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WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Politics Materials 25 October 2005 11:03

Official news

On 20 October US President George Bush sent congratulatory letter to Azerbaijani leader on the Independence Day of Azerbaijan. The parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan scheduled for the next month will create opportunities for raising the relations between our countries to the new strategic level, the message by the USA President George Bush to the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reads.

В"I welcome your persistency in holding free and fair elections. These elections are important for firm and consistent relations between our countries. I stick to continuation of cooperation with you after the elections”, George Bush notes in his message.

The US President expresses gratitude to the Azerbaijani side in the message for support in the international fight against terrorism, as well as the US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The same day President Aliyev received a US delegation headed by the US Under Secretary of State on Europe and Euro-Asia Daniel Fried.

During the meeting the Azerbaijani President voiced his gratitude to the US government and President for the letter addressed on the Independence Day. “I fully share the opinion by the US President on the bilateral relationships and their further development. The Partnership, friendship and cooperation between the countries will be developed hence,” he stressed.

On 20 October President Ilham Aliyev received the Director of the foreign intelligence service of Russia Sergey Lebedev. The issues of cooperation between the special forces of the both countries were discussed at the meeting, Trend reports.

Sergey Lebedev noted this cooperation serves the joint fight against the existing for both countries threats.

President Aliyev noted a successful development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Russia in many fields. He appreciated highly the significance of cooperation of special services for ensuring stability and security in the region.

On 18 October the Azerbaijani President received a delegation headed by Ian Leshley, the chairman of the Consultative Council on Caspian Assimilation.

Leshley noted that he arrived in Azerbaijan to discuss the transparency in the extractive industry, as well as work done in the energy sector. “It is very important to hold an exchange of opinions on the rise of oil prices, their use and perspectives of oil revenues,” he underscored.

Foreign policy

The United States is troubled by reports of police violence during the campaign leading up to Azerbaijan’s November 6 parliamentary elections and is urging the government of Azerbaijan “to show extra creativity and flexibility” in finding ways to allow people to exercise their right of assembly, U.S. Ambassador Julie Finley said October 20, addressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria.

“Democratic elections, freedom of media and freedom of assembly, before and after the elections, are critical to the future of Azerbaijan,” she underlined.

Finley said that a free and fair election means not only demonstrated freedom and fairness on Election Day, but also “demonstrated freedom and fairness throughout the election process, which includes the lead-up.”

The United States remains “troubled by reports of police violence during unauthorized demonstrations in Baku on October 9, as well as by reports that police have detained up to 300 political activists -- including up to 20 candidates,” said Finley, the permanent U.S. representative to the OSCE.

Noting that international human-rights standards prohibit a government from abridging the right of the people to assemble peaceably, she urged the government of Azerbaijan “to show extra creativity and flexibility in finding ways that allow the people to exercise their right in Baku and elsewhere.”

“In this regard, we call on both sides to resume the dialogue that is necessary to achieve this goal,” she added.

Referring to an interim OSCE report on the election campaign, Finley said she also wanted to highlight “evidence that �some executive authorities are intervening in the campaign in favor of certain candidates and in some cases have interfered with the electoral process.’"

She recalled Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s May 11 decree in which he made a pledge to the people of Azerbaijan and to the international community that his government would conduct a free and fair election on November 6. “We again call on President Aliyev and his government to ensure that all officials throughout the country implement the May Decree and adhere to the word and spirit of OSCE principles for elections that meet international standards.”

“With only three weeks until the elections, we call on all candidates and political parties to engage seriously with the voters in order to gain their trust and support,” said the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE.

The US Under Secretary of State on Europe and Euroasia, Daniel Fried, and US special envoy on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Eurasian regions, Steven Mann, arrived in Baku on Wednesday evening.

The delegation met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev , the Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Defense Minister Safar Abiyev. During the meeting he is planned to discuss bilateral relationships, pre-elections situation, and the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“Daniel Fried, the U.S. Undersecretary of State on Europe and Asia, and Steven Mann, the chief adviser and special representative on Nagorno-Karabakh and Eurasian conflicts, held meetings with the Azerbaijani opposition leaders at the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan on Thursday,” Asim Mollazada, the chairman of the Democratic Reforms Party, told Trend.

Attending the event were Ali Karimli, the chairman of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP-reformers), Sardar Jalaloglu, the first deputy chairman of the Democratic party, Eldar Namazov and Etibar Mammadov, the co-constitutors of the �Yeni Siyasat� (New Policy) election bloc, as well as Lala Shovkat Hajiyeva, the leader of the National Unity Movement.

Democratic and free parliamentary elections will draw Azerbaijan even closer to the USA and Europe, the US State Secretary assistant on Europe and Euro-Asia Daniel Fried said in a statement on 20 October in Baku, speaking at the Baku State University, Trend reports.

