Weekly political review

Official news

The meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan, dedicated to the results of the socio-economic development of the country within nine months, was held under the chairmanship of the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, on 22 October.

The growth rate of economy and industrial production made up 27% in January-September 2007, the President said.

"We are alarmed due to rise of inflation to 16%, as well as rise in price of foodstuff to 15%. Such figures alarm us and we will do our best to decrease inflation," Aliyev said.

"There are a lot of factors which cause rise of inflation, increase in price of oil, as well as rise in price of imported goods to Azerbaijan," Aliyev added.

There observed increase of inflation in all CIS countries. Rice in price of foodstuff in some countries reaches 40% or 50%.

"We will struggle against inflation as it negatively affects on rise in price of foodstuffs," The President said.

The other more relevant reason for rise of inflation is monopoly and ailing competition.

On 22 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received the People's Artist of Azerbaijan, Habil Aliyev. The Head of the Azerbaijan State presented to the People's Artist the "Istiglal" Order (" Independence") for immense contributions to development of the musical art of the Republic.

On 22 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent a congratulatory message to his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Solyom on his country's national holiday, the Day of the Republic. President Aliyev said in his letter that the development of relations between the two countries would further serve the interests of the two peoples. The Head of State wished robust health and every success to his Hungarian counterpart, and peace and welfare to the people of Hungary.

On 23 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received Denis Anderson, the president of Safari International Club of Hunters. Head of the Azerbaijani State expressed confidence that visiting the regions of Azerbaijan, Mr. Denis Anderson would have deep impressions. President of Safari international club of hunters said he already has familiarized with the cultural-historical sights of Baku. He presented the badge of life-member of the Safari international club of hunters to the Azerbaijan President.

On 23 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev received delegation of the Lithuanian Seym headed by chairman of the permanent committee for foreign affairs Yustinas Karosas. President of Azerbaijan noted successful development of Azerbaijani-Lithuanian relations. The President recalled his last visit to Lithuania saying that the visit was very important from the point of view of widening the bilateral ties. He expressed confidence that current visit of the Lithuanian parliament delegation would serve development of inter-parliamentary cooperation between the two countries. Chairman of the Seym permanent committee for foreign affairs Yustinas Karosas highly assessed the intensification of inter-parliamentary relations. According to him, his country attaches great importance to the relations between the two countries in the framework of new neighborhood policy and Azerbaijan's integration to Europe. Mr. Yustinas Karosas handed over the letter of the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus to the President of Azerbaijan.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, began his visit to the northwestern region of the Country through participating in the ceremony of putting the first stone of a new sport complex in Azerbaijan's district of Gobustan.

In addition, Aliyev participated in opening a new trade center in Gobustan, as well as Sport Complex and Center for Study of Heydar Aliyev's Heritages.

Azerbaijan will not face any energy-related problem during the subsequent 100-150 years, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of the Heydar Aliyev Palace in Yevlakh District on 24 October.

Azerbaijan will also supply energy to other countries, proving an increase of Azerbaijan's [economic] power.

In 2008, AZN 3bln will be invested in Azerbaijan and for the first time internal investments dominate over foreign capital, President Aliyev said. Azerbaijan's industrial potential is progressing and it should be strengthened. The country's existing potential should be reviewed and new enterprises based on local raw materials should be established.

The President stressed the successful implementation of the Program on Social and Economic Development and resolution of migration problems through the opening of new jobs.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev presented 100 ' Oka' cars to the veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh war and the families of those who died in the war, residing in Azerbaijani Yevlakh region and its nearby regions.

At the presentation ceremony the President promised to consider improvement of pensions to the veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. He said next year 300,000 people will receive targeted social aid in the sum of AZN 80.

On 25 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order conferring Glory Medal upon Hadi Rajabli for his active participation in the social-political life of the Country.On 26 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received the Lithuanian delegation led by Minister for Social Security and Labour, Vilija Blinkeviciute.

