Weekly political review

Official News

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has decreed to improve creative conditions for members of the Artists Union.

In this respect the State Committee on State Property Management was ordered to prepare proposals on the full renewal of the Union's building situated in Khagani Street, 19. The Executive power of Baku is to allocate a place on the Absheron Peninsula territory for the construction of a new building.

The Cabinet also plans to set up a special Fund for pensions and scholarships.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, issued a decree to improve the creative conditions for members of the Union of Composers. In this regard, the State Committee on Management of the State Property was instructed to allocate a building for the Union and prepare proposals for the major repair of the building. The Executive Power of Baku city was responsible to allocate a place in the territory of Absheron peninsula for the construction of a creative house for the members of the Union.

The Ministry of Culture Azerbaijan has been instructed to develop proposals to disseminate the works of the Azerbaijani composers, both online and in print. The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan was instructed to set up a special pension foundation.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received Zurab Gumberidze, the Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, in connection with this the accomplishment of his tenure in Azerbaijan.

The Georgian embassy in Baku informed that President Aliyev also awarded him Order of Shohrat (Fame) for contribution in the development of bilateral relationships between the two countries.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed a decree calling up Azerbaijan citizens to the military service and transferring the servicemen who have completed military service to reserve. The decree calls up citizens born in 1989 and completing 18 years old, as well as citizens born in 1972-1988 to the military service. In addition, the decree envisages transferring the servicemen who have completed military service to reserve.

On 13 March the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbangulu Berdimuhammadov, phoned to the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. The President of Turkmenistan expressed his gratitude to Ilham Aliyev for the congratulation letter sent to Berdimuhammadov on his election as President. He stressed that Turkmenistan is interested in developing the bilateral relations with Azerbaijan, adding that his Country stands ready to implement concrete projects for this purpose.

In his turn, Ilham Aliyev, stated that Azerbaijan is ready to develop the co-operation with Turkmenistan. The State Heads discussed issues of mutual interest.

The First ladies of Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Syria yesterday praised Qatar's initiatives in the last few years for revamping its educational sector at the inaugural session of the UNESCO Regional Conference in support of Global Literacy.

Aliyeva, the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, pointed out that it was a matter of major concern that more than 100 million children around the world did not have access to elementary education,

Gulf Times newspaper wrote.

Citing Qatar as perhaps the most dynamically developing nation not only in the region, but also in the world, Aliyeva said that its improved educational reforms contributed remarkably to Qatar's economic progress in recent years.

The Azerbaijan representative said it was heartening indeed to learn of Qatar's new educational experiments and innovations. "It is a matter of pride for the country that a number of new generation schools and foreign universities have begun to function in the country," she said.

Aliyeva said she was hopeful that more centres of higher learning levels would emerge in Qatar within the next few years.

Recalling that the biggest handicap of her country in the last century was its low level of literacy, Aliyeva said Azerbaijan overcame that hurdle many years ago and now boasted a 98% literacy.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, stated at the meeting with the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for South Caucasus and central Asia, Robert Simmons, that Azerbaijan actively co-operates with NATO. Remembering his recent visit to Brussels, the President highlighted effective negotiations with the Secretary General of the Alliance. During the meeting, the sides discussed the prospects of the future co-operation between Azerbaijan and Alliance.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed a decree to make amendments and annexes to the law "On status of Deputies of Azerbaijan Parliament". Due to the order, the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan is in charge of presenting proposals to the President within a month to bring the legislative acts into conformity with the law "On making amendments and changes to the law "On status of Deputies of Azerbaijan Parliament""

The law "On making amendments and changes to the law "On status of Deputies of Azerbaijan Parliament"" was adopted by Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] on 1 February. According to the amendments and annexes to the law "On status of Deputies of Azerbaijan Parliament", article 21-1 "Assistant Deputy" will be added.

The article says that the Deputy may have assistant to ensure his/her activities. The assistant deputies will be financed from the State budget. Employing assistant deputies will be regulated by the labor legislation.

Eleven interstate and intergovernmental agreements, covering cooperation between Tajikistan and Azerbaijan in different spheres have been in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, on 15 March during President Aliyev's official visit to this country, Tajikistan's media reports. All documents were signed in a large meeting with the participation of the two delegations, which began immediately after the meeting between Presidents of Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, Emomali Rahmonov and Ilham Aliyev.

