Weekly political review

Official chronicle

On 21 January Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the Chairman of Bahrain International Investment Bank and Chairman of Al Fahim Group, Saeed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim.

The meeting focused on the prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijani banks and Bahrain International Investment Bank, as well as prospects by the Bahraini bank to participate in investment projects in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued executive orders on 22 January approving a plan of action to intensify the socio-economic development of the regions of Agdam and Agjabadi.

Under the presidential orders, the executive powers of both regions were allocated AZN 2mln each from the President's Reserve Fund to speed up reconstruction work and improve the health services and water-supply system.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with Sali Berisha, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Albania in Davos on 24 January.

The meeting was focused on the bilateral relations and the perspectives of the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Albania. The two sides stressed the significance of the expanding relations and the strengthening cooperation within the framework of the Organization of the Islamic conference.

The Presidents exchanged views on the cooperation in the energy sector.

On 24 January, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, met with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Manuchekhur Mottaki, in Davos.

During the meeting, the sides exchanges views on the development of bilateral relations in various spheres.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with Padraic Fallon, the chairman of the British company Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC in the residence in Davos allocate for him on 24 January.

The chairman of the British company concerned himself with the investment environment in Azerbaijn, the economic development of the country and ongoing processes in the oil and non-oil sector of in the country during the meeting.

In his part the President Ilham Aliyev provided comprehensive information about these issues.

Padraic Fallon said that his company will be delighted to contribute to the further attracting of foreign investments to Azerbaijan.

On 24 January the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, met with the Chairman of African National Congress of South Africa, Jakob Zum, at the palace allocated for him in Davos.

Both sides stated at the meting that the display interest towards each other.

Jakob Zum expressed his wish to get information on the current situation in Azerbaijan and the processes taking place in the country.

President, Ilham Aliyev, spoke of Azerbaijan's development in all spheres, economic reforms implemented in the country and its role in the energy security.

The sides especially stated at the meeting that there are common interests and possibilities to develop the co-operation between the two countries and it needs to effectively work in this sphere.

In addition, the sides exchanged views on regional and international issues.

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushenko discussed cooperation between Azerbaijan and Ukraine in Davos on 24 January within the framework of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Presidents voiced their interest to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

President Yushenko informed President Aliyev of the processes taking place in the country. The Presidents exchanged their views about further strategic cooperation between the two countries, as well as of new projects.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev noted the important role of Azerbaijan in Europe's energy security and as an alternative source of energy supply.

He spoke about the economic development in Azerbaijan, the current situation with implementation of energy projects, the country's policy intended for integration into Europe and regional cooperation.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani president, continued meetings in Davos.

Aliyev met with Chairman of Citigroup Win Bishoff in Davos. They discussed a wide range of issues including Citigroup`s cooperation with financial institutions in Azerbaijan, the country`s economic development and regional cooperation.

Aliyev met with the Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Both President Ilham Aliyev and the Prince Andrew stressed long-standing successful cooperation between the two countries, especially in economic and energy spheres. They also expressed confidence Azerbaijan- Great Britain relations will continue enhancing.

Aliyev met with Thomas Pritzker, the chairman of Global Hyatt Corporation in Davos, Switzerland, on 25 January. They exchanged views on a variety of issues, including Azerbaijan`s economic development.

Aliyev met with John Hutton, Great Britain`s Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in Davos, Switzerland on 25 January. John Hutton said he closely watches development processes in Azerbaijan, and praised its economic progress. He stressed the necessity to enhance bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries. The existence of favorable investment opportunities in Azerbaijan and the country`s potential to achieve much more progress in energy sector were also noted during the conversation.

Aliyev met with Moritz Leuenberger, the Head of the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, in Davos, They discussed prospects for developing bilateral relations between the two countries, and Azerbaijan`s role in ensuring Europe`s energy security. Leuenberger praised Azerbaijan's achievements in the fields of transport, communications, environment and power industry.

