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Bulletine Politics 


2017 November 06 ( Monday )  14:54:17
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Русский Azərbaycan

 

USA Withdraws from EITI

New York /06.11.17/ Turan: The United States has withdrawn as an implementing country from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in managing revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction. Reuters reported the organization of Michael Ross is named the Project on Resources, Development, and Governance, instead of the Project on Resources Governance and Development.

What this will mean in practice is difficult to say for the time being, but it is clear that the Trump Administration wants to protect US mining companies from the activities of the structures investigating corruption and the proper management of revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction.

There had been doubts about continued U.S. participation in the EITI since earlier this year when Congress killed the so-called resource extraction rule, which required companies like Exxon Mobil Corp to disclose taxes and other fees paid to foreign governments, such as Russia.

In a letter to the EITI board on Thursday, the director of the U.S. Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Gregory J. Gould, wrote that "effective immediately" the United States was withdrawing as an EITI implementing country.

He wrote that while the U.S. remains committed to fighting corruption "it is clear that domestic implementation of EITI does not fully account for the U.S. legal framework."

The EITI, which was founded in 2003, and which the United States joined in 2014, sets a global standard for governments to disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and for companies to report payments made to obtain access to publicly owned resources, as well as other donations.

"It put more information in the hands of the public," said Michael Ross, executive director of the Project on Resources, Development, and Governance at the University of California Los Angeles.

"It involved the U.S. government disclosing all the money it was getting from oil, gas and mining companies and getting these companies to publicly disclose the payments they were making."

There are 52 countries in the EITI, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South America.

Senator Ben Cardin, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, worked closely with Dick Lugar, a Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to help ensure that the United States became an implementing country of the EITI.

In a joint statement, they heaped scorn on the Trump administration for the withdrawal, calling it the result of "Big Oil and Gas" money and influence" and "a painful abdication of American leadership on transparency and good governance."

A statement from the chair of the EITI board said, "This is a disappointing, backwards step."

"The EITI is making important gains in global efforts to address corruption and illicit financial flows," Fredrik Reinfeldt said in the statement: "It"s important that resource-rich countries like the United States lead by example."

It should be reminded that earlier Azerbaijan withdrew from the EITI, refusing to comply with the norms and standards of this organization.

So, on June 17, 2003, President Ilham Aliyev at the EITI conference announced the country's decision to enter this structure. But in April 2015 Azerbaijan's status in the EITI was reduced from a "permanent member" to the level of a "candidate country" due to restrictions on the rights of civil society and the insufficient influence of NGOs on oil production processes.

At a meeting in Astana on October 24-26, 2016, the government of Azerbaijan was given six months to rectify the situation. Then this time was extended again.

However, Baku did not draw any conclusions and at the meeting of the EITI Board on March 8-9, 2017 in Bogotá, Azerbaijan's membership was suspended "due to the inability of the country's leadership to protect civil society." Immediately after that, Baku stated its own leaving the EITI. -02D-

Presentation of Georgian Dossier in Tbilisi

Baku / 06.11.17 / Turan: Presentation of the English version of the report The Georgian Case: Persecution, Arrests and Existing Realities prepared by the Azerbaijani Center for the Protection of Political Prisoners was held in Tbilisi on Sunday.

The report was presented by the coordinator for Georgia of the Azerbaijan Institute of Freedom and Safety of Reporters (IRFS), Dany Burns and a freelance journalist Nurana Mammad.

The report reflects the facts of pressure in Georgia on Azerbaijani political immigrants, journalists and businessmen, and arrests of some of them. In particular, specific facts of persecution of activists under the pressure of official Baku are given.

One of them was the blogger Mehman Galandarov, who criticized the Azerbaijani authorities on the Internet. He was one of the organizers of the protest action in front of the Azerbaijani embassy in Tbilisi in September 2016 against the reactionary amendments to the Constitution. Upon his return to Baku, he was arrested on false charges of possession of drugs. On April 28, Galandarov died under suspicious circumstances in the Baku detention center.

Further in the report, it is said about the arrest of the deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party Gezal Bayramli on May 25, 2017 when crossing the Azerbaijani-Georgian border. She was accused of smuggling, having been planted 12,000 dollars in her baggage. The authorities accused Bayramli of receiving money from the West.

