Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az US congressman issues statement on 30th anniversary of 'Black January' in Azerbaijan Politics Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:33:00 +0400 By TrendSteve Chabot, a member of the US House of Representatives, has made a statement in the US Congress in remembrance of the 30th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy in Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to Azerbaijan’s Embassy in the US.“I rise today to remember the innocent lives lost in the massacre of Black January at the hands of the Soviet Union,” Chabot said. “January 20 marks the 30th anniversary of this tragic day in the history of Azerbaijan, which is seen as its rebirth as an independent country. On the night of January 20, 1990, 26,000 Soviet troops attacked Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and its surrounding areas. This vicious invasion is fixed in Azerbaijan’s national history and is remembered in the hearts of its people as ‘‘Black January’’.”“In the Soviet brutality, more than 145 innocent civilians died, around 800 people were injured, and hundreds were arrested,” the US congressman noted. “The Soviet crackdown was meant to smother the independence movement in Azerbaijan which was gaining momentum at the time. It proved to be a futile attempt to prop up the rule of the Communist Party, and really the whole Soviet Union. In fact, it had the opposite effect, further inflaming the independence movement and strengthening other such movements throughout the former Soviet Union.”“Following the events of Black January, popular sentiment drove Azerbaijan to break away from the Soviet Union and declare independence,” reads the statement. “On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan’s Parliament adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on October 18, 1991, the Constitutional Act on the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved.”“Azerbaijan began to receive international recognition of its newfound independence in November 1991, and shortly thereafter the US became one of the first nations to recognize the country, establishing diplomatic relations on February 28, 1992,” Chabot added. “Today, cooperation between the US and Azerbaijan has blossomed to include a broad range of issues, particularly energy development and security, and we share many common interests and goals for the region. I urge my colleagues to join me and the Azerbaijani people as they remember the events of Black January and celebrate that brutality cannot stifle the thirst for freedom.” Azerbaijani president, first lady pay tribute to January 20 martyrs Politics Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:47:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have paid tribute to the victims of the 20 January tragedy on the National Mourning Day.President Ilham Aliyev laid a wreath at the &quot;Eternal Flame&quot; memorial.The Defense Ministry’s military orchestra played the national anthem of Azerbaijan.Among those in attendance at the commemorative ceremony were Prime Minister Ali Asadov, Parliament Speaker Ogtay Asadov, head of the Presidential Administration Samir Nuriyev, state and government officials, heads of religious communities, ambassadors of foreign countries to Azerbaijan, and representatives of international organizations. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan on Jan. 19-20 Politics Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:38:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 24 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Jan. 20, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using large caliber machine guns and sniper rifles.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Azerbaijan’s permanent mission to UN: Perpetrators of January 1990 massacre yet to be punished Politics Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:18:00 +0400 By TrendThose who ordered and perpetrated bloodshed in January 1990 have yet to be punished, Trend reports citing a statement made by Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations.“On 20 January 2020, Azerbaijan commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the &quot;Black January&quot;. Thousands of people visit today the Martyr’s Alley in the capital of Azerbaijan – Baku – to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the independent and prosperous Azerbaijan. At the end of the 1980s the people of Azerbaijan had gone into the streets and squares of Baku and other major cities to protest against illegal territorial claims of neighboring Armenia, killings, persecution and forcible mass expulsion of more than 200 thousand Azerbaijanis from their ancestral lands in Armenia and the unjust policy pursued by the leadership of the Soviet Union towards Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity. In response, the Soviet leadership resorted to force to suppress the free expression of popular will,” reads the statement.“Over the night from 19 to 20 January 1990, following a series of provocations orchestrated by the central authorities and the USSR State Security Committee (KGB), Soviet troops attacked Baku and other major cities and towns in Azerbaijan.“As a result of a full-scale military assault, 131 civilians were killed, 744 people were wounded and 841 were indiscriminately and unlawfully detained or arrested. Among other acts, Soviet soldiers were observed executing the wounded, firing at passerby and at dwellings, stores, medical and other facilities. In several cases, tanks and other armored vehicles crushed or opened fire upon moving as well as parked vehicles.“Clearly marked ambulances were targets of shooting and also were not allowed to aid the wounded. Many civilians were shot in their apartments, building entryways, buses and places of employment. During the investigation of bullet wounds on the bodies, forensic experts noted the particularly damaging effects of the bullets. By using military force, the Soviet leadership was hoping to frighten the people of Azerbaijan, break its resistance and maintain the communist rule in the republic.“However, the &quot;Black January&quot; gave a new impetus to the national liberation movement. On 22 January 1990, 2 million people attended the funeral ceremony of martyrs in Baku. On 18 October 1991, Azerbaijan restored its independence. Indeed, the &quot;Black January&quot; is not only a tragedy, but also a victory of the unarmed people over the totalitarian regime. Those who ordered and perpetrated bloodshed in January 1990 have yet to be punished. Azerbaijan is determined to end impunity for the heinous crime committed against its people and to bring those responsible to justice,&quot; reads the statement. Jerusalem Post: January 20 - page of heroism in history of struggle for Azerbaijan's independence Society Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:18:00 +0400 By TrendDespite bloody events in Baku, the day of January 20, 1990, became a page of heroism in the history of the struggle for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, reads the article published by Jerusalem Post on the January 20 tragedy, Trend reports.&quot;Azerbaijanis call the massacre of civilians on January 19-20, 1990, “Black January,” when Soviet tanks and troops, with terrible cruelty, inhuman savagery and violence invaded the streets of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan,&quot; reads the article.The article notes that the main goal of the operation was to crush the makings of an independence movement in Azerbaijan.&quot;Soviet Army soldiers shot civilians at point-blank range with special brutality; they carried out deliberate assaults with tanks and armored personnel carriers on cars; they bombarded hospitals, preventing medical personnel from treating the wounded,&quot; the article says.The sons and daughters of Azerbaijan perished on January 20, 1990, while defending Azerbaijan’s freedom and independence, the article notes.&quot;Their bravery became vivid history in the heroism chronicles of Azerbaijan. Today, 30 years have passed since the tragedy of 'Black January'. The sacred Azerbaijani place of worship – Shehidler Khiyabani (Martyrs Alley) – is visited daily, scarlet carnations are laid on the martyrs’ graves,&quot; the article concludes. Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: Initiators, executors of January 20 events must be punished Society Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:06:00 +0400 By TrendDespite bloody events in Baku, the day of January 20, 1990, became a page of heroism in the history of the struggle for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, reads the article published by Jerusalem Post on the January 20 tragedy, Trend reports.&quot;Azerbaijanis call the massacre of civilians on January 19-20, 1990, “Black January,” when Soviet tanks and troops, with terrible cruelty, inhuman savagery and violence invaded the streets of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan,&quot; reads the article.The article notes that the main goal of the operation was to crush the makings of an independence movement in Azerbaijan.&quot;Soviet Army soldiers shot civilians at point-blank range with special brutality; they carried out deliberate assaults with tanks and armored personnel carriers on cars; they bombarded hospitals, preventing medical personnel from treating the wounded,&quot; the article says.The sons and daughters of Azerbaijan perished on January 20, 1990, while defending Azerbaijan’s freedom and independence, the article notes.&quot;Their bravery became vivid history in the heroism chronicles of Azerbaijan. Today, 30 years have passed since the tragedy of 'Black January'. The sacred Azerbaijani place of worship – Shehidler Khiyabani (Martyrs Alley) – is visited daily, scarlet carnations are laid on the martyrs’ graves,&quot; the article concludes. Video on 30th anniversary of January 20 tragedy shared on official page of President Ilham ... Society Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:49:00 +0400 By TrendA video on the 30th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy has been shared on the official page of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on Facebook, Trend reports.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;/body&gt; &lt;/html&gt; Iran to launch new domestic satellite World news Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:34:00 +0400 By TrendIran will launch a new domestic satellite Zafar, Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted, Trend reports.The minister noted that the satellite and the launch vehicle will be delivered to a aeronautics base in Iran and will be launched into orbit in the near future.Iranian specialists have thoroughly tested the satellite, the minister said.Jahromi stressed that the satellite has great significance for research work.Zafar is a 113-kilogram remote-sensing satellite equipped with color cameras and can be used for surveying oil reserves, mines, forests and natural disasters. If the launch is successful, it will orbit the earth at an altitude of 530 kilometers. The satellite's service life is expected to be a year and half. Iran to hand black boxes of downed plane to Ukraine - Iranian official World news Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:46:00 +0400 By TrendFlight data recorders of the Ukrainian passenger plane, which was accidentally downed outside Tehran, will be sent to Kiev, Hassan Rezaifar, head of the accidents investigation commission at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, said on Saturday, Trend reports citing TASS.&quot;We have once more consulted with Ukrainian experts and [confirmed] that it is impossible to decode black boxes in Iran&quot; he said quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.&quot;At the request of the Ukrainian authorities, the black boxes of the Ukrainian downed jet will not be read in Iran, but instead will be transferred to Ukraine for analysis and reading,&quot; the official added.Rezaifar noted that &quot;with the use of the expertise of the countries of France, Canada and America we will try to read the [flight data recorders] in Kiev.&quot;&quot;If this effort is unsuccessful then the black box will be sent to France,&quot; he added.On Friday, the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general filed another request to Iran asking to hand Kiev the flight data recorders of the downed plane. Ukraine had submitted a previous request to Iran on January 15. On the same day, head of the Kiev Research Institute of Forensic Studies Alexander Ruvin said that an international team of experts would start reading the black boxes in Kiev on January 20.On January 8, a Boeing-737 of the Ukrainian International Airlines bound for Kiev crashed minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport. The crash killed all 176 people on board - citizens of Afghanistan, Germany, Iran, Canada and Ukraine and also British and Swedish subjects. On January 11, Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff released a statement admitting the plane had been mistakenly shot down. According to Iranian Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the plane was misidentified as a cruise missile by the air defense force. ADB talks priority co-op sectors in Kazakhstan for 2020 World news Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:33:00 +0400 By TrendOverall 2019 was a busy and successful year for Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Kazakhstan and ADB hopes to further build on the projects and initiatives that were launched, a representative of ADB told Trend.According to the representative, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan-ADB partnership. This year ADB approved three sovereign local currency loans for a total of $517 million-equivalent in transport, finance and agriculture and three non-sovereign loans in support of solar power development and agribusiness for a total amount of $61.5 million.Thus, ADB has a current active sovereign loan portfolio worth $755 million for three projects.