Democratic elections will create large opportunities for Azerbaijan in further strategic cooperation with the USA and integration into Europe, as well as make the stability long-term, he stated. В"It is the elections which will determine what kind of country it will be and whom it will serve “, he noted. Azerbaijan is to be transparent and open and the corruption level slight, the diplomat thinks.

Fried voiced confidence that holding free and democratic elections is in hands of the Azerbaijani people. He assessed positively the steps taken by the President towards democratic elections and the commitments undertaken, as well as the activities of the Central Elections Committee (CEC). Nevertheless, much is still to be done, the diplomat thinks.

Political life

Ex-Speaker Rasul Guliyev, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, was arrested in Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday.

He was delayed at approximately 17.00pm [Baku time].

“In accordance with operative data of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ex-speaker Rasul Guliyev, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, is still in London,” Ramil Usubov, the Interior Minister, said.

According to Usubov, Guliyev has repeatedly stated that he would arrive in Baku at 16.00pm by chartered flight, while AZAL State Air Company announced it did not possess information about landing of an airliner in Baku till Monday afternoon. “Such appeals are as a rule made at least 12 hours before the flight. It indicates that Guliyev has some doubts in the arrival. He is aware of urgent measures which are taken in Baku and in the country in relation to his arrival. Evidently, the actions cause hesitation and reflection,” he added.

Usubov stressed that any attempts taken for causing mass public disorder would be prevented by all possible means specified in the law.

В"The Leasing Executive Airways company applied officially to Azerbaijan for permitting the flight for the company’s aircraft from Simferopol, the head of the AZAL State Concern Djahangir Askerov told journalists, Trend reports.

This message came to us at 14.56 p.m. by Baku time. Under the international standards AZAL is obliged to response to the inquiry during 72 hours. Despite this we sent the reply to the air company and the traffic control service of the Simferopol airport 1 hour, 56 minutes later, namely at 16.48 p.m., in which we allowed landing of the airplane with Rasul Guliyev and 5 other passengers on board at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. The aircraft was to arrive at 18.45 of the local time”, Djahangir Askerov stated, showing the photocopies of telegrams as the evidence.

В"7 minutes later after the official permission the Leasing Executive Airways company sent a new telegram, which says, they decline the flight and will not arrive in Baku today”.

According to Askerov, he produced the copies of these telegrams to the lawyer of Rasul Guliyev too. He also noted the aircraft of the Leasing Executive Airways company left Farmborough (England) for Simferopol at 10.35 of the local time.

At the end he noted, no impediments were made from AZAL to returning of Rasul Guliyev and now, when the airplane with Guliyev is returning to Great Britain it needs to apply officially during 72 hours.

Ex-Speaker Rasul Guliyev, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP), got on the airliner in London at 12:00 to arrive in Baku, Sardar Jalaloglu, the vice-chairman of the ADP, said quoting Guliyev.

Jalaloglu said that he had a telephone talk with the party leader before he got on the airbus at London Airport. The airliner is expected to land in Baku at about 16.00.

According to Jalaloglu, no one can arrest Guliyev, who holds an immunity status and the government do not have any fact to arrest him. The ADP functionary underlined that the Criminal and Elections Codes of Azerbaijan and Article 149 of the Constitution testify for illegality of Guliyev’s arrest.

On 18 October the president issued a decree to dismiss Farhad Aliyev, the Azerbaijani Minister for Economic Development. Ali Insanov, the Azerbaijani Health Minister, was dismissed from his post on 20 October.

Heydar Babayev was appointed the Minister for Economic Development and Oktai Shiraliyev - the Health Minister of Azerbaijan at the decree of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Shiraliyev was the head of the Republican Diagnosis Center until the recent appointment.

Farhad Aliyev, the Minister for Economic Development, who was arrested on Wednesday with charges in accordance with Articles 179.3 (misappropriation and assimilation), 308.2 (misappropriation of service duties), 28.220 (preparation for public disorder), 278 (forced accession to power) of the Criminal Code. During the search in his houses and summers houses the operative group revealed foreign currency, jewelry art works and different valuable things acquired through criminal way, according to a joint statement issued on Friday by the Ministry of National Security, the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Parliamentary elections

On 19 October the CEC made an appeal to the Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian nationality residing in Nagorno Karabakh. The CEC calls on Armenian to use the constitutional right and to participate in the voting during the parliamentary elections on 6 November 2005 in the Khankandi constituency elections commission 122 and Shusha-Fizuli-Khojali constituency elections commission 124.

The CEC also discussed the issue on violation of he agitation rules at state television channel AzTV, as well as bar on some candidates from the opposition on use of free air time. The CEC made an appeal to the media in connection with the violation of agitation rules.

The CEC Secretary Vidadi Mahmudov presented to the participants in the gathering on the facts violations of the elections legislation by the television channels and the importance of checking up the level of preparations for elections in the military units.