The independent investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli lived in Georgia until May 29, 2017, but was kidnapped, beaten and forcibly taken to Baku. He was also accused of smuggling and illegal crossing of the border.

Mukhtarli said in court that he was forcibly taken from Georgia to the border and put 10 thousand euros in his pocket.

The report also focuses attention on the arrest in Tbilisi of the founder and owner of the Lancet clinic Farman Jeyranly, who had to curtail his business in Azerbaijan before.

"The humanitarian and political protection of Azerbaijani political emigrants living and functioning in Georgia is very weak. It is necessary that local and international organizations strengthen efforts to ensure the security, humanitarian and political protection of these emigrants," the study authors note. -06D-

Mammadyarovs Visit to Sweden

Baku / 06.11.17 / Turan: Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov left for a two-day official visit to Sweden, the Foreign Ministry"s press service reported.

On November 6-7, he will hold meetings with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and other officials. The agenda is not reported. -02D-

Azerbaijani Citizen Arrested on High Treason Charges

Baku / 04.11.17 / Turan: The Azerbaijani citizen Miryousif Mirmahmud Oglu Sultanov was arrested on charges of high treason. Sultanov was detained on suspicion of exporting Azerbaijani citizens abroad and transferring them for communication with employees of the security services of a foreign state, the Azerbaijani State Security Service (SSS) Public Relations Department said on Saturday. He is charged with committing treason in the form of espionage in exchange for material rewards, under article 274 (high treason) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. By a court decision, a preventive measure in the form of arrest was chosen against him.

The investigative and operational actions are continuing. But the message does not specify in favor of which state Sultanov was engaged in espionage. -06D--

UNESCO to Celebrate Jubilees of Gara Garayev, Baku State University and Suhraverdi

Baku / 06.11.17 / Turan: At the 39th UNESCO General Conference taking place in Paris, the list of anniversary events to be celebrated by the organization in 2018-2019 has been adopted.

During the discussions, Azerbaijan"s proposals were accepted to hold the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev in 2018, and the 100th anniversary of Baku State University in Paris in 2019, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture informs.

In addition, a joint initiative of Azerbaijan and Iran on the 850th anniversary of the poet and philosopher of Azerbaijani descent Shihabeddin Yahya Suhraverdi was adopted. -06D--

Weather to Deteriorate

Baku / 06.11.17 / Turan: On November 7, the weather in Baku and Absheron will be cloudy with little precipitation. The wind will be northwest, and the air temperature will be + 16 + 19 degrees in the daytime.

In the country's regions, rains are expected at night and fogs are expected by day. The air temperature in the low-lying areas will warm up to +22 degrees, while in the mountains it will be up to +14.

Beginning from November 8, unstable weather will come to the entire territory of Azerbaijan (starting from the western regions). Heavy rains are expected, as well as snowfalls in the mountains, against the background of a western wind. The air temperature will drop by 4-6 degrees. -02D-

Press Review 06.11.2017

The international importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the impact of problem loans on the banking system, unemployment and the limit of real wages in the country are the leading topics of today"s press.

The Azerbaijan newspaper writes about the expansion of the format of international cooperation of Azerbaijan within the framework of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) project.

The launch of BTK is a restoration of the historic Silk Road, and the creation of broad opportunities for close cooperation between the countries of Europe and Asia.

Azerbaijan implemented the construction of this road at its own expense, without loans, making its investment contribution to multilateral cooperation. This project is listed in one hundred of the world"s largest projects

The Musavat newspaper writes that troubled loans are leading the banking system to collapse. The author is concerned with the issue of litigation with citizens who do not have opportunities to return loans.

Experts believe that such litigation does not provide a guaranteed return of loans. For this reason, banks try to find a common language with the client.

The Novoye Vremya newspaper has published an article on the reduction of real wages almost twofold. According to the State Statistics Committee, the average nominal salary of citizens has exceeded 500 manat. This information caused a storm of indignation in social networks, because it was regarded as obviously overstated.

Economists have calculated that the average salary in the country does not exceed 250-300 manat. The number of people receiving salaries in 2016 amounted to 1.514 million. Only 15% of them (227,000) have a monthly salary above 500 manat, and 57.1% receive salaries at the level of 300 manat. Proceeding from this, it is easy to conclude that the average salary level in the country does not exceed 250 manat a month.