President Aliyev welcomed the recent intensification of relations between Azerbaijan and Lithuania, and stressed how this boosts the development of bilateral ties in all spheres. The Azerbaijani leader also stressed the importance of enhancing relations between the two countries' youth.

Blinkeviciute expressed satisfaction with the level of Azerbaijan-Lithuania cooperation. The Minister stated that Ilham Aliyev paid two visits to Lithuania within a month, and stressed this gave impetus to the development of bilateral relations. She said that the relations established between the youth of the two countries will serve further to strengthening cooperation between Lithuania and Azerbaijan.

On 26 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Bernard Fassier (France), Yury Merzlyakov (Russia), and Matthew Bryza (US) and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office's Special Representative Andzey Kasprzyk.

In the meeting, the conversation revolved around settlement the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

On 26 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent a congratulatory message to the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbangulu Melikguliyevich, on the national holiday of Turkmenistan - the Independence Day.

"Our interstate relations basing on the centuries-old friendship, kind neighborhood and reciprocal support now acquires a new content. Sure, our joint efforts will further serve the interests of our nations, stability, security and progress in region to promote mutually beneficial cooperation," the President stated.

On 26 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order on application of the Law on Amendments and Annexes to the Code of Administrative Breaks of Azerbaijan dated on 19 October 2007. The Cabinet of Ministers is in charge of implementing the obligations arising from the order.

On 26 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order on application of Law on Amendments to Azerbaijan's Law on Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precurarization.

The Cabinet of Ministers is in charge of implementing the obligations arising from the order.

On 26 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, became familiarized with the works of reconstruction at the Alley of Martyrs in Baku. According to the Presidential Decree "On Monuments and Memorial Complexes in the Republic of Azerbaijan", the Alley of Martyrs is completely reconstructed.

Foreign policy

One more Congressman - Tim Ryan, a member of the House of Representatives' subcommittee on energy and water supply, joined the US House of Representatives' working group on Azerbaijan, the office of the co-chairs of the working group reported on 23 October.

Born in a Catholic family July 16, 1973 in Niles, Ohio, Tim Ryan is noted for his radical position against the President Bush's policy on Iraq and internal affairs.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received a Lithuanian parliamentary delegation led by Yustinas Korosas, the chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission on foreign relations of the Seim [Parliament], Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

The two sides stressed the expediency of developing energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Lithuania.

Mammadyarov stressed that the Baltic countries, including Lithuania, play a role of bridge in the country's integration to the Euro-Atlantic organizations and voiced his gratitude for political support.

Korosas said that common interests unite both countries. Azerbaijan as a source of alternative energy is more reliable partner in the region from the political and economic aspect.

The minister said the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the most important foreign policy issue and conditions the development of Azerbaijan. Mammadyarov elaborated on the Armenian aggression, ethnic cleansing and vandalism by Armenia.

The two sides also discussed bilateral relations and some issues of regional significance.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made the request for flour to his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

At the 24 October Governmental meeting, Saakashvili requested Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev provide assistance in wheat flour.

"In order to prevent a flour shortage and a pressure in our foodstuffs sector I have asked my friend to render us assistance with flour," Saakashvili said.

Georgian Agriculture & Food Minister Petre Tsiskarishvili was sent to Baku to resolve the issue, the Georgian President said. He is currently engaged in negotiating flour purchases.

Within the framework of the presidential funding program 700,000 Georgian rural residents will receive 50kg of flour each in hopes to solve the flour deficit. Authorities are hoping that preventive measures will be enough to resolve the flour shortage.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the members of the Azerbaijani-Egyptian friendship group of the Egyptian Parliament, the Foreign Ministry reported.

The Minister spoke on the deepness of the historical relationships between the two countries, which provided the basis for current cooperation. Mammadyarov highly appreciated the two countries' mutual political support within the framework of international organizations and approved Egypt's support in restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

The guests backed Azerbaijan's position in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and voiced their confidence about the country to restore its legitimate rights for Nagorno-Karabakh through the UN, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and other organizations. Egyptian MPs suggested opening of Azerbaijani Consulate in Sharm-el-Sheik, Alexandria, and any other city. According to the MPs, that will expand economic and tourist relations between the two countries.

