MONTHLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Azerbaijan was on focus of Europe early June, as a seminar on “Refugees in the Southern Caucasus” was held in Baku on 4 and 5 July with organization support from the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, Monitoring Committee and the Parliament Ruth-Ghabi Vermot-Mangold, a Swiss deputy, the chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) subcommittee, said in his remarks that in two days they visited refugee camps to get familiar with the state of refugees and IDPs.

The European parliamentarians were very surprised at the deep feeling of affection all those deported for their native lands though 15 years passed since that tragic period. However, their repatriation would not be easy. The international donor organizations should be involved to improve social state of the refugees and IDPs before their relocation.

Other speakers to the event also stated the necessity of drawing attention of the international organizations to the repatriation of refugees and IDPs.

Meanwhile, Robert Melik-Pashayev, a delegate from Armenia, told journalists that it was necessary to forget the past and sit at table of talks and put every effort to resolve the conflict.

A session of PACE Monitoring Committee has opened in Hyatt Regency hotel, Baku. In his opening remarks Azerbaijani Speaker Murtuz Alasgarov said Azerbaijan and Council of Europe have established a high level of cooperation. Regarding the fulfillment of obligations by Azerbaijan as a CE member, Alasgarov said that Azeri parliament has ratified over 40 documents, joined the European Conventions on Human Rights, the National Minorities, Prevention of Tortures and Social Charter. He said 713 people from the list of 716 people submitted by human rights organizations and experts of CE General Secretary have been liberated.

В"The coming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will become a test for democracy, and the authorities of Azerbaijan must prove that in fact they are ready to provide democracy, told Deputy Chairman of PACE Monitoring Committee Hanna Severinsen (Denmark) at a news conference held on the results of the PACE session.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was on focus of discussions in annual meeting of the PA OSCE held in Washington from 30 June to 5 July. The meeting took a report on Nagorno-Karabakh by Goran Lennmarker, a co-rapporteur on Nagorno-Karabakh. Andjey Caspzyk, a special envoy of the OSCE chairman-in-office also attended the hearings.

OSCE representatives mainly adhered to unbiased opinion that the problem should be resolved with consideration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. It is interesting that Lenmarker’s report satisfied both sides.

Armenia media wrote that the report was of balanced character and it was a maximal miletone in such a situation. Tahir Tagizada, the head of the Press and Information Department of the Foreign Ministry told media that the Foreign Ministry held positive standpoint in the issue.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received Heikki Talvitie, the European Union’s (EU) special envoy on South Caucasus, in Baku. Noting the positive processes that he witnessed in Azerbaijan, Talvitie said that Azerbaijan could become a model for some countries. He noted the EU’s support to democratization and readiness to assisting in some actions implemented in this direction.

Aliyev in his turn informed the EU envoy of the successes achieved in the political and economical spheres, as well as the steps taken in this direction. Aliyev stressed that his country takes active part in EU’s New Neighborhood Policy.

The same day Talvitie met with Ramil, the Interior Minister and Mazahir Panahov, the caiman of the CEC. The talks focused on the preparations for the elections and security of the candidates.

On 7 July Talvitie held a meeting with the heads of NGOs and later with the opposition leaders at the British embassy in Baku. In his address to a news conference organized in Baku the diplomatic voiced his satisfaction with the talks held in Azerbaijan.

В"Azerbaijan is on the EU’s focus on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Azerbaijan has a great chance to prove its adherence to holding free and democratic elections and it ought to benefit it, “ Talvitie underlined.

The elections to Milli Mejlis of Azerbaijan will be held on 6 November in accordance with the relevant decree signed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Aftab Sherpao, the Pakistani Interior Minister, started an official visit to Azerbaijan on 7 July at the invitation of his Azeri counterpart Ramil Usubov, During the talks with Usubov stated Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan, the same day he met with National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov and discussed the combat of international terror extremism and different manifestations of organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration. He also met with the Azerbaijani President.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russian Ambassador Yuriy Merzlyakov, U.S. Ambassador Steven Mann and French Ambassador Bernard Facie arrived in Azerbaijan on Monday. They met with Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Nizami Bahmanov, the head of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The negotiations focused on the current phase of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict resolution after the Warsaw talks between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia and Paris consultations between the Foreign Ministers.

Commenting on the results of the talks Bahmanov said that the meeting was "constructive". Among the other questions their discussed the details of proposals on opening of the road Agdam-Khankendi-Shusha-Lachin-Goris-Shabuz going to Turkey.

The most interesting event of the last week was a two-day visit of Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State, the head of the National Democracy Institute. Albright held meetings with representatives of NGOs and women-politicians. The talks focused on the preparations for forthcoming elections. She also met with the heads of the political parties. After a two-hour meeting Sardar Jalaloglu, the chair of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party told Trend that the talks were very fruitful and hoped for their efficient end.

