The Website of the Armenian Movie hacked by Azerbaijanis

Since opening the first art movie site www.prervannaya-pesnya.ru which is telling about Armenian-Azerbaijan relationship has been visited 25000 people within two days. From January 18 to January 19 at night the site has been attacked by Azerbaijani hackers and in result all visitors automatically readdressed into anti-Armenian content Azerbaijani sites. In a short time the site has been re-established by the efforts of web site administrators. The film makers consider the actions of Azerbaijan hackers as an intolerant treatment against the shooting film which is making by the efforts of Armenians.

We remind that the idea of shooting the film “Interrupted song” belongs to a group of Armenian young people living in Moscow. The aim of film is to represent the reality made during the ages in unbiased way which prevents the compromise between two nations now days. The film authors don’t defend one of the hero’s orientation but through the going discussion try to find the accepted solution for both sides from the made situation. The premiere of film will take place in Moscow at the end of May, 2011 then there is an aim to show the film in a big screen of USA, France, Georgia, Turkey, India, Near East and some Balkan countries. The director of the film is Arik Manukyan and major producer is Ashot Poghosyan. The film is funded from the personal sources of creative group but there is a need of extra finance for the mass scene shooting as well as for the organization of appropriate premiere-demonstrations in other countries. Shooting group is ready to discuss all the suggestions for helping the project which are not supposed to change the film plot.

In the photo: the main page of the website www.prervannaya-pesnya.ru.

Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia ‘lose’ much time

“Georgia has always played an active role in the dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia and wishes soonest resolution of the conflict”, Georgian FM stated Grigol Vashadze, News.Az reports quoting ANS PRESS.
“We, the three countries of the South Caucasus, need to demonstrate unity, economic activeness and plan economic development to integrate with European structures. I want to say not only from my name but also on behalf of the Georgian people, that we wish the soonest resolution of the conflict.
The South Caucasus is an area of peace, stability and cooperation. Indeed, all three countries lost much time and today we need to understand that the conflict should be settled on the basis of norms of international law”, said he.

US analyst Robert Cutler: “Azerbaijan has been transforming itself from an international energy”

Dr. Robert M. Cutler, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies of Carleton University, characterizes the current state of Caspian energy issues in an interview with APA’s correspondent in Washington.
APA – What is your assessment of Azerbaijan’s current energy policy in the Caspian region?

RC – Azerbaijan has been transforming itself from an international energy “agenda-taker” into an “agenda-maker”. Even if Azerbaijan still depends to some extent on the international energy companies and foreign states, still it has succeeded that those companies and states are now also depending reciprocally upon Azerbaijan, which thereby achieves some relative autonomy from those influences. Azerbaijan’s key geographic situation and important energy reserves guarantees it great potential, not only as a resource-holder but also as a transit country, for irreplaceable contribution to global energy security.

APA – Just recently European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had been in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to discuss Nabucco gas pipeline project and other energy issues. How would you value the results of the visit?

RC – Nabucco’s prospects improve from week to week. The consortium is preparing the final investment decision. Barroso’s agreement with President Aliyev in Baku adds little to what is already accomplished beforehand, but it is an important symbol at a time when such symbols do not hurt. That he is traveling with Oettinger is also symbolically significant because it suggests that the EU it is ready to devote the high-profile attention necessary to insure bureaucratic focus on the matter.

APA – And what is your assessment of Azerbaijan-Iran and Azerbaijan-Russian energy cooperation?

RC – Azerbaijan naturally has concerns about gas provision to Nakhichevan, which is an important element in the Iranian relations. However, the political and legal structure of Iran, embodied also in the state economic doctrine expressed through its constitution, continues to be hostile to the establishment of a rational framework for business-like and trust-worthy relations of mutual benefit.
It should not harm energy cooperation with the West. Would the West decline energy cooperation with Azerbaijan for this reason? The actual events answer this question is in the negative.

