Tuesday, 14 July 2020

W Weekly Update

18-25 April

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Weekly update

 

25 April

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that there was currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second coronavirus infection, REUTERS informed. In a scientific brief, the United Nations agency warned governments against issuing “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to people who have been infected as their accuracy could not be guaranteed. The practice could actually increase the risks of continued spread as people who have recovered may ignore advice about taking standard precautions against the virus, it said. “Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection,” the WHO said. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” it said.

 

24 April

Today, on the day of remembrance of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Genocide, informed the Presidential Office. A wreath was laid at the Memorial on behalf of the President of Armenia. The President also laid flowers near the eternal fire and paid tribute to the memory of the victims with a moment of silence.

US President Donald Trump has issued a statement on the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, said NEWS.am. The statement runs as follows: "Today, we join the global community in memorializing the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, 1 and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world. Every year on April 24, we reflect on the strong and enduring ties between the American and Armenian peoples. We are proud of the founders of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, a ground-breaking effort established in 1915 that provided crucial humanitarian support to Armenian refugees, and grateful for the thousands of Americans who contributed or volunteered to help Armenians expelled from their homes.”

 

23 April

Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian on Thursday insisted that Russian natural gas has never been as cheap for Armenia as was claimed by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and that Yerevan is right to seek a reduction in its current price. “I agree that during some periods the gas price at the border has been below international levels but I cannot share Mr. Lavrov’s view that it was ever two or three times lower than the market-based price,” he said in written comments to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). Lavrov dismissed on Tuesday complaints that European Union member states are now paying less for Russian gas than Armenia and Belarus because of the collapse in international oil prices. He argued that that unlike EU consumers, the two ex-Soviet states allied to Russia buy Russian gas at fixed prices that had been set well below international market-based levels. “When the existing price for Armenia and Belarus was two or three times lower than the international price this was taken for granted and nobody said that it’s politics,” he said, adding that both countries should honor their “contractual obligations.” Grigorian insisted that the Armenian government is not seeking to take advantage of the crumbling oil prices that are hitting the Russian economy hard. He claimed that Yerevan recently asked the Gazprom giant to cut the price of gas delivered to Armenia primarily because the Russians wanted to raise it. Gazprom raised its wholesale price for Armenia from $150 to $165 per thousand cubic meters in January 2019. Nevertheless, the cost of gas supplied to Armenian households and businesses has remained unchanged since then.

 

22 April

ARMENPRESS reported, newly-elected President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan reaffirms that without the complete and full engagement of official Stepanakert no effective outcome is possible in the peaceful settlement process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The President-elect made a statement on Facebook which says: “Deeply understanding the concerns of our society conditioned by the regular discussions with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the leaderships of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Azerbaijani-Artsakh conflict, I once again want to reaffirm our principled position on the issue that no effective outcome is possible to achieve without the complete and full involvement of official Stepanakert. We are interested in the peaceful and final settlement of the conflict and fully understand that it will have its decisive impact on the establishment of sustainable and lasting peace in the region, but we expect the same understanding and responsibility also from Azerbaijan. Of course, we highly appreciate the unique role of the leadership of Armenia on this issue, but we need to accept that the authorities of Artsakh have received the main mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Artsakh people over any proposal or document presented at the negotiation table.” More read here.

 

21 April

The initiatives on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue that Moscow put forward at a 2019 meeting of the top diplomats of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are being actively discussed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a video roundtable with members of the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund on Tuesday, TASS informed. "There are the Madrid Principles [proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group in Madrid in 2007 — TASS] and the documents that Russia prepared in 2010-2011, known as the Kazan Document. There are also the initiatives that were put forward at the Moscow meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in April last year, which are being actively discussed," Lavrov pointed out. He explained that the initiatives were aimed at "finding a solution through a staged approach." According to him, the first stage is supposed to consist of efforts to resolve the most pressing issues. The Russian top diplomat was confident that the signing of the initiatives "would mark an important step towards the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, which call on the parties to end the war and make agreements," he emphasized.

Recently the Azerbaijani air force has increased the frequency of flights in the territories adjacent to the line of contact between the conflicting forces of Azerbaijan and Karabakh, said LRAGIR. The purpose of these flights is both training and intelligence, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Artsakh informed. Aside from various combat airplanes and helicopters, drones are used which, unlike the first ones, often attempt to penetrate the air of Artsakh for intelligence purposes. Such an attempt was made on April 21. The air defense units of the Defense Army detected the entry of the Azerbaijani Orbiter drone into the territory of Artsakh and downed it at around 1 pm. The Ministry of Defense of Artsakh calls on the Azerbaijani side to refrain from provocations and assures that any attack will get an adequate answer.

 

20 April

Chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, a consultative meeting was held to discuss the draft five-year development strategy of Armenia’s healthcare system, the Prime Minister Office said. Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan presented the strategic principles set out in the draft, its main goals. In this context, he dwelt on the problems faced in the healthcare sector. The strategy seeks to raise the overall level of public health, enhance average life expectancy, root out the causes of child and maternal mortality, prevent widespread diseases, identify the reasons behind the failure to benefit from primary health services, ensure high-quality medical services, etc. While discussing healthcare problems, the meeting focused on the steps to address them as soon as possible. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan noted that the activities envisaged in the draft should be concretized. The Premier highlighted the problems faced in the field of maternity and child health. 

 

Sources: https://www.primeminister.am/en/, https://www.president.am/en/press-release/, https://armenpress.am, https://news.am/eng/https://www.azatutyun.am/en, https://lragir.am, https://tass.com/, https://www.reuters.com/.

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