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 Armenian provocation leaves one dead, Azerbaijan says http://www.today.az/news/politics/166035.html Politics Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:02:00 +0400 By TrendAs a result of violations of the ceasefire by units of the armed forces of Armenia, a soldier of Azerbaijan's army Zeynalov Jabbar Firuddin oglu died, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Sunday.The leadership of the Ministry of Defense expresses deep condolences to the families and relatives of the shehid (martyr).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. SOFAZ investments in shares increase http://www.today.az/news/business/166034.html Business Sun, 22 Oct 2017 10:27:00 +0400 By TrendAs much as 13.7 percent of investment portfolio of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) was invested in shares in January-September 2017, while the figure was 12.8 percent in January-June 2017, SOFAZ said in its report.According to the report, as of October 1, 2017, the total volume of SOFAZ’s investment portfolio amounted to $36.02 billion or 100 percent of the total volume of assets.Meanwhile, 84.7 percent of SOFAZ’s investment portfolio was placed in monetary market tools for a period of up to five years, 32.8 percent of which was placed for a one-year-period, 33.6 percent for one to three years, 18.3 percent for three to five years and 15.3 percent for more than five years. Moreover, 22 percent was kept in real estate, assets and gold, said the report.Currently, 3.4 percent of SOFAZ investment portfolio is placed in gold, 4.9 percent – in real estate, 78 percent – in bonds and other tools of monetary market.SOFAZ’s assets were placed as follows: 41.2 percent in European countries, 26.1 percent in North America, 2.8 percent in Australia, 25 percent in Asia-Pacific Ocean region, 0.1 percent in the Middle East, 4.6 percent in international financial organizations.As of October 1, 2017, SOFAZ’s assets increased by 8.7 percent as compared to early 2017 ($33.147 billion) and amounted to $36.02 billion.SOFAZ was established in 1999 with assets of $271 million.Based on SOFAZ's regulations, its funds may be used for the construction and reconstruction of strategically important infrastructure facilities, as well as solving important national problems.The main goals of the State Oil Fund include: accumulation of resources and the placement of the fund's assets abroad in order to minimize the negative effect on the economy, the prevention of "Dutch disease" to some extent, promotion of resource accumulation for future generations and support of current social and economic processes in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan defense minister orders troops to immediately suppress enemy provocations http://www.today.az/news/society/166033.html Society Sat, 21 Oct 2017 13:03:00 +0400 By TrendA service meeting has been held at the Central Command Post of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan under the chairmanship of Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, said the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry in a message on Oct. 21.The meeting was attended by deputy defense ministers, commanders of the Armed Forces and units of the armed forces, chiefs of the main departments, departments and services of the ministry, commanders of units, as well as by commanders and other officials of frontline military units through video communication.Bringing the instructions of President of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev to the attention of the meeting participants, Minister Hasanov analyzed the recent situation on the frontline and emphasized the forthcoming tasks.Colonel General Hasanov gave relevant instructions to the commanding personnel of all categories to increase the combat readiness and service-combat activity of personnel, the fighting efficiency of troops, the maneuvering capabilities of military units, especially those stationed on the frontline, and the immediate and decisive suppression of enemy provocations. First Vice PM Kubiv talks Ukraine MPs' voting for PACE resolutions on Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/166032.html Politics Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:30:00 +0400 By TrendVoting of some Ukrainian MPs for the PACE resolutions on Azerbaijan shouldn’t damage implementation of the course approved by the leaderships of Azerbaijan and Ukraine for further development of mutually beneficial cooperation in all spheres, first vice prime minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv told reporters in Baku.He said that not everyone likes positive dynamics in the relations between Kiev and Baku.“So, certain forces, not only outside, but also inside Ukraine, want to harm President Petro Poroshenko, who is pursuing consistent policy towards Azerbaijan,” Kubiv said. “The voting of some Ukrainian MPs for the PACE resolutions on Azerbaijan is a proof of that.”“I would like to bring some clarity to this issue,” Kubiv said. “The information that all the delegation of the Ukrainian parliament voted for the PACE resolutions on Azerbaijan is not true. Only five of 12 members of the Ukrainian delegation voted for resolutions No. 2184 and No. 2185. Moreover, none of the Ukrainian MPs, who voted for the resolutions, belongs to Petro Poroshenko's bloc. It should be noted that Oleksiy Honcharenko, an MP from Petro Poroshenko's bloc, supported the amendments of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Resolution No. 2185/2017.”Kubiv noted that the Ukrainian MPs who voted for the PACE resolutions on Azerbaijan don’t reflect Ukraine’s official position, and only represent different political forces in the Ukrainian parliament.“The goal of these provocative actions is extremely clear - to damage the policy of Petro Poroshenko, who ensures Ukraine’s course for European integration in such a way that any negative influence on our strategic relations with fraternal and friendly Azerbaijan is prevented,” Kubiv said.On Oct. 11, PACE adopted resolutions on “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” report, authored by co-rapporteurs Cezar Florin Preda and Stefan Schennach, and on “Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: what follow-up on respect for human rights?” report, made by Belgian MP Alain Destexhe. Ukraine invites Azerbaijani investors to take part in privatization of state property http://www.today.az/news/business/166031.html Business Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:28:00 +0400 By TrendUkraine invites Azerbaijani investors to take part in the privatization of state property, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv said at the Azerbaijan-Ukraine business meeting in Baku Oct. 20.He said that 3,444 state enterprises, operating in industry, agriculture, machine building, chemical sector, energy sector, as well as other sectors, are planned to be involved in the privatization process."We are looking forward to the participation of Azerbaijani companies in the privatization of Ukrainian state enterprises," he said. “A new law on privatization is expected to be adopted by late 2017.”The Verkhovna Rada Committee for Economic Policy has already approved the bill "On Privatization of State Property" (#7066 dated September 4, 2017) and recommended the document for the first reading. Container transportations along North-South corridor grow http://www.today.az/news/business/166030.html Business Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:27:00 +0400 By TrendOver 4.7 million tons of cargo were transported along the International North-South Transport Corridor for the three quarters of 2017, which is 21.6 percent more than in the same period last year, the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC said in a message Oct. 20.Heads of railway companies of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iran and Russia made the remarks at the 67th meeting of the Railway Transport Council of the CIS and Baltic countries in Riga.Javid Gurbanov, Vladimir Morozov, Saeed Mohammadzadeh and Oleg Belozerov discussed prospects for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor, construction of a section of the Rasht-Astara railway and other issues.“During the meeting, it was noted that cargo transportations along the International North-South Transport Corridor for the first nine months of 2017 increased by 21.6 percent and exceeded 4.7 million tons,” the message said. “Compared to the previous year, the volume of container transportations grew 2.4 times. Over 7,000 containers were transported along the corridor.”It is noted that the parties have reached an agreement to establish a working group for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor and signed the appropriate protocol.“In the opinion of the meeting participants, it is necessary to direct attention of logistics companies to the creation of permanent transport services and the application of tariffs which suit all the sides, as well as to carry out work to simplify customs clearance procedures in order to support the growth trend along the International North-South Transport Corridor,” the message noted.The sides also noted the importance of creating mutual ties between the participants of the logistics chain (railways, ports, carriers, customs services).