These are Agreements on Friendship and Cooperation, an Agreement on Non-Visa visits of the two countries, On mutual investments, On Trade and Economic Cooperation, On Cooperation in the sphere of culture and arts, in the sphere of tourism, On cooperation and mutual assistance in the custom field, On cooperation in the sphere of standardization, meteorology and accrediting. The two sides also inked an Agreement on Cooperation in the international automobile transport, in the sphere of railway transport and on air transportation.

Dushanbe is ready to put necessary efforts for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The President of Tajikistan stated this position of his country in a news conference held at the end of talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

Tajikistan backs the liberation of the occupied lands of Azerbaijan and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the international law and principles. The heads of state stated that they succeeded to discuss all actual issues on the development of bilateral cooperation. At a large meeting with participation of the government official from the countries the Presidents attached the importance to mutual cooperation. President Aliyev called on Dushanbe to join the regional projects implemented with the participation of Azerbaijan.

Parliament

There is a necessity in the adoption a draft law on Legal Service. Safa Mirzayev, Head of Apparat of Milli Majlis, said in a meting with the Executive Director of the Association of Law and Book-Keeping, James Mendelson. Mirzayev said that he attaches great importance to the development of relationships of independent Azerbaijan with the authoritative international organizations. Muxh work has been in the country in sphere of legal reforms. In his turn Mendelson said that this organization functions in 95 world countries.

Foreign Policy

Maria Kalivis, the Regional Director of the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe countries of the UN Children Fund (UNICEF), reported that Azerbaijan has the potential, from being a receiver, to becoming a donor, of humanitarian aid.

The condition of the children in Azerbaijan and the activity held within health protection, education and social protection are the major issues for discussion during the 3-day visit of Kalivis to Azerbaijan beginning 13 March.

Within the framework of his visit, Kalivis has met the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov and the Chairman of the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Issues, Hijran Huseynova.

Kalivis is expected to meet Elchin Afandiyev, the Vice-Minister of the Azerbaijani Government, Elmira Suleymanova, the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan, Ogtay Asadov, the Speaker of the Milli Mejlis (Azerbaijani Parliament), as well as Misir Mardanov, the Minister for Education, Azad Rahimov, the Minister for Youth and Sport, Ogtay Shiraliyev, the Minister for Health, Fizuli Alakbarov, the Minister for Labour and Social Protection, Haydar Babayev, the Minister for Economic Development, and the Ambassadors from the European countries and the United States to Azerbaijan.

During the meetings Kalivis will consider the necessity to achieve the Aims of the Millennium. The Regional Director will also visit the forced migrants living in the Darnagul settlement of Baku.

The Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Georgia refuted the information that the parties had signed an agreement on the joint use of the monastry complex David Garedji.

The leader of the Georgian Party, Jondi Bagaturiya, demands that the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Manjgaladze, be held criminally responsible, Trend Special Correspondent in Georgia reports.

Bagaturiya stated on 12 March that Manjgaladze is responsible for signing the agreement with Azerbaijan on the joint use of the Georgian monastry complex David Garedji. He stressed that during the recent meeting of the Georgian-Azerbaijani Commission for Delimitation and Demarcation of Borders, proposals were made on the joint use of the complex for tourism purposes and Manjgaladze had signed this agreement.

As a result of the recent meeting of the Commission in Baku, 300 km long territory was agreed in Agstafa district of Azerbaijan. In addition, a decision was made to continue the process of delimitation around the David Garedji Complex with a team of experts.

The United States calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to remove the shortages exiting in the sphere of human rights, indicated in the annual report by the US Department of State and is ready to assistance to the Government in this respect. Anne Derse, the US Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Azerbaijan, made this statement in a meeting with students of Khazar University. The annual report by the US Department of State specified Azerbaijan as a country, where the situation with human rights has worsened, she noted. Based on the report, the diplomat cited the frequent attacks on journalists, violation of rights for freedom of assembly, the worsening of situation in prisons, corruption in the legal system and police as negative milestones.