Meeting of the former US Secretary, head of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Madelaine Albright with members of the electoral block �New Policy” Coordinating Council (NPCC) took place on 13 July at the Hyatt Regency hotel of Baku. The CC members Eldar Namazov, Etibar Mammadov and Ali Masimov have been participating in the meeting.

The socio-political situation in the country, preparation to the parliamentary elections have been discussed at the meeting. The CC members have also discussed in detail improvement of the Election Code, the elections monitoring issues, creation of equal conditions for authorities and opposition at the TV channels and other issues.

Meanwhile Albright continued his meetings in Baku She met with the functionaries of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) on 13 July and discussed the pre-election situation in the country РІ СЃС'ране.

Meeting of the former US Secretary, head of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Madelaine Albright with members of the electoral block �New Policy” Coordinating Council (NPCC) took place on 13 July at the Hyatt Regency hotel of Baku. The CC members Eldar Namazov, Etibar Mammadov and Ali Masimov have been participating in the meeting.

On July 13 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Albright. Noting that in the passed period, the relations between Azerbaijan and the United States had successfully developed, stating “we are pleased with the current state of cooperation between our countries”.

Noting successful cooperation of the two countries in security, energy and other fields, President Aliyev said these relations base on mutual understanding, partnership and cooperation The American guest said since her first visit to Baku in 1994, the city had become nicer and brighter with positive changes.

Albright said she attaches great importance to development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States in the field of security, combat against international terrorism and etc

On 13 July Mehdi Safari, a special representative of Iranian President for Caspian diplomacy, arrived in Baku on a one-day visit. The key objective of the visit was to discuss bilateral relationships, as well as the Caspian legal status.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received on Wednesday a special envoy of the Iranian President on the Caspian diplomacy, Mehdi Safari.

The diplomat conveyed to Azerbaijani President Aliyev a reply letter from the newly elected Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmedinejdat, who stated that the new authorities of Iran will continue the policy directed at the development of fraternal and friendly relationships with Azerbaijan.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 13 July Director of the Foreign Relations Institute of Japan, chief adviser of the Japan’s Foreign Ministry, the Ambassador Toshiuki Fudjivara, who noted, that has arrived in Baku on behalf of the Prime Minister Dzyunitiro Koidzumi, having handed over the Azerbaijan’s President the invitation to pay an official visit to Japan.

President Ilham Aliyev conveyed his gratitude to the Prime-Minister of Japan for the invitation, having underlined, that the Azerbaijani-Japanese links develop in all aspects. Head of the Azerbaijani state has also appreciated highly the contribution of Toshiuki Fudjivara to the development of relations between the two countries.

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"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.

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.

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.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, arrived in Baku on Tuesday. Dobriansky started the official meetings with the leaders of the Azerbaijani opposition parties. Some analysts regarded his visit as a pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities on the eve of parliamentary elections.

After he discussed issues of concern with Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, and President Aliyev. She proposed Azerbaijan to offer equal conditions to candidates during the elections campaign, ensure the participation of observers not only during the voting, but also calculation of votes, repatriation of political emigrants to the country.

The next round of dialogue in June between the opposition and authorities was violated at the fault of the least. Attending the meeting held on 4 July were MPs Fazail Agamaly, also the chairman of the Ana Vatan Party, and Khanhusseyn Kazimly, the chairman of the Social Welfare Party (both pro-governmental).

The opposition was represented by MP Sabir Rustamkhanly, the chairman of the Civil Solidarity Party, Ali Aliyev, the chairman of the ANIP, Vurgun Eyyub, the vice chairman of the Musavat Party, Fuad Mustafayev, the vice chairman of the PFAP (reformers), and member of the Political Board of the ADP, Akif Shahbazov.

The meeting held on 1 June in the same format resolved to hold a next meeting in the headquarters of Musavat. Nevertheless, Musavat did not invite any of the parties to the meeting though 2 months have passed. Therefore, the ruling party NAP appealed to parties with a proposals on organizing the third meeting on 29 July.

Offended on the proposal Musavat did not participate in the event. Obviously, its two allies in the Azadlyg elections bloc took the same step. Nevetherless, the dialogue was head at NAP headquarters. Attending the event were Rustamkhanly, Aliyev, and Maricio Pavesi, the head of the Baku Office of OSCE.

Regarding the dialogue as a step forward Pavesi voiced his hope that non-participation of the Azadlyg bloc would not benfit them. Later it was resolved to arrange the next meeting at the headquarters of Civil Solidarity Party.

The next factor, which could serve the opposition parties on the eve of the parliamentary elections is the commencement of �cold war’. So, Lala Shovkat Hajiyeva, the leader of the National Unity Movement, and Ayaz Mutallibov, the co-chairman of the Social-Democratic Pat y, will ballot from one and same constituency.

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