Weekly political review

Official chronicle

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated in the district of Masally in south Azerbaijan, on 9 April that Azerbaijan is ready to organize the Olympic Games. He was addressing at the opening ceremony of the Sports and Olympic Center.

He noted that taking into consideration its potential, Azerbaijan has become very sports orientated Azerbaijan has appealed to international organizations with the proposal of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. The President voiced his hopes that international organizations will take into consideration Azerbaijan's appeal.

President Aliyev stated that the first sports complex was opened in Azerbaijan in 2000. Since then, 11 more sports complexes have been built in. The construction of 14 more complexes are in the pipeline. The head of state noted that such complexes will be built throughout the country within the framework of the program on socio-economic development of regions.

The President of the European Olympic Committee, Patrick Hickey, participated in the ceremony.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, said on 9 April during his visit to the district of Jalilabad that the budget of Azerbaijan will be reconsidered in May to increase the allocation for the development of the regions.

During his visit to the southern region of Azerbaijan, the president visited several central facilities of Jalilabad in the fist half of the day. Thus, the State Head of Azerbaijan looked at the building of a bus station which has been reconstructed. Thereafter, the President visited Heydar Aliyev Park where he met with the old people of the region. Later, Aliyev got familiarized with the construction process of the biggest school in Jalilabad district intended for 1100 pupils.

The president's visits to the southern regions of the country are now complete.

On 10 April the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, visited the History Museum of Azerbaijan to get familiarized with ongoing repair work in the museum. The repairs at the Museum commenced in September 2005 in accordance with a Presidential decree. The patterns on the walls of the building constructed by Azerbaijani millionaire, Haji Zeyhalabdin Tagiyev, are being restored by an Italian company. The President issued tasks regarding the construction.

On 10 April the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received the Head of Mermere Group of Turkey, Akkan Suver. The meeting highlighted the successful development of friendly and fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey and confidence for future development of the cooperation between the Mermere group and Azerbaijan.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, said while receiving the Indian Minister of Trade, Jairam Ramesh, on 11 April that there are good opportunities between Azerbaijan and India to develop co-operation in many spheres. The State Head of Azerbaijan expressed his dissatisfaction with the present economic relations, saying that relations do not reflect the potential shared by the two countries.

Aliyev voiced his confidence that the present visit of the Indian delegation will serve the expansion of commercial and economic relations between Azerbaijan and India.

On 12 April the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received the Chairman of British-Azerbaijani Society, Lord Frazer. Frazer said that the 10th anniversary of the Society will complete this year and due to it, events will be held in Baku. The meeting highlighted that the relations between Azerbaijan and Great Britain are developing successfully and the British-Azerbaijani Society makes its contribution to the development of these relations.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has signed a decree confirming the State Program on Improvement of Pre-School Education in Azerbaijan (2007-2010). The Program aims to cerate conditions necessary for the intellectual, physical and psychological development of the pre-school-age children and establish the pre-school education in accordance with the modern demands. The State Program will be implemented by the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received on 12 April the Governor of the Kurgan Region of Russia, Oleg Bogomolov. The Head of State offered any assistance to encourage the bilateral relationships between Azerbaijan and the different regions of Russia, including Kurgan and voiced his hope for future cooperation with this region.

In turn Bogomolov noted that the Azerbaijani Diaspora in Kurgan takes an active part in socio-public life of the region.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated to a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 13 April that Nagorno-Karabakh will be never granted independence and the Armenian-occupied lands will be liberated. The meeting was dedicated to result of the first quarter of 2007.

He attributed Armenia's non-constructive position on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to their failures. Reminding those concerned of the conduct of talks on the resolution of the conflict within the framework of the Prague Process, the Azerbaijani President stated anew that Nagorno-Karabakh will be never granted independence.

