South Caucasus Weekly Review Looks Into Major Developments I...| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 08 December 2022 08:20 GMT

South Caucasus Weekly Review Looks Into Major Developments In Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan


(MENAFN- AzerNews)

By Vugar Khalilov

South Caucasus Weekly Review: 15-21 Aug 22

This project of Azernews is designed to cover major weekly developments in the South Caucasus nations

HIGHLIGHTS

Market explosion in Yerevan kills at least 16 people, injures 60 more

Armenian, Georgian premiers inaugurate new bridge on state border

Georgia's Shida Kartli region gets new governor

FM hails UN Security Council members for joint statement in support of Georgia

Georgian opposition announces renewal of protests

Armenians setting fire to woodlands in Azerbaijan's Lachin District

Azerbaijan unwilling to see peace talks imitation with Armenia - spokesperson

Azerbaijani, Armenian security officials hold another EU-mediated meeting in Brussels

ARMENIA

Market explosion in Yerevan kills at least 16 people, injures 60 more

A huge explosion at a fireworks storage area destroyed a popular market in Armenia's capital, Yerevan on August 14.

According to the country's Emergencies Ministry, the early afternoon blast at Surmalu market killed at least 16 people, wounded 60 others, and caused a massive fire that lasted into the night.

The ministry added that preliminary evidence suggested that two massive explosions pulled down part of a building containing pyrotechnics, sparking a fire.

Around 350 firemen and rescue workers, as well as multiple vehicles and construction machines, were dispatched to the location. They extinguished the fires with long water hoses and ladders, leaving charred, smoldering wreckage.

The Armenian Prosecutor-General's Office announced an inquiry into alleged violations of 'fire regulations,' or laws governing the storage of hazardous items.

On Sundays, the Surmalu wholesale market is typically highly active. Eyewitness reports that the explosion happened in an area where pyrotechnics were kept.

The market, located two kilometers south of the city center, is popular with residents due to its inexpensive pricing and wide range of items.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the scene of the explosion on August 16, according to his press office.

Mourning was announced on August 17-18, by Pashinyan in remembrance of the citizens, who perished as a result of the fire and explosion at the Surmalu market.

Armenian, Georgian premiers inaugurate new bridge on state border

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his Georgian counterpart inaugurated a new Bagratashen-Sadakhlo bridge on the state border on August 19, Azernew reports, citing the Armenian media.

Addressing the ceremony the prime ministers congratulated each other on the opening of the bridge, which symbolizes Armenian-Georgian close collegial relationship and comprehensive cooperation.

Pashinyan stated that despite the present challenging obstacles, a considerable increase in commerce between Armenia and Georgia has been documented as a consequence of cooperative, uninterrupted, and persistent work.

“Nevertheless the Armenian-Georgian trade-economic relations have greater potential. There are serious opportunities for deepening cooperation in industry, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, information and communication, transport, energy, tourism, and other sectors. It is obvious that connection routes have key significance for developing trade relations, which enable to integrate into the world economy and ensure vital connection on the national, regional and international levels,” he added.

The Armenian prime minister emphasized that Georgia, as a transit nation, plays an important role for Armenia in terms of sustainable supply of energy resources, connectivity, and communication.

GEORGIA

Georgia's Shida Kartli region gets new governor

Mikheil Shakulashvili has been appointed as a State Representative in Shida Kartli.

On August 15, Georgia's Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili met with the new governor and discussed current and pending regional development initiatives.

Mikheil Shakulashvili was wished well in his future undertakings by Garibashvili. In reply, the new governor expressed appreciation to Georgia's prime minister for his confidence in him.

Shida Karli's new State Representative is a lawyer by profession. He holds a doctorate in law. Shakulashvili held several posts at Georgia's Prosecutor-General's Office. He is also an adjunct professor at Alte University and Tbilisi Open University (TOU).

FM hails UN Security Council members for joint statement in support of Georgia

Georgia's Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili praised the United Nations Security Council members for their united statement commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia conflict.

