WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official news

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid a tribute at the Cemetery of Martyrs in Baku on Friday (20 January). On 19 January 1990, the President of the USSR, Mikhael Gorbachov, violating Article 119 of the Constitution of USSR, Article 71 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan SSR, signed a decree on declaration of the state of emergency in Baku on 20 January. Over a few days 137 people were killed, around 700 injured and over 800 arrested.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met on January 19 with General Charles F. Chuck Wald, the Deputy Commander of the Headquarters of the U.S. European Command, and accompanying delegation.

General Charles Wald pointed out that his delegation had been impressed by Azerbaijans achievements in military sphere. He appreciated the humanitarian demining projects implemented by the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) noting that activities of the agency could serve as a good example for other countries.

Azerbaijani President signed a decree on upgrade of legal system in Azerbaijan and the application of the law on injection of changes and supplements in some legislative acts in Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

In compliance with the decree, which targets the formation of the legal authorities as an authoritative and independent institution in the government mechanism, formation of a professional corps of judges, provision of the transparency of the activities of the courts and conceptual resolution of other issues, envisages the establishment of new courts in this stage of upgrade of the legal system for provision of terms for socio-economic development of the regions, the need of people in legal institutes and legal assistance, removal of facts of misappropriation, red-tape, and other shortcomings, causing concerns in citizens.

The same day Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on pardoning the people sentenced to imprisonment and restriction of freedom.

Continuing the policy based on the principles of humanism and justice, demonstrating respect to the human rights and freedom, considering the appeals addressed to the president by the relatives of some convicted people, the Ombudsman, the human watch organizations with the with request of their pardoning, taking into consideration the personality, state of health, family status of the convicted, the service of a definite part of the sentence, their behavior in this period, and deep belief in the educative significance of their release from the punishment, as well as wishing the pardoned prisoners to observe the laws and integrate into the society, the head of state decreed guiding Article 109/22 of the Constitution to release 90 people from the rest part of imprisonment term, the document said.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Ceasefire breach was fixed in the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline on Tuesday, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry announced.

The divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces fired by guns and automatic machines from 16:40 to 16:55pm from their positions based on northwest of Goyuk Gedik mountain, Noyamberian District, and 0.2km southwest of Shavaksavan village of the same district the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces situated in Gushchu Ayrim village of Gazakh District.

The enemy was made silent through a reply fire. No injuries were reported.

On 18 January 2006 one Armenian prisoner of war previously detained in Azerbaijan was repatriated under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The operation took place on the road between the Azerbaijani town of Gazakh and the Armenian town of Ijevan

During the visit to Azerbaijan the OSCE chairman-in-office, also the Foreign Minister of Belgium, Karel de Gucht, will hold an exchange of opinion on the peaceable resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Novruz Mammadov, the head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Presidents Executive Power, told Trend in an exclusive interview.

We are fully satisfied that the heads of many states, international organizations take deep interest in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We want such interests by the countries and organizations to become a demand, Mammadov said.

According to Mammadov, Guchts visit to Azerbaijan in the first month of his office term at the OSCE is very notable. Their hopes for the peaceable settlement of the conflict and statements from such positions serve to the resolution of the problem and we appraise such efforts, said Mammadov, noting that they will conduct discussions with respect to consolidate the OSCEs decisive position on the conflict.

Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister met in London with his Armenian counterpart, Vardan Oskanian, with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

The round of talks held in London on the peaceable resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was not easy, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, said on Friday.

The official representative of the Azerbaijani Student Movement will hold a protest action in Bern, Switzerland, on 19 January. The goal of the action is to attract world community to the events of 20 January 1990, as well as Armenian occupants aggression in regard to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

During the action the students will distribute 10,000 booklets in French and German, covering aggression and crimes committed by Armenians, as well as 20 January tragedy, at front of the Swiss Parliament.

Foreign policy

The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, is current on a two-day visit to Strasbourg, France.

On the first day of the visit on Friday (20 January) the minister is scheduled to meet with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (РЎР•), Terry Davis, and the political director of the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CE, Matias Sorinas. On Saturday (21 January) he is to carry out talks with the chairman of the PACE, Rene Van der Linden, and the PACE Secretary General, Bruno Haller.

The meeting will focus on the development of relationships with the Council of Europe, expansion of the interaction, and the situation in the region.

The Azerbaijan delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will depart to Strasburg on 21 January 2006 to take part in the organizations winter session to be held on 23-27 January.

The issues of the totalitarian Communist regimes crimes, Europe and fascism, migration and emigration to Europe, results of the elections in Chechnya, results of referendum in Armenia, use of water resources in Europe, secret prisons in Europe, concept of the nation and other issues will be discussed at the PACE winter session.

Vagif Sadikhov, the Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, is representing Azerbaijan in a burial ceremony of the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Foreign Ministry told Trend.

Sadikhov will express the condolences to the leadership of Kuwait on behalf of the President and people of Azerbaijan.

