Weekly political review
On 2 June, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sent a congratulation message to the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy Silvio Berlusconi on the country's public holiday- The Republic Day.
"I am sure that we will resolutely continue our efforts to deepen our cooperation both in bilateral cooperation and within international organizations and European structures," was stated in the letter.
The Azerbaijani Leader wished the Italian Prime Minister success in his activities, and the people of Italy peace and prosperity.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a message of greetings to participants of the Baku International Film Festival "East-West."
"I extend to you, the participants of the Tenth traditional International Film Festival "East-West", my heartfelt greetings and best wishes for good health, happiness and success of your festival.
In the modern, rapidly globalizing world, cinema, unlike other kinds of art, is a creative field keeping up with new technologies.
I am convinced that with its yearly enhancing prestige, your festival will serve the cause of mutual enrichment of different cultures, expand the scope of cooperation and experience exchange in accordance with main tendencies of global cinema, and will have a positive impact on further development of our national film industry."
On 2 June, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order to confer employs of civil aviation - Glory Medal upon Malevia Sergey Petrovicha and Nazarov Jafar, and Tereggi Medal ('Progress') upon Bayramov Rafig, Ahmedov Fakhraddin, Gulmammadali Mansur, Ilyasov Sabir, Gamova Grigoria, Mammadova Igrameddin, Melikova Gulbeniz, Najafov Beyler, Sadigzade Vugar, Tarasova Vatilia and Veliyev Ilgar.
In addition, the President has issued an order to confer honorable ranking 'Honorable engineer of Azerbaijan Republic' upon Javadov Nazim and to provide personal pension of President of Azerbaijan Republic to Atamalibeyova Shovketkhanim.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev awarded Arif Gaziyev an order of Fame for fruitful activities in the propaganda of the Azerbaijani mugham.
On 2 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received delegation headed by the Chairman of Board, Deputy Chairman of Board of Directors of Russian Gazprom OSC, Aleksey Miller.
During the meeting, the sides highlighted successful implementation of large-scale regional oil and gas projects being realized through initiative of Azerbaijan, intensification of works to further develop fuel and energy complexes.
On 2 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order awarding Fatma Abdullazade the Glory Medal for her productive activity in State service in Azerbaijan
On 2 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received Steven Mann, the Eurasian Energy Diplomacy Coordinator at the US Department of State. Both the Azerbaijani President and the US diplomat expressed satisfaction with developing bilateral relations including energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States of America. The importance of the 15th International Caspian oil and gas exhibition to be held in Azerbaijan was stressed at the meeting.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the Ukrainian Defense Minister Mr. Yuri Yekhanurov on Monday.
The Head of State stressed the successful development of relations between Azerbaijan and Ukraine in various areas. President Aliyev recalled with pleasure his recent visit to Kiev and fruitful meetings with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Ilham Alivev underlined these visits would enhance cooperation between the two countries. Azerbaijani leader expressed his confidence that the visit of Ukrainian Minister would expand relationships between the two countries' defense ministries.
Mr. Yerukhanov passed President Victor Yushchenko`s greetings on to Ilham Aliyev. Minister expressed his confidence that the ties between the Defense Ministries of Azerbaijan and Ukraine would contribute to development of bilateral relations.
President Ilham Aliyev expressed his gratitude for Ukrainian President's greetings and asked to convey his own greetings to Viktor Yushchenko.
resident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Monday Israel`s National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
Ben-Eliezer passed on President Shimon Peres`, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert`s greetings to Azerbaijani Leader. He said the aim of his visit is to learn more about the situation in Azerbaijan, in particular, the infrastructure development here.
The Head of State told of the large-scale infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan. The Head of State, for his part, asked Ben-Eliezer to convey his greetings to President Peres and Premier Olmert.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Norway`s State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy Liv Monica Stubholt who arrived here to participate in the 15th International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition.
Mrs. Stubholt stressed Azerbaijan is a very important state in terms of its economic potential. She said the exhibition had become quite an important event in the global petroleum industry, adding it provides good opportunities for networking.
The Head of State noted Azerbaijan had gained rich experience in conducting international conferences. President Aliyev pointed out international oil and gas exhibition aroused a keen interest around the world.
Fruitful energy cooperation between the two states was stressed at the meeting.
On 2 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received Peter Semneby, European Union (EU) Special Representative for the South Caucasus, and his accompanying delegation. The talks focused on the current state and prospects of the Azerbaijan-EU cooperation.
The oil production in Azerbaijan will reach 60mln tons a year in 2009 and 50mln tons in 2008, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated in his opening remarks in the annual Caspian Oil and Gas 2008 exhibition in Baku on 3 June.
"For as minimum as 100 years, Azerbaijan has possessed oil and gas resources, as well as opportunities to supply them and be a reliable partner," he said.
The President stated that the sharp rise in oil prices worldwide has brought tremendous profits to Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan ensures transparency in the energy sector and has joined the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
"The Azerbaijani community is not concerned about the way oil revenues are used as the information is open for all," the President stated.
Aliyev stressed that the key objective is to direct the oil incomes towards the consolidation of human capital, resolution of social problems and development of non-oil sector.
The economic development worldwide requires tremendous energy resources. "Taking into consideration rich energy resources of the Caspian, Azerbaijan has become an indispensable country for the world," the Azerbaijani leader stated.
According to the President, Azerbaijan covers its own domestic gas demand and imports gas to the neighboring countries as well.
"We are eager to expand the geography and production of gas. We are prepared to participate in the projects at reasonable conditions," the head of state said.
The Azerbaijani leadership will continue paying more attention and care to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR), particularly, its energy security, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated during his visit to Julfa District of NAR on 3 June.
Construction of gas reservoirs is underway in Nakhchivan AR and their commissioning will enable to ensure energy security of NAR, Aliyev said in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Central Hospital in Julfa.
The President said that the agenda also includes efforts to strengthen defence ability of this Autonomous Republic.
Aliyev said that over the past three years, Azerbaijan had occupied a top place in the world for the economic development. In this period, the state expenses have trebled and the total budget currently comprises $16bln.