EU, Azerbaijan sign gas deal to bypass Russia

The European Union and Azerbaijan signed a deal Thursday in which the Caspian country commits to supply Europe with “substantial volumes of gas,” an agreement the EU said was an important step to reduce the bloc’s dependence on deliveries from Russia.
However, Baku has not yet decided whether the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project will get the award from the big Shah Deniz II gas field, or whether the contract will go to smaller rival projects.
Moscow’s disputes with Ukraine and Belarus have in the past cut off supplies to Central and Western Europe, making European policymakers keen to develop alternative routes to get their gas. Currently, the EU gets about 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia.
“This is a major breakthrough,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who signed the agreement with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, said in a statement. “This new supply route will enhance the energy security of European consumers and businesses.”
In the agreement, Azerbaijan promises the EU to provide sufficient gas to enable the creation of the so-called Southern corridor — a route from the energy-rich Caspian basin to Europe that bypasses Russia. The infrastructure will be provided together by Europe and Azerbaijan, the EU said in a statement.
Currently, several pipeline projects are competing to create the Southern corridor. The EU has thrown its weight behind Nabucco, a massive 3,300 kilometer pipeline proposed by a consortium of firms led by Germany’s RWE AG that could move up to 31 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Baku all the way to Austria.
But in recent months, the 27-country bloc appears to have softened its position on what pipeline to support.
“For the EU it’s decisive that a European project and a European firm gets awarded this contract,” said Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for the EU’s Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who was in Baku with Barroso.
In its statement, the EU said that Azerbaijan will decide in the next months which project would get the award for the Shah Deniz II field. The bloc hopes to have a commitment by March, the month a euro200 million ($266 million) support package the EU has promised Nabucco expires if there’s no investment decision. The EU’s package would only cover a fraction of the pipeline’s estimated euro7.9 billion cost.
In addition to Nabucco, there are a number of smaller pipeline projects. ITGI — backed by Italy’s Edison SpA, Greek gas company Depa and Turkey’s Botas — would take gas from Turkey’s border to the southern heel of Italy, while the Trans Adriatic Pipeline — proposed by Switzerland’s EGL, Norway’s Statoil ASA and German E.ON AG — plans to go from Greece, across Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy.
Both ITGI and TAP would rely on Turkey’s existing pipelines to get the Azeri gas to EU borders.
Many energy experts have long questioned the feasibility of Nabucco, arguing that there is not enough gas in the Shah Deniz field to make the project commercially viable in the coming years and that getting gas from Turkmenistan or Iraq — two other potential suppliers for Nabucco — will be difficult.
“We do not see enough gas available for a pipeline as big as Nabucco before 2020,” said Jonathan Stern, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “The small projects seem to me to be more the right size for what can be done this decade.”
According to the institute’s estimates, until at least 2018, Shah Deniz II would be able to ship a maximum of about 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe — less than a third of Nabucco’s full capacity.
For the question whether the Southern corridor will actually become a reality anytime soon, Thursday’s agreement “is not really groundbreaking,” said Alexandros Petersen, a Eurasia expert at the Atlantic Council is Washington. “The real story is what project of the Southern corridor the Azerbaijanis are going to pick.”

/Associated Press/

Joint Declaration on Southern Gas Corridor provides basis for Azerbaijani gas supplies

A Joint Declaration on Southern Gas Corridor signed by the European Commission and Azerbaijan provides a firm political basis for gas supply from Azerbaijan, the official statement of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International says.
Reinhard Mitschek, Managing Director, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH said that the Joint Declaration on strategic gas supplies to Europe is of particular importance as it seals the bond between the EU nations and a close neighbour and strategic partner.
“Building on the Intergovernmental agreement, which was signed by the governments of the Nabucco transit countries in July 2009, the Joint Declaration serves to pave the way to the full implementation of Nabucco, by providing a firm political basis for gas supply from Azerbaijan,” Mitschek said.
The Southern Corridor is a priority EU energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. The Southern Corridor includes: the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), White Stream, and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline).
“Nabucco” is worth 7.9 billion euro, with its construction scheduled to start in 2012 and the first supplies to be commissioned in 2015. The project’s participants include the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE, each having an equal 16.67 percent share. The pipeline’s maximum capacity will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year.

President of European Commission: President Ilham Aliyev openly stated that Azerbaijan supports Nabucco project

“A commercial decision must be made on Nabucco project. It is already clear that Nabucco is the major project within the framework of the South Corridor, as it will be possible to deliver more gas to Europe through this pipeline. Nabucco is also profitable for the countries producing natural gas,”, APA reports. As to the realization of Nabucco project, transportation of Shahdeniz gas through the pipeline that will be constructed based on this project, Jose Manuel Barroso said all these are commercial decisions, and they must be made on the commercial level.
“But these decisions can also be supported on the political level. The Nabucco-related decision must be made by the business companies; I reiterate that this is a commercial decision. Yesterday President Ilham Aliyev openly stated that Azerbaijan supports this process. As regards Turkey, this country also supports this project. Therefore, the companies must have a say. We cannot make decision instead of the companies, we can only give political support,” Barroso said.

