MONTHLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official news

On Thursday Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, congratulated his nation on the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis The message says that the major goal of the holiday set by national leader Heydar Aliyev is statehood, respect in regard to national and moral values, belonging to the people of Azerbaijan, attachment to the motherland.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Zabrat village, outskirts Baku to honor the stone-laying ceremony of a new clinics and a secondary school in the village. Aliyev stated that a progam on development of villages of Baku will be adopted in January 2006.

Addressing the pubic, the head of state said reminded that two months ago there was held a meeting, which gave concrete instructions concerning the improvement of the socio-economic life of the village of Baku. Now a program on the development is being designed. I hope the program will be ready in January 2006 and further confirmed, Aliyev stressed.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aiyev signed a Decree on application of the law On administrative performance, Trend reports.

The Decree notes, for ensuring enforcement of the Law On administrative performance the Cabinet of Ministers is instructed to elaborate during three months and submit to the president proposals on bringing the valid legislative acts to conformity with the given law. The Cabinet of Ministers and central executive bodies are also instructed to bring normative acts in conformity with the given law. To elaborate the draft law on types of liabilities related to the violation of the given law.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in a statement during the ceremony of the national currency, Manat, new design presentation on 28 December 2005 that the forthcoming years will become the period of revival for Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

The head of the state noted, starting with 1996 the average tempo of the Azerbaijans national economy development was 10% annually and introduction of the new currency into circulation under such conditions is very important.

Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement the Presidmet stated Azerbaijans position on the problem remains unchanged, it may be regulated only with taking into consideration the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

According to him, no other issue beyond this position is not under discussion for today. This stance has been voiced by me two years ago at the meeting with the Armenian president and remained unchanged since.

В"It is difficult to say, whether the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict be settled in 2006. In case Armenia demonstrates adherence to the international law norms, the talks will be successful Aliyev added.

As for the statements of the Armenian side on compromises, president questions: В"What compromises must Azerbaijan do? The part of the territory is occupied by Armenia. Azerbaijan has not carried out the ethnical cleansing policy. What compromises towards Armenia must we do?

According to the head of the state, it is dealt upon in this context on ensuring security for the people, residing in the region. В"All peoples in the region are to be ensured security, Aliyev said, finding it natural stationing of the peace-keeping forces in the conflict region after the fair solution of the conflict.

Staff changing is a natural process. One cannot say the process started in Azerbaijan in 2005. The changes in the staff took place always, in 2005 the process strengthened, the head of the state. В"The changes in the personnel need to be accepted naturally. None is appointed for this or that position for life. President has also a definite term of power. If an official performs his powers successfully, it is appreciated. In case there are any serious shortcomings and errors, it is natural, the issue of removal from the position is raised, Aliyev noted.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, approved the state program on the technical development of the state border protection for 2006-2010, Trend reports.

In accordance with the decree, the state program on the technical development of the state border protection for 2006-2010 was approved in order to provide national state interests, protect state borders and economic security of the country, as well as prevent illegal acts.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev arrived in the scene of jet crash on Saturday.

AN-100-140 airliner, belonging to AZAL state company, took off Heydar Aliyev international airport at 22:19pm [local hours] to carry out Baku-Aktau flight. Within several minutes the communication with the aircraft interrupted and it disappeared from the display of the radars. Within 8 minutes of the flight the operator at the airports received a signal on the crash of AN-100-140. To diminish the scale of the crash the pilots were directed the airliner to the sea nearby.

The same day the President issued a decree on the establishment of the State Commission to reveal the results of the crash AN-140, which carried out Baku-Aktau flight. Aliyev expressed his condolences in connection with the jet crash near Baku. The head of state voiced his condolences to the people of Azerbaijan, members of the perished citizens of Azerbaijan and different foreign countries.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev left for Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) on Monday with a two-day visit, the Presidents Apparat told Trend.

During his stay the head of state participates in an opening of several enterprises and economic, social, education facilities, as well as hold a public meeting. He participated in the ceremony of the Diagnostic Centre construction launching, attended the Nakhchevan Military Lyceum named after Heydar Aliyev.