&quot;They include strengthening access to finance for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially those located in rural areas and led by women and modernizing transport infrastructure along the Aktobe-Makat and Zhetybai-Zhanaozen roads in West Kazakhstan. At the request of the Kostanay region authorities, ADB is also providing technical assistance and analytical support to the local government to foster SME creation and entrepreneurship,&quot; the official said.In turn, bank’s non-sovereign loan portfolio in Kazakhstan includes three projects for about $162 million. Ongoing private sector projects include a loan to Samruk-Energy, Kazakhstan’s largest power generation company, to support its overall business restructuring and transformation plan, and two loans to support the construction and operation of solar power plants of a 50MW and 100 MW installed capacity in the Southern Kazakhstan.&quot;This year we also started activities under the new facility, ADB Ventures, to invest in business startups and facilitate the transfer of critical technology and innovative business models. Thirteen companies have already been selected for the first acceleration program in the country, leading the most successful companies to receive investment and advisory support,&quot; the official said.To combat climate change and promote the use of clean and renewable resources, ADB is providing technical assistance to prepare a low-carbon growth strategy and an integrated water masterplan for Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan.&quot;In November, we launched a pilot clean technology project in Nur-Sultan that installs engine block heaters in cars to reduce the environmental impacts of starting a vehicle’s cold engine during the winter months,&quot; the representative said.The bank is also working closely with the United Nations to provide support to Kazakhstan in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.&quot;In November, we supported the First Regional Sustainable Development Goals Summit: Mobilizing Finance for SDGs organized by the government of Kazakhstan in Almaty. This year’s discussions focused on energy, water and climate resilience,&quot; the report said.Talking about the impact of these projects, the official noted that the purpose of banl’s MSMEs support project is to help Kazakhstan in economic diversification by promoting private sector development and improving access to finance.&quot;It also helps reduce income inequalities and foster gender mainstreaming. The project has managed to sustain the flow of credit to the real sector, against the backdrop of an economic downturn following the decline in hydrocarbon prices that started in 2014. Funds were provided to over 16,000 local businesses, with 50 percent of loans directed to promote women-owned businesses, whereas over 70 percent of ADB-financed loans were provided to MSMEs located in regions outside the cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty,&quot; the official said.In turn, Aktobe-Makat and Zhetybai-Zhanaozen road projects, once completed, are expected to boost regional connectivity, promote inclusive economic growth, and increase the country’s trade links with markets in East Asia, Europe, and the Caspian Sea subregion. The solar power plants in South Kazakhstan that ADB is financing will support the development of an early-stage solar power sector in the country and help replace imports of electricity in power-deficient southern Kazakhstan with indigenous renewable sources.In the future year, 2020, ADB is planning to work on the implementation of ongoing and newly approved sovereign and non-sovereign projects named above and continue providing advisory support through technical assistance.&quot;As for the sovereign financing planned for 2020, new approvals are expected to be in the order of $640 million, covering sectors such as agriculture, transport, water supply and sanitation, as well as finance. We are guided by three strategic pillars of our Country Partnership Strategy for Kazakhstan: the first pillar is to help the country diversify its economy; second is to promote inclusive development; and the third one is to strengthen a green and sustainable growth,&quot; the official concluded. Erdogan, Merkel discuss Libya by phone ahead of Berlin conference World news Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:17:00 +0400 By TrendTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks by phone ahead of the international conference on Libya scheduled for Sunday in Berlin, the Turkish leader’s office told reporters, Trend reports citing TASS.&quot;At the talks, [they] focused on regional issues, primarily Libya,&quot; Erdogan’s office said.Germany plans to host an international conference on Libya in Berlin on January 19. Turkish Grand National Assembly ex-member: Renewal of parliament to give new impetus to ... Society Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:04:00 +0400 By TrendThe renewal of the Azerbaijani parliament and the acceleration of economic reforms will give a new impetus to the country's development, former member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Suat Onal said.“There are all the conditions for transparent and fair elections in Azerbaijan,” Onal added, Trend reports referring to &quot;Election 2020&quot; Independent Media Center established by Azerbaijan's CEC.“As an observer, I participated in the election observation process in almost 15 European countries,” former member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly added. “I have an idea of the electoral process in various countries.”During the presidential elections held in Azerbaijan in April 2018, I was a member of the PACE observation mission,” Onal said. “Proceeding from my experience, I can say that all the conditions are created for people to vote for their candidates in terms of democracy and transparency. As during the previous elections, I am confident in the transparent and fair holding of the parliamentary elections on February 9.&quot; Azerbaijani deputy PM: None of perpetrators of January 20 tragedy punished Society Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:59:00 +0400 By TrendThe January 20 tragedy was not just the tragedy experienced by the Azerbaijani people; this was a bloody crime, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmadov said.Ahmadov made the statement in Baku at a memorial ceremony at the party’s office dedicated to 30th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy, Trend reports on Jan. 18.The deputy prime minister said that the perpetrators of this crime were the then Soviet empire and those who ruled it.“In history, there are practically no references to the cases in which perpetrators of crimes remained unpunished,” Ahmadov said. “However, none of the perpetrators of this tragedy as well as none of those who ordered to commit the crime and those who committed it have been punished up till now.”“The day after the tragedy, national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev decisively blamed real culprit of the tragedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, who was then the leader of the Soviet Union, demanding a political and legal assessment of those events,” the deputy prime minister said.“I think that we must not consider the date of the tragedy committed 30 years ago only as a day of sorrow in the Azerbaijani history,” Ahmadov said.“This is one of the glorious and bright pages of the fight of the Azerbaijani people for freedom,” Ahmadov added. “Thirty years have passed, and today Azerbaijan is an independent country. About a year after those events, the Soviet Union collapsed and Azerbaijan gained independence.”“Today, we emphasize that on the way of Azerbaijan’s gaining independence, the martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the January 20 tragic events played a crucial role in making our choice of the independent path of development. The Azerbaijani people do not forget and will never forget this tragedy and its victims, &quot; the deputy prime minister saidWhile delivering speech at the event, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection Anar Aliyev stressed that the January 20 tragedy has been inscribed in the history of the Azerbaijani people as “the bloody January tragedy”.“The events of January 20, 1990, the sudden military aggression that the Soviet army committed against the Azerbaijani people are a heinous crime against humanity,” Aliyev added. Azerbaijan participates in International Green Week exhibition in Berlin Business Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:42:00 +0400 By TrendUnder the support of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economy and Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), Azerbaijani companies participate in the 85th traditional exhibition International Green Week that opened in Germany’s Berlin city on January 17, Trend reports via Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economy.The Azerbaijani exposition is located on an area of 98 square meters. It presents 180 types of products of 11 participating companies.Over 1,500 companies from more than 70 countries participate in the exhibition.Minister of Economy Inam Karimov and the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Germany Ramin Hasanov attended at the opening of Azerbaijan’s exposition.Within the framework of exhibition, the parties become familiar with the products of Azerbaijani companies, and held several meetings.International Green Week is one of the largest agricultural exhibitions of the world that held in the famous Messe Frankfurt complex.For the first time, the exhibition was held 94 years ago in 1926.Azerbaijan is presented for the 12th time in the exhibition. Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation holds 10th General Meeting Sports Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:25:00 +0400 By TrendThe 10th General Meeting of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation (AGF) took place on Jan. 18, Trend reports citing the press service of AGF.The official opening of the meeting was followed by discussions on agenda issues. A number of important issues related to the activities of the federation were discussed.First of all, members of the credentials committee appointed by the Executive Committee were approved. Then the protocol of the 9th General Meeting and the agenda of the 10th General Meeting were approved.At the meeting, the report of the AGF Secretary General Nurlana Mammadzade for 2019 and the report of the Federation’s chief accountant Victoria Abushova were heard and approved.Then, those with certain achievements or merits were awarded commemorative medals.The trainer of the rhythmic gymnastics team Evgenia Velyaeva, the head coach of the acrobatic gymnastics team Irada Gurbanova, gymnasts Abdulla Al-Mashaykhi and Ruhidil Gurbanli, as well as the head coach of women's artistic gymnastics Przemys?aw Lis were awarded bronze medals.The members of the aerobic gymnastics aerodance group Elchin Mammadov, Balakhanym Ahmadova, Narmina Huseynova, Imran Imranov, Madina Mustafayeva, Akif Karimli, Aykhan Ahmadli, Nigar Ibrahimbeyli, head coach for this discipline Marian Kolev were awarded gold medals.The General Meeting was concluded with an official closing ceremony. Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan addresses letter to UN Secretary General on illegal ... Politics Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:17:00 +0400 By TrendThe letter addressed by Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations to the Secretary-General of the organization regarding the illegal arrest of Azerbaijani civilians Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev by Armenia has been circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly and Security Council, Trend reports.The document underlines that &quot;the illegality of the puppet regime has been repeatedly stated at the international level; it is under Armenia’s direction and control and is ultimately nothing other than the product of aggression, racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing&quot;. “In its leading judgment of 16 June 2015 in the case of Chiragov and others v. Armenia, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights established that Armenia exercises effective control over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” it says.The document emphasizes that the international community has consistently reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which includes the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the surrounding areas occupied by Armenia; condemned the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan; and demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from those territories.It also mentions that in July 2014, the Armenian armed forces brutally killed an Azerbaijani civilian, Hassan Hassanov, and captured Asgarov and Guliyev, while they were attempting to visit the graves of their parents and relatives in the occupied Kalbajar district of Azerbaijan. “The Armenian side not only did not release those civilians but also fabricated charges against them and unlawfully sentenced Asgarov to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years in jail, while the body of Hassanov was returned to Azerbaijan, with the facilitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, after almost three months, on 2 October 2014.”The document stresses that in his statement at the 26th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, held in Bratislava on 5 and 6 December 2019, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov specifically referred to the case of Asgarov and Guliyev and noted that Armenia stubbornly rejected releasing them, even on the basis of the “all for all” principle.