WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official news

The meeting of the Security Council chaired by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was held on January 2, 2006. The Head of State made remarks at the meeting.

The year 2005 is over. Its results were very successful. 2005 was a year of dynamic economic growth in Azerbaijan and strengthening the countrys positions in the world and the region; in all, our country has been successfully developed during the year.

I have no doubt that the positive tendencies seen in Azerbaijan will be even further reinforced, he underlined.

2006 also gives certain hopes for settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As you know, the Minsk Group and its co-chairs have recently increased their efforts to this end, and out forward certain proposals. We are considering and discussing them. However, our position on the problem remains unchanged. This question can find its solution only on the base of the international law norms. No territorial integrity of Azerbaijan can be the subject of negotiations.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev congratulated on 6 January the Orthodox Congregation on the Christmas Holiday.

The message notes: Historically in Azerbaijan representatives of various confessions co-existed in peace and mutual respect. The Islam always honored earlier religions, including the Christianity. In Azerbaijan recognized in the world as the country with the religious tolerance, intolerance to other confessions was never displayed.

Peoples residing in the country preserved and developed more their national traditions, customs and languages.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

The PACE Ad Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh, to meet in Paris on 9 January will take a paper by Lord Rassel Johnston on the work done thus far, MP Asim Mollazade, a member of the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation at the PACE, told Trend.

Mollazade noted that the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee heard speeches by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and it is not planning to take any report from them. The key objective of the gathering is to discuss issues linked with the implementation of PACE resolution 1416 on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the forthcoming steps, Mollazade noted. The gathering will define the date of the next gathering, he underlined.

A meeting of the PACE Ad Hoc Committee will meet in Paris on 9 January 2006. The gathering with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will focus on the application of the 5th paragraph of CE Resolution 1416 on Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to 5th paragraph of the resolution, the Assembly recalls that the Council of Ministers of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) agreed in Helsinki in March 1992 to hold a conference in Minsk in order to provide a forum for negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America agreed at that time to participate in this conference. The Assembly calls on these states to step up their efforts to achieve the peaceful resolution of the conflict and invites their national delegations to the Assembly to report annually to the Assembly on the action of their government in this respect. For this purpose, the Assembly asks its Bureau to create an ad hoc committee comprising, inter alia, the heads of these national delegations.

In an interview with Trend the Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elmar Mammadyarov stated that the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh through diplomatic methods on the base of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan within the framework of the international legal norms and principles remained the priority issue for our country.

Summarizing the results of the year he underlined an initiative by Azerbaijan on the consideration of the situation in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan at the UN General Assembly gained an open support and boosted international attention towards the conflict. OSCE fact-finding mission, dispatched to the occupied territory, revealed Armenias policy of illegal settlement in the territory.

In 2006 it is planned to continue discussions on the level of Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. I hope that the discussions will yield positive results and the peaceable process will pass from the stage of discussions to the adoption of concrete resolutions, he stressed.

He said that disposal of peacemaking forces in the region is one of the components of discussions held under the peace process. However, our country does not regard the issue apart from the implementation of other components discussed within the peace process, liberation of Azerbaijani territory under the Armenian occupation, repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons. This is a complex issue.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov said in a statement В"The tendency for putting forward formulas of little significance to distract the attention from more important issues is observed, the Foreign Ministry deputy head noted saying that the sides of the conflict do not discuss the issue of the peace-keeping forces deployment in the region.

Foreign policy

A memorandum on mutual understating between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan and Bahrain was signed during the Azerbaijani FM Mammadyarovs visit to Manama.

During the visit the Azerbaijani minister held meetings with his counterpart, Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, the heir of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the chief of the Armed Forces, Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, the Minister for Royal Office, Al bin Isa al Khalifa, and the Defense Minister, Khalifa bin Ahmed al Kahlif. The talks focused on perspectives of the bilateral relationships, issues on strengthening of agreement base between the two countries, touched upon the issue on the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Officials of Bahrain for the next time backed fair position of Azerbaijan on the conflict and condemned aggressor actions by Armenia.

The delegation headed by the Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov represented Azerbaijan at the funeral ceremony of the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Dubai Emirate ruler sheikh Mahtum bin Rashid al Mahtum.

Mammadyarov conveyed condolences to the UAE president sheikh Halif bin Rashid al Mahtum on behalf of the Azerbaijans president Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan will continue developing the relationships with the Persian Gulf countries, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as well as Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, Elman Arasly, told Trend. He was commenting on the visit of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to Bahrain from 3 to 5 January 2006.