On 3 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, participated in opening of several State and social facilities in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The State Head took part in the ceremony of opening new building of Nakhchivan department of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan. Within familiarization with the tourism potential of Nakhchivan, the President visited Tabriz Hotel, Gadim-Sharg Health-Improving Center, Dede-Gorgud Square, Central City Sport and Entertainment Complex. In addition, Aliyev opened Nakhchivan Medical School, participated in the ceremony of putting the first stone of maternity hospital. In addition, a ceremony was held to present keys of apartments to 85 military people.
In the first half of the day, the State Head opened Central Hospital in Julfa City as well as visited N military unit where he had dinner with servicemen.
On 3 June the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent a letter of condolence to President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan over the tragic death of his brother.
In his message, the Azerbaijani leader said: "The news of the tragic death of Your brother Nasser Bin Zayed Al Nahayan and Your fellow countrymen in a helicopter crash is a source of great sorrow to me".
"I share Your grief, and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan and my own behalf, I extend sincere sympathies and condolences to You, Your family and the whole people of the United Arab Emirates.
Azerbaijan`s President Ilham Aliyev and Turkey`s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met one-on-one at the Supreme Majlis in Nakhchivan on Wednesday.
During the conversation, they expressed satisfaction with the overall development of friendly and fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
They also pointed to the two countries` joint global projects, and their supporting each other's positions on the international arena
Recep Tayyip Erdogan`s current trip to Nakhchivan was described as the impetus for the enhancement of the bilateral relations.
Ilham Aliyev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan also exchanged views on regional cooperation and a number of international issues.
The President of Azerbaijan and Turkish Premier continued the talks in the presence of their accompanying delegations.
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev believes that successful corporation with Turkey in all fields serves to strengthening positions of both countries in the region. "The positions of Azerbaijan and Turkey coincide with each other in all issues," Ilham Aliyev said during his meeting with the Turkish Premier Rajab Tayyip Erdogan in Nakhchivan on 4 June.
The Premier-led Turkish delegation paid official visit to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. After the one-to-one meeting between Rajab Tayyib Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev, the discussions were continued together with the representatives of the delegation.
The President of Azerbaijan expressed his hope that this meeting is of great significance and it will yield good results. "The corporation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is enhanced and comprehensive and regional projects of both countries are successfully continued," the President stated. "Nakhchivan is the only region of Azerbaijan which borders on Turkey. Visit of the Turkish Premier to Nakhchivan with a large delegation is the indicator of the significance of out corporation," President said.
The Premier Erdogan stated that the corporation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is further developing in all fields. The Premier expressed his confidence that the participation of Turkish ministers in this meeting will contribute to corporation between Azerbaijan and Turkey. "The border region Nakhchivan is of special significance for Turkey as well," said Erdogan. The Premier expressed his satisfaction with his visit to the region which he was planning to pay long ago," Erdogan said.
The head of the Turkish government believes that the realization of joint projects by Azerbaijan and Turkey serves strengthening of positions of two countries in the region. "The enhanced corporation between Azerbaijan and Turkey in energy sphere benefits both countries," Erdogan said. The Premier stated that from this viewpoint, the oil and gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Erzurum are of great significance.
Turkey will always support Baku's equitable position in settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Nakhchivan on 4 June after negotiations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
The Turkish Prime Minister is paying a 1-day official visit to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan (NAR). In the first half of the day, Erdogan held twosome negotiations with Azerbaijani President. Moreover, Aliyev and Erdogan headed the negotiations between two countries' governmental delegations at the NAR Supreme Assembly (Parliament).
At the briefing after negotiations, President Aliyev thanked Turkey for its permanent support to Azerbaijan in the peace negotiations with Armenia.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received British Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Digby Jones.
During the talks, the President and the Minister discussed Azerbaijan-UK bilateral relations, focusing in particular on successful economic cooperation between the two countries. President Aliyev especially stressed that British companies have been running effective business in various spheres of Azerbaijan's economy for many years.
The Azerbaijani leader and the British Minister emphasized the particular importance of the 15th Baku International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference for regional and international cooperation.
On 5 June, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a delegation headed by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Alireza Sheikh Attar.
Successful development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Iran was discussed at the meeting. The participants expressed their hope for further development of cooperation.
On 5 June, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a delegation headed by the Executive Director General of Statoil Hydro Helge Lund.
They discussed continuous fruitful cooperation between Azerbaijan and Norwegian Statoil, as well as noted the significance of 15th international exhibition 'Caspian Oil & Gas' held in Baku and its role in enhancement of international energy cooperation.
The sides exchanged their views about further cooperation prospects.
Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, received on 5 June the President of Intel Corporation Craig Barrett
Barrett said there are good prospects for ICT cooperation with Azerbaijan. He noted his visit would allow him to learn more about development of information technologies in Azerbaijan. President Aliyev stressed that the development of information technologies is a key priority of the Azerbaijani economic policy. From this perspective, cooperation with Intel Corporation is an important issue for discussions, said the President.
The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent a letter of congratulation to Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt on the National Day.
In the message, the President said he strongly believes the two countries will further use the existing potential to achieve overall development of their bilateral cooperation.
The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, left for Saint Petersburg to attend an informal summit of CIS Heads of State.
At the Heydar Aliyev International Airport, the President was seen off by Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, Chief of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev and Mayor of Baku Hajibala Abutalybov.
The President of Azerbaijan hopes for further development of relations with Russia.
"I believe that the onward development of our relations will be positive like the previous years and we will actively work in various directions," the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in St-Petersburg on 6 June, Vesti Television reported.
The President described the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia as 'dynamic and positively developing'. They are characterized as the relations between partners, President said.
"I am very glad that we are moving towards progress at rapid rates, and actively co-operate in the region," Ilham Aliyev said.
Dmitry Medvedev expressed his satisfaction about the number of issues to be discussed between the two sides.
"We have many interesting issues and the indicators of trade turnover are increasing," the President of Russia said.
Medvedev expressed his preparedness to discuss the prospects of co-operation during his first official visit to Azerbaijan in the beginning of July.
resident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in St. Petersburg on Friday in the presence of the OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairs dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Parliament of Azerbaijan made a decision to reduce the period of pre-election campaign from four months to 75 days.
On 2 May, the meeting of Azerbaijan Parliament focused on the project on changes and amendments to the Electoral Code.