The deputy chairman of the Russian government, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Ivanov, will tour the Darial (Gabala) Radar Station on 25 January under his 3-day official visit to Azerbaijan, the Russian Defense Ministry told Trend. The talks in Baku, which is due to start on Monday (23 January), will center on the perspectives of the Russian-Azerbaijani military, as well as the military-technical cooperation, fighting with the international terror.

After the talks with the Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev, Ivanov is scheduled to hold meetings with the Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and President Ilham Aliyev.

official visit of Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko to Azerbaijan was delayed in connection with the governmental crisis in Ukraine. The visit will be paid in a convenient time, Igor Kizima, the charge daffaires of Ukraine, said.

The relationships with Russia remain priority in Azerbaijans foreign policy. Id even call them the strategic partnership, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The Minister noted that the relations with Russian in different stages of our common post-Soviet history can be characterized differently, there were definite difficulties, which we overcame through joint efforts, but I would never call them formal," Mammadyarov said. The meeting of the two presidents in February, May, June and August provide to say that the relationships between Azerbaijan and Russia develop steadily. The head of state gave a pace that we try to maintain, he underlined.

The relationships between Azerbaijan and Russia are developing the right way and become more intensive. However, for the time being it is too premature to say that they have reached the ideal level, Valeh Alasgarov, the Azerbaijani vice speaker, stated to the Russian daily Rossiyskaya gazeta, issued on Friday.

РўРµhran awaits the response of the Caspian littoral states on its proposal to hold the next summit of the heads of states in Iran, the Ambassador of Iran to Azerbaijan Afshar Suleymani told Trend.

The Iranian parliamentary chairman Gulamali Haddad Adil spoke out such a proposal during his recent visit to Moscow. And prior to him, the former Iranian president Muhammad Hatami came out with the same proposal during the latest summit of the Caspian states heads in Ashgabad.

The Azerbaijan Republic backs the right of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the peaceful use of the nuclear energy, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Iran Abbasali Hasanov said in a statement during the news conference in Tehran, Trend reports.

В"Irans nuclear program is of a peaceful character and the crisis around the Irans atomic activities ought to be settled exclusively by diplomatic means, the Ambassador underlined.

Рђbbasali Hasanov stressed also that the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan recognizes officially the right of Iran for the peaceful use of the atomic energy and supports the Iranian nuclear program.

It is early to talk on the regional resonance of the crisis around the Irans nuclear programs, such were the comments in regard to the latest aggravation of the situation around Tehrans nuclear developments by the Kommersant newspaper deputy editor-in-chief, the expert Azer Mursaliyev.

All states, Irans neighbors are tightly knotted with each other, although the degree of cooperation with Tehran is different. В"In the issue with Azerbaijan one can state close cooperation with Iran. Communication of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (NAR) with the rest part of Azerbaijan takes place predominantly through Iran. One should not also forget about the Iranian gas deliveries to NAR, the Russias expert noted, saying the issue of Nakhchevan is, probably, on the surface. В"In case Azerbaijan, as the world community loyal member obeys the UNO Security Council decision and supports possible sanctions, the reaction of Iran will be understandable, he said.

The Italian Deputy Defense Minister, Rozario Jeorgio Kosta, will pay a day working visit to Azerbaijan on 25 January.

During the visit the deputy ministers plans to hold meetings with the Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Safar Abiyev, and the Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, to discuss the issues of development of the bilateral cooperation.

Andrash Barshoni, the State Secretary at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, will pay an official visit to Baku on Monday to hold talks on perspectives of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Hungary,

The first meting of the Hungarian Minister will be held with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. During the talks the sides discussed the intensification of the Azerbaijani-Hungarian relationships, the implementation of the joint projects, cooperation under the international organizations.

In accordance with the program, Barshoni will meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Political life

Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, was declared the laureate of the international elite platinum Grand Prix Caspian Energy Integration Award-2006 in the main nomination The Politician of Year in CIS And Baltic Countries on the results of the expert inquiry held by the Caspian Integration Business Club in 30 countries of the world among top-managers and managers of average medium level from 1,500 companies working in the Caspian-Black Sea and Baltic regions.

The Caspian Integration Business Club uniting 200 companies and organizations from 30 countries was founded in 2002 to promote positive integration economic processes in the Caspian region on the information level, Trend reports referring to AzerTaj.

The delegation of the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) headed by the partys executive secretary Ali Ahmedov started their visit to Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish Party of Justice and Development (JDP), the YAP press service head Huseyn Pashayev told Trend.

He noted issues of the inter-party cooperation will be discussed within the visit framework. В"JDP visited twice Azerbaijan last year at the YAP invitation. The issues of the inter-party cooperation were discussed here, which are currently going on in Turkey, Pashayev said.

He also noted the Azerbaijani delegation will meet with JDP chairman, the Turkish Premier Minister Redjep Tayipp Erdogan.

The visit will last till 18 January. The Azerbaijani delegation comprises the YAP deputy executive secretary Mubariz Gurbanli, the partys youth organization head Ramil Hasanov and the representative from the female organization Malahat Hasanova.

MPs from the opposition ought to justify their electors confidence and participate in the participate in the spring session of Milli Majlis (parliament), Trend reports quoting Oktay Asadov, the Azerbaijan speaker as sitting to Space local television on Friday.

