Official news

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev visited the southern regions вЂ" Lankaran, Astara, Leriik, Masally, and Yardimly - last week.

During the public meeting Aliyev stressed his confidence that the forthcoming parliamentary elections will be fair and democratic.

Touching upon the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the country the head of state said that the first part of preparations was successful and 2059 candidates to MP were registered at the CEC. It testified the confidence in the fair parliamentary elections. In this case I hope the elections will be democratic,” he underlined.

"I hope the new parliament will play considerable role in the improvement of the legislative base,” Aliyev underlined.

В"Non-constructive approach by Armenia impedes the peaceable resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. But we hope the talks to yield effective ends,В" the Azerbaijani President stressed

Addressing a ceremony of unveiling a monument to ex-President Heydar Aliyev in front of the Baku City Executive Power, Aliyev remarked the successful political and diplomatic steps, though there is no result. He reminded that in 2004 the military expenses of Azerbaijan made up $175m, in 2005 вЂ" $300m, while in 2006 it will be $600m. В"The enemy should know that Azerbaijan is ready to liberate the lands any time it desires,В" he stated.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 5 September the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CE) Terry Davis.

Exchange of opinions on implementation of commitments assumed by Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe on democratization, the processes of preparations to the forthcoming parliamentary elections and on other issues was held at the meeting.

The same Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received Dmitriy Rupel, the chairman-in-office of the OSCE, the Slovenian Foreign Minister. During the meeting they discussed the prospects for resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, preparation for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the cooperation between Azerbaijan and OSCE.

Economic, political and defense cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey serves to ensuring stability in the entire region, such a statement was made on 7 September by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with the delegation headed by the commander-in-chief of the ground troops of the Turkish Air Forces general Yashar Byukanit.

General Yashar Byukanit said, in his turn, the “friendship between Azerbaijan and Turkey lives in the hearts of citizens of the both countries and is implemented in reality.

Foreign Policy

The development of around 10 bilateral documents is underway on the eve of the coming official visit of Azerbaijani President to Bulgaria, Ivan Palchev, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Trend.

At present some interstate and interdepartmental agreements on cooperation between the state televisions, veterinary services, in the sphere of tourism, sports, on evasion dual taxation, in the sphere of phitosanitary are being coordinated.

The head of states are expected to sign a memorandum on cooperation between the two countries in joining to the European Union. The unification of documents is probable to complete next week.

Under the visit scheduled for the second half of September it is planned to hold a business forum and Azerbaijani businessmen will go Sofia in this connection. The forum will work in two directions вЂ" tourism, as well as investments and construction. The heads of state are going to participate in the final part of the forum.

The speakers of the Azerbaijani and Ukrainian Parliaments discussed the development of the bilateral cooperation in New York within the 2nd World Conference of Chairmen of National Parliaments.

Murtuz Alasgarov, the chairman of the Milli Majlis (Parliament), and Vladimir Litvin, the chairman of the Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada (Parliament), agreed on preparation for their official visits, further interparliamentary cooperation.

The sides made an exchange of opinions on the development of the GUAM organization, the steps aimed at its expansion and cooperation with international organizations.

The Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov was on a visit in Austria. He met with Austrian President Henz Fisher. The meeting focused on the prospect of the bilateral cooperation. Mammadyarov informed Fisher about the current state of the regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and Azerbaijan’s position in regard to the conflict.

The Azerbaijani Minister also met with Andreas Cole, the chairman of the Austrian Parliament, and mentioned importance of development of relations between two countries and their legislative bodies. The sides made exchange of opinions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and situation in the region.

Then Mammadyarov negotiated with Ursula Plassnick, the Austrian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mammadyarov informed his counterpart about political, economic and humanitarian directions of the bilateral relations, and spoke about the ways of their further development, the priorities of the Azerbaijan’s foreign policy and preparations for the parliamentary elections.

The Minister also mentioned the importance of the efforts of the international organizations, particularly, UN, OSCE, CE and EU in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and touched upon the implementation of the large scale international oil, gas and transport projects in the South Caucasus. Mammadyarov invited his counterpart to Azerbaijan.

