Weekly political review

Politics Materials 29 April 2008 12:03 (UTC +04:00)

Official chronicle

On 21 April Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the FIDE President, President of the Republic of Kalmykia of the Russian Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. President Aliyev said he was pleased with the fact that Azerbaijan is hosting such an important chess tournament as the Grand Prix which is commemorating the 85th anniversary of the nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev. He believes the tournament would contribute to boosting the development of chess in Azerbaijan. President Aliyev spoke of the success achieved by Azerbaijani chess players. Ilyumzhinov also drew attention to the high-level organization of the Grand Prix tournament in Baku. He also praised the Azerbaijani Government's support to develop various sport in the country, including chess.

On 22 April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received delegation headed by Ruben Jeffrey, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State on economic, energy and agricultural affairs. The President expressed his confidence in further expansion of cooperation in economy between Azerbaijan and U.S. Jeffrey stated that the goal of his visit to Azerbaijan is to hold meetings and discussions with representatives of various economic areas. They exchanged views on development of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and U.S. in the economy, energy, agriculture and on issues interesting for both parties.

On 23 April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received Director of Guggenheim Foundation Thomas Krens. During the conversation, it was noted that huge work has been done to preserve Azerbaijan's national and cultural traditions for the future generations. Ilham Aliyev and Thomas Krens also discussed the creation of a museum of modern arts in Baku. Both expressed their confidence that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Guggenheim Foundation would be a great contribution towards development of museums in the country.

The intensification of economic relations have become the major topic of discussions at a meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Moldova in Baku on 23 April. "The energy cooperation, investment projects, as well as relations in the humanitarian sector were on focus of the meeting," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said after the talks with the President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin. The intensification of political dialogue, bilateral and regional cooperation was also mulled, the President said. The heads of states touched upon the lingering conflicts in the territory of Azerbaijan and Moldova. "The resolution of conflicts will give impetus to regional cooperation and enable to remove potential threats of separatism," the Azerbaijani President said. Aliyev thanked Moldova for its support to Azerbaijan's initiative on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh at the UN General Assembly.

" Moldova wants to participate in many prospective projects with Azerbaijan," Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said in Baku on 23 April after official negotiations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Voronin said that at the meeting with Azerbaijani President they discussed opening of Kishinev-Baku flight in near future. Voronin said that Azerbaijani-Moldovan governmental commission is expected to meet in a month and a half to discuss both countries' economic integration. He said that Moldova is experiencing some difficulties in the field of social and economic development and voiced his hope for support from Azerbaijan in this connection. "We hope that we will be able to remove the problem with Azerbaijan's support," Voronin said.

On 24 April, the Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received a Turkish delegation which was led by Faruk Celik, the Minister of Labor and Social Security. The Azerbaijani President said friendly and fraternal relations between the two countries are developing in all spheres. President Aliyev added that he believes Faruk Celik`s current visit will contribute to strengthening cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Celik conveyed greetings and best wishes to the Azerbaijani leader from the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish Minister said he witnessed Azerbaijan's great developments during his current trip. He stressed that the talks he had with Azerbaijani officials in Baku would contribute further to strengthening the relations of the two countries. President Ilham Aliyev asked Faruk Celik to extend his best regards to the Turkish President and the Premier.

On 25 April, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at President Palace received the delegation headed by Dr. Michael Nobel, Chairman of the Nobel Charitable Trust Foundation President Aliyev noted that the visit of this delegation led by Mr. Michael Nobel to Azerbaijan shows close relations between the country and the Nobel Charitable Trust Foundation. Recapitulating his first visit with Michael Nobel, Azerbaijani President said that during that meeting they discussed the history and future cooperation. Nobel family is quite respected in the country; the Head of State expressed his confidence that the current visit of the Nobel Charitable Trust Foundation would also be successful. Dr. Michael Nobel with great pleasure recalled his pervious meetings with the Azerbaijani President and expressed his gratitude to President Aliyev for rendering his support to the reconstruction works of the Nobel brothers' historical residence in Baku - the Villa Petrolea. He expressed his hope that opening of the Villa Petrolea would strengthen the relations between Sweden and Azerbaijan in a positive way.

