. The slowdown in growth rates is recorded in construction and agriculture.In the regional context, according to Dalenov, a positive dynamics of growth in key indicators is registered almost everywhere. Thus, there is an increase from 0.3 percent to 5.6 percent in agriculture everywhere.“At the same time, in Mangystau and Kyzylorda regions there was a decline in industry - by 0.2 percent and 3.6% percent. In Karaganda and Almaty there is a decrease in construction - by 4.6 percent and 13.7 percent, and investments in fixed assets - by 21.2 percent and 22.7 percent,” he said.On the background of business activity in the manufacturing sector, there is a gradual entry into the trajectory of stable growth in the service sector. In the eight months of this year, transportation services increased by 4.7 percent, trade and communications increased by 2.9 percent, according to Dalenov.On July 26, Moody’s Investor Service revised Kazakhstan’s rating to stable from negative. Kazakhstan's economy suffered significantly from the negative oil price shock in 2014-2015, which has resulted in structurally lower prices for the country's main export product and engine of growth, while also weighing on the health of the banking system.The policy response to the shock and available financial buffers has stabilized the economy and the government's fiscal strength.Recent government actions to strengthen and recapitalize the banking system help address banks' solvency risks. However, moving forward, still weak asset quality, remaining high deposit dollarization and higher concentration in the banking system signal ongoing contingent liability risk to the sovereign, according to Moody’s.The Kazakh National Bank previously forecasted the inflation rate in the country to decrease to 6.5-7 percent in 2017, and to begin to smoothly enter the target range of 5-7 percent in 2018.The Bank also predicted that economic growth in Kazakhstan will accelerate to 2.2 percent in 2017 and to 4.7 percent for the nine months of 2018. Economic growth in this period will be provided due to the growth in domestic consumption amid rising real wages, the growth of investment in fixed assets in the framework of the implementation of government programs to support and diversify the economy, and the growth of production of mineral resources (the Kashagan effect). Pakistan, Azerbaijan to eye military-technical cooperation http://www.today.az/news/politics/164978.html Politics Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:54:00 +0400 By  TrendChief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force Sohail Aman is arriving today in Baku for talks on military-technical cooperation with Azerbaijan, the Pakistani Embassy in Baku told Trend.The sides are expected to mull the development of cooperation between the two countries in the field of military aviation and air defense.Sohail Aman will hold meetings in the Azerbaijani ministries of defense and defense industry.Azerbaijan and Pakistan will continue amplifying bilateral cooperation in the defense sphere and organization of military exercises, Pakistani envoy to Azerbaijan Saeed Khan Mohmand has earlier said at a press conference in Baku. Azerbaijani GM wins international tournament in Turkey [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/sports/164977.html Sports Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:34:00 +0400 Azerbaijani grandmaster Nijat Abbasov has become the champion of an international tournament held in Turkey, Azertac reported.After nine rounds, Abbasov scored 7.5 points.The tournament brought together 86 chess players from more than 10 countries.Nijat Abbasov became an International Master in 2009 and a grandmaster in 2010.  Azerbaijani grandmaster becomes winner of Oscar blitz tournament http://www.today.az/news/sports/164976.html Sports Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:18:00 +0400 Azerbaijani grandmaster Namig Guliyev has won the Oscar blitz tournament held in Paris.The tournament brought together 233 chess players from 13 countries, Azertac reported.Namig Guliyev played for Azerbaijan in the Chess Olympiads of 1994 and 2006.In 2012, he won the second place at the International Chess Tournament in Geneva. In the final round, Guliyev beat Andrea Prinetti, scoring 5.5 points out of seven possible. Azerbaijani businessmen invited to Yiwu Int’l Commodities Fair http://www.today.az/news/business/164975.html Business Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:13:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe 23rd China Yiwu International Commodities Fair will be held in Yiwu, China on October 21.Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) reported that entrepreneurs working in Azerbaijan are invited to participate in the Fair that will last until October 25.China Yiwu International Commodities Fair, Yiwu Fair is the leading exhibition-fair of export goods in China, which has been held since 1995.The event is jointly hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province and other relevant authorities. The Yiwu Fair is one of the largest, most influential and most productive commodities fair in China. It has honored as “Best Management Fairs in China”, “Best Outcome Exhibition”, “Top Ten Exhibitions in China”, “Best Fair sponsored by the Government” and “Most Influential Brand Fairs”.The 23rd China Yiwu International Commodities Fair will set up 4,500 international standard booths, including hardware, electromechanical facilities, electronic and electrical appliance, daily necessities, crafts, cultural and official goods, sport and outdoor products, clothing, shoes and hats, knitwear, jewelry and accessories, toys, pet and aquarium supplies and auto accessory.More than 200,000 buyers from 200 countries and regions will be present in China Yiwu International Commodities Fair.China is a huge opportunity and a priority market for Azerbaijan. More than 50 agreements were signed between the two countries so far.Trade and economic contacts occupy a significant place in bilateral relations between China and Azerbaijan. The process of interaction between the two countries was marked by constant tendencies of expansion and strengthening of cooperation.In early August, AZPROMO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).The document provides for the development of trade, economic and investment relations between the two countries, as well as promotion of export and exchange of experience.Moreover, the active cooperation between China and Azerbaijan strongly contributes to the realization of the Great Silk road program.The Great Silk Road is a general name of a caravan road, which has been the main two-way trading bridge of East and West since III century BC up to now. The Great Silk Road starts in Japan and China stretches up to Europe cutting through India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Caucasus, Asia Minor, Northern Africa including/connecting Indian Ocean, Chinese sea, Japanese sea, Red sea, Caspian sea, Black sea, Azov sea and Mediterranean sea.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China amounted to $395.6 million in January-April 2017.  Azerbaijani, Iranian, Turkish FMs to meet in Baku http://www.today.az/news/politics/164974.html Politics Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:10:00 +0400 By AzernewsBaku will host a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.Iranian Ambassador to Baku Javad Jahangirzadeh announced about this while talking to Trend.Jahangirzadeh added that holding such trilateral meetings is very important in terms of international and regional cooperation.The envoy did not specify the exact date of the meeting.The trilateral meetings of foreign ministers provide an opportunity to exchange views on regional issues.The first trilateral meeting of the three countries was held in Urumiyah, Iran, in 2011, followed by meetings in Nakhchevan, Azerbaijan in 2012, and Van, eastern Turkey in 2014, and Tehran in 2016.In Van, the foreign ministers of Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey adopted The Trilateral Sectoral Cooperation Action Plan for 2014-2016.The mechanism to set up the foreign ministerial meeting among Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey pursues objectives including exchanging views on trilateral and regional issues on the basis of understanding and ways to strengthen stability and security.  Another significant point here is the existence of common interests among Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan.Azerbaijan is the main initiator of the creation of trilateral cooperation formats with its partners. Today, Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Turkey-Iran, Azerbaijan-Turkey-Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan-Russia-Iran formats of trilateral cooperation exists in the region.  Armenia continues breaking ceasefire with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/164973.html Politics Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:27:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 125 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on Seprtember 19.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.