In his address to the nation President Aliyev sated his loyalty to the peaceable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but hinted on the establishment of a powerful army capable of liberating the occupied territory of Azerbaijan under the Armenian territory. Unless the peaceable negotiations yield any result, Azerbaijan will to use other ways to liberate its territory, he stressed.

The Azerbaijani and Iranian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Mahmud Ahmadinejdet held one-to-one in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on Tuesday.

Two Memorandums have been signed on 20 December 2005 upon accomplishment of negotiations. Aliyev noted that Baku is satisfied with the position of Iran on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorny Karabakh.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 21 December 2005 the president of BP Azerbaijan David Woodward. The head of the state noted at the meeting, that cooperation between Azerbaijan and BP has been developing steadily, Trend reports. Ilham Aliyev stressed that implementation of such global projects as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and Shah-Deniz is going on successfully.

В"Azerbaijan has made a big progress, the head of the state said, noting that a part of funds, allocated by the State Oil Fund are spent on social programs and projects, in particular, on building of hospitals and schools.

Aliyev said, all this is the successful result of the joint work, voicing confidence, that cooperation between Azerbaijan and BP will expand in future.

Woodward, in his turn, told on the work done in 2005 and the plans for the upcoming year, underlying that 2005 was very successful. He reminded, in May 2005 the first oil will be pumped in the BTC oil pipeline.

On 22 December Aliyev received the chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Department, Sheik-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade and group of religious leaders. Sheik-ul-Islam presented to the head of state an order of Sheik-ul-Islam, which the President was awarded at the decision of the Council of Gasiz of the Caucasus Muslims Department.

On 23 December the Azerbaijani President held a meeting on issues of energy supply of the country. The head of the country noted that progress was observed in the energy system of Azerbaijan in 2005.

The President stressed that there was no serious problems in the gas and energy supply of the population. Besides, Aliyev touched upon the current problems in this sphere. He also reported on the additional measures to be taken in 2006. 50 module power stations will be constructed in 2006.

On 12 December Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with his family paid a tribute to ex-President Heydar Aliyevs tomb. The anthem of Azerbaijan was played at the Cemetery of Honors and prayers were made.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 13 December a municipality delegation of the Turkish Igdir city headed by the municipality chairman Nureddin Aras. llham Aliyev underlined, in his turn, the links between Azerbaijan and Turkey are steadily developing and the residents of various regions of Turkey visit constantly the republic. В"There were always close ties between Igdir and Nakhchevan which are still going on. And it will be forever, the head of Azerbaijan said. He also stressed that in the period difficult for Nakhchevan, it was Turkey, including Igdir, which supported Nakhchevan.

Azerbaijan will not compromise in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, stated to a 60th anniversary of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Trend reports.

Armenians attempt to distort the history of Azerbaijan. They try to introduce Azerbaijan as aggressor. It is no secret that Armenians arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh, the integral territory of Azerbaijan, as guests. We must inform the world community about this historic truth, the head of the country underlined. He stressed that the special role in the issue belonged to ANAS and appropriate bodies. The President also said that the scientists must pay serious attention to humanitarian sphere in order to prevent distortion of Azerbaijans history. According to Aliyev, all necessary conditions will be established in this regard.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President received Julian Barengaut, the Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Department on Near East and Central Asia on 15 Dec. Macro-economic stability level and economic development rate in Azerbaijan is high, Berengaut said.

He mentioned great role of the budgetary and foreign policy pursued in the country. The representative of the Fund voiced confidence that the successful cooperation of IMF and Azerbaijan would be continued in the future. According to Berengaut, the goal of his visit to Azerbaijan was to hold consultations with the government on the public budget for 2006 and economic development.

The Azerbaijani President mentioned importance attached by the Azerbaijani leadership to the cooperation with IMF. According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan has achieved great success in economy and global energy projects mat testify for it. The head of the country also spoke about the taking measures in keeping of macro-economic stability and principles of balanced economy.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 16 December the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs: Bernard Facie (France), Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia) and Steven Mann (USA) took part in the meeting.