According to Mahmudlu, when he appealed to the television channel in connection with the non-permission of the candidates from Azadlyg bloc to the television channels was the order of the CEC.

In his reply remarks Panahov said the happened did not occur as a result of the CEC’s order. He also noted that the voting in the military units will be held in accordance with the general rules. The CEC chairman did not agree with Mahmudlu on weak level of preparations for the elections the in military units. Mahmudlu noted that the subjects of elections in the military units were not familiar with the place of location of the elections places.

Mahmudlu, as well as members of the CEC, Enver Aliyev and Mansum Bayramov, proposed to include in the agenda the issue on law-breaks by the Azerbaijani state television AzTV.

As of 17 October the CEC of Azerbaijan has registered 244 international observers, which will carry out monitoring of the parliamentary elections. They are 46 people from the OSCE/ODIHR, 133 people - CIS, 3 вЂ" Parliamentary Assembly of CIS, 2 - IFES, 3 вЂ" the CEC of Ukraine, 2 вЂ" the CEC of Georgia, 1 вЂ" Eurasian Fund, 3 вЂ" International Crisis Group, 25 вЂ" the Center of Strategic Diplomatic Researches and 5 people вЂ" the Magdeburg University (Germany).

Besides, as of 21 October the CEC accredited 71 representatives from the international media.

Preparations by ruling New Azerbaijan Party

“Many independent candidates from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party recalled their candidacies in favor of those who ballot through the party’s list,” MP Siyavush Novruzov, Deputy Executive Secretary of the NAP, told Trend.

The process will end till 25 October. But we do not have exact data how many candidates recalled their candidacies,” Novruzov underlined.

Meanwhile, MP Bahar Muradova, Deputy Executive Secretary of the NAP, regards the process as party members’ respect to the agreement the agreement among the sides. “It indicates to the elections culture of the NAP,” Muradova noted.

Speaking on positive sides of the step Novruzov underlined that it would prevent the break in votes.

The first step in this direction was taken in Lankaran rural election commission 74. Two independent candidates recalled their candidates in favor of the co-fellow in the NAP, Hadi Rajabli, who ballot through the party’s list.

Today’s opposition is weak in its decision to boycott the elections, the deputy executive secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party Siyavush Novruzov told journalists.

According to him, the opposition may take such a step at the last moment in order to conceal its weakness. It is impossible to believe its effectiveness. The people of Azerbaijan know well, what the opposition is capable for. At the previous elections various groups of the opposition took also decisions on their boycotting. The result was evident”.

Novruzov also noted, over 2000 candidates are involved in the elections.1600 of them are self-nominees.

Preparations by Azadlyg bloc

The members of �Azadlig’ (Freedom) election bloc attempted to hold an unsanctioned action near Narimanov subway station on Sunday, Trend reports. A group of the oppositionists started to move to the subway station from different directions at 16.00pm [local time].

The streets leading to the place of the action were blocked up by the law-enforcement bodies. The police detained several people

The police forces were dispatched to 28 May subway station at 14.00pm [local time] and traffic along the nearest streets was limited in order to prevent holding of the rally.

On 21 October the co-chair of Azadlyg bloc, Ali Karimli, the chairman of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP, reformers) met with Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the United States to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish. The meeting focused on [re-elections situation in the country. Karimli informed the diplomat on the actions taken by Azadlyg in the regions, meetings with electors, pre-elections campaign and law-breaks observed during the electioneering.

Preparations by New Policy bloc

Ayaz Mutallibov, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Social-Democratic Party (ASDP) will hold a meeting with electors on Saturday through selector at the Abilov Culture House, Tofik Ahmadov, the head of Mutallbov’s re-elections headquarters.

Ahmadov underlined attending the meeting will be co-chair of the ASDP and Mutallibov’s 10 law-defenders. “It will come as Mutallibov’s first meeting with electors.

The candidacy of ex-Azerbaijani President, an emigrant residing in Moscow, had been registered in Yasamal Constituency Elections Commission 3 (12). He set up the pre-elections propaganda on 10 October.

State building

The 2nd meeting of the Working Group of the International conference on Border Issues started at the Central Apparat of the State Border Service (SBS) on Wednesday. The subject of the meeting will be prevention of illegal traffic of arm, ammunitions and radioactive substances, the SBS told Trend.

Attending the event are representatives of the border bodies of Azerbaijan, Austria, Germany, Georgia, Russia, Rumania, the United States, Turkey and Ukraine. The agenda includes reports by representatives of different countries on the results of the work done in this direction.

The discussions aimed at drawing of concrete proposals on more affective work in struggle with illegal traffic of arm, ammunitions and radioactive substances on border.

The members of the group plan visits to border points to get familiar with use of the special devices on control over the traffic of arm, ammunitions and radioactive substances on the Azerbaijani-Russian border.

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