On 25 April, Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, received the famous scientist and academician Roald Sagdeev. Mr Sagdeev said that Azerbaijan had developed considerably since his last year visit to the country. He said he is pleased to be in Baku and meet with President Aliyev. Sagdeev informed the Azerbaijani leader about the meetings he held at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, Aviation Academy and Institute of Cybernetics. President Ilham Aliyev said the visit will be a good opportunity for Sagdeev to familiarize himself with the development of science and new technologies in Azerbaijan. The President also expressed his confidence that Sagdeev`s visit would contribute in exchange of experience among the scientists.


The issue on the passing of an amnesty act has been raised in the Azerbaijani Parliament. "The new amnesty act must apply to elderly people, those suffering from ill health, as well as those who have been imprisoned for occasional crimes, women and those prisoners who have served half of their prison sentence," MP Siyavush Novruzov, Deputy Executive Secretary of the governing New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), said at the parliamentary meeting on 25 April. Novruzov called on MPs to support the suggestion to pass the amnesty act on 10 May in line with the 85th anniversary of the all-nation leader Heydar Aliyev. Novruzov said that unlike the pardon decree, the amnesty act generally covers a larger number of prisoners. Fazil Gazanfaroglu, the chairman of the opposition Great Establishment Party, also believes amnesty act is needed. Until now, 8 amnesty acts have been applied to 87,000 prisoners, 23,000 of which were released. The last amnesty act was passed on 10 May 2007 on the 84th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev. Since July 1995, 43 presidential pardon decrees have affected 4,584 prisoners.

Changes will be made in the activities of Toponymy Commission dealing with re-naming of the settlements. "The current charter of Toponymy Commission contradicts Azerbaijani laws," Arif Rahimzade, the chairman of Standing Parliament Commission on Regional Issues said in a meeting of the commission on 25 April. The charter of Toponymy Commission was adopted by Milli Majlis (parliament) on 8 April 2000. A number of new laws have been passed since then, he said. According to the new charter, the Toponymy Commission must follow rules of the Azerbaijani language while renaming the settlements. However, previously the historical names were given more preference. According to the new charter, the composition of Toponymy Commission must be approved by the parliament. The Commission has highly appreciated the changes, and also proposed to bring these changes for discussion in the parliament.

The Azerbaijani parliament has passed a bill on renaming Ali-Bayramli and Khanlar regions of Azerbaijan. The Bill was discussed in the meeting of Milli Majlis (parliament) on 25 April. Rustam Khalilov, the member of standing parliament commission on regional issues said that the residents of Ali-Bayramli, its Administration and Municipality appealed the Toponymy Commission of Milli Majlis (parliament) to change the name Ali-Bayramli into Shirvan. "The residents of Khanlar region also appealed the Toponymy Commission to re-name their region into Goy-Gol," Khalilov said. The MPs Sabir Rustamkhanli and Igbal Agazade protested against re-naming Ali-Bayramli into Shirvan. They believe that Shirvan covers large geographical area; therefore it is not right to restrict that name to only one city. Agazade and Rustamkhanli protested against the fact that the name of lake Goy-Gol was given to one region. The chairman of the parliament Ogtay Asadov did not agree with these views and said that the re-naming of one region into Shirvan will not cause any harm. "Goy-Gol is a pearl of Azerbaijan; however the world is unaware of its presence. The flow of tourists into the region will increase after the region is renamed into Goy-Gol," the speaker said. The parliament adopted with majority the Bill on Renaming Ali-Bayramli and Khanlar regions of Azerbaijan into Shirvan and Goy-Gol accordingly.


Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, on his two days official visit to Riga, discussed development of the economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Latvia and expansion of the legal basis with Maris Riekstins, Latvian Foreign minister, the Ministers stated during the press-conference after bilateral negotiations on 24 April. "Active political dialogue has been observed between Azerbaijan and Latvia in recent times," the Latvian Minister said. According to him, a good legal basis has been established between the countries. However, still there are set of agreements on economic and legal cooperation, which are yet to be developed. There is a need to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in spheres of economy, investment and energy, Mammadyarov stated. " Latvia is an important partner for Azerbaijan. Latvian experience in the Euro Atlantic structures is also very important for Azerbaijan," Mammadyarov noted. During the meeting, the two sides also conferred the possible cooperation in the energy sphere. "I hope that our experts will consider different possibilities in this sphere as well," the Latvian Minister said. The Minister stated that the Latvian ports can be used for the export of natural resources to different outlets.