“Asgarov and Guliyev were unlawfully arrested, detained, subjected to an ostensible “trial” and convicted to lengthy terms of imprisonment under fabricated charges by an illegal and incompetent organ of the puppet regime that Armenia has established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. They were not told of the reasons for their arrest or informed of the charges against them and were detained incommunicado for at least several days,” the document says.It notes that Asgarov and Shahbazov were not presumed innocent, as Armenian officials made public statements in which they were called “hired criminals”, “saboteurs” and “murderers” before and during the “trial”.“They were not informed of the charges against them in a language they understood and were not given adequate assistance through interpretation,” according to the document. “They are presently kept in complete isolation in prison, without contact with other inmates and without mail, news and – except for visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross – contact with the outside world.”The document also points out that Asgarov and Guliyev were subjected to discriminatory treatment because of their ethnicity and national origin, adding that the humiliating arrest and arbitrary detention of Asgarov and Guliyev and the sentence had no legal basis or legitimacy, and the violation of their rights is now the subject of a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights.&quot;The Republic of Azerbaijan expects that the United Nations, including its relevant human rights mechanisms and procedures, will not remain indifferent to the fate of Asgarov and Guliyev and will spare no efforts to ensure their immediate and unconditional release and reunification with their families,” the document concludes.The letter which was circulated as the document of the UN Security Council and General Assembly is available at Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan on Jan. 18-19 Politics Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:03:00 +0400 By TrendMilitary units of the armed forces of Armenia violated ceasefire 23 times throughout the day in various direction of the front, using large-caliber machine guns,Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.Armenian armed forces, located in Voskevan village and on nameless hills in Noyemberyan region, in Aygedzor village of Berd region, and on nameless hills in Krasnoselsk region subjected to fire the positions of the Azerbaijan Army located in Kamarli, Gushchu Ayrim villages of Gazakh region, in Munjuglu village of Tovuz region, in Garaveliler village and on nameless hills in Gadabay region.The positions of Azerbaijan Army were also fired from the positions of Armenian military units located near the occupied Ajarly, Yusifjanly villages of Aghdam region, Horadiz village of Fuzuli region, as well as from the positions located on nameless hills in Goranboy and Terter regions.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan's role in a cohesive and sustainable world Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 18:57:00 +0400 By TrendThe official website of the World Economic Forum has published an article by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev headlined “Azerbaijan's role in a cohesive and sustainable world”. Trend presents the full text of the article.• Azerbaijan's economy has been on a steady upward trajectory since 2007.• It has positioned itself as a strategic transport hub between Europe and Asia.• Pipeline developments can boost Azerbaijan's natural gas exports to Europe significantly.The World Economic Forum is one of the largest platforms that unites politicians, business people and public organisations to hold discussions on global economic processes, agenda and socio-political processes. The Forum provides extensive access to abundant information on global economic trends.I am planning to attend the Annual Meeting of the Forum in Davos for the 14th time since 2007. The World Economic Forum has not only been a great platform for presenting the realities of Azerbaijan to the world community but has provided comprehensive information about global economic trends. This has helped us promote socio-economic reforms in our country and attract foreign investments.Due to such reforms, our country's economy grew by 80% between 2007 and 2019, by 2.1 times in the non-oil sector and by 13 times in its strategic currency reserves. Poverty levels have decreased by more than four times over this period with the unemployment rate settling at 4.9% after a substantial decrease. Azerbaijan was twice recognized as a top business-reformer country in the Doing Business 2009 and 2019 reports. We have attracted $US111 billion in foreign investment since 2007, which has contributed to the development of all sectors of the economy. As a result, while initially ranked 64th in the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum in 2006-2007, Azerbaijan rose to 35th among 137 countries in 2017-2018. In 2019, Azerbaijan tied for second place in the category of “Electricity access”, ranked third in terms of “Burden of government regulation” and “Ease of hiring foreign labour”, fifth in “Government’s responsiveness to change”, eighth in “Time to start a business”, and 10th in “Government long-term vision”.A strategic transport hubIn the same report, Azerbaijan ranked 11th among the 141 countries in “Efficiency of train services”, 12th in “Efficiency of air transport services”, 25th in “Efficiency of seaport services” and 27th in “Quality of Road Infrastructure”. How? Significant developments to the country's transportation and road infrastructure were made possible by foreign and local investment. But capital has not been the only factor in our transport improvements; cooperation has played an important role too. Cooperation within the framework of the Forum has enabled Azerbaijan to act as a global transit hub, and, specifically, as a key player in North-South and East-West transport corridors. Initiated by Azerbaijan, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway that connects the railways of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey became operational in October 2017. It is a cohesive and sustainable transportation corridor that connects Asia and Europe. Azerbaijan was also the impetus for the largest port in the Caspian Sea, the new Baku International Sea Commercial Port that was commissioned in May 2018.Azerbaijan is strongly committed to the socio-economic development of its citizens together with the preservation of ecological balance; that is, protecting the environment. We have developed a “Smart City” concept to improve our local and international transport management system and ensure a high level of security. It aims to enhance the quality of urban services such as energy, transport and utilities by reducing the consumption, waste and overall cost of resources.A key energy playerAzerbaijan has continued to successfully implement energy projects. Supporting the EU’s efforts to diversify gas supply, Azerbaijan has implemented the Southern Gas Corridor. This 3,500-km project will change the energy map of the entire region by bringing natural gas from the Caspian region to European markets. Rather than an alternative to Europe’s gas supply, the Southern Gas Corridor provides a means of diversification. This project, with a total capital investment of $US40 billion, consists of four parts:Shah Deniz-2The first phase of the project – the Shah Deniz-2 – has been completed. Shah Deniz gas will be transported over 3,500km, rising to an altitude of 2,500m and descending to a depth of 800m.South Caucasus PipelineThe second phase of the project, the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), has already been commissioned. The length of the pipeline, connecting Azerbaijan to Turkey through Georgia, is 691km.Trans-Anatolian Gas PipelineOtherwise known as TANAP, this constitutes the third phase. The pipeline is 1,850km-long, extending to the western border of Turkey as a continuation of the SCP. TANAP, which supplies Azerbaijani gas to Turkey and Europe, is connected to SCP on the Turkish-Georgian border and to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) along the Turkey-Greece border.Trans-Adriatic PipelineThe fourth phase of the project is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The length of the pipeline is 878km and 90% of construction is completed. The pipeline runs from Greece via Albania through to the Adriatic Sea to Italy. This year, it is slated to begin transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe. On 30 November 2019, the opening ceremony of the section of the TANAP that merges with TAP took place.The sharp decline in oil prices in the world markets since 2014 has accelerated economic diversification and reforms in the non-oil sector of our country. The strategic roadmap for the national economy and key sectors of the economy were adopted in 2016, structural and personnel reforms were undertaken, and serious actions were taken to improve the business environment in the country. As a result, Azerbaijan ranked 34th overall out of 190 countries in the Doing Business 2020 report: first in “Getting Credit”, ninth in “Starting a Business” and 28th in “Enforcing Contracts”.In addition, as a continuation of Azerbaijan's cooperation with the World Economic Forum, the agreement between Azerbaijan and the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was signed in 2019. This agreement will contribute to the transformation of the socio-economic life of Azerbaijan through the application of beneficial trends and practices.In appreciation of its active and fruitful cooperation with the World Economic Forum, the Republic of Azerbaijan will continue to support efforts to develop and promote collaborations on this platform. Hikmet Hajiyev: Parliamentary elections to be another important opportunity in transformation ... Politics Sat, 18 Jan 2020 18:29:00 +0400 By TrendParliamentary elections will to be another important opportunity in transformation of Azerbaijani society, Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev told Radio France Internationale (RFI), Trend reports.“When President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected, one of his objectives in his new tenure was ensuring transformation and reform initiatives in Azerbaijan. We see new faces, new people with new mindset are brought to different government institutions in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the ruling party in the Azerbaijani parliament called for the dismissal of the parliament and snap elections. We are expecting snap elections on February 9. The elections process is taking place in quite a vibrant and dynamic, open and democratic environment. We see a lot of young people applying as candidates in the elections. More than 2,100 people have applied. We see a lot of ladies, which is also a good thing. Women empowerment is one of the cornerstones along with the secular fabric and nature of Azerbaijani society. We do think that it will be yet another important opportunity in the transformation of Azerbaijani society along the path of democracy,” he said.Hikmet Hajiyev noted that 19 parties, including opposition parties are taking part in the election process.He went on to add that all fundamental freedoms and rights have been provided in Azerbaijan.“Azerbaijan in early 1990s was almost a failed state. Azerbaijan was in instability with different political parties without any professionalism, fighting with one another. But where is Azerbaijan now? Azerbaijan is a stable and secular country. It is a multicultural country, where Jews, Christians and Muslims are living side-by-side. All fundamental freedoms and rights have been provided in Azerbaijan. We always say that human rights along with political rights are also about social rights and economic rights as well. In Azerbaijan we have 100 percent literacy. It is also about the human rights as well. But there are also issues that we are looking to solve. That is a vision of my president: fighting effectively against the elements of corruption, raising the efficiency of government services,” he said.Hajiyev noted that Azerbaijan is also open to any criticism.