MONTHLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official news

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed on 25 October 2005 a decree on immediate measures, related to preparations and holding the parliamentary elections, Trend reports.

According to the document, the Milli Mejlis is recommended to discuss the issue of removal the ban on participation in the elections of the non-governmental organizations as observers, in the authorized capital of which the share of the foreign physical and legal entities constitute over 30%. The Central Election Committee (CEC) is recommended to prepare the instruction in the shortest possible time on the use of the finger inking during the voting and put it on the discussion. It is also needed to prepare and approve in the shortest possible time the instruction in regard to violation of the electoral rights. CEC is instructed to voice a resolute position in regard to violations of law, admitted by the candidates during the pre-election campaign, as well as ensure conditions for revising the list of voters at the polling stations by all parties concerned.

The Interior Ministry is commissioned to provide all citizens with the Identity Cards prior to the Election Day. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies and Azerenerji JSC are to take all relevant measures for supply of communication and electrical power to the relevant buildings and facilities on the Election Day. The Interior Ministry and the local executive bodies are to create all necessary conditions for pre-election campaigning by the candidates, as well as to ensure holding mass actions by political parties and election blocks in line with the law “On freedom of assemblies”.

The Prosecutor General’s office is recommended to investigate in the shortest possible time the reports coming to CEC on supposed violations of law and hold the guilty responsible. The relevant state bodies, noted at the President’s decree dated 11May 2005 В"On improvement of the election practice” are instructed to submit relevant reports during 5 days.

On 24 October Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received Steph Goris, the chairman of the West-European Council Interparliamentary Assembly

Noting the significance of the relationships with Azerbaijan GOris said that the West-European Council Interparliamentary Assembly would hence back the process on integration of the county into the European Union.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and US Vice President Dick Cheney held a telephone talk on Wednesday at the native of the US side, the President’s Executive Power told Trend.

The sides discussed the mutual relationships between Azerbaijan and the United States, voicing their satisfaction with the level of development of cooperation in the political, economic, energy and security spheres. They noted that the US-Azerbaijani bonds were of strategic character.

Cheney voiced his confidence that the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will be held in just and transparent way.

In his turn the Azerbaijani leaders said that Azerbaijan would take every effort to continue the integration into the Euro-Atlantic bodies, as well as the development of democratic institutes in the country. The Azerbaijani President noted that all condition were established in the country to hold transparent and fair elections, and democratic voting directly serve to the said purposes. Aliyev underlined the agreement with the ideas expressed in the congratulatory letter addressed by the US President on the Independence Day of Azerbaijan.

On 6 October Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Sabirabad and Kurdamir Districts. " In his remarks the President informed that the parliamentary elections cannot cease the execution of a long-term program implemented by the government.

The President stressed that the first stage of the forthcoming parliamentary elections envisages nominating candidates and a process of registration ended successfully, no violation was made and as a result over 2,000 candidates will rival for deputy mandate. According to the President, the second stage of the elections is the electioneering process which develops successfully. He underlined the successful implementation of the Elections Code and decree dated 11 May, while in some places the decree is violated.

The Georgian sector of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline has been commissioned. Presidents of Georgia Michail Saakashvili, of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, of Turkey Ahmet Nejdet Sezer took part on 12 October ceremony in Gardabani province near to Tbilisi.

The President noted that on Wednesday he was going to participate in the opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline in Georgia. The project will enable to increase the public budget revenues and increase the salaries and pensions. “It is based on oil strategy. The BTC has become a reality even today,” Aliyev stated.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, received Menzies Campbel, the deputy chairman of the British Liberal Democratic Party, Foreign Minister of the Shadow Cabinet, Deputy Executive Director of the G.Smith Memorial Fund, in Baku on Wednesday.

The head of the country noted that the visit will allow Campbel to get familiar with the current events in the country, as well as in the view of development of interstate relations. The President voiced satisfaction with the bilateral cooperation and activities of British investors and companies in Azerbaijan. He mentioned importance of cooperation not only in oil and gas sector, but also other spheres, including education.

Campbel stressed that it was his first visit to Baku. Speaking about the activities of the G.Smith Memorial Fund, he underlined that their goal was to contribute into interstate relations, as well as invite the youth of different countries to the UK.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, received Vladimir Rushaylo, the CIS Executive Secretary, on Wednesday.