The Council of Europe's Committee of Representatives called upon Azerbaijan to increase the level of preparedness for Presidential elections which will take place in mid of October and hold the elections in accordance with the European norms and standards. "The Council of Europe's Action Plan, which envisages assisting in preparations for the elections, says that Azerbaijan soon needs to adopt a Law on changes and additions to its Electoral Code," mentioned during the next meeting of the Committee of Representatives in Strasburg on 24 April where the initial discussions were held on the report as a result of the visit of AGO Monitoring Group to Azerbaijan on 2-4 April, a source at Azerbaijan representation to the Council of Europe said. While joining the Council of Europe in 2001, Azerbaijan undertook several obligations. The Monitoring Group was established to control fulfillment of the obligations. The members of AGO Group stated that during their visit to Azerbaijan, they paid special attention to the issues of electoral legislation and practice, freedom of expression and press, as well as problems of people who are considered political prisoners. The Chairman of AGO Group stated that during their visit to Azerbaijan, they investigated the works on upcoming presidential elections due on 15 October 2008. In addition, he spoke about the negotiations between the Government of Azerbaijan and Venice Commission regarding the adoption of a new Electoral Code. The Chairman of the Group said that Azerbaijan's Law on Freedom of Assembly has already coordinated with the Venice Commission and the initial project satisfies both the Government of Azerbaijan and Venice Commission. Both documents are expected to be adopted in the beginning of May. In addition, it was stated that the agenda includes the issue of devising a project of Law on Alternative Service in Azerbaijan in accordance with the European standards. The report says that the concerns about imprisoned people, who are considered as political prisoners, show importance of settling this issue. At the same time, the report highly appreciated the fact that in December 2007 the President of Azerbaijan issued a pardoning order which gave freedom to six imprisoned journalists. In addition, the report highlighted a wish to release three more imprisoned journalists.


The Democratic Election Centre (DEC) addressed to the Azerbaijani population and all the political structures independently from political position in order to provide mass rally- planed on 12 May. On 30 January, nine opposition parties - Classic Popular Front, Azadlig, National-Democratic, Great Establishment, Popular Front of Unified Azerbaijan, Great Azerbaijan, Open Society, Takammul and Green party of Azerbaijan took a decision to establish DEC. The rally, which is planned to be staged in the centre of Baku on 12 May in connection with signing of the agreement in Bishkek, will be held to challenge to carry out radical reforms within the framework of Azerbaijani Army and refusal of any obligation on peaceful regulation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict taken by Baku. DEC stated that Azerbaijani population does not agree with occupation of its lands by Armenia. "DEC invites Azerbaijani population and all political parties to participate in the rally scheduled for 12 May. The goal of the rally is to inform international communities, states, international organizations and Armenia about the one position of the Azerbaijani population," as stated. DEC is planning to stage a rally in one of the five central squares in Baku - Seaside National Park, area before Theatre named Nariman Narimanov, Fuzuli square, Academy Science yard and Jafar Jabbarli square. Parties united in DEC -Open Society and Green party of Azerbaijan will not participate in the rally.

Geyrat, national movement of Georgian Azerbaijanis, has refused to nominate its candidates to Parliament in the list of candidates from the governing Unified National Movement, Alibala Askarov, head of Geyrat, said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Tbilisi on 21 April. Georgia will host the parliamentary elections on 21 May. There are 62 political parties in Georgia which intend to participate in the elections. The new Parliament will consist of 150 MPs (the current Parliament includes 235 MPs), with 75 being elected through a proportional system and the other 75 through a majority system. At the beginning of April Geyrat negotiated with Georgia's governing party to nominate two Azerbaijanis for the elections. The Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, Nino Burjanadze, who is favoured in the election roll of the governing Unified National Movement, said to Trend that the party is ready to represent Georgian Azerbaijanis in its election roll. According to Askarov, Geyrat refused to participate because the governing party had offered the remaining places in its proportional list to Geyrat candidates. "If Geyrat candidates are nominated from the bottom of the proportional list, they will have no chance to be elected," Askarov said. About 500,000 Azerbaijanis populate Georgia, mainly in the Kvemo-Kartli region. The governing Georgian party nominated Azerbaijani Azer Suleymanov in the majority list of the Marneuli region.

