Political review of the last week

Official News

A meeting connected with the preparation for the winter season headed by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has been held today (on December 1), Trend reports referring to National TV Channel AzTV. Having opened the meeting, the head of the Azerbaijani State reminded that another meeting connected with the winter season had been held previously. According to him, as the potential of the country increase, its need in energy rise as well. Having pointed out that some of the electric power stations being constructed in the country was putting into operation, Mr. Aliyev pointed out that measures being taken would give their effect from a point of view of an energy security issue , significant progress would be achieved in the issue of supplying with gas,

The Azerbaijani President pointed out that the country bought some 4.5 bln. cubic meters of gas from Russia, and that took the significant place in the energy balance of the country. Starting from the next year, Russia is about to reduce oil gas export to Azerbaijan in three times, as well as double the price. Therefore we need to search additional sources, said Mr. Aliyev.

According to the Head of the Azerbaijani State, with the aim to take preventive measures to way out from the existing situation, SOCAR was given corresponding instructions six months ago. The President pointed out that in order to accelerate the gas production and its burning, serious works were being carried out. He also stressed that that would cause the country's energy balance's increasing starting from the next year.

On 1 December, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the Head of the OSCE Baku Office, Maurisio Pavesi, on the completion of his diplomatic mission in Azerbaijan.

Pavesi expressed his warm gratitude to the Government and State Head for the co-operation during his stay in Azerbaijan. He added that over the recent period, the OSCE has increased the number of projects in Azerbaijan two-fold, which was made possible due to the co-operation with the Azerbaijani Government. I can say that our co-operation is developing successfully, he said. Speaking about the realization of the joint projects in the country, Pavesi stressed that the budget of these projects would be increased.

Ilham Aliyev expressed his gratitude to Pavesi for his contribution in developing the relations with the OSCE. Mentioning the importance of implementing projects with the OSCE, the President voiced his confidence for the future continuation of the productive co-operation.

On December 1, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the Governor of the Igdir Province of Turkey, Saim Saffet Karakhisarli, Trend reports.

The President of Azerbaijan said that he had frequently met the Head of the Igdir Municipality Nurettin Aras and said that the co-operation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is developing in all spheres, and a special preference is given to the relations with Igdir. The President said that the investments allocated by the business people of Igdir to Nakchivan Autonomous Republic will further develop these relations.

Mr. President stated his satisfaction with the visit of the Igdir Governor to Azerbaijan and voiced his confidence that the relations between Azerbaijan and Igdir will develop and strengthen in the future.

The Governor said that although he is in Azerbaijan for the first time, he feels himself at home. He expressed his satisfaction with the processes happening in Azerbaijan and stated his pride towards strong economy of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has accepted Lord Russell Johnston, Head of the Subcommittee for Nagorno-Karabakh of PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe) today, Trend reports. During the meeting, the situation over the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and cooperation between Azerbaijan and PACE were discussed.

On November 30, the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade met with the Head of the Georgian Government Zurab Nogaideli, Trend reports. The meeting took place behind close doors and then continued in wider composition. During the meeting in the wider composition, the Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade mentioned the importance of developing the mutually beneficial relations and private business meetings. He stressed that the level of the strategic relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia are developing in various directions, including energy and transport. In his turn, the Georgian Prime Minister highlighted the high dynamism of the mutual commercial and economical activities between the two countries and the beginning of the new global energy and transport projects in the region as opening of the new prospects for the improvement of the life standards of the peoples of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

German Company BASF intends to work in Azerbaijan. The letter of the Head of the Company was delivered by the German Ambassador to Azerbaijan Per Stankin, to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Germany attaches a great importance to the development of the economical co-operation with Azerbaijan, the German Ambassador said at the time of the meeting. The diplomat expressed his confidence for the development of the bilateral co-operation with Azerbaijan in the economical and other spheres.