During the visit Mammadyarov held meetings with Tibor Tot, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the UN Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and our compatriots living in Austria and Slovakia. The visit is over.

The PACE Monitoring Committee co-rapporteurs on Azerbaijan, Andreas Herkel and Andreas Gross are scheduled to visit Azerbaijan in October. Herkel said that the visit will be held within October, while the exact date is still to be defined.

A next meeting of the PACE Monitoring Committee was held in Antalia, Turkey, on Wednesday. Asim Mollazada, Azerbaijani parliamentary representative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), who also attended the meeting, said the second part of the session held discussions on some issues concerning Azerbaijan.

Andreas Gross, a PACE co-rapporteur, in his remarks appraised the decree on Improvement of elections system by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, dated 11 May 2005. В"However, referring to pre-election observations Gross noted that some forces in the government impede the democratic organization of the elections,’ Mollazada underlined.

Mollazada said that Gross attributed the pre-elections situation in Azerbaijan as satisfactory. He appreciated the large number of the candidates and the political rivalry by the political forces in the elections.

Political life

The OSCE Baku Office will arrange a seminar-dialogue for the authorities and opposition on 12 September, Ulvi Akhundlu, a spokesman for the Baku Office told Trend.

The dialogue will be dedicated to free gathering and the observation of the principle in Azerbaijan. The parties to attend the meeting were specified. However, Akhundlu urges that more political parties are expected to join the event this time..

The New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has not receive an official invitation to a seminar with representatives of the opposition and governmental parties to be held on 12 September at the initiative of the OSCE Baku Office, Ali Ahmadov, the Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), told Trend.

В"The OSCE Baku Office cannot hold a workshop without consultation with the ruling New Azerbaijan Party. They did not appeal us in connection with the said event,В" Ahmadov underlined.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties said that they received invitations to the event and were going to attend it. Ali Aliyev, the chairman of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP), stated he would participate in the workshop.

He noted that this time the organizer of the meeting is not the opposition, or authorities, but a nonpartisan international organization. So, there is no ground for any of the sides to refuse from the meeting.

В"This is a continuation of a workshop once held in May and ended in the achievement of a Consensus between the authorities and opposition. Both opposition and authorities can be represented in the meeting, as it has particularly different character,В" Aliyev noted.

Sardar Jalaloglu, the Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP), said the leaders of parties entering the Azadlyg bloc вЂ" Musavat, the PFAP and ADP - will participate in the event. As to signing of a next consensus if a relevant proposal put forward Jalaloglu said that both the political sides, and the society needs such an understanding. “There is a need for a consensus among the political forces,” he stressed.

MP Fazail Agamali, the leader of Ana Vatan party, which participated in the pro-governmental-opposition from the part of authorities, said that he was going to participate in the event. However, he plans to accord his participation with the NAP as the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFPA) has been also invited to the event. В"It will be a seminar, but not a dialogue between the authorities and opposition. The gathering will take reports from some OSCE representatives,В" Agamali noted.

There are no forces at the current stage, striving for disruption of the dialogue authority вЂ"opposition, the initiator of the next meeting between the authority and the opposition, chairman of the Civil Solidarity Party Sabir Rustamhanli told Trend.

Voicing the attitude to the statement of the OSCE Baku office head Mauricio Pavesi on the possibility of holding the dialogue the authority вЂ"opposition Rustamhanli noted, sometimes this idea is voiced for the sake of appearances. В"Such an idea is expressed not only by him, but by the representatives of the opposition and the authority”.

The Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (ASDP) accounts to receive guarantees from Azerbaijani President on the return of ex-President Ayaz Mutallibov to his Motherland

Mutallibov’s candidacy has been registered at the CEC.

Parliamentary elections

The preparations for parliamentary elections continue.

