WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official review

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev left for Bulgaria on Friday with an official visit. During the meeting with the Bulgarian President Georgiy Pirvanov Aliyev stressed the significance for the maximal use of transport and communications lines under establishment. Touching upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh the Presidents voiced their hope for peaceable resolution of the conflict. Pirvanov assured that Bulgaria will hence support the just position of Azerbaijan. During the visit the two countries signed 7 bilateral documents.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 22 September 2005 a delegation of the German “Marshall” foundation. During the talk held the head of the Azerbaijani state noted he had some meetings with the foundations’ representatives, during which the issues of regional and international significance were discussed.

Ilham Aliyev voiced hope that the media representatives of Germany, also the foundation delegation’s members will be able to get acquainted directly with the development taking place in Azerbaijan, as “it is better once to see, than hundreds times to hear”.

В"Once you have a direct impression on the processes occurring in the country, reforms and the regional development, it will be easier for you to judge on the importance of the events. I think, the visit is a fine opportunity for exchanging the opinions”, president of Azerbaijan noted.

Director of the foundation’s Ankara office Suat Kiniklioglu, speaking on behalf of the delegation noted, the decision to send the delegation to Baku was taken in regard to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. “We included representatives of a number of the European and American media in the group for them to study the situation in Azerbaijan and cover the topic properly in the Western media”, Kiniklioglu noted.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 20 September 2005 Director on publishing and researches of the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute of the USA Georgetown University Svante E. Cornell.

During the talk held, exchange of views on a number of issues in regard to regional and international relations took place.

On 21 September Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, received participants of the international conference �Solidarity of Islam Communities’ on Wednesday.

The head of the country noted that national and religious tolerance dominated in the country, and expressed his confidence that consolidation of people was important for development of the country.

“I’m sure that the conference will open new opportunities for development of interactions and give a chance to form further prospect of the organization, Aliyev stressed.

Separatism, terrorism and capturing as manifestation of anti-humanism brought innumerous disasters to peoples of Caucasus and the persons using such levers irrespective of the slogans, seek to destroy the peace in the region and are the enemies of the peoples of the region, the message of the members of the Supreme Religious Board of the peoples of Caucasus addressed on 21 September 2005 to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

The message underscored the goal of the two-day international conference “The Solidarity of the Islamic Communities” in Baku was strengthening of cooperation in the name of stability in Caucasus.

The necessity for holding a special meeting of Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia with involvement of leaders of the religious congregations of Caucasus is noted. It will enable to draw up the “coordinated action plan” aimed at securing peace in the region.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, sent a letter of congratulation to Saudi king Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown prince Sultan Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud on National Day, Commemorating the unification of the Saudi Arabia Kingdom to wish health, successes, peace and welfare to them and the Saudi people.

The message also expresses hope in continuation of the efforts in the direction of the development of the bilateral relations and the cooperation.

Foreign policy

The issue on construction of 2 radar stations in Azerbaijan has under processing for 2 years, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish, told journalists. The key objective of the project is to assist the Azerbaijani sea border service in revealing and removing the case of smuggling. One of them is to be built in Astara, in the border with Iran, and another in the Khizi District.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry said that it did not possess information in this respect.

The Embassy of France to Azerbaijan responded to the appeal of the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) in regard to the French companies operating in Karabakh, KLO told Trend.

In his appeal to the Embassy the KLO chairman Akif Nagi expressed protest against cooperation of the French companies with the occupant’s regime in the communication field on the occupied territories.

In his return letter the Ambassador Roland Blatmann reported, according to the information, he has for today there are no French enterprises, especially in the telecommunications sphere in Nagorny Karabakh. According to the Ambassador, the French companies were informed by the French government of the especial situation in the region and therefore they were asked not to operate in Nagorny Karabakh..

At the same time, in his return letter the Ambassador required KLO not to threaten the Embassy of France. “As you know, I am ready for discussions, however, I cannot admit to use it as the tribune against my country and my fellow countrymen”, - the Ambassador noted.

KLO stated they treat with understanding the position of the government, however, noted, the French government must take more unbiased position in the region.

A session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) will be held in Lithuania on 24-25 September, the Milli Majlis (the Azerbaijani parliament) told Trend. The Assembly will discuss the situation on Belarus.

MP Asim Mollazade will represent Azerbaijan in the gathering with delegates from the European Union, NATO PA and OSCE. He is expected to deliver a speech to eth event.

The joint meeting of the GUAM (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Moldova) Parliamentary Assembly three standing committees will be held in Chisinau on 27 September.