The signing of agreement on strategic cooperation between the Azerbaijan Government and Microsoft was discussed in a meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Krieger Mandi, Microsoft Director for Researches and Strategy, in Davos on 25 January.

The agreement will include protection of intellectual property in Azerbaijan, legalization of software and implementation of Microsoft investment projects in Azerbaijan.

Mandi said that Microsoft is planning to establish in Azerbaijan an Electronic Information Center.

The meeting focused on the implementation of some projects to make Azerbaijan as center for transit of information to the region. The sides held exchange of opinions on Microsoft projects in Azerbaijan on highly qualified engineers.

The Azerbaijani President stated that Azerbaijan achieved great successes in economy, inkling the energy sector. The head of state stressed the importance attached to the development of non-oil sector in the country, whereas the IT remains to be of high priority. The President voiced his confidence in close cooperation with Microsoft.

PARLIAMENT

The conscripts to the Azerbaijani Army can return to their previous jobs after the completion of the military service.

"Irrespective of the form of ownership (state or private) the conscripts will not change their jobs and after the completion of service they can return to their jobs," Ziyafat Asgarov, the first deputy speaker, also chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission on security and defense, stated to the meeting of the commission on 24 January.

The commission discussed changes to the law on Status of Military Servants. Asgarov said that the changes proposed are related to changes to the law on Youth Policy.

The first deputy speaker stated that the military servant can lose their jobs only in case of cancellation of the establishment and the position.

MP Aydin Mirzazade, a member of the commission, proposed to remove the rule on staff cut from the bill: "It might serve as basis for employers to cut the position of employee called up to army.

The commission adopted proposals and changes to discuss at the Milli Majlis.

Foreign policy

MP Samad Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani Delegations to Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and chairman of Azerbaijani permanent parliamentary commission on international relations and inter parliamentary ties, was elected Vice President of the organization. The decision was made during the first PACE winter session in Strasburg on 21 January.

The vice president is elected to PACE for a term of one year.

The winter session will continue until 25 January.

Luis Maria de Puig was elected chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 21 January. The only candidate, Spaniard Luis Maria de Puig to the post of PACE chairman, was viewed and approved at the PACE winter session which began on 21 January.

The election of Luis Maria Puig was approved at the meeting of a Bureau of PACE on the morning of 21 January. All the political parties represented in the Parliament Assembly voted for Puig.

The Spanish MP was put forward by the Socialist group last weak. Senator Puig led the Committee on Science, Culture and Education in PACE.

According to new changes to the organization's charter, hereafter the chairman will preside over PACE for two years, instead of three years as previously.

Nineteen out of 20 of the PACE vice presidents were also elected. The vice-presidents include Samad Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani Parliament Delegation, David Kharutyunyan, the head of the Armenian delegation to PACE and others. The post of vice-president from Cyprus was left vacant. According to the charter, PACE deputy chairmen can be elected twice for a one-year term.

At a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meeting on 22 January, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Gultakin Hajiyeva called on her MP colleagues to be more attentive when making a decision on the future status of Kosovo.

According to Hajiyeva, parallels may be found among ongoing conflicts, but still each of them is unique in its origin and nature. She called on her Armenian colleagues to try and not find resemblance between Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh and not present the wrong direction to European MPs. Hajiyeva stressed that change of accepted norms and regulations may cause new regulations and precedents. And that may aggravate tensions among European countries.

The former Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Rene van der Linden, believes that the upcoming presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan will help to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"I hope that the presidential elections in both countries will be a new effort to resolve the conflict once and for all and forever," Rene van der Linden said during his interview with Trend.

The presidential elections in Armenia have been fixed for February and in Azerbaijan for October. On the eve of the elections, the international mediators are making efforts to strengthen the talks to settle the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, fearing that replacing the leaders may bring the agreements reached to a gridlock.

"I was optimistic, visiting the region two years ago because talks and meetings were held between the Presidents of the two countries," Linden said. "This steady resolve should exist again in settling the conflict. It is very important for the settlement of the conflict which is a serious threat for the whole region," he said.

