Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Azerbaijan appoints members of delegation for dev't of peace treaty, border delimitation ... Politics Sat, 21 May 2022 10:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan has determined the staff of its delegation for the development of a peace treaty and a national commission for the delimitation and demarcation of borders with Armenia, Azernews reports.The remarks were made by the Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov during the meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) via videoconference on May 20.Speaking at the meeting, the prime minister briefed on the post-conflict situation in the region. Stressing that the conflict was left in the past, he reiterated Azerbaijan's commitment to peace, stability and predictability."Our policy is very open and clear. We are open to a constructive dialogue, joint work to turn the South Caucasus into a region of peace, cooperation and interaction," he said.Asadov also pointed out that Armenia has accepted the five basic principles put forward by the Azerbaijani side in connection with the peace agreement."These five principles are the basic principles of international law and are consistent with the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act," he said.He noted that with showing maximum constructivism and goodwill, Azerbaijan is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, sign a peace agreement and carry out delimitation of borders.Moreover, Asadov noted that Azerbaijan expects full fulfilment by Armenia of the obligations undertaken within the framework of the trilateral statement of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia. In this regard, he expressed concern of the Azerbaijani side that paragraph 4 of the trilateral statement, which envisages the withdrawal of Armenian armed formations from the territory of Azerbaijan, has remained unfulfilled.The prime minister also emphasized that despite the ongoing meetings within the trilateral working group, no progress has been made in opening economic and transport communications in the region according to paragraph 9 of the trilateral statement."Official Baku expects serious progress on both issues in the near future and considers it crucial to take the necessary steps in this direction," he said.He emphasized that the opening of transport communications and the creation of an extensive network of transport arteries, including the Zangazur corridor, meet the interests of the peoples of all countries in the region.At the same time, Asadov also informed the meeting participants about the large-scale work to restore the lands liberated from the Armenian occupation, including the building of roads and railways, the construction of international airports, and the supply of electricity to the territories.He once again assured the participants of the meeting that Azerbaijan would continue to contribute to strengthening peace and prosperity in the region.Furthermore, during his speech, Asadov expressed confidence that the close contacts at various levels which have developed over many years, as well as the positive experience of joint work, will further promote effective cooperation within the CIS.Noting that the current epidemiological situation in the world makes it possible to predict the imminent start of the post-pandemic period, the prime minister positively assessed the situation with COVID-19 in Azerbaijan.Emphasizing the key role of the vaccination process in overcoming the pandemic, he noted that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to start vaccination since the beginning of 2021.Additionally, Asadov pointed out that there are clear signs of economic recovery in the country, and the economy has begun to recover."The economic growth in the first quarter of this year amounted to 6.8 percent," he said. Kazakhstan to reform its National Security Committee World news Sat, 21 May 2022 08:43:00 +0400 By TrendKazakhstan's National Security Committee will be reformed, Trend reports citing the Committee.This is provided for in the decree "On Certain Issues of the National Security Committee” signed by Kazakhstan's President Kassym Jomarty Tokayev on May 17, 2022.This signed decree amends 15 previous ones and provides for the improvement of the activities of national security agencies.The updated structure of the Committee has been approved. Separate state institutions of the Committee have been reorganized and optimized. UK retail sales jump unexpectedly in April World news Sat, 21 May 2022 08:00:00 +0400 By TrendBritish retail sales jumped unexpectedly in April, official data showed on Friday, but the outlook for consumer spending remained resolutely downbeat as the cost-of-living crunch intensifies, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.Retail sales volumes rose by 1.4% month-on-month last month after a 1.2% drop in March.Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.2% monthly fall in retail sales.The wider picture, however, remains weak.Retail sales in the three months to April fell 0.3%, after a 0.7% drop in March.Earlier on Friday, Britain's longest-running gauge of consumer confidence, the GfK survey, fell to its lowest since records began in 1974. Britain launches free trade deal talks with Mexico World news Fri, 20 May 2022 23:16:00 +0400 By TrendBritain on Friday said it was launching talks over a free trade deal with Mexico, looking to add services to its current agreement as well as aiming to increase trade in the financial and digital sectors, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.Britain and Mexico agreed a continuation trade deal before Britain left the sphere of the European Union, but that arrangement is based on an EU-Mexico trade agreement negotiated over 20 years ago.A free-trade agreement with Mexico would also boost Britain's foreign policy tilt towards the Indo-Pacific. Mexico is a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which Britain wants to join.The free trade area, established in 2018, is now made of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.Britain's trade relationship with Mexico is currently worth over 4 billion pounds ($5 billion), the trade ministry said."Trade deals like this are vital to growing the economy to address the cost of living, as they support jobs, help businesses thrive and spur investment," trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement."We've already kickstarted negotiations with India and Canada and are close to joining the CPTPP free trade area, with a combined GDP of 9 trillion pounds, of which Mexico is a key member."The trade ministry said it aimed to lock-in tariff reductions on 97% of UK goods secured under existing agreements, as well as gain market access for a range of services sectors too.Britain added that it wanted to help workers move between the two countries more easily, make it easier for UK firms to bid for contracts in Mexico and have a dedicated chapter in the deal on small and medium-sized enterprises. Biden announces new weapons package for Ukraine World news Fri, 20 May 2022 22:53:00 +0400 By TrendUS President Joe Biden welcomed the completion of legislative procedures and the adoption in both houses of the US Congress of a bill on the allocation of $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine, Trend reports citing Ukrinform.He thanked leaders representing both parties in the House of Representatives and the Senate for the speedy consideration and adoption of the bill in order to ensure continued assistance to Ukraine."We have provided a historic amount of security assistance to Ukraine to date, and my Administration will continue to expedite the delivery of additional weapons and equipment for which Congress has provided authority. And today, I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine", Biden said. Silk Way West Airlines further expands its global network in US World news Fri, 20 May 2022 22:14:00 +0400 By TrendSilk Way West Airlines expands its US network by adding regular services to and from Dallas Fort Worth, the second major freight hub in the country to be served by scheduled services alongside Chicago O’Hare . In addition to the Dallas and Chicago routes, Silk Way West Airlines operates charter flights to Rockford Illinois, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Rickenbacker airports.Silk Way West Airlines has chosen Dallas, one of the key gateway locations in the US, as an additional hub facility. Conveniently located along several major highways, Dallas is ideally positioned to allow the airline to meet strong demand from consumer goods, high-tech and oil and gas cargo for inbound and outbound transportation. This major city is a strategic distribution center for the region, making it the perfect base for Silk Way West Airlines to serve US freight traffic.Commenting on the new service, President of Silk Way West Airlines Wolfgang Meier said: “Silk Way West Airlines continues to build on our recent competitive success and favorable market conditions by creating more options for direct freight services between North America, Asia and Europe, allowing our valued customers greater flexibility in scheduling and efficiently transporting their freight across the globe. In addition to adding services to the US, we are also expanding our wider global network to include new destinations such as Hanoi and Bangkok in Asia and East Midlands in Europe.”Founded in 2012 in Baku, at the heart of the Silk Road, Silk Way West Airlines operates around 350 monthly flights across the globe via its fleet of 12 dedicated Boeing 747-8F and 747-400F aircraft based at Heydar Aliyev International Airport. On April 28, 2021, Silk Way West Airlines signed a strategic fleet expansion agreement with Boeing for the purchase of five state-of-the-art 777 Freighters. The airline's annual cargo turnover exceeds 420,000 tons, while its growing route network covers over 40 destinations across Europe, the CIS, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Asia, and North and South America. South Korea’s Incheon Airport honored Silk Way West Airlines with the prestigious ‘Cargo Airline of the Year 2020’ award. Kyrgyzstan establishes Investment Council World news Fri, 20 May 2022 21:49:00 +0400 By TrendKyrgyzstan established Investment Council on the basis of Kyrgyzstan's Council for Business Development and Investment, Trend reports citing Cabinet of ministers of Kyrgyzstan.The head of the Cabinet of Ministers, Akylbek Zhaparov, signed the related decision on the establishment of the Investment Council under the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan on the basis of the Council for Business Development and Investments.According to the Ministry, the establishment of the council will ensure favorable conditions for business development, improve the investment climate, provide procedures for protecting and supporting corporate entities' activities in Kyrgyzstan.Investment Council under the Cabinet of Ministers is a permanent consultative and advisory body designed to ensure an effective dialogue between the government of Kyrgyzstan and local business community. Iran launches new satellite World news Fri, 20 May 2022 21:18:00 +0400 By TrendIranian President Ebrahim Raisi has unveiled new satellite - 'Urm Sat', built by scientists in Iran's Urmia Province, Trend reports citing Fars News Agency.The high-resolution satellite can operate on orbit and costs $600,000, which is relatively cheaper than similar foreign models.President Raisi was present at the space and aviation exhibition in Urmia, where light planes, drones and the mentioned 'Urm Sat' satellite were exhibited. U.S. President Biden sends letter to President Ilham Aliyev Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 21:00:00 +0400 U.S. President Joseph Biden sent a congratulatory letter to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on May 20.His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of AzerbaijanDear Mr. President,On behalf of the American people, I congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on your Independence Day.This year, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Our cooperation on energy diversification and international security over the last three decades is bearing fruit at a critical moment in history, and Azerbaijan is playing a key role in helping secure and stabilize European and global markets. Azerbaijan’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty as well as your humanitarian and energy assistance to Ukraine is sending an important message. We also appreciate your vital contributions to the global fight against terrorism.Now is also a moment of hope with an important opportunity to build lasting peace in the South Caucasus. The United States is ready to help intensify diplomatic