A project to improve the Election Code was devised as a result of discussions between the Government of Azerbaijan and the Venice Commission. The project on changes and amendments prepared by the Government of Azerbaijan was positively assessed by the Venice Commission.
The project to reduce the pre-election campaign was devised by Azerbaijan Parliament's Commission for Legal Policy and State Establishment.
Four weeks have now been allotted for the pre-election campaign. The remaining time will be spent on nomination, registration and collection of signatures.
The parliamentary discussions to improve the Election Code commenced on 30 May.
As a result of the voting in the Parliament, 100 MPs voted for, 3 against and 1 abstained from the voting. The project on changes and amendments into the Election Code was adopted.
The parliament of Azerbaijan has increased the election funds of the candidates from AZN1mln to AZN10mln.
The draft on additions and changes into the Election Code of Azerbaijan was discussed in the parliament meeting on 2 June. The volume of the election funds for both the presidential candidates and those running for parliament has been increased on the basis of the suggested additions. The election funds for candidates running for parliament have been increased from AZN85,000 up to AZN500,000.
A draft to improve the Election Code was developed as a result of the discussions between the Azerbaijani government and Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. The Bill on Changes and Supplements to Election Code, developed by the Azerbaijani government, was positively assessed by the Venice Commission.
The Bill on Changes and Supplements into Election Code was passed by the parliament with 100 votes in favor, 3 - against and 1 abstaining.
The Azerbaijani first Vice Speaker believes that the opposition parties are responsibility for non formation of election commissions on the parity basis with participation of state and opposition representatives.
"Boycotting the meeting of the Central Election Commission in 2000 the opposition demonstrated that it was not interested in the formation of election commissions," Ziyafat Askarov, first Vice Speaker, stated on 2 June.
According to Trend , the draft of amendments and supplements into the Election Code of Azerbaijan were passed by the Parliament on 2 June.
Under the current draft, the term of election campaign was decreased from 120 days to 75 days and number of electorate signatures, which the candidates have to present to the Central Election Commission for registration, was cut from 45,000 to 40,000, as well as there was put a prohibition to hold paid and free agitation on TV, radio and newspaper, financed by the government, the election fund of presidential candidates was increased from AZN 1mln and AZN 10mln and install of election centres in military units was cancelled.
Some 100 people vote for, three against and one restrained from voting regarding the amendments and supplements into the Election Code.
The draft of amendments and supplements into the Election Code were introduced into the Election Code as a result of the joint discussions between the Azerbaijani government and Council of Europe Venice Commission.
The Opposition and International organizations believe that the composition of election commissions must be changed.
Askarov said that Azerbaijan agreed to form central election commissions (CEC) on the parity basis in 2000. However, the opposition parties did not participate in CEC meetings and paralyzed it. Therefore, the government had to form CEC on the current framework.
Askarov believes that the discussions regarding formation of the election commissions on parity basis should be stopped.
Azerbaijan's standing parliamentary commission on social policy has enhanced the aid issued to poor families from AZN 45 to AZN 55. "The targeted social aid has been increased to improve the social protection of poor people," Hadi Rajabli said in the meeting of the commission on 4 June.
Poverty criterion was increased to AZN 55 at the meeting.
"Previously, 98-100,000 families were receiving targeted social aid. As a result of improvement into the poverty criterion, number of families receiving the aid will rise to 155-160,000. Families used to get AZN 80-85, but now that will be AZN 90- 95," Rajabli said.
Targeted social aid is allocated to the families, whose monthly income is lower than the poverty criterion.
The commission has approved the change and recommended it for discussion at parliamentary meeting.
The Azerbaijani Standing Parliamentary Commissions on Legal Policy, State Build and Economic Issues have approved the Bill, which envisages prohibiting legalization of financial funds and other property gained illegally and terrorism financing.
"The Bill will prevent legalization of money and property acquired illegally and creation of a legal mechanism to reveal and prevent financing of terrorism," Ali Huseynov, Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Commission on Legal Policy and State Building, stated.
The Standing Parliamentary Commission has discussed the Bill "to prevent legalization of money and other property acquired illegally, as well as finance of terrorism".
According to Huseynov, adoption of such a Bill is one of the obligations assumed by Azerbaijan before the Council of Europe and other international organizations. " Azerbaijan assumed the obligation before the European Union and other international organizations to create a transparency in the country's affairs. At the same time, adoption of such a Bill was envisaged in the State Program of Azerbaijan to struggle against the corruption," Huseynov said.
Huseynov said that Azerbaijan delayed the Bill, but the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers urged the country to carry out its obligations as soon as possible.
Under the Bill, a Monitoring Group, to prevent money exchange and other property acquired illegally, as well as financing of terrorism, will be established.
The Bill was approved in the meeting of the joint commissions and was recommended for submission to the Parliament for further discussions.
Bill will be considered in the first reading of the Parliament on 12 June.
The MP group of Musavat, representing opposition in the Azerbaijan Parliament, developed a bill on changes into the Criminal Code to mitigate punishments for anti- military service crimes. "Punishment for less grave crimes committed by the military is too severe and needs to be mitigated," Nasib Nasibli, a member of Musavat MPs group, told to Trend on 5 June.
In accordance with the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, seven years imprisonment is stipulated for less grave anti-military service crimes.
In 2007, the Court Bar on military cases of the Supreme Court considered 106 criminal cases related to 128 military personnel, who had committed anti-military service crimes.
In compliance with the Criminal Code, direct objection to fulfill commander's orders, resistance and violence with respect to commander or another person fulfilling the military service, insulting, injury, torture against the military, violating the Charter on mutual relations among the military are considered tough crimes.
"Military experts also consider that the punishments for less grave crimes are too severe and need to be mitigated. Punishments for such crimes should be through administrative way or fines".
The bill will be passed in the Parliament within few days, he said.
Musavat parliamentary group unites five opposition MPs.
A ban has been put on the sale of lands owned by the municipalities in Azerbaijan. "Some changes have been introduced into the law to sell the municipality lands through the auction and a relevant decree will be issued soon. Therefore, a temporary ban has been put on sale of municipality lands," Arif Rahimzade, the chairman of the Permanent Commission on Regional Issues, said.
Azerbaijan has 2,768 municipalities. Following the land reforms, a part of lands has been distributed among population, whilst a part was left under state ownership as fund lands, and a part was given to self-government bodies in 1999.
