WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official review

Last week Azerbaijani President visited Gabala Oguz and Ismayilli Districts (18-20 August) and clarified the problems of the local people during the public meetings.

The economic development of regions is a priority of Azerbaijan’s policy, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a public meeting in Ismayilli District. Aliyev also visited Ivanovka village of Ismayilli district densely populated with lettuces. He reminded that after collapse of the USSR it was an only village which preserved former kolkhoz (collective farms) and sovkhoz (soviet farm). He proposed the villagers to select a place for construction and a modern school.

President assured the problems with energy supply of the country will be resolved by late 2006, thermo-power supply system will be restored, and road infrastructure will be improved.

Aliyev assured that the parliamentary elections scheduled for November will be democratic and transparent. Equal conditions will be provided for candidates during the pre-election campaign. "The authorities, like in 2003, will offer all facilities to ensure free, transparent and democratic elections, meeting the requirements of the international organizations,” Aliyev underlined.

He underlined that in 2006 the public budget will comprise as minimum $3.2bn, while the most part of the budget will be directed at the improvement to the welfare of the nation. "We are on the eve great economic success. Azerbaijan will become a prosperous country,” the President stressed.

During the trip he got familiar with problems of residents of the northwest regions, including land reforms, activities of local executive power.
Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

A solemn ceremony of presenting of Battle Flags to the military units of State Frontier Service took place on August 16. The President of Azerbaijan, Supreme-Commander of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev. made a speech to a solemn ceremony. Head of the State has presented Battle Flags to the Central Staff of State Frontier Service, the frontier troops, the coastal command as a symbol of courage, the soldier’s honors. The President noted that it is sacred duty to serve for Homeland, provide Azerbaijan’s borders security.

В"Azerbaijan will achieve the resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the development of economy and increase of expenses for strengthening the military mint of the country. WE will try to resolve the conflict in a peaceable way. The occupied lands must be liberated and the refugees and must be repatriated. We will do everything possible for this respect,” the President underlined.

Ensign of the Azerbaijani army Ramil Khudaverdiyev got lost on August 3 and came close to the Armenian positions, and was captured, Head of the general headquarters of the Armenian army Michael Arutunian told journalists. Responding the question when the captive will be passed to the Azeri side, he said that it would depend on the national Security Service.

Two soldiers of the Azerbaijani army were blown up by the mine on the territory of the village Gapanli of the Terter region near the contact line of the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.

The Ministry of Defense announced one of them, Zamin Gasimov was injured and to date he is in hospital in the village Sarijali. His state is estimated as heavy.

The other, 19-year old Ilgar Nurigaliyev, who was called to the armed forces on April of the past year by the Azizbekov regional military commission, was heavily injured and died in the place of explosion.

Rhetoric by official boost following the nearing talks of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers to be held on 24 August in Moscow and meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents under the informal CIS Summit on 26 August.

Yuriy Merzlyakov, the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk, underlined that the heads of state are not going to discuss any agreement on the conflict resolution.

Speaking on the forthcoming meeting of the Foreign Ministers in Moscow, Vardan Oskanian, the Armenian FM, did not exclude that new elements might appear in every stage of talks on Nagorno-Karabakh resolution.

He was neither optimist, nor pessimist in connection with the coming meeting. “The Presidents charged us in definite tasks and we work in this direction. Thee is a definite progress, but I can’t say we have fulfilled them completely

В"If parties come to any agreement on the level of Foreign Ministries, the Presidents on the base of information received could instruct on the commencement of work over concrete documents,В" the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, said.

Currently we are not working over any concrete document,В" Mammadyarov underlined, noting the sides did not reach the stage of вЂ�development of agreements’. However, the sides are too far form such approach and it is premature to speak about it, he added.

Commenting Azerbaijan’s standpoint on the forthcoming meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Moscow, Mammadyarov said that the Prague process was continued. The sides will try to develop definite elements to design a unified position on conceptual issues. The Presidents of the two countries will be informed on the results of the meeting and after the talks will continue on the level of heads of state.