Estimating the signing of a contract on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan railway as the major event of the fourth quarter, the President stated that it is one of the factors testifying Azerbaijan's independence in the settlement of regional issues. "Despite attempts made by Armenia, which was set aside from the process, to hinder the construction of the route, thanks to its political will, Azerbaijan achieved positive resolution to the problem," the Head of State stressed.

Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan's territory since 1992. Until the present the Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and seven districts attached to it are under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces. In 1994 Azerbaijan and Armenia reached a ceasefire agreement.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 13 April that at the present time Azerbaijan's currency reserves consist of $4.1bln. The meeting was dedicated to the result of 2007's first quarter.

"Though stratification is too peculiar to oil-rich countries, rigid observation of principles of justice and transparency in Azerbaijan enables every citizen to benefit from oil profits," the President stressed. For instance, the construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline was carried out at the expense of oil revenues.

Regarding the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline being in full capacity, export of natural gas from the Shah Deniz field, was the recipient of major work done in the first quarter of 2007. The President confirmed the role of production of energy resources in the Caspian and their further export as strengthening the economy.

The President noted that this factor serves as a serious mean affecting the strengthening of the authority of Azerbaijan, which pursues independent policy in the region and in the world.

President Aliyev also stressed that the high growth rate of the economy, which is observed nowhere else in the world, continued in the first quarter of 2007.

Reminding Ministers of the 26%-rise in GDP in 2005 and 35%-rise in 2006, the President applauded the approximate 40% growth in the first quarter of 2007, while industrial production rose by 39%.

Speaking about Azerbaijan's state policy, Aliyev noted that in January the minimum salary was increased to 50 manats/month and average pension to 70 manats/ month. A total of 55,000 people were attracted to the program that targeted social aid and people's incomes rose by 53%.

Addressing the gathering Samir Sharifov, the Azerbaijani Finances Minister, Heydar Babayev, the Azerbaijan Minister for Economic Development, Fazil Mammadov, the Taxes Minister, Azad Rahimov, the Azerbaijani Minister for Youth and Sports, Elman Rustamov, the Chairman of the Managing Bard of the National Bank of Azerbaijan, Rovnag Abdullayev, the President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), spoke about the work done in the first quarter of 2007 by the state bodies they head.

In his final remarks President Aliyev drew attention to the country's economic problems affecting social well-being and gave instructions on minimization of inflation.

At the same time, the President touched upon the subjective reasons for the increase of prices in consumer markets explaining it with the absence of healthy rivalry at the market level, and in some cases due to the existence of monopolies.

The Head of State noted the importance of the use of administrative measures, along with the development of entrepreneurship, for removing negative obstacles. He also gave definite instructions for ensuring progress in all spheres in the county.

Azerbaijan's President, Ilham Aliyev, has expressed his deep condolences to the Jewish community of the country on the occasion of the genocide, which was committed against the Jews during World War II, Trend reports referring to National AzTV Channel.

In his letter, addressed to the World's Jews, the Head of the Azerbaijan State says that as a result of this terrible crime against the entire humanity, millions of innocent people were killed, including old men and women, children, and little babies, by adding that the executors committed their crimes with an unprecedented brutality.

"In April, 1943, in Warsaw, Jewish prisoners of the Warsaw Ghetto rose a rebellion against fascism, against ethnical and religious division between the people, and gave up their lives in an unequal fight for their national self-consciousness and human's dignity. This event, which was stamped in the history as the day of misfortune and heroism of the Jewish people, marks by the international community with deep respect. The entire World honours this day with bitterness in the heart," says the letter.

The Azerbaijani President also noted that over the last two centuries, the Azerbaijani people themselves have suffered such terrible tragedies like a genocide, deportation, and ethnical clearance

PARLIAMENT

The member of the Azerbaijan Parliament's Permanent Commission on Social Policy, MP Malahat Hasanova, said on 9 April that Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] will reconsider the living minimum.

She said that this issue is on the agenda. "We have much time until the end of the spring session. This issue is on the agenda and it is not excluded that it will be discussed at the spring session of the Parliament," Hasanova stressed.