The chairman of the commission said that a set of rules on sale of municipality lands though auction has been developed.
The permanent parliamentary commission on regional issues of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] issues city status for Yardimli and Lerik, southern regions of the country. "Issuing Yardimli and Lerik the city status will give rise to social and economical development of these regions," Arif Rahimzade, the chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission, said.
This issue was discussed at the meeting of the commission on 6 June.
Rahimzade noted that the Lerik city has the population of 7,300 people. The infrastructure of the city meets necessary standards.
Yardimli city has the population of 4,100 people. Dashkend, Asadabad and Unesh villages will be annexed to Yardimli to confer it a city status and it will increase the number of local population to 6,600 people here.
The commission recommended presenting this issue to the Parliament for consideration.
Azerbaijan Parliament's Standing Commission for Security and Defence confirmed the Conception on co-operation of the CIS countries in fighting against terrorism and other forcible occurrences of extremism. " Azerbaijan joined this Conception with special opinion. It is linked with making a new item to the Conception regarding measures against one of the most dangerous occurrences - extremism-separatism," Ziyafet Askerov, First Vice President of Azerbaijan Parliament, Chairman of Parliamentary Commission for Security and Defence, said on 6 June.
On 6 June the meeting of the Commission for Security and Defence focused on the law draft on approval of Conception of co-operation of the CIS countries in fighting against terrorism and other forcible occurrences of extremism.
Europe displays an interest towards Azerbaijan's energy resources to diversify the energy resources. The EU Special Envoy for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, said after meeting with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov.
" Azerbaijan is an important country for Europe due to its energy resources," Semneby said.
The EU Special Envoy arrived in Baku to attend International Oil And Gas Exhibition. He will hold meetings with Azerbaijan's senior officials and representatives of civil society.
In 2006 the EU signed Action Plan within Neighborhood Policy Program with Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. EU and Azerbaijan also signed Memorandum of Understanding which will serve establishment of energy partnership between European Union and Azerbaijan and envisages strengthening Europe's energy secutiry.
The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, met with Boyden Gray, U.S. Special Envoy for EU Affairs, Steven Mann, the Eurasian Energy Diplomacy Coordinator at the US Department of State and Mathew Bryza, the U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Ministry's Press Service reported to Trend on 3 June.
During the meeting, which mainly focused on Azerbaijan's energy policy and energy co-operation with the countries of the Middle Asia, the sides satisfactorily highlighted the achievements obtained in this regard, especially intensive dialogue between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Mammadyarov said that in addition to its diversification principle in energy policy, Azerbaijan displays an interest in ensuring transit of the energy routes via its territory. In addition, the Minister sad that Azerbaijan is prepared to make its contribution to strengthening of co-operation between the USA, Europe and Middle Asia.
In addition, the sides exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.
On 4 June the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, received Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, Alirza Ettari, a source at the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan reported to Trend .
During the meeting the sides touched upon the relations between the two countries in various spheres, Kazvin-Resht-Anzali-Astara railway project within international transport corridor North-East, co-operation with regards to energy, oil and gas. Further, the sides discussed conducting meeting of Azerbaijani-Iranian Commission for Economic, Humanitarian and Trade Co-operation, continuation of talks on Caspian's legal status. In addition, the sides exchanged views on several regional issues.
The US co-chairman of OSCE Minsk Group Mattew Bryza believes that the international mediators should improve their proposals on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "The proposals should be improved first of all on the basis of wish of both parties," Bryza said on 6 June in a briefing in St Petersburg on the results of the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents.
Bryza described the first meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia - Ilham Aliyev and Serj Sarkisyan, as successful.
The Russian co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Yuri Merzlyakov stated that the mediators are prepared to continue their efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, taking into consideration the anxiety of both parties. These efforts aim at achieving concrete results, Merzlyakov said.
The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov said to journalists that the parties are ready to continue talks within the peace process and discussions will be continued during co-chairmen's visit to region, likely to take place by the end of June. According to the Minister, the parties will continue joint work after they get familiar with the approaches on the settlement process.
The first meeting between Ilham Aliyev and Serj Sarkisyan, who was elected president of Armenia in February, was held in St Petersburg on 6 June. The meeting started with the participation of foreign ministers, but later shifted to tete-a-tete. The foreign minister of both countries held talks prior to the meeting of presidents.
Azerbaijan and Poland will jointly combat against organized crime. "Intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in this field was signed in Warsaw," Azerbaijani Ambassador to
Poland Vilayat Guliyev reported to Trend on 5 June.
The document was signed during the official visit of Azerbaijani Interior Minister Ramil Usubov to Poland from 3 to 5 June.
During the visit, Usubov met with Polish Minister for Interior Affairs & Administration, head of the National Security Bureau and the head of the Warsaw Central Police Office.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski received Azerbaijani Minister.
The sides discussed development of security cooperation between the two countries, struggle against international terrorism and trans-national crime.
The differences occurred within the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) with regard to upcoming presidential elections. "Participation in the elections is equal to betrayal after adoption of the draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code. If DPA will participate in the forthcoming presidential elections in the current situation, I will resign from my position," Gurban Mammadov, a member of the Supreme Council of DPA, told to Trend on 2 June.
The presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held in October 2008.
Isa Gambar- leader of Musavat party, Sardar Jalaloglu-chairman of Democratic party and Mais Gulmammadov- Chairman of Green party of Azerbaijan, have already nominated their candidature to the presidential post. On 5 May, Eldar Namazov, Head of the Public forum 'For Azerbaijan, stated that he would also nominated his candidature to the presidential post. The candidature of Ilham Aliyev will be nominated from the ruling New Azerbaijan party.
According to Mammadov, the draft into the Code limits the possibilities of opposition. "The list of changes reflects increase of deposit for candidates to AZN 300,000, abolition of free of charge agitation program via the state media, as well as simplification of cancelleation procedureof candidate's registration system," Mammadov said.
According to Sardar Jalaloglu, Chairman of DPA, the party will not re-consider the decision regarding participation in the upcoming presidential eelctions. "While taking the decision, we did not say that we would participate in the elections if there would be positive results," Jalaloglu said.
The Left Social-Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (SDPA) considers wrong the cancellation of deposit system for candidates envisaged in the Election Code.
