Wednesday, May 4, 2016

[KOT raising ~C$1m; current account surplus in Q1; WB urges spending controls; IRI poll finds rising pessimism; and Jadambaa begins comeback]

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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Currency exchange centers will be set up at ASEM partner hotels

May 2 ( The ASEM's Hotel and Accommodation working group held its weekly meeting and discussed the successes and lessons learned from the recently held 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP9).

Health and safety inspections at venues concluded

The Professional Inspection Agency had carried out hygiene and safety inspections at hotels Shangri-La, Tuushin, Ulaanbaatar and Blue Sky, where the ASEP9 delegates were accommodated, as well as at the Government House cafeteria and the "Chingisiin Khuree" complex where receptions were held.

The agency informed that although the safety of food and the quality of services to delegates were overall appropriate, a certain number of mistakes were discovered. Thus, the working group unanimously agreed to organize a joint training on hygiene, food production and services before the organization of the next set of activities.

Currency exchange centers to be established

P. Tsagaan, head of the working group, also instructed relevant officials to look into the possibility of setting up official Mongol Bank currency exchange centers at partner hotels, and to complete the greenery work at ASEM Villa by May 7, coincide it with the National Tree-Planting Day.

Link to article


Int'l Market

FMG Mongolia Fund lost 9.7% in the 1st Quarter

April 19 (FMG Funds) The MSE Top 20 index lost 14% in the quarter in local currency, and on top of this the Mongolian Tugrik depreciated by 3%. Local stocks traded lower throughout the quarter, despite the fact that assets globally were sharply rebounding from the January lows, especially those related to commodities and energy.

So yet again Mongolia proved itself a non-correlated asset, but not to the benefit of the fund this time. However, we have historically noted an existence of a time lag in small frontier markets at times.

Mongolian assets listed offshore did reflect the change in global sentiment and mostly ended the quarter in the green. At the time of this writing, we have also noticed a sharp strengthening of the Tugrik on the back of a weaker US dollar and sharply stronger prices for key Mongolian exports such as gold, copper and coal.

We would not at all be surprised to see MSE listed stocks re-rate in the quarters to come and as a consequence the Fund is close to fully invested. Prime Minister Saikhanbileg also aired the feeling of a positive change to come in a speech, stressing that despite economic difficulties the country is moving forward with a number of key projects to support growth. The most important project is the development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, run by Turquoise Hill Resources, a core holding of the fund.

The full year guidance released in March points to a production of 195,000 tons of copper and 260,000 ounces of gold. However, most of the value will come from the underground stage of the mine and construction is estimated to start in the latter part of 2016. Turquoise is expected to invest around $5 billion in the project, which can be compared to Mongolia's GDP of $12 billion. 

Link to update


KOT closed -10% Tuesday to C$0.09, -43.75% YTD

Khot Infrastructure Announces New Private Placement of Up to CAD$1.0 Million, Appointment of New Chief Operating Officer and Closes Previously Announced Placement

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA--(Marketwired - May 3, 2016) - KHOT INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS, LTD. ("KHOT" or the "Company") (CSE:KOT) proposes to conduct a non-brokered private placement of up to 10,000,000 units at a price of $0.10 per unit for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $1,000,000. Each unit will consist of one common share and one-half of a non-transferable warrant, with a whole warrant entitling the holder to purchase one common share at a price of $0.20 for a period of 12 months following the closing date.

The securities issued pursuant to the private placement will be subject to a four month hold period from the closing date. The Company may pay a commission in connection with the private placement, subject to compliance with the policies of the Canadian Stock Exchange (the "Exchange"). Completion of the private placement and the payment of any commission remain subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, including the approval of the Exchange.

Khot's licensed Mongolian subsidiary, Ashid Munkhliin Zam LLC ("AMZ"), has recently announced an acquisition of important licenses in rail bed and road construction and expects approval shortly for a power line construction license. All three of these are critical for the ongoing negotiations with the major financial and construction relationships that will enable the Company to fully exploit these large infrastructure opportunities.

AMZ's joint venture with Sepco III is actively seeking road building opportunities. The Sepco group of Chinese construction and engineering companies is among the top 100 largest global contractors in the world. In addition to this previously announced relationship with this major Chinese state owned enterprise; the Company is in discussions with a large international infrastructure and finance specialist who is seeking an ongoing relationship with AMZ.

The proceeds of the private placement will be used to take advantage of the evolution of the Company's Mongolian infrastructure activities over the last six months and implement a rapid expansion of the strategic business plan.

Management recognizes that the sheer size and scope of this opportunity requires very careful and strategic relationship building. We are pleased to report this process is progressing very positively and the Company anticipates being able to shortly provide more specific information.

The appointment of Ms. Erin Chutter as Chief Operating Officer of the Company will allow for active engagement with the various funding, infrastructure partners and other critical parties. Along with the Firebird Funds' long-standing relationships in Mongolia, Erin's background as an experienced business professional with significant operating experience in Central Asia and China will assist in finalizing various high value concession opportunities. She also sits as the Chair of the Canadian Eurasia Russian Business Association, Vancouver Chapter and brings significant funding and other Chinese State-owned enterprise relationships into Khot and AMZ. Erin has been a director of Khot since April 5, 2015.

Investors should be aware that the Company plans to be financed by project debt at the subsidiary level so the need for additional equity at the Company level should be relatively small and the resulting dilution modest. This round is supported by directors and key consultants to the Company and we invite you to speak to management regarding this opportunity.

The Company closed the financing announced on December 16, 2015, for gross proceeds of $510,000. The financing consisted of 950,867 units at a price of $0.15 per unit for gross proceeds of $142,630. Each unit consisted of one common share and one-half of a non-transferable warrant, with each whole warrant entitling the holder to purchase one common share at a price of $0.20 for a period of 12 months following the closing date.

The securities issued pursuant to the private placement will be subject to a four month hold period from the closing date. The Company paid a commission of $2,640 and 8,800 warrants on the first tranche.

Link to release


Centerra Gold 2016 First Quarter Results

To view Management's Discussion and Analysis and the Unaudited Interim Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes for the three-months ended March 31, 2016, please visit the following link:

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - May 03, 2016) -  Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) -- Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) today reported net earnings of $18.1 million or $0.08 per common share (basic) in the first quarter of 2016, compared to net earnings of $40.7 million or $0.17 per common share (basic) for the same period in 2015. The decrease in earnings reflects a 65% decrease in gold ounces sold, in part due to gold shipment delays at Kumtor, and a 4% lower average realized gold price1, compared to the first quarter of 2015, which was partially offset by lower operating costs and lower share-based compensation charges in the first quarter of 2016.

Gatsuurt Project

The Company continued to engage in discussions with the Mongolian Government regarding the definitive agreements relating to the Gatsuurt Project, during the quarter. As previously disclosed, such definitive agreements are expected to include a 3% special royalty in place of a 34% Mongolian state ownership in the project. The Company is currently drilling on the property and expects to carry out infill, exploration, geo-technical and hydrogeological drilling in 2016 in support of eventual project development. See "Other Corporate Developments - Mongolia".

Link to release


Leading Independent Advisory Firms ISS and Glass Lewis Recommend That Shareholders of Centerra Gold Inc. Vote for All Director Nominees and Resolutions at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders – Centerra Gold, May 3

Centerra Gold Announces Quarterly Dividend of C$0.04 Per Share – Centerra Gold, May 3


XAM trading flat this morning at A$0.23, +109.1% YTD

Investor sentiment toward Mongolia is improving, but don't expect 'Minegolia'

By Peter Ker

May 3 (Sydney Morning Herald) Xanadu Mines chief executive  Andrew Stewart used to need 15 hours to drive to his flagship Kharmagtai exploration site in Mongolia's South Gobi desert.

These days it takes the Australian geologist just five hours, thanks to the paved road that now exists to service Rio Tinto's nearby Oyu Tolgoi copper project.

