In Armenia, the important news of the past week was mainly characterized by the activity of the country's leadership in negotiations with Western partners, urging Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin corridor, the lifeline road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Also last week, Armenian citizens were informed that they can travel to the United Arab Emirates visa free, the news was very promising not only for Armenian tourists, but also brought hope for further deepening of the business and economic relations between the two countries. As for Azerbaijan, the country was focused to the visit of the President of Egypt, and as it turned out, President Al-Sisi did not bring lucky charm to Azerbaijan, since on the first day of his visit there was a terrorist attack at the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran, causing the death of one person. In Turkey, new cryptocurrency institute was launched in order to monitor, develop sector. EBRD revealed its volume of investments for the last year in Turkey and noted that it was the highest volume of annual investment in all the economies where the bank operates.
On January 23, The European Council agreed to establish a civilian European Union Mission in Armenia (EUMA) under the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). The objective of the Mission is to contribute to stability in the border areas of Armenia, build confidence on the ground, and ensure an environment conducive to normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan supported by the EU, the Council said in a press release.
In response to Armenia’s request, EUMA will conduct routine patrolling and report on the situation, which will strengthen the EU’s understanding of the situation on the ground. The Mission will also contribute to the mediation efforts in the framework of the process led by President of the European Council Charles Michel.
EUMA will have an initial mandate of two years and its Operational Headquarters will be in Armenia.
During his working visit in to Brussels, on January 23, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, had a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. During the meeting the two men exchanged views on regional and international security issues of mutual interest.
Also on Jan. 23. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken telephoned Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, to urge “the immediate reopening” of the corridor to commercial traffic, spokesman Ned Price said. “He underscored that the risk of a humanitarian crisis … undermined prospects for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan," Price said. Blinken also urged the Azerbaijani leader to intensify efforts in bilateral peace talks with Armenia and expressed also concern over the respect for human rights in Azerbaijan.
In a letter to Blinken 12 days ago, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Azerbaijan of blocking the movement of 120,000 Nagorno-Karabakh residents, “effectively holding them hostages.” “This blockade is imposing devastation on an already vulnerable region,” Menendez wrote, by creating severe food and medicine shortages over the last month.
European Union's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar said he was going to visit Yerevan.
'Back in Yerevan for a day of meetings. The situation around the Lachin corridor is serious and solutions have to urgently be found. I look forward to discussions to explore ways forward. The EU's goal remains a comprehensive Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement,' he tweeted.
After ending his two-day official visit in Azerbaijan, on January 28 the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, arrived in Armenia on a two-day official visit.
Armenian nationals can now travel to the United Arab Emirates visa free. The Government on Jan. 26 approved amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding on exempting diplomatic passports holders from the requirement to obtain an entry permit. The move is expected to boost the flow of tourists. Exemption from the requirement of an entry permit will create a solid basis for the revitalization of business and economic ties, which in turn will contribute to the expansion of investment and economic cooperation.
The number of officially registered jobs in Armenia hit a new record in December 2022 growing by 44,900 from December 2021 to 704,400, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced at a government session on Thursday citing the latest numbers, released by the State Revenue Committee. The average monthly wage in December 2022 was up 53,200 drams ($135) compared to December 2021.
A gunman stormed the Azerbaijan Embassy in Iran's capital Friday and killed its head of security. The shooter, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, also wounded two guards in the attack. Police in Tehran said a suspect was arrested. Tehran's police chief, General Hossein Rahimi, said the suspect was an Iranian man who believed his Azerbaijani wife was being held at the embassy. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the gunman's motive was personal. He told Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in a phone call that he hoped the attack would not damage bilateral ties.
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev called the attack a "terrorist act." "Terror against diplomatic missions is unacceptable!" he said in a statement and called for the suspect to be swiftly investigated and punished. Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry accused Iran of not doing enough to secure the diplomatic post and said it would evacuate the embassy. Azerbaijan has had difficult diplomatic relations with Iran. The former Soviet republic is a close ally of Iran's historical rival Turkey. Azerbaijan also has friendly ties with Israel, another foe of Iran, and this month appointed its first ever ambassador to Israel. Millions of Turkic-speaking ethnic Azerbaijanis live in Iran. The neighboring countries both belonged to the Persian Empire until the early 19th century.
On Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi met with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Baku, on the second day of the former’s official visit to Azerbaijan on Saturday. They discussed boosting the bilateral relations between the two countries and addressed regional and international issues of mutual concern.
This was the first visit by an Egyptian president to Azerbaijan.
On January 28, State Oil Company of Azerbaijan SOCAR has published production figures for 2022. Pursuant to the report, over 73,000 meters were drilled last year. This is 18.6% more than in 2021. Some 7.8 million tons of oil and 8.1 billion cubic meters of gas were produced, which is 2.7% more than in the previous year. In general, 46.7 billion cubic meters of gas and 32.6 million tons of oil were produced throughout the country.
During the reporting period, the volume of oil exported by SOCAR increased by 2.6% and amounted to 18.5 million tons. The volume of exports of gas produced throughout the country increased by 19.3%, approaching the mark of 22.4 billion cubic meters.
Gas was exported to Georgia in the amount of 1.4 billion cubic meters, which is 22.2% more compared to previous figures. In general, the country consumed 13.5 billion cubic meters, which is 4.4% more than in 2021. SOCAR also exported over 2.2 million tons of oil, petrochemical and gas-chemical products from Azerbaijani enterprises.
A new institute has been established in Turkey to combat recent problems in cryptocurrency exchanges and boost confidence in the sector.
Emrah Inanc, head of the new Crypto Industry Development, Monitoring, and Reporting Institute, told Anadolu that transparency is crucial for the development of the crypto industry. "We formed our institution and started activities in order to develop the industry and boost confidence in the sector in this period when the sector is going through a difficult period," Inanc said.
The number of people trading cryptocurrencies in Turkey as of 2022 was projected at over 8 million.
Turkey is in the top five countries in the world in terms of cryptocurrency investments.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested €1.63 billion ($1.7 billion) in Turkey in 2022, the highest volume of annual investment in all the economies where the bank operates, according to a statement from the EBRD on its investment results of last year in the country.
Turkey accounted for €1.63 billion of the EBRD's total investment in 2022 reaching over €13 billion for the first time. The country has also become the bank's largest market for the third consecutive year. With last year's investment in Turkey, the bank's cumulative investment in the country has neared €17 billion, 85% of which has been in the private sector.
The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) Thursday kept the country's year-end inflation forecasts for both 2023 and 2024.
Consumer prices are projected to rise 22.3% this year and 8.8% next year, the bank's governor told a news conference marking the release of the bank's first quarterly inflation report in 2023.
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