Rushaylo said that main goal of the visit to Baku was to discuss implementation of decisions of the CIS Kazan Summit and hold exchange of opinions on economic integration. He stated that CIS observers would set to the monitoring of pre-election situation in Azerbaijan on Thursday. Our main goal is to give objective appraisal to the elections, express our opinion on correspondence or un-correspondence of the elections with local legislation,” he added.

On 13 October President Aliyev met with Darrel Issa, Republican, of California, and representative Loretta Sanchez, Democrat of California, stated to a news conference on Thursday.

Voicing his satisfaction with the visit Issa appreciated the ceremony of completion of the Georgian section of the BTC.

On 13 October Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus held a meeting in Baku. The talks with the Azerbaijani President focused on opportunities of implementation of energy projects, cooperation in the sphere of Euro-Atlantic cooperation and prospects for development of economic relationships.

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.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

“Negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will continue just after the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on 6 November and referendum on changes to the constitution in Armenia on 28 November,” Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, said.

He reported that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen held a meeting in Washington and developed the schedule of works on results of the meeting. “6 months passed have passed since the last visit of the Minsk Group co-chairmen and it is time to pay a new visit, the Minister noted.

He also stressed that they plan the negotiations of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Ljubljana on 5-6 December 2005 with participation of the Minsk Group co-chairmen.

The head of the foreign relations department of the Azerbaijan’s President executive office Novruz Mammadov does not deny the last statement by the Armenian President who formulated the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiation process as a “positive movement to the settlement”. In his exclusive interview with Trend Mammadov said, from the other part, he sees a large distance and non-coincidence between the words and deeds by Kochrayan”.

В"This statement is only ideas for misleading the world public. If it is really so, after the Astana and Kazan top meetings (of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents) the Armenian side was to demonstrate a certain step forward. Regretfully, they try to drag out the process by all possible means using the time factor’, Mammadov summarized.

In his interview with the Euronews TV channel Kocharyan stated, that the active negotiation process on the Karabakh settlement is underway today “which I formulated as a positive movement to the settlement”. However, the Armenian President refrained from details of the negotiation process, specifying their confidential character’.

Azerbaijani and Armenian delegations met in Strasbourg on 5 October. The activities of the PACE Ad Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh is not directed at the resolution of the conflict, Lord Rassel Johnston, the head of the PACE Ad Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh.

The International Crisis Group publicized on a report on Nagorno-Karabakh titled �Executive summary and recommendations’ on Tuesday, Trend reports Settlement of the long running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict -- the most significant obstacle to stability in the South Caucasus -- remains elusive, despite more optimistic noises recently from Azerbaijan and Armenia, the document reads.

В"Eleven years after the 1994 ceasefire, burgeoning defence budgets, increasing ceasefire violations, and continuing demonisation by each side of the other side are ominous signs that time for a peace agreement is running out. But a compromise can now be constructed around an approach that, while addressing all the matters in dispute, leaves the core issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's ultimate status open for later resolution, after other measures have been put in place.В", ICG notes.

Key elements of that proposed settlement package include the withdrawal of the Armenia-backed Nagorno-Karabakh forces from the occupied districts of Azerbaijan surrounding the entity; the renunciation by Azerbaijan of the use of force to reintegrate the entity; the deployment of international peacekeepers; the return of displaced persons; and the re-opening of trade and communication links.

The same time the ICG urges the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities to end support for settlement of formerly Azeri majority areas with Armenians, including by stopping privatisation of land, homes and businesses in those areas, ceasing to establish local administrations and infrastructure in the occupied areas adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh; and protecting the remaining Azeri homes.

Аzerbaijan called on the countries, members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSECO) to impose economic sanctions against Armenia, the deputy chairman of the Azerbaijan’s parliamentary commission on regional issues Shaitdin Aliyev stated at the XXVI sitting of the committee on culture, education and social issues of the BSECO Parliamentary Assembly (PA BSECO) held on 5-8 October 2005 in Tressaloniki, Trend reports.

Aliyev said he addressed the sitting with the report on the agenda. “I noted once we want to develop culture and education at the European level, the European Union is not to be indifferent to the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan”.

Foreign policy

The European Parliament adopted a draft report on pre-election situation in Azerbaijan in Strasbourg on Thursday. The forthcoming parliamentary elections on 6 November 2005 will put to the test the commitments made by the Government of Azerbaijan to pursue the democratic process, the document says.

The FM head noted, immediately after the elections he will leave for Brussels on a one-day visit to discuss the details of the Action Plan on the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation development. The decision was taken during the meeting with the EU-trio delegation on in Baku.