Such are the benefits of exploring for copper and gold in the shadow of a multibillion-dollar mining operation.

That shadow could grow larger in coming days, amid growing speculation that Rio will shortly confirm plans to spend close to $US5 billion ($6.45 billion) expanding Oyu Tolgoi.

Approval of the expansion has been keenly awaited by Australian companies working in Mongolia, and is expected to dramatically improve investor sentiment toward the land-locked Asian nation.

Mr Stewart will be happy to see the expansion approved but says he doesn't expect a return to the feverish days of five years ago, when Mongolia was lovingly termed "Mine-golia" and "Mon-coal-ia" by excited investors.

"I am sure you are going to see people try and flood back into Mongolia for exploration, because no-one is questioning the geology and the prospectivity. It is the most sparsely populated country in the world, it has a young motivated workforce, and you are on the doorstep of the world's biggest market," he said, in reference to Mongolia's shared border with China.

"But I think it will be a lot more measured.

"The projects are not there to get feverish about. You get feverish about the opportunity to discover more, but that is quite a long story.

"There has been very little exploration ... so it is going to have to go into real grassroots exploration."

In truth, attitudes toward Mongolia have already shifted from the fears about sovereign risk that dominated sentiment just two years ago.

Mr Stewart points to the 20 international banks that in December agreed to lend $US4.4 billion to Rio for the Oyu Tolgoi expansion as an important moment for sophisticated investors.

Shares in Xanadu have already risen from 7.5¢ in September to 24¢ this week, and Stewart hopes that some fresh discoveries will boost that further.

Xanadu already has some promising resources on its tenements, which were purchased from the same Rio subsidiary that owns Oyu Tolgoi: Turquoise Hill Resources.

Stewart worked for Turquoise Hill's predecessor in the large drill team that made the Hugo Dummett discovery that transformed Oyu Tolgoi from a promising province to a major find.

He recalls how that discovery pulled drill rigs away from the tenements that Xanadu is now exploring.

"It was really the discovery of Hugo that saw the concentration of drilling move to Oyu Tolgoi," he said.

Stewart's team will drill 6000 metres of exploration holes in 2016, and are hoping to find the final piece of the Kharmagtai puzzle.

"It is not one particular deposit that makes it, it is generally a series or a cluster of different deposits," he said.

"Oyu Tolgoi is four deposits; we have found three deposits, we are looking for that fourth centre, and we believe discovery of that fourth centre will get the project to that next level, and that is what the exploration focus is on at the moment."

Link to article

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Local Market

Mogi: published Monday pm-ish

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -1.99%, ALL -1.73%, Turnover 128.8 Million Shares 13.7 Billion T-Bills

April 29 (MSE) --

Link to report


MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -1.28%, ALL -0.28%, Turnover 171.1 Million Shares

May 3 (MSE) --

Link to report

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Historic low 2,050.85/USD set March 28, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, May 3 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,014 Sell ₮2,022), TDB (Buy ₮2,015 Sell ₮2,023), Golomt (Buy ₮2,015 Sell ₮2,023), XacBank (Buy ₮2,014 Sell ₮2,022), State Bank (Buy ₮2,013 Sell ₮2,023)

MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

Link to rates


BoM issues ₮16.5 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding ₮144.85 billion, lowest since October 2015

May 2 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 16.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM sells CNY12.3m at 311.21, declines US$6.7m bids, accepts US$33m MNT swap offers

May 3 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on May 3rd, 2016, the BOM has received buying bid offers of USD 6.7 million in a rate between MNT 2005.00-2018.00, buying bid offers of CNY 40.8 million. The BOM sold CNY 12.3 million in a closing rate of MNT 311.21.

On May 3rd, 2016, the BOM has received buying bid offers of USD 33.0 million and selling bid offers of USD 1.0 million from local commercial banks respectively. The BOM accepted the MNT swap agreement buying bid offers of USD and sold USD 33.0 million.

Link to release


Mongolia Jan.-Mar. Inbound FDI Rises to $29.6m

By Michael Kohn

May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Inbound FDI was $29.6m in the first three months of 2016 vs. -$109.2m yr ago, according to data released by central bank.

* Mongolia had $17.7m of FDI In Mar. vs. -$30.5m in Mar. 2015

* YTD current-account surplus at end-Mar. was $77.7m vs. deficit of $43.4m in Mar. 2015

* YTD capital and financial account was a deficit of $31.4m, compared to deficit of $126.7m a year earlier



Mongolia's Foreign Exchange Reserves Fall to $1.27B at end-Mar.

By Michael Kohn

May 3 (Bloomberg) -- FX reserves down 4.43% versus the same period yr ago, according to data posted on Bank of Mongolia website.

* Reserves rise 5.68% m/m



India Exim Bank extends its 2nd largest credit of $1bn to Mongolia

May 3 (Press Trust of India) The Exim Bank has extended a line of credit (LoC) worth USD 1 billion to Mongolia for developing its railways and related infrastructure

This is the second largest Exim Bank credit line to any country, the Bank said in a statement here today, adding the agreement was signed on April 28. 

With this, the Exim Bank has so far extended two LoCs to Mongolia, on behalf of the Centre, taking the total value of LoCs to USD 1.02 billion. 

The first LoC of USD 20 million was extended in July 2011 for financing the India-Mongolia joint information technology education & outsourcing center project in Mongolia. 

With this LoC, the Exim Bank has in place 204 LoCs covering 63 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Oceania and the CIS, totalling credit commitments of over USD 15.28 billion, available for financing exports from the country. 

Under these LoCs, Exim Bank will reimburse 100 per cent of the contract value to the Indian exporters, upfront on the shipment of equipment and goods/ provision of services. 

Exim Bank's LoCs afford a risk-free, non-recourse export financing option to domestic exporters.

Link to article

Link to India Exim release

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Politics & Legal

Mongolia: World Bank Suggests Spending Controls to Contain Rising Deficit

ULAANBAATAR, May 3, 2016 (World Bank) — A new World Bank Economic Brief suggests the need for measures to moderate the rapid rise in government spending. The country's budget deficit is widening rapidly due to a large revenue shortfall and rising expenditures.

The Mongolia Economic Brief released today said the country's budget deficit in the first three months reached two-thirds of the annual deficit target. Budget revenue collections fell by 11 percent, compared with the same period last year, because of falling mining export earnings, and sluggish economic activity. Meanwhile, capital spending nearly doubled in the first three months of 2016, compared with the same period last year and overall expenditures rose by 25 percent.

"Mongolia needs to strengthen its fiscal position now to remain within the sensible limits of the Fiscal Stability Law," said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. "Mongolia's long-term growth prospects remain strong, but its resilience is being tested by the deteriorating external environment."

The report says Mongolia's recent external borrowing helps ease the pressure on the balance of payments, and reduce domestic financing needs.  This comes at the cost of high interest payments and exposure to exchange rate risk, the report said. "The underlying pressure on the balance of payments is expected to remain high for 2017, due to falling exports and large public debt repayments due the coming year," said World Bank Senior Economist Taehyun Lee, who is also lead author of the study. 

The expected second phase investment in the Oyu Tolgoi gold-copper mine should gradually support import-related taxes in the second half of the year, the report said, but overall revenue collections will likely be weaker than budgeted unless the key commodity prices significantly improve in the near future.

In a special section, the Economic Brief welcomed the recent transfer of subsidized mortgage program to the government and urged that the costs of the program be properly recorded in the government budget. 

Link to release

Link to Economic Brief


IRI's Center for Insights Poll: Mongolia Faces Rising Pessimism Amid Struggling Economy

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, May 2 (International Republican Institute)—According to a new poll released today by IRI's Center for Insights in Survey Research, most Mongolians are feeling pessimistic about their country due to a mix of high unemployment, rising prices and corruption.