Speaking of his visit to the region in July 2007, Linden said that that he was not optimist with regards to the negotiation process. "I want to believe for the change of the situation for the passed period, Indeed, it is very important that both sides demonstrate a will to resolve this conflict via talks. Using other methods, including forceful methods, is unacceptable," the ex-President of PACE said.

Answering the question whether recognizing Kosovo's independence will adversely affect the 'frozen conflicts', including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Linden said: "I do not know, but from experience, I can say that even if Kosovo becomes independent, I do not believe in the settlement of these problems".

According to him, the issue of Kosovo has been included in the agenda of the PACE's winter session and intricate discussions are being expected on this issue.

Azerbaijan for the very first time has appointed its Ambassador to Iraq - Elman Arasli, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Jordan, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported on 23 January.

The decree on appointment of Arasli as the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Iraq, with his residence in Amman, was signed by the President Ilham Aliyev in October.

On 23 Jan, the Ambassador submitted copies of the credentials to the Iraqi Foreign Minister- Hoshyar Zebari.

On the same day, Arasli met with Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi President. The Ambassador conveyed the wishes of Azerbaijan side to the Iraq, so as to achieve peace and stability in the near future. He also voiced the Azerbaijan's interest in close cooperation with the regions' countries.

The role of the Anglo-Azerbaijan Society in Great Britain is significant in developing bilateral relations, said the Chairman of the Society, Lord Fraser.

The Anglo-Azerbaijan Society was established in 1997. The society is headed by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie. The society holds charity auctions annually. In 2006 alone $50.000 was collected.

The events held by the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society were remembered by bilateral visits of high-ranking people, Fraser said at the annual meeting of the Society in London.

According to him, in the past year the charity activities of the society significantly strengthened relations between the two countries, including cultural relations. "It is possible to especially highlight the 10th jubilee of the Society which took place in Baku," the Lord added.

The 2008 plan of action of the Anglo-Azerbaijan Society was approved at the meeting.

In addition, Lord Fraser is a member of the British Parliamentary Group for relations with Azerbaijan.

Serik Primbetov has been appointed as the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan by the decree of the Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to the President's official website.

Primbetov has been Deputy Secretary of EurAzEs since 2002.

Andar Shuputov, the former Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, was appointed as chairman of the Board of Social Business Corporation Batis in October 2007.

Switzerland is interested in developing its cooperation with Azerbaijan in the energy sector, Paskal Kushpa, the Swiss President, stated during the meeting with Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani President on 24 January.

The meeting was held within the framework of participation of the both Presidents in the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24 January. Both parties have shown interest in the development of Azerbaijani-Swiss cooperation.

Speaking of the increasing role of Azerbaijan in providing energy security in Europe, Aliyev expressed his confidence in the development of bilateral cooperation in the future.

The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) postponed to February the discussions on the issue of appointing a special rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

"The Monitoring Committee made a decision not to discuss the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan during the winter session of the PACE, but to discuss this issue after visit of co-rapporteurs to Baku," a source at the Council of Europe's Secretariat reported to Trend.

The Committee's meeting fixed the visit of the PACE co-rapporteurs for Azerbaijan, Andreas Herkel and Yevgeni Jivkov, to Baku for 4-8 February. "The co-rapporteurs will study the problem of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and assess what advances have been made to resolve this issue," the same source stated.

In addition, the Monitoring Committee's meeting covered public-political and pre-election situation in Azerbaijan, amendments to the Electoral Code and Law on Freedom of Assembly.

Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, received the delegation headed by Pertti Salolainen chairman of the Finland Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry press-service reported

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister is expected to pay a visit to Finland in February. Touching upon the upcoming visit of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani President, to Finland in May, Salolainen expressed his satisfaction in the expansion of the bilateral cooperation between the countries.

Mammadyarov stated about the significance of far close bilateral cooperation and informed about the current economic development in the country.

During the meeting the sides touched upon the aggressive policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Mammadyarov stated that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was on of the relevant issues.