The same time Mammadyarov asserted that Azerbaijan and Armenia did not come to a common ground on 7-9 elements. В"Details of talks remain confidential. It is too early to speak about the essence of the elements, as the negotiation process is currently underway, he noted. В"People with appropriate basic knowledge Рѕn the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict well understand which details are meant,В" he stressed.

В"Azerbaijan has adhered and will continue to adhere its position implying the rehabilitation of Azerbaijan and repatriation refugees and IDPs,В" Mammadyarov underlined. He noted that at the resolution of the CEC of Azerbaijan, dated 13 August, the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh received an invitation for the participation in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 November 2005. В"Members of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh are the Azerbaijani citizens and they enjoy a right for participation in the electioneering in the country in compliance with Constitution,В" Mammadyarov underlined, adding that the CEC had resolved to establish constituency in Khankandi (N122) and Khojavand (124).

Touching upon Azerbaijan’s initiatives with new resolutions on the level of UN Mammadyarov underlined that a resolution in the issue will be adopted after the Moscow meeting with Armenian FM Vardan Oskanian.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Minister for economic Development, Farhad Aliyev, stated that in case of peaceable resolution of the conflict the Azerbaijani government was ready to invest around $1bn in the Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian lobby in the United States has become active requesting to increase financial assistance to separatists. However, Hafiz Pashayev, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Washington, sent a letter to the U.S. Congress with request to resist the falsified statement by co-chairs of the commission on Armenian issues, Frank Pallone, a Congressman from New Jersey St. and Jho Nollenberg, a Congressman from Michigan St.

Pro-Armenian co-chairs of the U.S. Congress Commission target to collect maximal amount of congressmen and send to President George W.Bush with request to increase assistance to puppet regime of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The appeal by Pallone and Nollenberg to Congressmen distorts facts in the region and positions of the international community on the definition of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the letter says.

Nagorno-Karabakh was never independent and did not enter the composition of Armenia, the letter underlines. It part of Azerbaijan and the fact was confirmed by the UN and different international organizations. “Basing on the above said, it is worth to note that any political of economic initiatives by the United States on Nagorno-Karabakh should be based on legal, political and economic,” Pashayev stresses in his letter.

The letter addressed to Presidents presents full information o the facts of occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 districts attached to it by Armenia, which resulted in formation of over 1 million refugees and IDPs. After the implementation of ethnic cleansing in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia started a campaign on democratization through holding several elections campaign. However, the data were not recognized by international community. The United States recognized the elections held in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan as �illegal and impediment on the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group’.

The letter notes that Armenia did not fulfill the rules of the UN Security Council on unconditional withdrawal of the troops from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. Though Russia acted as a mediator in signing of a ceasefire regime in 1994 military support of Russia to Armenia, including illegal delivery of arms worth billions of dollars assisted Armenia in holding occupation policy in regard to Azerbaijan.

The Ambassador called the congressmen to respect the official position of the White House on the recРѕgnition of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

В"Such initiative by Pallone-Nollenberg is unacceptable in the period when peaceable talks continue between Armenia and Azerbaijan,“ the statement reads.

Besides, Azerbaijan is preparing a appeal to the international organizations, including the OSCE, with request to assist in clarification of the list of observers in Nagorno-Karabakh

Foreign policy

On 15 August Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a delegation headed by Lars Danielson, the State Secretary of the Swedish Prime Minister’s Office.

The head of state underlined Azerbaijan’s interests in the development of bilateral relationships with Stockholm noting the huge unused potential of the Azerbaijani-Swedish cooperation in need of upgrade. President Aliyev noted that he will hence continue developing the relationships with Sweden under the European Union’s New Neighborhood Policy.

Aliyev voiced his hope that the Swedish leadership would support Azerbaijan’s aspiration for the development of cooperation under the EU program.

The head of state also informed on the resolution on opening of an Azerbaijani embassy in Stockholm, which testifies for a will to develop bilateral relationships with Sweden.

In his turn Danielson announced that his delegation visited Baku with regard to establish mutually profitable contacts.

В"Potential of the economic relationships between the two countries was not fully used. We will carry out active work on attraction of Swedish entrepreneurs to the Azerbaijani economy,В" the diplomat underlined. He voiced his hope that successful oil policy of Azerbaijan will have positive impact on economic development of the country in whole.

The relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan will strengthen and develop in various spheres, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stated on 15 August, receiving in Baky the Interior Minister of Georgia Vano Merabishvili, Trend reports.

According to him, the cooperation is implemented successfully between the two countries, including in the security field and in the sphere of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Ilham Aliyev noted, it is very important for the whole region.

A newly appointed Ambassador of Poland to Azerbaijan will arrive in Baku on 15 August, the Polish Embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend.

A new Polish Ambassador to Azerbaijan is Krzysztof Krajewski. Prior to his appointment to Azerbaijan he worked at the Foreign Ministry of Poland. Azerbaijan is the first country for him to work as Ambassador.

Krajewski, 1963, graduated from the Warsaw University, has master’s degree in political sciences. The diplomat masters 4 languages: English, Russian, German and Bulgarian. From 1993 till 2005 he worked at the Foreign Ministry of Poland, as General Consul of Poland in Varna (Bulgaria), advisor of the Polish Seym chairman. Azerbaijan is the first country for him to head the diplomatic mission. He is married, has two children. The Ambassador arrived in Azerbaijan on 15 August.

A newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Azerbaijan Krzysztof Krajewski handed in the copies of his credentials to the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedyarov, the Polish Embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend.

At the meeting the Ambassador voiced the interest of the Polish side to larger development of bilateral relations with Azerbaijan, having noted the especial attention the official Warsaw attaches to the cooperation with Baku. The Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry’ s head having congratulated the Ambassador with his new appointment promised him the support from the Azerbaijan’s government.
Political life

On 15 August Zakir Garalov, the Prosecutor Genera of Azerbaijan, said stated in the plans of opposition for forces seizure of the power.

“Today the law-enforcement bodies have sufficient number of specific documents on plans of the radical opposition to come to power by the unconstitutional way. I state once more, Azerbaijan is governed by the laws and they will avert unconstitutional actions of the radical forces”, Garalov noted.

The same time said the law-enforcement bodies did not have any information on sources of financing the youth organization �Yeni Fikir’. "We took a resolution on revealing the financial sources of Yeni Fikir and charged the Justice ministry in it,” the Prosecutor General underlined.

Party system

Eight political parties have been registered at the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry. They are parties of Freedom, Democratic Reforms, Evolution, Progress of Azerbaijan, Great Azerbaijan, Great Establishment, and the Popular Front for Civil Solidarity. Their documents were registered after they were brought in line with the notes and recommendations of the Ministry.

Besides, over 50 new non-governmental organizations were registered. The irregularities were found in the documents of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (classics), while they proposed the party to inject changes in its name in connection with functioning of an organization with the same name.

The Justice Ministry notes that as a result of simplification of registration procedures in 2004 the number of legal entities, which passed state registration, grew 46% as compared with previous year and reached 5110. Thanks to attraction of foreign investments to economy the number of commercial legal entities with foreign capital grew 41% and the tendency was maintained in 2005. Simultaneously, the number of non-governmental organizations which have undergone state registration rose 64% in 2004 as compared to previous year, while this year it doubled and comprised 200.

Thus far, 1900 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 50 political parties have been registered and 2150 media units have been established in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) will arrange its conference on 27 August. 700 members of the party will participate in the event. Rasul Guliyev, leader of the party, who is in exile in the United States, will make a special appeal to the participants in the event.

At present the ADP carries out serious work for his leader’s return to Motherland. Guliyev was accused misappropriation of big state property.

Parliamentary elections

The parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 November 2005 will be held in democratic and transparent conditions, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a meeting with public of Gabala district on Thursday in the central part named after Heydar Aliyev.

According to President Aliyev, based on the support of the nation the authorities offer all facilities for holding free and democratic elections meeting the requirements of international organizations. Equal terms will be created for all candidates during the pre-election process, he promised.

The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) is in stable progress and it caused changes in the list of candidates to MP from the party, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told local television ATV on Friday during his visit to Ismayilli District.

The President noted that list of candidates to MP was prepared under his private supervision.