engagement between Azerbaijan and Armenia and to help Azerbaijan develop the economic, transportation, and people-to-people connections that will enable the entire Caucasus and trans-Caspian region to prosper. We continue to encourage Azerbaijan to take meaningful steps toward democratic governance and reforms that protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Azerbaijanis.During this period of global instability, as Russia’s war on Ukraine seeks to erode the core pillars of international security, the United States reaffirms its support for Azerbaijan’s independence and sovereignty. We look forward to enhancing our relationship in the years and decades to come.My best wishes to the people of Azerbaijan.Sincerely,Joseph R. BidenPresident of the United States of America Charter flights between Turkmenistan and Russia continue World news Fri, 20 May 2022 20:55:00 +0400 By TrendThe next flight of Turkmenistan Airlines from Ashgabat to Moscow is scheduled for May 20, 2022, said the statement of the Russian embassy, Trend reports citing Turkmenportal.The sale of tickets for the specified flight began on May 18 at the offices of Turkmenistan Airlines in Ashgabat.Flight T5 701 will depart from Turkmen Ashgabat at 10:00 (GMT+5). The arrival time at the Russian Domodedovo International Airport is 11:40 (GMT+3).Turkmenistan organizes charter flights to the Turkmenabad International Airport several times a month from countries such as Turkey, Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, India, Kazakhstan and EU countries to return its citizens to their homeland.Regular flights between Turkmenistan and other countries were discontinued due to COVID-19 in March 2020. Zhaparov, Mirziyoyev discuss Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations World news Fri, 20 May 2022 20:16:00 +0400 By TrendPresident of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov had a telephone conversation with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Trend reports citing Kabar.The whole complex of issues of Kyrgyz-Uzbek bilateral relations was discussed.The heads of state noted that the development and deepening of traditional friendship, good neighborliness and strategic partnership between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries.The sides noted with satisfaction the intensification of trade and economic cooperation, including an increase in the volume of trade between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.Sadyr Zhaparov and Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid special attention to the implementation of top-level agreements on state border issues, increasing trade, deepening industrial cooperation, and promoting joint infrastructure projects in the field of transport and energy. Biden, South Korea's Yoon to meet amid worries about North Korea World news Fri, 20 May 2022 19:53:00 +0400 By TrendUS President Joe Biden is likely to get a warm welcome from South Korea's leadership on his first trip to Asia, but he may face a less friendly greeting from North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Trend reports citing Reuters.Biden lands in South Korea on Friday evening, where he meets new President Yoon Suk-yeol, a relative newcomer to politics, for the first time in person. The two will tour a Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) plant together on Friday ahead of a full day of events on Saturday."I think (Biden's visit) will serve as an opportunity for the Korea-U.S. alliance to become stronger and more inclusive because there are many changes happening in the international community," Yoon told reporters outside his office on Friday.Biden and Yoon may quickly move from formalities to dealing with a weighty issue with North Korea at the top of the agenda. Leader Kim Jong Un abandoned a freeze on intercontinental ballistic missile testing and appears poised to resume testing of nuclear bombs, perhaps while Biden is in the region.U.S. cooperation with South Korea and Japan "will only strengthen in the face of further provocations" by North Korea, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters en route to South Korea when asked about the possibility of a weapons test."We are prepared for those eventualities," Sullivan said. The United States has told allies and China that such a provocation during the U.S. visit would "cause adjustments to the way that our military is postured in the region," he said.Yoon has signaled he will take a tougher line on North Korea than his predecessor and is expected to ask for Biden's help. Yoon has warned of a preemptive strike if there is a sign of an imminent attack and vowed to strengthen the South's deterrent capability.North Korea has revealed a COVID-19 outbreak in the past week, but it has ignored calls to return to diplomacy.Washington has said it is open to direct talks at any time with Kim, but it has not publicly offered new ideas about how to coax the country's leadership into conversation. Biden decided not to visit the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating the South from North Korea.Countering China's presence in the region is a key Biden theme on the trip, but South Korea is likely to offer a cautious public tone on the topic given Beijing is Seoul's top trading partner.South Korea is also expected to be among the inaugural members of Biden's Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which will be announced during the trip to set standards on labor, the environment and supply chains.Asked about Beijing's opposition to the IPEF, Yoon said that joining the framework does not have to conflict with South Korea's economic ties with China."There is no need to see it as a zero-sum," he said.Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) has been working on plans to build a new electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in the United States, and an announcement could coincide with Biden's visit. Chinese mainland reports 176 new local confirmed COVID-19 cases World news Fri, 20 May 2022 19:20:00 +0400 By TrendThe Chinese mainland on Thursday reported 176 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 88 were in Shanghai, according to the National Health Commission's report Friday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.Apart from Shanghai, seven other provincial-level regions on the mainland saw new local COVID-19 cases, including 50 in Beijing and 20 in Sichuan.Shanghai also reported 770 locally transmitted asymptomatic infections of the novel coronavirus Thursday, out of a total of 939 local asymptomatic carriers newly identified on the mainland.Following the recovery of 309 COVID-19 patients who were discharged from hospitals on Thursday, there were 4,906 confirmed COVID-19 cases receiving treatment in hospitals across the Chinese mainland.No new death was reported on Thursday, according to the commission. NASA, Boeing launch uncrewed test flight to space station World news Fri, 20 May 2022 18:54:00 +0400 By TrendNASA and Boeing launched the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, a critical uncrewed test flight for Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, Trend reports citing Xinhua.A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Starliner spacecraft aboard lifted off at 6:54 p.m. Eastern Time (2254 GMT) Thursday from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.Following an orbital insertion burn 31 minutes later, Starliner was on its way for a rendezvous and docking with the ISS.Starliner is scheduled to dock at the forward port of the station's Harmony module at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Time Friday.Starliner is carrying about 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies and more than 300 pounds of Boeing cargo to the ISS for the flight test.The mission, dubbed as Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2, will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing's crew transportation system for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station, said NASA. Statement by US Ambassador to Armenia - instigatory, says Russian analyst Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 18:30:00 +0400 By TrendStatement by US Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy has instigatory character, political analyst and editor-in-chief of the Russian National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko told Trend.Korotchenko made the remark commenting on an interview with ambassador, in which she said that "the US recognizes the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to determine their future.""The statement made by a high-level official, since the ambassadors speak on behalf of the state, wasn’t any kind of coincidence or a blooper, but a deliberate warming up of the revisionist sentiments that we are seeing in Armenia,” he said. “This is actually support for the efforts of the opposition, as well as the global Armenian lobby to conduct a 'revision' of the results of the 2020 second Karabakh war.”“Of course, this statement cannot be made by the ambassador as personal opinion. This is obviously a reflection of the point of view of the US State Department and the Joe Biden administration,” the analyst noted. “We also cannot rule out that this was done under the active influence of the Armenian lobby in the US, which in one way or another has the opportunity to influence the process of making foreign policy decisions.”He also noted that in any case, this statement requires an unequivocal condemnation.Korotchenko expressed regret that all this is again imposed on the events that are observed not only in Yerevan, but also, for example, in Russia, when in recent days a number of active Armenian lobbyists have published an opinion in which they actually called Russia to reconsider approaches to the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement."If we compare all these events, statements and opinions, we’ll see that this is an active phase of the efforts of the Armenian lobby to conduct a revision of the results of the second Karabakh war by influencing the government and public opinion," Korotchenko stressed.According to him, the statement of the US ambassador to Armenia in fact is pushing the region to disrupt the peace agreement."At the same time, there are realities that no US position can refute and change: Azerbaijan's military victory in the second Karabakh war actually ended the Karabakh problem. Moreover, in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a Declaration on allied cooperation, where Russia reaffirmed its commitment to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan," said Korotchenko.“Therefore, the moment is quite tense now. We must carefully monitor and assess the situation, and, of course, respond quickly and promptly so that the plans of Armenian lobbyists to provoke a new conflict fail," he said. Oil falls on uncertainty over fuel demand recovery Business Fri, 20 May 2022 18:19:00 +0400 By TrendOil prices fell on Friday as investors worried that weakening global economic growth and tighter central bank monetary policy could curb a recovery in fuel demand, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.Brent futures for July fell 63 cents, or 0.56%, to $111.41 a barrel by 0432 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for June fell $1.36, or 1.21%, to $110.85 on its last day as the front-month.The more actively traded WTI contract for July was down 0.82% at $108.99 a barrel.