The Azerbaijani authorities are to remove the shortages, because Azerbaijan has undertaken serious obligations before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, the European Union and NATO in the sphere of provision of human rights, the diplomat stressed. " Azerbaijan selected the way of statehood based on the western values and should meet these values through its decisiveness," Derse stressed. The Ambassador also noted that the progress achieved on the way of democratization. The report mentioned the religious tolerance, the attempts taken by the government in fighting against corruption, namely the establishment of State Commission on Drug Enforcement as positive milestones.

Azerbaijan is a country rich with energy and human resources and the Government can achieve democracy together with the people. The international community and the United States are ready to render every assistance and support the country 's authorities. are ready to render every assistance and support the country 's authorities.

A program of the official visit of the Polish President Lech Kachinskiy to Azerbaijan is almost prepared. The Ambassador of Poland to Azerbaijan, Kshishtoff Krayevskiy, said in talks with journalists on 13 March that during the visit the President will hold consultations with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, meet with Prime Minister, Artur Rasizade, Chairman of the Parliament, Oktay Asadov and other senior officials.

The program of President's visit includes putting a wreath at the monument to Heydar Aliyev and memorial at the Cemetery of Martyrs.

Krayevskiy informed that the legal and regulation base of the two countries covers almost all spheres and is comprised of around 20 documents. At present time the new draft agreements are under discussion and they might be signed in the course of the forthcoming visit.

The Polish President's visit to Azerbaijan is scheduled for approximately 30-31 March.

The Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Zurab Gumberidze, stated that Georgia has always fulfilled its obligations under the regional and international projects and will do so under the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route.

The diplomat assured that the Government of Georgia will never step back from its obligations and resolve problems linked with the project timely. He was commenting on statements by Armenians residing in the territory of Georgia on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route. Generally, the diplomat appraised the level of political and economic relationships between the two countries. The cooperation in the energy sector is developing more dynamically, while the level of trade and economic relationships satisfies both sides, he noted.

The diplomat noted that the amount of goods turnover reached $500mln. He voiced his confidence that the cooperation between the two countries will be further developed and deepened. Gumberidze stressed the necessity for the development of an agreement and legal basis between Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Gumberidze noted that he had worked in Azerbaijan since the opening of the embassy. Since 1995 and over the past 9 years he served as an Ambassador. After completion of his diplomatic tenure Gumberidze will lead the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation. His successor is expected to come in the near future,' the diplomat stressed.

Gumberidze also thanked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for awarding him Order of Fame.

The Knesset (Parliament) of Israel did not hold a hearing regarding the so-called Armenian "genocide".

The Deputy of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Evda Abramov, said that the Hayam Arom, Chairman of the Meres Party, who initiated the hearing, gave a speech at the 14 March meeting of the Israeli Parliament. "He offered to include the item on the agenda. However, at that time there were very few deputies at the hall of Parliament. Those who took the initiative disgraced themselves as many deputies had previously stated that they would not participate in the hearing. Of those, 5 were members of the Meres Party and several members were from other parties," Abramov said.

According to him, during the speech of the Chairman of the Meres Party, the deputies who were in the hall expressed their dissatisfaction with Arom and left the hall. As a result, the item was not included on the agenda and discussions did not take place.

"I consider that the issue of the so-called Armenian "genocide" will no longer be presented to the agenda of Israeli Parliament and this issue is closed. Those who had initiated the hearing had promised to do so to the Armenians residing in Israel. However, they could not keep their promises and have in turn disgraced themselves," Abramov added.

According to him, the Chairman of the Israeli-Azerbaijani Inter-Parliamentary Friendly Group, Joseph Shagal, played a key role in averting the hearing.

The Deputy of Milli Mejlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] as well as the Head of the Azerbaijani-Ukrainian Inter-Parliamentary Relations Group, Farrukh Zeynalov, met with the Chairman of the High Rada of Ukraine, Alexander Moroz, Trend Special Correspondent reports quoting Parliament of Ukraine.

The meeting covered a number of co-operation issues between the legislative bodies of the two countries will take place on 14 March in Kiev.

The Press Service of the President of Lithuania informed that the President, Valdas Adamkus, received the Ilyas Efendiyev international award for his support of Azerbaijani aspirations abroad.

The Lithuanian president is amongst the first award winners of the Ilyas Efendiyev Foundation which honors Azerbaijani and foreign nationals for promoting Azerbaijani aspirations and culture.