The Arab monarchies of the Gulf assume important geo-political significance, taking the leading place in the world market of energy resources and own big finances. Official, business and public circles of the countries take much interest in Azerbaijan, the diplomat said. Moreover, the countries first recognized the independence of Azerbaijan and take interest upgrading the relationships with it. The countries also support Azerbaijan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation will participate in the work of the fifth winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), including meetings of the permanent committee and three joint committees, will be held at Congress Center Haufburg in Vienna on 23-24 February 2006.

A preliminary document on the implementation of work under the NATO Program on Individual Partnership (PIP) with Azerbaijan will be publicized in the nearest two months. Robert Simmons, the special representative of the NATO Secretary General on South Caucasus and Central Asia.

NATO expresses approval with the course of implementation of PIP with Azerbaijan and Georgia. Georgia has already stated officially its will to enter NATO and Brussels carried out work with respect to realize the will, Simmons said, noting NATOs relationships with Armenia were also positive, but not so active.

Political life

Work over the final report on parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights (ODIHR) continues. The document will be publicized as son as it is ready, Urdur Gunnarsdottir, a representative of the OSCE ODIHR, said.

According to Gunnarsdottir, delay with the publication of the report was linked with the completion of the elections process only late December 2005.

The same time Gunnarsdottir rebuffed statements on use of the factor of delay of the report by the OSCE as a mean of pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities, in particular, in the issue of formation of the Central Elections Commission (CEC).

While designing the final document the OSCE did not held any kind of talks and it does not make any pressure on an of the sides, said the representative of the OSCE ODIHR, noting that all possible discussion of the OSCEs proposals with the Azerbaijani authorities will be organized only upon the publication of the final report.

7 persons have nominated their candidacies for by-elections so far to be held on 13 May 2006, the Central Election Committee (CEC) secretary Natig Mammadov said.

He said, according to the latest data, these 7 people nominated their candidacies from two constituencies: the First Surakhani N31and the Sumgayit city constituency N44.

Mammadov said, the term for the candidacies nomination, presentation of signature lists and other documents will be finished on 3 March at 18.00 p.m. The issue of the candidates registration by the electoral commissions will be resolved during 5 days.

Mammadov said, after forming the newly composed CEC by Milli Mejlis, inferior commissions (constituency and electoral ones) will be formed. Foreign observers will be invited by CEC for monitoring by-elections. By-elections will be held on 13 May 2006 on 10 constituencies.

Ruling party set up preparations for the by-elections.

A new movement Way of Azerbaijan has been established at the initiative of the For Azerbaijan movement. The new organization unites the Peoples Democratic Party, leaders of Fadai Party and Unified Azerbaijan, non-governmental organizations, representatives of intelligentsia. The key objective of the new movement is to protest the constitutional structure of the country and achieve the active participation of the people in the public-political processes.

In the Name of Azerbaijan (NA) and The Way of Azerbaijan (RA) movements will participate in by-elections to be held on 13 May 2006, the NA leader Ilgar Gasimov said.

Gasimov said they had already defined three constituencies. As there is yet time before the by-elections we will nominate our candidacies from other constituencies. He also said, the other structure he leads, The Road of Azerbaijan movement will also take part in by-elections.

The Milli Majlis [parliament] sent an appeal to the parties, the candidate of which won the elections and notified them to nominate their candidates to the newly formed commission.

Armenian communists entering the International Communist Organization (ICO) recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan, Rauf Gurbanov, the first deputy chairman of Azerbaijani Communist Party (ACP) entering ICO, told Trend.

The next plenary session of the ICO will be held in Moscow on 28 January. ACP will be represented at the plenary session by Gurbanov. Plenary sessions usually discuss the activities of the parties entering the committee, hold exchange of opinions on the further activities of the organization, Gurbanov said.

He stressed that there was not any conflicts between Azerbaijani and Armenian communists on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which was repeatedly put for discussion. Armenian communists recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as the integral part of Azerbaijan. Therefore, the issue is not included into the agenda of the forthcoming session to be held on 28 January, Gurbanov added.

State building

In December 51 people were detained by the employees of the Azerbaijani State Border Service (SBS) for violation of border regime, the press service of SBS. Besides, the employees of SBS revealed and seized 8 homemade grenades, 18 cartridges.

Prever, 32 Azerbaijani citizens were detained for violation of border regime.

The results of the 2nd stage of the exam to the vacant judge seats were publicized. 68 of 223 applicants passed the 2nd stage on essay. Most of 68 people are probable to fail the next stages.

the complaints of the participants of the exam failed the stage on essay would be considered during 5 days. The Legal Council will hold a meeting to determine the date and the place of the next stage after recheck-up answers.

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