On 25 October the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, received Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Andar Shukputov, due to completion of his diplomatic mission in Azerbaijan, the Ministry reports.

The sides said that over the recent five years of Ambassador's activity in Azerbaijan, several successes have been obtained in the co-operation between the two countries. In addition, the sides highly assessed the transition of the bilateral relations to a new stage. The meeting highlighted the similarity of the positions of the two countries in determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

Azad Rahimov, the Azerbaijani Youth and Sport Minister, and Vilija Blinkevi, the Lithuanian Social Security and Labour Minister, signed an agreement on youth policy cooperation in Baku on 26 October.

The document envisages cooperation between the two countries for implementation of projects directed at closer interaction of youth organizations of Azerbaijan and Lithuania, exchange of information and experience in youth policy, as well as cooperation at international youth organizations, Rahimov said.

The issues concerning employment of youth and sports issues were discussed during the meeting.

It was the Lithuanian Minister's first official visit of to Azerbaijan.

Within the framework of the visit Blinkevi is to meet with Hicran Huseyinova, the chairman of the Azerbaijani State Committee on Family, Women and Children Problems.

Parliament

he Chairman of Azerbaijan Parliament's Permanent Commission for Regional Affairs, Arif Rahimzasde, reported to Trend on 22 October that a State Program on Municipality Development will be adopted again in Azerbaijan.

According to him, the State Program will specify the level of training of the municipalities, their material and technical base and empowering municipalities depending on their staff potential.

More than 2700 municipalities function in Azerbaijan. A number of draft laws have been adopted and Association of Municipalities has been established for the municipality development in Azerbaijan.

Rahimzade considers that the form of the funds allocated from the Public budget should be changed. The funds allocated for the municipalities should be directed not for resolving salaries, but settling local problems.

According to the Commission Chairman, the issue of delegating the Housing Communal Economy to the municipalities is not the topic of discussions currently. It will be considered after strengthening the material and technical base of the municipalities.

The program of the first official visit of the Azerbaijani Speaker Oktay Asadov to France has been developed. Akif Nasirov, the press-secretary of the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament), said Asadov's visit to France starte from October 29 to November1.

Cristian Ponsele, chairman of the French Senate, invited Asadov to visit France. "The goal of the visit is to expand parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and France," Nasirov said.

Within the framework of the visit Asadov will met with Ponsele, as well as Bernar Akkoy, chairman of the National Assembly of France, Axel Poniatovski, head of the Commission on Foreign Relations, Jan-Fransua Koppe, head of the fraction of the Union for popular movement Party, Ambruas Dupon, head of the French-Caucasus Friendship Group.

The Azerbaijani delegation to France includes the chairman of the Azerbaijani-French Inter Parliamentary Group, Gular Jabrailov, and head of the Parliamentary Administration, Safa Mirzoyev, and other officials.

"The issues concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be discussed during the meeting," Nasirov said.

Political Movements

Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) proposes to hold referendum to make changes in the Constitution simultaneously with the upcoming presidential elections 2008. The decision was made during the session of DPA Supreme Assembly on 22 October.

The changes should be injected in order to prevent the exaggerated powers of executive wing of the Authorities - the President Administration over the other branches of the Authorities. Constitutional changes should also include changes in election system. The majority election system should be cancelled and the proportional election committee should be restored. DPA also proposed to increase the number of MPs from 125 to 250.

The Supreme Assembly of the party has developed and would submit the project of changes to the Azerbaijani Government.

DPA will define the candidature for the presidential post during the next meeting.

DPA was founded by Sardar Jalaloglu in 1991.

Our Azerbaijan political bloc proposes to all Azerbaijani opposition parties to stop struggle with each other by the upcoming presidential elections 2008 and to sign memorandum on struggle against the political forces of the Authorities, Vugar Beyturan, the chairman of the Bloc, said.

