RBC, 08.01.2008, Tbilisi 12:16:58.The Central Election Commission of Georgia has announced the results of the presidential election from 95 percent of the country’s polling stations. According to the results, Mikhail Saakashvili was still leading the race with 52.1 percent. Levan Gachechiladze was in second place with 24.99 percent, while other candidates had gained less than 7 percent of the vote. Therefore, the election authorities have concluded that the early presidential election will be completed in one round. The commission is currently continuing to count the remaining votes. The Central Election Commission has not yet announced the results of a referendum regarding Georgia’s entry to NATO and the date of the next parliamentary election. According to exit polls, some 61 percent of voters cast their ballots in support of Georgia’s NATO membership, and 63.6 percent voted for holding a parliamentary election in the spring. It is expected that the official results of the referendum will be announced within a week….(Click: read more for lots of exciting news!)
RBC, 08.01.2008, Moscow 11:37:34.Armenia’s trade deficit amounted to just shy of $1.81bn, or 22.9 percent of GDP, from January to November 2007, ARMINFO reported. According to the republic’s National Statistics Service, Armenia’s foreign trade grew 39.1 percent in the first 11 months of 2007 and 10.8 percent in November alone, to $3.933bn. Trade with the EU rose 37.3 percent to $1.497bn, with exports amounting to $516.6m and imports $981m. Trade with countries outside the CIS reached $1.147bn, and $1.288bn with the CIS. Armenia’s key trade partners in terms of exports are Russia (17.3 percent of Armenia’s overall exports), Germany (14.5 percent), the Netherlands (13.4 percent), Belgium (8.8 percent), Georgia (7.5 percent), Switzerland (4.6 percent), and the US (4.3 percent). The primary importers to Armenia are Russia (15.6 percent of total imports), Ukraine (7.8 percent), Kazakhstan (7.3 percent), Germany (6.8 percent), China (5.9 percent), and the US (4.6 percent).
RBC, 08.01.2008, Moscow 10:37:27.Moscow is seriously concerned about the continuing turmoil in Palestinian-Israeli relations, Mikhail Kamynin, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told reporters, commenting on the situation in Palestinian territories. He noted that Russia condemned and considered unacceptable the attacks from the Gaza strip directed at Israeli towns, and referred to them as acts of terrorism that had to be stopped. Kamynin called on Israel and the Palestinians to keep to their obligations under the road map of political settlement in order to achieve peaceful and safe coexistence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the western bank of the Jordan river and the Gaza Strip. According to Kamynin, Russia will continue to assist in this both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of the international quartet of Middle East mediators.
RBC, 03.01.2008, Tashkent 15:42:12.The state-owned Uzbekistan Railways has signed an agreement with Transpromresurs (Russia) to upgrade its diesel locomotive fleet for $54m. The project to be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been designed for a term of two years. The entire project worth $83m provides for the construction of a locomotive assembly facility with a capacity of 292 locomotive sections a year based on the Uzbekistan Railways’ maintenance subsidiary. The project is to be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Uzbek company. Experts believe that with a stable growth of 7 percent on average, the total cargo traffic will reach 70m tonnes by 2012.
RBC, 03.01.2008, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus has called on Russia to admit the fact that Lithuania had been occupied by the Soviet Union, and pay damages to the republic, Echo of Moscow radio reported on Monday. Lithuania wants $28 billion in compensation, according to estimates announced by Lithuanian officials and experts a few years ago. This is not the first time that Vilnius has made such demands in connection with the so-called ‘Soviet occupation’. In 1939, the republic’s pro-Communist forces formed an alternative people’s government, which invited the USSR to send in its troops into Lithuania. Later it applied for membership in the Soviet Union.