Aliyev expressed his satisfaction with the level of the development of the bilateral relations. He highly assessed the intention of the German company to expand the co-operation with Azerbaijan. He stressed that the Azerbaijani Government is ready to provide support in this process. The development of the bilateral co-operation will serve further promotion of the co-operation within the European Union, the State Head said.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received Sultan Ahmad bin Seleyimi, Executive Chairman of the Corporation of Ports, Customs, and Trade Zone of Dubai on November 29.

The guest sent welcome of Sheikh Muhammad bin Rasheed Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime-Minister of UAE, Emir of Dubai to the Head of the Azerbaijani State. The Arabian guest said that he had arrived in Baku with a business mission to expand economic ties between Dubai and Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani President reminded about his recent official visit to UAE, and emphasized that the visit of the business mission and the development of the relations between the two countries would be of a mutual interest.

The prestigious international organizations expressed their attitude towards the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework of keeping the territorial integrity, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stated in an interview with AzTV as a result of the Summit of the CIS State Heads.

The State Head said that generally the activities of the international organizations over the recent period satisfy Azerbaijan. Of course, it strengthens our position. In general each question can be resolved in certain frameworks international law, norm and principles. No question can be resolved outside these frameworks, and beginning of any precedents in the future may impose serious problems for other countries. Therefore, we once again stress that the principal position of Azerbaijan remains unchanged the territorial integrity of the country should be restored. The population living in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh will be presented the highest status of self-governance within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the State Head said.

According to him, for already three years, the negotiations regarding the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been held within the Prague process. Within this period, many meetings took place at the level of Foreign Ministers and Presidents of the two countries. Naturally these meeting focused on the ways of resolving the problem. There were stages when we came to the concluding results of the negotiations, and it is possible to say that the positions of the sides have fully reformed. We are at the level when the future negotiations depend on our negotiations. In this plan, I consider the results of the recent meeting as normal, Aliyev said.

In addition, he said that the recent meeting in Minsk took place in a constructive manner and the disputable questions were discussed. Over the recent period, we have achieved the solution of several questions and agreed upon previously uncoordinated issues. But principal issues representing difference still remains. Both Presidents hold talks around this aspect, Aliyev said.

Touching on the position of Azerbaijan, he said that the position of Azerbaijan remains unchanged. Azerbaijan insists on the solution of the problem within the territorial integrity of the country. Each of the 4 Resolutions of the U.N. Security Council should be implemented, the occupied territories of Azerbaijan should be released and more than one million Azerbaijanis should return to their native lands, the President of Azerbaijan said.

We should not politicize the situation with the media organizations. All issues should be settled in a legal platitude, Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan President, said commenting the last developments with the mass media in Azerbaijan during the today interview to National TV Channel AzTV.

According to the Head of the Azerbaijani State, the opposition is politicizing Azadlig Newspaper editorial moving to other office, and presenting it as a wish of the authorities to stifle the opposition print. On the contrary, we are creating perfect conditions for them, and we are going to settle them in Publishing House Azerbaijan where many other printing media sources work, Mr. Aliyev said. There is the freedom of word and the freedom of print in Azerbaijan, and no one should have doubts in this respect. I believe that in the future, these process will develop even more rapidly in the country, said the Head of the Azerbaijani State.

The President said that the situation over the broadcasting of ANS TV and Radio Company is a subject of discussions, and it should not be considered from a political viewpoint. He said that he had assisted in strengthening the independent press for many times, particularly ANS. However, each issue should be settled within the existing legislation, and no exceptions should be given to anybody. The Azerbaijani President said that in some cases, representatives and leaders of certain media sources thought that they had any privileges. At the same time, the State Bodies, the national TV and Radio Council have their fair claims and grounded demands to be observed by the media sources. I think that such issues might be settled in a normal way and with kind intensions. If all demands and forewarns are fulfilled, then the activity of the TV Channel might be resumed, the President said.

I wish Azerbaijan to be a modern and prosperous country. It should be strong from an economic point of view, open to all countries, ready to cooperation, fight for its stance, possess a powerful army, restore its territorial integrity, and I shall do my best to achieve it. Nobody and nothing can derail me from this way, said Mr. Aliyev.

The meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenia Robert Kocharyan began in Minsk with the participation of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Karel De Gucht, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Press Secretary of the Armenian President, Victor Sogomonyan, informed Madimax in a telephone interview, Trend reports. After the completion of the meeting, Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan will continue the talks face to face.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, and Victor Yuscehnko of Ukraine, held a bilateral meeting in Minsk on 28 November, Trend reports citing RBK-Ukraine. The meeting focused on co-operation in the energy sector with major focus on the use of the Odessa-Brody-Plotzk oil pipeline for the Caspian oil transportation to the European market, the Ukrainian President's Administration announced.

The two Presidents also deliberated over the development of the Ukrainian-Azerbaijani co-operation within the framework of GUAM, a regional organization consisting of Georgia, Ukrainian, Azerbaijan and Moldova, and the implementation of agreements achieved during Yuschenko's visit to Azerbaijan on 7-8 September 2006. The talks also dealt, in particular with the establishment of the Council of Presidents and Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Ukraine informed the Azerbaijani President of the implementation of plans regarding the Azerbaijani culture days in Ukraine.

On November 27, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the Head of the Membership Process Department of the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Arif Huseyn. During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on various spheres of the co-operation between Azerbaijan and WTO.

On November 29, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an order to increase the allowances for the cadets of the military-education institutions, Trend reports.

According to the document, from November 1, the allowances will increase up to AZN 70. The allowance will be received by the Military School named after Heydar Aliyev, High Military Aviation Academy of Azerbaijan, Military and Medical Faculty of Azerbaijan Medical University and Academy named after H. Aliyev of the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry.

In addition, the allowance in amount of AZN 30 will be presented to the cadets of the Military Lyceum named after Heydar Aliyev and Military Lyceum named after J. Nakchivanski.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed a decree on the Law to grant Khirdalan village of Absheron District City status, Trend reports.

The Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for developing and presenting to the President, within a month, proposals on the unification of legislative acts attached to the Law. Furthermore, the Cabinet is also responsible for ensuring the unification of legal-standard acts issued by the Cabinet of Ministers and relevant central authorities to the Law.

A joint statement by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia, Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin, passed as Law after approval by the President of Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

The statement was signed in Baku on 22 February 2006 during the Russian President's official visit. Milli Majlis [Parliament of Azerbaijan] confirmed the document on 2 October 2006.

President Aliyev also confirmed a joint statement on the development of friendship and partnership between Azerbaijan and Japan, signed in Tokyo on 10 March 2006. The Azerbaijani- Japanese inter-governmental agreement on technical co-operation is amongst them, together with a joint statement by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Korea on principles of relationships and co-operation, adopted in Baku on 11 May. The Azerbaijani-Korean intergovernmental agreement on air transportation has also become effective.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has confirmed the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Immaterial Culture Heritage, Trend reports.

In accordance with the approved Law, the Cabinet of Ministers are responsible for developing the proposals, within a month, on an authorized body on the protection of immaterial culture heritage in the territory of Azerbaijan and to resolve issues related to the Law.

The Azerbaijani President signed a Law for Azerbaijan to join the Protocol of the Madrid Agreement on International Registration of Laws and a Convention on Privileges and Immunities of specialized organizations of UN.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Units of Armenian Forces broken the cease fire regime again, Trend Regional Correspondent reports. On November 27, the positions located in the occupied Azerbaijani villages of Bash Garvand and Sarichali of Azerbaijan, units of Armenian Forces subjected the Azerbaijani positions located in the villages of Chiraghli and Chamanli to a gun fire for ten minutes. The enemy was stifled with a back fire. No casualties have been reported.

The illegal military regime established by the Republic of Armenia in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan intends, according to the reports circulated by the Armenian media, to hold a so-called constitutional referendum on December 10, 2006.

This act violates the Constitution of Azerbaijan, as well as relevant norms and principles of international law, and interferes with an ongoing peace process. The so-called referendum and its results shall have no legal effect and shall not mislead the international community, which is well aware of the occupation and appalling ethnic cleansing carried out by the Armenian armed forces against Azerbaijani population in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

Any constitutional document envisaging a self-rule for the population of the Nagorno-Karabakh region can only be elaborated through a legal, democratic and peaceful process with a full, equal and direct participation of the entire population of the region consisting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities.