According to the poll, 61 percent of those surveyed say Mongolia is headed in the "wrong direction" – up 23 percentage points since 2011 – and 92 percent rate the country's economic situation as bad or very bad. Fifty-six percent say their personal economic situation has deteriorated in the last year and 48 percent say unemployment is the most important issue facing the country.

"Mongolia's economic struggles are clearly taking a toll on the people," said Derek Luyten, IRI's Regional Director for Asia. "Mongolians are struggling to find work and with the perceived high level of corruption, it's not surprising they're frustrated."

An overwhelming 83 percent of respondents rate the current government's performance as poor or very poor.  Moreover, 75 percent say corruption is a major problem in Mongolia and one that the government isn't doing enough to address. Meanwhile, 15 percent of those surveyed say a political party has offered them a bribe in exchange for their support.

Even still, a majority of Mongolians continue to believe political parties should promote a stable, long-term and functioning government and want parties to remain active following the country's upcoming elections.  According to the poll, one potential way Mongolia's political parties could improve would be to increase women's political inclusion. Sixty percent of Mongolians say politicians don't listen to the needs and ideas of women and two-thirds say the country's political parties should do more to promote women in political leadership.


The survey was conducted in 13 of Mongolia's 21 aimags (provinces) and capital Ulaanbaatar from March 1-15, 2016. The national survey had a randomly selected sample of 5,000 residents of Mongolia age 18 and older and eligible to vote.  The margin of error does not exceed plus or minus 1.4 percent and the response rate was 95.24 percent.

The survey, funded by Global Affairs Canada, was conducted by Social Policy Development Research Institute under the supervision of the International Republican Institute. 

Mongolian version

Link to release


Parties and alliances to compete in election: final details

May 2 ( According to the General Electoral Law, the political parties and alliances had to submit their proposals to participate the election by 29th April to the General Electoral Commission. The final result is that, 13 political parties and 3 alliances have provided their official proposals.

The three political alliances are: firstly, the "Independence, Unity Union" consisting of the Independence and Unity Party and Mongolian Green Party; secondly, the "United Union of the Patriots" consisting of the United Party of Patriots and the All-Mongolian Labor Party and, thirdly, the "Khaan Choice Union" consisting of the Development Program Party and the Mongolian Liberal Party.

The political parties entering the election alone are: the Democratic Party, the Mongolian People's Party, the Mongolian Conservative Party, the Republican Party, the Mongolian Democratic Movement Party, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, the Implementation of Freedom Party, Let's Love Our People Party, the Mongolian United Traditional Party, the Mongolian Social Democratic Party, the Civil Movement Party, the Civil Will Green Party and the National Labor Party. (a few of them changed their decision to enter the election in co-operation with the DP).

Within five days, the General Electoral Commission must respond as to whether to allow the political parties and alliances to enter the election.

Link to article


The "DP tactic" of the small parties

May 2 ( On Saturday, four political parties announced that they will participate in the election alone, whilst supporting the Democratic Party, namely, the Civil Will Green Party, the Mongolian National Democratic Party and the Ekh Oron Party and National Labor Party.

According to our source, this tactic means that candidates from the small parties are to stand under the name of the Democratic Party for the Parliamentary and City Representative Assembly elections. This means that five members of Civil Will and Green Party headed by MP S.Oyun will stand for Parliament and three for the City Representative Assembly under the name of the Democratic Party. In similar manner, MP's N.Battsereg and M.Sonompil of the Mongolian National Democratic Party will also stand election under the name of the DP.

Link to article


Erdenes TT AGM Held

May 2 ( On 29th April, the annual general meeting of Erdenes Tavantolgoi (ETT) took place at the company building.

During the meeting, the board of directors presented the management report for 2015 as well as the financial report for the same period; these were approved by the shareholders.

During the meeting, the company had to provide transparent financial information on shares: this data is regularly posted on the ETT website in accordance with standards and procedures. The activities proposed for the 2016 operation plan must be undertaken in accordance with the current economic indicators.

Link to article


Mongolia Falls 6 Spots to 60 in 2016 World Press Freedom Index

April 20 (Reporters Without Borders) --

Faltering efforts

The state media's transformation from government mouthpieces to public services in recent years and the creation of the first Media Council in February 2015 have improved the environment for the media. But still very imperfect media legislation, which criminalizes defamation and encourages self-censorship, has weakened the virtuous circle that has existed since 2014. Lawsuits against the media are on the rise and many websites have been blocked. The government's lack of transparency and susceptibility to criticism limit the media's ability to act as a watchdog.

Link to Mongolia page


An appeal to adhere to ethics in media on World Press Freedom Day

May 3 (Mongolian Economy) This year serves as one of greater responsibility for Mongolia. As the quadrennial parliamentary elections will take place this summer and related campaigning will soon begin, the Press Council of Mongolia has called for an appeal commemorating World Press Freedom Day. The appeal states: "The Press Council of Mongolia appeals the press and media organisations to be independent from politics, disseminate accurate information based on facts to the public and adhere to ethical principles during this decisive period."

The Press Council of Mongolia was launched last year and Reporters Without Borders, international NGOs have praised it as a positive indicator of freedom of press in Mongolia. Within a year, the council established two ethical committees responsible for issues related to newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television and resolved complaints from 16 citizens labelled for 45 editorials. International trainers and advisors who conducted training for the council noted that the effectiveness of the council is relatively good compared to other countries by looking at the number of complaints received and how they were resolved, despite being established just recently.

This organisation that works to ensure freedom of the press, establish ethics in journalism and protect the public's right to information will work to remove all kinds of censorship.

Ethical formation of the press and media is an important criterion for the development of free and independent journalism. Therefore, the establishment of a press and media self-regulatory body will accelerate the process of transferring the press and media from state control to public control.

In addition, the Press Council of Mongolia as well as press and media organisations faced challenges during the process of switching the television industry from an analogue to digital system. Thus, there is a need to work by bearing more ethical responsibly and standards.

Link to article


Mogi: the slot was and is reserved for MPRP, deal struck I guess

Cabinet nominates Ts.Lhagvasuren for Health Minister

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat of Government S.Bayartsogt Tuesday submitted to the Parliament Speaker a draft parliamentary resolution on appointing Ts.Lhagvasuren the new Minister of Health and Sports.

The resolution is submitted to parliament after consulting with the President an issue of discharging G.Shiilegdamba from the post of Health and Sports Minister and appointing Lhagvasuren as the next Minister in accordance with the Constitution and the law on government.

Dr Lhagvasuren Tserenkhuu has worked as a physician at the State Central Hospital and later as the director of the Institute of Medical Sciences.

Link to article


Financial cooperation agreement to be established with Austria

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) A financial cooperation agreement will be established with Austria in consideration of Mongolia's need to introduce Austrian techniques and technologies with a soft loan.

The cabinet meeting Monday discussed the draft financial cooperation agreement, and decided to consult it with a related Standing committee of parliament.

This agreement will be established with Austria with a two-year period, thereby previous practice of the two countries accomplishing such an agreement which cost 40 million Euros.

This time, the agreement will cover the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, urban water supply, hygiene, waste management, railway, traffic safety, education, health and social welfare.

Link to article


Border services to be upgraded with ADB loan

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) The cabinet  discussed Monday bills on ratifying credit agreements to be established with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on implementing a regional project on improving border services and on additional financing for a project on developing urban areas in southeastern Gobi region and borders. The bills will be submitted to parliament.

In frames of the project for upgrading border services, facilities and buildings of the Altanbulag, Bichigt and Zamyn-Uud border checkpoints and their automatic information system will be renewed. Moreover, preparations will be performed for one-window system of external trade.

When the projects are accomplished, trade actions are expected to become easier and accessible, and various necessary permissions and licenses will be available at one point. As a result, progress will be reached in saving time and expenses related to external trade actions and in raising competitiveness. Access to information on tax and customs will be faster as well.

Link to article


Nat'l program to be implemented on protecting consumers' rights

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday obliged the Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar to work out and implement a national program on protecting consumers' rights as 2016 has been announced the year for consumers.