The January session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was constructive and normal for Azerbaijan, Samad Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE said.

The PACE winter session held on 21 to 25 January should assessed as a honour for the Azerbaijan and as a forum where the issues concerning the country were analysed, Seyidov said in his interview to Trend.

"The representative from Azerbaijan have been appointed the vice-president of PACE due to the works carried out by Azerbaijan and the internal and foreign policy generated by the President of the country," Seyidov said who has been elected the deputy of the PACE chairman on 21 January. This post requires Azerbaijan a great responsibility and we should attach great significance to the relations with the Council of Europe, Seyidov said.

Azerbaijani MPs worked actively and addressed both the session and made speeches within the framework of the profile bodies. MP Gultekin Hajiyeva has been elected the chairman of the subcommittee on population and Ganira Pasahyeva has circulated several serious documents. Rafael Huseynov and Sabir Hajiyev have worked actively, head of the delegation said.

2008 will be very important year for Azerbaijan since presidential elections will be held and therefore the relations with PACE are of great significance, Seyidov said.

Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, received the delegation headed by Pertti Salolainen chairman of the Finland Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry press-service reported

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister is expected to pay a visit to Finland in February. Touching upon the upcoming visit of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani President, to Finland in May, Salolainen expressed his satisfaction in the expansion of the bilateral cooperation between the countries.

Mammadyarov stated about the significance of far close bilateral cooperation and informed about the current economic development in the country.

During the meeting the sides touched upon the aggressive policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Mammadyarov stated that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was on of the relevant issues.

POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

MP Sabir Rustamkhanli, chairman of the opposition Civil Solidarity Party (CSP), believes that the participation of the highest number of candidates from the opposition party during the upcoming presidential elections will increase the Government's prospects.

"I believe that, amongst the other candidates, the current President of Azerbaijan has the most prospects for the presidential post in the country," Rustamkhanli stated to Trend.

The presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan on 15 October 2008. The opposition parties, Civil Solidarity, Musavat, Umid and Great Establishment made a decision to take part in the upcoming presidential election.

The ruling New Azerbaijan Party nominated the current President Ilham Aliyev as a candidate.

According to Rustamkhanli, non-participation of the Azerbaijani opposition of a candidate, as well as attempts by the government and foreign forces to split the opposition, lowers the chances of the opposition during the forthcoming residential elections in the country.

Rustamkhanli considers that the opposition candidates have little prospect of winning the presidential elections independently. However, the party made the decision to participate at the elections.

The Azerbaijani society opposes the boycotting of elections. "No opposition force can organize a total boycott," the chair of the Azerbaijani Democratic Party (ADP) Sardar Jalaloglu said to Trend.

The opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, the Liberal Party, and the Citizens and Development Party which are united in the bloc Azadliq, intend to boycott the presidential elections until election committees are re-formed. Experts forecast more parties will join the boycott on the threshold of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

According to Jalaloglu, only a total boycott will have an effect. "Experience has shown that boycotting is not efficient and is out-of-date. The boycott suggested by the bloc Azadliq is unlikely to be successful. Democratic elections can be enabled not only through re-forming of the election committees. The main thing is to have a real wish to hold democratic elections," he said.

At the beginning of 2007, the ADP gave up its radical political course and decided to take part in the presidential elections.

In case the election committees are not re-formed on a parity basis and the election environment does not change, in spring the bloc will flatly decide to boycott the elections, the co-chair of the bloc Azadliq Ali Alyev said to Trend. Thus, the opposition will be able to concentrate their attention on international organizations on elections in Azerbaijan and prove to society that the election process is not democratic.

The foreign interference is not expected in the presidential election, which will be soon held in Azerbaijan. "There is even no little ground for the colored revolution in Azerbaijan," Mubariz Gurbanli, the deputy executive secretary of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party, the political scientist said.

The Azadlig bloc, including the three oppositional parties such as Popular Front Party, Liberal Party, Citizens and Development Party, says that if election atmosphere in Azerbaijan is not changed, it would be easy to draw the international organizations' interests to Azerbaijan.