"This is not a democratic step as nobody can guarantee that the collected signatures will be studied and assessed by the Central Election Commission (CEC)," Araz Alizade, Chairman of SDPA, told to Trend .
The draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code of Azerbaijan was passed by the Parliament on 2 June. Under the current draft, the term of election campaign has been decreased from 120 days to 75 days, number of electorate signatures, which the candidates have to present to the Central Election Commission for registration, has been reduced from According to Alizade, even if a candidate will collect and submit all the required number of votes, even then CEC can reject the votes and create obstacles for candidates. "I have experienced such a rejection during the presidential elections in 2003," Alizade said.
The draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code will complicate the registration process of candidates for presidential post, Ali Karimli, Chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) and Co-founder of the Azadlig bloc, told Trend .
"Unfortunately, the expected amendments were not made into the Election Code by the public and world community," Karimli said.
The draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code of Azerbaijan was passed by the Parliament on 2 June.
Under the current draft, the term of election campaign has been decreased from 120 days to 75 days, number of electorate signatures, which the candidates have to present to the Central Election Commission for registration, has been reduced from 45,000 to 40,000, prohibition has been put on paid and free agitation on TV, radio and newspaper- financed by the government, the election fund of presidential candidates has been increased from AZN 1mln to AZN 10mln and election centres in military units have been cancelled.
Some 100 MPs voted for, three against and one restrained from voting regarding the amendments and supplements into the Election Code.
The draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code was introduced into the Election Code as a result of the joint discussions between the Azerbaijani government and Council of Europe Venice Commission.
"The draft into Code made the current legislation more undemocratic," Karimli said.
Chairman of PFPA stated that the draft into Code should have touched upon the change into the framework of election commissions, claim consideration rules, as well as equal conditions to hold election agitation for all, media usage for election campaign and provision for servicemen to vote.
"In past, if the collected signatures collected by candidates were considered fake then the candidates could register themselves at the expense of deposits. As per the new draft, candidates are deprived of this possibility," Karimli said.
Karimli said that he negatively assesses the prohibition to hold election agitation on the state-run TVs, as well as no changes have been made into the framework of election commissions. "One of the most negative points of the current draft is the prohibition to place agitation materials in the streets and squares," Karimli said.
Eldar Ibrahimov, a member of the Political Council of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) and Chairman of the standing Parliamentary Commission on Agrarian Issues, stated that the draft into the Election Code would provide conditions to implement free and democratic elections. "The recent draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code demonstrated that the government is interested to hold free and democratic presidential elections," Ibrahimov said.
Ibrahimov considers that Ali Karimli and other opposition leaders know that they will lose the presidential elections and that is why they are slandering the government'. "If Ali Karimli and other opposition parties have enough power then they must participate in the elections. The whole world knows that the President Ilham Aliyev has gained the trust of the population with his affairs and the upcoming presidential elections will be a concreter proof of it," Ibrahimov stated.
The Azerbaijani opposition Musavat party may change its decision regarding participation in the upcoming presidential elections. "The issue concerning participation in the upcoming elections was discussed in Musavat meeting on 2 June. A decision was made to study the issue in the different departments of the party," Arif Hajili, Head of the Central Executive Administration of Musavat, told Trend .
The draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code of Azerbaijan was passed by the Parliament on 2 June. Under the current draft, the term of election campaign has been decreased from 120 days to 75 days, number of electorate signatures, which the candidates have to present to the Central Election Commission for registration, has been reduced from 45,000 to 40,000, prohibition has been put on paid and free agitation on TV, radio and newspaper- financed by the government, the election fund of presidential candidates has been increased from AZN 1mln to AZN 10mln and election centres in military units have been cancelled.
Hajili stated that the recent steps taken by the government encourage opposition to refuse from participation in the elections. The amendments and supplements show that the government does not have any interest to hold the democratic and normal election campaign. "It is evident that the authorities do not want to hold the democratic elections and therefore we will re-consider the issue on participation in the presidential elections," Hajili said.
The Azadlig bloc, which unites three opposition parties - Popular Front, Citizen and Development and Liberal, will discuss the issue with regard to boycott of upcoming presidential elections again. "The statement released by the bloc regarding the elections reflects the position of the Council of Chairmen. The statement will be considered by the end of June and will be officially adopted by the Assembly of bloc," Ali Aliyev, Chairman of the Citizen and Development party and co-founder of Azadlig, told to Trend .
The Council of Chairmen of Azadlig has released a statement, which says that the bloc will boycott the elections. "A play will be held under the name of 'Elections' in Azerbaijan in autumn, instead of actual elections. Bloc will not participate in this play," is stated in the statement.
The statement says that the proposals made by the oposition were not taken into consideration while the draft on amendments and supplements into the Election Code was developed.
Opposition has proposed to form election commissions on the parity basis, to provide the possible second calculation of votes, increase power of commission members and to create equal conditions for all candidates to hold election campaigns.
Aliyev said that the support of the Council positions by the Assembly do not cause any doubt. "Everybody sees that there is no political prevalent in the country at this moment to hold the democratic elections, and therefore we have made this statement," Aliyev said.
Aliyev believes that other opposition parties also may support boycott. "Currently, most MPs from opposition consider that there is no sense to participate in the elections after adoption of the draft into the Code. We hope that other will support us. From other point of view, our decision is not based on anybody's attitude to this statement. We just want to demonstrate to population and world community that we are continuing with our struggle. This step supports the public's hope," Aliyev stated.
The Azerbaijani opposition Open Society Party (OSP) considers that the candidate from the authorities will win the upcoming presidential elections. "The Azerbaijani opposition camp destroyed and the candidate from the authorities will win the elections," Yagub Abbasov, Deputy Chairman of OSP, told Trend .
The presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held in October 2008.
"Opposition cannot unite and to submit one idea concerning the elections that decreases opposition chance to win the elections," Abbasov said.
The right central opposition Open Society Party was founded in April 2007. Rasul Guliyev, who has been living as an emigrant in the United States for more than ten years is the leader of the party .
The differences took place in the opposition National-Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (NDPA) regarding the unification with the Azadlig party. Some members of the party consider that the party should implement the independent activities, Oktay Khalili, Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the party to prepare to meeting, said on 4 June.