Main factor of designing the program was the increasing number of violations in consumers' rights due to a rapid growth of the economic and business activities.

The program to be carried out between 2016 and 2020, aims to build a legal landscape and adequate system for protecting rights of every Mongolian as a consumer, to promote social responsibilities of suppliers of different products, works and services and to enhance public awareness of smart consumer culture. It also provides for 20 measures and actions under the main goals to refine upon the legal environment favoring consumers rights, protect from risks, improve standards and impart proper knowledge.

The Deputy Prime Minister was ordered to approve an action plan for the program and to report on the process to the cabinet every first quarter of the year. The same task was given to the UB Mayor and governors of aimags who have to deliver reports to the Authority for Fair Competitiveness and Consumers.

Link to article


Other Cabinet Decisions in Brief

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Monday, the cabinet approved the results of the 6th meeting of the Mongolia-Bulgaria intergovernmental commission for the trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation, held April 4-5 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Thus, tasks were given to the Minister of Food and Agriculture to adopt a plan of follow-up actions and ensure its implementation.

-       The cabinet considered as necessity to submit to parliament a bill on ratifying an intergovernmental agreement on convict exchange to be established between Mongolia and Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

-       The cabinet backed joining the Acid Precipitation Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET), and charged N.Battsereg, the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, to allocate necessary funds in the annual budget for the membership fee. The cabinet also resolved in favor of joining the Group on Earth Observations and sending in this regard an application to the organization.

-       Some governmental functions related to humanitarian affairs will be performed by the Red Cross Society of Mongolia (RCSM). 

-       Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt presented the results of rural tours of the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg to Uvs, Bayan-Olgii and Khovd aimags.

-       5,000 tons of wheat seeds in reserves will be sold to land farming companies, farmers and entities under specific terms.

Link to article


Opening remarks by Beate Trankmann: Round table discussions, World Press Freedom Day 2016

Roundtable discussions: "Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms. This is Your Right!"

Opening Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia

Open Society Forum

·         Mr. B. Galaarid, President, Confederation of Mongolian Journalists

·         Ms. M. Batchimeg, Member of Parliament

·         Mr. N. Enkhbold, Member of Parliament

·         Ms. Marielza Oliveira, Director of UNESCO, Beijing Office

·         Mr. G. Jargalsaikhan, Secretary General, UNESCO National Commission of Mongolia

·         Ms. Kh. Naranjargal, President of Globe International Center

·         Representatives of Media and Civil Society

·         Distinguished Guests from China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong

Good morning,

I am pleased to be with you today to mark World Press Freedom Day. Every year, May 3rdprovides an opportunity to celebrate and to evaluate press freedom around the world. It is a day to defend media independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

Free, diverse and independent media are an essential pillar of functioning democracies and have the power to transform societies. Access to information is critical to inform the political decision making process and ensure transparency. Open societies help empower individuals to take control of their destinies and to transform their lives. And they foster economic growth as investors are orienting their capital towards environments where media freedom is respected and information is easily available and accessible. 

Mongolia has been making a steady progress in enhancing media freedom and access to information. According to the World Press Freedom Index, its ranking improved from 98th to 54th position between 2013 and 2015. 2016 however saw a slight regression with Mongolia dropping to 60th position out of 180 countries. The main factor behind this dip is the increased use of provisions in the law criminalizing defamation, which led to a jump in lawsuits against journalists and the blockage of websites - citing pejorative content as a reason. 

This challenge was also noted by the UN Human Rights Council in the second Universal Periodic Review undertaken for Mongolia last May. Out of the 150 recommendations accepted by Mongolia, 8 are pertaining to freedom of expression and opinions and I would like to commend Mongolia for accepting the recommendations in full, including committing to:

·         decriminalize defamation and put in place safeguards ensuring that criticism of and reporting on the activities of state and regional authorities do not lead to persecution or harassment

·         ensure the independence of the Communications Regulatory Commission

·         protect journalists' sources and whistle-blowers

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Link to full speech


Annual military call-up begins

May 3 ( According to a Governmental order, the first phase of the 2016 military draft is taking from the 1st to 15th May. During this period, the soldiers who were called up a year ago for their national service are to be demobilized.  

The exact dates of the military draft depend on the location. In UB, for example, the draft will be held from 6th to 8th May.

Those young people who have received their call-up must report to their military registration and enlistment office with their military ID card, smart ID card, health insurance card and if students – their student card.

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Construction industry: Impasse and a way out

By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa

May 2 (UB Post) Mongolia's real estate market today resembles a toddler. Thousands of apartments and other buildings in Ulaanbaatar do not meet the basic requirements of modern urban planning and they lack good infrastructure. The buildings start falling apart and losing their appeal even before they are completed.

Newly built roads in the city are being dug up every year. Due to a lack of drainage systems, the roads become bumpy in the spring, full of water in summer, and they receive patches in autumn. Trillions of tugrug are locked in the construction industry today because there are currently tens of thousands of apartments that do not meet real market demand and have unrealistically high prices. Many of these apartments are not being sold because they do not provide access to public transportation, hospitals, schools, and kindergartens. The industry has become a mess because construction companies have been operating real estate businesses. As a result, it has become impossible to estimate the real value of real estate, including land and buildings.


Since the Democratic Party (which has held ruling power for the last four years) announced the low-interest mortgage program, thousands of families have purchased expensive apartments with an annual interest rate of eight percent. The government has also provided soft loans worth hundreds of billions to support the domestic manufacturing of construction materials. The production of cement, for example, has already exceeded domestic demand.

Following the burst of an economic bubble that was mainly driven by mining, the real estate market is also coming back to a more realistic form. However, due to the government policies mentioned above, the prices for apartments are not going down, while the construction companies that acquired loans are now in a difficult financial situation. If these companies do not lower their prices, they will not be able to sell the apartments. Nevertheless, they are now trapped in a corner with banks after spending a lot of time hoping that the government would help them sell the empty apartments they built. In fact, within one or two years, the banks will have no choice but to seize the buildings that were built with loans and sell them at prices 40 percent less than their current market value.

The five percent housing mortgage program implemented by the government is increasing the government's debt and is not sustainable in the long run. The program will stop after the upcoming general elections. If the government had introduced an arrangement where the principal payments were shared, they would not have created debt to last the nation for decades.

Time has shown that Mongolia's real estate market should no longer be on the path that it has been on until now.


In Mongolia, there is no difference between a real estate developer and a construction company. Our construction companies develop real estate, construct buildings, sell them, and become responsible for the maintenance of the building later on. It has become increasingly difficult to determine the value and quality of buildings in Mongolia, because their construction takes place under a single principle of minimizing cost.

A real estate developer normally draws a project on paper first, finds funding, has construction companies do the building work, ensures that all legal requirements (such as environmental and safety regulations) are met, and sells the property afterwards. The developer is an individual or a company who knows the market well and is capable of buying the land, finding the resources to build, and knows how to obtain project financing. The greater a reputation for successfully completed projects a real estate developer has, the more trust other partners place in them. Banks and financial institutions that provide funding regularly send their experts to check up on the progress of a project. If required, they appoint their own people to ensure that a project is completed.

A construction company, on the other hand, provides services to the real estate developer and has the primary responsibility of building the project according to blueprints. Construction companies usually receive 20 to 30 percent of a project's profits. The construction work is overseen by the real estate developer and their architect. This means that there is oversight of the process, starting from the quality of construction materials to dust levels.


Three reforms are required in the real estate industry to make a substantial change to the construction industry. Those three steps are zoning, applying real estate taxes, and creating a public database of property.

First of all, the capital needs to have different zoning for land, such as residential, industrial, and green. These zones have to be differentiated and legalized with clear requirements and standards. Currently, there is no such zoning set, let alone clearly set boundaries between public and private land, which is the reason why our urban planning has never been anything more than an idea on a piece of paper.