Exchange of views around the current state, perspectives of the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over the Nagorny Karabakh took place at the meeting.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the third irregular summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) started in Mecca on Wednesday.

Azerbaijan demands fair resolution of the conflict in accordance with the norms and principles of the international law, territorial integrity of the country, demands the implementation of the resolution by the UN Security Council, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe (CE) and different international organizations, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has recently stated in Mecca at a summit of the OIC.

The conflict should be resolved not on the base of ethnic cleansing and annexation of de-facto territory of a sovereign state, but on the base of international law. We will not make any compromise linked with the territorial integrity, Aliyev underlined, appraising the OICs support to the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Ailyev has held talks in Mecca with the of countries and organizations, who participated in a Summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference,

Azerbaijani President Aliyev received on 5 December a delegation of the US Chamber of Commerce. The head of state noted that the Chamber of Commerce plays considerable role in the development of the economic bilateral cooperation.

On Friday Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, received Gay Hollinsworth, the chief executive of Shevron-Eurasia Company. The meeting focused on expansion of the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Shevron-Eurasia Company, Trend reports.

Aliyev said that he was aware of the meeting between Hollingsworth and the head of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). The President also noted that he was familiar with the projects proposed by the Company to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is one of the initiators and the participants of the big energy projects. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project established ground for further development of the cooperation with leading world companies, Aliyev said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on conduct of repeated parliamentary elections on some constituencies, Trend reports.

In compliance with the decree, guiding Article 109/1 of the Constitution and Article 172 of the Elections Code of Azerbaijan dated 13 May 2006, it is planned to hold repeated parliamentary elections on some constituencies, including the Second Binagadi 9, the second Surakhani 31, the Second Nizami 38 (Ganja), the Second Sumgayit 42, Sumgayit-Absheron 44, Jalilalabad-Masalli-Bilasuvar 69, Gadabay 103, Tovuz-Gazakh-Agstafa 106, Zagatala 110 and Agdam 119.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made a speech to the first sitting of Milli Majlis [parliament] of new convocation on Friday.

There is no precondition for orange revolution in Azerbaijan. I stated it even before the elections and the 6 November poll anew confirmed the loyalty of the Azerbaijani people to the policy of the ruling party,

Definite preconditions, in particular, gap between the authorities and the people, strong opposition and decisive oppositionist leader, are required for the replacement in state power to occur. The same time, serious socio-public situation could precondition the revolt, while no factor of the kind exists in Azerbaijan people are loyal to authorities.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can and ought to be resolved on the base of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told the first sitting of the parliament of the third convocation.

On Friday Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on appointment of Majid Karimov the President of Azerkimya State Concern.

The head of the country dismissed Majid Karimov from the post of the Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister at other decree.

On Friday the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on appointment of Ex-President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev the Industry and Energy Minister.

On Friday Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on appointment of former head of Heydar Aliyev oil refinery plant Rovnag Abdullayev the President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).

Moreover, the Azerbaijani President signed a decree on appointment of Husseyn Israfilov the head of the Garadagh district Executive Power of Baku city.

Azerbaijani President dismissed Yagub Aliyev from the post of the head of the Garadagh district Executive Power at the other decree.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, signed a decree on appointment of Shahin Karim oglu Mammadov the head of the Aghjabadi region Executive Power on Monday, Trend reports. Earlier Mamedov was the head of the Samukh region Executive Power.

The President also appointed Tahir Maharram oglu Gulkiyev, the former head of the Nasimi district Executive Power of Baku, the head of the Khyzy region Executive Power.

By the Decree of the Azerbaijans President Ilham Aliyev of 21 December 2005 Mebali Hasan ogli Aliyev is appointed the head of the Baku city Nizami district executive power. By other decrees of the president Suleyman Surhay ogli Mikailov is dismissed from the post of the head of the Yardimli province executive power and appointed the head of the Lyankaran executive power, Trend reports.

By other decrees of the head of the state Ilgar Namaz ogli Abbasov is dismissed from the post of the head of the executive power of Baku Narimnaov district and appointed the head of the executive power of Surahani district. By other two decrees of the president Abdin Alesker ogli Farzaliyev is dismissed from the position of the head of the executive power of Nizami district of Baku and appointed the head of the executive power of Baku Narimanov district.