“What is important is to understand the country and also to appreciate the developments in Azerbaijan. Whenever criticism issues are rising, we are ready to sit together and discuss these issues. But this criticism should be fair, just and shouldn’t be politicized. We are ready for the constructive engagement,” he concluded. Structural changes underway in Azerbaijani Central Bank Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 17:58:00 +0400 By TrendThe number of directors general has increased in the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA), Trend reports on Jan. 18 referring to the CBA’s website.The CBA continued to implement structural changes, the next stage of which was the expansion of the number of directors general from four to six.The new directors general are Ali Ahmadov and Togrul Aliyev, who previously served as directors of the Department for Foreign Market Operations and the Department of Risk Management, respectively.The Azerbaijani Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FIMSA) was abolished on November 28, 2019 in accordance with the president’s order improving management of the regulatory system and control of the financial services market.In accordance with the order, FIMSA’s powers stipulated upon the Azerbaijani laws, including its rights and obligations in the field of licensing, regulation and supervision in the financial services market, protection of the rights of investors and consumers of financial services, as well as its property, were transferred to the CBA. Major achievements of Azerbaijani schoolchildren at Int'l Olympiad with Azercell's support Sports Sat, 18 Jan 2020 17:28:00 +0400 By TrendThe 16th International Zhautykov Olympiad was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 8 to 15 January, 2020. Azerbaijani students won 1 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals at the Olympiad, which was held with the participation of 82 teams from 20 countries.It should be noted that, winning a gold medal in informatics, the 11th grade student of the Lyceum in physics, mathematics, and computer science bias under the Ministry of Education Abutalib Namazov brought the first highest award in this subject to the country. Moreover, the 11th grade student of the same lyceum Murad Eynizadeh achieved a silver medal and the 10th grade student of Ganja secondary school N15 Aziz Huseynov won a bronze medal at the Olympiad.The students of the 11th grade of the Lyceum in physics, mathematics, and computer science bias under the Ministry of Education Murad Aghazade and Abbas Mammadov got silver medals, as well as the 9th grade student of the same lyceum Toghrul Abbasov and 11th grade schoolchildren studying in Malybayli village of Shusha district secondary school N 1 Vugar Guliyev were awarded with bronze medals in mathematics. Also, the 11th grade student of the Lyceum in physics, mathematics, and computer science bias under the Ministry of Education Mahammad Yusifov was awarded a bronze medal in physics.It is worth mentioning that, “Azercell Telecom” LLC has a significant contribution to this success of our students. Thus, schoolchildren can prepare for the International Tournaments and demonstrate their scientific capabilities in special centers organized with the support of the Ministry of Education and Azercell.It should be recalled that, Azercell acted as the digital sponsor of the 31st International Tournament in Informatics hosted by our country on August of the current year. The tournament had brought together an official delegation of more than 600 students, teachers and experts from 88 countries and regions, including Azerbaijani team.For more information, please contact news@mcs.azThe leader of the mobile communication industry, the largest taxpayer and the biggest investor of the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan “Azercell Telecom” LLC was founded in 1996. Currently, 4.8 million subscribers choose Azercell services. Mobile operator controls 49% of market share; while its geographical coverage constitutes 99.2% (excluding the occupied territories); and population coverage 99.8%.Azercell was the pioneering mobile operator to introduce a number of innovations in Azerbaijan, including GSM technology, advance payment system, mobile internet services, 24/7 call center service (*1111), 7/7 Front Office service, Azercell Express offices, M2M services, 4G technology and pilot version of 5G, mobile, online customer care services and customer services through social media, mobile e-signature service “ASAN Imza” etc. Rapidly increasing 4G network of Azercell covers nearly 60 regions of the country, including Baku and Absheron peninsula.According to the results of mobile network quality and wireless coverage mapping surveys by international systems, Azercell’s 4G network demonstrated the best results among the mobile operators of Azerbaijan. Azercell is the only company in Azerbaijan and CIS region which has been awarded Gold Certificate of International “Investors in People” Standard. German companies attraction among priorities for Kazakhstan Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 16:58:00 +0400 By TrendAttraction of German companies is a priority for strengthening investment relations between Kazakhstan and Germany, Trend reports with reference to the press office of Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister.The topic was discussed during the meeting between Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar and Germany’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan Tilo Klinner.At the meeting, main aspects of bilateral cooperation, activities of the working group for strengthening investment cooperation, as well as further prospects for strengthening diplomatic relations were discussed.According to Sklyar, currently, Germany is one of the most important partners of Kazakhstan, and relations between the two countries have been developing in the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding for many years.The deputy prime minister also noted that in order to strengthen investment relations between the countries, attraction German companies in development of new industries that will be created based on digital technologies is a priority.Following the meeting, the parties agreed to maintain positive relations development and make every effort to further strengthen them in economic, political and social spheres. Azerbaijan CEC holds seminar for members of expert group Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 16:28:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) held a seminar on considering complaints related to the violation of electoral rights in connection with the early parliamentary elections, Trend reports referring to&quot;Election 2020&quot; Independent Media Center established by Azerbaijan's CEC on Jan. 18.CEC Deputy Chairman Rovzat Gasimov, members of the CEC expert group, Secretariat staff, members of the expert group of district election commissions attended the seminar.Speaking at the seminar, Gasimov stressed that the main task of the expert group operating under CEC is to accurately, promptly and impartially consider the appeals received by the district election commissions and provide them with this information.“The district election commissions will make a final decision on the basis of this information,” the deputy chairman said. “During the recent municipal elections, a number of steps were taken to consider the received complaints and to achieve prompt, unbiased results and make decisions. As a result, the number of the received complaints decreased twofold compared to the previous years.”Gasimov stressed that the seminars organized in Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit, Nakhchivan, Sheki and Masalli cover 375 members of the expert group on 125 constituencies.In conclusion, the deputy chairman added that in connection with the upcoming elections, CEC received 27 appeals.“The appeals were considered and appropriate decisions were made,” Gasimov said. “So, seven candidates were registered.”The parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan on February 9. Azerbaijani oil prices for Jan. 13-17 Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 15:57:00 +0400 By TrendAverage price of AZERI LT CIF extracted at Azerbaijan's Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of fields was $67.7 per barrel on Jan. 13-17, or $1.81 less than the previous week, Trend reports.During the reporting period, the highest price of AZERI LT was $68.12 per barrel, while the lowest price was $66.93 per barrel.Azerbaijan sells AZERI LT via the Turkish port of Ceyhan and Georgian ports of Batumi and Supsa. The oil is supplied to Ceyhan via the BTC pipeline and to Georgia via the Baku-Supsa pipeline and railway.Azerbaijan sells the oil supplied via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline through Russia's Novorossiysk port.Average price of URALS (FOB-NOVO) was $61.13 per barrel, which is $2.01 less than in the previous week.The highest price for URALS was $59.68 per barrel and the lowest price was $58.33 per barrel on Jan. 13-17.Average price of Brent Dated was $67.86 per barrel on Jan. 13-17 or $4.43 less than the preceding week.The highest price for Brent was $64.54 per barrel and the lowest price was $63.43 during the reporting period. CEC: Azerbaijan creates equal conditions for all candidates Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 15:29:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan Central Election Commission (CEC) has taken all necessary steps for MP candidates to be able to carry out a pre-election campaign on equal terms, CEC Deputy Chairman Rovzat Gasimov told reporters in Baku, Trend reports on Jan. 18.“For this purpose, open and closed places were allotted in all constituencies and in the territories of all districts,” Gasimov added. “A total of 270 open and closed places for pre-election campaign were set up throughout the country.”&quot;These places are at the disposal of candidates,” the deputy chairman said. “By informing the district election commissions, candidates may use them. Some 40 media outlets applied to the CEC in connection with the paid pre-election campaign and candidates may also use their opportunities.&quot;The parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan on February 9. Head of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration department to meet with NATO deputy Sec-Gen Politics Sat, 18 Jan 2020 14:57:00 +0400 By TrendNATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Mircea Geoana will meet with Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev at NATO Headquarters on January 20, 2020, Trend reports on Jan. 18 referring to NATO’s website.The cornerstone of the substantive partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO was laid down on May 4, 1994, when the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Framework Document was signed.Azerbaijan conducts political dialogue with NATO on a broad range of issues of common concern based on the PfP principles. Within the political dialogue, which is held in different formats and levels, the issues like partnership, regional security, Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, peace support operations, contribution to [stability] in Afghanistan, and emerging security challenges are the matters of bilateral discussions and consultations.The Individual Partnership Action Plan, which Azerbaijan joined in 2004, enables to hold regular political dialogue, systematize bilateral cooperation as overarching tool and agree on new cooperation activities of mutual interest in a more flexible manner.Another important mechanism is the Planning and Review Process, which is designed to help Partners identify and evaluate forces and capabilities which might be made available for multinational operations and exercises in conjunction with NATO forces. Azerbaijan has undertaken a number of ‘Partnership Goals’ on defence planning and preparation of forces for peace support operations. Azerbaijani oil prices on Jan. 17 Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 14:27:00 +0400 By TrendThe price of the AZERI LT CIF oil produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of oil and gas fields was $67.69 per barrel at the Italian port of Augusta on Jan. 17, which 43 cents less than the previous price on Jan. 16, a source in Azerbaijan's oil and gas market told Trend on Jan. 18.On Jan. 17, AZERI Light FOB Ceyhan oil price was $66.26 per barrel, which is 38 cents less compared to the previous price.Azerbaijan has produced AZERI LT since 1997, which it exports via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa pipelines, and by rail to the Georgian port of Batumi. Azerbaijan also exports URALS oil from Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The oil is delivered there via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.The price for URALS-NOVO including shipment from port was $59.33 per barrel on Jan. 17, or 35 cents less compared to its previous price.The price for a barrel of North Sea Brent Dated, produced from the North Sea, stood at $63.92 on Jan. 17, or 43 cents less than the previous price.