In addition, the parliamentarian said that due to the expansion of the financial opportunities of Azerbaijan , the budget revenues are possible to be reconsidered. The necessity to reconsider the living minimum was caused by the decision of the Tariff Council of Azerbaijan to increase the energy resources prices.

Mrs. Guliyeva noted that the statement was made by opposition party Musavat, and addressed to PACE and the Milli Majlis said that Mrs. Guliyeva was not a member of the opposition party, therefore she could not represent the Musavat Party at PACE. "They propose that Nasib Nasibli will be included in the delegation. The leadership of the Milli Majlis has reviewed this issue and Mr. Akparli has been included in the delegation," she said.

According to the rules and regulations of the Council of Europe, the major and backup team of the delegation should consist of two members of the ruling party, two members from opposition parties, and two neutral members representing the country to PACE.

The Azerbaijani parliamentary Delegation to PACE is currently headed by Samad Seyyidov, the Chairman of the Permanent Commission for International and Inter-parliamentary relations of the Milli Majlis. The Azerbaijani Delegation to PACE currently includes the following MPs: Gultakin Hadjiyeva, Rafael Husseynov, Ganira pashayeva, Sabir Hadjiyev, Aydin Mirzazadeh, Aydin Abbasov, Akram Abdullayev, Fazail Ibrahimli, Aynur Guliyeva and Ali Husseynov

"Several months ago, I appealed to the Head of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] to transfer me from the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to another organisation. There was no need for this issue to be politicized or to provide incorrect reasons for my request," the Member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Elmira Akhundova, stated in her exclusive interview with Trend.

Akhundova said that she is represented as a reserve within the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE. "Despite this, I have worked actively. I made at least one visit per month abroad as part of my work with PACE and attended meetings of the committees. This presented certain difficulties for me and for this reason, I appealed to the Head of the Azerbaijani Parliament several months ago to transfer me to another group," she stated.

She highlighted the fact that the deputies who represent Azerbaijan in PACE are working harder than the representatives of the international organizations. Therefore, at least one foreign visit per month is to be made to participate in the discussions of the reports and work with the PACE representatives who visit Azerbaijan. "This has imposed certain difficulties for me and I appealed to the Head of the Azerbaijani Parliament to dismiss me from the delegation during rotation. However, I did request to be transferred another delegation," Akhundova stressed.

Akhundova said that her appeal was linked with her health and family problems. In addition to that she is writing 4-5 books and her activities in PACE inhibits her creative work. "I would like to complete the books and commence work on new projects," Akhundova said. She stressed that this was a technical issue and should not have been politicized. According to her, several people are keen to attach a political angle to this issue and connect it with the speech of fellow parliamentarian Huseyn Abdullayev. "It is as though I have been dismissed from the PACE delegation after my speech defending Abdullayev. This is not the case and the attitude towards me is good," she said.

Akhundova stated that she met with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, during his visit to Masally district on 9 April. "I spoke to the President of the problems with Masally for nearly ten minutes. In addition, we discussed my proposal to hold a business forum in Masally," she added.

Akhundova said that she would transfer to another international organization with pleasure. According to her, this issue has not been finalized as yet. "Should I be offered such a proposal, I would take it with pleasure," she underlined.

Akhundova made the suggestion that it would be a good idea, after several years, to transfer the deputies who represent Azerbaijan into other various international organizations. This could provide an opportunity to gather experience within international organizations. Akhundova said that she would continue her activities as Deputy.

The member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, Elmira Akhundova, was replaced with the deputy from Musavat Party, Iltizam Akberly.

A meeting of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament] on 10 April approved the Tbilisi declaration on regional cooperation signed by Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The deputy Chairman of the Parliament, Valeh Aleskerov, said that the agreement had been signed on 7 February 2007 by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili and Prime Minister of Georgia, Rajab Tayyub Erdogan.

