Weekly political review
On 15 April, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received President of Radio Liberty Jeffrey Gedmin Gedmin said that the main purpose of his visit is to get closely acquainted with the processes on-going in the country. "On the very arrival in Azerbaijan, I have witnessed the dynamism of the country's development," he said.President Aliyev noted that all fields of Azerbaijan are developing and stressed that the economic growth covers all regions of the country. He voiced hi confidence that Gedman's visit to Azerbaijan would create good opportunities for close acquaintance with Azerbaijan.
On 16 April, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received at President Palace the delegation led by Daniel Fata, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe & NATO affairs. President Aliyev expressed his confidence for further all-round and successful development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the United States, including in the defense sphere. Noting that it was his second visit to Azerbaijan, Mr. Daniel Fata said that he was surprised with the country's development in comparatively short period of time. Then he informed about the meetings held in Baku and expressed his hope for the expedient and efficient cooperation between the two countries in future in the defense field.
Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijani Republic, issued a decree on appointment of members of the Council on State support to NGOs on 16 April.
Three members of the Council, which will unite 11 members under the 'Charter on the Council on State support to NGOs at the Azerbaijani Presidential administration, as approved by the President on 13 Dec 2007, were appointed from the representatives of state bodies and eight from NGOs.
The members of the Council, appointed from State bodies are Suleymanov Tahi - Chief of the sector on work with public-political organization of the department on Public-Political Issues at the Presidential Executive Administration, Mammadov Ilgar- Chief of Central Registration and Notary Department at the Justice Ministry and Majidli Vugar -Deputy Chief of the Department on Financing of Social Fields at the Finance Ministry.
The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order conferring Istiglal medal upon the Head of Executive Apparat of Azerbaijan President, Ramiz Mehdiyev, for his efficient activities in the State service and special contribution towards State establishment.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin due to his election as the Chairman of Unified Russia party, as well as the Chairman of the Italian People's Party Silvio Berlusconi due to his victory at early parliamentary elections. In his congratulation to Putin, President Aliyev stressed that his election as the chairman of the party, the power closely uniting the Russian public, will promote further unification of all the political forces for development of Russia. In his congratulation to Berlusconi, President Aliyev expressed his confidence that expansion of relations between the two friendly countries and the efforts within the framework of international structures will further serve the interests of both the nations.
Panah Huseyn, member of the opposition Musavat group in the Azerbaijani Parliament, and Speaker Ogtay Asadov wrangled during the parliamentary meeting on 15 April. The dispute was caused by the speech of Sabir Rustamkhanli, Chairman of the opposition Civil Solidarity Party. Rustamkhanli said that the administration of the Parliament does not treat all MPs equally. "The entrance to the Parliament is different for all and not every MP is allowed to pass through each door. Moreover, not all MPs are allowed to park their cars in the special parking places," Rustamkhanli said. The Speaker in his turn said "Before being appointed as Speaker, the situation was the same - one door was intended for all MPs and another one only for the Speaker," Asadov said. Panah Huseyn voiced his protest to the Speaker, because his microphone got switched off when he was speaking. Speaker offered his own place to Huseyn. Asadov's remarks caused violent reaction of Huseyn.
On 15 April, the Toponymy Commission attached to the Azerbaijani Parliament decided to re-name the Khanlar region, located in the west of the country, to Goygol. Previously, the Commission rejected re-naming Khanlar into Goygol and suggested re-naming it to Javadkhan. Academician Naila Valikhanli, member of the Commission, said that re-naming of Khanlar into Goygol is wrong and academician Tofig Hajiyev supported her. Khanlig was amongst the names suggested by the Commission. "The people are acting blindly and one should explain them to step back from the wrong way," Hajiyev said. Budagov said that most of the appeals submitted to the Commission had been made by the people who died several years ago. "There are names of the people who had died several years ago, amongst the names of the people who had undersigned the telegrams. So, the appeals directed to the Commission are on behalf of the people who are dead," he said. On 15 April, the head of the Khanlar Administration sent a letter to the Parliament in which he urged re-naming the region to Goygol. The letter says that the residents of the region also support the Administration's initiative on re-naming the region into Goygol.