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, dismissed Ramiz Ayvaz oglu Hassanov from the post of the Azerbaijani Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Georgia.

Ramiz Hassanov was appointed the Director General of the State Agency on Standardization, Metrology and Patent, Trend reports.

The head of the country also dismissed Khalida Mahammad kizi Masomova from the post of the Director General of the State Agency on Standardization, Metrology and Patent.

On Wednesday Yusif Humbatov, the head of the Division on Regional Governance and Local Self-Governance of the Presidents Apparat, was dismissed at the Presidents Decree, Trend reports.

At the other decree Zeynal Naghdaliyev, the head of the Lankaran town Executive Power, was dismissed from his post and appointed the head of the Division on Regional Governance and Local Self-Governance of the Presidents Apparat.

At the next Presidents decree Yusif Humbatov was appointed the chairman of the Azersu Tikinti JSC.

In accordance with the decree issued by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, dated 15 December 2005, Heydar Abbasov has been appointed head of the Executive Power of Sabirabad District, the Presidents Administration announced.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on the appointment of representatives of the State Customs Committee (SCC) of the country (customs attachГ©s) in foreign countries and ensuring their activities, Trend reports.

Under the decree the chairman of the SCC is empowered to appoint through the agreement with the President customs attaches in the countries of great importance. The customs attachГ©s are dispatched to the embassies of Azerbaijan in these countries on condition that they are not included in the staff of the embassies. The positions will be financed at the expense of the public budget allocated for the SCC.

On Wednesday the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on naming of the Academy of the National Safety Ministry after national leader Heydar Aliyev, Trend reports.

The decree says that establishment of the Academy, formation and development of special service bodies and border service is directly related to the name of Heydar Aliyev. The Academy graduates professional personnel and improve professional training of personnel.

On Friday Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a Decree on institution of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Under the decree, the Ministry is established with respect to remove the results of technical accidents, prevention of fires, establishment of unified government center over the relevant bodies on rescue and rehabilitation work, organization work on civil defense.

Foreign policy

Experts of the Defense Ministries of Azerbaijan and Poland are in Baku to discuss the implementation of an agreement in the defense sector, Voytsikh Guretskiy, adviser of the Polish embassy in Baku, told Trend.

According to Guretskiy, the delegation of Polish experts, led by Deputy Director of the Department for Foreign Military Cooperation, Rafel Senyukh, is carrying out talks with the Azerbaijan counterparts on the base of an agreement on cooperation in the defense sector, signed in Warsaw on 30 March 2005 during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyevs official visit to Poland.

Azerbaijani First Premier Abbas Abbasov held talks in Moscow at the Russian Foreign Ministry on 26-27 Dec 2005. The talks with the senior officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry centered the perspectives of the bilateral cooperation between the countries in the political, economic and cultural spheres.

Abbasov heads the Azerbaijani governmental delegation, which is Moscow to attend a solemn closing ceremony of the Azerbaijani Year in Russia. Attending the festive ceremony is the Azerbaijani delegation headed by Valeh Alasgarov, the Vice speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament.

A second session of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Egypt was held in Cairo on 25 and 26 December. The gathering ended in signing of 4 documents on development of cooperation. They were a Protocol of the joint commissions second sitting, Memorandum On mutual understanding on cooperation in healthcare, Memorandum between the Ministers of Economic Development of Azerbaijan and the Foreign Trade Ministry of Egypt On exchange of information on trade and the Agreement On cooperation between the Ministries of Finance was signed.

The visit of sultan Ben Muhammad Al Kasimi, the emir of the Sharja Emirate, to Azerbaijan was put off till 26-29 December due to technical reasons.

The Culture Days of Sharja Emirate in Azerbaijan was also postponed. Besides, the business forum on investment potential and business climate of the countries with participation of the businessmen of the both countries planned within the visit was postponed as well. New terms of the visit will be unified soon.

We held good, intensive talks, which touched upon several issues of bilateral cooperation, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated to a briefing on the result of the talks with the Georgian FM Gela Bezhuashvili on Thursday.