Fazail Gazanfaroglu, the Chairman of the Great Establishment party, supports reducing the term for the election campaign. "Reducing the term of the election campaign is profitable mainly for the opposition rather than the Authorities," Gazanfaroglu stated Trend . The ruling New Azerbaijan party (NAP) is proposing to introduce amendments in the Election Code and reduce the term of the election campaign from 4 months to two months. The opposition parties excluding Great Establishment do not support this. Gazanfaroglu believes that electronic possibilities have increased in the modern world and it has become easier to communicate with the public. Candidates have to utilise their funds for every pre-election day. "I believe that reducing the term for the pre-election campaign will reduce the money spent by candidates. The Authorities have no financial problems, but the opposition has limited funds. Gazanfaroglu believes that every party has a five-year term to gain power. "If candidates cannot gain support of the population by then, he cannot do it within two or four months," he stated. However, DPA party is concerned with the proposal concerning the reduction of the term of the election campaigns. It considers that the authorities are attempting to limit the opportunities of the opposition by decreasing the election campaign term. "We ask the authorities not to take this step,' Hasrat Rustamov, DPA Deputy Chairman stated. The Azadlig bloc, which unites three opposition parties, believes that NAP's proposal is an attempt to limit the possibilities of the opposition parties," Ali Aliyev, Azadlig bloc co-chairman, stated Trend . The ruling party in its turn denies these statements. "Reducing the term of the election campaign is directed to upgrade the election process," MP Bahar Muradova, Deputy Executive Secretary of NAP, stated. According to Muradova, NAP's initiative is based on the election experience of Azerbaijan and other countries.

"The refusal by several opposition parties to take part in the presidential elections to be held in October 2008 will not create any problems concerning candidates," Ali Hasanov, Head of the Social and Political Department of Azerbaijani Presidential Adminitration said. "Boycott of the elections will have neither bad nor positive impact on the government," Ali Hasanov said to Trend on 23 April. The bloc Azadlig ( Liberty), uniting three opposition parties, has stated that it would boycott elections if democratic election atmosphere is not created in the country. National Independence Party of Azerbaijan and Open Society Party are also not going to take part in the elections if democratic atmosphere is not created. The Presidential Administration believes that the decision whether to take part in the elections is a private problem of every party. "The government is not concerned about it," Hasanov said. The decision whether to take part in the elections should be made not by the party leaders, but by the supreme bodies and meetings of these organizations. "There are enough candidates from the Opposition who will run for presidency. Therefore, there will not be any problems concerning candidates," official of the Presidential Administration said. The governing Yeni Azerbaijan Party has announced that it will nominate Ilham Aliyev, the current president, for presidency.

Opposition party members have decreased in Azerbaijan compared to previous years. Arif Hajili, Chairman of the Executive Administration of Musavat party, stated that the number of party members has decreased in the last two or three years compared to statistics held in 2000. However, an increase in membership has been observed this year compared to previous years. Hajili did not provide details of the number of party members, but said they were in the region of tens of thousands. Mutallim Rahimli, the Deputy Chairman of the Adalat party, stated that the number of applications for membership in the party had decreased compared to previous years. The number of party members decreased from 25,000 to 21,000. Sardar Jalaloglu, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) stated to Trend that there was no interest to join political parties at all. However, Jalaloglu did not state whether the number of new members in the party had decreased recently. Fazil Gazanfaroglu, Chairman of the Great Establishment party (GEP), stated to Trend that he do not pay any attention to the number of members in the party. However, new members are still joining the party. Recently approximately thousands of people became members of the party. Gazanfaroglu stated that the decrease of interest by the public for membership in political parties is connected with the common situation in the country. Samir Asadi, Deputy Chairman of the Citizen Solidarity party (CSP) on organizational issue, stated that about 500 people appealed for membership to CSP. The number of members joining the party has decreased to 50%. Billur Humbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Citizen and Development party (CDP), stated that about 280 appeals were submitted to the party in recent years.