Re-naming of one of the avenues in Baku into Iravan Avenue was suggested at the Parliament. "Iravan is the ancient city of Azerbaijan. At the meeting with the Azerbaijani citizens, President Ilham Aliyev stressed the necessity to return the ancient Azerbaijani city Iravan," MP Musa Guliyev from the governing New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) said at the parliamentary meeting on 15 April. According to Guliyev, one of the settlements in the Azerbaijani regions and cities should be named Yeni Iravan (New Iravan). "The migrants from West Azerbaijan founded a settlement in Ganja. They want a status for the settlement and want it to be named Yeni Iravan," he said. Speaker Ogtay Asadov said that the Parliament had already developed a statement regarding recognizing Iravan as an ancient Azerbaijani city and restoration in the history of the fact that it was given to Armenians. "The work over statement will be soon completed and in near future it will be put for discussion at the Parliament," Asadov said.
The Azerbaijani Parliament passed the draft Administrative Procedural Code at the second reading. "During the first reading at the Parliament, the MPs made a plenty of suggestions and on the basis of these suggestions drastic changes were made in the Bill," MP Rafael Jabrayilov, the head of the working group which developed the draft Administrative and Procedural Code, said at the parliamentary meeting on 15 April. The Administrative Procedural Code determines solution of administrative disputes occurring between the citizens and the State, jurisdiction of the administrative dispute cases, regulations and procedural principles of consideration of the cases at court. The regulations of Civil Procedural Code may be applied to the court proceedings regarding administrative disputes, in case they neither contradict with the procedural principle envisaged in the Code nor envisaged in it. According to Jabrayilov, the complaints regarding non-registration of the political parties in Azerbaijan or liquidation of their registration will be considered by the Court of Appeal. "The initial variant of the Administrative Procedural Code trusted on the Supreme Court to consider the complaints regarding non-registration of the political parties and press organizations, liquidation of their registration and the issues connected with the elections. However, changes were made to the Code and these issues, as first instance, will be considered by Court of Appeal's Collegiums for Administrative Disputes," he said. The Head of Azerbaijan Parliament's Administration, Safa Mirzayev, stated that it took five years to devise Administrative Procedural Code. "Experiences of Germany, CIS countries including Georgia was used," he said. The Chairman of Parliamentary Commission on Legal Policy and State Establishment, Ali Huseynov, stated that creating legislation on administrative disputes is a new sphere for Azerbaijan. The Parliament has adopted law on Administrative Execution, but the law could not be implemented because the Administrative Procedural Code was not adopted. He said that in the near future, wide public discussions will be held on Administrative Procedural Code.
Multi-storied buildings built in Azerbaijan should be replaced with the sport infrastructure facilities. "If the sport in Azerbaijan does not develop and it does not have a mass character, these problems can not be solved," said Hadi Rajabli, the head of the standing parliament committee on social policy during the discussions in Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani parliament) on Children's Sport. The officials from the government, international organizations and NGOs took part in the discussions over the Bill developed by standing parliament committee on social policy. The chairman of the committee said that the Bill aims at giving mass character to the children's sport and physical training, development in this area, regulation of cooperation between government structures, improving social security of trainer in children's sport and consolidating material and technical basis of sport schools. "Earlier, the housing estates were usually accompanied with sport facilities. But now, new housing estates are not accompanied with these facilities, on the contrary the facilities that were constructed earlier are being destroyed," Rajabli said. The vice speaker of Azerbaijani parliament Bahar Muradova said that big steps have been made in Azerbaijan in sport. " Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the health of its citizens and youth, and involving them to the sport as well. This issue must be regulated by the law," she said. Muradova said that Milli Majlis has passed a Bill on Physical Training and Sport. According to her, in spite of the taken measures, not all the children can engage in sport because not all the sport facilities meet modern standards. "Material and technical basis of facilities should be strengthened, their budget should be determined and staff potential must be increased," she said. Rabiyat Aslanova, the chairman of standing parliament committee on human rights believes that changes must be made to several Bills including Bill on Building Works, on Health and on Municipalities in order to address children's sport problems.