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged Asian economies to be mindful of spillover risks from monetary tightening.Asian economies faced a choice between supporting growth with more stimulus and withdrawing it to stabilise debt and inflation, IMF Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said.While Bank of Japan policy runs counter to a global shift towards monetary tightening, central banks in the United States, Britain and Australia raised interest rates recently.Crude gains have been limited this week, with Brent and WTI mostly trading in a range due to the uncertain path of demand. Investors, worried about rising inflation and more aggressive action from central banks, have been reducing exposure to riskier assets.Open interest in WTI futures fell to 1.722 million contracts on May 18, the lowest since July 2016."If U.S. growth data continues to sour, oil prices could get caught up in the negative stock market feedback loop," SPI Asset Management Managing Director Stephen Innes said in a client note.In the United States, Americans were getting back behind the wheel, despite higher fuel prices, according to a report from the Federal Highway Administration on vehicle miles.On the gasoline supply side, South Korea's third-largest refiner S-Oil halted production at its No. 2 alkylation unit and related processes at its Onsan refinery due to a blast.The shutdown following Thursday night's blast that killed one person is expected to affect already tight gasoline supplies in Asia.Citi analysts expect S-Oil's gasoline output to be "severely impacted" in the near term, although it could buy alkylate to maintain production.Iran, meanwhile, is having a tougher time selling its crude now that more Russian barrels are available.Iran's crude exports to China have fallen sharply since the start of the Ukraine war as Beijing favoured heavily discounted Russian barrels, leaving almost 40 million barrels of Iranian oil stored on tankers at sea in Asia and seeking buyers. TRACECA reveals deadline for completion of research project Business Fri, 20 May 2022 18:12:00 +0400 By TrendPermanent Secretariat of TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission will complete a research project in the second quarter of 2022, covering an analysis of the cost of shipping in the Caspian and Black Seas and other issues, Secretary-General of the Permanent Secretariat of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission, Asset Assavbayev said at the presentation, dedicated to initiatives and activities of the organization, on May 20, Trend reports."This research provides a comparative analysis of the cost of shipping in the Caspian and Black Seas, the preparation of proposals for the reduction of prices and business models on sea transport lines," Assavbayev said.The project will be presented to TRACECA participants after its completion."It is also necessary to conduct a feasibility research of optimal parameters of ferry vessels for the operation of transports in the Black Sea, as part of the study," Assavbayev added.The research includes the analysis of the fleets of TRACECA participants, also the identification of factors limiting cargo transportation by sea transport. TRACECA corridor's development crucial for Azerbaijani carriers - ABADA Business Fri, 20 May 2022 18:07:00 +0400 By TrendThe development of the TRACECA transport corridor is highly important both for Azerbaijani carriers and for boosting Azerbaijan's transit potential, Deputy Secretary General of the country's Association of International Road Carriers (ABADA) Kanan Gurbanov told Trend.According to Gurbanov, ABADA closely cooperates with the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport and provides reports and recommendations for improving national legislation on international road transport, as well as studies international experience in this area."Last year, our association and the ministry signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of international road transport," he said. "According to the memorandum, we are distributing "Permit forms" used for international road transport, including multilateral annual permits of the international transport forum. This mission was entrusted to a commission created under our association."The deputy secretary general further said that ABADA is currently working with the competent authorities of Azerbaijan on various platforms to digitalize the transport sector.According to him, if a single electronic transit permit system is created, it would become a good tool for the development of transport communication between Azerbaijan and neighboring countries. Azerbaijan approves composition of Supervisory Board of Center for Legal Expertise and ... Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 18:00:00 +0400 Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree approving the composition of the Supervisory Board of “Center for Legal Expertise and Legislative Initiatives” public legal entity.According to the order, the Supervisory Board of “Center for Legal Expertise and Legislative Initiatives” public legal entity was approved as follows:Chairman of Supervisory BoardGunduz Karimov - Head of the Department of Legislation and Legal Policy of the Administration of Azerbaijani President, Assistant to the First Vice-PresidentMembers of the Supervisory BoardShahin Aliyev - Rector of the Academy of Justice under the Azerbaijani Justice MinistryHumay Afandiyeva - Judge of the Constitutional Court Azerbaijan RepublicKhalid Gasimli - Head of Law and Legislation Division of the Administrative Office of the Cabinet of MinistersFarid Hajiyev - Head of the Civil Service and HR Department of Azerbaijan’s Parliament (Milli Mejlis). Azerbaijan’s energy export prowess: In search of augmentation role Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 17:55:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Orkhan AmashovThe West-Russia rupture over Ukraine, the ramifications from which will likely only intensify henceforth, has sent seismic shockwaves throughout the entire energy market, dramatically increasing the need for alternative supplies and, against this backdrop, Azerbaijan’s clout, within the grand scheme of things, seems to have assumed heightened significance.Although in terms of sheer volume, Baku is no match for Russian gas and cannot come to the rescue of Europe as such, with the right investment and optimization of the Southern Gas Corridor, it is more than probable that its importance in the context of diversified energy security for South-Eastern Europe will be magnified.New but oldWhenever there is an energy crisis in Europe engendered by virtue of a disagreement with Russia, the question that invariably arises relates to which source or sources should be seen as an alternative. In this vein, Azerbaijan ranks highly amongst the countries entering the equation.Once the strengths and weaknesses of Baku's export capabilities are duly evaluated, the next question appears to be what could be realistically done to augment its role in Europe's diversified energy security. The answer to the latter is constantly modified, albeit within the same configuration, entailing a set range of possibilities.For all its manifest desire to extricate itself from the Kremlin-dominated web of energy routes, the EU is not ready to bite the bullet. Some elements of indolent morality that characterized its former self are still omnipresent. Not that it has backtracked, but "cold turkey" involving detoxification from Russian energy sources is unlikely to be pursued with the vehemence initially presumed.Rauf Khalilov, a renowned London-based lawyer who has worked with Europe’s energy giants, is skeptical of the EU’s resolve to carry out the threat. "The West has made itself dependent on oil and gas like a junkie dependent on crack". Khalilov contends that, if a reliably alternative “clean” source is not found, it "will succumb to the idea of knocking on the door of the supplier".Indeed, Europe's resolve is yet to stand the test of time. On 16 May, the European Commission softened its stance against Russia, confirming that EU companies can pay for Russian energy without breaching the bloc’s sanctions against the Kremlin. To keep the gas flowing, there will be a need to comply with Russian demands in the interim.Yet, the EU is ultimately looking for plan B in the long run. That plan, in its different guises, involves Azerbaijan. Although Baku cannot be viewed as an answer to the aforementioned mega-crisis, its tailored role in terms of the South-Eastern section of Europe is already potent and visible.Bulgaria and Serbia have recently inked a new deal with Baku to import one billion bcm of gas via the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). Serbia is a potential recipient of Azerbaijani gas in late 2023. Its deliveries are to come through Bulgaria via the EU-funded project signed back in 2018.Baku’s export via the SGC is 10 bcm per annum, the preponderant part of which goes to an Italian interconnector. Bulgaria needs between 3-3.5 bcm per annum, whereas the respective figure for Serbia is around 2.7 bcm.Modes of augmentationNeil Watson, a British journalist who has written extensively on Azerbaijani energy geopolitics, believes that, since the SGC was deliberately built at overcapacity to carry Turkmen and Iranian gas in the fullness of time, it is no surprise that Baku is augmenting its clout in the market through a wide range of measures.One of the options for increasing Azerbaijani export is via the optimization of the SGC pipeline, increasing its annual capacity by 1 bcm. This will require billions of investment dollars and a principled decision to boost both production and pipeline capacity. The consortium members that own the Azerbaijani fields and the sequential pipelines that comprise the SGC seem to be having some opinion differences as to the future roadmap.SOCAR, a major shareholder in the consortium, counts on doubling the export capabilities of the westernmost section of the SGS to 20 bcm per year. BP, on the other hand, is cautiously reluctant to conceive such an increase engendered by the Shah Deniz 2 field, the gas exports from which only, in its view, will not achieve the capacity.The untapped reserves in the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oil field are more highly appreciated by its operator, BP. Adding its gas potential to the SGC’s export capabilities would require major investment, requiring the production agreement to be altered.Gas swap optionBut there is another option received with enthusiasm, due to the fact it does not require the development of new infrastructure - a gas swap deal. In December 2021, after extensive deliberation, Azerbaijan finalized a gas swap agreement with Turkmenistan and Iran.According to the deal in question, Ashgabad has begun sending up to 2 bcm of gas annually to northeast Iran. Iran then sends an equivalent quantity from its northwest to Azerbaijan.John Roberts, an energy analyst at the Atlantic Council, whom I occasioned to meet in Shusha in late April, believes that the swap deal could be expanded to a 6 bcm volume per annum, with the extra gas being navigated to Turkey, and then on to Europe. Turkey's current gas transit network has sufficient spare capacity, amounting to a 4-5 bcm volume per annum, and Ankara could thereafter utilize two separate export pipelines to Bulgaria and Greece.In energy matters, Azerbaijan is not given to rodomontade. It is conscious of its strategic worth and potential, yet it understands that for Baku’s export credentials to be improved, a billion-worth investment is obligatory.The focus is to increase its bespoke indispensability through an increase in productivity and export volumes and to augment its niche role in relation to the specific segment of the EU energy market. Given its track record of being a reliable and no-nonsense partner in the energy sector, Azerbaijan has the makings of an actor primed to play a pivotal role in the future of even vaster swathes of Europe. Azerbaijan's Central Bank puts up notes for auction Business Fri, 20 May 2022 17:46:00 +0400 By TrendThe Baku Stock Exchange (BSE) has hosted an auction for short-term notes of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) worth 30 million manat ($17.6 million) with a circulation period of 252 days, Trend reports citing the BSE.According to the CBA, five investors submitted eight bids during the auction.The total amount of the bids at nominal prices reached 87.7 million manat ($51.6 million).The average weighted price of one bond made up 98.0104 manat or $57.68 (2.9 percent) in accordance with the decision of the CBA.The maturity date of the bonds is January 27, 2023. Turkish minister visits souvenir factory in Azerbaijan's Jabrayil Business Fri, 20 May 2022 17:39:00 +0400 By TrendTurkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahid Kirisci and Azerbaijani Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov visited a souvenir factory in Jojug Marjanli village of Azerbaijan’s Jabrayil district, Trend reports via the Azerbaijani Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA).According to the agency, the SMBDA Board Chairman Orkhan Mammadov and Chairman of the Turkish-Azerbaijan Businessmen and Industrialists Public Union (TUIB) Huseyin Buyukfirat informed in detail about the enterprise.The factory for the production of souvenirs was created with the joint support of the Jojug Marjanli Development Fund, TUIB, SMBDA and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).It will mainly manufacture souvenir faience dishes based on national ornaments, small-sized carpets and other products. Besides, it’s planned to provide jobs for 25 residents of Jojug Marjanli village at the enterprise.The presentation of the enterprise took place within the framework of the opening ceremony of the Fuzuli International Airport with the participation of the heads of state of Azerbaijan and Turkey [in October 2021].The implementation of joint projects by Azerbaijan and Turkey in Jojug Marjanly village will be another example of Azerbaijani-Turkish fraternity and cooperation and will be of great importance in the socio-economic development of the village, ensuring employment and improving its social well-being. Azerbaijan to put up ATMs of several local banks for auction Business Fri, 20 May 2022 17:21:00 +0400 By TrendThe immovable property of Azerbaijan’s AG Bank and Amrah Bank OJSCs, which are being liquidated, will be put up for auction at the Center for Organization of Auctions in Baku on June 1, Trend reports via the Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund.The AG Bank's immovable property is a Winkor Nixdorf Cineo C2550 ATM.The starting price is 11,000 manat ($6,470).Amrah Bank's immovable property is a Winkor Nixdorf ProCash 8050 ATM.The starting price is 10,000 manat ($5,880).Five percent of the sale price must be paid to the organizer of the auction. The purchase price must be paid by the buyer within seven calendar days.Those wishing to participate in the auction can submit the necessary documents at the following address: ?. Salamzade 2? (third floor), Yasamal district, Baku, Azerbaijan.Phone: (+99450) 206-66-67, (+99455) 206-66-67. Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens Society Fri, 20 May 2022 17:11:00 +0400 By TrendSome 3,067 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan on May 20, Trend reports referring to the Operational Headquarters under the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers.The first dose of the vaccine was injected into 347 citizens, the second dose to 587, while the third dose and the next doses to 1,910 citizens. Some 223 citizens were vaccinated with a booster dose after a positive test result for COVID-19.Totally, up until now, 13,701,250 vaccine doses were administered, 5,345,251 citizens received the first dose of the vaccine, 4,846,372 people - the second dose, 3,265,489 people - the third dose and the next doses.Some 244,138 citizens were vaccinated with a booster dose after a positive test result for COVID-19. Azerbaijan confirms 12 more COVID-19 cases, 9 recoveries Society Fri, 20 May 2022 17:09:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has detected 12 new COVID-19 cases, nine patients have recovered, Trend reports citing the Operational Headquarters under Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers.Up until now, 792,707 people have been infected with coronavirus in the country, 782,945 of them have recovered, and 9,710 people have died. Currently, 52 people are under treatment in special hospitals.To reveal the COVID-19 cases, 2,228 tests have been carried out in Azerbaijan over the past day, and a total of 6,867,409 tests have been conducted so far. Baku prepared for cooperation with Yerevan to bolster regional peace, security - minister Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 17:05:00 +0400 By AzernewsForeign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has reiterated Azerbaijan's commitment to cooperation with Armenia to bolster regional peace and security, Azernews reports, citing the ministry.Bayramov made the remark at the 132nd session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) in Turin, Italy on May 20.The minister emphasized that Azerbaijan adheres to international norms of law and principles, such as state sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized boundaries, and that these principles are the foundation of international peace, security, and stability.Further, Bayramov briefed the participants in the meeting on the current regional situation and the steps taken to normalize relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.The top diplomat stated that Azerbaijan continues its efforts to improve ties with Armenia, noting that the April 6 meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders in Brussels, which was mediated and attended by the President of the EU Council, had a positive impact on the process.Following the meeting, the foreign ministers of the two countries were instructed to start drafting a peace agreement, and agreed to establish a Joint Border Commission on delimitation and demarcation of the border between the two countries, he added.Welcoming the organization of a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian civil society representatives at the initiative of the Council of Europe Secretary-General, Bayramov underlined that the organization could contribute to the implementation of confidence-building measures between the two nations that are vital to this effect.Among the problems Azerbaijan is facing, the minister named the threat of landmines and the lack of information about 4,000 citizens, who went missing during the war in the early 1990s.Bayramov called on the international community to actively support and contribute to overcoming these problems for the sake of lasting peace and stability in the region.Noting that Azerbaijan is committed to cooperation with the member states and bodies of the Council of Europe, the minister noted that during the visit of the secretary-general to Azerbaijan in April 2022, cooperation with Azerbaijan was widely discussed.The Council of Europe presented a new action plan for Azerbaijan in 2022-2025 that has laid a new foundation for joint action.The minister said that during the presidency of Ireland, Azerbaijan will continue its results-oriented cooperation in line with the priorities of the Council of Europe on the basis of common values.Bayramov congratulated Italy on the successful completion of its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and expressed Azerbaijan’s support for the future presidency of Ireland.Meanwhile, Bayramov and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto discussed issues of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the political and economic spheres, and exchanged views on regional and international security issues on the margins of the event, the ministry said in a separate report.The ministers highlighted the high-level relations and political dialogue between the two countries, adding that there is huge potential for further development of relations in economic, trade, humanitarian and other fields.The parties stressed the importance of the Energy Forum to be held in Baku on June 1-3, 2022, as well as the role of Azerbaijan in ensuring Europe's energy security.During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest. Hopes remain low as Azerbaijan, Armenia readying for third meeting in Brussels Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 16:55:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Vugar KhalilovThe Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders are slated to meet in Brussels again on May 22 to think over ways of overcoming an impasse and advance the peace agenda, Azernews reports.This meeting, like the ones in December 2021 and April 2022, is expected to proceed under the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel.The Apil 6 meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders registered progress in their approaches to tackle problems and establish working groups for the border delimitation and peace deal. The meeting at that point agreed on establishing working groups by the end of April to kick off talks, albeit this did not materialize.On May 18, at the press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart, President Aliyev said that Armenia canceled the previously agreed meeting of the border commissions scheduled for the end of April.“Azerbaijan set up its working group on time and was ready to send out a delegation. This was agreed with the Armenian side. By the way, it was the Armenian Foreign Ministry that proposed to hold the first meeting on the border issue. Azerbaijan accepted the offer and we were ready to send out a delegation. However, on the last day, on 29 April, Armenia canceled the agreed meeting. This is very disappointing. Even more disappointing was Armenia's refusal to hold a different meeting on the border issue on 7-11 May, based on Armenia's initial proposal. So we are waiting for new dates from Armenia to start work,” Aliyev stated.Commenting on Aliyev's statement that Yerevan twice refused to hold pre-agreed meetings on border delimitation, Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan said that the Armenian side did not refuse to meet with Azerbaijan and is ready to start the delimitation and border security commission."The Armenian side remains committed to the implementation of the agreements reached. Accordingly, Armenia did not cancel or refuse to hold any meetings. Within the framework of the agreements reached between the leaders of the two countries in Sochi and Brussels, Armenia remains ready to proceed with the commissions," he added.Armenia has formed a commission on delimitation and security of the border with Azerbaijan and will publish it in due time, Secretary of Armenia's Security Council Armen Grigoryan told a briefing on May 19."The composition of the commission is ready, I think when the time is right, the working group will make a statement," he added.In the meantime, large-scale opposition protests have been underway in Armenia since May 1, involving the Armenia Bloc and the Republican Party, as well as the Dashnaktsutyun and Motherland parties. The protestors claim that Pashinyan intends to sign a peace treaty with Baku, thus recognizing Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.In another development, rivals of the sitting Armenian prime minister claimed that at a time when the country is in the grip of protests, Pashinyan with his latest meeting with President Putin wanted to display that he has the Russian president's backing, Armenian Hraparak newspaper writes.“A proof of this was his visit to the Netherlands, yesterday's statement by the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia that they ‘seek to help the Armenian people build the kind of future that the Armenian people chose in 2018, and confirmed again during the parliamentary elections in 2021,’ which can even be seen as interference in the internal life of the country,” the newspaper added.Hraparak writes that Nikol Pashinyan was not originally scheduled to meet with the Russian president at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow, as evidenced by the fact that the pre-announced agenda only noted Putin's meetings with the leaders of Belarus, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while Armenia was not mentioned. However, it later turned out that there was also a meeting between Pashinyan and Putin. The Russian side said that Pashinyan had asked for a meeting with Putin.Commenting on allegations, Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan said that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has not applied to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to resolve the internal political situation in Armenia, Russia's TASS said."Prime Minister Pashinyan has always relied only on the will of the Armenian people in all internal political issues. The information about Armenia's alleged appeal to the CSTO to resolve internal political issues is also misinformation," he underlined.In November 2020, Pashinyan signed a trilateral statement with Azerbaijani and Russian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin, ending military operations in the conflict zone around former Nagorno-Karabakh.Opponents of the Armenian prime minister called the signed document capitulation, and mass protests broke out in Armenia. As a result, Pashinyan called early parliamentary elections, as a result of which, his party strengthened its position, gaining an absolute majority in the legislative body, and Pashinyan was re-elected as prime minister. Turkish companies in Karabakh restoration conducive to reintegration of economic ties Business Fri, 20 May 2022 16:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsChairman of the Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Business Development Board Orkhan Mammadov has said that the involvement of Turkish businessmen in the process of reintegrating Azerbaijan’s liberated lands into the economy forms a new direction for bilateral economic relations.He made the remarks said at the General Conference of the Azerbaijan-Turkey Businessmen Association, Azernews reports.Mammadov mentioned that the agency received over 1,000 applications from local and foreign enterprises for doing business in the country’s liberated territories. In this regard, he noted that most of the foreign applications received by the agency to do business in the liberated territories belong to Turkish companies.Moreover, the board chairman underlined that the measures aimed to promote the development of tourism, agriculture, mining industry, building materials production, renewable energy, and the establishment of new transport and logistics corridors in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region, will create new opportunities