“The sides agreed that the acceleration and reduction in the cost of cargo transportations between the countries of Europe, South Asia, the Persian Gulf, Belarus and Russia are related to the creation of a direct rail service,” the message said. “It is necessary to finish and commission the missing section of the corridor, the Rasht-Astara railway for that.”The International North-South Transport Corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.The corridor is planned to transport 5 million tons of cargo per year at the initial stage and over 10 million tons of cargo in the future. Azerbaijani travel companies, Italian tour operators agree on co-op http://www.today.az/news/business/166029.html Business Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:27:00 +0400 BY TrendJW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel hosted a meeting Oct. 19 between representatives of tour operators from Italy and Azerbaijani travel companies for acquaintance and establishing cooperation, a source in the National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan told Trend Oct. 20.The meeting was held within the framework of an information tour organized by the bureau.The source noted that Azerbaijan’s tourism opportunities were presented at the event and information was provided regarding the work done by the country’s National Tourism Promotion Bureau.Discussions were held in connection with the potential of tripartite cooperation in the field of tourism.At the end of the event, a preliminary agreement with 22 Italian companies was reached for the future cooperation. Putin, Erdogan talk Syria, Astana peace process http://www.today.az/news/regions/166028.html World news Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:25:00 +0400 By TrendRussian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed the Syrian peace process in a phone call, the Kremlin said Saturday, according to Sputnik."During a detailed opinion exchange on Syria, [they] assessed as positive the joint work within the Astana process, which has led to the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria," the statement read.The presidents discussed the outlook for the next multilateral talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana and "touched upon practical aspects of further coordination of efforts" to end the war in Syria.The Kazakh capital has hosted six rounds of talks on Syria since this January that involved both the government and armed opposition. The Kazakh foreign ministry said last week the next round was slated for October 30-31.The latest negotiations in September have led to an agreement to create a so-called de-escalation zone in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Russia, Turkey and Iran serve as guarantor states of the ceasefire. Armenia 126 times breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/society/166027.html Society Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:23:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 126 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Oct. 21.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. Zenith Energy further increases flow rate at Azerbaijani oilfield http://www.today.az/news/business/166026.html Business Sat, 21 Oct 2017 11:22:00 +0400 By TrendCanada’s Zenith Energy has announced a further update on the production from well C-21 in Azerbaijan’s Jafarli onshore oil field.Zenith Energy is the operator of Azerbaijan’s largest onshore block of oil fields Muradkhanli-Jafarli-Zardab.The most recent production tests carried out recorded a stabilized flow rate from well C-21 averaging approximately 50 barrels of oil per day, said the message from the company.Earlier, Zenith said well C-21 in Azerbaijan's Jafarli field is flowing at an increased rate of 35 barrels of oil per day following the identification of an additional 7.8 meters of unexploited pay zones."We are already assessing a number of other wells across the field where we can replicate the highly successful outcomes accomplished at C-21 and C-26, and, in so doing, successfully work towards achieving our production objective of 1,000 barrels of oil per day by 31 March 2018," said Mike Palmer, chief operating officer of Zenith’s local wholly-owned subsidiary in Azerbaijan, Zenith Aran.Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and Zenith Aran Oil Company signed a Rehabilitation, Exploration, Development and Production Sharing Agreement (REDPSA) in March 2016 for a block that includes the Muradkhanli, Jafarli and Zardab oilfields. These fields cover an area of 642.2 square kilometers. Production under the agreement began in August of 2016.Zenith holds a 80-percent participating interest in the three fields within the contract area, while SOCAR retains the remaining 20 percent. The duration of the agreement is 25 years, with a potential extension of 5 additional years. Deputy PM: Azerbaijan should rely only on itself, its strength in settlement of Karabakh conflict http://www.today.az/news/politics/166023.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 18:11:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovAzerbaijan should rely only on itself and its strength in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ali Hasanov, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs, said on October 19.He noted that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a priority issue for Azerbaijan.“Our main task is the resolution of this issue in a short time based on the norms and principles of international law and within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” he said.Speaking about the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly held in New York, Hasanov said that the unfounded thoughts in the speech of the Armenian Serzh Sargsyan, as always, aroused laughter and caused great concern in Armenia itself.“By this speech, the Armenian President disgraced himself before the whole world community. But the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, in his evidence-based speech from the UN rostrum, brought to the attention of the international community the information about the activities of the criminal regime of Armenia over the past 25 years,” the Deputy Prime Minister noted.Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the Azerbaijani territories. OPEC oil price down http://www.today.az/news/business/166020.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By  TrendOPEC oil basket’s price stood at $55.52 per barrel on October 19 that is $0.6 less than on October 18, the cartel told Trend on October 20.The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Zafiro (Equatorial Guinea), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).The price for December futures of the North Sea Brent oil mix increased by 0.3 percent to $57.4 per barrel, while the price for November futures of WTI oil increased by 0.25 percent to $51.64 per barrel on October 20. Azerbaijani gov’t expects stable GDP growth until 2021 http://www.today.az/news/business/166019.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:57:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani government has forecast growth of Azerbaijan’s real GDP in 2018 at 1.5 percent, according to the presentation of draft state and consolidated budgets for 2018 and the next three years.According to the document, Azerbaijan’s GDP next year is expected to reach 69.4 billion manats. At the same time, 47.6 billion manats of the GDP will account for the non-oil sector, which will grow 2.9 percent next year.According to the document, 83 percent of Azerbaijan’s GDP will account for the private sector.In 2016, Azerbaijan’s GDP decreased by 3.1 percent. The Azerbaijani government expects that this year, the country’s economy will grow 0.3 percent and will continue growing until 2021.GDP volume and its growth for 2017-2021:20172018201920202021GDP, in billion manats68.16469.39672.72777.40381.053Real GDP growth (%)0.31.51.43.72.9Incomes of Azerbaijan’s state budget for 2018 are projected at 20.127 billion manats (including centralized incomes - 19.476 billion manats, local incomes - 650.671 million manats), expenditures are projected at 20.905 billion manats (including centralized expenses - 20.182 billion manats, local expenses - 724.092 million manats).It is projected that Azerbaijan’s state budget for 2018 will be based on oil price of $45 per barrel.The official exchange rate for October 20 is 1.7001 AZN/USD. Heydar Aliyev Foundation VP Leyla Aliyeva attended “Building Innovation Ecosystem” seminar http://www.today.az/news/politics/166025.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:55:00 +0400 By  TrendA seminar entitled “Building Innovation Ecosystem” was held in Baku, on October 19.Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, head of the President Administration’s Youth Policy and Sports Affairs Department, assistant to the First Vice-president Yusuf Mammadaliyev, Education Minister Mikail Jabbarov, Minister of Transport, Communication and High Technologies Ramin Guluzadeh, Deputy Minister of Economy Sevinj Hasanova, MPs and representatives of state entities and private sector attended the event.The aim of holding this seminar was to support state and private entities in developing the action plan to form a joint innovation ecosystem.Speaking at the event, Jabbarov said cooperation with Berkley California and Stanford universities - leading education institutions of the world, “Global Innovation Catalyst” Company in developing human capital will open new possibilities for our country’s higher schools.Emphasizing the importance of human capital as one of the primary objectives of the Strategic Road Map and “The State Strategy for Developing Education in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, approved by the president, the education minister brought to attention that this event will serve the development of innovations, with prospecting strategies.In his speech, Guluzadeh emphasized that development of information-communication technologies have always been a focus of attention for President Ilham Aliyev, noting that the state has reached a number of achievements towards ensuring multilateral development of the economy, including dynamic development of high technologies.Hasanova, in her speech, talked about the ongoing reforms under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.After the speeches, a presentation took place by founder and chairperson of Global Innovation Catalyst Kamran Elahia on the theme “From the economy of drilling to innovative economy”.Then professor of the Berkley California University Gregory LeBlanc conducted a seminar on “Start-up Ecosystem: Bases of the Silicon Valley and the Government’s Role”.Later, Leyla Aliyeva met with seminar participants in the framework of the event organized by the Education Ministry, the Azerbaijan National Academy of Science, the Baku Engineering University, and the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies. ‘Some MPs under someone’s influence vote against Azerbaijan at PACE autumn session’ http://www.today.az/news/politics/166018.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:45:00 +0400 By  TrendWhile adopting a number of resolutions on Azerbaijan, some MPs, who have fallen under someone’s influence, voted against the country at the PACE autumn session, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, MP Samad Seyidov said.Seyidov made the remarks at a meeting of the Azerbaijani parliament on October 20.First of all, Seyidov stressed the Ukrainian MPs who voted against Azerbaijan."Unfortunately, these MPs voted against Azerbaijan, which means that they are also against Ukraine,” he said. “Only the MPs from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party did not vote against Azerbaijan."Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ogtay Asadov added that representatives of other Ukrainian parties voted for anti-Azerbaijani documents at the PACE session."Unfortunately, the representatives of the Ukrainian ruling party abstained from voting, which is food for thoughts," Seyidov said. President Macron: France is interested in developing relations with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/166017.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:35:00 +0400 French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his country`s interest in developing relations with Azerbaijan as he received credentials of ambassador Rahman Mustafayev.The French President said his country is interested in expanding ties with Azerbaijan in the fields of economy, education and culture, Azertac reported.Stressing the importance of developing EU-Azerbaijan relations, Emmanuel Macron expressed France's readiness to support Azerbaijan. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Ambassador Mustafayev said Azerbaijan is the main partner of France in the South Caucasus region, pointing out wide opportunities for intensifying economic and investment cooperation. The ambassador said the largest French university in the region operates in Baku, describing this an example of Azerbaijan`s interest in developing cooperation with France. Ilham Aliyev: Country destroying mosques can never be friend of Muslim states [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/166024.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:24:00 +0400 By  TrendA country destroying mosques can never be a friend of Muslim countries, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said on October 20, addressing the 9th Summit of the Developing Eight Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8).President Aliyev is attending the Summit as a special guest.Azerbaijani president first thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the invitation and hospitality.“Despite the fact that Azerbaijan is not a member of D-8, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Azerbaijan to this event. I express my deep appreciation,” the president said.“The Summit of “Big Twenty” was held in the Turkish city of Antalya in November 2015. Turkey could invite only one country, that is not a group member, to this meeting as a special guest, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Azerbaijan. This is another illustrative example of Azerbaijani-Turkish brotherhood and friendship,” Ilham Aliyev noted.The head of state drew attention of the meeting participants to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.“Armenia has been occupying Azerbaijan’s historical lands – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts – for more than 25 years. A policy of ethnic cleansing was carried out in these territories, and more than one million our compatriots became refugees and IDPs. In 1992, Armenia committed the Khojaly genocide. As a result of this war crime, 613 innocent Azerbaijanis were killed, 106 of them being women and 63 children. Thousands of people were injured and went missing.”“The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions in connection with the conflict. These resolutions demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian Armed Forces from Azerbaijani lands. At the same time, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the OSCE and other organizations adopted similar decisions and resolutions. However, being an occupant, Armenia ignores these decisions and continues war crimes against the civilian population,” Ilham Aliyev said.The president reminded that soldiers and civilians were killed on the line of contact in April 2016 as a result of Armenia’s armed attack.“Hundreds of houses were destroyed. Azerbaijan decisively suppressed this Armenian provocation, and our army liberated a part of our lands from Armenian occupants. After this, the Jojug Marjanli village, completely destroyed by Armenia, was rebuilt. A school, a medical center and a mosque were built in this village consisting of 150 houses. This mosque is similar to the mosque, destroyed by Armenians in Shusha,” President Aliyev noted.Ilham Aliyev said that Nagorno-Karabakh is historically an Azerbaijani land.“The Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, based on the UN Security Council resolutions. The Azerbaijani state and Azerbaijani people will never allow creation of the second so-called Armenian state on their native land. The territorial integrity of our country is not and will not be the subject of negotiations.”President Ilham Aliyev pointed out that Azerbaijan attaches particular importance to Islamic solidarity and makes its contribution.“2017 was declared the Year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan. At the same time, this year Azerbaijan held the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, where about 3,000 athletes from 54 Muslim countries participated. Today we actively fight Islamophobia, which is one of the most serious threats in the world. Armenia, trying to present itself as a friend of Muslim countries, destroyed mosques and religious monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions. The country destroying mosques can never be a friend of Muslim countries,” he noted.The head of state added that two days ago, Azerbaijan marked the 26th anniversary of restoration of independence.“Our country has passed a successful path of development in a short period. Starting from 2004, our economy has grown more than threefold, about two million jobs have been opened. The poverty level decreased to five percent. The literacy rate is 100 percent. Our foreign currency reserves are equal to the country's gross domestic product. Foreign state debt is less than 20 percent of GDP. This success of Azerbaijan is also noted by international organizations. Azerbaijan ranked 35th in the Davos Economic Forum's report on competitiveness rating this year,” said the president.The head of state noted that Azerbaijan is an initiator and active participant of international projects.”Today, together with our partners, we are implementing the Southern Gas Corridor project. It is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world. The agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey on the TANAP gas pipeline, which is the main part of the Southern Gas Corridor, was signed in Istanbul in 2012, and this gas pipeline will be commissioned next year,” said President Aliyev.”The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, the official opening of which will be held soon, will be the shortest route between Europe and Asia. Azerbaijan invests heavily in the creation of the East-West and North-South transport corridors. These transport corridors will open new opportunities for the economic development of Eurasia. Thank you for attention,” concluded the Azerbaijani president. Iran-Azerbaijan trade makes up $400m http://www.today.az/news/business/166016.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:23:00 +0400 “The trade between Iran and Azerbaijan made up $400 million over the past eight months,” Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan Javad Jahangirzadeh has told AZERTAC.The ambassador underlined that the economic ties are rapidly developing thanks to the efforts of the Azerbaijan-Iran State Commission on economy, trade and humanitarian cooperation. “This development has contributed to growth in the bilateral trade,” Jahangirzadeh said.“There are good transit opportunities in Azerbaijan. And the Iranian businessmen may enter the markets of the third countries with the aid of Azerbaijan,” the ambassador added. Azerbaijan holds important position in Islamic world http://www.today.az/news/politics/166015.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:17:00 +0400 By Rufiz Hafizoglu/  TrendToday Azerbaijan is a country that has achieved great success in political and economic spheres within 26 years of independence.Azerbaijan implements important economic, as well as energy projects today, which are aimed not only at its own development, but also at the development of neighboring countries.If one takes into account that the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) will be implemented in 2018, one can say that Azerbaijan is almost ready to ensure the energy security of Europe. Meanwhile, Turkey is turning into an energy hub due to TANAP.The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which will be commissioned on October 30, is another important project in international cargo transportation.What is the secret of Azerbaijan’s success in such a short period?First of all, Azerbaijan has succeeded due to internal stability, which is an important condition for the political and economic development of the country.The second important factor of Azerbaijan's success is that the country has never used its energy potential as a means of political pressure as opposed to some other countries.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Istanbul to participate as a special guest in the D-8 summit once again underscores the importance and irreplaceable role of Baku among the countries of the Islamic world, in particular, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Bangladesh, which established the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation in 1997.It is known that the D-8 countries have rich natural and human resources. Accordingly, the maximum use of this potential through cooperation within D-8 can benefit both the member-states of the organization and Azerbaijan, which has established close relations with most of them.Despite the big number of Muslim countries in the world, it was Azerbaijan that was invited as a special guest for this summit.The main theme of the summit is the strengthening of economic relations.Azerbaijan's participation in the D-8 summit will allow the country to demonstrate its economic and energy model among the giant countries of the Islamic world.Earlier, Azerbaijan also participated as a special guest in the G20 summit, which was held in Turkey’s Antalya city in November 2015, which, undoubtedly, once again testifies that Azerbaijan’s importance in the world is steadily increasing. Spanish Mundo Deportivo apologizes for presenting Qaraba? FC as Armenian http://www.today.az/news/politics/166014.