WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev participated in a summit of the heads of sate of Turkic speaking countries in Antalia on 17 November 2006. Attending the top meeting were the Presidents of Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan is visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday evening (November 18, 2006).
On November 14, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev welcomed to the Presidential palace Prof. Anatoli Torkunov, Rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
The President said the years of his living in Moscow are largely connected with the MGIMO. It is my great pleasure to meet the Rector of the education hearth in which I once studied and taught.
He stressed the importance of Prof. Torkunov's visit in terms of enhancement of cooperation between MGIMO and the Academy of Diplomacy newly established in the Republic, various educational establishments of Azerbaijan and Russia, as well as the two countries' foreign ministries.
Prof. Torkunov said he was deeply impressed with development in Azerbaijan. He announced that a 19-member Honorary Doctors Club had been founded at the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations. The Institute is proud that one of those 19 is the world known political figure and statesman Ilham Aliyev, he said.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Germany are rapidly developing in all of the spheres, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said during the today meeting with a delegation from the Federative Republic of Germany, Trend reports.
According to the Head of the Azerbaijani State, these relations are being developed both bilaterally and within Azerbaijan cooperation with EU. The President expressed his confidence that cooperation between the two respective countries will be even better in the future. Azerbaijan has great plans in the field of environmental protection, the Azerbaijani President said. He also expressed his confidence that Azerbaijan cooperation with Germany in this sphere will be of a mutual advantage to both sides.
MP Frau Astrid Klug, State Secretary of Germany Environment protection and Nuclear Plants Security Ministry, highly appreciated the level of cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of environmental protection.
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with Suleyman Al Gumayd, the Chairman of the High Organization of Social Insurance of Saudi Arabia, Trend reports.
The State Head expressed his satisfaction with the development of the bilateral relations. President stressed that Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia support each others in the international organizations. Mr. President voiced his confidence for the future strengthening of that co-operation.
Saudi Arabia is interested in developing the bilateral relations with Azerbaijan in all spheres, Al Gumayd said at the meeting. He shared his impressions after visiting the regions of Azerbaijan.
On November 15, the ceremony of awarding the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with the prize of the Mikhail Zhukov Fund (Germany) took place in Baku. While presenting the prize, the Chairman of the Fund Mikhail Zhukov stressed that the decision of awarding the President was made due to the successful application of the policy in the sphere of ecology and protection of the environment in Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan holds the 1st place amongst the CIS countries in this indicator, and the conducted work is of a great importance for Europe and the world in general.
In his speech, the President said that Azerbaijan is in the development process and according to the recent reports of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Azerbaijan is the world's leader for the growth of the GDP. However, according to the State Head, there are negative sides of this process the growth of the industrial production has environmental impacts. It is very important to create production and open new workplaces, but it should not bring environmental harm, he said.
The President remembered that a State Ecological Program was adopted recently and the State intends to provide financial support for its realization. The project envisages the clean-up of the oil-polluted lands in the Absheron peninsula, Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea and Baku Bay. Over the period of 5 years, the key ecological questions will find their resolution, because there is a political will and financial opportunities, the President said.
Ilham Aliyev expressed his dissatisfaction and concerns about the ecological situation in the occupied Azerbaijani lands and called them very deplorable. According to him, Armenian aggressors destroy not only historical, religious and cultural monuments, but also cut down trees and burn lands. Many houses in these territories have been pulled down, valuable breeds of tress are collected and furniture factories are built. Recently large scale fire was observed in the occupied territories. They know that sooner or later they will leave these territories, and therefore, they destroy not only monuments, but also houses and ecology, Aliyev said.
The Azerbaijani President made a decision to direct a bonus check in amount of в'¬15,000 to the ecological purposes and charged the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources to define the sphere.
On 14 November, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received in Baku the Director-General of the Lithuanian State Security Department, Arvidas Potsyus, Trend reports.
During the meeting, the dignitaries discussed the development of bilateral ties in various areas and the important implications of the documents which were signed during the official visit of the Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has signed an order on some issues due to providing the activity of the Joint Stock Companies BakiElektrikShabaka (Baku Electric Power Distributing Network) and SumgayitElektrikShabaka(Sumgayit Elevtric Power Distributing Network today, Trend reports.
The document points out that that as results of the analyses conducted, it has become clear that due to insufficient investing, the condition of the equipment and infrastructure of the-above mentioned have significantly worsened that caused problems in the uninterrupted electric power supplying consumers in the country. In this connection, the Economic development Ministry has been given 15 mln AZN from State Budget 2006 to increase the authorized capital stock of the two above-mentioned joint enterprises. The Ministry has been commissioned to distribute means among the two enterprises.
Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree to confirm a Mutual Understanding Memorandum on co-operation between the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Forestry Policy, Trend reports. .
The Azerbaijani Agriculture Ministry is committed to ensure the implementation of the Mutual Understanding Memorandum signed in Baku on 20 October 2006.
On 13 November, the divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces once again broke the ceasefire regime on the front line, Trend Regional Correspondent reports.
Yesterday, on November 13, the divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces located in the occupied Bash Gervend village of Agdam district shot at the opposite positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces from 08:35.
In addition, on 14 November, the divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces located in the occupied Mehtili and Laltepe villages of Jabrail district shot at the opposite positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The enemy was made silent with response fire.
On November 17, 2006, the Armenian Armed Forces located in Talysh Village of the occupied Azerbaijan region, Terter, fired machines guns at the Azerbaijan National Army from 23:00 till the morning, Trend Regional Correspondent reports.
The Azerbaijan National Army retaliated and no causalities were reported.
On November 17, at 16:40 a blast was heard in the occupied Uzundere Village of Agdam District. The local residents announced that it was a result of military exercises held by armed divisions of the Armenian armed forces.
We discussed the proposals of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group that were put forward in Moscow and came to a conclusion to continue the discussions, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadayarov informed the Radio Freedom, commenting his meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan, Trend reports.
Mammadyarov said that after November 20, the co-chairs will arrive to Yerevan and then to Baku. They offered, after their visit to the region, to organize the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents. The Minister said that after returning to Baku, he will inform the President of Azerbaijan and a relevant decision will be made on the proposal. The Foreign Minister considers that there is a possibility to conduct the meeting of the Presidents on November 28 in Minsk within the Summit of the CIS Heads. As for the negotiations with the Armenian Foreign Minister, Mammadyarov said that the differences still remain. In addition, he emphasized that over the recent two years, the negotiations have been held within the Prague process and Armenia understands the position of Azerbaijan. Yet it is early to speak about any progress. It may be possible only after the meeting of the Presidents, Mammadyarov said.
He said that the talks will not be finished this year. If there is any political decision, the question will be resolved. As you know, Azerbaijan is developing year by year. The position of Azerbaijan is strengthenning. We need to continue the talks by using these arguments and deliver out position to the attention of the world public, and we will continue this course, the Minister said.
I do not consider the referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh as a referendum. No country respecting itself will recognize this referendum, the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Oktay Asadov briefed the media on November 15 commenting on the referendum scheduled to take place on December 10 in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, Trend reports. The Speaker stressed that on November 16-17 it is planned to hold the meeting between the Head of Parliaments of Caucasus four within the meeting of the Heads of the Parliaments of CIS member-countries in Saint-Petersburg. Azerbaijan will act so that not to be conflict country in CIS. For this it needs to use the force and experience of CIS countries to put pressure on the countries that are guilty in these conflicts, Asadov said.
The U.S. Ambassador Matthew Bryza, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, stated in an exclusive interview for Trend that as Co-Chairs, we will continue to work relentlessly to bring the two sides closer to peace, regardless of the domestic political situation in either Country.
We have pointed to upcoming elections in both Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2007 and 2008 as one of the reasons why 2006 provides an ideal window of opportunity for concluding a peace agreement between the two countries, the diplomat said. There are, of course, many other reasons why embracing a peaceful settlement of the conflict sooner rather than later is desirable, starting with the positive impact such an agreement would have on securing regional stability and promoting opportunities for economic growth across the South Caucasus, he added.
The diplomat did not rule out that the elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan might have an impact on prospects for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We hope that impact will be positive and that the populations in both countries will let their leaders and candidates for political office know that efforts to move toward peace, stability, and prosperity are welcomed by their publics, he emphasized.
U.S. Ambassador Matthew Bryza, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, stated in an exclusive interview for Trend that the OSCE is the ideal forum from which to continue the settlement negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He was commenting on the possible involvement of other international organizations, such as the Council of Europe, United Nations and other organizations in the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh.
The diplomat stressed that statements by other international groups and bodies that reinforce the OSCE Minsk Group process and the Co-Chairs' Basic Principles may certainly be helpful. The leaders of the G8 countries issued such a statement in St Petersburg in July, he added.
Bryza recalled that more recently, the UN and OSCE worked together to bring about an OSCE-led assessment mission of the wild fires in and around Nagorno-Karabakh with joint participation of Azerbaijani and Karabakh-Armenian experts. I consider that kind of co-operation to be a positive sign, and I hope we'll see the two sides agree to more of these kinds of confidence-building measures in the future, he stated.