Iskandar Hamidov, NDPA Chairman and former Internal Minister of Azerbaijan, stated that he would stop his political activity. Hamidov explained his resignation with the will to give the way to new trustful and talented man. At present, Khalili chairs the party.
According to Khalili, the issue regarding the unification of parties will be considered in the meeting instead of the all differences.
Khalili said the regional organizations of the party hold conferences and the date for the 4th meeting will be defined as a result of these conferences. "We are planning to hold the meeting in September," Khalili said.
The agenda of the conference is focused on the issue regarding participation in the upcoming presidential elections. "It is expected that NDPA will support a candidate from other party," Khalili stated.
An appeal was submitted to the Organizational Committee of the party to nominate the candidature of Shahin Agabayli, chief editor of the Milli yol newspaper in the upcoming presidential elections. The candidature of the chairman of Azadlig party may also be submitted for the presidential post," Khalili stated.
The Musavat MP group, representing opposition in the Azerbaijani Parliament, has again developed draft changes in the Law on Freedom of Assembly. "There are gaps in the Law on Freedom of Assembly which restricts citizens' right of freedom of assembly," Panah Huseyn, a member of the Musavat MP group, said to Trend on 4 June.
On 30 May, the Azerbaijani Parliament approved changes and supplements into the Law on Freedom of Assembly. Currently operated Law on Freedom of Assembly was passed in 1998. In 2005, development of a draft law to make changes and supplements into the Law was commenced. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (CE) positively assessed the project designed by the Azerbaijani Government.
According to the changes in the Law, people who are residing in Azerbaijan but are not the citizens of the country, as well as foreign citizens, can hold mass actions. Moreover, wedding, other ceremonies and funerals must not be turned into mass actions. The distance to be kept from the state bodies during the mass actions has been reduced from 300m to 200m. Organizers of mass actions must apply to the city or regional administrations five days before the action. The administrations should respond organizers three days before the fixed data. The courts should examine the complaints on staging demonstrations in the course of two days.
Mass actions may be held only in the places allowed by administration.
"The project developed by the Musavat MP group has an article allowing holding mass actions in the places not specially banned by administration," Huseyn said.
Huseyn said that the project envisages enhancement of the places allowed for rally marches.
MP noted that in their project they changed the mechanism of responding to organizers of mass actions by administration. "Administration must respond to organizers three days before fixed date. Our project envisages responding two days after submission of appeal to administration," Huseyn said.
The project will be submitted to the Parliament in the near future.
The Musavat MP group is represented by 5 members in the parliament.
Azerbaijani opposition has not delayed preparation for elections after changes were induced in the Election Code. "In spite of the hesitations on whether to participate in the elections, which occurred after the changes and amendments into the Election Code were passed, we are not going to delay preparation for the elections," Arif Hajili, head of Musavat party's executive administration, said to Trend on 4 June.
Azerbaijan will host the presidential elections on 15 October. The Parliament of Azerbaijan has passed the Bill on Supplements and Changes into the Election Code on 2 June. According to the Bill, the presidential candidates are prohibited to conduct election campaign in the state-owned TV channels, radios and newspapers with the term of election campaign being shortened from four months to 75 days. Furthermore, the number of signatures required for the registration of the presidential candidates has been decreased from 45,000 to 40,000.
Hajili said that Musavat still intends to participate in the elections. But after the changes, the issue whether to participate will be discussed at the structures of the party. "Preparation for election is being carried out in compliance with the program. Election headquarters of our party is permanently working. So, we are ready for the elections. For the time being we are solving the technical issues. Our key problem is finances. We hope we will be able to create a fund with the assistance of party's countless supporters," Hajili said.
The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has conducted an internet-based opinion poll about voting of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen (the United States, France and Russia) against the Resolution on Situation in Occupied Lands of Azerbaijan in the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly. About 65% of the opinion poll participants described the position of co-chairmen as 'very negative', the pres service of NAP informed Trend .
The Resolution on Situation in the Occupied Lands of Azerbaijan was brought up for voting at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly in March 2008. Though the document, which is an important diplomatic success of the country, was passed, the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group voted against the Resolution.
The participants of the opinion poll, conducted at the NAP website, were asked the following question: "How do you assess the position of the OSCE Minsk Group during the voting on the Resolution in the Occupied Lands of Azerbaijan?" A total of 65% of the opinion poll participants assessed the position of Minsk Group co-chairmen during the vote as very negative', 4% - 'negative' and 26% said that 'it was not unexpected'.
The statement of the ruling party on the results of opinion poll said that the fact that the negative answers make up the majority is not a coincidence. No one denies that the OSCE Minsk Group, meant for the peaceful settlement of the conflict, has taken certain measures for the reconciliation of the position of the parties since its establishment. However, unfortunately, an authoritative organization like OSCE does not show determination which is necessary for the solution of the conflict and this factor leads to the delay of conflict and its deepening.
The statement also said that the Minsk Group co-chairmen are influential and leading states, who possess enough power to influence the occupier Armenia. The co-chairmen countries, also as permanent members of the UN Security Council, can demand the fulfillment of four well-known UN resolutions on the unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the Azerbaijani territory.
NAP was established by the chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Heydar Aliyev in 1992. The current President Ilham Aliyev is the chairman of the Party, which has been ruling the country for already 14 years.
The ruling New Party of Azerbaijan (NAP) believes last supplements and changes into the Election Code to be a progress. "We consider these changes to be a big step forward to hold democratic elections. "The Opposition has chosen the Election Code as a target to mask its future defeat in the elections. The Election Code provides all the necessary conditions to hold fair democratic elections," Mubariz Gurbanli, an MP and deputy executive secretary of NAP said to Trend .
According to Gurbanli, the claims of the opposition are ungrounded. "As to the plans of some opposition parties not to take part in the elections, they should be treated with understanding. They know it very well in advance that they will gain a small part of votes, and claim that the elections will be undemocratic as they are not going to participate in it. Thus they want to insure themselves against the political disgrace. That is, the opposition considers non-participation in the elections to be best way out of the political disgrace. Non-participation in the elections by any party shows their weakness. It is ridiculous when someone describes non-participation in the election as 'boycott'. Because there is no concept of quorum in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, those who do not want to take part in the elections have been subject to boycott by the public long time ago," Gurbanli said.