(1 USD = 1.7 manat on Jan. 18) Iranian currency rates for Jan. 18 World news Sat, 18 Jan 2020 13:57:00 +0400 By TrendThe rates of 11 foreign currencies have increased in Iran, while the rates of 27 currencies have decreased on Jan. 18, compared to the rates on Jan. 16, according to Iran's official state exchange rate, Trend reports referring to the Central Bank Iran (CBI).According to CBI, $1 equals 42,000 Iranian rials and 1 euro equals 46,564 rials.Foreign currenciesIranian rial on Jan. 18Iranian rial on Jan. 161 US dollarUSD42,00042,0001 British poundGBP54,66754,8071 Swiss francCHF43,41243,5461 Swedish kronaSEK4,4134,4411 Norwegian kroneNOK4,7144,7451 Danish kroneDKK6,2346,2691 Indian rupeeINR5925941 UAE dirhamAED11,43711,4371 Kuwaiti dinarKWD138,419138,403100 Pakistani rupeesPKR27,15527,138100 Japanese yensJPY38,12938,2081 Hong Kong dollarHKD5,4075,4051 Omani rialOMR109,234109,2341 Canadian dollarCAD32,14932,2001 New Zealand dollarNZD27,77627,7581 South African randZAR2,9052,9211 Turkish liraTRY7,1317,1451 Russian rubleRUB6836851 Qatari riyalQAR11,53911,539100 Iraq dinarsIQD3,5293,5241 Syrian poundSYP82821 Australian dollarAUD28,87529,0121 Saudi riyalSAR11,20011,201 1 Bahraini dinarBHD111,702111,7041 Singapore dollarSGD31,14731,202100 Bangladeshi takasBDT49,53949,55110 Sri Lankan rupeesLKR2,3182,3151 Myanmar kyatMMK2929100 Nepalese rupeesNPR36,77736,9071 Libyan dinarLYD30,00230,0411 Chinese yuanCNY6,1236,1011 Malaysian ringgitTHB138,091138,659100 Thai bahtsMYR10,35710,3241,000 South Korean wonsKRW36,16436,2261 Jordanian dinarJOD59,23859,2391 euroEUR46,56446,845100 Kazakh tengeKZT11,10211,0891 Georgian lariGEL14,63514,6101,000 Indonesian rupiahsIDR3,0773,0771 Afghan afghaniAFN5475441 Belarus rubleBYN19,81219,8301 Azerbaijani manatAZN24,70724,758100 Philippine pesosPHP82,487<td style="borde PM: Tax base expanding in Azerbaijan as a result of implemented reforms Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 13:27:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers held the first meeting in connection with the execution of instructions given to the government by President Ilham Aliyev during the meeting on Jan.13, Trend reports referring to the Cabinet’s press service.The meeting was devoted to the issue of legalizing informal employment.Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov said that during the meeting on Jan. 13 on the results of 2019, President Ilham Aliyev gave the government over 25 instructions.To systematize and implement them, the Cabinet of Ministers has drawn up an action plan, in connection with which the corresponding order has been signed.Ali Asadov said that during the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the importance of curbing informal employment and increasing transparency.The prime minister noted that an increase in contributions to the State Social Protection Fund by more than 37 percent is a real indicator of the reforms held. As a result of the work done, the tax base is also expanding, Asadov added.“However, the political will of the Azerbaijani president requires strengthening this work,” the prime minister said.Deputy prime minister, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s Commission for Regulation and Coordination of Labor Relations Ali Ahmadov informed those present about the work done in connection with the solution of issues stipulated by the action plan, as well as about upcoming tasks.Ahmadov said that over the past 15 years, more than 2 million new jobs have been opened, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5 percent.“The action plan consists of 5 sections and 36 articles,” the deputy prime minister noted. “To date, 18 articles have been fully implemented, seven have been partially implemented, and regular work will be carried out on 11 articles. In general, the implemented work can be evaluated positively. From the second half of 2017 until the end of 2019, the number of signed labor contracts increased to 300,000. The annual growth dynamics is also positive. Last year alone, this figure was 153,000. These 300,000 labor contracts cover 21.2 percent of the total number of active population.”Sahil Babayev, the Azerbaijani minister of labor and social protection of the population, reported about the work in the field of labor and the protection of social rights. The minister said that 99,000 of 153,000 labor contracts finalized in 2019 account for the private sector.Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Mikail Jabbarov noted that in order to eliminate informal employment in 2019, tax control measures were taken.“Last year, 7,294 facts of violations were established, and in accordance with the legislation, written warnings were issued in response to the first violation,” said Jabbarov. “However, financial sanctions of 268,000 manat ($157,647) were imposed on persons who repeatedly committed violations, and criminal cases were initiated on 27 facts. During the year, revenues from the tax authorities, as well as from social insurance contributions, increased by 26 percent and amounted to 2.9 billion manat ($1.7 billion). The forecast was over executed by 105.8 percent.”In turn, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Statistical Committee Tahir Budagov said that tremendous success was achieved in the activities of the committee over the past two years and a strong institutional base was created.Real results are also evident in the dynamics of the work done, Budagov noted.The State Statistical Committee conducted analyzes to assess the level of informal employment based on a methodology developed in coordination with the ministries of economy and labor and social protection of the population, the chairman added. International experts are also involved in the work, Budagov said.Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of Azerbaijan Ulvi Mehdiyev said that the construction sector is one of the areas where informal employment is still high.“As many as 171 monitoring inspections were carried out in this area in 2017-2019, 170,600 labor contracts were signed, 90,451 contracts of which, or 45 percent, were finalized by employers namely as a result of the monitoring,” noted Mehdiyev.Anar Guliyev, chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture, noted that as part of the work to eliminate informal labor relations in the construction sector, permits issued by the State Committee and information on legal entities and individuals who received such permits are sent to the Labor Relations Monitoring Center of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of Azerbaijan.In turn, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation Sattar Mohbaliyev noted that the International Labor Organization highly appreciates the work carried out in Azerbaijan in the direction of protecting labor rights.The discussions were also attended by Azerbaijani Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade, Head of the Baku Transport Agency Vusal Karimli, Deputy Minister of Interior Ismat Aliyev, Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Orujali Hajiyev, Chairman of the Azerbaijani National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) Mammad Musayev.In conclusion, the relevant structures were instructed to keep the discussed issue under control, to prepare reports periodically, and in accordance with the president’s instructions, the importance of close coordination was noted. Anglo Asian Mining production volume grew in Azerbaijan last year Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 13:00:00 +0400 By TrendIn the fourth quarter of 2019, the total production volume of the Anglo Asian Mining PLC gold mining company operating in Azerbaijan increased by 1.7 percent to 82,800 ounces in gold equivalent (81,400 ounces in 2018), Trend reports with reference to the company.Gold production amounted to 70,100 ounces, which is a decrease of 3.7 percent compared to 2018. At the same time, copper production amounted to 2.2 tons, increasing by 34.4 percent compared to 2018, silver production stood at 159,400 ounces, decreasing by 24.2 percent year on year, the report said.Gold bullion sales in 2019 amounted to 54,100 ounces at an average at $1,410 per ounce (for comparison: in 2018, gold bullion sales amounted to 59,500 ounces at an average of $1,265 per ounce).The volume of copper concentrate shipments to the customer in 2019 amounted to 10,300 dry metric tons with a sales value of $17.9 million, excluding the profit share of the Azerbaijani government (for comparison: 7,675 dry metric tons were sold in 2018 with a sales value of $15.4 million).Anglo Asian Mining plc is a gold, copper and silver producer in Central Asia with a broad portfolio of production and exploration assets in Azerbaijan.The company has a 1,962 square kilometer portfolio, assembled from analysis of historic Soviet geological data and held under a Production Sharing Agreement modelled on the Azerbaijani oil industry.The company’s main operating location is the Gedabek contract area (&quot;Gedabek&quot;), which is a 300-square kilometer area in the Lesser Caucasus mountains in western Azerbaijan. CEC: Azerbaijan creates all conditions for international observers Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 12:30:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has created all necessary conditions for international organizations to observe the early parliamentary elections to be held on February 9, Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Mazahir Panahov said.Panahov made the remark at the CEC meeting in Baku on Jan. 17, Trend reports.The chairman stressed that Azerbaijan constantly cooperated with international organizations on the eve of the elections.&quot;Invitations have been sent in connection with the upcoming elections to various international organizations,” the chairman said. “A positive response has been already obtained from most of organizations.&quot;“Some 2,431 people applied for participation in the parliamentary elections, 1,622 of them were registered,” Panahov said. “To date, 81 international observers have been accredited in the parliamentary elections.”The chairman added that the process is underway and this figure will grow. Azerbaijani CEC cancels decision of one more district election commission Society Sat, 18 Jan 2020 11:57:00 +0400 By Trend The Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) cancelled the decision of the district election commission which did not properly register an MP candidate, Trend reports referring to &quot;Election 2020&quot; Independent Media Center established by Azerbaijan's CEC on Jan. 17.Niyaz Nasirov’s appeal was considered at the CEC meeting. Nasirov is a self-nominated parliamentary candidate from the Khazar-Pirallahi constituency #13.The MP candidate submitted the documents for registration to the district election commission on time and there was no reason not to register his candidacy.The district election commission simply did not provide the candidate with a decision about the registration of his candidacy having explained this by a busy work schedule and, thus, did not confirm the registration.The issue was addressed and Nasirov’s candidacy was registered.The early parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan on February 9. Provocation against Azerbaijan prevented at tourism exhibition in Netherlands Politics Sat, 18 Jan 2020 11:29:00 +0400 By TrendA traditional tourism exhibition was organized at the Jaarbeurs Exhibition and Convention Center in Utrecht city in the Netherlands, at which Armenia was represented by three and Georgia by eight tourism companies, Trend reports referring to Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Work with the Diaspora.Emil Aliyev, an employee of the Coordination Council of the Netherlands-Belgium Azerbaijanis, while familiarizing himself with the exhibition, found provocative materials that contradicted the principle of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.Distorted information about the occupied Azerbaijani territories was reflected in booklets of Armenian travel companies and in promotional materials of the Georgian GroosCom Travel company and the Dutch Kaukasus Reisen Plus company. These companies used maps where the occupied Azerbaijani territories were painted in a different color, and were indicated as “Nagorno Karabakh Republic” and “Artsakh”.Provocative actions caused a dispute, and Emil Aliyev demanded that these materials be immediately removed from the exhibition. His demand was met with serious protest, and representatives of the companies even used physical force against him.Representatives of Georgian travel agencies said that they used these maps because they couldn’t find other maps for the exhibition and will remove them if there is an instruction from the exhibition’s management.Emil Aliyev held several meetings with the organizers of the exhibition, and thanks to his efforts and perseverance materials of a provocative nature were removed from the exhibition.The Coordination Council employee told the organizers that until Jan. 19, Azerbaijan’s representatives will control the exhibition every day, insistently demanding that maps and booklets with provocative elements not be used again. Kazakhstan's Aviation Administration makes statement on Bek Air's appeal World news Sat, 18 Jan 2020 11:01:00 +0400 By TrendThe Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan has declared the reasons given in Bek Air appeal to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development to be unreasonable, Trend reports with reference to Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee.On Jan. 10, 2020 Bek Air has sent an appeal to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development of Kazakhstan calling the suspension of company’s Air Operator Certificate to be ‘flagrant violation”.On the morning of Dec.27, 2019, the Fokker-100 plane of Bek Air airline implementing flight on the route Almaty – Nur-Sultan lost its height during take-off and broke through a concrete fence, colliding with a two-story building.Shortly after the accident, Bek Air company’s operations as well as the use of Fokker-100 type aircraft in Kazakhstan were suspended.According to the Civil Aviation Committee, the airline’s appeal states that the suspension of the Air Operator Certificate was made without giving a reason and notification of the decision, which, in Bek Air’s opinion is a violation of ‘Rules for certification and issuance of an Air Operator Certificate’.The Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan said the arguments are unfounded due to fact that the reason for suspension of the Air Operator Certificate was the crash of the Fokker-100 aircraft which was stated in the radiogram RD270510 dated 12/27/2019, and sent to Bek Air.