The meeting will discuss role and prospective plans of the Parliamentary Assembly in the development of the economy of the GUAM member countries. The Azerbaijani delegation will be led by MP Elton Mammadov.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Holding of the monitoring on the area of the Garahanbeyli village of Fizuli region at the cease-fire line was planned on 20 September 2005 in accordance with the mandate of the OSCE current chairman personal envoy.

From the Azerbaijani side the monitoring was to be held by the personal envoy of the OSCE current chairman, the Ambassador Andzey Kasprshik, his field assistants Miroslav Vymetal and Olexander Samarski, as well as the high level official of the Working Group, the press service of the Defense Ministry told Trend.

At the opposite side of the cease-fire line which is internationally recognized as the territory of Azerbaijan the monitoring was to be held by the field assistants of the OSCE current chairman personal envoys Imre Palatinus, Peter Kea and Harry Eronen, as well as the high level representative of the Working Group.

On 20 September 2005 at 11.53 a.m. during the start of the monitoring the fire was opened from the left flank of the units of the Armenian Armed Forces in the direction of the delegation, which held monitoring on the Azerbaijani side. The field assistant Vymetal registered the breach of the cease-fire from the Armenian side and reported to the Ambassador Andjey Kasprshik about it. By the decision of Kasprshik monitoring was halted.

On 18 September Azerbaijani FM Elmar Mammadyarov addressed to the 60th Session
of the UN General Assembly in New York on 18 September 2005. Only the return of all the occupied territories back to Azerbaijan will help restore our trust and confidence in Armenia and its declared intentions on the establishment of good neighborly relations with Azerbaijan.

Although the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is strongly involved in the settlement process, prompt reaction of the United Nations Security Council in response to the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and adoption of four resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 still generates optimism for peaceful settlement of the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The principles unanimously adopted by the Security Council in those resolutions continue to be the basis for the settlement of the conflict. Last year consideration by the General Assembly of the agenda item entitled "The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan" played a crucial role in attracting attention to the dangerous practices carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

Political life

The rally of the “Builders of the Civil Society” election alliance scheduled for 16.00 p.m. on 24 September 2005 started a half an hour later. The ground for this is the lateness of one of the leaders, the chairman of the National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (NDPA) Iskender Hamidov, Trend reports.

The rally went peacefully. According to the NDPA deputy chairman Bakir Hasanbeyli over 10,000 people took part in the action. According to the police officers the number of participants was 300 people.

A two-day international conference �Solidarity of Islamic Communities’ opened in Baku on Tuesday with organization support from the CCB and the Culture Center of Iranian embassy in Baku.

The key objective of the forum was study of issues linked with the search of ways of rapprochement among different trends of Islam and prevention of attempts for use of the religion as an ideology of terror.

"“Our key objective is to promote the unification of representatives of different religions. It is necessary to direct all efforts from �majority to unity’ for consolidation,” he underscored. The wills of splitting the Moslems was inherited from Soviet Union," Sheik-uk-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazada, the head of Caucasus Clerical Board (CCB), stated.

The religious leaders proposed the organization of a special meeting of the heads of state of the region.

В"Meeting of the chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (LDPA) Fuad Aliyev with the chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), the first vice speaker of the Russia’s State Duma Vladimir Jirinovsky is expected, the LDPA chairman Fuad Aliyev told Trend.

The LDPA chairman Aliyev plans to go to Moscow in mid-October for a meeting with the chairman of the LDP of Russia, Vladimir Jirinovsky. During the trip to last several days he will meet with the Russia’s State Duma deputies. В"During my trips to Moscow I always meet with them, inform the deputies with the political situation in Azerbaijan”, Aliev said.

Aliyev noted, during the talks the bilateral relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh problem will be touched upon again. В"As usual, I will bring Jirinovski the books, dedicated to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”, Aliyev said.

Parliamentary elections

The chairman of the Open Society Institute George Soros expressed on 23 September 2005 in "The Financial Times" newspaper his attitude to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. In his article the known Maecenas calls on Azerbaijan to use the opening opportunity to show that the country can build a real democracy, without resorting to the revolution, Trend reports.

В"Revolution is destruction by its definition. Revolution gives way to democratic reforms, but does not give any guarantees to anyone. National uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine, Kirgizistan became a large move to democratization of these countries, however, after the revolutionary euphoria vanished their politicians faced the necessity to build democracy starting with null. Georgia reached in this sense definite successes, however, Ukraine experiences now problems; the situation remains also troubled in Kirgizistan”, the article reads.