According to Mammadyarov, the ministers discussed the conflicts in the region, held exchange of opinions the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and South Osetine conflict, as well as a range of issues of issue concerning the energy security.

The talks focused on interaction under the international relationships in the context of GUAM, outlined the ways for intensifying the activities of the organization under OSCE, UN and other bodies. The ministers also held exchange of opinion on the New Neighborhood Policy.

We spoke about an idea on establishment of a Transatlantic energy concept, Bezhuashvili said. He underlined that he regional conflicts should be resolved on common international principles, including inviolability of borders and territorial integrity of the countries.

The next meeting of the Intergovernmental commission on delimitation of the Azerbaijani-Georgian borders will be held in Tbilisi in early 2006, the Georgian Foreign Minister said.

The head of the Azerbaijans Foreign Ministry (FM) Elmar Mammadyarov held meetings with high-ranking officials of the European Union (EU) within the sitting of the European Union Azerbaijan Cooperation Council.

On 12 December the FM met with the EU special envoy for South Caucasus Heikki Talvite. On 13 December an informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the 3 South Caucasus states, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, took place with the EU official spokesmen. The European Union has been represented at the meeting by Talvite, the EU deputy director general on foreign policy Carel Covan, a EU representative for South Caucasus from the United Kingdom Brian Fall and the secretary general of the Austrian FM. According to Tagizade, two issues have been considered at the meeting, the conflicts in South Caucasus and the EU cooperation with South Caucasus states.

According to the Azerbaijans FM official spokesman, EU has again confirmed its readiness to be involved in the restoration process after the conflict settlement, in the mine clearing of the areas and etc.

During the meeting with Javier Solana, the EU High Representative on foreign policy and security, on 13 Dec Mammadyarov mulled the conflicts in the South Caucasus and negotiation process on their resolution, as well as the important role of the EU in the resolution of conflicts and subsequent rehabilitation of areas.

The experts of the Azerbaijani Foreign Affairs Ministry participate in the meeting of the Council for Interaction and Confidence Measures in Asia (CICMA) Special Working Group holding in Alma-Ata from 12 to 13 December, the Ministry told Trend.

The mini-plan on cooperation of Azerbaijan with NATO covering the 6-month period will be adopted in March, the Azerbaijans deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told journalists, Trend reports.

According to him, the plan will be adopted within the Individual Partnership with NATO Plan. It will cover the cooperation in issues of political and general security, defense, cooperation in ecology, science, informational exchange and etc. Azimov assessed positively the results of the 7-8 December sitting of the Foreign Ministry heads of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Brussels. According to him, the partner states discussed the key transatlantic political problems. As the diplomat says, Azerbaijan pursues its own policy, which is defined by the national interests.

Azimov also said, a large European Union delegation will arrive in Baku late in the week. The delegation will comprise 16-17 experts of this structure and they will discuss in detail the role of Azerbaijan in the European Union New Neighborhood Policy.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Azerbaijan has a plan and program in several directions for the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Novruz Mammadov, the head of the International Relationships Department of the Presidents Apparat, told Trend.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also state in a definite form the head of states ideas on the resolution of the conflict in accordance with the international law and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Along with the process of peaceable resolution of the conflict, other parallel steps are also being taken, Mammadov underlined.

Meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents may take place on 10 February 2005, the OSCE Minsk Group Russian co-chairman Yuri Merzlyakov said in a statement during his interview with the ATV channel, Trend reports.

According to him, the co-chairmen define currently the venue for the possible meeting which may take place shortly. Unresolved issues of the last meeting of presidents in Kazan will be discussed at the meeting, Merzlyakov noted. В"In case we are able to reach positive results, it will be a big achievement, he said.

The Russian diplomat said also, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be preserved by resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him, the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen on solution the problem are not aimed according to the principle winner-loser. В"It is premature to speak of any final arrangements, but I can say exactly, that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be preserved, Merzlaykov stated.

The issue of negotiations between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the eve of the both countries presidents meeting was discussed during the visit of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to Baku, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov said. According to him, the Azerbaijani side gave its consent for meeting at the level of the Ministers.