Secondly, real estate valuations need to be more accurate, and taxes should be imposed. Half of the tax revenue should be spent on maintenance of properties. Otherwise, real estate will keep losing its value.

Thirdly, a public domain database needs to be created so that everyone can have access to all property information, such as land ownership, what property taxes are being paid, what buildings are being constructed, and when they are to be completed.

It is expected that the newly elected authorities of the capital and local administration units will take these steps after the elections. People also hope that construction companies will select jobs that they can best carry out, and that the industry allows that.

Link to article


From the Tuul to the Thames: Mongolia London Business Forum

May 3 ( Last week, on 26th-27th April, the 5th "Mongolia-London Business Forum" took place. The event was organized in association with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the London Stock Exchange and the Mongolian Embassy. The first part of the forum took place at the London Stock Exchange Mongolian and featured speakers from the stock exchanges of the two countries, the OECD, the EBRD, the Ulaanbaatar Development Cooperation, Rio Tinto, Mongolian companies launching IPOs and British companies investing or trading in Mongolia. This was followed by a reception in Parliament hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Mongolia Group and the Mongolian British Chamber of Commerce (MBCC). The two-day event concluded in Scotland with a Reception at Edinburgh Castle organized by MBCC and the Honorary Consul for Mongolia in Scotland. A total of 120 Mongolian and UK representatives attended the Forum.

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From Founder to CEO: Matthew Scanlan, CEO & Co-Founder, Naadam Cashmere

Disrupting the huge cashmere fashion industry supply chain, for an inspiring purpose

January 28 (From Founder to CEO) --

Podcast Summary:

Matthew Scanlan's mission, passion, and enthusiasm will stir your spirit and make you think about everyone that is a direct and indirect player in your business. He has discovered a new way to work with people in the profitable cashmere industry while also enriching and uplifting the the herders of Mongolia who work hard to bring quality materials to the market. I dare you to listen and email me and tell me you didn't learn something from this amazing 27 year old…

Name: Matthew Scanlan, CEO & Co-founder


Powerful Promise of Value:  Naadam responsibly sources the finest fibers int the world to produce garments of substance, relevance and quality, connecting a global perspective through a modern aesthetic. Each piece affirms the undeniable link between the herders who harvest their fleece and the global audience that wears it.

Headquartered In: New York, New York & Mongolia

Fortune Magazine Commentaries:

·         The Simple Tools I'm Using to Disrupt a Thousand-Year-Old Industry

·         How I Used 'Millennialist Capitalism' to Help My Employees

Leadership Struggle: "…getting distracted when I become impatient…",

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Annual hot water outage scheduled May 10-Aug 25

May 2 ( During May 10th to August 25th, hot water outage will be done in Ulaanbaatar city due to the repair works scheduled on heating lines. 

Hot water outage by areas



Office and apartment buildings near Industrial districts, Viva City town, Beton Armature, near Misheel expo center 

May 10-May 20


Office and apartments near Ulaanbaatar Recreation, Zaisan, Agriculture University, Orgil Recreation, Stadium, Southern areas of 13th micro district, Narantuul market,  National Center for Infectious Diseases, Jukov Museum, Sunjingrand hotel, 16th micro district 

May 16-Jun 04


Office and apartment buildings near 2, 3, 4th micro district, Railway hospital, Train station, near Construction College 

May 17-31


Office and apartment buildings near Soyolj center, Traffic Police, Shine Ue secondary school, Student`s town, 13th secondary school, Wrestlers Palace, IFE, 2nd hospital, 15th micro district, Kino uildver, Bayanzurh district, near Eco town 

May 23- Jun 06


Office and apartment buildings near City center, Bayangol hotel, 40k and 50k, State Department Store, West four intersection (Baruun durvun zam), Teevriin tovchoo, Bars market, Altai town, Bus-1, Atar urgoo, near Han-Uul district hospital

May 30-Jun 10


Office and apartment buildings near Harhorin market, Unur town, Gurvaljin market, Technical import, Golden park town, 4th micro district, Gurvan bileg LLC, Tundemun sauna, near the cultural place of railway 

Jun 6-25


Office and apartment buildings near City Governor Office, Central Museum, Tsetseg (Flower) Center, Zoos goyol, University of Culture and Arts, Zaluuchuud hotel, University of Science and Technology, Sports Palace, near University of Education 

Jun 13-23


Office and apartment buildings in Niseh (areas near Chinggis Khaan International Airport), Buyant-Uhaa 1 and 2 towns, 013 military unit, Devshil, Central wastewater treatment plant, Military town, near 10 buudal

Jun 20-Jul 05


Office and apartment buildings near West four intersection (Baruun durvun zam), Bumbugur market, Tengis movie theatre, Tedy center, 6, 7, 11, 12th micro district, 100 ail, Dance and Music College, near Ih toirog 

Jun 27-Jul 04


Office and apartment buildings near 5 shar, Altan taria, 21st micro district, Orchlon town, Songinohairhan district 

Jul 18-28


Office and apartment buildings near City center, National Circus, Central Cultural Palace, Embassy town, 1st hospital, 1st maternity hospital, University of Education, Chinggis hotel, near Central pool 

Aug 01-16


Office and apartment buildings in 1, 3, 4, 10th micro districts, Moscow town, Haniin material, Trauma Center, end of 3rd micro district 

Aug 8-25

Link to article


ACMS Speaker Series - Alex Skinner: "Putrefaction and Prototyping: the political economy of spatial and temporal transformation in Ulaanbaatar"

May 10th, 2016 - Starting 5:30 PM

Location: American Corner, Ulaanbaatar Public Library

Tel: 976 7711-0486

What can a single building in central Ulaanbaatar reveal about the bricolage of social, political and material transformations at play within in Ulaanbaatar today?

In the wake of socialism and colonialism, a rich vein of transitology offers us array of concepts through which to render the potentialities of space, place, networks and meanings as they are yoked to temporal transformations. Amidst a burgeoning discourse on urban planning in Ulaanbaatar, I present this paper as a means to initiate discussion on the very material basis of emergent and unintended transformations in a rapidly developing urban society.

The grey carcass of the building in question looms imposingly over the political, cultural and now bustling business heart of the Mongolian Capital. Straining skywards since the height of a mining-led investment boom in Mongolia, the structure currently stands unfinished and dormant, ringed by diminutive apartment buildings that once housed high-ranking members of socialist society. As the construction protrudes from one of the most intensive sites of socialism in Mongolia, it has attracted questions over legitimacy of land transfers and planning permissions within the capital.

In tracing the swimming potentialities of this structure single structure, we can witness how it continues to invoke peculiar intensities of political networks that emerged from the socialist political economy as arteries and organs that can no longer function to support an ideal body, if they ever fully did. From and with these disrupted material and social remnants, a new array of forms also continues to emerge, which themselves remain visibly incomplete or decaying vis-à-vis their idealized natures.

Following these trajectories, this paper initiates discussion of a politics of urban development that draws epistemological and ethical import from the capacity to productively resist closure, excavate interiority and render salient the contradictions that beset and are productively constitutive of an array of new ideal and wholesome forms of politics, space and society in Ulaanbaatar.

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FM Purevsuren addresses Forum on Mongolian Development in Paris

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) On a visit to France, the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren addressed the 12th forum themed "For Development of Mongolia" which took place on April 30 at the Galeries Lafayette, Paris.

In his speech, the Foreign Minister gave details on the governmental policy towards Mongolians nationals residing abroad and programs on World Mongolians and promoting Mongolia abroad.

Delegates from Mongolia, France, Great Britain, Italy and Germany delivered reports coming up with new ideas and best practices for introducing in the spheres of tourism, culture, art, architecture, IT and intellectual property of Mongolia.

Co-organized by the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Mongolia in France, the "Tsakhim ortoo" NGO, the Association of Mongolians in UK and the Council of Mongolians Abroad, the forum brought together over 140 representatives from Mongolia, France, Germany, UK, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Russian, USA and Japan.