Azerbaijan shall never accept such illegal acts of the Armenian side, which are based on notorious practice of fait accompli and fully contradict the ongoing efforts to bring durable peace and stability to the region.

I think that it is extremely important for the two countries, which have been in a serious dispute since the end of the war, to start talking with each other, apart from the existing contact which continues at a presidential level, as the meeting that recently took place between President Ilham Aliyev and President Robert Kocharyan, Lord Russell Johnston, Chairman of the Special Committee for Nagorno-Karabakh of PACE, said.

According to Lord Russell Johnston, the meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian MP's is expected to be held under his chairmanship during the session of PACE to be held in Strasburg at the end of January, 2007.

The Chairman of the PACE Subcommittee said that their first exercise should be getting to know each other. It is not necessary to tackle big serious questions straight away. My objective is not suddenly and magically to cure everything. That is not possible. But simply to create a better atmosphere and then discuss the areas where possibly one can pursue a dialogue, like, for example, the transport connection issue, he said.

He also said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be settled only by the Governments of the countries involved in the conflict, and the task of the Subcommittee is to pave a way. But I think that it is extremely important to launch a general dialogue. On the one hand, if there is a settlement of the issue, then it should occur after the both parties making some concessions to each other. However, none of the parties is ready to make a compromise. Therefore, the only thing that could be done is to begin to talk to each other, said Mr. Russell Johnston.

I hope that the negotiations regarding the regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may lead to certain results within the unchanged position of Azerbaijan, the Head of the International Relations Department of the Executive Apparat of the Azerbaijani President, Novruz Mammadov briefed the media on November 29, commenting on the recent Minsk meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenia Robert Kocharyan, Trend reports.

Mammadov called the recent negotiations as very significant, but refrained from speaking on the details of the meeting.

According to the Department Head, over the long years of the negotiation process, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has taken all possible steps for the solution of the conflict, and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has always been the key aspect of the negotiations. Mammadov said that the present talks also took place within the principles of territorial integrity. In addition, he said that the date of the next meeting has not been defined.

On December 6, the U.N. General Assembly will discuss in New York the project of the new Resolution on the frozen conflicts in the territory of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova), the Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Executive Apparat of the Azerbaijani President, Novruz Mammadov, said, Trend reports. He said that GUAM countries have prepared a new Resolution and presented it to the discussion of the General Assembly. It is still early to say what decision will be made as a result of the discussion, Mammadov said, adding that the GUAM countries hope that a fair adequate Resolution will be passed. Touching on the statement regarding the desire of the unrecognized republics to participate in the discussions, Mammadov said that there is no need for it. It does not correspond to the procedures of the UN.

Due to the Armenian vandalism toward religious monuments located on occupied territories of Azerbaijan, an appeal has been prepared to be sent to UN, UNESCO, as well as the Heads of the states-Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group OSCE. The appeal has been made today, on 28 November during the round table discussion organized by the Association of Public Society Development Aid in Azerbaijan and the Public Organization Migrants' and IDPs' Rights Protection in Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

The appeal prepared by members of the round table covers Nagorno-Karabakh, the ruin and total destruction of historical, religious and culture monuments in Western Azerbaijan as a result of the Armenian vandalism. Armenia is brutally violating all international norms and regulations and destructing or misappropriating all historic monuments, mosques, cemeteries, and thereby, the appeal urges for this situation to be resolutely expressed.

The actions of the Armenian separatists to hold a so-called referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh is doing nothing but attracting attention upon themselves, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan (CEC), Mazahir Panahov, informed Trend.

Armenian separatists plan to hold a so-called referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh on 10 December, which is the occupied Azerbaijani territory, to implement their constitution.

Panahov stressed that the efforts of the Armenian separatists to hold a referendum and any other actions are illegal. Such measures are aimed at only attracting attention onto themselves. We will discuss this issue and if necessary the CEC will provide an official statement on this issue. Even the international organizations have expressed their feelings in which they stressed that the events taking place in the self-voted regime are illegal. Therefore, there is no reason to be concerned, Panahov said.