for enhancing ties with Turkey.Underscoring that 99 percent of businesses in Azerbaijan and Turkey are SMBs, he stated that the expansion of economic ties between SMBs can make a significant contribution to the increase in total trade turnover and investment between the two countries.Mammadov emphasized that the agency is ready to support entrepreneurs working in Azerbaijan or wishing to establish a business.Azerbaijan and Turkey collaborate in a variety of economic spheres and have completed major energy and infrastructure projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, and TANAP.Turkey imports Azerbaijani natural gas through the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum) and TANAP. Azerbaijan supplies gas to Turkey only from the Shah Deniz field. The supplies have been available since July 2007.In 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed the Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations, which focuses on defense cooperation, promoting regional stability and prosperity, and establishing new transportation routes.The two countries' joint goal among others is to bring the mutual trade turnover to $15 billion in 2023. As of 2021, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $4.6 billion. So far, Turkey is Azerbaijan’s second-largest investor followed by the UK.Additionally, Turkey was one of the first countries that expressed its interest and readiness to participate in the restoration of Azerbaijan’s liberated territories. Turkish BCT engineering and consulting company closes its Azerbaijani branch Business Fri, 20 May 2022 16:29:00 +0400 By TrendTurkish BCT engineering and consulting company has announced the liquidation of its branch in Baku, Trend reports citing 'Vergiler' ('Taxes') newspaper of Azerbaijani State Tax Service under Ministry of Economy.According to the information, creditors can make their claims within two months at the address: 19 Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli str., Narimanov district, Baku, Azerbaijan. Tourism ministers of Turkic-speaking nations to meet in Shamakhi Business Fri, 20 May 2022 16:11:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe 7th Meeting of the Tourism Ministers of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) will be convened in Shamakhi, Azerbaijan on May 24, 2022, Azernews reports, citing OTS.The meeting, hosted by Fuad Naghiyev, Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan, and moderated by Baghdad Amreyev, Secretary-General of the OTS, will be attended by ministers in charge of tourism of the member and observer states of the OTS. The high-level government officials, experts in charge of tourism as well as representatives from the diplomatic missions in Azerbaijan will also take part in the meeting.The agenda of the meeting includes: increasing the number of flights among the major cities of the member and observer states, revealing the potential of the Silk Road Tourism - knowledge and experience sharing among them, implementing the “Modern Silk Road Joint Tour” and “Turkic World Tourism Capital” projects, exploring the potential partnership on the Winter and Golf Tourism, establishing relations among the Associations of the Travel Agencies and other stakeholders from the states.Parties will also elaborate and adopt the documents entitled the “Regulation of the Turkic World Tourism Capital” and the “Roadmap on Tourism of the Organization of Turkic States”.Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the Organization of the Turkic States, which began on October 15, 2019, continued successfully in 2021. During this time, the activity of the organization has been further strengthened and its reputation has grown. Azerbaijani health minister upbeat about fighting TB Society Fri, 20 May 2022 16:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe Azerbaijani government has been purchasing effective antituberculotics since 2012 and covering all expenses of fighting tuberculosis through government programs, Health Minister Teymur Musayev has said, Azernews says.He made the remarks during the 35th meeting held by STOP TB (“Stop tuberculosis”) Partnership Board from May 19 through 20 in an online format.Furthermore, Musayev noted that since 2005, the Global Fund that deals with AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria have been financing activities to fight tuberculosis in Azerbaijan.“Nowadays, all the projects of Global Fund are successfully implemented in Azerbaijan. They make a huge and significant contribution towards fighting tuberculosis,” he said.The minister added that in 2020, mandatory medical insurance was introduced in Azerbaijan, which was a new mechanism for public health support.He stressed that despite the fact that the introduction of mandatory medical insurance the coincided with coronavirus pandemic, its primary results were encouraging.“The idea of introducing mandatory medical insurance implies gradual adding of medical modules to social package. Fighting against tuberculosis is a global problem. We will be able to achieve success if we cooperate and share our knowledge and skills," Musayev said.The chairman of the Global Working group and ministers of health of participating countries noted with regret that tuberculosis is still one of the most fatal infections in the world. More than 4,100 people die because of this disease every day. Security agency detains suspected illegal armed group member Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 15:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan’s State Security Service (SSS) has detained a suspected member of illegal armed groups operating abroad, Azernews reported on May 20 per the service.As a result of complex operational-investigative measures carried out by the state agency against international terror, well-founded suspicions had been established about Osmanov’s involvement in armed conflicts abroad, as well as terrorist acts, which were committed on the basis of religious hatred.According to the criminal investigation, Osmanov was trained in a secret training camp in Syria's Atma city and mastered the rules of firearms and usage of explosives.Moreover, the suspect joined an illegal armed group, known as the Azeri Jamaat, which functioned on the basis of religious radicalism and religious hatred, and fought with members of the group in the fights for Sheikh Suleiman settlement, where he sustained shrapnel wounds.The terrorist group provided Osmanov with a forged passport in the name of an Uzbek citizen to enable his free movement in the territory of other countries to avoid criminal liability. He traveled to several countries using the fake passport.He had previously been detained in Turkey using a forged passport as Ilyorjon Isanov, an Uzbek citizen, on suspicion of being a member of an armed terrorist group operating in the country, but was released due to the lack of proof of his guilt.Osmanov was apprehended as a suspect and prosecuted under Articles 12.1 and 279.1 (creation of armed formations or groups not provided by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as participation in their creation and activity, supplying them with weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment) of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code.A criminal case has been launched. Azerbaijan, Turkey ink accord on labor, social protection co-op Business Fri, 20 May 2022 15:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan and Turkey have signed a supplementary accord on amending the Procedural Agreement dated May 6, 2004, on the implementation of the agreement on cooperation in the field of social protection between the governments of the two countries, Azernews reports.The document was signed by Ministers Sahil Babayev and Vedat Bilgin, on behalf of the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey, at the end of the 10th meeting of the joint standing commission on cooperation between Azerbaijani and Turkish Labor and Social Security Ministries.Moreover, the minutes of the 10th meeting of the joint standing committee was also signed.The document reflects the areas of cooperation between the two departments in the areas of labor, employment, social protection, and rehabilitation, as well as an active exchange of experience.After the documents were signed, the ministers held a briefing. They noted that friendly and fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey are successfully developing in all spheres, and ties are expanding in the areas of labor, employment, and social protection.Azerbaijan and Turkey collaborate in a variety of economic fields and have completed major energy and infrastructure projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, and TANAP.Turkey imports Azerbaijani natural gas through the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum) and TANAP. Azerbaijan supplies gas to Turkey only from the Shah Deniz field. The supplies have been available since July 2007.In 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed the Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations, which focuses on defense cooperation, promoting regional stability and prosperity, and establishing new transportation routes.The two countries' joint goal among others is to bring the mutual trade turnover to $15 billion in 2023. As of 2021, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $4.6 billion. So far, Turkey is Azerbaijan’s second-largest investor followed by the UK.Additionally, Turkey was one of the first countries that expressed its interest and readiness to participate in the restoration of Azerbaijan’s liberated territories. Turkish companies to share their experience in reconstruction work in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh - ATIB Business Fri, 20 May 2022 15:03:00 +0400 By TrendKarabakh will revive and develop, and Turkish companies will share their experience in the course of reconstruction and construction work in this region of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan-Turkey Business Association (ATIB) Cemal Yangin told Trend."Calling on all Turkish companies in Europe and Africa to participate in the reconstruction work in Karabakh, I want to note the favorable environment for doing business in Azerbaijan. You will not encounter any problems here," Yangin said."Currently, infrastructure work is underway in Karabakh, and after this work, Karabakh will be the most modern and developing region," he noted.Chairman also added that earlier people of Karabakh were engaged in carpet weaving, cattle breeding, and leather business, and these areas, having revived here, will develop again, contributing to overall development. Azerbaijan allocates funds to design, build Fuzuli Vocational Lyceum Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 14:51:00 +0400 Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on measures to design and construct the building of the Fuzuli Vocational Lyceum.According to the decree, for the implementation of the above measures, Azerbaijan’s Education Ministry was initially allocated one million manat ($588,200) from the funds provided in the state budget of Azerbaijan for 2022 for the reconstruction and restoration of the territories liberated from Armenian occupation [in the 2020 Second Karabakh War].Besides, the Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan was instructed to provide funding in the amount specified in part 1 of this decree, while the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan - to resolve issues arising from it. Country prepares draft law aimed to abolish road tax for cargo transiting Business Fri, 20 May 2022 14:45:00 +0400 By AzernewsA draft law aimed at abolishing the road tax for cargo transit has been prepared by Azerbaijan, Azernews reports per Chairman of the State Road Transport Service under the Azerbaijani Ministry of Digital Development and Transport Anar Rzayev.The remarks were made at a conference on “Development prospects of international road shipments in Azerbaijan” on May 19 in Baku.The chairman noted that the bill was developed in order to abolish the standard of cargo carriers paying road taxes in accordance with the country's Tax Code, which has no relation to road charges. He added that the road tax payment upon entry to the country applies to both local and foreign carriers.The chairman added that some other issues are also included in the bill."Following the bill, some types of taxes are scheduled to be reduced, while some of them will probably be canceled," he noted.Transit facilitation accordSpeaking at the same event, Deputy Head of the Department for Organization of Customs Control and Trade Facilitation at the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee Samad Garalov also announced that a draft agreement on transit facilitation is