He also commented on the key disagreements of the Opposition. "The destiny of the elections is determined not only during the election campaign. The politician should be a well-known figure of the political life of Azerbaijan. He/she should have a program reflecting all spheres of Azerbaijan. The interviews of the opposition leaders given to the papers and radios so far can be considered an election campaign as well. A total of 75 days allotted for the election campaign in Azerbaijan is quiet a long period. This period should not be short for a well-known politician," Gurbanli said.
The leading oppostion Adalat party of Azerbaijan may support the candidature of the incumbent President Ilham Aliyev in the upcoming presidential elections. "This issue will be discussed in the meeting of the Supreme Assembly of the party in the end of June," a source from the party reported Trend .
The presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held in October 2008.
The Azadlig bloc, that unites three opposition parties - Popular Front, Citizen and Development and Liberal, has stated that the bloc would boycott the upcoming presidential elections. Isa Gambar- leader of Musavat party, Sardar Jalaloglu-chairman of Democratic party and Mais Gulmammadov- Chairman of Green party of Azerbaijan, have already nominated their candidature to the presidential post. On 5 May, Eldar Namazov, Head of the Public forum 'For Azerbaijan, stated that he would also nominated his candidature to the presidential post. The candidature of Ilham Aliyev will be nominated from the ruling New Azerbaijan party.
According to the information, the idea to support the President Ilham Aliyev aroused after the situation that occurred around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. So, the President stated that a pressure is imposed on Azerbaijan regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Adalat considers that opposition should unite and support the authorities in such a situation. The party supports the President's policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and sympathizes with the social program of the authorities. "We believe that the West will attempt to antagonize set of opposition parties against the authorities. We should support the authorities rather than to be a tool in the hands of the West," a source said.
The idea to establish an election bloc around the candidate from the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) has failed. "Introduction of the draft of amendments and supplements into the Election Code caused most people lost their hope. At present, this issue has not been discussed," Sardar Jalaloglu, Chairman of DPA, told Trend .
The presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held in October 2008.
Jalaloglu said that the changes includes reduction of the election campaign term from four months to 75 days, ban on the canvassing in the state-owned media sources, and rise in the deposit account of the candidates posed change of position of people with whom the negotiations were held. "There has been emerged an idea that the upcoming elections will change less. Many people accept the elections not seriously," Jalaloglu said. DPA Chairman stated that the opposition Musavat party and many other persons attempted to establish a coalition. "In spite of the aforesaid persons did not take into consideration this idea initially, later they expressed a will to form their own 'shadow cabinet'. This attempt of parties, in its turn, make less the efficiency of our idea," Jalaloglu said.
The opposition parties do not support the suit which will be filed in the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan on the changes and supplements to the Election Code of Azerbaijan. "I will make an appeal to the court," Eldar Namazov, the head of the For Azerbaijan public forum who is running for presidency, said to Trend on 6 June.
Namazov said that he expects new Bill to be approved by President after which he will introduce his suit to the Constitutional Court. "Our lawyers are going to complete the filing of the suit. The suit includes several issues. The most important is the ban on election campaign in AzTV and granting free air time for candidates only on the Public TV. Public TV broadcasts to about 60% of territory of the country. It means that millions of voters will not be able to watch the debates of candidates," Namazov said.
According to Namazov, the election campaign will began soon; therefore filing suit in the court of lower instance seems impossible. The legislation gives a right to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court, Namazov said.
The Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) has set up a date for the meeting. "The meeting will be held in September," Hasan Karimov, Deputy Chairman of PFPA and a member of the Organization Committee to prepare for a meeting, told to Trend .
PFPA is a member and co-founder of the Azadlig bloc. Abulfaz Elchibay, ex-President of Azerbaijan, had been the chairman of the party until 2000. Ali Karimli, former MP and ex-Secretary of State, has been the chairman of the party since 2000.
Karimov did not confirm the information that the meeting would be held after the presidential elections. "The meeting will be held before the elections. At present, the regional organizations of the party hold preparatory conferences. However, the executive departments are creating some obstacles. The chairman of the party will submit a report in the meeting. The chairman and Control-revision commission will be elected during the meeting".
The Azerbaijani Presidential candidate has divulged his election program. "My platform will be based on three principles," Eldar Namazov, Head of public forum For Azerbaijan, told Trend on 7 June.
The presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held on 15 October 2008.
The chairman of the Musavat party Isa Gambar, chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party Sardar Jalaloglu, chairman of the Greens Party Mais Gulaliyev and chairman of the public forum For Azerbaijan Eldar Namazov have decided to participate in the presidential elections. Several days ago, political scientist Eldar Namazov stated that he would run for presidency independently. At its meeting, to take place in near future, Governing New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) will nominate country's current President Ilam Aliyev. The Azadlig bloc, which unites three opposition parties -Popular Front party, Citizen and Development party and Liberal party, will boycott the presidential elections.
Namazov said that one of the key issues included in his election platform is aimed at achieving national solidarity. "I think that the cold civil war should be eliminated, political emigrants should return to their country, Law on Ex-Presidents should be adopted. Secondly the key principle in the platform is to establish fair political system. I think that the heads of executive powers should be elected through elections; status of municipalities should be expanded. The third key principle is to solve social problems of population," Namazov said.
According to Namazov, his election headquarters has already been formed. Moreover, he said that he will make all efforts to gain the support of other opposition parties. "I am working with the authoritative groups as well who will be able to influence the public and I believe that I will reach agreement with the influential persons," Namazov added.
The Armenian Armed Forces from the positions located in the Mosesgeh and Chinarli villages in the Berd region of Armenia violated the ceasefire regime by firing at the Azerbaijani National Army's positions located in the Tovuz region from 9.30am to 2.15pm on 1 June; from nearby of Marzili and Yusifjanli villages in the Agdam region from 12.00pm to 12.05pm and at 10.30pm; from unnamed hills in Fizuli and Khojavand regions from 11.30pm to 2.45am on 2 June; from nearby of Namirli village in Agdam region from 12.10am to 12.45am, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.
The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.
According to the mandate of the personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office, the monitoring of the troops contact line nearby Mazamli village in Gazakh region of Azerbaijan planned to be held on 3 May will not take place, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported to Trend .