“Thankful to the UNSC current (USA, Albania, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and France), as well as incoming members (Japan and Malta) for their joint statement to mark the 14th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war. Through such statements, the international community manifests its support to Georgia and calls on Russia to implement the EU-mediated 2008 Ceasefire Agreement,” the minister tweeted.

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on the 14th anniversary of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war to address the situation in Georgia's seized territories as well as matters related to the Russia-Georgia conflict. Following the conference, officials from the United Nations Member States issued a joint statement.

“We reiterate our 14 years old call to Russia to reverse the recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia's Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and not to impede the creation of an international security mechanism and allow access of international human rights organizations to both regions,” the statement reads.

Georgian opposition to renew protests

Zurab Girchi Japaridze, a politician and the founder of the Girchi More Freedom party, has declared a fresh round of protests and political upheaval, Azernews reports, citing the Georgian media.

“When we have a government that has rigged the elections and has no legitimacy, I believe it's an obligation for every citizen not to obey them. We must sabotage this government or the actions of this government and do our best to get rid of them as soon as possible. That's why I said that the aim now is to achieve snap elections as quickly as possible by all means possible and when I say, by all means, I mean, of course, non-violently,” he stressed.

Instead of awarding Georgia a candidacy status, the EU issued a list of 12 proposals with a deadline to implement them.

This decision resulted in a significant shift in the conduct of the country's political parties. Dissatisfied with the decision, the ruling party has become increasingly critical of their Western allies, while the opposition is dragging its feet on implementing the 12 principles as long as the Georgian Dream is in office.

AZERBAIJAN

Armenians setting fire to woodlands in Azerbaijan's Lachin District

Armenians are setting fire to woodlands in Azerbaijan's Lachin District, Azernews reports.

New photos and videos confirming the destruction of Azerbaijani lands by Armenians have been circulating on social media for many days. A video was released showing Armenians setting fire to the woodlands in Azerbaijan's Lachin District. This once again demonstrates Armenians' disregard for international law.

Armenians performed the same procedures before departing Azerbaijan's Kalbajar District, which was agreed to be handed over to Azerbaijan in line with the trilateral statement by the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders on November 10, 2020.

Currently, Lachin city is temporarily controlled by the Russian peacekeepers to provide communication between Armenia and Karabakh region. According to the November 10, 2020, trilateral statement, signed by the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders, the city should be handed over to Azerbaijan after the completion of a new road, which will be an alternative to the Lachin corridor.

Following the completion of the new road bypassing Lachin, Azerbaijan has demanded Armenia clear the unlawfully occupied city and adjacent settlements by August 25.

Azerbaijan unwilling to see peace talks imitation with Armenia - spokesperson

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has said that Baku is unwilling to see another imitation of peace talks with Armenia that had been going on for about 30 years prior to the second Karabakh war (2020), Azernews reports.

She made the remarks during an interview with Musulmans de France online magazine.

Abdullayeva stated that following the 44-day war in November 2020, Azerbaijan regained control of its regions, which had been occupied for over 30 years.

Despite the extent of damage perpetrated by Armenia on these territories, Azerbaijan was the side that offered a hand of friendship to Armenia, she stressed.

“Because Azerbaijan has always kept saying that the only thing that hampers peace between Azerbaijan and Armenian is the fact of occupation. As the fact of occupation has been eliminated we said that now we are ready to move and normalize the relations with Armenia. And that's why President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was the first one to come up with an idea of peace to sign a comprehensive peace agreement with Armenia,” she underlined.

According to Abdullayeva, the political will of both sides is very important for establishing sustainable peace in the region.

She, however, clarified that Azerbaijan does not want to repeat the imitation of peace talks that had been carried out by Armenia for almost 30 years.

Azerbaijani, Armenian security officials hold another EU-mediated meeting in Brussels

EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar met with Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmat Haciyev and Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan in Brussels on August 19, the EU Special Representative said in a tweet.

“Good and substantive discussions in Brussels today on Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and EU engagement with @HikmetHajiyev and Armen Grigoryan,' the tweet read. No details of the meeting have been reported yet.

Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan and the Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmat Haciyev met in Brussels in early May. The meeting was also hosted by EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar.

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