expected to be signed between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.In his view, the draft was developed back in 2016 by the customs services of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan with the financial support of the Asian Development Bank."This agreement was signed between our country and Georgia. The signing of this agreement by Kazakhstan is expected. Moreover, this system is expected to be launched by Georgia from January 1, 2023," the department head noted.Garalov added that this draft can become competitive among similar initiatives.Cargo shipmentMeanwhile, the head of the transport industry regulation department at the Azerbaijani Ministry of Digital Development and Transport Vasif Amiraslanov noted that the demand for cargo shipments through the South Caucasus will grow under the new realities.He added that the ministry will continue to support TRACECA [Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor project] in the process of simplifying customs procedures and tariff policy."Our ministry pays special attention to companies engaged in international cargo shipments. Azerbaijan aims to diversify transport corridors and support state support for transport projects, improvement of normative acts,” the head of the department noted.Further, Amiraslanov stressed that Azerbaijan is a participant in international transport projects. Thus, to this date, work has already been completed on the construction of a railway on the border with Iran. Besides, work is underway to improve the North-South international transport corridor.In a separate statement, Anar Rzayev stated that Azerbaijani carriers are ready to participate in combined cargo shipments.The official noted that the sector of combined cargo shipments is rapidly developing and creating new opportunities not only for the domestic market but also for the region as a whole."We aim to accelerate Azerbaijan's integration into the international transport system, simplifying cargo transportation and optimizing the legal framework. Measures have been taken to create ports, roads, and railways to ensure the transit of goods to European countries. A new method of issuing permit forms for international shipments was introduced and an appropriate commission was created,” he stressed.He also noted that work is underway in Azerbaijan for the smooth implementation of freight and passenger traffic."In 2015, 155,000 companies carried out cargo transportation through the territory of Azerbaijan, and now this figure exceeds 240,000. The volume of cargo transportation is also growing," Rzayev said.Later, it was noted that a new model of roads is being formed with the creation of recreation areas and the provision of services to drivers based on international standards."The current realities require attracting the flow of goods to our region and carrying out active work in this direction,” he stressed.Moreover, the official added that Azerbaijan is ready to increase the number of permit forms, as it has a sufficient base for the implementation of combined cargo shipments. Baku to host Golden Kids Awards 2022 Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 May 2022 14:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe Nizami Cinema Center will host an award ceremony for the winners of the Golden Kids Awards 2022 on June 7, Azernews reports.Golden Kids Awards 2022 has been held in the country since 2018 to mark the International Day of Children.The project is headed by the pianist and composer, the head of the AKIB Department of Culture and Arts, Ulviyya Babirli.The 4th Golden Kids Awards is dedicated to the Year of Shusha in Azerbaijan.The main goal of the project is to discover young talents and develop their potential.The 5-16 years old contestants will be awarded special prizes in various nominations of vocal, folk, pop, classical, instrumental, visual, dance, theatrical, and cinematic arts.The best contestants were determined based on the results of the past year for active and successful activities.Media partners of the event are,,, AMFA talks new cooperation opportunities for member institutions Business Fri, 20 May 2022 14:08:00 +0400 By TrendMember institutions are invited to cooperate in implementing social projects of the Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association (AMFA) in the field of new services, AMFA Governance Board Chair of Finance for Development LLC non-banking credit organization (NBCO) Jalal Aliyev told Trend."In this regard, the AMFA signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources on the establishment of forest areas within the NBCO's support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," he said.The chair outlined the implementation of 50 international projects by the Association. Azerbaijan's foreign trade surplus hits $7.7bn Business Fri, 20 May 2022 13:50:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Ayya LmahamadAzerbaijan’s foreign trade surplus amounted to $7.7 billion in the period from January to April 2022, the State Customs Committee has reported.In the first four months of the year, the country's trade turnover amounted to $15.8 billion. Of the total turnover, export amounted to $11.8 billion or 74.5 percent, while import was $4 billion or 25.4 percent, resulting in a surplus of $7.7 billion.Moreover, legal entities and individual entrepreneurs in the country carried out trade operations with partners in 155 countries.In terms of export, EU countries accounted for $7.5 billion or 63.9 percent, CIS countries for $635.2 million or 5.3 percent, and other countries for $3.6 billion or 30.7 percent of the country's total export.As to imports, CIS countries accounted for $1.1 billion or 27.7 percent, EU countries accounted for $638.9 million or 15.8 percent, and other countries for $2.2 billion for 56.4 percent of the country's imports during the reported months.Furthermore, 214,936 tons of cargo worth $312.9 million were transported by sea, 1.9 million tons worth $1 billion by railway, and 1.5 million tons worth $3 billion of cargo by car. Some 25,281 tons of cargo worth $497.1 million were transported by air in January-April 2022.In the structure of the exports, the main volume came from products of the oil and gas sector with 91.8 percent, while the non-oil and gas sector amounted to 8.1 percent of the total export volume.Azerbaijan's main export transactions during the reported period were with Italy ($5.8 billion), Turkey ($1.2 billion), Israel ($541.6 million), Portugal ($400.5 million), and the UK ($397.9 million).Over the past four months, Azerbaijan's main import partners were Russia ($694.5 million), Turkey ($687.4 million), China ($620.5 million), Kazakhstan ($202 million), and Germany ($184 million). Azerbaijan’s Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund pays interest on bonds Business Fri, 20 May 2022 13:33:00 +0400 By TrendThe Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund of Azerbaijan has made another interest payment on bonds, Trend reports citing the Baku Stock Exchange (BSE).According to the Fund’s prospectus, a specific part of the nominal residual value of securities is paid in addition to the interest payment on the bond payment date, which is equal to the share of principal debt payments on the assets included in mortgage coverage.BSE noted that the issuer made another payment of interest on the bonds on May 16. The amount of balance at the face value of the specified bonds was 666.02 manat ($391.7).Interest income in three percent, with regular payments, will be calculated based on this amount. Azerbaijan lifts flight restrictions for number of countries Business Fri, 20 May 2022 13:12:00 +0400 By AzernewsCitizens from several other countries will be allowed to enter and exit Azerbaijan by air, following the corresponding resolution signed by the country's Prime Minister Ali Asadov, Azernews reports.Given the requirements of Clauses 2.5-1.1 and 2.5-1.3 of the mentioned resolution, citizens, stateless persons, and citizens of other countries permanently residing in Bulgaria, Butane, South Africa, Guatemala, Lao, Lebanon, Mauritius, Egypt, Myanmar, Nepal, Paraguay, North Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam will be permitted to enter and exit Azerbaijan from May 20, 2022.Earlier Azerbaijan canceled the requirement to submit the result of PCR testing on COVID-19 for citizens arriving in the country.On February 28, 2020, the country confirmed its first COVID-19 case. On March 25, the country implemented a special quarantine regime and implemented a number of measures to combat COVID-19 in the country.Azerbaijan is taking effective measures in the fight against coronavirus, and four types of COVID-19 vaccines out of nine existing have been imported to Azerbaijan. The nationwide vaccination is free and voluntary, and it is in accordance with the "Vaccination Strategy Against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022".Vaccination has been carried out in Azerbaijan since January 18, 2021, and it is still being carried out successfully. The epidemiological situation in Azerbaijan remains stable due to the active participation of the population in vaccination.The country began vaccinating citizens with China's Sinovac on January 18, AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine on May 3, Russia's Sputnik V on May 18, and Pfizer from the United States on June 7. From May 10, the country began offering COVID-19 vaccination to citizens over the age of 18.Simultaneously, on August 9, Azerbaijan began issuing vaccination exemption certificates to citizens who have contraindications to coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the country. Azerbaijan exports 9.4m tons of oil from January to April 22 Business Fri, 20 May 2022 12:54:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Ayya LmahamadAzerbaijan has exported 9.4 million tons of oil worth $3.6 billion from January to April 2022, Azernews reports, citing the State Customs Committee.In the first four months of the year, Italy was the main oil importer from Azerbaijan, accounting for 4.3 million tons of oil worth $3 billion.The top five countries in terms of oil imports from Azerbaijan were Italy, Israel (790,540 tons of oil worth $539.1 million), Portugal (573,651 tons of oil worth $400.5 million), the UK (523,579 tons of oil worth $391 million) and India (406,773 tons of oil worth $316.1 million).Meanwhile, Azerbaijan exported 136,436 tons of oil worth $69.6 million to Turkey in the first four months of this year.During the reported months the share of oil in the total structure of exports amounted to 55.3 percent.In 2021, Azerbaijan exported 27.1 million tons of oil worth $13.2 billion. The top five countries in terms of oil imports from Azerbaijan were Italy, Israel, Croatia, Germany, and Portugal. In addition, Azerbaijan produced 34.6 million tons of crude oil in 2021. The slight increase in oil production last year was primarily due to the gradual elimination of voluntary oil output cuts under the OPEC+ deal. Fashion holiday comes back to Baku Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 May 2022 12:36:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe fashion holiday is back to the City of Winds on May 20-22.After the pandemic, fashionistas have a great chance to meet once again and, most importantly, to convey the ideas of friendship and peace through creativity.So, the phrase "We are Together" has been chosen as the main motto of the 12th season of Azerbaijan Fashion Week 2022.For the first time in two and a half years, the event will bring together people from Azerbaijan, Turkiye, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.The theme of friendship between peoples and respect for the national traditions of different countries is reflected in the colors of the main visual of this season. For the design of posters, invitations, and gifts, artists and graphic designers used all the colors of the flags of the participating countries.The large-scale project became the primary reason for the emergence of the fashion market as such in the country because the few fashion designers who existed at that time were scattered throughout their activities, making considerable efforts to promote themselves.Azerbaijan Fashion Week has become exactly the platform that united the efforts of all those who work in the field of fashion, becoming a platform that brought together designers, buyers, local and foreign press, as well as all fashionistas.Over the past seasons, Azerbaijan Fashion Week has retained the status of the most important fashion event in Azerbaijan. Armenia shells Azerbaijani military positions in Kalbajar, demining efforts in progress Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 12:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsPositions of the Azerbaijani army have come under fire by the Armenian armed forces in the direction of the liberated Kalbajar region near the border with Armenia, Azernews reports, citing the Defense Ministry.On May 19, in the afternoon, the units of the Armenian armed forces stationed in Basarkechar region’s Ashaghi Shorzha settlement near the state border fired at Azerbaijani army positions in the direction of Kalbajar’s Yellija settlement, using small arms, the ministry said.The Azerbaijani army units took adequate retaliatory measures to suppress the opposite side.Armenia periodically shells Azerbaijani military positions located on its liberated territories. Since early May Azerbaijani positions have multiple times come under Armenian fire. The previous truce violation took place on May 18 in the same direction.In the same vein, the army’s engineering troops continue the engineering activities in Azerbaijan’s de-occupied lands, the Defense Ministry said in a separate report on May 19.Units and subunits of the Azerbaijani army are demining and upgrading the roads to enable safe and uninterrupted vehicle movement, working on fortifying combat positions and trenches, as well as creating new supply routes for the units stationed in complicated terrain.As a result of the demining activities carried out by the engineer-sapper units in the liberated lands on May 1-19, over 950 hectares of land were totally cleaned of mines and explosive ordnance.