WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Silence ruled in the opposition sector early last week, excluding an only attempt for a rally by Azadlyg elections bloc, which includes PFAP (reformers), Musavat and the ADP. In the end of the week Musavat leader Isa Gambar met with US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish.

Azerbaijani President had a tense business schedule for last week. Development of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Qatar has been discussed today during the meeting between Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Khamad bin Ali-Atiyani, chief of Qatar armed forces general headquarters.

The eminent guest informed Ilham Aliyev about the plans of cooperation with Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.

The chances for the Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict settlement are today high as never before and I call on the Armenian side to take advantage of these chances, the deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov stated on 18 July at the briefing on the results of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen’s visit.

Touching upon the results of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs’ visit to Baku deputy Foreign Minister noted, that statements on the achievement of any accords are premature. The discussions concerned all elements and issues of peaceable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azimov underlined that the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict is beneficial for both sides, having noted that it is beneficial, in the first line, for Armenia itself. В"We hope the Armenian side will display at last constrictiveness, Azimov underscored, having noted that the next round of talks will be held on 23 August in Moscow at the level of the Foreign Ministries heads.

В"On the base of results of the future meeting the Ministers will prepare their proposals to be discussed on 26 August in Kazan by Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia”, Azimov said.

Touching upon the results of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs’ visit to Baku deputy Foreign Minister noted, that statements on the achievement of any accords are premature.

В"Some sources actively fuel the issue on new elements, discussed during the talk process. Sometimes there are also wrong interpretation of facts. It is nothing more than the attempts of falsifications. Azimov noted, having stressed, that the sources of these statements try to pursue the only goal вЂ"to use the situation in their own purposes.

В"The chances for the Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict settlement are today high as never before and I call on the Armenian side to take advantage of these chances,В" Azimov said. В"The Azerbaijani lands should be returned. Armenian can use the corridor passing via Lachin. So, Lachin cannot be kept under occupation,” he stressed.

В"В"The Armenian and the Azerbaijani communities of Karabakh will co-exist together. The status will not be decided by the majority. Referendum, which will take into account the opinion of only one side is unacceptable,” he noted. Noting the opening of Agdam-Hanknadi-Shusha-Sisian (Armenia) вЂ" Shahbuz (Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic) will contribute to the establishment of the cooperation. Azerbaijan’s position is supported by the OSCE Minsk Group and Turkey

The Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli who arrived in Ganja took part in the sitting of the Azerbaijani-Georgian commission on economic cooperation. The major reason for the staging of the event in Ganja was the development of regions, as well as the strategic importance of Ganja from the economic aspect and its location on the area close to the trade between the East and the West and on the Silk Road.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 19 July the Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli. The head of the state voiced satisfaction by the results of the Azerbaijani-Georgian inter-governmental commission, development of the bilateral economic relations, the growing trade turnover. According to him, the visit of the Georgian delegation officials to Azerbaijan will be one more stage of mutual cooperation both on the bilateral and the regional level.

Etibar Mammadov, the member of the �Yeni Siyasat block, leader of the Azerbaijani National Independency Party, (ANIP) participated at the conference of the International Democratic Union (IDU) leaders in Washington from 18 to 19 July.

The conference focused on issues of democracy in the world. The participants of the conference adopted the Washington declaration and conducted elections to the leadership of the IDU. Prime-minister of Australia John Hovard was elected the chairman of the IDU, Foreign Minister of Norway Yan Peterson вЂ" the first deputy chairman, Leader of ANIP Mammadov and Prime-minister of Greece Kostas Karamanlis вЂ" deputies.

Azerbaijani President Ilham ALiyev received Vejdi Kenul, the Turkish Defense Minister, on July 20.

Aliyev said that the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey strengthened in all directions, including military sphere. Owning to support of the Turkish military men and specialists the Azerbaijani armed forces turned into a strong and disciplined army. The President thanked the Turkish Defense Minister for the comprehensive support in reformation of the Azerbaijani army.

In his turn, Kenul underlined that Ankara did not distinguish between the armies of two countries and the Turksih leadership was ready to render possible aid in the formation of the army of fraternal Azerbaijan.

The Defense Minister appraised military cooperation of Azerbaijan and Turkey in the international level, particularly, within program of NATO.

Vejdi also met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Safar Abiyev. The talks focused on development of military cooperation, the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

Azerbaijani President received on Wednesday the chairman of the Committee on International Fighters under the CIS Council of Prime Ministers, former President of Ingushetia, Aushov.