He also said, the co-chairs are likely to hold talks with Armenia as well in this respect.

Mammadyarov has not ruled out that the meeting at the level of the Foreign Ministers may become possible in the coming January.

2005 has become year of development of Prague talks and Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations on the right way, Trend reports quoting US Ambassador Steven Mann, the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, as saying to Radio Liberty.

The diplomat said that as no elections was scheduled for 2006 Azerbaijan and Armenia could attach more and more attention to the conflict

According to Mann, the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia came to an agreement on the next meeting. The meeting was scheduled for late January, while the date and place of talks are still to be defined, he stressed.

The co-chairs expect too much from the meeting, in particular, adoption of serious resolution. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the co-chairs have done too much to bring the position closer. We reached the stage when there is a need for private meetings of the presidents in Kazan and Warsaw, he added. According to the US Ambassador, over the past two years of talks under the Prague process the sides achieved enough progress to remove the difference in the positions. However, there are still considerable disagreements, the US diplomat said noting his hope that 2006 will grant real opportunities decreasing the disagreement on important issues.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources refused from the OSCE project on investigation of the facts of environmental damage as a result of illegal utilization of the natural resources in the Azerbaijani territory under Armenian occupation, Huseyn Bagirov, the Minister for Ecology and Natural Resources, stated on Tuesday.

The OSCE offered us [Azerbaijan] a project such ecological researches not only in the occupied territory, but also in the places the refugees are temporality settled. We refused flatly, as the work should not be carried out in this context, he said. The Ecology Ministry said that such researches should be carried out only in the Azerbaijani territory under Armenian occupation with respect to inform the international community.

The minister announced that the Ministry was currently involved in the development of documents on study of the environmental damage in the areas under Armenian occupation. The document was designed for further presentation to the relevant bodies as an evident proving illegal development of gold mines by Armenia in the Azerbaijani territory under occupation.

Bagirov said that Azerbaijan is ready to bring an action on Armenia at the international court in connection with the illegal development of ferrous metal fields.

The issue is resolved not only on the level of our Ministry, as it is linked with the state policy. The issue is also of interest of the foreign companies, which enjoy a right for development of the fields, he underlined.

At present Azerbaijan has one contract with RV Investment on the development of gold mines. In compliance with the contract, signed on 21 August 1997 between Azergizil State Concern (currently liquidated) and R.V. Investment Group Services LLS (Azerbaijan holds 51% stake and the United States - 49%), it is planned to develop 9 gold mines of Azerbaijan with the initial reserves of 400 tons of gold, 2500 tons of silvers and 1.5 million tons of cooper. However, 3 fields are currently under occupation of Armenia (Gizilbulag, Soyudlu and Vejneli) in Zangilan and Kalbajar districts.

Meanwhile, the Azeri FM refuted the announcement on the document on major principles of resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We only process a proposal on the organization of a next meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The agenda for stay in Baku of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen on peaceful settlement of the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict has been drawn up, the press service of the Azerbaijans Foreign Ministry told Trend.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, Bernard Facie (France), Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia) and Steven Mann (USA) will arrive in Baku on 15 December night and no official meetings and events will be held on this day. On 16 December morning the diplomats will be received by the Azerbaijans Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and the meeting with the head of the Azerbaijans community of Nagorny Karabakh Nizami Bahmanov will take place, followed by the scheduled meeting with the Defense Minister Safar Abiyev. The mediators are expected to be received by the Azerbaijans President Ilham Aliyev in the afternoon.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will depart on 17 December after a short stay in Baku.

Political life

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is a man of 2005 in Azerbaijan. 70.3% of the inquired voted in favor of a candidacy of the President, Rizvan Abbasov, Director of the Monitoring Center Ray (Opinion), told a news conference on Thursday on the results of sociological inquiry on 2005.