US says working together with Turkey for same goal on Iran

Reflecting the US administration’s stance recently voiced by US President Barack Obama on the same issue, a senior US official has stated that NATO allies Washington and Ankara have been working for the same goal regarding Iran’s nuclear program despite differences in the past.
Iran will either become further isolated or will fulfill its international obligations in line with the international community’s demands, Michael Hammer, the spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC), said on Wednesday in New York, while recalling that the next round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran will take place in İstanbul in the second half of January, reports Today’s Zaman.
The US thanks and extremely appreciates Turkey for its willingness for hosting this meeting, Hammer first noted when asked about US expectations of the meeting and how he considered relations with Turkey in regards to the Iran issue at a press conference held at the Foreign Press Center at the US permanent representation to the UN.
“We have a very close alliance relationship with NATO ally Turkey. We want to continue expanding and improving our strategic partnership with Turkey,” Hammer was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency, as he highlighted that President Obama has good relations with both Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In the past, Turkey and the US had some differences over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, and Turkey’s vote against UN Security Council sanctions against Iran last June led to disappointment by the US side, he said.
“However, we went beyond this and now we are working together for the same goal. What is clear and needs not to be forgotten is the fact that both the US and Turkey and the other members of the international community have the same goal, and that is exerting firm efforts to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapon and provide Iran’s abiding by its international responsibilities,” Hammer, nevertheless, added.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton arrived in İstanbul on Thursday for talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Ashton will lead the nuclear negotiations in İstanbul, which follow December’s negotiations in Geneva, on behalf of the P5+1 nations, the UN Security Council permanent members China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, plus Germany.
In a December interview with Turkish media, Obama had clearly sought to downplay Turkey’s reluctance to back a tougher line on Iran. “As with our other close allies and friends, we will sometimes disagree, as was the case on the vote on Iran sanctions in the UN Security Council. Our differences about tactics notwithstanding, I firmly believe Turkey shares the goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran,” Obama said at the time.
In New York, Hammer reiterated that he believed the US has had very good relations with Turkey. “We look forward to seeing in İstanbul at meeting where Iran is ready this time. We left the door open to diplomacy and while sanctions continue putting pressure on Iran, we hope that Iran will make the right choice by diplomatically approaching this issue in a constructive way,” he said.
Earlier at the conference, Hammer also noted that the US attaches importance to its relations with rising powers such as Turkey, Brazil and Mexico and wants stronger and deeper relations with these countries. The US is currently doing this with Turkey, he added.

Russian ambassador: Balance of mutual interests is basis of Russian-Azerbaijani relations

Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin, summing up the results of 2010 in an interview with the Agency “Vestnik Kavkaza stated that Azerbaijan’s place in the Russian foreign policy is firstly determined by the geographical neighborhood, and secondly, the geopolitical situation in the Caspian and Caucasus regions important for Russia, thirdly, Russia and Azerbaijan’s participation in the CIS, and fourth, the unique character of the past historical relationship of the two countries, Trend reports.

“Russia and Azerbaijan have chosen a line of mutual relations, which we call a strategic partnership. An absolute respect for sovereignty and freedom of action to each other, the balance of mutual interests is basis for it. Time shows that we are on the right way,” he said.
“We managed to agree on complex and sensitive issue – the delimitation of borders between Russia and Azerbaijan. The two countries have been working for this agreement for over 15 years, and finally came to a unique compromise. The result was unique too – the border does not divide us, but makes even closer. The Russian-Azerbaijani relations have thus achieved a high degree of maturity and mutual trust. They are actively developing in all areas. We have a good base to continue moving forward confidently,” Dorokhin said.
Assessing Russia’s role in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Dorokhin said that Moscow’s role is in public view.

“Moscow, together with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as by using the potential of its bilateral relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia, does all what depends on it for a just resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the highest level (literally) and will further continue it,” he stated.
According to the ambassador, Russia is Azerbaijan’s important trade partner in non-energy sector.
“Over 90 percent of the Russian supplies to Azerbaijan are goods of engineering, automobile and chemical industries, metal products, lumber and building materials, foodstuffs and agricultural raw. Most of all exported (non-energy) Azerbaijani products are sold on the Russian market,” – he said.

According to Dorokhin, until recently, relations in the energy sector between Russia and Azerbaijan were brought to the fact that the Russian company Lukoil operated several dozens of gas stations in the Azerbaijani territory and participated with a 10-percent share in “Shah Deniz”gas project.
In 2010 supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Russia started. In 2011, their amount will increase by two times – up to 2 billion cubic meters, he said.

“Given the two countries’ energy potential, all should not end on this. During the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Azerbaijan it was agreed to conduct a special Russian-Azerbaijani summit on energy. The question is about the terms of a strategic plan to agree on actions in global markets based on mutuality and balance of interests, and now works are underway on preparing the summit,” Dorokhin said.

Georgia, Iran visa-free mechanism to take effect

Georgia and the Islamic Republic of Iran will start their visa-free travel mechanism from January 26 this year, according to the Georgian foreign ministry, IRIBNews reports.

“Citizens of both countries will have the right of entering, leaving the territory and the right of transit through international border crossings, provided for international communications of other countries. The citizens will be able to stay in the country for up to 45 days,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website Thursday.

The two countries signed their visa-free mechanism on November 3 last year when former Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited the South Caucasus country.