We were encouraged by the positive mood and open-minded spirit of the two Foreign Ministers in their recent discussions, as well as their commitment to continue discussions based on the Co-Chairs' Basic Principles, he said.
The diplomat voiced his belief that the basic principles represent a fair, balanced, workable solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and hoped that the two sides will embrace those principles - perhaps with some minor modifications and improvements based on their own input - as the basis for enduring peace in the region.
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Azerbaijan prepares the forthcoming December 4-5 visit of the Head of the Russian Government Mikhail Fradkov to Azerbaijan, the Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vasili Istratov exclusively informed Trend. The visit has been dated for the closing of the Russian Year in Azerbaijan, the Ambassador said.
The closing ceremony of the Russian Year in Azerbaijan will take place in the Heydar Aliyev Palace with the participation of the art masters from Russia, who will perform with a concert program.
If the schedule of the Prime Minister allows it, the sides will discuss an organization of the business-forum for business people from two countries in Baku, , the Diplomat said.
Giya Kavtaradze, Georgia Justice Minister and a delegation of the Azerbaijani-Georgian Interparliamentary Assembly headed by its Vice-Chairman Mikhail Machavariani are expected to arrive to Baku in the nearest ten days, Zurab Gumberidze, Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan told journalists.
The Georgian Ambassador also pointed out that the Georgian Justice Minister would come to Azerbaijan by an invitation of his Azerbaijani counterpart to develop bilateral cooperation between the two respective countries. An issue on prisoners exchange is expected to be discussed during the visit as well.
Members of the Interparliamentary Assembly will discuss bilateral relations between the Azerbaijan and Georgian Parliaments.
On November 23-24, the Chairman of the Popular Assembly of Bulgaria Georgi Pirinski will stay in Azerbaijan on an official visit, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ivan Palchev exclusively informed Trend.
According to him, the program of the Bulgarian Parliament Head visit to Azerbaijan is being agreed upon.
Pirinski will arrive to Azerbaijan earlier in order to participate in the upcoming meetings of the General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation, scheduled to take place in Baku on November 21-23, the Ambassador said.
On 15 November Baku for the first time hosted a ceremony to mark the national Independence Day of Latvia. Addressing the ceremony Valeh Aleskerov, the Azerbaijani Vice Speaker stated that the relationships between the two countries had intensified after the official visits of the President of Latvia to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani President's to Latvia.
In his excusive interview for Trend Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, who also heads the European Union's Troika for South Caucasus Countries, stated that The South Caucasus is important to the EU for several reasons. It is also in our interest that Azerbaijan, as well as the rest of our neighborhood is stable and prosperous, and with the ENP we aim exactly at this: it is a powerful tool for the EU and Azerbaijan to work together towards these goals, based on our common values. We are also interested in the Southern Caucasus region from a commercial perspective, and I see good opportunities for cooperation there. Energy issues are also very high on all agendas nowadays, and we look forward to cooperating closely with Azerbaijan in the energy field in the future. I'm happy that the Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership between EU and Azerbaijan on energy issues is also ready for signature early November.
The European Union (EU) has adopted an Action Plan within the European Neighborhood with South Caucasus countries, the Head of the Press & Information Policy Department of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Tahir Tagizade, informed Trend.
He stated that on 14 November, the meetings of the three Co-operation Councils, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, took place during the 1st half of the day. During each meeting, an action plan was adopted within the European Neighborhood. The Azerbaijani delegation at the meeting is headed by the Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov. The EU is represented at the meeting by the Foreign Minister of Finland (EU Country President), Erkki Tuomioja, EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy & Security, Javier Solana, European Commission Commissioner for Foreign Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, German State Minister Gunter Gloser, the EU Envoy for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby and others.
During the meetings, the EU's priorities were established with regard to restoring stability, co-operation and mutual understanding in the South Caucasian region and the EU goals were confirmed in developing relations with the countries of this region. In addition, the EU's willingness to assist in resolving the regional conflicts was confirmed
The European Union sees Azerbaijan as a key partner in a region that is becoming increasingly important in many different ways, the EU Special Envoy for South Caucasus Peter Semneby exclusively informed Trend.
According to him, the signing of an Energy Memorandum gives a good foundation for future energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union. But it was clear from the talks that the relationship should be based on more than energy, he underlined. The Action Plan within the European Neighbourhood Policy which will be formally adopted on Tuesday 14 November lays the foundation for a deep and multifaceted relationship based on shared values, which should be a cornerstone in the future transformation of Azerbaijani society.
The Milli Majlis [Parliament] informed that Azerbaijani MPs Nizami Khudiyev and Rafael Jabrayilov left for Lefkoshu, the capital of the Turkish Republic of the Southern Cyprus Trend reports.