In the opinion of George Soros, Azerbaijan may quite refrain from such a scenario. В"Рђzerbaijan is a poor country, although it possesses much natural wealth. Its government has already made certain moves on establishing the Oil Fund, which would ensure to work these resources for the benefit of its citizens, showing by this the readiness to be responsible to its people for their own actions and deeds, and deliberately distancionating from the majority of the oil countries leaders which fill up their pockets on the account of their own people Azerbaijan became one of the first countries where the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Program, put forward by the United Kingdom and the World Bank commenced working and developing and establishing motivation for the authorities and the oil companies to opening their finances”, George Soros notes.

30 long-term observers of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of OSCE, sent to Azerbaijan for monitoring of the forthcoming parliamentary elections represent 16 states from the world. The group of the long-term observers arrived in Baku on 13 September 2005 comprises experts from Belarus, Denmark, France, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and the USA, Trend reports citing the ODIHR press center.

It is noted, the leading team of the observation mission, headed by the Ambassador from Germany Geert-Hinrich Ahrens includes Harald Jepsen (Denmark), Raphaelle Mathey (France), Riccardo Chelleri (Italy), Rasto Kuzel (Slovakia), Edward Soden-Bird (UK), Kerstin Dokter (Germany), Heidi Smith (UK), Emil Pyrich (Poland), Robert Lech (Poland) and Malgosia Falecka (Poland).

Meanwhile, a group of short-tem observers consisting of 500 persons will hold briefing on 3 November 2005 for the representatives of the Azerbaijan’s media.

State building

On 20-23 Sept. Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev left for Stuttgart, Germany. During the meeting he had a meeting with Charles Wald, deputy had of the US European Command. During the meeting they discussed bilateral relationships and cooperation between the two countries under the NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

Starting with 19 September 2005 officers of the Azerbaijan’s armed forces will take part in military courses, the press service of the Defense Ministry told Trend.

Thus, till 29 September according to the individual program “Partnership in the name of peace”, signed between NATO and Azerbaijan the program “Familiarization with the NATO headquarters and the partnership coordination group” will be held in Brussels and Monse (Belgium), on 30 September in Scopye (Macedonia) the contest “The military terminology for staff officers”, till 7 October according to the bilateral plan of military cooperation signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey the course “Engineering and strengthening unities and mines” will be held.

Since 4 November according to the bilateral plan of military cooperation signed between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom the course “Defense management under the conditions of democracy” at the University of Cranfield and some other courses in Rumania, Bulgaria will take place.

A test exam for selection of candidates to the vacancy of judges was held at the Gulustan palace of Baku on last Sunday at the appeal of the State Commission on Students Admission. The Election Committee held an admission of candidates to judges from 15 February to 30 June 2005 and registered 1048 applicants. 164 of them did not participants in the exams on different reasons.

Ramiz Rizayev, the chairman of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan, appreciated the process of exams, attributing as the first proper one in Azerbaijan.

“In 2000 the judges passed test exams, while this time it was more improve and progressive. For the time the applicants selected 100 from 1000 question through lototron in presence of international and local observers, representatives from the non-governmental organizations, and journalists,” Rizayev emphasized. He noted that 100 candidates will qualified for the next stages.

Parliament

On Thursday Murtuz Alasgarov, the speaker of the Milli Majlis (Parliament), received members of the Kuwait-Azerbaijan Interparliamentary Friendship Group in Baku. The meeting discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, Trend reports.

Alasgarov thanked the gests for support to Azerbaijan’s position in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and mentioned its exclusive role as a member of the Islam Conference Organization in the adoption of the resolution in favor of Azerbaijan.

Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, refugees and internally displaced peoples, he underlined that Kuwait understood Azerbaijan’s pain. The guest also stressed that he will raise the issue of the opening of the Kuwaiti embassy in Azerbaijan.

On Tuesday the meeting of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) discussed joining the agreement on international North-South transport corridor. Sattar Safarov, the chairman of the Milli Majlis Standing Commission on Economic Policy, gave overhaul information on the agreement, Trend reports.

According to Safarov, Azerbaijan will be able to speed up its social and economic development through joining the agreement. “It will establish conditions to open new jobs, automate railway sphere, develop tourism,” the chairman of the Commission underlined.

Safarov stressed that the North-South transport corridor would stretch from Scandinavian Peninsula to India and Chine through Azerbaijan. “Some countries joined the agreement, while Georgia, Bulgaria, Finland and Azerbaijan seek for joining,” he said. Deputies unanimously voted for joining the agreement.

The meeting approved the agreement on credit between Azerbaijan and the International Development Association, the draft agreement between the International Development Association and the Foundation for Social Development of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons, the agreement on establishment of interstate council on cooperation in polygraph and the framework convention of the World Health Organization on struggle with smoking.

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