Conflicts within opposition parties contradict their own interests and hinder success for opposition parties during elections," Beyturan said. Azadlig bloc will develop a memorandum concerning liabilities, as well as how to stop struggle among opposition parties.

Our Azerbaijan condemns the decisions by a range of parties to participate in elections despite discussions on the Election code was completed.

Musavat party, Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Umid and Great Establishment Party have already stated about participation in the approaching presidential elections.

Our Azerbaijan political bloc unites eight opposition parties.

Isa Gambar, the chairman of the Musavat opposition party does not understand parties' chairmen demonstrations against joining the European Liberal-Democratic Reforms Party.

The assembly of the Musavat party made decision on joining the European Liberal-Democratic Reforms Party in December 2006. The party submitted an appeal on joining the international structure in March 2007. Musavat was admitted into the European party during the meeting of the international structure held in Berlin 18 and 19 October.

According to Gambar, Musavat made decision to join international structure ten months ago and the MP Nasib Nasibli, the member of the party, left the party. "Even 100 years ago the party adhered to liberalism," Gambar said. Nasibli's resignation amazed Gambar.

Opposition Musavat party was founded at the beginning of 1992. Its leader, Isa Gambar, was the speaker of Azerbaijani Parliament from 1992 to1993. In 2003, he was a candidate for presidency as well. Musavat Party has 5 representatives in the parliament.

Members of the Boyuk Millet Party held rally in front of the US embassy in Azerbaijan against the decision of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives concerning recognition of the so-called 'Armenian genocide'.

A statement-protest lodged to the officials of the embassy. The 106th resolution of the Committee of the House of Representatives was appreciated as a political pressure against Turks and Islam.

The party was made decision to hold rally in one of the central streets of Baku on 10 November.

The Leader of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP), Etibar Mammadov, said on 24 October that there are not any disagreements within the party. According to him, the results of the discussions in the party and the conduct of such discussions are a normal case.

Several members of the party are dissatisfied with the activity of ANIP Chairman, Ayaz Rustamov. The party's activists are accusing the Chairman of inactivity. However, Rustamov reported to Trend that separate members of the party have not the right to assess his activities and that this issue may be discussed only within the relevant structures of the party.

According to Mammadov, he, as a Leader, does not interfere in the daily activity of the party and does not give any recommendations.

ANIP, founded in 1992, is the first officially registered party in Azerbaijan. Etibar Mammadov, the founder of the Party, was the Chairman until the end of 2004. For the time being Mammadov is the Deputy Chairman of the International Democratic Society.

he ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has publicized its proposals regarding changes and supplements to the Elections Code of Azerbaijan.

The NAP offers to cut the duration of elections campaign from four to two months; commit a candidate who failed to collect enough number of votes, to return the funds allocated by the government for his balloting, reconsider the procedure issues, technical supply and political issues, Siyavush Novruzov, the Deputy Executive Director of the NAP, said.

With respect to improving the Elections Code of Azerbaijan, discussions will be held in Baku on 9 November with the joint organization support by the Government and the CE Venice Commission. Opposition parties of Azerbaijan have developed draft proposals on introducing changes to the Elections Code.

"NAP participated in all elections and well knows the way of application of juridical aspects and procedures and designed its proposals in line with these proposals," Novruzov said.

He noted that the elections process ends within two months in a big country like Russia. "Four months are allocated for the elections process in Azerbaijan. Such a long time cannot be observed in either any European country or post Soviet country," he added.

Novruzov said that NAP is working over proposals regarding supplements and changes to the Elections Code and will present it to the CE Venice Code and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The ruling party will publicize its proposals in a meeting dedicated to the improvement of the Elections Code of Azerbaijan due in Baku on 9 November.

Sardar Jalaloglu, the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) appreciated the negotiations between the Musavat Party and the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) regarding the Election Code of Azerbaijan as a separatist aspiration.

The meeting will be held to improve the Election Code of Azerbaijan by the joined organization of the Government and the Council of Europe's Venice Commission with participation of political parties in Baku on 9 November. Each Azerbaijani opposition party developed a project of proposals to introduce changes to the Election Code.