At a recent Baku Congress of the Turkic Diaspora, Ambassador Halina Kobeckaite, Adviser to the President of Lithuania, was presented with the international Qobustan award for promoting the Turkic culture across the world. Ambassador Kobeckait has translated many works by Turkic-language authors into Lithuanian.

The newly-appointed Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Georgia to Azerbaijan, Nikolaza Natbiladze, is expected to arrive in Azerbaijan in the latter part of March once certain technicalities concerning the Ambassador's future diplomatic activities are resolved.

The Parliament of Georgia had adopted the candidacy of Nikolza Natbiladze to this post. Prior to his recent appointment, Natbiladze was the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia.

Mamuka Balavadze, the Press Secretary of the Embassy of Georgia to Azerbaijan, informed that the data on shutdown of 42 Azerbaijani schools in Georgia does not represent the facts and the Embassy is not informed of the events. He was commenting on the statements of the political movement Way of Azerbaijan made on 16 March during the picket hold in front of the Embassy office

The Embassy received petition the resolution of the activists and intends to apply to the corresponding bodies in Georgia for explanation.

During the today's press-conference dedicated to the results of his visit to Azerbaijan, Robert Simmons, the Special Envoy of the NATO Secretary General to South Caucasus, has stated that Azerbaijan has not expressed a wish to join the Euro-Atlantic Alliance.

According to him, Azerbaijan is still restricting itself with cooperation within the NATO Individual Partnership Plan. "NATO is open for everybody," noted the NATO diplomat, and added that the Alliance was ready to discuss wishes of all candidates on joining the Organization with both the NATO member-states and Russia, which earlier opposed the expansion of the Alliance.

Mr. Simmons noted that the Alliance had established successful and trusted relations with Azerbaijan. The NATO official noted that the first two-year stage of cooperation, which had been based on the four directions, had been concluded: "Common values, strict reforms, extraordinary, civil planning, and projecting, and public diplomacy". According to him, both the appraisal of the first and projecting of the next one are expected to take in Brussels soon.

Mr. Simmons positively evaluated bilateral cooperation within the project on utilization of jet fuel "Melange" and project "Salioghlu".

According to the NATO diplomat, the NATO leadership welcomes Azerbaijan's participation in peacekeeping operations carried out in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Moreover, Mr. Simmons also noted that the Alliance would only welcome Azerbaijan's expanding its making contribution in Afghanistan. According to him, all decisions of that kind will depend only on the Azerbaijani Authorities.

The Municipality of the georgian City of Rustavi has made a decision to name one of the parks of the City after Azerbaijan All-Nation Leader, Ex-President Heydar Aliyev today. According to Namig Guliyev, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Georgia, the park is situated not far from the Office of the Governor of the Georgian Territory of Kvemo-Kartli, the area, where Azerbaijanis compactly live. Notably, Rustavi is the administrative centre of the above-mentioned Georgian territory.

Moreover, a bust dedicated to Heydar Aliyev will be erected in the same park as well.

An architect of the City has been commissioned to present the project and design of the forthcoming bust to the Municipality of the Georgian City.

Nagorno-Karabkah

The French Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Bernard Fassier, described his negotiations with the Heads of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the recent several days in Baku and Yerevan as "very constructive".

Presenting a speech at the briefing in Yerevan on 12 March, Bernard Fassier stated that co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will hold a meeting in Geneva on 13 March to finally form the agenda of negotiations of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia scheduled for 14 March, Mediamax reports.

"If the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Geneva is successful to formalize the key principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, one or two more meetings of the Foreign Ministers will take place, the results of which will be presented to the Presidents of the two countries for their consideration," Fassier said, adding that in any case, the meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia will not take place until parliamentary elections in Armenia on 12 May.

Ali Hasanov, Head of Public Political Department of Azerbaijan President's Executive Power, stated that unless Armenia realizes the intense situation as a result of its aggressive policy, Azerbaijan will have to take decisive steps.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated at the 1st Forum of the Azerbaijani-Turkish Diaspora organizations in Baku on 9 March that unless Armenia withdraws from its aggressive policy, its fate will be questionable. According to Hasanov, Azerbaijan's reliable position by is based on its economic opportunities, as well as boosting authority in the world and the South Caucasus.