According to Gurbanli, there is unity between the people and Government in Azerbaijan, and no foreign power can determine the results of the elections in Azerbaijan. "The foreign interference is usual for the countries, unstable from the political viewpoint. Azerbaijan is a stable country and a strong country of the region," political scientist said.

On the eve of the elections, some foreign powers may try to create confrontations in Azerbaijan, Serdar Jalaloglu, the chairman of Democratic Party of Azerbaijan said to Trend. Our party will fight against these powers, he said.

The two persons will nominate their candidature for the chairmanship post in the Azerbaijani National Independent Party (ANIP), Ali Orujev, ANIP press-secretary stated to Trend on 24 January.

Ayaz Rustamov, the party chairman, resigned due to the health problem in the end of 2007. The new chairman will be elected during the meeting of the party in 2008. The meeting will be summoned by ANIP Central Council.

Orujev stated that Fagan Maharramov, the chairman of the Geranboy region department of the party, and Aladdin Askarov, chairman of Narimanov District department, stated that they nominated their candidature for the chairman post of the party.

Askarov was the candidate for the chairmanship post during the latest meeting.

The meeting is expected to hold in May or April 2008.

The mass demonstrations to be held in Azerbaijan in connection with the presidential elections will not run efficiently, Igbal Agazdeh, the chairman of Umid Party said.

"Whenever the opposition holds a mass demonstration, the Government intensifies its activities, reduces the opposition's capacity and creates difficulties in the communication aspect with the population," Igbal Agazade said Trend.

The regular presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan in October 2008. Opposition parties Musavat, Umid and Great Establishment have announced that they will nominate their candidates. .

A mass meeting will not be a top priority for the opposition as different approaches will take place, Agazade said, but he did not divulge what they would be. "The people taking part in the demonstrations of any candidate are those who support that particular candidate and will vote for him in the elections. We consider that instead of wasting our energy on holding demonstrations it would be best to work efficiently with the remaining part of the population," Agazadeh said.

The largest demonstration for the presidency candidates held in 2003 presidential elections were the demonstrations held by Isa Gambar, the head of the Musavat party. However, four days after the demonstration, on 12 October, a day after the elections, the Musavat party resorted to aggression and came off second-best. Therefore I consider that the demonstrations will not be effective, he said.

Igbal Agazade, the chairman of the Umid opposition party is MP of the Azerbaijani parliament. He will be nominated in the presidential elections for the first time.

The Azerbaijani Dalga youth movement applied to the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to perpetuate the memory of the name of Mammadamin Rasulzade, a source at the movement said to Trend on 25 January.

31 January is the birthday of a high enlightener and the founder of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) Mammadamin Razulzade. Dalga plans to hold a range of actions on that day.

The movement's appeal to the President included several suggestions. They suggested to re-name the Sahil Park in the Sabail district in Baku into the Garden of Democracy and to construct a monumental complex there in honour of the People's Republic; to hang a memorial board to Rasulzade in the Rasulzade St in the Sabail district; to return the name of Rasulzade to the Baku State University and to erect his bust in front of the University; to erect a monument to Razulzade in the park located in the Sabail district at the intersection of the Rasulzade St and the Neftchilar Ave (in front of the Puppet-show Theatre); to hang a memorial board informing of his activities at the entrance to the Rasulzade settlement; to construct a museum house and to put it in charge of the State; to organize an overhaul repair of the Rasulzade's house and his monument in the Novkhani settlement where he was born.

The Dalga youth movement, an NGO with no commercial aims, was founded in February 2005.

The Azerbaijani Musavat opposition party will not change its decision on participation in the upcoming presidential election in the country.

Isa Gambar, Musavat head, stated to Trend that the party would participate in the approaching presidential elections.

The Musavat Supreme Assembly took a decision on 12 October 2007 on participation in the upcoming presidential elections. However, some officials of the party stated about the possible boycott the elections by the party.