He highlighted the great importance of the document. "This document shows the increase of the role of Azerbaijan in regional cooperation and in the process of realizing international projects," Aleskerov said, adding that this document is a beginning of the new and significant stage in regional cooperation. After Aleskerov's speech, the document was approved. in regional cooperation and in the process of realizing international projects," Aleskerov said, adding that this document is a beginning of the new and significant stage in regional cooperation. After Aleskerov's speech, the document was approved.

MP Samad Seyidov, Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, and Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Commission on International Relationships Azerbaijan is in a war situation. The problem should not appear at the CE as well," he added.

However, even if the Milli Majlis adopts a law on Alternative Military Service, it will be carried out only after the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

During the meeting on 10 April of the Milli Majlis [Azerbaijan Parliament], a program on the co-operation between Azerbaijan and Russia in the humanitarian sector in 2007-2009 was adopted.

MP Shamsaddin Hajiyev, the Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Commission on Science Baku in 2006. The program envisages the development of co-operation in the humanitarian sector during the period 2007 to 2009 and reflects measures on the development in all humanitarian areas, including concrete co-operation in science and education. "The program covers work on the expansion of opportunities for education in Azerbaijani and Russian languages," he noted.

Addressing the meeting, MP Nasib Nasibli said that in accordance with the program, Azerbaijan and Russia are to co-ordinate several humanitarian issues, particularly with regards to the history. He said that the Russian historians have their own feelings on the Caucasus, the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, the Armenians entering the Caucasus and other historic events. Azerbaijan was under Russian occupation, while the Russian and Azerbaijan historians have different opinions on this issue.

Noting the weak potential of Russian universities, the MP opposed co-operating with this country, describing Russia as a student of West. He recommended Azerbaijan co-operate with the West with regards to education.

MP Jamil Hasanli did not agree with his counterparts. He stated that Russia possesses great scientific potential and believes co-operation with Russia in this sector to be very fruitful. However, he opposed the proposal of coordinating the co-operation in the sphere of history.

MP Yagub Mahmudov noted the presence of contradictory milestones in the second item of the agreement. Article 31 of the program indicates that Azerbaijanis residing in Russia and Russians residing in Azerbaijan can receive education in their native language but the third item of the article contradicted this. Russians can receive education in their native language in secondary and high schools, whilst Azerbaijanis only receive education in their native language at Sunday schools. The MP regarded this as inequality.

After tense discussions, the Milli Majlis adopted the Program.

"The Council of Europe highly assesses the processes in Azerbaijan," said the Speaker of Milli Majlis [Azerbaijani Parliament], Oktay Asadov, commenting on the statement of MP Panah Huseyn that Azerbaijan will face intensive discussions at the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). "Unfortunately we have an opinion that the Council of Europe will be daunting for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a full-right member to the Council of Europe. Why should we then fear the Council of Europe? We are participating in the events of the Council of Europe," Mr. Asadov said. He also expressed his concerns regarding the dissemination of such information in the press. He stressed that the information that Azerbaijan should face pressure from the Council of Europe does not correspond to reality. "The Organization highly assesses the processes occurring in Azerbaijan," Mr. Asadov underlined.

The spring session of the PACE will take place between 16 and 20 April in Strasbourg. The session will examine the issues regarding Azerbaijan's obligations undertaken before the Council of Europe.

Ziyafat Askarov, the first Vice-Speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament, stated during the meeting of Milli Mejlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) held on 13 April, that electoral commissions must not be formed on parity basis.

During the discussions of the Law on Additional Authorities for Municipalities the chairman of the oppositional Great Establishment party, Fazail Gazanfaroghlu, noted that the commissions uniting the representatives of the municipal and executive bodies must not be formed on the parity basis for settlement of local problems. Gazanfaroghlu added that such commission would not be able to function in a proper way.

After Gazanfaroghlu's address, the first Vice-Speaker accepted Gazanfaroghlu's opinion. "Despite the fact that Mr. Gazanfaroglu is a member of oppositional party, he is right stating the impossibility of establishing a commission on parity basis," he added.