The Oppositional Musavat (Equality) party of Azerbaijan will form a shadow cabinet prior to the presidential elections, Arif Hajili, the head of Administration of Musavat party, said to Trend on 24 April. In Oct 2008, the presidential election will be held in Azerbaijan. The Majlis (Assembly) of the party has nominated Isa Gambar, the chairman of the party, for the presidential elections. The other opposition party Democratic Party of Azerbaijan has also nominated its candidate for the elections, and has announced that it has formed a shadow cabinet- the composition of which will be announced in the end of May. According to Hajili, if a candidate from the party wins elections, he will form his team from the representatives of current government and opposition. If Musavat party will come to power, it will take competent and patriotic member of the government into its team. We will not form our government on the basis of political convictions. We will take advantage of the patriotic members of the current government," Hajili said.

There are people who believe that Etibar Mammadov, leader of the Azerbaijani National Independent Party (ANIP) cannot solve problems within the party. "I do not think that the problems within ANIP will be tackled even if Mammadov returns to his position of chairman in the party. Political activity could be observed, but no drastic changes will take place," Rauf Mirgadirov, a member of ANIP stated Trend . ANIP was the first party to receive registration in Azerbaijan in 1992. Etibar Mammadov was the founder and chairman of the party until the end of 2004 when he resigned from that position which led to a split within the party. Some members left the party due to conflicts occurred within the party. Soon after Ali Aliyev replaced Mammadov in the position as chairman. Ayaz Rustamov, the latest ANIP Chairman, resigned from his position at the end of 2007. The party will hold an urgent meeting in order to elect a new chairman. Three candidates have stood in the chairmanship position of the party - Alladin Askarov, Chairman of Narimanov District organization of the party, Fagan Maharramli, Chairman of Goranboy region organization of the party, and Ali Orujov, ANIP Secretary on Press and Popularization. According to Mirgadirov, there are two problems relating to the ANIP chairman position. The first problem is that ANIP is a party which was founded around the leader. "Mammadov was a unanimous chairman of the party. He was one of the leading activists of 1990s and his resignation from the chairman position could only lead to problems," Mirgadirov added. The other reason is a common situation in the country. No conditions have been created for the parties' activity. Presently, Mammadov is the deputy chairman of the International Democratic Alliance.


Ankara called on the international community to take urgent measures to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "We consider that the international community should take extraordinary measures to resolve the conflict," said the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ali Babajan, on 21 April in Ankara.

Azerbaijan calls upon the new leadership of Armenia not to repeat the mistakes of the previous leaders, but to take a constructive position in the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Press Secretary of Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry, Khazar Ibrahim, said to a press-conference on 21 April. The leadership of Armenia should unconditionally withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani occupied territories. " Armenia should understand that there are three states in South Caucasus and there is not a place for the fourth country here," he said. In addition, the official representative of the Foreign Ministry called upon the leadership of Armenia not to mislead the community of the country, but to provide them with true information. The Prime Minister and leader of Republic Party of Armenia- Serj Sarkisyan, was elected as the President of the country, as a result of elections on 19 February. Armenia's former ambassador to France, Eduard Nalbandyan, replaced Vardan Oskanyan at the position of Foreign Minister of the country.

On 22 April, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement from the positions located near Berd, Ijevan and Noyemberansk regions of Armenia to the Azerbaijani positions located near the Tovuz and Gazakh regions, as well as from Marzili and Yusifjanli villages of Agdam region, from Hojavand region and Kuropatkino village and Tap[garagoyunlu village of Goranboy region fired at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces on 23 April, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, reported. The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated, and no casualties were reported.

The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan is on full alert in the contact line between Azerbaijan and the Armenian armed forces in connection with the so-called 'Armenian genocide' marked by Armenians on 24 April. "The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan is on full alert," the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said to Trend on 24 April. Armenian armed forces became more active in the contact line and fired at Azerbaijani positions on 24 April. During the last few days the Armenians have been conducting military training in the occupied Azerbaijani territory and near the contact line. "Any form of provocation will be prevented," the Ministry of Defense said.