For the preservation of ceasefire, OSCE regularly monitors the troops contact line.
The Ministry reported that before the monitoring, which was scheduled for today, a briefing was held at the Gazakh Administration. The assistants to the personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office were informed of all the events taking place at the front line. They decided to cancel the monitoring.
The Azerbaijani Defence Minister stated that Armenia must liberate the Azerbaijani occupied territories soon without any conditions. "If the Armenians will not leave the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, then the situation may be out of control," Safar Abiyev, Azerbaijani Defence Minister, said in the meeting with Matthew Bryza, the OSCE American co-chair. Matthew Bryza is on his visit to Baku.
The Minsk Group was established with participation of 10 countries within the framework of OSCE to regulate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The meeting was focused on the military and political situation in the region and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
European Union's Special Representative for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, does not exclude the possibility to visit occupied Azerbaijani territories if the conflicting sides give consent.
"If the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sides give consent, I can visit Nagorno-Karabakh," Semneby said.
On 3 June, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement from the Berd and Krasnoselsk regions of Armenia and fired at the Azerbaijani Armed Forces located in the territory of Tovuz and Gadabay regions from 11.40a.m to 7.40p.m, as well as from the positions located near Tapgaragoyunlu and Goranboy regions from 3.00p.m to 3.35p.m, from Kuropatkino village of Khojavand region and Ashagi Veysalli village of Fuzuli region from 11.00p.m to 11.10p.m and on 4 June, from Yusifjanli village of Agdam region fired at the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, reported.
The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported
Armenia is prepared to continue talks on peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of Madrid suggestions made by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Edward Nalbandyan, the Foreign Minister of Armenia, said, Novosti-Armenia reports.
"These suggestions are the result of long-term efforts of the co-chairs and their contacts with the conflicting sides. The Madrid document really contains several suggestions presented to the Foreign Ministers of the two countries and we are prepared to continue the talks based on them," Nalbandyan said to a press-conference on 4 June.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group presented base principles on peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be considered by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in November 2007 in Madrid. The co-chairs consider that the Madrid suggestions are fair and balanced.
According to the Foreign Minister of Armenia, the existence of the documents and formed suggestions was confirmed during the recent press-conference in Moscow by the Foreign Minister of Sergey Lavrov as well.
Nalbandyan said that currently the issue is not considered with regards to preparation of new proposals by co-chairs, Armenia and Azerbaijan. He once again assured that his country is prepared to continue talks on the basis of the suggestions. " Azerbaijan should be prepared for it as well," the Foreign Minister said.
" Russia has not yet reacted to Azerbaijan's demand to urge Armenia to withdraw its troops from the occupied territory," Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Istratov said to journalists on 4 June.
" Russia as the key player in settling of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict must call on Armenia to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijan," Spokesperson for Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Khazar Ibrahim said this week as response to the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on-going for 20 years.
For peaceful settlement of the Nagorb-Karabakh conflict in 1992 about 10 OSCE countries established Minsk Group. Since 1997, Minks Group includes co-chairmen from three countries - USA, Russia, France.
" Azerbaijan did raise the issue to Russia, but I do not know whether it was raised to the Minsk Group. As to withdrawal of military forces from any of the territories, as I know Russia has not yet reacted to the issue," Ambassador said.
The Armenian Armed Forces from the positions located in the Mosesgeh village in the Berd region of Armenia violated the ceasefire regime by firing at the Azerbaijani National Army's positions located in the Tovuz region from 7.35pm to 8.00pm on 4 June; from nearby of Tapgaragoyunlu village in the Goranboy region from 3.00pm to 3.15pm; from nearby of Kuropatkino village in Khojavand region from 2.30pm to 10.45pm; from nearby of unnamed hills in the Fizuli region and from nearby of Gorgan and Garakhanbayli villages from 10.05pm to 6.25am on 5 June; from Gizil Oba village in Terter village from 8.15pm to 8.50pm, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.
The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.
On 5 June, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement from the territories of the Azatamut village of Ijevan region of the Armenian Republic and fired at the Azerbaijani Armed Forces located in the territory of Jafarli village of Kazakh region from 7.30p.m to 7.45p.m, as well as from the positions near the Tapgaragoyunlu village of Goranboy region from 6.30p.m to 6.45pm, from the territories of Khojavand and Fuzuli regions and near the Gervand village from 10.30p.m to 10.40p.m. The Armenian Armed Forces fired at the Azerbaijani position from the territories near the Gizil Oba village of Tartar region on 6 June, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.
The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported
The Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandyan stated on 6 June in St Petersburg that the meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents was 'positive and constructive', Mediamaks reported.
"The Presidents got familiar with each other's approaches and instructed the respective foreign ministers to continue talks with the help of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen," the foreign minister of Armenia said.
The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov stated that the Presidents had expressed their wish that the mediators should continue their work. "The co- chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group will probably visit the region by the end of June," the Azerbaijani foreign minister said.
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia noted that the talks will be continued within the Prague process and proposals made by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group in Madrid at the end of 2007, taking into consideration the comments of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"We will put all our efforts to make our positions closer and also to find a common ground," Mammadyarov said.
The Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan stated, "We are not beginning talks from the very start, but we will try to make the positions of parties closer".
The US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza said that the familiarization meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents was a success and it means that 'the important work within the OSCE Minks Group can be continued".
"Our task is to improve the proposals on the table of talks taking into consideration the situation of both parties," Mattew Bryza said.
The Armenian Armed Forces from the positions located in the Mosesgeh and Chinarli villages in the Berd region of Armenia violated the ceasefire regime by firing at the Azerbaijani National Army's positions located in unnamed hills in the Tovuz region and in the Kokha Nabi village from 5.35pm to 6.00pm and from 8.30pm to 8.50pm on 6 June; from nearby of Goyarkh and Gizil Oba villages in the Terter region from 1.10pm to 1.20pm on 6 June and from 5.10am to 5.20am on 7 June; from nearby of Kuropatkino village in the Khojavand region from 11.40pm to 11.50pm; from nearby of Tapgaragoyunlu village in the Goranboy region from 6.15pm to 6.30pm; from nearby of Marzili village in the Agdam region from 11.02pm to 11.14pm, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.
The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.