MP Fazail Aghamali met with respect a decision to reprimand him for the incident at the Parliament, made by the Discipline Commission of the Milli Mejlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) on 14 April. He was reprimanded due to the incident with MP Huseyn Abdullayev. "I was abused by Abdullayev and was in the state of temporary insanity. I could not keep in my emotions," Aghamali said. He considers Abdullayev to be guilty of the incident.

At the inquiry by the Prosecutor General, MP Abdullayev was deprived of immunity and was made answerable due to the recent incident involving Aghamaly at Parliament on 16 March. Abdullayev is being kept at Isolation Cell 1 of Bayil District. He was sentenced to a 2-month imprisonment.

Foreign policy

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Jordan, Elman Arasli, reported on 9 April, during bilateral negotiations held within the framework of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister's visit to Jordan, that the Jordan Embassy would be opened in Azerbaijan in May 2007.

According to the Jordan Foreign Ministry, a temporary plenipotentiary of Jordan will arrive in Baku at the beginning of May. Within the framework of the visit, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister met with his Jordan counterpart, Abdel Ilah al-Hatib, Prime Minister Maaruf al-Bahit and the Senate Chairman and Mayor of Amman City, Amur Almani. The parties held an exchange of opinion on the situation in the Middle East and South Caucasus, and discussed prospects of development of co-operation in different fields. A Memorandum on Co-operation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries was signed as a result.

Jordan unambiguously supports Azerbaijan's position in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Jordan, Elman Arasly, stated on 10 April that such a position was expressed by senior officials of Jordan while receiving the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, who is on a visit to Jordan.

During the meetings with the Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Senate of Jordan, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan informed them of efforts by Azerbaijan to resolve the conflict. The parties also discussed the Arabian-Israeli conflict. The Azerbaijani Minister's itinerary includes various cultural events and on 11 April he will leave for Syria, the Ambassador stated.

Sahib Mammadov, the press secretary of the local office of the UN High Commissar for Refugees and IDPs, has said that the situation regarding the Iranian Nuclear Programme, as well as reports of a possible launch of military action against this country has not reflected in the statistics of immigration from Iran to Azerbaijan as yet. Mr. Mammadov was commenting on unconfirmed information of a great number of refugees, who are allegedly crowded on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, and who want asylum from the territory of neighbouring Azerbaijan.

According to him, the local office of the UN High Commissar for Refugees and IDPs is working as normal, and no additional appeals relating to this issue have been received by the Baku office.

The Head of the Azerbaijani delegation of PACE and Chairman of the Azerbaijan Parliament's Permanent Commission for Inter-Parliamentary and International Relations, Samad Seyidov, said that Armenia delayed the visit of the Rapporteur of the PACE Cultural, Education and Scientific Committee for the study of the cultural heritage in South Caucasus, Edward O'Hara.

He stressed that the direction of the visit had already been specified. Firstly O'Hara will leave for Armenia to study the condition of Azerbaijani and Georgian cultural monuments. Thereafter, he should depart to Georgia to study the condition of Azerbaijani and Armenian monuments. He will come to Azerbaijan from Georgia and leave for the Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions of Azerbaijan, as well as visit Nakchivan Autonomous Republic.

"However, Armenian delayed O'Hara's visit under the pretence of parliamentary elections in Armenia on 12 April because O'Hara's study is not useful to Armenia due to the destruction of Azerbaijani monuments in Armenia and in occupied Azerbaijani lands," Seyidov said. He stressed that a special mission has been established by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, to study the cultural heritage of South Caucasus. However, the visits of these missions were annulled due to obstacles imposed by Armenia. Consent of each of the three South Caucasus countries was required to realize the visit. The Head of the Azerbaijani delegation said that Azerbaijan is interested in the visit of O'Hara and mission to the region.

Azerbaijan is open to all rapporteurs. "We are interested in the visit of the mission established by Terry Davis because the mission includes strong experts," he said.