I guess the oppositionists will participate in the spring session of the parliament, Asadov said. 40,000 citizens voted for every MP and they ought to respect the position of their elector, he added.

The CEC officially registered 35 candidates to MPs on 19 January. The by-elections will be held on 13 May 2006 in 10 constituencies.

CEC annulled a MP mandate of Lala-Shovkat Hajiyeva at her own request. The politician grounded her resolution with the falsification of the results of votes during 6 November parliamentary elections in 2005.

At the next congress of the Azerbaijan Liberal Party (LPA) structural changes will take place, the LPA executive committee chairman Avez Temirhan told Trend.

He noted LPA will hold congress in the current year. The chairmanship institution will be liquidated at the congress, Temirhan said in a statement, noting the organizational committee established conducts works in this respect. After accomplishment of works by the organizational committee, the date for the congress convocation will be set.

New Policy bloc will resolve the issue on its participation in the forthcoming by-elections late this January, Eldar Namazov, the co-founder of the bloc said. However, Namazov personally is not going to participate in the elections.

Musavat party refused to direct its representative to the Central Election Committee (CEC), Vurgun Eyyub, the deputy head of the party, told Trend. He said that the party addressed to the Milli Majlis [Parliament] to get overhaul information about reformantion of CEC, but did not receive reply.

We will not participate in the formation of CEC in unknown form, as the Milli Majlis did not reply to our letter, Eyyub stressed.

The term given to the parties, won in the 6 November parliamentary elections, to direct their representatives to CEC expired.

Touching upon the refusal from deputy mandate by the elected members of Musavat Party, Eyyub noted that the meeting of the Supreme Council to be held in February would make a decision in this regard. At present the party made a decision on non-participation of MPs from Musavat in the sittings of the Parliament till the meeting of Supreme Council.

A group of the people participating in the National Liberation Movement approved the Union of Activists of the National Liberation Movement (UANLM) at the constituent congress held at Arzurum palace on Wednesday, Tahmasib Novruzov, a member of the Supreme Council of the Movement, told Trend.

Novruzov said that UANLM would function on the principles of nationalism and statehood. The Supreme Council was formed of 9 people. It will establish Executive Body and they will regulate activities of the Movement, he added.

The Supreme Council includes Firudin Jalilov, Nasir Agayev, Alik Muradov, Murvat Mehribanly, Gavami Sadigbayli, Tahmasib Novruzov, Gurban Musayev, Zeynab Goychaly and Samaya Nuriyeva.

The Great Establishment party (GEP) will hold its next congress, the GEP chairman, a Milli Mejlis deputy Fazil Gazanfaroglu told Trend.

Gazanfaroglu noted the organizational committee for preparations to the congress will be formed at the partys supreme mejlis to be held on 29 January. В"Structural changes inside the party will be made, new forces will be identified, new individuals will be involved in the party during the congress, he was quoted as saying.

State building

The Milli Mejlis (the Parliament) chairman Ogtay Asadov met on 16 January 2006 with the Ambassador of Greece to Azerbaijan Temistokles Dimidis. During the talk the Speaker of the Azerbaijans Parliament having voiced satisfaction by the inter-state relations level noted the importance of expanding ties of the both countries parliaments, Trend reports.

The Greek diplomat, in his turn, congratulated Asadov on being elected for the post of the Speaker, noting the interest of the official Athens to develop links with Baku. According to the Ambassador, a special role in it is pertained to the efforts of the presidents. В"We hope for further development of the cooperation, Dimidis noted.

A military workshop on the subject Command and staff exercises started in Baku on 16 January, the press service of the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry told Trend.

The workshop is held in line with the bilateral cooperation plan, signed between Azerbaijan and the USA and will last for 3 days.

The Azerbaijan Armed Forces officers will also take part in the Survival Course which started in Bucharest in line with the bilateral cooperation plan

Every year over 300 officers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces participate in different NATO events. The statement was made in a roundtable entitled Azerbaijan-NATO: realities and perspectives held with the participation of employees of the Defense Ministry and MPs at the International Press Club on Monday.

The successful contribution of the divisions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the NATO exercises in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq, it was noted.

General Charles F. Chuck Wald, the Deputy Commander of the Headquarters of the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, arrived in Azerbaijan on Wednesday for meetings and discussions at the Ministry of Defense, the US embassy in Baku told Trend.

In addition to discussing our military-to-military relations and security interests in the region, General Wald visited the headquarters of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and met ANAMA Director Nazim Ismaylov to discuss ongoing U.S. support for ANAMA and humanitarian demining projects in Azerbaijan.

Armenia does not reuse from its aggressor claims, pursuing a destructive policy, the Defense Minister said in meeting with General Wald

He noted that Azerbaijan continues military cooperation with the United States in bilateral order, as well as under the NATOs Partnership for Peace Program

Wald in his turn said that the diplomatic resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh would benefit both conflict sides and the United States will strengthen its efforts for the peaceable solution of the conflict

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