Azerbaijan, whose part of the territory is under the Armenian occupation, demonstrates its just positions in the international community. "At the present time many countries in the world recognize Azerbaijan's rights based on international rule of law and territorial integrity, and states the occupation of its territory by another country. It actually puts Armenia in an uncomfortable position. The Armenians should understand that they should respect international law in order to influence the modern and globalizing trans-national world policy.

In this respect, Armenians feel depressed and this in turn forms a negative impact on their position. If they do not draw a conclusion, Azerbaijan will take decisive steps using its economic, political, social and international relations," he stressed.

The Deputy Secretary General of the North-Atlantic Alliance, Jan Furne, briefed the media in Yerevan on 12 March that NATO supports peaceful solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ARKA reports.

"We have repeatedly stated that settling Nagorno-Karabakh conflict lies in other plane, especially in the competence of the OSCE Minsk Group," he said.

According to Furne, the Head of the Alliance is grateful to Armenia for the information on Nagorno-Karabakh, provided by the Government of Armenia within the NATO-Armenia Individual Partnership Program.

"Not involved in Nagorno-Karabakh problem, we attentively follow the processes around this conflict," he said.

Jan Furne is in Armenia within NATO Week held between 12 and 16 March.

The Council of Europe hosted a meeting of the Committee on Political

Hajiyeva said that the discussions were very positive. They focused on the democratic situation in Europe, human rights and freedom.

The gathering also discussed the disputable territories called 'black points'. Protesting against the absence of Nagorno-Karabakh which is also one of the disputable regions in Europe, she proposed to include it in this list. The proposal was adopted after a majority vote and Nagorno-Karabakh was included on the list

PACE Co-rapporteur Andreas Herkel also said that Karabakh was considered as one of the uncontrolled regions.

Nizami Bahmaov, the head of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, stated that a meeting of the Azerbaijan and Armenian Foreign Ministers, organized by the OSCE Minsk Group, does not promise any serious breakthrough in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He reminded that the meetings are continued within the framework of the Paris agreement and said that the co-chairs will organize a next meeting of the Ministers on 14 March. "I guess the discussions will focus on some disputable milestones. The major progress can be expected from the meeting of the Presidents of two countries," Bahmanov noted.

Bahmanov stressed that the continuation of peace talks is the greatest compromise and any other compromise is out of question. He was commenting on the statement by the Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian, who urged that should Azerbaijan make a compromise, the progress is possible.

"It is not worth to expect a compromise from an belligerent country in the ongoing peace negotiations," he stressed.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry announced that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have met with the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, in Geneva in the early hours of 14 March. Prior to this, the co-chairs held another meeting the details of which have not been publicized as yet.

The meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenia, Vardan Oskanyan, has commenced in Geneva.

The Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Switzerland, Elchin Amirbeyov, said that the meeting would continue for approximately 2 hours. The meeting is also attended by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( USA, France and Russia).

On 13 March, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan held an unofficial meeting with the co-chairs. On the evening of 14 March, Mammadyarov will leave for Dushanbe to accompany the President of Azerbaijan on his official visit to Tajikistan.

The statement made by the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) on 15 March says that the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Geneva with the participation of the Co-chairs of the OSCE Mink Group once again demonstrated the pro-Armenian positions of the mediators.

The negotiations focused on several principles of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. Debates were organized on the issue of withdrawal of the Armenian troops from then regions around Nagorno-Karabakh and presentation of intermediate status to the separatist regime and creation of conditions for their relations with the international organizations. "As seen, the Co-chairs of the OSCE Mink Group do not want to recognize the fact of occupation of the Azerbaijani lands by Armenia and try to draw away the attention from the occupation fact, support Armenian occupation by giving intermediate status to the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh," the statement says.

KLO considers that all issues discussed during the negotiations are contrary to the interests of Azerbaijan. The Co-chairs unambiguously try to satisfy the requirements of the Armenian side, implement their claims. Azerbaijan should refuse such negotiations and release its occupied territories through military way

The Defence Minister of Azerbaijan, Safar Abiyev, stated on 15 March at the meeting with NATO Special Representative of the Secretary General for South Caucasus and Central Asia, Robert Simmons, that Armenia places large number of unregistered military technique and ammunitions in occupied Azerbaijani lands. The Minister said that Armenia is continuing its occupation policy in the region. "This policy brings us to the conclusion that official Yerevan does not want to regulate the conflict. Therefore, Azerbaijan draws a concrete conclusion from this and it needs to take measures to release occupied lands through any way. Azerbaijan should stand ready to liberate its lands from occupant Armenia by using all means," Abiyev said.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Daniel Fried, stated that Kosovo is not to be used as a precedent for any other area.