The parliamentary majority of the Georgian Parliament has urged the opposition not to speculate with issues connected to the ancient David Garedji Complex, and not to generate relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan. This statement was made today by David Bakradze, the Head of Georgia's Parliament's Committee for Integration of Euro-Atlantic Agencies, following the "Democratic Front" Group's statement that Azerbaijan intends to get part of the David Garedji Monastery Complex.

The day before, members of a conservative group of the Georgian Parliament, had visited the David Garedji Complex which lies on the Georgian-Azerbaijani border, afterwards stating that they would never give anyone else the Georgian Monument, which is a symbol of Georgian spiritual history.

"I understand and share the opinion of those people who are concerned with the development of the situation surrounding the David Garedji Monastery. However, it seems to me that some political forces are attempting to gain cheap populism and authority by playing this card. I want to assure the whole Georgian population that nobody is going to give even one square meter of our territory as a present to anybody, especially not the David Garedji Monastery Complex, which is of great importance to us," noted Mr. Bakradze.

The US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Anne E. Derse, briefed the media on 11 April that Washington is concerned by the situation of the media in Azerbaijan.

According to her, the undisclosed murder of the Editor-in-Chief of Monitor Magazine, Elmar Huseynov, problems concerning ANS TV and the eviction of the media organization from their office in Khagani 33, is disturbing for the Government of Azerbaijan. Derse stressed that there is an antagonist attitude towards the independent and pro-opposition newspapers in Azerbaijan.

"Groundless and planned attacks take place against journalists. The US Government is prepared to assist Azerbaijan to develop its press and increase its efforts to develop the professionalism of journalists," Derse said.

The US Ambassador stated that, as in other societies, Azerbaijan has some irresponsible journalists and believes that each journalist should follow the ethics standards and impartiality. The Ambassador believes that as the professionalism of Azerbaijan increases, the free media will also develop.

A ceremonial reception to mark the 15th Anniversary of diplomatic relationships between Azerbaijan and Russia was held at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Moscow

Welcoming the guests, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu, noted that the current friendly and fruitful relationships are based on official agreements, rich experiences and long traditions of co-operation. He particularly stressed that the Azerbaijani-Russian relationships had entered a troubled period, but gained new strength with the great national leader Heydar Aliyev's accession to power. His great significance was the signing of the document based on bilateral co-operation in 1997.

Bulbuloglu also noted that the new era of the Azerbaijani-Russian relationships began in 2001, when the Russian President paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. "Thanks to President Ilham Aliyev and President Vladimir Putin, now we are witnessing the intensification and expansion of friendly and good neighborhood relationships in all spheres," Bulbuloglu stated.

In his reply, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, voiced his satisfaction with the current state of bilateral relationships between Russia and Azerbaijan and noted that the ceremony celebrating the 15th Anniversary of these bonds is also a very wonderful reason to meet with friends. The two countries are interrelated by friendship and co-operation that dates back many centuries. He said that thanks to a high level of friendly private ties, efforts and unchanged policy the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani-Russian relationships have been successfully developing in all areas and have excellent prospects to develop bilateral co-operation.

Attending the reception were Russian State and government officials, senators, members of the State Duma [Russian Parliament], representatives from the Ministries and departments, renowned public figures relating to culture, science and education. Also in attendance were Aslanbek Aslakhanov, adviser to the Russian President, Jahan Polliyeva, Assistant to the Russian President, Svetlana Orolova, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation, Mikhael Shvidkoy, Head of the Federal Agency for Culture Russia.

Russia is ready to assist in voluntary immigration of its compatriots, living abroad, including those who live in Azerbaijan, to their historical fatherland - Russia.

Yevgeny Manyatkin, a Representative of a Department of the Russian Federal Migration Service, told journalists in Baku today that immigration will be carried out in accordance with the State Programme on Voluntary Immigration of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad, which was recently adopted in Russia.