In addition, he stated that repeat elections will be held in 3 municipalities, in which the results of voting on 6 October were canceled. The CEC will announce the date of the repeat elections. We will try to hold these election in the near future, Panahov stressed.

He added that at the beginning of December, the representatives of the Azerbaijani Government will hold a meeting in the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and discuss the Electoral Code. According to the CEC Chairman, the laws are always in need of improvement and the reforms will be continued.

Azerbaijan closely co-operates with the bodies of the Council of Europe because Azerbaijan is a member of the organization. This co-operation will continue in the future, Panahov emphasized.

Turkey realizes better than any other country that Armenian policy in the region has been built on an idea of searching for an external enemy, Tahir Taghizadeh, Chief of The Press and Information Policy Department of the Azerbaijan Foreign Office, told Trend commenting the statement of Armenia Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan. Mr. Taghizadeh said that at first this enemy was Turkey, then Azerbaijan, and finally GUAM.

The Armenian Foreign Minister lambasted Turkey state policy on denying the Armenian Genocide, particularly, the fact that Turkey became a more aggressive as the fact of the genocide was acknowledged by an increasing number of countries. Turks have never be so organized on the state level to carry out the denying policy, said Mr. Oskanyan. He admitted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was a serious barrier for establishing relations with Ankara, and said that Ankara undisputed solidarity with Azerbaijan is working against Turkey itself, since the trust to this country in the Caucasus is under threat, as well as its claims on the role of a bridge between the East and the West.

Mr. Taghizadeh also said that Turkey position in the regional development issues, particularly, in the development of bilateral relations with Armenia was dictated by Turkey principal position to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict based on norms and principles of the international law, and Azerbaijan has always appreciated it.

The Russian and the French Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, Ambassadors Yuri Merzlyakov and B Bernard Fassier, acting also on behalf of the U.S. Co-Chair Matthew Bryza, visited Yerevan and Baku on 20 and 21 November.

They met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, as well as with Foreign Ministers Vartan Oskanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov. As a result of these meetings, which took place in an open minded and constructive spirit, both Presidents accepted the Co-Chairs' proposal to meet in Minsk next week on the margins of the next CIS Heads of States Council meeting.

The discussions in both capitals confirmed that the three rounds of consultations between the Foreign Ministers - which took place in Moscow, Paris, and Brussels in October-November - were useful in moving the negotiations forward.

Building on their recent meetings with the Presidents and Foreign Ministers, the Co-Chairs hope that the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Minsk will allow both sides to take a new step toward an agreement on basic principles for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, as endorsed by the G8 leaders in St. Petersburg last July and which remain on the table as the best chance to achieve a fair and sustainable peace

The Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may be resolved only within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and international standards and principles, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, stated at the time of the meeting with the member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament, Baroness Detta O'Cathain, Trend reports with reference to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The Armenian lobbyists who are conducting propaganda of a slanderous nature adversely affect the negotiations process to settle the conflict, the Minister stated. The meeting focused on the globalization, economical projects realized in the region, and its fight against international terrorism, etc.

Foreign Policy

On November 30, the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade met with the Head of the Georgian Government Zurab Nogaideli, Trend reports. The meeting took place behind close doors and then continued in wider composition.

During the meeting in the wider composition, the Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade mentioned the importance of developing the mutually beneficial relations and private business meetings. He stressed that the level of the strategic relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia are developing in various directions, including energy and transport. In his turn, the Georgian Prime Minister highlighted the high dynamism of the mutual commercial and economical activities between the two countries and the beginning of the new global energy and transport projects in the region as opening of the new prospects for the improvement of the life standards of the peoples of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

On 26-27 November, the meeting of the experts of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldavia) took place in Bakuriani City (Georgia).