The first stage of pre-electoral campaign closed in Azerbaijan. 2059 candidates will ballot in the pre-electoral competition. The subscription lists were delivered to 2237 people and 2149 returned them filled. The district electoral commissions registered 2062 person, however three of them recalled their candidatures afterwards.

968 non-party persons (46.94% of the total number of registered candidates), 169 (8.20%), who has not specified their membership in parties, 432 (20.95%) members of the party in power (Yeni Azerbaijan), 58 (2.81%) members of the Liberal Party of Azerbaijan , 52 (2.52%) members of the Party of the National Independence of Azerbaijan, 53 (2.57%) members of the Public Front Party of Azerbaijan, 49 (2.38%) members of "Musavat", 30 (1.45%) members of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, 27 (1.31%) members of the party "Umid", 19 (0.92%) members of the Civil Solidarity Party, 16 (0.78%) members of the Party Adalet (Justice), 15 (0.73%) members of the Muasir Musavat Party (Modern Musavat), 14 (0.68%) candidates from the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, 13 (0.63%) from the Party "Vahdat" (Unity), etc.

According to information of CEC, 1400 registered deputy candidates (67.90%) can take part in elections in individual order, 115 candidates (5.58%) on the united list of the electoral bloc "Azadlig" ("Liberty"), 101 candidate (4.90%) on the list of the governing party, 70 candidates (3.39%) on the list of the electoral bloc 'Yeni Siyaset" ("New policy"), 65 candidates (3.15%) from LPA, 33 candidates (1.60%) from the bloc "Pro-Azerbaijani forces", 35 candidates (1.70%) from the bloc "Democratic Azerbaijan", 30 candidates (1.45%) from the bloc Islahat (Reform), 18 candidates (0.8%) from the bloc "In the name of Azerbaijan", etc.

On 10 September the CEC distributed free air time among the parties and elections blocs for electioneering.

In compliance with the elections code only the parties and bloc with candidates in 60 constituencies can use the free air time.

On 7 September a meeting of the CEC adopted the instructions on use of some articles of the Elections Code in connection with the electioneering.

Meanwhile, the United States is urging Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his government to continue on a path that demonstrates their commitment to Azerbaijan's democratic future and to take all necessary steps to ensure the success of the upcoming November elections, U.S. Ambassador Julie Finley stated in her address to a special session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 6 September.

She said the United States is encouraged by the steps that Aliyev has taken to ensure free and fair elections, citing in particular his May 11 Election Decree.

В"We hope all members of the Government of Azerbaijan will stand by the President and support his goal of elections that meet international standards,” Finley underlined.

The Azerbaijani voters should be actively involved in the parliamentary elections to ensure the will of the population, the USA Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish said in a statement on 5 September at the conference “Elections and Democratic Development”, Trend reports.

The Ambassador noted a good basis is created for implementation of open and fair elections. There is a decree of President Ilham Aliyev of 11 May 2005 “On improvement the election’s practice in Azerbaijan”, the decision on holding the “exit-poll” has been taken, about 2,000 candidates have been registered, lists of electors where each can find his name have been published.

В"The Parliaments’ elections in Azerbaijan are of great significance. The key issue to focus the attention is to ensure the situation, under which any candidate may communicate freely with his electors”, Harnish noted.

В"I appreciate highly the steps taken by Azerbaijan on fulfilling the OSCE and the Venice Commission recommendations, aimed at holding democratic and fair parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan”, the OSCE acting chairman, the Slovenia Foreign Minister Dmitri Rupel told a briefing at the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan on 5 September, Trend reports.

Rupel thinks, there is still time till November and Azerbaijan will succeed in fulfilling other commitments, first of all, on the voters’ lists. В"OSCE is not the structure to criticize or to praise”, he stated.

To his mind, Azerbaijan and this international unit should decide the issues jointly. In this aspect, according to him, the entire work will be placed on the OSCE observing mission to monitor the election process.

В"It is admissible that the media criticize political views of this or that political figure, however, attacks on the personality of a candidate are not acceptable. Therefore, it is important to hit the player, i.e., views, but not the personality вЂ" a ball, the CE Secretary General stated Terry Davis told a news conference in Baku on 5 September.