Some opposition parties which have not take a concrete decision concerning participation in the elections, consider that Musavat may boycott the upcoming presidential elections.

Musavat is continuing preparations to the presidential elections.

The presidential elections will be held in Azerbaijan on 15 October 2008.

Elnur Mammadli, the former Chairman of the youth organization of the Musavat party accused the newly-elected chairman to this post Tural Abbasli of cooperation with Ilgar Gasimov, the head of the Road of Azerbaijan political movement. Mammadli's appeal to members of the Party's Council said.

All the regional departments of the Musavat party moved to the Road of Azerbaijan political movement in 2007. Later the party denied this and said that the number of those who moved to the Road of Azerbaijan political movement is exaggerated. The party also accused Elnur Mammadli, the chairman of the youth organization of cooperation with Ilgar Gasimov, the head of the Road of Azerbaijan.

"The party rumoured that I was cooperating with the Road of Azerbaijan political movement during preparations of the conference of the youth movement while the newly elected chairman Tural Abbasli was taking part in a picket organized by Ilgar Gasimov's political movement," the appeal said.

Musavat's current activities are directed against Ilgar Gasimov, Taleh Aliyev, the deputy chairman of the Road of Azerbaijan political movement said to Trend.

"When we plan to hold a picket we appeal to all to take part in it, but not draw up a list of those who will attend it," Aliyev said.

According to Aliyev, Tural Abbasli could have taken part in their pickets as well.

"We are very happy that there are young people in the Musavat party who put the interests of the Government above the interests of party," Aliyev said.

Elnur Mammadli was elected chairman of the Musavat party's youth organization in March 2007 at a party conference. The party's council did not recognize the conference results due to the changes made in the charter concerning age limit. Tural Abbasli, the new chairman was elected at a conference held in December 2007. The party council meeting will be held on 27 January where Tural Abbasli is expected to be approved chairman of the youth organization.

Mammadli considers the appointment of the new chairman illegitimate saying that the conference where he was elected was full of violations.

"I think it would be expedient to hold a new youth organization conference that will confirm the rules of the party," the appeal said.

Tural Abbasli rejected Mammadli's accusations and said that the conference did not violate any rules.

Nagorno-Karabakh

The resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh will help Azerbaijan assume its role as a bridge between the EU and Central Asia, according to Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister.

As the EU expansion moves further east, Central Asia, with its rich oil and gas resources, is becoming increasingly important, the minister said during an interview for The Wall Street Journal.

The EU must have a strong interest to develop stability and the economy in a region that could play a central role in helping Europe meet its energy needs. Closer relations with Azerbaijan can also be seen as part of a European outreach to Central Asia, he said. "I believe that Armenia would also benefit from regional integration and development, and should look beyond the lingering conflict. The resolution of this issue would not only improve our bilateral relations but could also improve Armenia's relationship with Turkey," Mammadyarov said.

"A European perspective of closer economic integration is as relevant to the Caspian as is the partnership with Russia and China. Azerbaijan is committed to pursuing all these links. However, a truly regional framework hinges on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is why this problem can no longer wait," he said.

The Armenian armed forces fired at the Azerbaijan National Army troops from their positions located near Kuropatkino village in the Azerbaijani Khojavand region from 22:30pm to 22:42pm on 20 January; from Javahirli village in the Agdam region of Azerbaijan from 00:10pm to 01:15pm and from 03:00pm to 03:10pm on 21 January; from nameless heights of Azerbaijani Goranboy district from 04:00pm to 05:00pm, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.

The Azerbaijani army retaliated, but no casualties were reported.

There is no resemblance between the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other conflicts ongoing in the post-Soviet area.

"The historical roots of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict do not have resemblance to others," MP Ganira Pashayeva, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said at a PACE meeting during discussions over the future status of Kosovo on 22 January.

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 active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

On January 2005, PACE passed Resolution 1416 in regards to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The Resolution says that Armenia occupies Azerbaijani territories. It also contains suggestions on settling the conflict. PACE established a sub-committee on control over implementation of the document.