Fried made this statement while commenting on Serbian Prime Minister's statement that independence of Kosovo will become a dangerous precedent in the UN history, mediamax reports.

There is no situation anywhere in the world that bears a resemblance to Kosovo. There is no place where the UN has been administered for seven, now close to eight, years. There is no case where NATO was forced to intervene to stop a massive process of ethnic cleansing. The precedent simply does not apply," Fried said.

"We have said before and we'll say it again as many times as we have to, that Kosovo is not a precedent for any other area whether that's Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechnya, Transdniester, Corsica, or Texas," he added.

During the week the Armenian are divisions violated the ceasefire regime in the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline.

The Armenian Armed Forces located at the occupied Azerbaijani Village of Bash Garvand of the Agdam District, shot at the Azerbaijani National Army for 15 minutes starting from 22:20 on March 12th, a Trend Regional Correspondent reports.

The divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces once again broke the ceasefire regime on the frontline in the territory of Agdam district of Azerbaijan. As a result, the soldier of the Military Unit N, Shirinov Dilgam, died from the bullet wound. He had been called up to the military service in October 2006 from Ismayilli district of Azerbaijan. Shirinov's dead body was sent to Ismayilli district to be buried. The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan did not confirm and refute this information.

Political Movements

Javad Derehti, the Chairman of the World Congress of Azerbaijanis (WCA), reported that he greatly appreciates that the Ist Forum of Azerbaijani and Turkish diasporas in Baku initiated by the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was finally held.

"While visiting Turkey, Ilham Aliyev suggested that in the first half of next year the Ist Forum of the Azerbaijani and Turkish diasporas should be held in Baku. He has kept his word and held the Forum within that time. The fact that the President fulfiled his promise has inspired me and I am going to work at my highest capacity in the future," Derehti noted.

The Chairman added that the Forum was a form of introduction as the Turks from Turkey, South Azerbaijan, Northern Cyprus, Kirkuk and Azerbaijani diasporas from all over the world got to know one another. "The important strategy will be discussed at the forthcoming conference of the WCA. A large number of its representatives from the diasporas will be invited," Derehti said.

Concerning the activity of the WCA, Derehti insisted that there is neither discrimination nor dissidence within the organization. "Some of our friends failed to read the message we sent on the internet," he noted.

Ali Hasanov, the Head of the Social-Political Department at the President Executive Apparat, informed the Bill on Political Perties will be submitted for Parliamentarian consideration this year.

He explained why the submission of the Bill to Parliament is postponed. "The Bill on Political Parties should be considered in society for a longer period of time. All the social and political organizations as well as the citizens of the country should express their viewpoints. The Bills approved by wide social considerations are more long-term and optimal," Hasanov said.

He added that as a result of the 1st Forum of the Azerbaijani and Turkish diasporas held in Baku the arrangements of the diasporas now will be more well organized.

"Our countries attempt to resolve a number of external problems by means of the diasporas. The diaspora organizations up to now operating separately will unite and function as a serious social and political factor. Well-organized, they will be able to exert influence upon social and political processes abroad, in the countries they are living in. Through our compatriots working in the elected bodies, governmental structures of the foreign countries we can influence the policy of the countries concerning Azerbaijan," he stressed.

MP Ilyas Ismayilov, the Chairman of the Adalat Party, informed that the formation of new oppositional alliances before the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan is possible.

"Adalat Party supports the unification of the opposition. We back progressive ideas. The unification of the politicians and joint struggle under the national matters will be a positive step. The party is ready to analyze all the proposals o\this respect," Ismayilov urged.

The case on journalist Rafig Taghi and the Editor-in-Chief of Sanat Gazeti newspaper, Samkir Sadagatoghlu, was sent to the Sabayil District Court for trial

The Court informed that the case passed under the execution of Judge Yusif Kerimov. The date for the preparatory hearings has not been fixed yet.