The European Union’s trio arrived in Azerbaijan on 27 October. The delegation held meetings with senior officials, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Interior Affairs, of Defense, of Economic Development and the Azerbaijani President.

The delegation included the EU’s special envoy for south Caucasus, Heikki Talvitie, UK’s special envoy for South Caucasus, Brian Fall, the head of the European Commission’s Department for South Caucasus and Central Asia, Kurt Joole, a representative of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Heidemaria Gurere, the head of the East Counties Department of the British Foreign Ministry, Saymon Smith, the official of the EU Council of South Caucasus, Paolo Barozzo.

Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, paid an official visit to Egypt on 15-18 October, During the visit he discuss a set of issues on bilateral cooperation, hold exchange of opinions on international issues

Mammadyarov held meetings in different public bodies of Egypt, including the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Economic and Trade, legislative and the government. The sides will hold exchange of opinions the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

A two-day conference “On issues of mass destruction weapons proliferation preventing on the Black and Caspian Seas” will take place in Baku on 12-13 October 2005

Representatives of coastal guard administrations, the coastal police and the Naval Forces of Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakstan, Moldova, Rumania, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine were in attendance.

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 19 October.

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.

Preparations for parliamentary elections

“The National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan will not arrange a picket in front of the Justice Ministry in connection with the non-registration of the party,” Oktai Khalilli, the first deputy head of the NDPA told Trend.

Khalilli clarified it with ongoing elections propaganda of 26 candidates balloting from the Civil Society Builders bloc. “Now we have concentrated our activities on their electioneering. Isgandar Hamidov, the leader if the party, also tours the regions to back the candidates in their electioneering,” he underlined.

The First deputy chairman of the NDPA noted that they were tired of holding pickets in the front of the Justice Ministry. “We are waiting for the results of the elections. If the candidates’ rights are violated anew and the results of falsified, we will be obliged to organize mass actions,” Khalilli underscored.

The Monday plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan considered the issue on cancellation of the sentence issued by the Central Elections Commission (CEC), on the case of Hajiaga Nuri, the leader of Azerbaijan Islamic Party, the Supreme Court told Trend СЃСѓРґР°.

The gathering considered the civil case on demand for registration of Nuri’s candidacy and rejected a resolution by the cassation instances of the court and a sentence by the Court of Appeal. It was resolved to pass the case to the Court of Appeal for repeated consideration.

Eldar Nuriyev, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan, was also in attendance.

On 7 October Election Bloc for Azerbaijan held a rally in Galaba square from 17.00 to 19.00.

MP Asim Mollazada, the chairman of the Democratic Reforms Party, met with members of the OSCE/ODIHR Elections Observation Mission (EOM), Paul-Henry Bishof and Charles Megiew, in his headquarters, the DRP told Trend.

During the meeting Mollazada discussed the pre-elections situation in Azerbaijan. He informed the OSCE observers on the elections process and electioneering of the candidates nominated from the party.

Noting the importance of the democratic and transparent elections Mollazada said that the observers of the OSCE and different international organizations would play considerable role in the process.

In their turn the long-term observers said that they would put every effort for transparency in the elections in Azerbaijan and present the results to their organizations.

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.

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.

Availability of 132-km uncontrolled area between the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and Iran pose serious threat not only for Azerbaijan, but for the entire Europe as well, the Azerbaijan’s Minister of National Security Eldar Mahmudov stated on 27 October while receiving the chairman of the West-European Union Assembly of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on security and defense Stef Goris, Trend reports.

The Minister stated on the necessity of the soonest settlement of the conflict based on international legal norms and the necessity to increase efforts from the part of the European Union in this regard. Touching upon the issue of growing threats from the part of the international terrorism, the illegal drugs trafficking, the illegal migration and the transnational organized criminality Mahmudov reported on the adequate measures carried out in the country.

Goris said, the non-settlement of the conflict causes concern not only for the region, but for the whole international community.

Azerbaijani Justice Minister Fikret Mammadov met with the head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights (ODIHR) mission in Azerbaijan, Girt Arens.

The Ministry told Trend that Mammadov informed him about the democratic changes in the country, the improvement of the legislation, presidential and other steps promoting transparent and democratic organization of the forthcoming elections.

Arens noted that favorable conditions were created in Azerbaijan for holding elections in line with the international standards, appreciated the last decree issued by the president.

The meeting also focused on state registration of legal entities, exchange of opinions on the cases observed after the application of the new legislation and actions taken in this sphere вЂ" rise in the number of registered non-governmental organizations.

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