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:09:00 +0400 By  TrendSpanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo has apologized for mistakenly presenting Azerbaijan’s Qaraba? football club as Armenian in an article dedicated to Atletico’s Yannick Ferreira Carrasco on http://urbanian.mundodeportivo.comwebsite Oct.19, Trend learned from Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.After intervention by Azerbaijan’s embassy in Spain, the newspaper's staff apologized for the gross mistake and corrected the information, and mentioned that Qaraba? football club belongs to Azerbaijan, said the ministry. Azerbaijan’s participation in D-8 summit is of strategic importance: expert http://www.today.az/news/politics/166013.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:53:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s participation in the D-8 summit, being held in Istanbul today, is strategically important, Erdem Eren, Turkish foreign policy expert and chief coordinator of the Beyaz Harekat political movement, told Trend on October 20.He said that Azerbaijan’s participation in the summit proves once again that Turkey sees Azerbaijan as its strategic partner in this important structure.“The participation of Azerbaijan in the D-8 summit is a clear example of fraternal relations between Ankara and Baku,” noted Eren.Eren said the organization of the D-8 summit was the idea of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.“After Erbakan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid special attention to the development of relations between the countries participating in the D-8 summit,” he added.Eren said the Istanbul declaration is expected to be adopted as part of the D-8 summit, and the declaration is aimed at developing plans for further cooperation.Istanbul hosts the summit of D-8 member countries – Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, at the invitation of President Erdogan, is participating in the D-8 summit as a special guest. Caspian littoral states discuss shipping issues http://www.today.az/news/regions/166010.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:48:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe Caspian Sea, the Earth’s largest inland body of water, plays an important role in the navigation sector and in the whole economies of all five countries surrounding it. Therefore, the states periodically hold meetings aimed at the discussion of these issues and adoption of relevant decisions.This time, the issues of navigation on the Caspian Sea were discussed in a Turkmen city of Turkmenbashi within the 8th joint five-party session of the Caspian states’ administrations of sea ports, Kazinform reported on October 19.Delegations of all Caspian states – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan – participated in the meeting. The agenda of the session included issues of unification of tariffs for commercial services, product labeling, port charges, as well as improving of servicing ships and crews.Within two days, representatives of the five countries discussed various aspects of cooperation in the field of shipping, sea freight, safety of navigation, development of port infrastructure, exchange of logistics information, protection of the marine environment of the Caspian Sea and other relevant issues.The main issue was the special interest of the littoral countries in strengthening and expanding mutually beneficial partnership in the transport sector, as well as increasing of the region’s role in the Eurasian system of transport communications.A day earlier, delegations of the five states participated at the international conference in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, titled “Peace, stability and international cooperation in the Caspian region.” They outlined the positions of their states on the issues facing the Caspian countries, related to their economic and environmental activities, possible ways of solving these problems, the establishment of scientific marine centers and the development of a national marine strategy.Today, there is an issue in the determination of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, and it prevents development and exploitation of the sea’s disputable oil and gas fields and creates obstacles to the realization of major projects.Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan hold to the principle of dividing into national sectors based on the “median line” principles since it is an international boundary lake, and leaving the sea surface for general use. That is, they are for demarcation of mineral resources and the Caspian Sea shelf, but against dividing up its waters.In contrast, Iran seeks an equal division of the Caspian Sea into five equal sectors, mainly because most of the offshore energy resources are located away from the Iranian coastline. Turkmenistan also demands the division of the Sea into equal parts between the coastal countries so that each state has 20 percent of the sea. Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble to perform in Moscow http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/166009.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:34:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan State Dance Ensemble will give a concert in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow on October 26.A one-act ballet " Koroghlu" " will be also premiered as part of the event, Trend Life reported.Artistic director is People's Artist of Russia, famous artist and choreographer Dikala Muzakaev."As part of a two-hour concert that can already be called a historic event in the cultural life of Russia and Azerbaijan. National dances reflecting the color of folklore, identity and rich historical and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people will be presented to the audience. A magnificent choreograph, performances of dancers and bright national costumes will long be remembered by the guests of the evening," said Roman Aghayev, representative of the Azerbaijani Diaspora.The concert program was first shown at the opening ceremony of the first Baku Shopping Festival, and the guests of Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games.The State Dance Ensemble of Azerbaijan was founded in 1970. Throughout the years of its activities, the team demonstrates and promotes the unique choreographic traditions of Azerbaijani art, its unique folklore, the beauty and elegance of national dances.The ensemble participates in the state events of Azerbaijan, successfully tours in Russia, the CIS countries, the USA, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, India, Nepal, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba and many other countries.The collective traditionally represents national culture at Days of Culture of Azerbaijan in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Egypt, Qatar, China, Japan, Tunisia and other countries.In 1991, ,the State Dance Ensemble was awarded the title of the Honored Collective of Azerbaijan for the outstanding contribution to the development of national culture.With the new concert program, ensemble will go on tour, presenting Azerbaijan's richest dance and musical culture. Iran, Russia talk fight against terrorism http://www.today.az/news/regions/166008.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:21:00 +0400 By  TrendSenior Iranian and Russian diplomats have agreed to broaden cooperation in fight against terrorism.Iranian deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, discussed ways for expansion of cooperation on fight against terrorism with his Russian counterpart Oleg Syromolotov, Iranian media outlets reported.The sides, during the meeting on Thursday, criticized some countries over their approach to the issue of terrorism.The sides also expressed satisfaction over the existing cooperation between Tehran and Moscow in fight against terrorism and emphasized on the political will of Iran and Russia to widen bilateral and international cooperation. Minister: Statistics of tourists coming to Azerbaijan increased by 21pct http://www.today.az/news/business/166011.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:12:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliTourism, a value contributor to economic growth and jobs, is also often the first step on the path to foreign investment and trade with other economies, and as such, the country must ensure that visiting Azerbaijan is a wholly positive experience.There is a general agreement that tourism expands more when there are better transportation systems. Transportation has been an integral part of the tourism industry, since it links tourists with various tourist attractions.Today, there are over one billion international tourist arrivals worldwide per year, forecast to rise to 1.5 billion per year by 2020. In recent years tourism of the Land of Fire also shows significant growth. Statistics of tourists coming to Azerbaijan has increased by 21 percent, according to Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev.The minister assured the development of tourism is impossible without modern means of transport.Indeed, transport is an essential component of tourism by definition, providing connections between regions, domestically and internationally, and connecting attractions, accommodation and commercial services at destinations.Garayev said that the number of people arriving in Azerbaijan by buses and cars has also increased recently.Azerbaijan, a tangle of amazing contradictions and contrasts, also plans to develop rail tourism, a favorite mode of many tourists worldwide. After the launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in late October, the country can develop the rail tourism on the Silk Road tourist route.Talking about this, the minister said that the issue is also on the agenda of the relevant agencies.Garayev also believes that the development of tourism is directly related to air transport, which has recently developed not only in the capital, but also in other cities of the country.Currently, Azerbaijan enjoys six airports including one in the capital and five in the regions including Ganja, Nakhchivan, Gabala, Lankaran and Zagatala.  The minister also made recommendations aimed at promotion of the country's culture.“Azerbaijan Airways (AZAL) offers different publications to passengers. I advocate that in small editions poetry of Azerbaijani poets, our fairy tales and children's books are also offered,” he said, adding that people arriving in the country should receive information about Azerbaijan not only from TV, but also through publications.“This can be a new look at culture. Visitors to Azerbaijan come not only for food, business and spending money. First of all, they visit the country to get acquainted with the Azerbaijani culture, way of life, thinking. Therefore, I believe that tourism companies should take as a basis the propaganda of the rich culture of Azerbaijan,” he said. D-8 should expand, says President Erdogan http://www.today.az/news/regions/166007.