The key objective of the visit that will last till December 18 is to participate in solemn celebrations dedicated to the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of the TRSC, to be marked on November 15. During the visit it is planned to hold meetings with the leadership of the country.
Zarifa Asadova, a member of Managing Board of the Coordination Council of Azerbaijani Youth in Russia, exclusively informed Trend Special Correspondent in Moscow that Araz Azimov, the Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, will pay a visit to Moscow on 23 November at the invitation of the Moscow State University of International Relationships.
Thanking Azimov for accepting the invitation, Asadova advised him that he would address the students and answer any questions of interest to future diplomats.
Azimov is also a special envoy of the Azerbaijani President on the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Parliamentary delegation headed by the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Oktay Asadov, participates in the 27th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Saint-Petersburg, the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan in the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Aydin Jafarov informed Trend.
Today, 16 November, the 27th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly began. Jafarov stressed that the 15th Anniversary of the co-operation amongst the CIS parliaments is remembered. Congratulations were heard and speeches were made on this occasion. The agenda was considered at the beginning of the session and later several speeches were made. The Chairman of the Permanent Commission of the Azerbaijani Parliament for Regional Affairs, Arif Rahimzade, delivered a report. The Speaker, Oktay Asado, is also expected to deliver a report today, the diplomat stated.
Members of Azerbaijan Parliament participated at the meeting of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, which is held in Saint Petersburg on November 15-16, 2006.
Arif Rahimzadeh, Chairman of the Regional Issues Permanent Commission of the Milli Majlis, MPs Rovshan Rzayev, and Azer Amiraslanov are participating in the meetings.
The Azerbaijan National Independence Party will organize a joint meeting of the parties representing the opposition. On 24 November the Party's headquarter will host a roundtable with the participation of representatives of political parties responsible for the sphere of ideology, propaganda and work with press.
On November 16, the members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) tried to hold a picket near the President Apparat. The police prevented the unofficial rally, Trend reports. The members of the APFP came together in front of the Baku Soviet metro station. But the police employees did not permit them to move to the President Apparat. As a result, an incident happened between police and party members. The members of the APFP resisted to the police employees.
Isag Avazoglu, the Head of the APFP Press-Service did not read the resolution of the action. More than 10 participants of the action were detained.
On 15 November, Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] completed discussions on legislative acts linked with the project of the 2007 State budget. Changes and annexes were made to the law On budget system, Trend reports. Should the expenditure section of the budget for the year not be spent, the balance will be transferred to the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. Another innovation was that according to the decision of the relevant body of the executive power, the finances intended in the state budget for certain purposes may be directed towards other areas.
Changes were made to the Regulation On service in state tax bodies. Debates were also organized on the changes to the laws On state duties and On country entry-exit and passport. The Parliament Deputies did not agree with the proposal to double the state duty for issuance of citizenship passports. By the same token, the proposal to extend the validity of passports from 5 to 10 years was unanimously agreed upon. The changes to the Law On culture envisage budget financing of the cultural facilities.
The parliamentarians made a decision to extend the validity of the Law On determination of privileges for profit tax withholding with interests for deposits to banks and other credit organizations, as well as with dividends and interests of investment securities to 2020.
The expenditure estimate of Milli Majlis for 2007 was confirmed at AZN 14,551 mln and the Accounting Chamber at AZN 1.8 mln.
At the conclusion of the session, the Speaker, Oktay Asadov, stated that the 2007 State budget documents will be considered by the Government and presented for discussion at Milli Majlis once again.
The Head Commander of the Turkish Gendarmerie Ishik Koshaner's visit to Baku scheduled for November 14 did not take place, Trend reports with reference to the Head Department of the Internal Troops of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry. It was said that the program of the visit remains in effect and the visit will take place in the nearest future.
Within the visit to Baku, Koshaner was expected to hold a number of meetings.
From 15 - 23 November, the parliamentary delegation headed by the Deputy Chairman of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament], Bahar Muradova, will visit to Valetta, the capital of Malta, to participate in the Autumn session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Trend reports with reference to the Press Service of Milli Majlis.
The delegation includes the deputies Fattah Heydarov and Fazil Mustafayev. Within the session, a parliamentary conference will be held on Immigration, integration and dialogue amongst cultures: role of OSCE, meeting of the Permanent Committee and forum of the bodies linked with the Mediterranean region.
During the event, the participants will exchange views on migration and security, the role of the state borders in the migration processes, cultural diversity and development of national peculiarities, problems of the multinational societies, the situation in the Near East and other topics.