“To date, more than 17,200 hectares of area in the liberated territories have been cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance by the engineer-sapper units. In total, more than 6,000 anti-personnel mines, more than 2,100 anti-tank mines, and more than 9,400 unexploded ordnances have been detected and neutralized,” the ministry said.The major efforts in the liberated regions are focused on demining settlements, agricultural fields, highways, and infrastructural facilities. Over 140 km of new supply roads have been paved for the units of the armed forces stationed in mountainous and challenging terrain.Other vital efforts such as identifying and neutralizing mines and explosive ordnance, as well as engineering support in the liberated lands are continuing. Amid diminished expectations for border commission to meet, Armenia claims ready to go Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 12:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sabina MammadliDespite a mutual agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia to establish a working group by the end of April, the promised meeting of the delegations has not taken place yet, Azernews reports.At a meeting with the Lithuanian president in Baku on May 18, President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan set up its working group on time and was ready to send out a delegation for the first meeting with Armenia.The president added that Azerbaijan called on Armenia to embark on the process of delimitation of the border. He further added that even though it was the Armenian Foreign Ministry that proposed to hold the first meeting on the border issue, and though Azerbaijan accepted it, it was canceled at the last minute.Aliyev stressed that even more disappointing than that was Armenia's refusal to hold another meeting on the border issue on 7-11 May, based on Armenia's initial proposal.“We are waiting for new dates from Armenia to start work. Because such an irresponsible position, of course, is worrying,” the president stated.Today Azerbaijan is focused on turning the South Caucasus into a region of peace, cooperation, and interaction. As President Aliyev mentioned, there is a single opportunity to create this format of cooperation after the second Karabakh war.Furthermore, the president shared that as soon as the second Karabakh war ended, Azerbaijan started to openly come out in favor of the signing of a peace agreement and the establishment of a joint commission on the delimitation of borders. However, this was not welcomed by Armenia.On the other hand, the situation in the region has changed positively since Armenia officially accepted the 5-point fundamental principles put forward by Azerbaijan to sign a peace agreement. These fundamental principles are based on international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and good international practices.Ilham Aliyev also emphasized Azerbaijan's permanent commitment to its obligations.“If we promised, in the presence of the president of the European Council, that we were ready to meet by the end of April, we were committed to our word. However, we must see the same level of responsibility from Armenia. In other words, even though we have certain optimism, such maneuvers and fairly strange steps of the Armenian government actually undermine certain confidence,” he stated.In the meantime, Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan said on May 19 that Armenia had formed a commission for the delimitation of the border with Azerbaijan."The composition of the commission is ready. The working group will make a relevant statement at the appropriate time," he added.Earlier, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that it was possible to start negotiations on the demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan in the near future.“The meeting on the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, scheduled for May, has not yet taken place. But I can assure you that we will continue our discussions on organizing this meeting. There are some technical details that the parties must agree on. And I hope that the meeting will finally take place in the coming days or maybe weeks,” Mirzoyan noted.The trilateral ceasefire deal, signed by the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders with the mediation of the Russian president on November 10, 2020, ended the three-decade conflict over Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region, which along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces in the war in the early 1990s.The deal also stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the peace deal, Azerbaijan liberated 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historical Shusha city that had been under Armenian occupation for about 30 years. President Ilham Aliyev receives ICESCO Director General Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 11:51:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Director General of ICESCO Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik.President Ilham Aliyev expressed his satisfaction with the ICESCO Director General's visit to Aghdam and Fuzuli last year and to Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, this year, and praised Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik's participation in an international conference in Shusha.Emphasizing many years of Azerbaijan's fruitful and successful cooperation with ICESCO, President Ilham Aliyev underlined the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia and commended ICESCO for its continued support for Azerbaijan’s just position during the 44-day war. The head of state noted that his country would like UNESCO representatives to visit the liberated territories and see with their own eyes the destruction unleashed by the Armenians there. Unfortunately, despite the fact that more than a year and a half has passed since the end of the war, representatives of this organization have not visited those areas. President Ilham Aliyev noted that the activities of ICESCO and the participation of its experts could play an important part in assessing the material damage inflicted on Azerbaijan by Armenia and communicating it to the international community.The President noted the importance of the establishment of the ICESCO Regional Office in Baku in expanding cooperation and thanked the organization for its friendship and partnership with Azerbaijan.Expressing his gratitude for the kind words, the ICESCO Director General recalled his previous visit to the liberated territories. He noted that the delegation had been disappointed by the situation there, adding that those areas had been destroyed and razed to the ground. At the same time, Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik noted with satisfaction that during his current visit, the delegation was witnessing extensive construction work underway in the liberated territories. Stressing that those places were very beautiful, the Director General of IcCESCO said many people wanted to go there from abroad. In this regard, Salim bin Mohammed AlMalik praised the President's regular visits to the liberated territories, visits to mosques, meetings with people and moral support for those working there. During his visit to Shusha, the ICESCO Director General noted that he had also visited the church, adding that restoration work there was nearing completion.The ICESCO Director General presented a keepsake to the head of state. </p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.75; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Roboto; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><br /></p><br /> </div></body> </html> Azerbaijani health minister visits war veterans undergoing medical treatment in Turkey Society Fri, 20 May 2022 11:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsAzerbaijan's Health Minister Teymur Musayev on a visit to Turkey visited veterans, who were wounded during the Second Karabakh War, and are currently undergoing treatment in Turkey, Azernews reports.During the visit, Musayev stressed that President Ilham Aliyev always pays special attention and care to public health protection."Taking care of the families of martyrs and war veterans is one of the priority directions of the state policy," he said.He stressed that during the 44-day Patriotic War, one of the most glorious pages of Azerbaijan's history was written."From the onset of the war up to this day, Turkey has been close to Azerbaijan. The support of Turkish specialists is very important to us to restore the health of our veterans. I believe that you will soon recover and return to your homeland," he said.The health minister also added that after veterans return home, they will be able to continue their medical treatment at the Sanatorium and Rehabilitation Center.Earlier, the delegation held a meeting with members of the Azerbaijani Physicians Association.Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey Rashad Mammadov, who spoke at the event, briefed on the activities of doctors in Turkey. He recalled that in the critical stages of the coronavirus pandemic and during the Second Karabakh War, a group of Azerbaijani doctors, who worked in Turkey voluntarily, returned to Azerbaijan, and did everything possible to restore the health of the war veterans, as well as people infected with the coronavirus.In turn, Teymur Musayev emphasized that the national health care system is always ready to help local doctors who specialize in foreign countries, adding that all necessary conditions will be created for those who wish to return home.Moreover, as part of the visit to Turkey, a delegation got acquainted with the activities of one of the most prestigious medical universities in Turkey, Hacettepe University.Speaking at the event, University Rector Professor Abdurrahim Haluk Ozen emphasized close ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the sphere of healthcare.Recalling the protocol signed between Hacettepe University and the Azerbaijani Medical University in 2018, he noted that specialists of Hacettepe University regularly participate in training programs, international scientific conferences, and webinars held at the university.In turn, Musayev emphasized that new opportunities have been created for cooperation in the sphere of medical education, including for the exchange of modern methodological and scientific-practical information in the sphere of professional education of medical specialists.