The respondents were provided with an opportunity of selection among prominent world politicians and public figures. Nevertheless, absolute majority of the inquired supported the candidacy of President Ilham Aliyev, Abbasov said. Russian President Vladimir Putin was the second (19.7 %) in the list, while Mehriban Aliyev, the Azerbaijani First Lady, with 17.1% ranked the third. She is followed by Georgian President Mikhael Saakashvili (11.3%), US President George Bush (5.7 %), British Premier Tony Blair (4.1 %), the head-of-staff of the Presidents Executive Power, Ramiz Mehdiyev (3.6 %).

Moreover, 85.2 % of respondents voiced their satisfaction with the activities of the Azerbaijani President in 2005. In reply to question on the reasons for hopes in the improvement of the situation in Azerbaijan in 2006, 37.7 % indicated the improvement of socio-economic situation, 37.1 % the Presidents activities.

PACE Monitoring Committee met in Paris on 15 Dec. The meeting discussed the 6 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. Samed Seyidov, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation at PACE, also a member of the Monitoring Committee, delivered a speech at the meeting. In his remarks, MP Asim Mollazade spoke about the position of DRP on the elections.

PACE MPs from UK, Turkey, Russia and other countries also expressed their position on the parliamentary lections held in Azerbaijan. One of the PACE co-rapporteurs Andreas Gross did not participate in the meeting. No document on the elections was adopted at the meeting due to absence of report.

The Central Eelection Commission has not received any appeal on waving the deputy mandates, the CEC press service head Azer Sariyev told Trend.

A group of oppositionists from the Azadlig bloc, who have been elected deputies at the parliamentary votes on 6 November, took a decision to waive the deputy mandate.

Sariyev noted the process is regulated by the articles 89.5 of the Constitution and 176.1 of the Election Code of Azerbaijan. CEC is committed to response on such appeal during two days, Sariyev said.

The head of the Azadlig bloc press service Nureddin Ismaylov noted, the organization is not going to appeal to CEC so far. We wait for some time. Then we, of course, will apply to CEC within the framework of the law, Ismaylov said.

State building

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev received U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jim MacDougall in Baku on December 5.

Abiyev informed the guest that the Azerbaijan-US cooperation continues expanding. Azerbaijan actively cooperates with NATO. The Individual Partnership Plan is implemented perfectly.

Touching upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Abiyev noted absence of any progress in his issue. Armenia continues arming. The Armenian leadership states that they could recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. In this case it could result in the rehabilitation of armed actions. The conflict is a threat to the big projects implemented in the region, Abiyev underlined.

On Thursday Colonel-General Safar Abiyev, the Azerbaijani Defense Minister, received Khyun Coo Kon, the Korean military attachГ© accredited under the Korean embassy in Turkey and Azerbaijan, the press service of the Defense Ministry told Trend.

The meeting focused on the issues of the bilateral military cooperation.

Elchin Guliyev, the head of the State Birder Service of Azerbaijan (SBS) discussed in Tehran, Iran, bilateral cooperation in the sphere of security and border guarding, Irna news agency announced.

During the meeting the Iranian Interior ministers and the chief of the SBS stressed their satisfaction about huh-quality of interaction between the border services of the two countries.

Pur-Mohammadi and Elchin Guliyev positively estimated the earlier achieved agreement on joint actions in the border safeguarding.

A working group of the Air Forces Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces led by Lieutenant-General Igor Romanenko, the deputy commander of the Air Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on military training and high schools, also the head of the battle training. The visit targets unification of the position of sides on the training of Azerbaijani military pilots through the assistance of Ukrainian specialist and in the airliners of the Air Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as establishment of the International Center on training of aviation personnel and specialists in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Meeting of the Irans Interior Minister Mostafa Pur-Mohammadi and the Minister of National Security of Azerbaijan Eldar Mahmudov took place in Tehran. During the talks the sides discussed the issues of cooperation in the security field. Eldar Mahmudov stated, in his turn, that Ministry of National Security of Azerbaijan is interested in intensification of cooperation with Interior Ministry and National Security Ministry of Iran. According to him, close collaboration of security and law-enforcement bodies may facilitate the success in fighting drug-trafficking and international terrorism, threatening the entire world community.

Azerbaijani oil prices up
Azerbaijani oil prices up
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
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Azerbaijan has favorable investment climate - Turkish MUSIAD
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