European Union

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Iran sends warning letter to EU

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has sent a letter to European countries about the tightening of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and warned of possible negative consequences for the European Union, Trend reports.According to available information, the letter was delivered to EU officials. The letter also states that the imposition of sanctions against Iran will inflict more damage on European countries than on Iran.

Spain hands over EU chairmanship to Belgium

Belgium will be the chairman of EU for the 12th time from July 1st toDecember 31st 2010. According to APA, the chairmanship of Belgium isespecially important. Belgium will fulfill its obligations within thenew Lisbon agreement, that came into force on 1st December 2009. Theprogram of Belgium's chairmanship is part of the 18-month program ofgroup chairmanship (Spain-Belgium-Hungary).The program has 5 aspects:-fighting the economic crisis and modernizing the economy and finances;

Iran forces Israel to open up

Iran forces Israel to open up

A new wave of confrontation around Iran is the result of relationsbetween Russia and the USA. Obama's administration managed to findcommon ground with the Kremlin. Russia agrees more with the USapproach to solving the Iranian nuclear issue.

Presidents of Azerbaijan and Bulgaria meet in Baku

AzerbaijaniPresident Ilkham Aliyev and President of Bulgaria GeorgiParvanov have held an extended meeting, AzerTag reports.Ilkham Aliyev greeted Parvanov and emphasized the importance of themeeting for further development of relations. He said that Azerbaijanis ready to develop cooperation in all sectors – economic, political,energy and cultural.

Erdogan speaks on new program

Erdogan speaks on new program

Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech on the PBS TV channel about Turkish policy. He spoke about the renewal of Syrian-Israeli negotiations under the mediatorship of Turkey, so that both sides can make the corresponding demand and have Israel act according to the norms of international law, TRT reports.Erdogan gave his assessment of events in northern Iraq and the terrorist attacks in the region and the process of Turkey becoming a member of the EU.

Iran plans to minimize repercussions of international sanctions

Iran has established a headquarters for special economic actions to be taken against the international sanctions, ITAR-TASS reports, citing Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki.He said that they had taken measures against the sanctions in the past. These measures had helped the country save $180 billion in the past 5 years. Mottaki believes that sanctions are an ineffective method that have never lead to the desired result.

Russia's share in Armenian foreign turnover amounts to 21%

Russia's share in the Armenian foreign trade turnover is estimated at 21%, reports Novosti Armenia, citing the National Statistical Service of Armenia.According to the data, this the highest turnover of all Armenia's trading partners. In total, the CIS states share 28.5% in foreign trade turnover, and Armenia's EU partners - 32.2%. The results of January-May exports from Armenia to Russia show an increase of 16.8% in comparison with the figures of the previous year, amounting $47.6 million.

Bulgarian President visits Azerbaijan

The Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, has started a two-day visit to Azerbaijan, which will last from June 30th to July 1st, APA reports. The visit will see discussion of bilateral relations development in the political and trade-economic spheres. In Turkey, where he was on a visit before arriving in Azerbaijan, Parvanov offered to organize a trilateral meeting of companies of Bulgaria, Turkey and Azerbaijan to hold talks on gas deliveries from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria .

Karabakh should not remain a white spot on the map of Europe

Karabakh should not remain a white spot on the map of Europe

"The principles of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution remain unchanged. These principles create a serious basis for a serious process. It is also very important for the publics of the two countries to know the content of the process of negotiations. The co-chairing countries should stick to these principles," special representative of the European Union for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby said

Georgia starts negotiations on associate membership of EU

Tbilisi will start negotiations on July 15th on associate membership of Georgia in the EU. Georgia expects the arrival of a high-ranking delegation from the EU, Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday at a session of the National Security Council of Georgia, Interfax reports.He also said that they plan talks on the free-market agreement with EU in autumn. Saakashvili recalled that Georgia and the EU have an agreement simplifying the visa regime between them, which comes into force in the second half of 2010.

Special EU representative for South Caucasus arrives in Baku

The special representative of the EU for the South Caucasus, Peter Semnebi, arrived in Baku today. His visit is due to the concern of EU about the violations of the ceasefire regime on the border line between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, Trend reports.

Georgian winemakers won't unite under common brand

Georgian winemaking companies have rejected the proposal of uniting under common brand. A month ago the Georgian minister for agriculture called on winemakers to take this step in order to strengthen the position of Georgian wines on the EU markets, Business Georgia reports.The negotiations on this issue between the leading winemakers of Georgia have reached a dead-end. Meanwhile, the World Bank has also urged Georgia to create a common brand, which will represent thecountry abroad.

Georgian produce to be sold abroad with its own branding

Georgia is going to develop its own commercial label to protect its production abroad, Trend reports. The EU was the one to launch the process of creating it. An expert on branding has arrived in the country.

Turkey sets up its conditions to Israel

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the premier of Turkey, has announced to Israel the conditions necessary for normalizing bilateral relations between the countries, Trend reports. The conditions are: To apologise for the capture of the "Freedom Flotilla", to pay compensation to the families of the 9 dead on the ship, to agree with an international investigation being launched by the UN and to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip. He underlined that the steps made by Israel so far in easing the blockade are still unsatisfactory.

Abkhazia halts participation in Geneva consultations

The Abkhaz delegation sent a note to the secretariat of discussions inGeneva on stability and security in Transcaucasia, saying that it ishalting participation in the 12th round of discussions on June 27th.Abkhazia has doubts about the objectivity of the discussions of theco-chairs from the UN, the EU and the OSCE and the lack of realproposals, a representative of the Abkhaz presidential administrationNadir Batiyev said.

