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Armenia to Cut Visa Fees in Bid to Boost Tourism

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The government will ask parliament to approve a fivefold reduction in visa fees for foreign citizens making short trips to Armenia as part of its efforts to boost the national tourism industry. Foreigners traveling to Armenia currently have to pay a fixed fee of 15,000 drams ($50) for a visa valid for up to

Aliyev Vows ‘Total Offensive’ Against Armenia

BAKU (RFE/RL)–Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev on Monday vowed a policy of "total offensive" against neighboring Armenia during a hardline speech ahead of the presidential election this week. The incumbent president and candidate in the country’s October 15 presidential election told an extended meeting of the Azerbaijani government on Monday that the policy will remain unchanged

French Telecom Giant Gears Up for Armenia Operations

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The French telecommunications giant Orange said on Wednesday that it will launch Armenia’s third mobile phone network in the next several months and will seek to attract a “significant number” of customers with third-generation (3G) wireless services. Its two Russian-owned competitors, meanwhile, insisted that they are undaunted by the prospect of facing Europe’s second-largest

Armenia ‘Pressing Ahead’ With Iran Rail Link

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia is pressing ahead with an extremely ambitious project to build a railway linking it to neighboring Iran, Transport and Communications Minister Gurgen Sargsian said on Tuesday. The governmen’s of the two countries have been discussing ways of implementing it but have yet to reach final agreemen’s. The lack of a rail link between

Armenian Government Claims Further Drop in Poverty

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government reported on Wednesday a further reduction in poverty in Armenia, with a senior official saying that it affected only one in four Armenia’s as of late last year. Stepan Mnatsakanian, head of the National Statistical Service (NSS), cited the figure as he presented the findings of the most recent household income

Armenian Parliament Asked to Extend Unrest Probe

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A special parliamentary commission investigating the unrest following Armenia’s last presidential election has asked the National Assembly to extend its mandate by two months to allow for a Western-backed change in the format of the probe. The commission dominated by pro-government lawmakers was formed earlier this year as the Armenian authorities faced strong international

Government Keeps Up Strong Growth in Tax Revenues

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government’s tax revenues continued to grow strongly in the third quarter of this year on the back of improved customs administration, putting the country on track to post a state budget surplus for the second consecutive year. According to the Finance Ministry, the government collected 383.5 billion drams ($1.26 billion) in various

Armenia Ends Iraq Mission

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia ended its modest military presence in Iraq on Tuesday, citing improved security and the ongoing withdrawal of a much larger Polish army contingent that has supervised Armenian troops deployed in the war-torn country. The 46 sappers, military doctors and other non-combat personnel returned home on board a U.S. military transport plane nearly four

Armenian Military to Draft Students

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government intends to abolish temporary exemptions from military service that have long been enjoyed by university students, a senior lawmaker confirmed on Monday. Armenian law has until now allowed draft-age men enrolled in state-run universities to perform the two-year compulsory service after completing their undergraduate and/or graduate studies. Reports in the Armenian

French Mobile Giant Set to Win Armenia Tender

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A world-famous subsidiary of France Telecom will be chosen to become Armenia’s third phone mobile phone operator after submitting the highest bid for a relevant government license, officials said on Monday. The French telecom giant’s wireless division Orange was one of the three foreign companies short-listed in late August in an international tender for

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