“The list includes people who hold definite positions in the party and carry out intensive activities to develop the NAP,” the head of state said, underlining the importance of renewal of the ruling party.

Certain forces in Azerbaijan try to hinder holding transparent parliamentary elections, which will affect negatively the entire course of the pre-election races in the country. Such a statement has been made on 17 August by the American Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish being on a visit in the northern regions of Azerbaijan, Trend reports, citing the ATV channel

Having noted, Azerbaijan undertook certain international commitments on holding fair, transparent elections, the Ambassador Harnish underlined, in the report, to be prepared by OSCE on results of the scheduled for 6 November parliamentary elections, “all problems are to be taken into account”.

В"President Ilham Aliyev set a task to himself to hold parliamentary election in compliance with the international standards. However, unlike the head of the country, there are forces in the country which adhere to the negative standpoint on the pre-election situation”, the American diplomat noted, having especially stressed, the OSCE report cannot be accepted as the interference into the domestic affairs of Azerbaijan.

The Embassies of the EU in Baku underlined their support for the holding of free and fair elections, and called on all the parties to carry out their campaigns in a peaceful manner. Speaking on behalf of the EU Missions, Colin Wells , the UK Charge d'Affairs said: "EU Missions in Baku are concerned about the recent deterioration in the electoral climate in Azerbaijan, following the peaceful way that electoral campaign were conducted in June and July 2005. EU Missions in Baku call on all political parties to commit themselves to holding free and fair parliamentary elections for the democratic development of Azerbaijan.

On behalf the EU Embassies in Baku, I call on all political parties to ensure that their campaigns are conducted in a peaceful manner. There is not place for violence or intimidation in a democratic election campaign.

EU Embassies welcome the steps taken so far by the authorities to implement the presidential decree of May 11, 2005 on improving the practice of elections in Azerbaijan. The EU is ready to assist Azerbaijan to help ensure that elections meet international standards.

EU Embassies in Baku will continue to raise these issues with Government and others involved in the development of democracy in Azerbaijan."

State building

New structure of the press secretariat of the President’s Apparat has been confirmed, Azer Gasimov, the spokesman for the President’s Apparat told journalists on Wednesday.

According to Gasimov, the staff of the press secretariat will comprise 20 people. Its activities will focus on three directions: accreditation and work with media (4 people), study and analysis of publications in media (4 people), shooting, including production, photo- and video service.

Gasimov also noted that work on online delivery of reports on the President’s activities. It will be placed the website of the Azerbaijani President

Besides, after President Aliyev’s foreign visits the spokesman is going to give a news conference for journalists to brief them bout the details. It is also planned to increase the number of accredited media units in foreign visits of the President.

On 15-16 August Colonel-General Safar Abiyev, the Azerbaijani Defense Minister, paid a visit to Riga at the invitation of his Latvian counterpart, Eynars Repshe. Azerbaijan believes that the world community will shortly recognize Armenia as aggressor and demand the liberation of occupied territory of Azerbaijan, the Minister said in the end of his visit.

As a result of talks the sides signed an agreement on military cooperation between the two countries.

A press conference was held in the Office of Military Prosecutor of Azerbaijan on 18 August 2005. A military prosecutor Khanlar Veliyev informed the journalists that the meeting was held under the instruction of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for futher improvment of the work between the state bodies and the press.

“The Office of Military Prosecutor carried out definite work on the improvement of the liasions with press. A Press Service of the Public Prosecutor Office was established in
accordance with the order by the Prosecutor General,” said the military prosecutor.

According to Veliyev, the press service is ready to cooperate with media.

The expenditures for the National Army maintenance grew by 75-76% for the last two years, a military prosecutor Hanlar Veliyev told journalists, Trend reports.

According to him, the policy pursued by the President Ilham Aliyev for the development of the economy affected the National Army condition too. В"It enabled to allocate additional funds from the state budget for supply of materials and machinery of the Army. In 2003 this amount was 100 million USD, in 2004 вЂ" 175 million USD and now вЂ" 300 million USD. This figure will grow further”, a military prosecutor noted.

According to Veliyev, it will affect positively the physical, moral, psychological and military training of the National Army, as well as provision with modern equipment.

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