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European Commission receives mandate for association of Baku, Yerevan and Tbilisi

European Commission receives mandate for association of Baku, Yerevan and Tbilisi

The 27-member EU council of foreign ministers has issued a mandate for negotiations on bilateral agreements between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, RIA Novosti reports, citing a spokesman from the council.The agreement on the association, which does not provide for EU membership, replaces bilateral agreements on partnership and cooperation.The decision was made by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, Catherine Ashton.

President of Georgian mediaholding escapes South Ossetian persecution

The president of the mediaholding 'Georgia Times' and the Georgiancivic organization ‘People’s Orthodox Movement’, Malkhaz Gulashvili,is hiding in South Ossetia from the Georgian authorities, RIA Novostireports, citing a source in the South Ossetian law-enforcementagencies.“Gulashvili is currently in Tskhinvali”, the source said.

Heydar Aliyev Auditorium-Museum opens in Astana

The grand opening of the Heydar Aliyev Auditorium-Museum has takenplace in the Eurasian National University of Lev Gumilyov in Astanatoday, on the initiative of Azerbaijani ambassy in Kazakhstan, VKreports.“This event is dedicated to the anniversary of the birth of thenational leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, and is part of theframework of Baku State University Day at the Eurasian NationalUniversity”, the rector of the Eurasian University, BakhytjanAbdraimov, said at the opening.

World Bank specialists arrive in Baku to develop security markets

A delegation headed by the leading specialist of the World Bank’s (WB)financial sector, Michael Edwardson, arrived in Baku on May 10th,1news.az reports, citing the Azerbaijani State Committee on Securities(SCS). The visit ends on May 18th.The committee plans to discuss with the WB specialists development ofcooperation on development of securities market of Azerbaijan andpreparation of a joint project ‘Modernization of the Capital Market’.

Working group to check Kazakh off-shore enterprises in the Caspian for security

A working group formed by the Kazakh Ministry of Oil and Gas willstart inspecting all Kazakh off-shore projects in the Caspian Sea forsecurity measures, a ministry secretary Kanatbek Safinov told VK.Kazakh Premier Karim Masimov ordered the Ministry of Oil and Gas andthe Ministry of Ecology to present their views on improving thesecurity of oil projects after the crash at the Deepwater Horizon rigon April 20th in the Gulf of Mexico.

Co-chairs of Geneva talks to visit South Ossetia

The co-chairmen of the discussions in Geneva on security in the Transcaucasia are to visit South Ossetia, Yuga.ru reports.According to the presidential envoy of South Ossetia on post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiyev, the co-chairs from the EU, the OSCE and the UN will arrive for preparatory works on May 13th.

Newsweek journalist sentenced to prison and lash in Iran

A correspondent for Newsweek jailed in Iran for nearly four months last year before leaving the country has been sentenced in absentia byan Iranian court to an extended flogging and more than 13 years in prison for counterrevolutionary acts, the Iranian government announcedon Monday, reports Ukrinform, citing The New York Times.

Turkey suspends flights due to volcanic ash

Several flights have been delayed for four hours in Turkey due to volcanic ash, reports Trend, citing Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.The cloud of the volcanic ash from Iceland, which lately has paralyzed air communication in Europe, returned to the continent. As a result, a number of European states have suspended air traffic for some time.

Expert commission on migration, trafficking and money laundering to be

The European Union will establish an expert commission on issues of migration, drug trafficking, organized crime, and money laundering in Armenia, said the head of the EU delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Raul de Luzenberger, reports Novosti Armenia.

Russia, Syria want nuclear-free zone in Middle East

Russia, Syria want nuclear-free zone in Middle East

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday after talks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad that both countries want the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in Middle East, reports RIA Novosti.Medvedev said that the talks had seen a discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue. Both presidents have pointed out the right of each state to a peaceful nuclear program.Medvedev also urged the international community to prevent "tension in the Middle East, which may result in a catastrophe."

Turkey's CHP leader Deniz Baykal resigns

The leader of Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal has resigned following the disclosure of compromising video tapes andassassination attempt claims. He will be replaced by Dzhevdet Selvi, reports Trend, citing CNN Turk.

Iran warns U.S. scout plane

Iran warned off a U.S. scout plane during the Velayat 89 military exercises, Commander of the Iranian Army Major General Ataollah Salehi said, reports Trend.According to him, the U.S. plane approaching the area where the drills were being held and left after a warning from Iran's Air Defense.The third phase of the Velayat 89 exercises started on Saturday in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean.

Russian officials give assent to agreement with Turkey

Russian officials have given assent to a project of an agreement on naval transportation with Turkey. The order has been signed by Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, reports RIA Novosti. The agreement is aimed at regulating and developing relations between the two states in the spheres of naval transportation, the promotion of naval cargo coordination and the development of naval transportation security, as well as the boosting of trade and economic relations between Turkey and Russia, the document says.

Armenian Defence Minister on visit to Berlin

Armenian Defence Minister Seiran Oganyan has left for Berlin to take part in an interstate defence ministry meeting of countries providing the Northern Regional Headquarters of the international security forces in Afghanistan with support, reports Armenia Today.Military operations in the area of responsibility of the Northern Regional Headquarters will be discussed during the session. The Armenian peacekeeping forces carry out their duties in theprovince of Kunduz.

Gas supplies to Armenia fully restored

Gas supplies, suspended due to a landslide in Georgia, have been fully restored, reports RIA Novosti, citing the press-secretary of the ArmRosfazprom company."Gas reached Armenian territory last night," she said. "When the pressure in the pipe-line reaches the required level, gas supplies will be restored in full".

Iran ready for talks with EU officials

Iranian Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeуd Jalili is ready to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, reports Trend.Ramin Mehmanparast added that the details of the meeting were yet to be agreed on, and noted that while Iran would only discuss its nuclear program with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it was "also ready for talks with Ashton." A new procedure of uranium exchange has been proposed to Iran by Turkey and Brazil, although the details are under discussion, he

PACE president to meet Armenian leader on May 12

The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Armenia on May 12 - 14, reports Armenia Today. The PACE head will hold meetings with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and the speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, Ovik Abramyan, on May 13. Meetings with Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan, chairman of the parliamentary commission on legal issues, David Arutunyan, and other state top officials are also scheduled for the visit.

Russian-Azerbaijani military cooperation discussed in Baku

Russian-Azerbaijani military technical cooperation was discussed at a meeting of the countries' defence ministers in Baku, reports Trend, citing the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry. The meeting also saw a discussion of the situation in the region, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.The efforts of the OSCE Minsk group in the process of Armenian-Azerbaijani rapprochement are unsuccessful, and we should intensify work in this sphere, said Azerbaijani Defence Minister Safir Abiyev at the meeting.

Turkey urges Greece to save on defence spending

Turkish State Secretary and the head of his country's delegation at Turkish-EU negotiations Egemen Bagis has advised Greece to reduce its spending on arms."Our defence expenditures should be equal to those of our partners. That is why we should move towards mutual arms reduction," Bagis said. He also said he considered Greek spending on arms to be one of the reasons for the economic crisis in Greece.Speaking about negotiations with the EU, Bagis noted that sides should show patience in this issue. "Turkey won't join the EU before the end of the talks.

Iran to let in mothers of detained US citizens

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced that the mothers of three US citizens detained and charged with spying in July can visit their children. According to the head of the Foreign Ministry Manucher Mottaki, the Iranian government has already issued them with visas, reports Radio Svobodi.The US citizens deny the charges.