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:06:00 +0400 By  TrendThe composition of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation (aka Developing-8) should expand, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing the D-8 summit, the Turkish media reported on October 20.Erdogan noted that economic and political ties between the D-8 member countries should also expand.The Turkish president also said that the D-8 member countries should use the national currencies in trade.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, at the invitation of President Erdogan, arrived in Istanbul to participate as a special guest at the D-8 summit.Istanbul hosts the summit of D-8 member countries – Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan. Iranian Culture Days due in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/166006.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:57:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe Iranian Culture Days  will be held  in Baku in April, 2018.Days of Iranian films, books and an exhibition of female artists will be organized as part of the Culture Week, Azertac reported.Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi Amiri is expected to visit Azerbaijan to attend the event.Notably, Culture Days of Iran was held in Baku during the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games.The culture days aroused big interest among Baku’s residents and its guests. Representatives of the country preformed at a series of concerts, featuring country's national songs and dance numbers. The artists' performance in national costumes gave the event a special touch.Days of Azerbaijani Culture were also held in Iran on July 3-9.As part of the celebration, various concerts, performances photo exhibition, were arranged in various cities of Iran.Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.The two countries enjoy developed political, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations, have signed some 50 documents on cooperation.  Azerbaijani FM: Armenia's purposeful, biased ignorance deceives Armenians, diaspora http://www.today.az/news/politics/166022.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:51:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovArmenian leadership would better read the UN Security Council’s resolutions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.He made the remark when commenting on the remarks made by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during the 4th European Armenian Convention."It would be better for Armenian foreign minister not to repeat his nonsense thoughts and at least try to behave as a professional," Hajiyev told Trend.“In its resolutions, the UN Security Council condemns the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, confirms Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders and demands the immediate, absolute and unconditional withdrawal of the occupation forces,” he said. “At the same time, these resolutions once again reiterate that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan.”"Regretfully, alongside with creating negative experience for the negotiations, this purposeful and biased ignorance by the Armenian side deceives Armenian citizens, as well as Armenian diaspora," added Hajiyev.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. Lavrov: Operation against ISIS terrorists in Syria to be completed soon http://www.today.az/news/regions/166005.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:42:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaMilitary operation in Syria against the Islamic States terrorist group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) will soon be completed.This was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 19, RIA Novosti reported."The situation in Syria is approaching the final milestone in achieving success in the fight against terrorism," he said during a meeting with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.Through the efforts of all those who struggle with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, it is possible to achieve defeat of terrorists, according to Lavrov."It seems to me that all this will be completed in the near future," the minister said.He also noted that Russia supports the activation of the political process to resolve the situation in Syria.About 92.6 percent of the Syrian territory is released from the militants of ISIS terrorist group, according to the infographic data published in the newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry.In addition, over the past week Russian sappers checked more than 210 hectares in the Deir-ez-Zor area and neutralized more than 6,800 explosive items.At the same time, Russia continues its support of the liberated areas in Syria, delivering 74 tons of humanitarian aid to Aleppo and Damascus in recent months.The medics from the Russian Defense Ministry’s hospital in the country have also treated over 2,000 patients during the period.Russian sappers have so far cleared 838 buildings and 87 kilometers of roads in Syria, neutralizing 24,000 mines and improvised explosive devices.The civil war in Syria between government and opposition forces with various terrorist groups involved, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), began back in March 2011. Syrian President Bashar Assad managed to turn the tide of war in his favor after Russia started an air campaign in September 2015.According to UN's special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, around 400,000 people have died in the conflict while half the population has been driven from their homes. Turkey, Iran will use national currencies in trade http://www.today.az/news/regions/166004.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkey and Iran will use national currencies in trade in order to further improve mutual turnover between the two countries.This was stated by Iranian First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri during a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara, Turkish media outlets reported on October 19.He noted that Ankara and Tehran are interested in strengthening trade and economic relations.The use of the national currency in trade between the countries will help increase the turnover, according to Jahangiri.Earlier, during the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iran, Ankara and Tehran reached an agreement on the use of national currencies in trade.Iran can also increase oil and gas supplies to Turkey, the top official said.Turkey and Iran have a common opinion on the settlement of conflicts in the region, according to the first vice-president."Muslim countries should jointly solve problems," Jahangiri said.Iran and Turkey are considered to be regional rivals but have recently sought to maintain a pragmatic relationship, with the Islamic Republic strongly supporting Erdogan after last year's failed coup.Both countries share sympathy with Qatar in a diplomatic rift between the Gulf emirate and its neighbors which erupted in June. Along with Iran, Turkey has denounced the Erbil referendum on Kurdish independence as a threat to the stability of a region already beset by conflict.The trade turnover between Iran and Turkey in the first quarter of 2017 amounted to $3.5 billion, according to the Turkish Institute of Statistics (TU?K).In 2016, the trade between the countries amounted to $9.66 billion. Second stage of liberated Jojug Marjanli’s restoration nearing completion http://www.today.az/news/politics/166003.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:17:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe second stage of restoration work carried out in the Jojug Marjanli village of Jabrayil region, construction of 100 more houses and other infrastructure are nearing completion, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov said.Hasanov, who also chairs the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs, made the remarks while addressing the Committee board meeting on October 19.Calling the restoration of Jojug Marjanli the beginning of the Great Return, he noted that the second stage of restoration work that is carried out in the village is implemented on the instruction and under control of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.“Most importantly, as a result of the president’s successful ideological policy, the whole world is informed about the Jojug Marjanli village, its occupation and destruction, and of the fact that the village has already been liberated from occupation and is being restored,” Hasanov said.Jojug Marjanli village was liberated by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces from the Armenian occupation in April 2016. In late January 2017, President Ilham Aliyev ordered to restore the village.During the first phase of restoration, 50 private houses, a school, mosque, electric substation, hydrometeorological station, highway and other relevant infrastructure were constructed in Jojug Marjanli. The village was provided with gas, electricity and water supply.The second phase of construction and restoration work and work on improvement and creation in Jojug Marjanli started on June 15 this year, and currently construction of 100 more new houses is ongoing in the village. Azerbaijani FC Qarabag up to 78th in UEFA rankings http://www.today.az/news/sports/166012.html Sports Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:13:00 +0400 By  Azertac Azerbaijani football club Qarabag Aghdam have moved up to 78th in the UEFA rankings for club competitions after drawing with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League group stage.Qarabag now have 23,275 points. Putin believes Russia-U.S. problems can be solved through joint work http://www.today.az/news/regions/166002.