According to Terry Davis, CE is interested in democratic elections to the Parliament of Azerbaijan, of which the necessary factor is the unbiased coverage of the election campaign in the media. He reminded, the “Code of Behaviour” for media is developed in Azerbaijan, which is to be signed by each media organization.

В"I believe, the current legislative base of Azerbaijan will enable to hold fair and open elections”, Davis said, noting, the leadership of Azerbaijan does its utmost in this respect. Of a special importance in the opinion of Davis is the decree of Ilham Aliyev of 11 May “On improvement of the election practice”. В"Those who attempt to violate the election legislation, are against the President’s will and only one word may be applied to them - “a national traitor”, Davis noted.

Touching upon the CE position on non-fulfillment of some recommendations of the international institutions, the CE Secretary General said: “I will be very much surprised, if during the upcoming elections no violations are found out. However, the history of Azerbaijan does not end on 6 November. We will work with the new Parliament of Azerbaijan with the recommendations to be taken into account

In conclusion, Terry Davis voiced the position on using the marking paint on the voting day, noting this measure is, undoubtedly, positive and its appliance in Azerbaijan will help holding just elections.

The democratic elections in Azerbaijan are a great test for the country. It is the test to reiterate the democracy and establishment of a favorable international image of the country, Asim Mollazada, the chairman of the Democratic Reforms Party (DRP) stated on Monday.

He voiced his agreement with the position of Terry Davis, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who stated in Baku that the democratic elections will have positive impact in the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

В"The elections even not directly, but indirectly will impact on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Sympathy of the international community to Azerbaijan as a democratic country is rather deep.

It will be easier for us to inform the world about the existing realities, the unfairness in regard to Azerbaijan, occupation of areas, the Armenian aggression,В" Mollazada underlined, voicing his disappointment with Azerbaijan’s failure to realize all said thus far.

According to the leader of the DRP, the stability which will consolidate as a result of the democratic elections, will also be a factor assisting Azerbaijan in the peaceable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The same time Mollazada voiced his hope for increase of attention towards the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. В"Azerbaijan is one of rare Moslem countries, which possesses tremendous democratic potential,В" the DRP leader stressed. В"Azerbaijan is interested in the integration into the European community, which accepts only the countries with definite level of cultural values, including the organization of free and democratic elections, freedom of press, multi-party system,В" he stressed. Today Azerbaijan has more chances for holding democratic elections, Mollazada added.

The armed forces of Armenia breached the cease-fire regime again on 7 September, the Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister’s press service told Trend.

At about 12.00 p.m. at the result of the fire of the Azerbaijani positions in the Borsunlu village of Terter region from sub-machine guns and machine guns a soldier of the National Army of Azerbaijan was injured. The military Aliyev Polad Nuraddin ogli was delivered to the hospital, but his life was not saved.

The resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict by the end of 2005 is possible only through the will of the conflict sides, the chairman-in-office of the OSCE, Dimitrij Rupel, told a news conference in Yerevan. During the resolution of the conflict it is necessary to guide 2 principles: the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and right for self-determination.

Rupel underlined the existence of exact formats for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. “The OSCE Minsk Group, a dialogue between the Presidents and conflict sides. I am personally ready to speak to all, including the leadership of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, let is promote the resolution of the problem,” Rupel stressed. Azerbaijan is one the eve of the parliamentary elections, while the elections are not a component promoting the resolution of the conflict.

The United States strongly supports efforts to resolve the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh as early as possible. As a Minsk Co-Chair, we have been actively involved in the ongoing negotiations. We hope that recent discussions in Kazan between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia bear fruit.

Resolution of the conflict would benefit all citizens of the region, U.S. Ambassador Julie Finley stated in her address to a special session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on Tuesday.

В"As a Minsk Co-Chair, we have been actively involved in the ongoing negotiations. We hope that recent discussions in Kazan between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia bear fruit. Resolution of the conflict would benefit all citizens of the region.

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