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News about Armenia

Staff Report

Prague, 23 November 1998 (RFE/RL) ó A leading global economic information and consulting firm has released updated macroeconomic data on former Soviet republics and Eastern European countries.

WEFA, a U.S. based company that provides information to global financial firms, bases the surveys on reports from official national statistical agencies as well as multi-national institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The firm also has a staff of more than 200 economists and researchers who correct the official economic indicators for anomalies.  WEFA’s clients use the data to guide their decisions on investments and possible business ventures. The following is a country-by-country breakdown on some key economic indicators issued this week by WEFA. All numbers are positive unless otherwise indicated (by word ‘minus’). ARMENIA

Change in real GDP (Jan-July 1998 from Jan-July 1997) 8.7 percent. Change in industrial production (Jan-Sept 1998 from Jan-Sept 1997) 0.6 percent. Change in industrial production (Jan-Sept 1998 from Jan-Sept 1997) 0.6 percent. Change in consumer prices (Dec. 1997 to May 1998) 4.1 percent, or a monthly average of about 0.8 percent. Unemployment rate (June 1998) 8.3 percent. Total exports (Jan-June 1998) $120 million. Total imports (Jan-June 1998) $407 million. Trade balance (Jan-June 1998) minus $288 million. Exchange rate (Nov 13, 1998) 516.04 drams per dollar. External debt (year end 1997) $668.5 million. Gold and foreign exchange reserves (Aug 1998) $328 million.

YEREVAN, Nov 26 (Reuters) –
Armenia on Thursday accepted a new proposal for peace talks with Azerbaijan over the mountainous Karabakh region, over which the two sides fought a six-year war that killed at least 35,000.

But Azerbaijan, which rejected the proposal from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) a month ago, again said it found the plans unacceptable.
A ceasefire between the sides has held for four years but there is shooting  around  at the front lines.Armenian foreign minister Vardan Oskanyan told journalists his country backed the proposal, which includes renewing peace talks over the region under a loose set of principles calling for Azerbaijan and Karabakh to form a “common state.”

The government of the self-proclaimed independent Karabakh region populated by ethnic Armenians, which broke away from Azerbaijanís rule a decade ago and declared its eventual goal was union with Armenia, also said it was ready to start talks under the proposed framework. Both Oskanyan and Karabakh foreign minister Naira Melkumyan said they still had reservations about some of the OSCEís proposed terms, which could be discussed during talks.