The Ambassador stressed that the national co-ordinators will join the meeting on 28 November, in which Azerbaijan will be represented by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Araz Azimov. The agenda of the meeting includes discussing the implementation of domestic procedures which are necessary for the validity of the Regulation of Organization for Democracy and Economic Development - GUAM and forming of the secretariat agreed through the proposals of the member-countries.

The Secretary General of the Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO), Khurshid Enver, highly assesses the role of Azerbaijan in the regional integration of the organization, said the letter of the Secretary General to Elmar Mammadyarov, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Trend reports.

During 14 years of its activity, the ECO transformed from the bilateral co-operation into an organization with 10 members. Commercial and transport relations amongst the members of the organization reached a high level. The documents signed within the organization helped strengthen the integration and opened broad opportunities for the co-operation in the spheres of energy, ecology, tourism and health.

The newly elected Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, Van Ki-Mun hopes for the active participation of Azerbaijan in the expansion of the co-operation amongst the U.N. member-states, was stated in the letter of the new Secretary General forwarded to the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, Trend reports.

In his letter, the U.S. Secretary General expressed his gratitude to the Head of Azerbaijan for providing support during his election to this post.

In his letter, the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Korea expressed his satisfaction with the present level of the co-operation between Azerbaijan and Korea and hopes for its future development.

3 significant documents were adopted by the 1st Congress of the International Youth Public Organization, Youth Forum of GUAM countries which concluded in Baku on November 30, Trend reports. The documents include Resolution of Congress, appeal to the State Heads and parliamentarians of the GUAM countries, as well as declaration on the conflict zones. The Congress brought together the representatives of 4 GUAM member-countries Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

During the Congress, the concluding option of the Regulation of the GUAM Youth Forum, Plan of Measures and co-operation mechanism of the Forum were worked out. In addition, the participants elected the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and Secretary General of the Forum.

The Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sport Azad Rahimov said that the GUAM Youth Forum has been opened for the co-operation with the youth organizations of other countries. Speaking about the declaration On conflict zones in GUAM territory, the Minister said that this topic will be continued in the future. Ukraine was elected the Chairman of the Forum. The Forum participants accepted plan of measures reflecting: conducting business-forum, Cultural Days of GUAM countries, organizing summer camps and organizing sport championship. The second congress will take place in 2008 in Tbilisi.

There is a potential between Azerbaijan and Romania for the development of the co-operation, the Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Nikolai Urek, said on November 30 in Baku at the reception established on the occasion of the Romanian National Holiday Unification Day, Trend reports. According to the diplomat, very close co-operation has been established and bilateral documents have been signed between the two countries in many spheres. The Vice Speaker of the Azerbaijani President Ziyafet Askerov said that the foundation of the bilateral relation was established in 1995 at the time of the first official visit of the former Azerbaijani President His Excellency Heydar Aliyev to Bucharest. According to him, the relations in the political, economical and cultural spheres are developing and the positions of the two countries coincide within the international organizations. 113 documents have been signed between the two countries and a legal base has been created for the expansion of the bilateral relations, Askerov said.

Azerbaijan signed 13 out of 27 documents presented in the CIS Summit in Minsk, the Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Executive Apparat of the Azerbaijani President, Novruz Mammadov, said, Trend reports. According to him, not only Azerbaijan, but several other countries supported continuation of the discussions on these documents. After the completion of the negotiations regarding these documents, they will be signed, he said. Touching on the discussed subjects, it was said that the documents that were not adopted considered the delimitation of the CIS borders. Mr. Mammadov said that work on these documents to be continued. 95% of the borders between Azerbaijan and Russia have been agreed and the process is continuing. But other countries have not fully agreed upon their borders, and therefore, the discussions on this document are continuing within CIS, he said.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister announced that on 30 November, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, received the head of the OSCE Office, Mauricio Pavesi, in connection with the conclusion of his tenure, Trend reports.

The meeting focused on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the successful development of relationships between Azerbaijan and OSCE and reforms in the socio-political sector. The Minister also informed the diplomat of the results of previous talks between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Minsk and stressed that the conflict can be resolved only within the framework of the territorial integrity and the Constitution of Azerbaijan using the adopted international standards and principles.