It is impossible to establish two Armenian states and the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict should be settled only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Such a statement was made by Elkhan Nuriyev, the Head of Strategic Studies Center under the auspices of the Azerbaijan President, during the 7th Eurasian Media Forum which commenced in Almaty on 24 April. During the second session 'Separatism and self-determination right', Nuriyev made a concrete stance on the Kosovo problem, stating that Azerbaijan does not recognize Kosovo's independence and considers that Kosovo cannot be a precedent for settling other conflicts, including the Armenian-Azerbaijani problem. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and international law, said the Head of the Center. The speech was supported by other participants of the conference, representatives of Russia and Kazakhstan, who stated that the existence of conflicts breaks international laws and standards and the separatism, as a dangerous case, may bring huge serious consequences for all countries, Nuriyev reported to Trend by telephone from Almaty on 24 April. The two-day forum focuses on the relationships of the leading states with regards to new global contradictions, problems of reaching a compromise of conflicting sides in the Middle East, South Caucasus, Central Asia and Balkans. The Eurasian Forum annually brings together more than 400 representatives from 60 countries worldwide. The key goal of the Forum is to create opportunities to the participants to listen and understand the voice of the people representing other countries, cultures as well as understanding the reality and its prospects. The Forum is being attended by outstanding politicians, international experts, including the former Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Head of Russian Foundation for Efficient Policy, Gleb Pavlovski, Head of Programs for Russia and Eurasia, the Heritage Foundation, Ariel Koen and other dignatories.

Azerbaijan wants NATO to take measures in order to prevent Armenia's deployment of armament obtained by illegal ways in Azerbaijani occupied territories, production of drugs and using this territory as a transit for the transportation of drugs. "If the armament deployed in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan is used, it will pose a danger not only for the South Caucasus, but also for the NATO member states," said to Trend Siyavush Novruzov, the member of standing parliament commission on security and defense and Azerbaijani delegation in NATO Parliament Assembly. According to Novruzov, all these issues will be discussed in the spring session of NATO PA at the end of May in Berlin and they will demand to put these issues into the agenda of upcoming meetings. The NATO summit held in Bucharest passed a resolution on inviolability of territorial integrity of countries including Azerbaijan. This document is on the agenda of PA as well. Armenia occupied 20% of Azerbaijani territory - Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 surrounding regions. The occupation began in 1988. Azerbaijan lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh (excluding Shusha and Khojali) till December 1991. In 1992-93 Shusha and Khojali and 7 regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh were occupied. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia reached a ceasefire agreement. The parties are still holding peace talks. OSCE Minsk Group acts as a mediator for the peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with co-chairmen from three countries - U.S., Russia and France. According to Novruzov, fight against illegal turnover of drugs, illegal armament trade and war on terrorism is the principle objective of NATO. "Therefore, NATO should respond to the situation in occupied territory of Azerbaijan," he said. Azerbaijani delegation will also raise the issue of presidential elections in Armenia.

Baku calls the firing of Azerbaijani and Turkish flags as brutality. "These actions by Armenia show the world their true face," Araz Azimov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, told journalists in Baku on 26 April. Azimov said that Azerbaijan follows the laws and does not intend to take similar steps. "We witnessed such actions in the past," he said. On 25 April the flags of Turkey and Azerbaijan were fired in Yerevan on 25 April during the ceremony dedicated to the victims of the so-called 'Armenian genocide'. Armenia accuses Ankara of genocide of 1,500 Armenians in 1915-1917 during the Ottoman Empire. There are not any diplomatic relations between Armenian and Turkey, whereas the Armenian- Turkish border was closed in 1993 at Ankara's initiative. Turkey rebuffs accusations by Armenia and confirms that during the inter-ethnic conflict, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century, many Muslim Turks were killed along with Christian Armenians. The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan offered to research the issue with the help of historical achieves of both countries, whilst Armenia did not favour it.Ankara's principle position on the issue states that in 1915 Armenians were internally displaced due to political interests of Ottoman Empire and that cannot be considered as genocide against the nation.