“This decision was made in accordance with the ‘On the Use of the Airspace of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Aviation Activities’ Law, which stipulates that the certificate is limited to the detection of significant violations of the requirements of the law and pose a direct threat to flight safety,” the report said.Confirmation of the violations committed by the airline was the video provided by the airport demonstrating the pre-flight preparation of the aircraft that had crashed. Certification requirements on aircraft de-/anti-icing were not met, and the operator did not provide sufficient control of these measures, the report said.On Jan. 10, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar said that Interstate Aviation Committee considers icing of the plane to be the main reason for Bek Air's plane crash.“In addition, this is a gross violation of the ‘Rules of operations in the civil aviation of the Republic of Kazakhstan’, according to which the flight is not allowed if there is frost, wet snow or ice on the surface of the wings, fuselage, controls, plumage, propellers, windshield, power plant or air pressure receivers of barometric instruments of the aircraft,” the report said.In this regard the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan made a decision to suspend the Air Operator Certificate of the company, the committee said.Notification of the decision on the suspension of the Air Operator certificate was given in the above mentioned radiogram. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan on Jan. 17-18 Politics Sat, 18 Jan 2020 10:31:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 23 times, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.The Armenian armed forces were using large caliber machine guns.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Tax revenues from Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector hit $4.5bn Business Sat, 18 Jan 2020 10:00:00 +0400 By TrendThe volume of Azerbaijan’s tax revenues have reached a historic high, amounting to $4.5 billion, Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said at a press conference on the results of socio-economic development in 2019 held on January 16.Azerbaijan’s tax authorities fulfilled the plan for collecting taxes and duties in the non-oil sector by 109.1 percent in 2019, which is the highest indicator achieved so far.Jabbarov noted that as a result of the reforms carried out in the tax sphere, the size of the shadow economy was significantly reduced. He said that over the past two years, excessive funds transferred to the state budget decreased by 721 million manats ($424 million).He noted that in 2019, tax revenues from the non-oil sector amounted to 5.4 million manats ($3.1 billion), and their share in the total tax revenue increased to reach 70.8 percent.“VAT revenues from the non-oil sector increased by 16.4 percent, excise tax - 4.7 times, income tax - 12.6 percent, land tax - 2.1 times, and tax for real estate - by 44 percent. Revenues in the regions increased by 11.9 percent and amounted to 795.4 million manat ($467.8 million),” Jabbarov added.He also stressed that the export volume in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector reached $1.9 billion in 2019, noting that a new wave of economic reforms began in the country, which laid the foundation for the wide development of the private non-oil sector and the expansion of the volume of non-oil exports.Jabbarov said that the growth in the country's non-oil sector was 3.5 percent, while real GDP growth was 2.2 percent.He noted that in the non-oil sector, the highest growth was recorded in the industry, where it amounted to 13.9 percent. He also informed that the volume of investments in fixed assets in the non-oil sector grew by 3.5 percent, and their share in the total investment portfolio grew by 4.5 percentage points, reaching 69.7 percent.Jabbarov also touched upon social security issue, noting that Azerbaijan took great steps towards strengthening social protection in 2019. He said that according to the results of work carried out in this direction, the nominal growth in population incomes was 7.4 percent and exceeded the average annual inflation (2.6 percent).He went on saying that the growth rate of the average monthly wage significantly exceeded the growth rate of household incomes, having amounted to 16.4 percent, which is associated with both an increase in wages and the legalization of relations between employees and employers in the labor market.Jabbarov said that growth in the labor contracts registration in the public sector was 6.6 percent in 2019. The growth in the registration of labor contracts amounted to 18.3 percent in the private sector, which is three times more than the figure in the public sector.Jabbarov also spoke about the strategic tasks of the ministry, noting that in the medium term the ministry plans is to ensure economic growth that does not lag behind the average economic growth in the world, and in the long term - to exceed it. Repair at Jafar Jabbarli subway station in Baku nearing completion Business Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:43:00 +0400 By TrendRepair is being completed at Jafar Jabbarli subway station in Baku, Spokesperson of the Baku Metro CJSC Bakhtiyar Mammadov told Trend.Mammadov said that architectural work has already begun at the station, adding that marble-granite coating is being replaced with a new one.“The installation of a new inter-station track has begun,” the spokesperson noted. “The track from Jafar Jabbarli station to Shah Ismail Khatai station will be reconstructed using reinforced concrete sleepers produced in Azerbaijan.”Mammadov added that the station will be commissioned this summer. Body of former head of Armenian National Security Service found in Yerevan World news Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:26:00 +0400 By TrendThe body of former director of the Armenian National Security Service Georgi Kutoyan was found in one of the houses on Paruyr Sevak Street in Yerevan, the Armenian Investigative Committee said.A gunshot wound was found in the body, Trend reports referring to the Armenian media.Deputy head of the Investigative Committee Artur Melikyan, as well as deputy head of the Investigative Committee’s major crimes' unit, are working on the site.According to some media outlets, Kutoyan committed suicide.Kutoyan headed the National Security Service from February 2016 through May 2018. He was replaced by Artur Vanetsyan after the Velvet Revolution. Hikmet Hajiyev: Azerbaijan actively participates in World Economic Forum in Davos Politics Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:11:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan actively participates in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Head of the Department for Foreign Policy Affairs of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev told reporters.“Azerbaijan is constantly represented in the forum at the level of the president and participates in various seminars, discussions and conferences,” the head of the department added.“The meetings are held with businessmen, heads of state and government of other countries, officials and heads of international organizations within the Davos forum,” Hajiyev added.“The reports which are prepared by this forum reflect the essence and factual truth about Azerbaijan’s development because the country’s realities are revealed comprehensively and in detail from the point of view of political, socio-economic development at the level of the president during the forum,” the head of the department said.&quot;Azerbaijan will continue cooperation in the Davos format and our country also plans to actively participate within the upcoming forum,&quot; Hajiyev added. Gloomy weather expected on Saturday Society Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaCloudy and gloomy weather is expected in Baku on January 18.Rain is expected in some places. Strong northwest wind will blow.In Baku and Absheron peninsula, the temperature will be +2-4 °C at night, +7-9 °C in the daytime, the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported.The atmospheric pressure will rise from 764 (above average) to 769 mm. Relative humidity will be 70-80 percent at night and 50-55 percent during the day.It will be mostly dry in the country's regions. However, rain is expected in some areas. Snow will fall in the mountainous areas. It will be foggy in some places. West wind will blow.The air temperature will vary from -3 °C to +2 °C at night, +7-11 °C in the daytime. In the mountains, the temperature will range from -3 to -8 °C at night, -3-2 °C in the daytime.As for the medical-meteorological forecast, the weather will be unfavorable for people sensitive to the weather. Country to lower business loans interest rates Business Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:50:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaAzerbaijan's Central Bank jointly with the Ministries of Economy and Finance will take measures to support the real sector, to issue business loans, and to reduce interest rates on these loans in 2020, according to the Cabinet of Ministers ’action plan on the implementation of the instructions drawn up by President Ilham Aliyev at a meeting on the results of 2019.According to the plan, the Ministries of Economy and Finance have been instructed to prepare proposals to reduce the level of external debt and its restructuring, particularly, to replace expensive loans with loans that have lower interest rates by April 2020.Until April 2020, it is also planned to prepare proposals for improving the “Rules for Storage, Placement and Management of SOFAZ (The Supervisory Board of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan) Currency Funds” and the investment policy of the fund. This task has been set for SOFAR, the Central Bank, as well as the Ministries of Economy and Finance.The Central Bank was also instructed to prepare proposals to strengthen supervision in the banking sector, and particularly in the field of issuing high risk loans by July 2020.At the meeting, Ilham Aliyev said that the banks should actively lend to the real sector. Aliyev emphasized that the banking sector is a major tool that should support the real sector of the economy.The Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank, Elman Rustamov, noted that interest rates on business loans issued in Azerbaijan in 2018-2019 decreased by 5 percent. He added that in 2019, the loan portfolio of banks increased by 21 percent, noting that this is due to more active consumer lending.Moreover, the president instructed the Ministry of Finance to continue reducing external debt. “We can repay a number of loans ahead of schedule. In addition, we conduct a cautious borrowing policy. As part of this policy, loans will be attracted mainly for technological projects,” the head of state added.Note that at the end of 2019, Azerbaijan’s external debt accounted for 17.2 percent of the country’s GDP. Azerbaijan, UN mull cooperation framework for 2021-2025 Politics Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:47:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaA two day conference to identify priority areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UN for the next five years started its work in Baku on January 16.The event was attended by over 150 senior government officials, representatives of UN agencies, civil society, the private sector, youth organizations, academia and the media, local media reported.Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov said that the compliance of Azerbaijan's development with the UN development strategy is one of the country’s main goals.He noted that Azerbaijani government has always highly appreciated the cooperation with the UN and this cooperation has greatly benefited the country, adding that Azerbaijan’s relations with the UN cover various fields.Ahmadov said that Azerbaijan is one of the most successfully developing countries of the last 30 years, noting that the country's economy is developing, and people's living conditions have significantly improved.