The newly-appointed permanent representative of Azerbaijan to the UN, Akshin Mehdiyev, presented credential to the U.N. Secretary-General, Cofi Annan, Akshin Mehdiyev informed Trend.

Annan congratulated Mehdiyev on his new appointment and wished him success in his work. Annan highlighted the great progress in Azerbaijan and voiced his confidence for the future development of relations. The U.N. Head sent his best wishes to the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev. In reply, Mehdiyev expressed his hope for a close and productive co-operation with the U.N. in the future.

Political life

Ali Ahmadov, the Executive Secretary and the Vice Chairman of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), has stated during talks with journalists that he does not seriously accept opinions in connection with the situation in the sphere of freedom of speech and press. A demand from the media to observe the law does not mean pressure on freedom and press.

He noted that Azerbaijan, a democratic state is ruled by the law and demands respect for the law. Ahmadov said that if one is required to respect the law, this should not be perceived as an action against freedom of word and press. Azerbaijan has ample television and press bodies. There are a number of opposition newspapers within the media. They work openly and without any pressure. The disagreements were only raised when the newspapers were ordered to observe the law, Ahmadov stressed.

В"Next week, the representatives of the opposition parties Umid, Adalat and Civil Solidarity Party will be elected as members to the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan (CEC), the head of the Apparat of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament], Safa Mirzayev, briefed the media, Trend reports.

The composition of the election commissions (Central Election Commission, district and divisional election commissions) has not been formed AS yet. The representatives of the political parties demonstrating a minority in the Parliament have not been appointed to the commissions as yet.

Safa Mirzayev stressed that the representatives of the parties representing opposition in Parliament will be elected to the vacancies in the election commissions. Presently three parties have applied to us. Probably next week, the representatives of the opposition parties Umid, Adalat and Civil Solidarity Party will be elected as member to the Central Election Commission, Mirzayev said.

In addition, he stated that the Electoral Code is not expected to be amended in the Parliament in the near future.

An issue on holding joint massive actions is expected to be discussed during the sitting of opposition parties of the country to be held the next week, Isa Gambar, Chairman of opposition Musavat party told Trend.

A regular sitting of the Coordination Council for Protecting the Freedom of Word and Press where leaders of all the opposition parties have participated has been held in the headquarters of Musavat party today.

According to Mr. Gambar, during the meeting, leaders of the opposition parties came to conclusion to continue cooperation in the issue on protecting the freedom of word and press. In addition, they discussed actions to be held by the Coordination Council in this connection. The next sitting of the Council, in a broad representation this time, is expected to be held the next week. During the next meeting, al proposals put forward by the opposition parties are expected to be discussed.

Mr. Gambar also pointed out that an issue on establishing a new organization had not been discussed.

State Building

A press conference devoted to the results of the annual activity of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of the 3rd convocation has been held in the Azerbaijani Parliament today. Bahar Muradova, Vice-Speaker of the Azerbaijan Parliament, reported journalists during the press conference and Chairpersons of the Permanent Commissions answered questions put by journalists, Trend reports.

Mrs. Muradova reminded the participation of Azerbaijani President in the first sitting of the autumn's session of the Milli Majlis of the 3rd convocation, as well about his recommendations. According to her, over the last year, Parliament made 186 decisions on different bills. Touching upon extending international relations of the Milli Majlis, the Vice-Speaker pointed out that the leadership of the Azerbaijani Parliament had accepted about 100 from different countries, She also mentioned the meetings in the Parliament with the Presidents of Turkey, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine, Korea, and of the official visits of the delegations of the Milli Majlis to Saint-Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Kiev, Kishinev, etc.

Mrs. Mouradova also touched upon the legislation making. According to her, MPs also rectify their mistakes by frequently meeting with their electorate, visiting the regions, etc.

Issues on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peaceful settlement have been discussed during the meeting between Ogtay Assadov, Speaker of the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijan Parliament) and Lord Rassel Johnston, Chairman of the Special Committee of PACE (Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe), a source in the Azerbaijani parliament told Trend.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the most troublesome issue to Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Speaker said. Azerbaijan highly appreciated the resolution on settling the conflict adopted by the Council of Europe, as well as attach a great importance to the activity of the PACE Special Committee especially founded to settle the conflict peacefully, said Mr. Assadov. He also expressed his confidence in the immediate settlement of the conflict peacefully within international norms and principles.