During the meeting Aushov remarked tremendous creative work held in Azerbaijan, in particular, the large-scale construction work held in Baku for the provision of stability and peace in the country.

In his turn the Azerbaijani President noted that the work on the consolidation and development of Azerbaijan will continue hence.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the Defense Minister of Turkey Vedjdi Kenul on 21 July. “Any connections between Turkey and Armenia before the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are out of the question,” the Turkish Minister said. The Ministers discussed different aspects of cooperation in the military, political, economic and other spheres of international and regional bodies.

On July 21, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev presided at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers to discuss the results of socio-economic development in Azerbaijan over the six month of 2005.

Over the past six months, extremely important events have taken place in both Azerbaijan and the whole region. Processes within the country, as well as the position Azerbaijan occupies in the world allow us to say the policy pursued so far, and being done today is rightly oriented. I had a lot of meetings with their heads of state and government, and I’d say these relations are meeting national interests of Azerbaijan. We have always been striving for good relationship with neighbors, and we have achieved this. Of course, the most important problem our foreign policy is facing is settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A certain progress has been achieved towards this also for the last six months, meaning the OSCE Minsk group Co-chairs have intensify their activities. As I have mentioned, one of the extremely important steps in this direction was the resolution the Council of Europe passed in January this year. Armenian unleashed an aggression against Azerbaijan. We are continuing ou
r efforts within the United Nations too, the issue of illegal settling of the ethnic Armenians in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan has already been included in the UN’s agenda.

The negotiations are held within the Prague process, in other word, the Prague process means stage-by-stage settlement. It is the approach that Azerbaijan has always insisted on. The conflict can be resolved on the base of the following principles: the occupied territories must be released, refugees and displaced persons must return to their homes вЂ" the regions adjacent to вЂ" Nagorno-Karabakh and вЂ" Nagorno-Karabakh itself. After that, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh can be established вЂ" granting world’s highest level of autonomy to Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Our position is based on the principles of the international law.”

After members of the government informed the President and the participants in the meeting about the economic indices of the first half-year of 2005.

On 21 July, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took part in the celebrations ceremony on the occasion of the Azerbaijani journalism’s 130-th anniversary. Addressing the ceremony, the head of the state noted, that the Azerbaijani journalism today is in a new stage, Trend reports. В"The necessity in the independent media exists today in the country”, he pointed out.

Then, chief of the socio-political Department of the President Administration Ali Hasanov has red out the President’s decrees on the conferring “Order of Glory”, medal “Progress” and honorary titles “Honored Worker of Culture” and “Honored Journalist” upon a number of journalists for their contributions to development of journalism in Azerbaijan. He has also ordered to provide AZM 10 million financial assistance to thirty local newspapers and news agencies.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the IMF deputy managing director Augustine Carstens on 22 July. “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomes the development, achieved by Azerbaijan in economic sphere,“ Carstens stated in the meeting.

President of Azerbaijan voiced gratitude to IMF for the assistance to the country. According to him, taking into account a considerable growth of the country’s revenues and the necessity for carrying on the macro-economic stability the sides are currently entering the new stage of cooperation. Aliyev underlined the necessity for deepening consultations on the threshold of the big economic growth in 2006.

He congratulated the head of the state with the economic growth achieved over the last years in Azerbaijan. According to Carstens, IMF is satisfied with the work carried out in the poverty reduction, opening new jobs and successful cooperation development.

President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the UNESCO Good Will Ambassador, the first lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva has been conferred the honorable award “The Woman of the Year”. On 18 July a grand ceremony of delivering the award, established by the public association “Women-leaders” took place in the Baku Yacht club with participation of the international organizations and diplomatic missions in Azerbaijan, public and political figures and representatives of the country’s culture and the art.

The chairwoman of the Public association, the deputy of the Parliament, Malahat Hassanova told the ceremony participants, that the honorable title “The woman of the year” is conferred to Aliyeva according to the poll among 1500 respondents on the results of 2004.

Day of Uzbekistan started in Azerbaijan on 18 July. Uzbek delegation led by deputy chairman of the public youth movement Kamalat, Shuhrat Kasumov, paid a visit to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani days were held in Uzbekistan last year.

The Central Elections Commission (CEC) registered some election blocks in its Sunday meeting presided by Mazahir Panahov, the chairman of the CEC, Trend reports

They were Yeni Siyaset (New Policy), Azadlyg, �Pro-Azerbaijan Forces’, Democratic Azerbaijan and For Azerbaijan elections blocks. According to data submitted by Sunday, 400 candidates appealed for registration of signature lists, while 1.5 months are left till the end of the registration of candidates.

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