&quot;Azerbaijan is one of the few countries that submitted two National Reports to the UN, and this suggests that efforts are being made to achieve the UN global goals, set before 2030. The country outlined its the main goals until 2030 in accordance with the project, and the main goal is to ensure that the national development program is in line with the strategy defined by the UN,&quot; he said.Ahmadov noted that development in Azerbaijan is that it is observed in all areas.&quot;One of the main tasks of the country is the development of the social sphere. In recent years, Azerbaijan has implemented many social projects that will be continued,&quot; he stressed.He emphasized that over the past 30 years, the Azerbaijani population has grown by three million people.“Every year, 100,000 people enter the labor market. Many social projects have been recently implemented and the same number will be implemented in the future. The goal of the development is well-being of every person,&quot; Ahmadov noted.Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Sahil Babayev also spoke at the event. He noted that Azerbaijan ranks first in the CIS in terms of minimum pension and second in terms of purchasing power of minimum wages.Babayev said that the minimum pension and salary were increased in the country, steps were taken in connection with overdue loans and the assignment of various types of pensions and benefits was done online.&quot;At the initiative of the head of state, the government is implementing major reforms in the social sphere. The minimum wage in the country has been increased by 92 percent, the minimum pension - by 72 percent, and all benefits - by 100 percent,&quot; he informed.Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov emphasized that the poverty level in the country has decreased by 10 times. He noted that 49 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in Azerbaijan in 2001, but today this figure is less than 5 percent.Jabbarov noted that the National Coordinating Council on Sustainable Development has selected 17 priority goals and 88 targets, adding that an operational comprehensive assessment was carried out in order to determine whether the Sustainable Development Goals meet national priorities, and according to the results of the assessment, compliance was at the level of 70 percent.Organized by the UN office in Azerbaijan with the support of the National Coordinating Council for Sustainable Development, the conference aims to determine the strategic priorities of 2021-2025 the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for Azerbaijan.During the conference, participants will also discuss Azerbaijan’s long-term vision to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and UN’s contributions to this process. They will exchange views on Azerbaijan’s main challenges in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and ways to address them.Azerbaijan and the UN on July 12, 2016 signed a framework document on partnership for 2016-2020. Under the agreement, it was planned to implement projects worth $72 million. These projects included contributing to the creation of new jobs, increasing productivity in the agricultural sector, protecting the environment, mitigating and reducing disaster risks, health and education development, etc. Azerbaijan welcomes EU's consistent position on Karabakh conflict - official Politics Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovHead of the Department for Foreign Policy Affairs of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev has said Azerbaijan welcomes the fact that the EU consistently supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, inviolability of borders and sovereignty.“Azerbaijan highly appreciates and welcomes this position. I would especially like to emphasize that position of the EU and other international institutions to the existing conflicts should unequivocally reflect the principles of the Helsinki Final Act,” Hajiyev told reporters on January 17.“If we look at the final documents of the Brussels Summit on the Eastern Partnership and the document on the priorities of the partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan, we will see that unequivocal and decisive support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is shown,” Hajiyev stressed.During the plenary meeting held on January 15, European Parliament adopted a resolution &quot;Annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy&quot; by an overwhelming majority of votes (454 out of 704).The 36th item of the resolution says EU reaffirms its commitment to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the countries of Eastern Partnership (EaP), which Azerbaijan is a member of.The issue of territorial integrity is presented in the resolution along with the expression &quot;internationally recognized borders&quot;.The document calls on to demonstrate a unified approach to all conflicts in the territory of the EaP countries, as well as to support the efforts to resolve them in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and provide support to those suffering from these conflicts, including refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).The document also refers to &quot;A Global Strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy&quot; dated in 2016 and the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in 2017.In the strategy for the EU's foreign and security policy, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the state borders of the countries were recognized as the most important elements of European security.The Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels also explicitly expresses support for the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the Eastern Partnership countries.The resolutions adopted by the European Parliament annually are binding documents that may influence the activity of the European Commission during the year.In contrast to the standard resolutions of the European Parliament, this document is doctrinal, that is, it obliges European officials to comply with its provisions in the EU foreign policy, as well as sets priorities and main areas of EU activity in contacts with other states.The adoption of this resolution for the South Caucasus means, first of all, the impossibility for Armenia as an occupier of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan to promote anti-Azerbaijani and pro-occupation documents and discussions on EU platforms.Azerbaijan, in turn, is getting a tool to solve, in cooperation with the EU, the IDP problems affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the longest unresolved conflict in the post-Soviet space.The two countries fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region that along with seven surrounding district was occupied by Armenian forces during the war in the early 1990s. One million Azerbaijanis were displaced as a result of the occupation.Armenia has so far failed to comply by the four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region. Works of national artist stun art lovers in Vienna Arts & Entertainment Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAn exhibition of carpet products by the famous Azerbaijani artist and sculptor Chingiz Babayev has opened in the Azerbaijan Cultural Center in Vienna, Austria.The director of the Azerbaijan Cultural Center in Vienna Leyla Gasimova informed the guests of the evening about the creative activity of the national artist.Chingiz Babayev successfully works in various art fields. He is engaged in a carpet design, jewelry and waxworks.His modern approach to Azerbaijan's carpet weaving art is of great interest among art lovers.The artist's carpets are included in the collection of the National Carpet Museum.Along with stunning carpets, the exhibition also features artist's sketches and silverware.Chingiz Babayev expressed gratitude for the organization of the exposition.Speaking about his works, which were included in the exposition, he noted that at the first glance at the carpets, viewers may have a feeling of similarity with ancient carpets.However, his carpets reflect modern world and the artist's view on daily life.A film dedicated to the work of Chingiz Babayev was shown at the event.The exhibition will run until mid-February. Azerbaijan boosts non-oil revenues by 16.3 pct Business Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:10:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovThe volume of Azerbaijan’s non-oil revenues increased by 16.3 percent year-on-year in 2019, amounting to 10.59 billion manats ($6.23 billion).According to the Ministry of Finance's operational data published on January 15, the overall state budget revenues amounted to 24.2 $14.23 billion) in the reporting period (revenue growth compared to 2018 by 7.5 percent).State budget revenues for 2019 were approved in the amount of 23.17 billion manats ($13.6 billion), expenses - 25.19 billion manats ($14.8 billion). The state budget deficit was forecasted at 2.22 billion manats ($1.3 billion).Revenues from the Ministry of Taxes amounted to 7.67 billion manats ($4.5 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to 2018), while revenues from the State Customs Committee made up 4.4 billion manats ($2.6 billion, an increase of 28.4 percent).Transfers to the state budget from the State Oil Fund amounted to 11.36 billion manats ($6.68 billion), other income - 164.5 million manats ($96.8 million), off-budget revenues of budgetary organizations - 590.1 million manats ($347.1 million).In the fourth quarter, the state budget revenues totaled 7.33 billion manats ($4.3 billion).State budget expenditures for 2019 made up 24.4 billion manats ($14.35 billion, an increase of 7.4 percent).The deficit of the state budget of Azerbaijan in 2019 totaled 205.2 million manats ($120.7 million). Thus, the state budget deficit for 2019 amounted to 0.84 percent ??of expenses.Current state budget expenditures for 2019 made up 13.5 billion manats ($7.9 billion) or 55.4 percent of all state budget expenditures, capital - 9.37 billion manats ($5.5 billion or 38.4 percent of all expenses), expenses on servicing the public debt and obligations - 1.5 billion manats ($880 million or 6.2 percent of total expenses).In October-December, budget expenditures amounted to 7.7 billion manats ($4.53 billion).As said in the report, revenues of the consolidated budget of Azerbaijan for 2019 amounted to 33.8 billion manats ($19.9 billion, an increase of 9.4 percent), expenses - 26.47 billion manats ($15.6 billion), a surplus of 7.34 billion manats ($4.3 billion or 21.7 percent of the consolidated budget revenues.Presently, oil and gas account for the main share in Azerbaijan's export, although export of non-oil products shows an upward trend.Opening of Azerbaijani trade houses abroad and organization of export missions to foreign countries to promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand in foreign markets have further developed the share of non-oil products in the structure of country’s exports.Work done for diversification of the economy and the state program “Socio-economic development of regions of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018” have contributed greatly to the non-oil sector, because main potential for production of non-oil products is concentrated in the regions.In addition, increasing number of plants operating in the non-oil sector promises very good prospects for Azerbaijan to diversify its economy, reduce dependence on oil and gas sector and increase the inflow of foreign currency into the country. Azerbaijan’s Digital Trade Hub, ASAN Imza presented at UN meeting Business Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:50:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaAzerbaijan’s Digital Hub and Asan Imza e-signature projects were presented at 7th Meeting of the Legal and Technical Working Groups on Cross-border Paperless Trade facilitation held by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand on January 14-16.As a member and expert of the working group, CEO and founder of B.EST Solutions (operator of Asan Imza and partner of the Digital Trade Hub in Azerbaijan), Jana Krimpe made a presentation on the implementation of the Digital Trade Hub project as one of the best practices, local media reported referring to B.EST Solutions company.Krimpe emphasized the importance of this project not only in the region, but also at the global stage, and informed the members of the working group about the launch of the Digital Trade Hub portal, as well as its development over the past year.She noted that the development of the hub will constantly strengthen Azerbaijan’s position as the region’s digital trade center, expand the digital technologies use in the social, economic and financial sectors, as well as digitize existing services and provide innovative services to accelerate access to electronic services.Krimpe also noted the great work done by Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee and other public and private institutions to achieve a high position in the second UN Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade, which covers 120 countries and 47 measures related to the WTO agreement on