Disciplinary Committee of Azerbaijani Parliament is dissatisfied about the fact that Panah Huseyin, the member of MP group of Musavat representing Azerbaijani opposition in the parliament, created conflict situation in the meeting and violated ethical codes, and hindered the work of the meeting. "If Panah Huseyin once again violates ethical codes and hinders the meeting, he will be called to the Disciplinary Committee and we will summon him to observe ethical codes. I warn him not to do it in the future," Agajan Abiyev, the chairman of Disciplinary Committee of Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani parliamnent) and MP said to Trend on 16 April. The conflict appeared in the meeting of Milli Majlis on 15 April between the speaker Oktay Asadov and MP Panah Huseyin. Huseyn, registered in for the speech, stood up and protested against deletion of his name from the list. The speaker called on him to observe discipline. The conflict ended up with mutual insult after the intervention of Nizami Isgandarov, YAP MP elected from Sumgayit. According to Abiyev, it the opposition MP will violate the ethical codes once again, this issue will be discussed in the meeting of Disciplinary Committee. All MPs are concerned about the move by Huseyin during the meeting. "The move by Panah Huseyin does not suit any MP. Oktay Asadov is the chairman of the parliament and he has a right to make remarks to any MP. The words by Panah Huseyin addressed Oktay Asadov "How can you yell at me?" do not suit an MP. Does it mean that Panah Huseyin is not aware that Asadov is the chairman of the parliament? He is in conflict with the chairman in almost all meetings. It is wrong to speak with the chairman like that. Every MP must observe ethical codes in all parliament meetings," said the chairman of Disciplinary Committee.
The standing Parliamentary Commission on Regional issues approved the renaming of the Ali Bayramli and Khanlar regions. The issue to rename Ali Bayramli to Shirvan, and Khanlar to Goygol was discussed during the meeting held on 18 April. Arif Rahimzade, Chairman of the Commission, stated that the public and Executive Power of Ali Bayramli and Khanlar regions appealed to Parliament to have the names of the regions changed. "A city, which plays an important role in the development of Azerbaijan, cannot be named after the person who stood against Azerbaijan's independence," MP Azay Guliyev, stated. MP Rovshan Rzayev, who presents the Khanlar region, stated that about 8,000 residents in the region participated in the 127 meetings, dedicated to renaming the region to Goygol. Khanlar region was founded by the Germans in 1819 and originally was named Yelentrop. In 1930, the region was renamed Nariman Narimanov and in 1938 it was re-named after the communist, Khanlar Safaraliyev, by order of Stalin.
The standing parliamentary commission on regional issues approved the renaming of Janavarli village of Barda region. "The residents, representatives of Executive Administration in Barda region appealed to the Parliament to rename the village to Seyid Yusifli," MPTair Rzayev stated during the meeting of standing parliamentary commission on regional issues. The history why the village was named Janavarli is unknown, Rzayev stated. "Seyid Yusif lived in the village and was very well known person. Therefore, the residents want the village to be named after him," he added. The Commission has approved renaming of the village and the issue was recommended to be submitted for consideration to the Parliament. Commission made the decision to rename Maraza village of Gobustan region to Gobustan. Furthermore, it has decided to merge the Narimankand in Gobustan to Gobustan village as there are no inhabitants in the village. The Khizi settlement of Khizi region was granted the status of a city. The changes have been proposed to the Parliament for consideration.
The PACE Committee on Culture, Science and Education is investigating the destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territory. On 14 April, the PACE Bureau discussed the draft recommendation Resolution on Destruction of the Cultural Heritage in the Occupied Territory of Azerbaijan which was presented by the Azerbaijani PACE member Ganira Pashayeva and the document was submitted to the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, the PACE Bureau's Development Report said. Pashayeva presented the draft resolution at the PACE January session. The Bureau also considered the issue raised by the Armenian delegation at the January session - regarding the state of the Armenian cultural monuments in Turkey and the sending of a mission to investigate the facts. The issue was also submitted to the Committee on Culture, Science and Education for their consideration
Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, stated during a press conference in Baku that unsolved conflicts on the territory of CIS countries causes a threat in the region. The Minister noted that organized crime and illegal dealings in the occupied territories are easy. "We believe that these conflicts will be settled peacefully as there is no other way. The stagnant state in the occupied territories is affecting the development of the countries and international communities," Mammadyarov stated. Within ten years GUAM has become an international organization and taken responsibility to integrate the Euro-Atlantic area. " GUAM countries try to demonstrate political and geopolitical priority in the organization," the Azerbaijani Minister said.