The Consultative Council unites six oppositional organizations in the Public Forum for Azerbaijan, including the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA), the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (SDPA), the Azerbaijani National Independent Party (ANIP), the Musavat and Tereggi jointly with the participation of the Azadlig party commenced to develop the joint proposal documents.

The bilateral meeting was held between Musavat and PFPA on 23 October. The representatives of the parties made the decision to generalize their proposals regarding the Election Code.

Touching upon the issue, Jalaloglu said that even Musavat is to hold bilateral and multilateral negotiations with PFPA or the Musavat would support the general project of proposals developed by the Consultative Council. "I believe there will not be positive results from the negotiations held between Musavat and PFPA," Jalaloglu said.

According to Jalaloglu, the aim of the Musavat party is to study the positions and future steps of the PFPA.

The project of proposals concerning changes to the Election Code developed by the Consultative Council will reveal the positions of many parties. Once Musavat together with PFPA develop their own proposals and submit them during the meeting scheduled for 9 November then such behavior would be appreciated as separatist aspiration among the opposition.

The Azadlig bloc was founded before the 2005 parliamentary elections by the DPA, PFPA, and Musavat. The bloc did not accept the results of the election due to falsification.

Sardar Jalaloglu, the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA), has submitted an appeal to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev concerning decisions on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The appeal demands the protection of the rights of property of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as demands efforts and to pass resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh similar to the resolution passed by the UN Security Council on Abkhaz controlled by Georgian separatists.

The DPA proposes to establish an organization which would be resistant to Armenia's aggressive policy, as well as the international structure with the participation of Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey, and Georgia.

Previously, the DPA proposed the conception of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The DPA was founded by Sardar Jalaloglu in 1991.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

Nagorno-Karabakh

The Armenian Armed Forces fired at the Azerbaijani National Army from their positions during the week from 21 to 27 October. The Azerbaijani army retaliated, no casualties were reported.

Subdivisions of the Armenian Armed Forces again committed arsons in Azerbaijan's occupied Fizuli region at 6:00 P.M. on 23 October.

Pastures in Mehdili village were burnt. Noises resembling strong explosions were heard during the arson in at front line. The arson lasted almost an hour and the area was full with smoke.

A criminal case was launched with respect to Kamran Asadov, a military soldier who was stationed in Azerbaijan's Khanlar region's Togana village, who stole weapons and deserted his military unit, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported on 26 October.

"The case is being investigated. The public will be informed of the results of the investigation," the report said.

On 24 October, Asadov left the military unit taking four submachine-guns and one machine-gun. The border of Ganja city and Khanlar region are under control and a search is underway.

Khanlar region is located 380km west of Baku.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs from Russia, Ferance and the United States want to receive answers to their proposals on the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, made during the previous visit to the region, Russian Ambassador at the Minsk Group said in Baku on 26 October.

"We are waiting for replies from both sies in the conflict and during the current visit we will discuss basic principles of the resolution, which remain non-coordinated," the Russian diplomat said.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved through peace talks, Yustionas Karosas, the chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Lithanian Seim [Parliament], said on last week in Baku during his visit. Lithuania, as a member of the EU, backs the resolution of confkluct in a peaceable way.

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have started to implement shuttle diplomacy in the area of regulating the Karabakh conflict in order to approach both positions of the countries involved, Vardan Oskanian , the Armenian Foreign Minister, said on 25 October, Mediamax reported.

According to Oskanian , the next meeting of the mediators to the region has a new shape concerned with the upcoming presidential elections both in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Presently, the Co-Chairs are visiting Baku. After visiting Baku the Co-Chairs will return to Yerevan, Oskanian said. The Minister commented that the first meeting went 'well'.

There were a range of settled and unsettled issues. "We wait for news from the Co-Chairs to hear if the shuttle diplomacy will lead to any results," the Armenian Minister said

Export of Kazakh agro-industrial products notably grows in 2020
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Kazakhstan boosts petroleum oil exports to France
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