Speaking about the objectives of his visit to Azerbaijan, Lord R. Johnston said that he was about to get acquainted with the situation over the peaceful settlement of the conflict, as well as discuss the further action plan within the Committee.

The prospects of co-operation between the legislative bodies of Azerbaijan and Great Britain were discussed on 30 November in Baku at the time of the meeting between the member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament, Baroness Detta O'Cathain and Vice Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Valeh Aleskerov.

During the meeting, the Baroness expressed her satisfaction with her visit to Azerbaijan. She highly assessed the positive changes taking place in the country with regards to democratic and economical development.

Highlighting the great interest of British companies in the oil sector of Azerbaijan, Aleskerov expressed the satisfaction of the Azerbaijani Government with the support provided by Great Britain in the realization of international economic projects.

Mentioning the significant role of inter-parliamentary relations in developing the co-operation of the two countries, the Azerbaijani Vice Speaker voiced the interest of the Azerbaijani side in co-operating with Great Britain Parliament which has broad parliamentary experience.

The delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament, who are on a visit to Pakistan, held a number of meetings. They met with both houses of the Pakistani Parliament Senate and National Assembly, the member of the delegation, MP Asim Mollazade, stated in an exclusive interview with Trend.

In addition, the delegation of the Azerbaijani Parliament visited the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan and Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate. During the meeting, debates were organized on the Azerbaijani-Pakistani relations, energy policy and growing influence of Azerbaijan.

Mollazade underlined that on 1 December, a round table was organized in the Pakistani State University, with the participation of the Azerbaijani delegation. The round table focused on the energy policy of Azerbaijan and relations between the two countries in various areas.

It was stated during all meetings that the relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan are at high level. Official Islamabad recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the position of Pakistan regarding Nagorno-Karabakh remains unchanged. At present, Pakistan has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and supports the settlement of the conflict on the basis of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Mollazade said, adding that both countries support each other within the international organizations. There is a very good attitude towards Azerbaijan in Pakistan, Mollazade underlined.

The delegation includes the Head of the Working Group of the Azerbaijani Parliament for Relations with Pakistan, Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Commission for Agrarian Policy, Eldar Ibrahimov, Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights, Rabiyat Aslanova, Chairman of the Permanent Social Policy Commission Hadi Rajabli and Deputies Asim Mollazade and Isa Habibbeyli.

The next meeting of the State Commissions for Delimitation and Demarcation of the state bodies of Azerbaijan and Georgia will take place in Baku, the Chief of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, Commander of the Border Troops, Lieutenant-General Elchin Guliyev, briefed the media, Trend reports.

Serious progress was achieved during the final meeting of the Commissions in Georgia. If since the beginning of the talks regarding the delimitation of borders, a decision had been made only on 90 km, during the final meeting, a decision was made on 210 km of the borders. The Delimitation Commissions achieved significant bilateral results in this process. I consider that there are no serious problems with the delimitation of the borders. Simply there are uncoordinated sections and we may reach a common agreement on it. With regards to the delimitation works with Russia, we have also made progress, Guliyev said.

According to Guliyev, presently the situation in the state border is stable and there are no cases which impose serious concerns. The international relations of the State Border Service are developing. We are continuing co-operation with all Caspian littoral countries at a high level. This co-operation prevents the existence of the problems, as well as creating conditions for technical modernization, he stated.

As a result of the recent operations, 4 km fish-net used for the illegal fishing in the Azerbaijani sector of Caspian was revealed, the Chief of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, Commander of the Border Troops, Lieutenant-General Elchin Guliyev informed the media, Trend reports.

According to him, presently operations are being held in the direction of the north line of the Azerbaijani sector of Caspian. At present we have all opportunities for controlling the Azerbaijani sector of Caspian, Guliyev said.

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