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:08:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaWashington-Moscow ties are experiencing another unfavorable period linked to the closure of diplomatic missions and anti-Russian campaign in the United States.Problems in relations between Russia and the U.S. can be resolved through the joint work.This was stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the 14th annual session of the Valdai International Discussions Club held in Sochi."We have something to talk about in positive. But I'm talking about what's stopping us. There you have hysteria, we have displeasure, you are tearing down the flags and closing diplomatic missions. Well, what's good? All of this is a result of the accumulated problems. Can we solve them or not? I think we can. Let's work together for this," he said, TASS reported on October 20.The Russian leader said that an unprecedented anti-Russian campaign was unfolded in the U.S."Why are you surprised by my critical attitude to the activities of the U.S. Administration of the past and today, I do not understand," he said.Someone lost the election to Mr. Trump and the blame was laid on Russia and an anti-Russian hysteria was simply unfolded, according to Putin.Russian President stressed that he bases his negative assessment not on stereotypes, but solely on facts."But this does not mean at all that there was nothing good in our relations in the previous years," he said, and spoke about the support for joining the WTO and interpersonal relations with American leaders.President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, saying he wanted to improve ties with Russia. Putin also spoke favorably of Trump.However, the ties have been damaged by accusations from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the presidential election. Moscow has denied the accusations.In late July 2017, following another round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, Moscow ordered the U.S. to reduce the number of its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia to 455 people.In response, the U.S. embassy in Moscow announced that non-immigrant visas will no longer be issued in the three U.S. consulates across the country, beginning on August 23. As of September 1, the only place Russians can interview for U.S. visas is at the embassy in Moscow.The U.S. order for Russia to vacate some of its diplomatic properties was the latest in a series of actions that began when former U.S. president Barack Obama, expelled 35 Russian diplomats in late 2016. Two embassy properties were also closed down and seized by American officials. Azerbaijan calls on Arab Gulf States to develop economic ties [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/business/166001.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina Nazarli The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries invested about $1.3 billion in Azerbaijan's economy, Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at a joint business forum with representatives of the GCC member countries in Baku on October 20.These investments mainly come from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the minister said.“At the same time, Azerbaijan invested almost $300 million in the economies of the GCC countries,” he added.Mustafayev noted that about 280 companies, chiefly from Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, operate in Azerbaijan.“Azerbaijan is a country favorable for investments. First and foremost, thanks to political stability, security and understanding between the authorities and the people,” the minister said.He added that at the same time, economic cooperation should be based on strong political ties.“Azerbaijan pays a lot of attention to the development of political ties with the GCC countries. Our political relations are very strong, have great prospects and are based on friendships,” he said, adding the level of economic cooperation between the countries should also be raised as there is great potential that has not been fully used.Mustafayev noted that although the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the GCC states has been growing in recent years, it is still at a low level – it amounted to more than $40 million in January-August 2017.“This is a very low figure, given that the population of the GCC countries is about 40 million people and total GDP is about $1.36 trillion,” he added.Speaking at the forum, Abdul Rahim Hassan Al Naqi, secretary general of the Federation of Chambers of the GCC proposed to create a joint investment fundHe noted that the fund can help strengthening the cooperation and stimulate the investment flow between countries.Currently, Caspian International Investment Company (CIIC) operates in Azerbaijan that was co-founded by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD, a part of the Islamic Development Bank group).The investment company, which has been operating since 2008, invests funds in the real sector of the economy on the basis of Islamic law principles (Shariah), with the exception of oil and gas production. Moreover, Azerbaijan and Qatar are currently working to create a joint investment fund.Within the meeting, the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) has signed two memorandums on development of trade cooperation with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.The memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Federation of Chambers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was signed by AZPROMO President Rufat Mammadov and Federation’s Secretary General Abdul Rahim Hassan Al Naqi.The memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Yanbu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Saudi Arabia) was signed by Rufat Mammadov and the Chamber’s Chairman Murad Ali Al-Aroui.Moreover, during the business forum, a memorandum was signed between the standardization institute of Azerbaijan and the GCC Standardization Organization. The document was signed by the two organizations’ heads, Namig Tagiyev and Nabil Molla. Secretary General of the GCC told reporters that the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf are interested in developing relations with Azerbaijan in tourism, hotel business, agriculture and trade.“We attach great importance to the development of relations with Azerbaijan in various areas. Our goal is to develop relations with your country in trade, investment, economy, agriculture and other areas,” said the secretary general, adding that for this purpose it is possible to prepare relevant programs.According to him, Azerbaijan and the Arab countries have many opportunities to develop cooperation.Al Zayani also stressed that Azerbaijan has been able to achieve great success thanks to its wise leadership. Armenian provocation in European Parliament prevented http://www.today.az/news/politics/166021.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:58:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovAnother Armenian provocation on the international arena was prevented on October 19 in Brussels, where the fourth "congress" of European Armenians was held with the organizational support of the Armenian Diaspora.The Armenian side planned to commit provocations, with participation of “representatives” of the illegal regime created on the Armenia-occupied territories of Azerbaijan, during the session in the building of the European Parliament that was held within the congress.Despite attempts by Bako Sahakyan, who is the so-called “head” of the occupation regime, and his accomplices to arrive in Brussels to take part in the event, as a result of the taken measures, participation of “representatives” of the illegal regime in the event was prevented.Armenian Diaspora often uses the international arena, as well as international exhibitions to distort the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and present this region of Azerbaijan as Armenian. However, Azerbaijan timely prevents such provocative attempts.Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan by laying territorial claims on the country. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. Azerbaijan`s Heydarov wins Junior World Judo Championships http://www.today.az/news/sports/166000.html Sports Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:39:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan's Hidayat Heydarov has won a gold medal at Junior World Judo Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.He secured the title in the men`s 73kg weight category. National judoka did not leave chances to his rivals from Japan, Italy, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey.National female judoka Nazaket Azizova won a bronze medal in the world championship. Azerbaijani  fighter defeated judokas from Morocco, Spain, Romania, Mongolia, but lost her Japanese opponent.Natig Gurbanli (55 kg) and Keramat Huseynov (60 kg) won silver medals on the first day of the competition.Azerbaijan's national team is represented by 15 judo fighters.The Junior World Judo Championships to last until October 21, brought together 590  judokas from 83 countries.  Forecast for 2018-state budget of Azerbaijan revealed http://www.today.az/news/business/165998.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:25:00 +0400 By  TrendRevenues of the state budget of Azerbaijan for 2018 are forecast at 20.127 billion manats, including centralized incomes worth 19.476 billion manats and local incomes worth 650.671 million manats.Meawhile, expenditures are forecast in the amount of 20.905 billion manats, including centralized expenses worth 20.182 billion manats, and local expenses – 724.092 million manats.The draft law “On the state budget for 2018” was published on October 20.The maximum deficit of the state budget was determined at the level of 778.7 million manats.The following sources of financing were identified in order to cover the deficit of the state budget: as of January 1, 2018, internal and external loans and balance on a single treasury account totaling 749.7 million manats, grants of the European Union – 29 million manats.The upper limit of expenses of the consolidated budget is forecast in the amount of 26.674 billion manats, while the deficit of the consolidated budget (excluding the revenues of the State Oil Fund – SOFAZ) is expected to total 14.127 bililon manats.About 9.216 billion manats out of revenues of the state budget account for SOFAZ transfers. Revenues from the value added tax (VAT) are forecast in the amount of 4.288 billion manats (including 1.705 billion manats on VAT from imported goods), revenues from income tax – 2.320 billion manats, revenues from individual income tax – 1.196 billion manats, revenues from excise tax – 726 million manats (including 172 million manats from excise tax on goods import), revenues from customs revenues – 535 million manats, revenues from simplified tax – 380 million manats, revenues from subsoil use tax – 136 million manats, revenues from highway use tax – 91 million manats.Non-budgetary revenues of budget organizations are forecast at 460 million manats. Other revenues are expected to total 27.991 million manats.In the structure of expenditures of 2018, it is planned to allocate 2.739 billion manats for defense, two billion manats – for education, 740.661 million manats for healthcare, 2.197 billion manats – for social protection and social security (including 2.163 billion manats for social protection), state capital investments – 4.924 billion manats and others.Budget forecasts are formed on the basis of oil prices at $45 per barrel.Revenues of Azerbaijan’s state budget have been approved in the amount of 16.766 billion manats, expenses – 17.941 billion manats for 2017.