Azerbaijan expects an objective approach from the new administration in Armenian as a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Araz Azimov, Deputy Foreign Minister, stated to journalists in Baku on 15 April. "We hope that the objective approach to the conflict will change the subjective approach and only objective interests will be taken into consideration to settle the conflict," the Deputy Minister said. Azerbaijan is ready to continue the negotiations process. Azimov, commenting Matthew Bryza, OSCE Minsk Group co-chair's statement, stated that the Armenian and Azerbaijan President could meet in the near future. There is a need to remove some obstacles in order to make it possible for the meeting between the Presidents to take place.
Valeriy Chechelashvili, the GUAM Secretary-General stated that the GUAM is to make every effort to gain more international support to solve territorial conflicts in the region, during the international conference dedicated to regulation of conflicts in GUAM areas. "We will mobilize more international support to settle the conflicts on the basis of international law standards," Chechelashvili stated. A solution of territorial conflicts in GUAM countries must be held within the framework of territorial integrity of these countries. Chechelashvili stated the need to hold a so-called brainstorm to develop one strategy to settle the conflicts. GUAM countries, ( Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) have submitted the project of resolution of General Assembly on frozen conflicts to UN. GUAM calls nations the territorial integrity of countries where there have remained ethnical groups from the period of SSSR - Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and Tskhinvalia region in Georgia and Prednestroviye in Moldova. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have reported that the frozen conflicts are causing a danger to the world and stability in the region. These countries call upon states and international organizations to assist in settling the conflicts.
Mp Ganira Pashayeva, an Azerbaijani parliamentary delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), sent a written inquiry to Jan Kubich, the chairman of CE Committee of Ministers. The document reported that the presidential elections in Armenia were also held in Azerbaijani occupied regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, Lachin and Kalbajar. Following serious reaction from international organizations and public opinion on the state of emergency announced after the elections (actually to distract the international community), the Armenian Government had to use provocations measures. "Such actions actually represent danger for whole of the region. On 4 March, the armed groups of Armenia violated the ceasefire regime and fired at the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and civilians of Azerbaijan from the positions located in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. Though the attacks were prevented, but the tension still continues," MP said. Pashayeva said that the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the 'Situation in the Occupied Territory of Azerbaijan'. This document reaffirmed the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demanded Armenia to withdraw its forces from Azerbaijan. However, Armenian's official position urges that during the discussions at the Parliament Yerevan committed itself to adopt a peace agreement on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in case a possibility of Nagorno-Karabakh's joining Armenia is indicated. "Are not the members of CE Ministerial Committee and you, as the chairman, concerned that such policy by Armenia can strain the situation rather than solving the Nagorno-Karabakh? What measures are planned to be taken to relax the prevailing tension," the inquiry said.
The number of applicants to the chairmanship position in the Azerbaijani National Independent Party (ANIP), has increased. Ali Orujov, party Secretary on popularization and press, nominated his candidature to the position during the meeting in Binagadi District, Orujov informed Trend . Alladin Askarov, ANIP Narimanov District chairman, and Fagan Maharramli, ANIP Goranboy District chairman, also nominated their candidatures to the chairmanship position. Ayaz Rustamov, ANOP Chairman, resigned in the end of 2007. The special meeting will be held on 20 April to elect a new chairman.
Shamsaddin Rahimli, the first assistant to Isgandar Hamidov, the former chairman of National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (NDPA), Suleyman Osmanoglu, the assistant on ideological issues, Asaf Hasanov, the assistant on organizational issues and Sevinj Hajiyeva, the head of Department for General Affairs of the Party have transferred to the Road of Azerbaijan Political Movement (RAPM), said the statement by the party officials on 14 April. Isgandar Hamidov, Head of National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan and former interior minister, resigned from his post last week and quitting politics permanently. The Party officials attributed their decision to the alliance agreement between NDPA and RAPM. "The alliance agreement between NDPA and RAPM, the movement's methods in fighting towards political targets as well as the party's political line all contributed to our decision," said the statement. NDPA and RAPM signed the alliance agreement in April 2007.
The ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party has made staff changes within the Party, a source in YAP said to Trend on 14 April. The 7th special conference of Ismayilli branch of the Party removed the head of the branch from his post. Aziza Vahabova has been elected as the new head of the branch. The Party did not divulge the reasons for the change. The conference participants elected the Council of Ismayilli branch consisting of 39 people, the Board of 15 people and control group of 7 people.
A preliminary agreement on unification of opposition parties - National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (NDPA) and Azadlig party, was passed, Ahmad Oruj, chairman of Azadlig, stated Trend . Iskandar Hamidov, NDPA former chairman, supports the unification of these two parties. Hamidov resigned from the chairman position and stated that he was going to leave the policy. While explaining this decision, he said that he want to pave way for the younger generation. NDPA and Azadlig are presented in the Union for Democracy and Democratic Election Centre. According to Oruj, there will not be many serious problems to unite these parties. "The main issue after unification will be the principles of the party activity," he said. The new united party will support one candidate for the presidential position from the Union for Democracy. Ogtai Khalilli, Chairman of NDPA Organizing Committee, stated Trend that some members of Azadlig opposed the unification of parties during the meeting. "The final decision on unification of parties will be made during the Supreme Assembly of NDPA on 15 May," Khalilli stated. NDPA's decision concerning the upcoming presidential elections will be made during the next meeting or Supreme Assembly of the party.
The oppositional Musavat (Equality) Party of Azerbaijan has appealed City Administration of Baku to stage a demonstration on 4 May, Arif Hajili, the head of the Central Executive Administration of Musavat Party said to Trend . The party offered three routes for the demonstration - the square in front of Galaba cinema, in front of Nariman Narimanov cinema and in front of Ukraine circle. According to Hajili, the demonstrators will protest against attempts to reduce election campaign from four to two months. Slogans will be advanced against the wrecking of properties of citizens without relevant compensation and against price rise. The key slogans of the demonstration will be 'Stop price rise', 'Protection for Property Inviolability Rights', "Election Committees should be Formed on Equal Basis' and 'Stop Pressure on Press'.
A primary agreement on cooperation was achieved between the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party (YAP) and Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Chairman of and Executive Secretary of YAP, stated Trend . The Azerbaijani delegation headed by Ahmadov paid a visit to the Turkish Republic of the North Cyprus (TRNC). Within the framework of the visit the delegation met with Mahmat Ali Talat, President of TRNC, Ferdi David Sezer, Prime Minister, and Turgai Ahchi, Foreign Minister. Under the legislation of North Cyprus, the President does not presented in the party. However, Prime Minister of Foreign Minister is chairmen of opposition parties. Ahmadov stated that the aim of the visit is to establish relations with the ruling parties of TRNC and form a foundation for cooperation. The importance of expanding relations between the nations was stated during the meeting. "I think that everybody is informed about the political state in North Cyprus Republic and the problems the country faces. Recently, necessary steps have been taken to remove these problems.
For the time being Azerbaijan does not possess any information about the Azerbaijan soldier captivated by the Armenian Armed Forces, Shain Sailov, the secretary of State Commission on POWs and Missing People, stated. Armenian news agency Mediamax reported that, on 11 April, an Azerbaijani soldier was taken as the Prisoner of war in Yusifjanly village of Agdam District. He did not have any ID or documents, and introduced himself as 19-year old Vusal Heybatov.
The Azerbaijani Defence Minister called on the international community to increase its impact on the aggressor Armenia. "Countries and international organizations which are trying to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in a peaceful way should increase their impact on Armenia in order to prevent a harsh repercussions," Colonel-General Safar Abiyev, Azerbaijani Defence Minister, said on 14 April at the meeting with the commander of the Oklahoma State Troop, Major-General Harry Wyatt. According to Abiyev, the ineffectuality of the peaceful negotiations held through the mediation of international organizations has negatively affected the talks.