Link to article


FM meets Indian scholars of Mongolian studies

Ulaanbaatar, May 2 (MONTSAME) In the frames of his official visit to India on April 27-29, the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren held meetings with officials of Indian government institutions, scientific and business organizations, public representatives and Mongolian students studying in Indian universities and institutes.

During a meeting with Indian scholars of Mongolian studies, the Foreign Minister focused on the current state of the Mongolian studies and actions the government of Mongolia takes to promote the Mongolian studies overseas. He said bilateral cultural and educational collaboration as well as scholars of Mongolian studies, in particular, play big roles in forwarding the Mongolia-India traditional relations.

The sides touched upon organizing a workshop under the theme "Chingis Khaan and his legacy" in cooperation with the ICCR and Mongol studies scholars and opportunities for studying historical sources on the Mongolian history in Persian language, learning historical documents and staging exhibitions.

At the end of the meeting, the Foreign Minister handed over the Polar Star order of Mongolia to prominent scholars Dr Lokesh Chandra and Dr Mansura Haidar for their significant contributions to the development of the Mongolian studies.

Link to article


Speaker receives parliamentary delegation from Japan

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold Monday received a delegation headed by Mr Kazunori Tanaka, member of the House of Representatives (lower house) of Japanese parliament and chairman of the external relations division at the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on a visit here.

Thanking the Speaker for an audience, Mr Tanaka emphasized Mongolia is an important partner of Japan with traditional friendly ties, and expressed his satisfaction with broadening of the bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres since the establishment of strategic partnership ties.

Mr Tanaka said it is vital to develop multistage dialogue and to boost the inter-parliamentary ties in order to make implementation of the Mongolia-Japan strategic partnership more effective.

The Economic Partnership Agreement to come into force very soon, is a symbol of bilateral relations, said Tanaka and added that he believes the Japan-Mongolia relations and cooperation will expand further. He was impressed with the construction works of a new international airport in Khoshig Valley in Tov aimag.

Speaker Enkhbold said he is happy with the visit of the Japanese lawmakers, and underlined that boosting friendly relations and cooperation with Japan is one of the priorities of the Mongolian foreign policy. Mongolia attaches a great importance to the strategic partnership relations with Third Neighbor - Japan, said Enkhbold and acknowledged contributions of Speakers of the Upper and Lower Houses of Japanese parliament; their members; and members of the Japan-Mongolia friendship groups.

Mr Enkhbold said the EPA plays a particular role in augmenting reciprocal investment flows, services, products and people-to-people contacts and in connecting Mongolia to the regional and global markets as well as the economic integration. The agreement will help Mongolia to draw Japanese investments and introduce know-how and to export products to Japan and other markets, he said.

Training Mongolian workers in Japan, teaching them Japanese language, high-tech and advanced professions have become common necessities, so Mongolia wants the Japanese side to focus attention on these matters, Mr Enkhbold said.

The parties shared views on widening the bilateral relations and cooperation, and other issues.

Link to article


Delegates of the Japanese Parliament meet the President Ts.ElbegdorjGoGo Mongolia, May 3

D.Gankhuyag MP meets parliamentary delegation of JapanMontsame, May 2

Japanese lawmakers visits new airport construction siteMontsame, May 2


MFA State Secretary expresses Mongolia's position on security in Asia

Ulaanbaatar, May 2 (MONTSAME) The State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr D.Gankhuyag addressed the 5th meeting of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia held on April 27-28 in Beijing, China.

In his speech, D.Gankhuyag expressed Mongolia's position over building security and confidence in Asia, while emphasizing an importance of taking decisive response measures against traditional and non-traditional threats the regional countries are confronted with and resolving any misunderstanding and contradicting issues through dialogue. The conference is to play a particular role in these matters, highlighted Mr Gankhuyag and noted about Mongolian enthusiasm to ensure the regional and international security.

High-level officials from about 30 countries expressed their positions towards the ways of tackling urgent challenges the international community faces, and concluded the meeting with issuing a joint declaration.

After the meeting, the Conference Chairman and the Foreign Minister of China Mr Wang Yi received the State Secretary Mr Gankhuyag to share views on the Mongolia-China relations and cooperation.

Mr Gankhuyag also met with Foreign Ministers of Russia, the Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and gave details on ongoing leads-up to the 11th ASEM Summit to be held this July in Ulaanbaatar.

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Ambassador hands over FM's letters to Azerbaijani sideMontsame, May 2


Ambassador B.Batkhishig participates in 7th Global Forum of UNAOC

Ulaanbaatar, May 2 (MONTSAME) Non-Resident Ambassador of Mongolia to Azerbaijan B.Batkhishig took part in the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) held on April 25-27 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

During the forum Ambassador Batkhishig had separate meetings with delegates from Azerbaijan and other countries that have joined the event.

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Mongolian neutrality and its significance for Russian security

A neutral Mongolia could reduce Russia's vulnerability along its eastern flank and eliminate concerns of closer military relations between Mongolia and China.

May 3 (Russia Direct) Officials from Mongolia and Russia recently held a second round of talks this month to plan the upcoming Selenge-2016 joint military exercises. The drills are scheduled from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7 in the Russian republic of Buryatia at the Burduny military facility. On the surface, these military exercises would appear to hint at greater military coordination between Russia and Mongolia, especially along Russia's vulnerable eastern flank.

However, after years of defense collaboration with various international partners, the Mongolian government has announced that it currently wishes to establish an official policy of neutrality. Mongolian president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj issued a communiqué in late 2015 regarding the debate among the country's political elite on making Mongolia a neutral country.

Also read: "Mongolia, the uncontested buffer state"

President Elbegdorj asserted that the time had come for Mongolian citizens to debate the issue publicly. While Mongolia has not officially declared itself to be a neutral country, the issue of neutrality is projected to be high on the agenda of the most recent convocation of the Great Khural (Mongolian parliament). And that could throw into doubt Russia's military collaboration with Mongolia.

Mongolia's military cooperation with Russia and the West

The Selenge drills have occurred annually since 2008, although total troop numbers between the two sides have varied. In 2011, there were 700 Mongolian troops present, but in 2012 only 300 Mongolian soldiers participated. The operational focus of the drills has been to combat illicit armed formations and terrorist groups. Around 1,000 personnel will participate in this year's Selenge exercises.

Aside from regular military drills, Mongolia and Russia have two agreements on military technology transfer dating from 2004 and 2014, respectively. In December 2015 the Russian defense ministry provided Mongolia with 100 T72-A tanks and 60 armored personnel carriers, including 40 BTR-70M's and 20 BTR-80's. 

Despite extensive defense collaboration with Russia, Mongolia has not shied away from military cooperation with the West. Mongolia participates in NATO's Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program, and has been active in Western-led training initiatives such as Khaan Quest, a joint exercise spearheaded by U.S. Pacific Command, which began in 2003.

Three months after the end of Khaan Quest 2015, a cadre of Mongolian military personnel graduated from a training course for staff officers conducted by NATO's Defense Education Enhancement Program. The period of time between Khaan Quest 2015 and Selenge-2015 amounted to less than two months, attesting to the flexibility of Mongolia's defense posture.

Neutrality and Mongolia's foreign policy

Mongolian foreign minister Lundeg Purevsuren insists that Mongolian neutrality will not change the fundamental course of Mongolian foreign policy. Of particular importance is Mongolia's ability to balance between China and Russia, as well as the "third neighbor" aspect of Ulan Bataar's external relations.

An official policy of neutrality, however, would halt the prospects for Mongolia's integration into any one of the collective security organizations with which it is involved. Thus, while Mongolian neutrality will be a boon for the country's "third neighbor" policy, it will also present challenges for Mongolia in simultaneously balancing its strategic interests.