Armenia to strengthen borders

Armenia will strengthen its border security and modernize the border infrastructure, secretary of the Armenian Council of National Security Artur Bagdasaryan said at a press-conference on Friday, News Armenia reports.He said that a special commission had been formed to develop a package of measures to realize the initiative. Bagdasaryan added that Russia and the EU had expressed readiness to support the initiative

Special representative of EU heads to Baku

The special representative of the EU to the South Caucasus, PeterSemnebi, will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement within theframework of his visit to Baku next week.He will arrive on 29th June, Trend reports. Semnebi will consider suchissues as the upcoming parliamentary elections, work on theassociative agreement aimed at Azerbaijani rapprochement with the EUand the latest military incident on the Nagorno-Karabakh borderline.

EU concerned about military incident in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone

EU concerned about military incident in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, has made a statement about the incident on the border line between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh on June 18-19, urging the sides in the conflict to respect the peace conditions, News Armenia reports.Ashton urged the sides to avoid using arms and continue efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She expressed support for the OSCE Minsk Group and the work of its 3 co-chairs.

Iran says it has enriched 17 kg uranium to 20 percent purity

Iran started refining uranium to 20 percent purity in February, up from around 5 percent, saying it aimed to produce fuel for a medical research reactor.The move alarmed the West, as it was seen as a significant step towards making 90 percent enriched weapons-grade uranium. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, primarily electricity generation.

Session of Commission on coordination of cooperation with EU in Armenia

The government of Armenia held a session of the Commission on coordination of cooperation of Armenia with the EU, headed by Premier Tigran Sarkisyan, Armenia Today reports.

Tehran urges EU to refrain from unilateral sanctions against Iran

Iran urges the European Union to establish dialogue, rather than impose unilateral sanctions against the country, representative of the Iranian foreign ministry Ramin Mehmanparast said, Interfax reports."Unilateral sanctions - is a wrong strategy, which, we believe, won't result in anything good", he said. "We will not deny our political priorities and we urge the EU not to pass by opportunities to strengthen mutual cooperation" Mehmanparast added.

Saakashvili treads in FDR#039s footsteps

Saakashvili treads in FDR's footsteps

Investing in infrastructure boosts Georgia's development

Armenian foreign minister meets Polish leader

Armenian foreign minister Edvard Nalbandyan has met with the Polish interim president Bronislav Komorovskii, Novosti Armenia reports, citing Armenian foreign ministry’s press-office.The meeting saw discussion of bilateral relations and issues of Armenian-EU cooperation.

Foreign minister of Armenia meets speaker of Polish seim

Edward Nalbandyan, the foreign minister of Armenia, has met the speaker of the Polish seim, Bronislav Komorowski, between flights at an airport in Armenia, News Armenia reports.Bilateral relations between Poland and Armenia will be discussed, as well as a number of questions on cooperation between the EU and Armenia.

Simplification of visa arrangements between Georgia and EU delayed

According to the deputy foreign minister of Georgia, David Jalagania, the simplification of the visa regime between Georgia and the European Union will come into force after the signing of a number of agreements, Georgia Times reports.Denmark, the UK and Ireland refused to sign the agreement, but agreed to continue consultations. If the questions are resolved with these countries, the agreement will be signed at the end of this year or early next. Only after these procedures can the visa regime come into force.

Georgian asylum seekers centre to open

Georgia will open the first asylum seekers centre, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, Trend reports. The opening ceremony is scheduled for June 21 in the village of Martkopi. According to the UN HCR, about 50 asylum seekers appeal to the Georgian authorities for refuge every year. The High Commissioner for Refugees and the Ministry for Refugees actively cooperated to establish a permanent reception and centre, where seekers will be accommodated.

Georgian parliament adopts changes to state budget

The Georgian parliament has adopted changes to the state budget for 2010, which provide for increasing budget expenditure by 215 million lari ($1 = 1.88 lari). It is expected that the budget will receive about 150 million lari in taxes and the rest will be taken from budget grants allotted by the EU, Trend reports.The changes have been caused by a higher than expected rise in the Georgian economy, instead of the earlier planned 2% the rise will reach 4.5%.

Azerbaijan to attend conference of representatives of EU member states and countries outside Union

Italy will host the conference of representatives of the EU member-states and countries outside the union on June 19th, on the initiative of the European People's Party, which will be attended by the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Samad Seyidov, reports Trend, citing Azerbaijan's ambassador to Italy, Emil Kerimov .

Georgian foreign minister meets European commissioner

Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze met in Brussels with the EU Commissioner on Expansion and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule, to discuss Georgian integration with the EU and the role of the EU in Georgian stability, News Georgia reports.The commissioner evaluated the progress of the elections on May 30th. The Georgian Foreign Minister paid special attention to conflict zones and prospects of the work of the EU Observing Mission.

Armenian president signs amendments to law on mass media

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed a law introducing amendments to the law on television and radio, Panorama reports, citing the presidential press-service.On June 10th Armenia passed a law in the second reading switching television and radio to digital broadcasting. Yerevan will have 18 TV channels and 12 radio stations broadcasting in digital format, the regions will have 9 TV channels and 4 radio stations. Switching to digital broadcasting is necessary to meet EU directives.