"Why do not we speak of the refugees and IDPs who were evicted from their land as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? We should pay attention to this as well," British MP Hancock Michael said at the PACE meeting on 14 April during the discussions over the situation in Armenia. In response to the British MP's question, the chairman of the PACE Political Committee Luc Van den Brande said that he would visit the refugee camp in Azerbaijan the next week. The issues regarding both the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and refugees and IDPs will be considered after the visit.
On 15 April, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement from the positions located in Mesegeh village of Berd region of Armenia to the Azerbaijani positions located near the Tovuz region, as well as from Hojavand and Fuzuli regions, near Ashagi Veysalli and Gervand villiages , from Yusifjanli of Agdam region and Tapgaragoyunlu village of Geranboy region fired at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces on 16 April, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, reported. The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated, but no casualties have been reported so far.
According to the mandate of OSCE Chairman-in-office's personal representative Andrzej Kasprzyk, monitoring of the troops contact line nearby Tapgaragoyunlu village of Azerbaijan's Goranboy region did not result in any incident, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported to Trend . In 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire agreement and are still holding peaceful negotiations since that time. OSCE periodically monitors the troops contact line for protection of the ceasefire. From Azerbaijani side, the monitoring was held by Andrzej Kasprzyk and his assistants Peter Ki and Antal Herdic.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday called on the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments to summon up the political will to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Rice said the long-running territorial dispute is holding back both countries. She made this statement after a meeting of the Turkish-American group in Washington on 15 April. In comments reflecting U.S. frustration over the continued impasse, Rice says the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is adversely affecting the interests of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and could be resolved quickly, with a little bit of political will by the two principals. Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic-Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, declared independence in 1988, triggering a conflict between the two countries that claimed some 35,000 lives. Asked about the conflict in an appearance before the American-Turkish Council in Washington, Rice said Minsk Group diplomats have been close to getting an agreement on several occasions, and that it is time for the parties to make the hard choices needed to finally end the conflict: "It needs to be done. I have made the case to both the Armenian government and the Azeri government that they are falling behind the rest of the region because they will not resolve this conflict between them. And frankly there is plenty of, if you wish to use the word, blame to go around on both sides. This could be done if there is political will, and it ought to. It ought to be done," he said.
On 16 April, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement from the positions located in Mesegeh village of Berd region of Armenia to the Azerbaijani positions located near the Tovuz region, as well as from Kuropatkino village of Hojavand region, near Gedabay region, from Yusifjanli village of Agdam region and Tapgaragoyunlu village of Geranboy region fired at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces on 17 April, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported. The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated, but no casualties have been reported so far.
Azerbaijan National Agency on Mine Action (ANAMA) was presented on 16 April in Vienna within the forum of OSCE in Hofbourg palace. The documentary about the organization and mine action in Azerbaijani territory was demonstrated to the participants of the event. The director of ANAMA Nazim Ismayilov informed of the activities of organization and touched upon mine clearing problems. He put special emphasis on Saloglu project named after a village in Akstafa region of Azerbaijan where mine action is carried out to clear unexploded mines from the military depots of Soviet Army. There is a lot of ammunition in the region which creates setbacks for the mine clearing process, Ismayilov said. The first phase of the project (2006-2007) covered the clearing of about 564 hectares of territory and cost some €1.047mln. The second phase which will end in June covers 220 ha area with a cost of €440,000. The third phase will include the clearing of underground parts of the region. According to Ismayilov, on 17 April, he will leave for Slovakia to sign a contract with WAY Industrу on the purchase of remote distance machines for mining of Bozena 5 type. ANAMA was founded in 1998 in order to clear Azerbaijani territory from mines. As of March 2008, ANAMA has cleared from mines territory with a radius of 65mln cu. meters.
"The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not frozen at any time or at any stage," the Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov said at press conference on 16 April. "Conflict cannot be called frozen. Only situation can be frozen," Azimov said. According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, Azerbaijan fulfils its obligations, but the opposite side violates the ceasefire. " Armenia wants the conflict to be frozen and that is the core of our discussions. We should take into consideration the future of the conflict," he said. According to Azimov, avoidance of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, freezing the status and achieving some goals serves the interests of several groups.