The dexterity with which Mongolia has managed its post-communist foreign policy has largely removed the quandary of whether or not Mongolia would have to choose to align politically and militarily with China, Russia or the West. President Elbegdorj has asserted that Mongolia has essentially been neutral in all but name.

However, as Viktor Samoylenko of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) points out, neutrality can only be successful if a country enjoys a sound economic standing and is not overly dependent on other countries for financing and investment.

Potential impact on Russian military strategy

Mongolian neutrality would undoubtedly affect the country's military relationship with Russia. For Russia, an official declaration of neutrality in Mongolia could have two effects. Mongolian neutrality may represent a lost opportunity for Russia to increase its military influence in East Asia, especially against the rise of China's defense capabilities.

Russian foreign policy has centered on creating a cordon sanitaire of pro-Moscow states as a way to make up for Russia's lack of natural geographic barriers. Yet no countries on Russia's southern (or in Ukraine's case, southwestern) periphery have seen it fit to declare neutrality.

Russia, therefore, has attempted to bring these countries closer to it militarily, either through membership in any one of the collective security organizations of which Russia is a major member (such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) or attempting to limit cooperation with NATO. Despite this, Mongolia is cooperating with NATO.

While Mongolian neutrality would affect Russian opportunities to augment its military influence in Asia, such a policy may nevertheless provide Russia with the sense of security in one of its most vulnerable areas that it has craved for so long. If Mongolia officially declares a policy of non-alignment, it may remove any doubt among Russian officials that Mongolia may turn militarily toward China or even the West.

This could potentially increase confidence in Moscow to a greater extent than the so-called multi-vector foreign policies of other countries bordering Russia, such as Kazakhstan.

To be sure, Mongolian neutrality would have little effect on the economic and financial security of Siberia, which is of more pressing concern to Russian officials than traditional military threats.

Nevertheless, with China's growing military power, Russian officials, having to contend with potential security threats on a variety of fronts, would likely welcome one less security concern, particularly one on its Siberian underbelly. To know that Mongolia comprises a definitively neutral area could allow Russian strategic planners to concentrate more of their resources in Primorsky Krai, for example.

Whether Russia sees the prospect of Mongolian neutrality as a loss or a benefit will depend largely on how Moscow calculates the cost-benefit ratio for Russian interests. If Russian plans for Mongolia have been to eventually induce Ulan Bataar to sacrifice its "third neighbor" policy in favor of closer ties with Russia, then Mongolian neutrality would no doubt represent a loss for Moscow.

As Mongolia has largely steered clear of overt alignment with any one power or bloc, it seems that Russia will not have much to lose in the event that Mongolia becomes officially neutral. It will likely have much to gain, however, in terms of reduced vulnerability in one area of its eastern flank. 

The opinion of the author may not necessarily reflect the position of Russia Direct or its staff.

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Health, Education

Japanese doctors operated cardiac surgery on 536 children

May 3 ( Japanese "Heart protection project" NGO organized voluntary work and operated heart catheter surgical procedures on 536 children.

With a help from kind hearted Japanese and Mongolian people and organizations' donations, they diagnose and treat birth cardiac defects and so far 5278 children have been diagnosed over 21 aimags in Mongolia.

Total of 382 doctors, nurses, translators and volunteers are working for this voluntary work. These people come to Mongolia at their own cost, while doctors make two trips per year. In their first trip, doctors diagnose and select patients and during the final trip treatment/surgery takes place.

Last work took place in April 29-30 at Western region diagnostics center in Khovd aimag where this kind of illness is widely spread and 119 children were diagnosed free-of-charge.

And in May 1-4, 20 selected children will be treated at Mother, Child health center.

Treatment costs vary depending on the illness of patient but average cost ranges around 1300 US Dollars.

Moreover, 15 ambulance vehicles have been donated to aimags in the past. 

"Heart protection project" NGO was established in Japan in 2009 to support international humanitarian, health operation. They are still continuing to work and develop the surgeons in this field in Mongolian.

Link to article


Measles vaccine to arrive Thursday

May 3 ( On Monday 2nd May, during a regular Governmental meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and acting Minister of Health and Sport Ts.Oyunbaatar provided some information on the measles epidemic. He noted that a total of 2057 people had visited the National Center of Infectious Disease, of whom 315 have been diagnosed has having measles.

The required medicines and techniques which are estimated for MNT 400 million have been fully procured in order to diagnose and treat the disease. The vaccines of measles will be delivered to Mongolia, later this week - on Thursday (5th May).

Since the end of last year there have been an increasing number of cases of measles. Currently, the epidemic is serious and the Government has had to intervene. The Minister Oyunbaatar has been tasked with providing weekly updates

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Two Mongolians Selected as 2016 Central Asia-Caucasus Fellows by Rumsfeld Foundation

May 2 ( It is the Spring of 2016 and time for the Rumsfeld Foundation to announce their Central Asia-Caucasus Fellowship Program participants. Each year the foundation in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and their School of Advanced International Studies choose young individuals who have started their journey to becoming leaders from the areas encompassed by the program, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, and Mongolia, and strive to help them become even more. The individuals who were chosen were brought to the United States where they were tutored on how they can promote more dialogue to help strengthen relations with the United States and the other countries of the area. The countries in which people were chosen from this year are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The individuals chosen will join a family of 135 other alumni who have been in the program in the past years creating quite a network of individuals. The six-week program they have been chosen for consists of some top policy makers, business leaders, journalists, academics, military personnel and experts in the region. They will learn how the decision making process works in the United States and will spend time traveling the United States where they will get to meet local business leaders and officials showing them how businesses really work outside the capital fences.

When they are back in the formal learning environment at Johns Hopkins they will meet not only in groups but individually as they work on their independent research projects and some networking. Before they return to their perspective countries, and as the program ends, they will interact with individuals from local media, universities, businesses, embassies and others in a Central Asia-Caucasus Institute public forum.

Spring 2016 Fellows and their Individual Research Project titles.

·         Mr. Barry Salam from Afghanistan- "Afghan Civil Society: A Path from the Most Oppressed to the Most Vibrant in the Region."

·         Mr. Mahmood Noorzai from Afghanistan - "Geopolitics of Central Asia Energy."

·         Ms. Lilit Petrosyan from Armenia - "Corruption Challenges in the Greater Central Asia-Caucasus Region."

·         Mr. Emil Gasimli from Azerbaijan - "Caspian Energy: Source of Regional Conflict and Cooperation."

·         Mr. Sulkhan Glonti from Georgia - "International Terrorism: New Challenges for Georgia."

·         Mr. Rakhim Oshakbayev from Kazakhstan - "How Strengthening Civil Society Can Help Kazakhstan Overcome Current Economic Difficulties."

·         Ms. Eliza Ms. Eliza Nishanbaeva from Kyrgyzstan - "Recruitment Strategies for the Government: Case of Kyrgyzstan."

·         Mr. Narantuguldur Saijrakh from Mongolia - "Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy for Mongolia: Development of the Financial Industry to Counter Cyclical Shocks Created by Mining Cycles."

·         Mr. Nemuun Gal from Mongolia - "FDI and International Arbitration: Lessons for Mongolia."

·         Mr. Ozodkhon Davlatshoev from Tajikistan - "Economic Empowerment through Impact Investments: Creating Jobs and Building Sustainable Enterprises."

·         Ms. Raykhona Khashimova from Uzbekistan - "Partnerships between U.S. Based Donor Organizations and Microfinance Institutions in CAMCA Countries."

·         Mr. Ruslan Ramanov from Uzbekistan - "U.S. Foreign Policy in Central Asia following ISAF Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Security Cooperation."

For more detailed information on each fellow please click here.

For more information on the Rumsfeld Foundation and the Central Asia-Caucasus Fellowship Program please click here.

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Culture, Society

Mongolian culture promoted in Edinburgh

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) A cultural event called "A Celebration of Mongolia" took place on April 27 in the Edinburgh Castle, a historic place in Scotland, UK.