The PACE winter session is ongoing in Strasburg. An Azerbaijani delegation is in attendance. The session will end on 25 January.

According to Pashayeva, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a result of the occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia. "And that caused ethnic cleansing in the region," she said.

Pashayeva called on Armenian MPs to try not find resemblance between Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh, but to try their best for settlement of the conflict.

" Azerbaijan supports the efforts of international organizations in settling the Kosovo conflict which has been ongoing for many years. The lingering Kosovo conflict impedes stability and security in the region. Thousands of people have been suffering from that for a long period. Therefore, determination of the Kosovo status and a soon to be solution to the problem is very important. Unfortunately, several countries and forces are trying to make use of the Kosovo conflict for their own interests," the MP said.

Armenian officials state that Kosovo may be a precedent in settling conflicts ongoing in CIS countries, i.e. the Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Trans-Dniester conflicts, she said.

"These statements and ideas first of all confuse the Armenian people, as well as Armenians who are Azerbaijani citizens and are residing in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. At the same time, they seriously harm ongoing peaceful negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh between the two countries," Pashayeva said.

The Armenian Armed Forces have violated the ceasefire agreement by firing at the Azerbaijani National Army from the positions located near the Chayli village in Terter region of Azerbaijan at 6.15pm on 21 January; from the Kuropatkino village in Khojavand region of Azerbaijan from 12.12am to 12.30am on 22 January, as well as from Garakhanbeyli village in Azerbaijani Fizuli region at 6.25am, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.

The Armenian Armed Forces have violated the ceasefire agreement by firing at the Azerbaijani National Army from the positions located near the Geranboy region from 11:15 a.m to 11:35 a.m on 23 January; from the Tagibayli village of Agdam region of Azerbaijan from 9:00 p.m to 9:25p.m, as well as from the Kuropatkino village in Khojavand region of Azerbaijan from 1:30a.m to 1:40a.m and from 5:30a.m to 5:40a.m on 24 January.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.

The Armenian Armed Forces have violated the ceasefire agreement from the dislocated the Javahirli village of Agdam region of Azerbaijan fired at the Azerbaijani National Army at 5:10a.m on 26 January, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, reported.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported

Azerbaijan has handed over the captured Armenian soldier to his country on 25 January, the Baku office of the International Red Cross Committee informed Trend.

Armenian soldier Ambartsum Asatrian had been in captivity in Azerbaijan since 4 August 2007.

The soldier was handed over to Armenia at 1.00 pm local time at border in the Ijevan-Gazakh region.

Previously, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, as well as the Azerbaijani State Commission on POWs, Missing Persons and Hostages had reported that Asatrian did not want to return to Armenia and requested asylum in other country.