(1.7001 manats = 1 USD on October 20) 'China considers Azerbaijan as one of the key priorities in tourism cooperation' http://www.today.az/news/business/165996.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:06:00 +0400 "China considers Azerbaijan as one of the key priorities in cooperation in the field of tourism and is always ready for cooperation in this area," said Vice Chairman of China National Tourism Administration Du Jiang as he met with the Azerbaijani ambassador to the country Akram Zeynalli, Azertac reported.They discussed the current state of and prospects for development of relations between Azerbaijan and China in tourism sector.Jiang hailed the contribution made by Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev as chairman of the Executive Committee to the China-hosted 22nd General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).Ambassador Zeynalli pointed out the direct flights between Azerbaijan and China, as well as the Azerbaijani government's simplifying viza regime for Chinese tourists. He underlined great potential for developing relations between the two countries in the field of tourism.They also expressed mutual interest in signing a document on implementation of large-scale tourism exchange between the two countries. Diversification of Turkmen gas supplies to world markets to be mulled in Ashgabat http://www.today.az/news/regions/165994.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:52:00 +0400 By  TrendThe 22th international conference and exhibition Oil and Gas Turkmenistan 2017 (OGT) will be held in Ashgabat on November 2-4, 2017, the Turkmen government said in a message.“Particular attention will be paid to the diversification of supplies of Turkmen natural gas to world markets. In particular, the progress of construction and prospects of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline will be discussed,” says the message.Specialists in the field of fuel and energy from many countries of the world, including representatives of foreign oil and gas companies, ministries of several countries will take part in the forum.The conference’s agenda will include a wide range of issues related to the development of the global, regional and local oil and gas sector, international cooperation in this field, attraction of foreign investments to the industry and introduction of technological innovations.Turkmenistan’s Turkmenoil state concern, together with the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UK’s Summit Trade Events, will organize the event.Under the Program for the development of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan, it is planned to bring the annual production of natural gas to 250 billion cubic meters in 2030. Outlook of Iran’s gas export to Europe waning evermore http://www.today.az/news/regions/165993.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:34:00 +0400 By  TrendIt seems it was not enough that the feasibility of Iran producing and exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe had been diminished by technological factors and market situations, US President Donald Trump’s newly adopted Iran strategy shows to be able to further taper chances of a gas business between Iran and European countries, an energy and political risk expert says.With 33.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, Iran has the largest conventional gas reserves in the world.Along with its vast oil reserves, it also has sizable, non-associated conventional gas resources that are being developed aggressively. Officials recently said that gas exports grew by 64 percent during the period of March 21 to Aug. 22, 2017, compared to the same period in 2016."Since the easing of international sanctions by the Obama administration, the energy markets have been anticipating an entry of Iranian resources, likely LNG, to the markets, which would have been particularly significant for Europe," Dr Agnia Grigas, an Oxford graduate, told Trend October 18.Iran is richly endowed with natural resources, particularly natural gas, she noted, adding however, that the Trump administration’s new strategy dims the prospect of any Iranian gas export to Europe.Following the US shale revolution and with American LNG exports, Iranian gas exports had already become less strategically significant, much to the relief of the American gas sector.Nevertheless, global LNG prices have declined by 45 percent since the beginning of 2017, compared to average prices in 2016. The decrease is due to an abundance of LNG in the global market, as well as to the link between natural gas and oil prices, which are also weak.Back in May, Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Commerce Amir Hossein Zamaninia told Trend that the EU’s gas market is oversupplied and exporting Iranian gas to that market would not be profitable.Zamaninia noted that it would rather be in Iran’s interest if nearby markets were sought. In such circumstances, Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom is strengthening its presence in the gas market of the Middle East through a planned construction of an 11-12 mtpy LNG plant in Iran. The plant will source gas from the South Pars gas field, Iran’s largest.In line with that, Iran is going this week to sign a contract with the Norwegian oil and gas company Hemla Vantage to build Iran’s first floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) unit in the Persian Gulf. Turkmenistan harvests over 1 mln tons of cotton http://www.today.az/news/regions/165992.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:28:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkmenistan’s purchasing centers received more than one million tons of raw cotton, said the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.Cotton is a significant export product of Turkmenistan and is a demanded raw material for dozens of modern companies of the country’s dynamically developing textile industry.It is planned to produce 1,050,000 tons of cotton in Turkmenistan in 2017. Harvesting campaign is currently underway in the country.Ashgabat will host the 7th International Trade Fair of Cotton Products and International Conference “Cotton products of Turkmenistan and World Market” on November 25-26. No peak oil demand for foreseeable future: Barkindo http://www.today.az/news/business/165991.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:15:00 +0400 By  TrendThere is no peak oil demand for the foreseeable future, said Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the Oil & Money conference in London.“In our upcoming World Oil Outlook 2017, to be launched on November 7 in Vienna, we expect demand to pass 100 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2020 and to reach over 111 mb/d by 2040. Let me stress that we see demand growing in every year of the outlook. There is no peak oil demand for the foreseeable future,” he said.Barkindo noted that OPEC member countries themselves have defied the trend and continued to invest through the industry downturn. OPEC is therefore positioned to continue to be a dependable and reliable supplier of crude and products to global markets, he added.Further, OPEC secretary general said there is no doubt that the market is rebalancing at an accelerating pace; stability is steadily returning; and “there is far more light at the end of the dark tunnel we have been travelling down for the past three years.”“Let me stress that we continue to welcome dialogue among other producers outside of the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, as well as consumers. For instance, we appreciated the initial dialogue we had with US independents at CERA Week in Houston in March,” said Barkindo.In December 2016 in Vienna, 11 non-OPEC countries, including Azerbaijan, agreed to curtail oil output jointly by 558,000 barrels per day. The agreement was signed for the first half of 2017.On May 25, OPEC member countries and non-OPEC parties, Azerbaijan, Kingdom of Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Sultanate of Oman, the Russian Federation, Republic of Sudan, and the Republic of South Sudan agreed to extend the production adjustments for a further period of nine months, with effect from July 1, 2017.The reductions will be on the same terms as those agreed in November. BP chairman announces intention to retire http://www.today.az/news/business/165995.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:00:00 +0400 By  TrendBP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg has informed the company’s board of directors of his intention to retire, said the message on the company’s website.Svanberg will chair the annual general meeting to be held in May 2018 and will remain in position until a successor is in post.Ian Davis, the BP board’s senior independent director, will now lead the process to identify and appoint BP’s next chairman.Svanberg joined the BP board on 1 September 2009 and became chairman on 1 January 2010.“It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the BP board over the past eight years. I am proud of the achievements of the management and the company in that time. The first couple of years were incredibly challenging for us all as we navigated an unusually complex corporate crisis. Through that turbulent period we stayed focused on saving and restoring the company. Today I can say with confidence that BP is back and ready for the future,” said Svanberg.BP is a global energy company with wide reach across the world’s energy system. It has operations in Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Asia and Africa.It is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector and the operator of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli offshore oil and gas block, as well as the Shah Deniz gas and condensate field.BP is also a participant of such pipeline projects as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and South Caucasus Pipeline. Patricia Kaas delights her Baku fans http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/165990.