Co-organized by Mr David Scott, the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Glasgow city; the Scotland-Mongolia Friendship Society and the Mongolia-Britain Chamber of Commerce, the event brought together officials from the Honorary Consulate of Mongolia, business delegates and Mongolians residing in Scotland.

Opening remarks were made by Mr David Scott, the Honorary Consul and Mr N.Tulga, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the United Kingdom. The remarks were followed by playing by Scottish bagpipes of the national anthems of Mongolia and Scotland.

The guests visited the Edinburgh Castle and watched a concert given by the Mongolian group "Melody of nomads". A photo exhibition featuring the nature of Mongolia, flora and fauna and lifestyle of Mongolians.

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M.Ankhtsetseg becomes Senior Men's Asian Weightlifting Champion

May 2 ( International Master of Sport M.Ankhtsetseg has become the champion of the "Senior Men's Asian Weightlifting Champion" - which serves as a qualifying event for the Rio-2016 Olympics. The championship took place from 21st to 30th April in Tashkent the capital of Uzbekistan. M.Ankhtsetseg lifted a total of 244 kg. Fellow Mongolian, International Master Sport B.Enkhtamir took 5th prize place lifting a total of 214 kg. The event brought together 161 weightlifters from 30 Asian countries; ten contestants from eight countries, including Japan, India, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Taiwan and South Korean stood on the silver and bronze medals' podium.

13 years ago, L.Odgerel brought the first silver and bronze medals from the Asian Weightlifting Championship which was held in China.

Link to article


M.Ankhtsetseg becomes Asian champion in weightliftingMontsame, May 2


Fight Preview: Jadambaa vs Boku, a clash between two former ONE world champions

May 2 (MMA Insider) The road back to the ONE Featherweight World Championship for Narantungalag Jadambaa begins this May in Singapore. 

Jadambaa will meet former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu Boku in a rare meeting of two former champions at ONE: ASCENT TO POWER at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 6 May.

Were it not for the two inaugural titles being on the line during the event, this would surely have been worthy of at least co-main event billing.

The 40-year-old from Mongolia dropped the title this past November with a fourth-round submission defeat at the hands of current kingpin Marat Gafurov. It was his first loss under the ONE banner, and his first defeat overall since 2013, when an ankle injury cost him a fight with Koji Ando.

For Jadambaa (10-4), it is all about figuring out what to do with a dangerous opponent in Boku. He has earned five finishes among his 10 career wins, with four of them coming by way of submission. His two 2014 wins for ONE were both drawn-out battles, as he earned the ONE title over Koji Oishi with a five-round decision, after doing the same over the course of three rounds vs. Honorio Banario.

The change in weight limits and ban on weight cutting by dehydration imposed by ONE should not give Jadambaa any trouble, as he previously competed as a lightweight, winning the Legend FC title back in 2011 and defending it once with a submission win over Yui Chul Nam before the injury vs. Ando.

Like Jadambaa, Boku (24-10-2) is a veteran of the MMA game, with the 38-year-old racking up two dozen wins since 2001. Last year, "No Face" decided to leave the world of lightweights and fight at featherweight, where he has gone a perfect 3-0 with three second-round finishes, proving he is a force to be reckoned with.

A former ONE Lightweight World Champion, Boku debuted in the featherweight division by stopping young Japanese prospect Juntaro Ushiku at Pancrase 67, before returning to ONE and besting both Major Overall and Vincent Latoel, positioning himself for this title-eliminator with Jadambaa.

Boku was the inaugural holder of the ONE Lightweight World championship, earning it with a third-round TKO in 2012 vs. Zorobabel Moreira. In his first title defense, he was submitted by Shinya Aoki, but has gone 4-2 overall since – with all four of those wins being finishes.

This contest presents the uniqueness of MMA at its fullest, as Jadambaa is a 2nd-dan black belt in Judo, a black belt in Kyokushin, and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In contrast, Boku is a kickboxer with 11 career knockouts to his name, and a 100 percent knockout record in his ONE Championship victories.

Jadambaa's best chance would be to neutralise Boku's striking with his own, and drag the Japanese veteran to the ground where he can control or submit him with his grappling ability. For Boku, all he needs to do is connect just once with his heavy hands, and it should be a short night of work.

Whomever prevails here will not have an easy path to becoming a ONE world champion again though, as current undefeated ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov remains standing in the way.

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Art, Entertainment

Dmitry Konnov: Great honor to set foot on Mongolian music market

May 3 ( Mongol Content LLC is to cooperate with the worldwide music corporation Universal Music Group`s branch in Russia. 

In regards, Mongol Content LLC will own the official music publishing rights of famous artists of Universal Music Group in Mongolia. 

We interviewed with the Dmitry Konnov, Managing Director of the Russian branch of Universal Music Group

-Following the cooperation agreement was signed between the Universal Music Russia and Mongol Content LLC, there is a huge opportunity was created for the Mongolian customers. Could you share your thoughts with us?

-It is very pleased to see that operator companies of communication services and their partners have started to focus on delivering musical contents to their customers with an official publishing right. 

It is a great honor for us to set foot in Mongolian music market and officially deliver the best music of international artists. 

Therefore, people are able to listen to the trending music in Mongolia and the world from our music library. 

-Could you introduce your company?

-It is my 11th year at my company. Universal Music Group has more than 100 years of history. The activity carried out today was founded in 1998. It has been the biggest company in music industry for over 20 years. At first, our company started operations in releasing record and CD. Now we are covering all sectors related to the music.   

For instance, we have a separate sector working with music authors. Also we work on discovering talents of new artists and improving careers of forgotten stars.

The key market of our music is USA and European countries. Thus we say joke that we have two industries in LA and London. If you want to become worldwide star, you should move to USA. We cooperate with lucky people who became famous in the world and USA. 

Therefore, people are able to listen the music of stars from countries that we work with including Mongolia, Albania, Russia, Vietnam, Korea and Italy. Due to it is impossible to mention all countries that we cooperate, I would like to say the name of stars like Lady Gaga and Elton John, Gwen Stefani, Eminem, Weekend and Justin Bieber. All of them are our artists.

-How about the Russian artists?

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Bringing internationally famous artists music to HiTONE, Unimusic customers

May 3 ( "Mongol Content" LLC is to cooperate with the world's largest music corporation "Universal Music Group" (UMG).

The cooperation enables Mongol Content LLC to use the music of famous artists of UMG in Mongolia with official rights.

Therefore, customers of Mobicom corporation's HiTONE which Mongol Content LLC acts as aggregator, and Unitel group's Unimusic are the first to use UMG music with official rights.

Mongol Content LLC CEO G.Gantuya, Managing Director of the Russian branch of Universal Music Group Dmitry Konnov have signed the cooperation agreement.

Mongol Content LLC CEO G.Gantuya:

Mongol Content LLC launched "Mongol Music" project last year with official rights to distribute and sell Mongolian artists' music and collect revenues for those artists. We are happy to cooperate with Russian branch of Universal Music Group, world's leading music industry corporation, and deliver the works of famous artists to our Mongolian customers.

Universal Music Group Russian branch Managing Director Dmitry Konnov:

"It's great to see Mongolia keeping up with today's fast-paced world and bringing music contents to its customers with official rights. And we are honored to be part of Mongolian music market and deliver world's best music to Mongolian customers.

MobiCom Corporation Chief Commercial Officer, M.Enkhsaikhan:

First and leading mobile operator Mobicom corporation is happy to deliver UMG music with official rights to our HiTONE customers. We will support the cooperation agreement between Mongol Content LLC and Universal Music Group.

"Unitel Group" deputy director Business Development and Planning D.Jamiyansharav:

Starting last year, Unitel Group chose Mongol Content LLC as their official Mongolian content providing partner.

Today Mongol Content LLC is signing official rights agreement with Universal Music Group to bring international music to Mongolia. Through this agreement, we are now able to provide such an amazing opportunity to our Unimusic users.

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