trade facilitation, paperless trade and comprehensive development.Based on the 2019 report on the facilitation of digital and sustainable trade facilitation in SPECA countries, Krimpe noted that Azerbaijan has achieved very high implementation rates - over 80 percent. “Compared to the regional average, implementation rates in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are 67 percent and 62 percent, respectively. We would like to share our best practices and achieve better results in paperless trading worldwide,” she noted.Note that the Digital Trade Hub of Azerbaijan is an all-in-one e-trade and e-commerce portal guaranteed by the government. It offers a wide range of useful cross-border e-services for trade facilitation including B2B and B2G services, customs operations between DTH partner countries, online company registration, online bank accounts and much more.The DTH was put in place to simplify everything related to international export and security by digitalizing and automating all paperwork and payments, and eliminating bureaucracy. All transactions carried out on the DTH are legally binding under partner country legislation. Non-oil export strategy to be developed in country Business Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:46:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rasana GasimovaAzerbaijan’s Economy Ministry will develop a new non-oil exports strategy by July 2020.This is according to the action plan on the implementation of the instructions drawn up by President Ilham Aliyev at a meeting on the results of 2019.According to the plan approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, Economy Ministry together with the Agriculture Ministry should also prepare proposals for organizing the production of weaving products by July 2020.The Ministries of Agriculture and Economy should also prepare proposals on the development of manufactured products, particularly processing of agricultural products by April 2020, and prepare a concept for the development of sericulture by the end of May.The Economy Ministry of should also submit proposals on expanding measures aimed at attracting private investment until May 2020.Moreover, the Economy Ministry together with the Ministry of Energy and Azerenergy OJSC should work to attract investment in renewable energy until the end of 2020.Note that in 2019, Azerbaijan non-oil exports exceeded $1.9 billion. According to government estimates, the volume of non-oil exports should exceed $3 billion by 2024.Earlier, the government informed that it plans to allocate 20 million manats ($11.8 million) to promote the country's non-oil exports in 2020. Azerbaijan’s non-oil industry is expected to demonstrate an 8.8 percent growth in 2020.The five major countries that import Azerbaijani non-oil products include Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Georgia and Italy. A major part of the non-oil products export accounts for Russia.The steps made for diversification of the economy and the state program “Socio-economic development of regions of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018” made huge contribution to the non-oil sector, because main potential for production of non-oil products is concentrated in the regions of Azerbaijan.Opening of Azerbaijani trade houses abroad and organizing export missions to foreign countries to promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand in foreign markets have further developed the share of non-oil products in the structure of country’s exports.In addition, the increasing number of plants operating in the non-oil sector promises very good prospects for Azerbaijan to diversify its economy, reduce oil and gas dependency and increase the inflow of foreign currency into the country. Azerbaijani defense minister meets personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office Politics Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:35:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan's Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov met the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk on Jan. 17, Trend reports with reference to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.During the meeting, an exchange of views was held on the current situation at the contact line of the troops, the results of the monitoring and the settlement of the conflict.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions. Memory of Black January victims to be honored in Kazakhstan Society Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaA concert of classical music will be held at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Kazakhstan on January 18.The event is dedicated to Black January, that marks the killing of Azerbaijani civilians by Soviet troops sent to Baku.During the concert, Fagan Hasanli (piano) will perform works by famous national and foreign composers.Notably, Fagan Hasanli is a winner of multiple international competitions. He is also the orchestra musician of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater.On the night of January 19, 1990, the Soviet Army started hostilities against Azerbaijan, without declaring an emergency situation. As a result of the crime, 147 people were killed, 800 people injured and five people went missing. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed; the state and citizens suffered huge material damage. Expert: Azerbaijan to become major tourist destination in Western Asia, Caucasus Politics Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:11:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovAzerbaijan will become a major tourist destination in Western Asia and the Caucasus, Peter M. Tase, a strategic adviser on international affairs and public diplomacy to governments, universities and corporations in Europe and the Americas said in an interview with Azernews. He also made a number of forecasts about Azerbaijan’s international and foreign policies.Listing Azerbaijan’s regions, he noted that Qabala, Oghuz, Sheki and Quba have a potential to accommodate a great number of international visitors. In addition, he mentioned Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, which he called a major powerhouse of renewable energy production and economy of agro-forestry systems in the Caucasus and beyond, in the face of being under a ruthless economic blockade, imposed by Armenia for over three decades. &quot;The attractive region of Nakhchivan, under the impressive vision of President Ilham Aliyev, and Chairman Vasif Talibov has developed attractive and sustainable tourism industry, promoted food and dairy production, financed agro-forestry projects and provided its citizens with new public education infrastructure. Nakhchivan has ample, spacious road infrastructure (fully paved roads) that is envied by large European countries; its unique landscape will definitely attract a larger number of tourists in 2020,&quot; he stated.As a major tourist destination in Europe, he added, a five-star ranking Hotel Tabriz in Nakhchivan will accommodate a growing number of international tourists from the Far East, Argentina, Latin America, Europe and the United States.Tase further shared his forecasts about Azerbaijan’s political and economic policies.&quot;Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy will heavily engage in multilateral diplomacy, to ensure that Armenia withdraws all its armed forces from the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan: Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven surrounding regions that have been totally destroyed and plundered under the ruthless Armenian Occupation (for over three decades),&quot; he said.The expert considers Azerbaijan will effectively harness a national policy of economic development, enhance the results of economic diplomacy, maintain stable macroeconomic levels and increase the capacity - effectiveness of public works’ investments.&quot;The Azerbaijani government has a keen interest to embrace technological innovations in the fields of agriculture, logistical parks, civil engineering, robotics, healthcare and artificial intelligence. Baku will come forward as a global metropolis in the fields of science, research and development projects, innovation in engineering education and research in petroleum engineering,&quot; Tase stated.He also noted that Azerbaijan has a transparent government, a public policy that is focused mainly towards improving the lives of more than one million Internally Displaced Peprsons and has invested significant resources towards healthcare, logistical parks services and public works.Tase emphasized that in 2019, Azerbaijan pursued a productive foreign policy strategy based on its national interests at a time of growing political and economic turmoil in the context of regional and international relations.&quot;Although the region had a series of adverse processes, Azerbaijan achieved an even greater economic growth of international standing owed to preservation of internal stability and the rhythm of consistent sustainable development. The government of Azerbaijan has carried out significant public administration reforms, embraced attractive economic growth and effectively implemented strategic infrastructure and transportation projects,&quot; he said.Nagorno-Karabakh conflictCommenting on Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, the expert called it an integral part of the national comprehensive development strategy.&quot;It has contributed to strengthening the international posture and assistance of Azerbaijan as a reliable and economically sustainable partner, following the principles of multilateralism, defence of human rights and international public interest law, guided by a transparent government, and by a philosophy of peace and regional stability,&quot; Tase noted.As a result of these inspiring efforts, he added, the world community has increased its support towards Azerbaijan's territorial sovereignty and integrity, a number of multilateral organizations have expressed their concerns on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh armed conflict, and openly defend.&quot;Azerbaijan’s territorial sovereignty is based on principles of International Law and inviolability of international borders,&quot; the expert underlined.Touching upon the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Baku on 25-26 October 2019 that brought together 120 member countries, he recalled that the heads of governments emphasized the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by armed forces, also stressed the importance of resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.&quot;The NAM Summit confirmed that no Member State shall recognize as legal the situation that has erupted from the occupation of the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan. At the recent Summit, the NAM chairmanship was transferred to Azerbaijan, with a three-year mandate,&quot; the expert informed.TANAP projectSpeaking about the regional projects, Tase called the signing of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project between Turkey and Azerbaijan on 26 June 2012, as the most strategic initiative led by the Azerbaijani government in the last two decades.He added that the contemporary history of Azerbaijan recognizes the economic and financial benefits that TANAP Project will generate for the people of Azerbaijan.&quot;As of November 2019, the 16 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijan’s Natural Gas are being delivered to Turkey and a portion of its overall quantity is delivered to European Union markets. Such a priority of Azerbaijan, implemented under the guidance of President Aliyev, shapes a vigorous geostrategic influence of Baku in Brussels and will enhance the legal defense of entire territorial sovereignty of Azerbaijan under the institutional framework of European Union, United Nations and Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC),&quot; the expert highlighted.Tase believes that TANAP will serve as an Azerbaijani passport that will convincingly admonish all International Institutions on the present security threat that exists from the Armenian occupation of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan that unraveled three decades ago in the doorsteps of Europe.&quot;The European Commission Leadership, the European Council, UN Security Council and NATO must become aware of the geostrategic challenges that Southern Caucasus represents; human suffering and destruction of cultural heritage sites within the Nagorno-Karabakh region (sovereign territory of Azerbaijan), are a great loss for all humanity.  All these atrocities were committed by the Armenian Armed Forces; and TANAP will give ample headway to the defense of territorial sovereignty and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, in the shriveling concert of nations. The implementation of TANAP project meets energy, security strategy, economic and geopolitical interests of Azerbaijan,&quot; he emphasized.The expert believes Azerbaijan ensures Europe’s energy security and is a key partner and EU supporter.&quot;Azerbaijan has a balanced foreign policy in Europe; it has established as a consolidated democracy, foreign policy and surges as an attractive economic partner that ensures completion of large energy (pipelines) projects on schedule,&quot; Tase concluded.