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Retail trade turnover of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic drops
Azerbaijani MoD unveils footage depicting advancement of Azerbaijani armyuits to liberated Kalbajar region (VIDEO/PHOTO)
Resolution of France's Senate nothing more than piece of paper for Azerbaijan - top official
Resolution adopted by France's Senate has no legal force - MFA
IKEA investment arm in talks to buy city-centre retail property in big European cities
Kazinform and IRNA news agencies hold joint online conference
China increases import of Turkish cars
Iran to compensate for Ukraine plane crash according to int'l norms
Oil tanker hit by blast at Saudi terminal, Saudi Arabia confirms
National Bank of Georgia sells funds at foreign exchange auction to stabilize lari
First Turkish Trade House to open in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president signs law renaming Tsakuri village in Khojavend district
Azerbaijani president signs law renaming Gushchubaba village of Khojaly district into Baharli village
Azerbaijan to monitor fields in Kalbajar - Head of National Geological Exploration Service (Exclusive)
EU allocates macro-financial assistance to Georgia to tackle COVID-19
Turkmen FM gives speech at 13th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum
Turkmenistan advocates cooperation in resolving regional and global environmental problems
Azerbaijan confirms 1,229 more COVID-19 recoveries
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 28
Austria provides Uzbekistan with railway equipment
U.S. weekly jobless claims increase again
Produce in Georgia agency selects business ideas for micro and small entrepreneurship grant program
Kazakhstan eyes to fully put up produced LPG on electronic trading platforms in 2021
Uzbekistan’s food production to grow by end of 2020
Fergana region becomes main textile producer in Uzbekistan
More countries allow import of Uzbek-grown products
Volume of lending in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan in annual circulation greatly increases
Lari depreciation among possible reasons for fuel price increase in Georgia
Azerbaijan prepares projects to restore road infrastructure in liberated territories
Production of Iran’s Sefid Dasht Steel Company increases
Kazakhstan's Kuryk port boosts cargo handling, launches direct link to Iran
Turkmenistan has sufficient reserves to mitigate effects of pandemic - IMF
Volume of cargo transportation of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic drops
Kazakhstan to localize production of German agricultural machinery's popular models
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Georgian-produced ski equipment to be exported to Europe
Kazakhstan decreases exports to Italy year-on-year
Volume of goods released from Iran’s customs checkpoints announced
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of instrumentation
Investments in Iran’s Kerman Province increase
Azerbaijani refugees from Kalbajar visit Martyrs Alley (PHOTO)
FM talks on possible Azerbaijan-Armenia peace treaty to French Le Point
Azerbaijan shows new footage of Azerbaijani army units entering Kalbajar (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Armenia must answer for war crimes - Azerbaijani FM
Iran’s South Pars Gas Company opens tender to buy equipment
Uzbekistan eyes to maintain macroeconomic stability in 2021
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks down in Georgia
Cable TV operators ready for full deployment in liberated Azerbaijani territories
Activities of private sector in Iran can put end to economic problems - analyst
Georgia increases export of precious metal ores and concentrates
During Karabakh hostilities, Turkey responded to political pressure exerted on Azerbaijan - ambassador
Oil shrugs off U.S. inventory gain helped by vaccine hopes
Total volume of non-bank deposits in Georgian banking sector down
Return of Kalbajar region to Azerbaijan has not only important political but also economic significance - Georgian expert
Number of bank accounts registered in Nakhchivan over 10M2020 unveiled
Azerbaijan's gold company reveals profits
Two facilities in Iran’s oil sector to be put into operation
Baku residents hold rally celebrating Kalbajar's liberation (PHOTOS)
Georgia reveals data on persimmons and caraway seeds exports
Turkmenistan’s growth model relies on large-scale public investments - IMF
Four dead as migrant boat capsizes off Canary Islands, more missing
Kazakhstan’s joining UPOV could help improve lives, provide for economic dev't
SOCAR reveals volume of transshipment through Kulevi terminal
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva congratulates Azerbaijani people on liberation of Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Cargo handling at Kazakhstan's Aktau seaport decreases over 10M2020
Foreign trade turnover of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic increases
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 25
Life insurance in Azerbaijan occupies about half of all insurance fees - association
SOCAR and LUKOIL eye expanding co-op
Baku Stock Exchange hosts auction for CBA's short-term notes
Concerns of some OSCE MG co-chairing countries don't matter - Erdogan
Kazakhstan boosts passenger cars manufacturing within 10M2020
Turkmen IT company to create first online platform of Union of Industrialists, Entrepreneurs
Azerbaijan to export medical masks to Russia and Germany
UNESCO to take part in protection of cultural, religious heritage in Karabakh
Iran says ready to return to Jan 20, 2017
Iran talks banking obstacles
Azerbaijan disclose data on investments in local renewable energy projects
Iran prevented release of German home appliances from customs
Kazakhstan’s oil producing company opens tender to buy spare equipment parts
Turkmen company provides domestic market with products made of polyethylene
Production of agricultural products increases in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
Azerbaijani soldiers created conditions for Armenian population to leave village in Aghdam - president
Iran reveals data on new enterprises in free trade zones
Pashinyan, where did you sign the act of capitulation? - President Aliyev
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