“Azerbaijan Medical University, one of the oldest universities in the country, effectively cooperates with the most prestigious universities in Turkey, including Hacettepe University,” he said.Teymur Musayev arrived in Turkey for a two-day working visit on May 17. During the visit, the Azerbaijani and Turkish health ministers signed a roadmap of cooperation for 2022-2023. Azerbaijan, Belarus sign contracts worth over $70m Business Fri, 20 May 2022 11:13:00 +0400 By AzernewsAs part of the visit of Belarusian PM Roman Golovchenko to Azerbaijan, contracts worth more than $70 million were signed, Azernews reports citing Belarus Today.Agreements and contracts were signed for a total amount of more than $55 million within the framework of the first day of the 27th Interfood Azerbaijan and the 15th Caspian Agro international exhibitions.Moreover, the contract was signed, during the Golovchenko's visit to Azerbaijan’s Ganja Automotive Plant, for the supply of 950 unassembled tractors in the amount of $15.5 million between Belarusian Minsk Automobile Plant and Ganja Automotive Plant. In addition, a memorandum of cooperation also was signed between Ganja Automotive Plant and Gomselmash OJSC.According to the results of the two days working visit of prime minister to Azerbaijan, the sum of the contracts signed amounted to more than $70 million.It should be noted that Interfood Azerbaijan and Caspian Agro international exhibitions present the industrial potential of Belarus (mechanical engineering, glass industry, etc), as well as a wide range of Belarusian meat and dairy products.Earlier, Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Mikhail Myatlikov has said that contracts worth $55 million have been signed following the first day of the visit of the Belarus delegation to Azerbaijan."A business meeting between Azerbaijani and Belarus companies was held on May 18. A number of contracts totaling about $55 million were signed. New contacts are being established. I think we will hear about new contracts in the next few days," he said.He emphasized that the main contracts were signed in the wood processing and foodstuffs sectors.Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko arrived in Azerbaijan for a two-day working visit on May 18. The two-day visit program includes meetings with the country’s leadership, a visit to the Ganja automobile plant, international exhibitions Caspian Agro and Inter Food, as well as industrial enterprise Iglim. A business meeting between the business circles of the two countries is also planned as part of the visit.In addition, Belarus enterprises presented their products at the international Caspian Agro and Inter Food exhibitions. The Belarusian exposition is represented by 39 companies and organizations.Diplomatic relations between the countries were established on June 11, 1993. The two countries are cooperating in various sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, transport, remote sensing services, etc.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Belarus amounted to $424.4 million, with the exports accounting for $295.5 million and imports for $128.9 million in 2021.Railway passenger carriages, fiberboard of wood, butter, medicaments, furniture, wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, beef, electric transformers, and cheese are the main export goods to Azerbaijan. From Azerbaijan, Belarus imports polymers of propylene, tomatoes, fruits, nuts, fresh fruits, fruit and vegetable juices, and others.Since 2007, a number of joint projects in the field of industrial cooperation have been launched including assembly lines of Belarus tractors and trucks. The leader of the Belarusian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the sphere of industrial cooperation is the Ganja automobile plant.At a meeting with representatives of the public and expert community, Belarus, and foreign media in 2019, President Alexander Lukashenko stressed that relations between Belarus and Azerbaijan are an example of relations between the two Christian and Muslim states. Baku Int'l Piano Festival promises to be spectacular Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 May 2022 11:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaA news conference has been held ahead of the first Baku International Piano Festival.World-famous pianists from Azerbaijan and other countries will take part in the festival on May 20-27.Every day of the week, music lovers have a chance to enjoy wonderful music in various genres from classical to jazz at the country's best venues: Landmark, YARAT Contemporary Art Space, and the State Philharmonic Hall.The festival event is organized with the support of the Culture Ministry, Azernews reports.Speaking about the event, the festival's director, Honored Artist Shahin Novrasli, said that the idea of ??holding the festival came to him in September last year.The musician personally compiled the festival's program from the design of posters to the musical part.Culture Ministry representative Sara Teymurova said that the festival will arouse great interest among music lovers.Cultural adviser of the French embassy Jerome Kehl expressed his confidence that the Baku International Piano Festival is going to be successful.In his speech, Mr. Jerome Kehl noted that the French pianist Remi Geniet will perform at the festival's opening ceremony on May 21. The pianist will be accompanied by the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra conducted by People's Artist Yalchin Adigozalov."I believe that such events have a positive impact on the development and expansion of relations in the field of culture between France and Azerbaijan," he concluded.Remi Geniet is one of the most prominent pianists of his generation. In 2015, he became a prize-winner of the Young Concert Artists in New York. In 2020, the young pianist was awarded a career grant by the prestigious New York Salon de Virtuosi.He is the second prize winner at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition and the youngest prize-winner of the Bonn International Beethoven Competition.The French pianist is visiting Azerbaijan for the first time in his life. At the festival, Remi Geniet will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E major, Op. 73, also known as the Emperor Concerto. The pianist noted the great role of Shahin Novrasli in the festival's organization.Czech Ambassador to Azerbaijan Milan Ekert spoke about the concert of the Marek Novotny Quartet.The Czech musicians will perform at the Landmark Hotel on May 25. Notably, Honored Artist Isfar Sarabski will give a concert in the Czech Republic on the same day.Polish Embassy representative Katarzyna Piasetskaya said that the festival promises to be interesting and memorable. Aga Derlak Trio from Poland will perform at the Landmark on May 26.Kyrgyz Embassy representative Almaz Aidosov expressed his hope that the Baku International Piano Festival would continue to have a traditional character. Vikram Ruzakhunov (Kyrgyzstan) will perform at the festival on May 22.In conclusion, Mr. Almaz Aidosov expressed his desire to see Azerbaijani musicians at the International Jazz Festival in Kyrgyzstan.During a week, music lovers in Baku will be pleased with marvelous concerts.Zinnetango will give a spectacular concert in Baku on May 20. Zinnetango is an Argentine tango group that formed in the spring of 2021.The international quartet consists of Argentinian, Belgian, and Estonian top musicians that are united by a common passion for the old tradition of tango. Talented dancers will brighten up the band's live performance.The performance of Max Villaveccia and the Los Aurora band on May 21 is a breath of fresh air in flamenco.Los Aurora is a flamenco-jazz group that is revolutionizing the national and international music scene with a daring and personal proposal. A breath of fresh air in flamenco, a genre that has lost its fear of fusing with other aesthetics.Famous jazz pianist Vikram Ruzakhunov (Kyrgyzstan) will perform at the Baku International Piano Festival on May 22.Vikram Ruzakhunov is a well-known jazz pianist from Kyrgyzstan who played a key role in the popularity of jazz throughout the Central Asian region. The pianist is awarded the Excellence of Culture of Kyrgyzstan medal.Turkish musicians Guvenc Dagustun and the Tanini Trio will thrill the Baku audience on May 22.As a band, they have performed in Turkey, Italy, Germany, the U.S., South Korea, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Spain, etc.Participants of the "Youth Support" project will also perform at the festival. Young talents will be accompanied by the State Chamber Orchestra under the baton of national conductor Valid Aghayev.Azerbaijani composer and pianist Kamala Alizade will please the audience with modern music on May 23. Notably, Kamala Alizade has worked as an artistic director, composer, and pianist at various festivals between Azerbaijan and Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Holland, and Italy, such as "Dialogue between Dante and Fuzuli".Vadim is not only a virtuoso at the upright and grand pianos and keyboards - he knows how to create a wonderful atmosphere. The virtuoso pianist will perform at the festival on May 23.Tarlan Novrasli's book "Come to my Karabakh" will be presented to the lyrical music composed by Honored Artist Nargiz Aliyeva.Notably, Tarlan Novrasli is the author of about a thousand romantic philosophical poems, novels, poems, scientific articles, textbooks, etc. Nargiz Aliyeva has been awarded the Mozart Medal of the European Academy of Sciences.Helge Lien Trio will give a concert in Baku on May 24. Helge Lien is a synthesis of two traditions, America and Scandinavia. The band connects different cultures through its music.Saida Zulfugarova will perform Edvard Grieg's Concerto in A minor for piano and orchestra on May 25. At the same time, young pianist Vurgun Vakilov will thrill music lovers with Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2.Saida Zulfugarova's artistic career clearly reflects her generous, curious, and enterprising personality: from her activities as a soloist to chamber music to collaborations with talented musicians.Vurgun Vakilov is a classical pianist, whose name was written into the "Golden Book" of young talents, and is awarded a special monthly scholarship. In 2017, he was awarded the "Presidential Award for Youth". The pianist is currently studying at the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot" (ENMP).Marek Novotny has experimented and toured with many musical projects and ensembles. His recent musical experiments have been awarded the Grand Prix of the Chang-Sha/CHINA Festival. His quartet will give a concert on May 25.Zuleykha Usubova, Rovshan Amrakhov, and Ayyub Aliyev are three talented musicians from Baku.They are united by victories in multiple competitions, successful projects, and a great passion for music. The concert is scheduled for May 26.Honored Artist Shahin Novrasli will perform the last concert at the Baku International Piano Festival.The musician will mesmerize the audience with the fusion of jazz, classical music, and mugham. Shahin's album "BAYATI" will be also presented as part of the event.The music album was released this March by Japanese record company "Eight Islands Records".Shahin's 45th birthday anniversary concert will be followed by an afterparty DJ/piano.For more information, please visit the festival's website. Tickets are available here.Media partners of the event are,,, Azerbaijani deputy premier discusses development of relations with Iranian top officials Politics Fri, 20 May 2022 10:54:00 +0400 By AzernewsDeputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iran's Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammed Hussein Bagheri discussed the significant development of friendship between Azerbaijan and Iran and their entry into a new stage.The meeting was held on May 18 within the framework of Mustafayev’s visit to Iran.Congratulating him on the liberation from the occupation of Azerbaijani territories, Bagheri noted Iran's interest in developing relations with Azerbaijan.The sides also exchanged views on the importance of cooperation in the defense and military-technical spheres, as well as further development of relations between the two countries at the bilateral, regional and international levels.During the visit, the Azerbaijani deputy prime minister also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.Expressing satisfaction with the high level of development of bilateral relations and the increase in trade between the two countries, the sides stressed the importance of the early start of the implementation of the agreements reached between Azerbaijan and Iran at the 15th meeting of the State Commission for Economic, Trade and Humanitarian Affairs, as well as the memorandum of understanding between the governments of Azerbaijan and Iran on the creation of new communication links between the Eastern Zangazur economic region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Iran.The officials highly appreciated the economic, trade, transport, humanitarian, and other cooperation between the two countries, as well as the high-level mutual visits.The sides also discussed topical issues on the agenda of bilateral cooperation and issues of regional cooperation of mutual interest.Currently, the involvement of Iranian companies in the restoration and reconstruction of the liberated territories of Azerbaijan is a manifestation of the dynamic development of bilateral relations.Azerbaijan and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing new communication links between the Eastern Zangazur economic region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Iran.