Rafik Taghi and Samir Sadagatoghlu are charged in accordance with Article 283 (kindling of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility) of the Criminal Code.

The Co-chairman of Azadlyg Political Block, Ali Aliyev, said that he regretfully accepts the decision of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) to leave the Azadlyg Block.

After the decision of the Azadlyg Block to terminate its activities within ADP, on 12 March ADP made the decision to completely leave the Block.

At present Azadlyg Block brings together four opposition parties, Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, Liberal Party and Citizen and Development Party. Aliyev said that the ADP made its decision quickly. "We had grounds for our decision as there was a misunderstanding within ADP. ADP was given time to clarify the situation. This decision to stop ADP's activity is not aimed at the breakdown of the party, but by its hasty decision, ADP had made a mistake," he said.

The opposition parties want to, in these and other forms, use the riches of the former Health Minister of Azerbaijan, Ali Insanov. Expressing attention to Insanov's protection by the opposition parties, the Deputy Executive Secretary of ruling New Azerbaijan Party, Siyavush Novruzov, said that up to now, the oppositionists have not protected any teacher or ordinary man. "If corrupters or bribe takers are involved in the court, the opposition parties stand up to protect them and it means that this organization can not serve as healthy ideas. Formerly the opposition used Rasul Guliyev as well," Novruzov said.

In addition, he said that at the second congress of New Azerbaijan Party, Ali Insanov called Isa Gambar as genetic sick. Moreover, Insanov called Rauf Arifoglu as Neanderthal man and Rasul Guliyev - SPID. "If now they unite and reach agreement, I have not words. Probably in the future they will be as Ali Insanov or Ali Insanov as them," Novruzov added.

The Former Health Minister of Azerbaijan and also former member of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), Ali Insanov, cannot be considered a political prisoner," said the Deputy Executive Secretary of NAP, Siyavush Novruzov, commenting on the fact that several legal observers consider Ali Insanov as a political prisoner.

"Ali Hasanov has had no political views. He is accused of bribery, corruption and other such crimes. No-one can call him a political prisoner," Novruzov said.

The New Azerbaijan Party was created in 1992 in Nakchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan by the ex-President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. Currently, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, is the Chairman of the Party.

Isa Gambar, the Chairman of the Musavat party, informed that his party was not preparing for the 2008 Presidential Elections and does not have discussions on the nomination of a candidate.

Gambar denied the media reports on his meetings with the Leader of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party and the Ex-Chairman of the Azerbaijan Democracy Party, Rasul Guliyev.

He also noted that he had discussed with them neither Presidential elections nor any other issues.

"The Musavat party does not take immediate preparations for the Presidential elections as for the time being we are interested neither in the elections nor in the unified candidate from the opposition. We deal with the problems of the society and allow people to define their fate themselves," Gambar noted.

The oppositional Musavat was founded in 1992. The Chairman of the party Isa Gambar was the Speaker of the Parliament in 1992-1993, and balloted in the 2003 presidential elections.

The Chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Goran Lennmarker, who participated at the meeting of the PACE Permanent Commission as a guest, said that after the completion of the parliamentary elections in Armenia scheduled to take place in May, a peaceful agreement may be signed on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement," said the member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Rafael Huseynov, who attended the meeting of the Permanent Commission.

According him, Lennmarker delivered a report regarding the political situation of Europe. His report touched up on the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said that a peaceful agreement may be signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. Lennmarker stressed that the sides have discussed the proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group and an agreement was reached on several aspects. "Lennmarker said that discussions continue over several issues and work is carried out in direction of preparing the peaceful agreement," Huseynov said.

According to the MP, Lennmarker noted that in 2001, in the American Southern Town of Kiu-West, Azerbaijan and Armenia were too close to come to an peaceful agreement. However, even now, the positions of the both sides are very close to each other. "He added that the resolution of the conflict depends on mutual conflicts, and both Armenia and Azerbaijan should be ready for making mutual compromises. At the same time, the peaceful resolution depends both on the two Presidents and readiness of the both nations for compromises," said Mr. Huseynov.

Mr. Lennmarker also noted that the peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may have positive effects on the resolution of other conflicts.

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