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:57:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaHer songs crack open hearts, inspire love, and leave listeners with deep emotions.Over three years ago, Patricia Kaas performed with a concert in Baku, and those who witnessed her performance were ultimately impressed by singer's voice.In May 2014, French singer delighted Baku audience with concert program "Kaas Poet Piaf", dedicated to the the French diva Edith Piaf.Patricia Kaas rocked Baku stage once again in front of her fans.The concert took place at Heydar Aliyev Palace on October 18, Trend Life reported.Since the appearance of her debut album,  Patricia Kaas has sold over 17 million records worldwide. The French singer had her greatest success in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Russia, Finland, Ukraine and many others.After the success of "Kabaret" (2008), dedicated to the great women of the 1930s - Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, and "Kaas chante Piaf" (2013) - a songs collection of legendary Edith Piaf, Patricia Kaas is back with new hits.This time she performed her best songs and compositions from the new album "Patricia Kaas".This is the tenth studio album, the first for the last 13 years, which included only new songs. With a new album and world tour, French singer starts a new chapter in her career.The Baku audience met the singer with thunderous applause.Songs performed at the concert reflect what the singer feels today, what she really cares about. Along with the compositions from the new album, Patricia Kaas performed her old songs so beloved by the audience, such as "Mademoiselle sings the blues".Patricia Kaas gave her Baku fans unforgettable emotions.  Bakuvians will remember her concert  for a long time. President Ilham Aliyev attends D8 Summit in Istanbul [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/165999.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:54:00 +0400 By  TrendThe 9th Summit of the Developing Eight Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8) under the motto "Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation" kicked off in Istanbul on October 9.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is attending the Summit as a special guest at the invitation of President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Prior to the Summit a joint photo was taken.The Summit started with the recitation of ayahs from Holy Quran. Uzbek Justice Ministry releases mobile inspection registration app http://www.today.az/news/regions/165989.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:43:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Uzbek Justice Ministry has released a mobile inspection registration app.According to the ministry, while using the e-digital signature, a business entity (user) must visit www.etk.minjust.uzwebsite and receive a password to use a mobile inspection registration app.The business entities can review the legislation regulating this sphere and the schedule of inspections, send appeals to the single portal of interactive state services portal and the justice bodies through a mobile inspection registration app.This system is of great importance for assessing the legality of inspections. It is a mechanism that limits illegal inspections. Moreover, it serves as an additional factor in restoring the violated rights and interests of business entities. Azerbaijan may help Australia in development of gas fields http://www.today.az/news/business/165988.html Business Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:35:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan may help Australia in development of gas fields, President of Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce in Australia Nizami Jafarov told Trend on October 18 on the sidelines of the first Azerbaijan-Australia business forum in Baku."We have sufficient experience in the oil and gas sector, we have equipment and qualified experts," noted Jafarov adding that Azerbaijan may help in developing the fields in Western Australia.Currently, development of Australia’s biggest gas field is underway, from where gas is supplied to India and China, he said.Australia is the biggest exporter of gas to Asian countries. In 2016, the volume of supplies of liquefied gas from Australia to other countries stood at 263.6 million tons, some 18 percent of which accounted for China and India.According to Jafarov, Azerbaijan may also supply agricultural products, construction materials and grapes to Australia."We trade with Australia, but the volume of trade is very small and does not meet our potential. Although, it seems to me that the trade turnover between our countries will increase in the future, especially after the first Azerbaijan-Australia business forum," said Jafarov.According to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, trade turnover with Australia amounted to $3.75 million in January-August 2017, 30 percent less than in the same period of 2016.Jafarov added that Australian companies are mostly interested in hotel business, tourism and agriculture, oil and gas sector, especially the construction of oil platforms in Azerbaijan. “Trentino-Alto Adige autonomy may be model for autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh within ... http://www.today.az/news/politics/165987.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:14:00 +0400 By  TrendThe model of autonomy of Trentino-Alto Adige in Italy may become one of the successful models to be studied in the context of the autonomous status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with chief researcher of the Nodo di Gordio think tank Andrea Marcigliano.In his interview, Hajiyev touched upon the prospects of development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, and Italy.Speaking of Azerbaijan's close ties with Europe, its important role in the fight against terrorism, illegal migration, extremism and radicalism, the contribution to the energy security of Europe, Hajiyev noted that Azerbaijan is a "natural partner" of the European Union, including Italy.He noted that intensive talks are underway to conclude an agreement on strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the EU, and that this deal will play an important role in the development of comprehensive cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU in the coming years.Answering the question about the steps that can be taken to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hajiyev said that the political and legal bases for the settlement of the conflict and the steps which should be taken are known."The four resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in connection with the settlement of the conflict, once again confirming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, require the complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories," he said.As for the contribution that Italy can make to the conflict settlement, Hajiyev said that the model of autonomy of Trentino-Alto Adige region in Italy can become one of the successful models for considering in the context of the autonomous status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan.Taking into account Italy's membership in the OSCE Minsk Group and Italy’s 2018 OSCE chairmanship, the consideration of this model could be very useful within the OSCE Minsk Group and Italy’s experience.During the interview Hajiyev also touched upon such issues as diversification of the Azerbaijani economy, development of the non-oil sector, stabilization of oil prices in the world market.The interview was published in Il Giornale authoritative Italian newspaper.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. Iran developing indigenous farming model to save on water http://www.today.az/news/regions/165986.html World news Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:58:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Iranian government is developing an indigenous farming and cultivation model that will suit the country’s climate and resources, with the aim to save on water.The agricultural sector is responsible for the greatest share, 86 percent, of water consumption in Iran.This model is being developed by the Supreme Council on Water, which is headed by the country’s first vice president and brings representatives from a multiplicity of ministries and organizations, Mohammad Ebrahimnia, the head of the Macro-Planning Office of the Water and Wastewater Department of the Ministry of Energy, told Trend October 18."This plan will hopefully come through by the end of the current year (Iranian year, to end March, 20, 2018). It takes into account the climatic features of the country and the resources," Ebrahimnia said.He hoped that considering an existing common vibe to care for environment and water resources will eventually lead authorities to put Iran’s water management on the right track."We are also pursuing many other policies to maximize water efficiency. Using modern irrigation systems and importing the latest technologies, reducing the average age of farmers, and encouraging greenhouse farming are on agenda."Iran is located in one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. Average annual rainfall is around 250 millimeters per year, or almost one-fourth of average global precipitation. That is compounded by excessive and seemingly unrestrained consumption of the dwindling resource.Water consumption rose 2.5 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year (started March 21) compared with the similar period in the last fiscal, Sattar Mahmoudi, the caretaker minister of energy, said in September. US better adopt Warlick’s comments on Karabakh conflict as a resolution: MP http://www.today.az/news/politics/165985.html Politics Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:37:00 +0400 By  TrendThe recent remarks by former US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement should be assessed positively, Azerbaijani MP Tahir Karimli told Trend.On October 19, James Warlick addressed a briefing on “Averting All-Out War in Nagorno-Karabakh: The Role of the US and OSCE”, organized by the US Congress Helsinki Commission. He noted that six elements, based on the Madrid Principles, should be an integral part of the peace agreement and be accepted as one package.The MP expressed hope that Warlick’s comments are realized in the US activities on the conflict resolution.“It would be better if what Warlick has said is discussed in the US Congress and adopted as a resolution, as a statement,” Karimli added.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.