According to Mr. Manyatkin, preparatory work for a necessary package of normative and legal documents is nearly completed. Programmes for different Russian regions, which are ready to accept compatriots from abroad, are currently under consideration. "I think that in May or June 2007, we can officially receive applications from those compatriots, who want to move to Russia in accordance with the terms provided by the mentioned programme," concluded the representative.

Aslanbek Aslakhanov, the Advisor of the Russian President, considers that Azerbaijan may help in the reconstruction of the economy of Russia's Chechen Republic.

" Azerbaijan might render its aid to Chechen Republic in reconstructing almost the completely destroyed oil complex, as well as render assistance in some agricultural issues. Azerbaijan might render its assistance in issues connected with new up-to-date technologies. Azerbaijan may also render its assistance with providing the Russian Republic with working force and high-skilled Azerbaijani specialists, particularly in the field of oil and gas, since Chechnya is currently experiencing a great lack of specialists practically in all spheres of economy - in construction sector, agriculture, railway communication, oil production, etc. We might cooperate in the issue on passing loads via the territory of the Republic. No doubt that Chechnya can restore and normalize relations with all the regions neighbouring to it. I am sure that these ties will not only completely restored, but also rapidly develop and strengthen in the future," has replied Mr. Aslakhanov, answering a question put by Trend Correspondent to Russia during the press-conference being held in Moscow today

Mr. Aslakhanov added that "unfortunately, we cannot boast of any serious results in the issue of cooperation between Chechen republic and Azerbaijan". He admitted that one should not forget that Chechnya was a Russian region, and did not have the right to independently establish contacts with independent Azerbaijan, as well as with any other country to solve issues of a social and economic nature.

According to the Russian official, Chechnya should solve all the aforesaid within intergovernmental commissions, and take corresponding actions only if they "bless" this or that.

"There are great possibilities to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the sphere of oil and gas, jointly solve issues with pipelines and transit of oil and gas. We are well aware of the fact that the issue of stealing is one of the most pressing one. We have serious troubles with stealing of transit oil both on the territory of Chechnya and Azerbaijan. As far back as in the Soviet period, I personally found the places, where little pipes had been lead to the federal pipe, wherefrom oil products were willingly stolen. That was in Azerbaijan as well, when I was engaged with economic issues there. Regarding to Chechen Republic, here everything was divided among cooperative armies and groups, who controlled stealing oil and gas on different areas," said the Advisor of the Russian President.

Mr. Aslakhanov also stated that Russia was deeply concerned with NATO's approaching to the Russian borders. "When our close economic, political, and strategic partners begin ingratiating themselves with U. S. A. and NATO, and even express their claims to join the Euro-Atlantic Alliance. That certainly causes our bewilderment and forces to act correspondingly," concluded the Russian official.

The Moldavian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Ion Robu, reported on 12 April that the Azerbaijani regions are of great interest to the Moldavian government. Mr. Robu said that cooperation between the countries along with direct contact between the regions should be developed.

According to the Ambassador, the prospects of cooperation were discussed within the framework of his visit to the Astara Region of Azerbaijan, where he met with the head of the executive power of the Region and visited several industrial and agricultural units. Mr. Robu discussed the potential for cooperation with the administration of the Region, and visited a tea factory, tinned food factory, and two farms. Cooperation between the two countries will include exporting and importing different agricultural products.

" Moldova can offer a great variety of products to the Azerbaijani regions, including wine, light industrials products, and agriculture facilities," Robu said. Mutual visits by the representatives from the two countries' different regions were discussed as well. The cooperation can be consolidated by signing agreements between the regions of the countries.

Azerbaijani Honorary Consul in Lebanon, Nazih Gassub, reported that Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, met with the President of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud, in Beirut.

During the meeting they discussed various issues concerning the development of the bilateral relationships in different spheres.

The Azerbaijani Minister also had a meeting with Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad , and Speaker Nabih Berry.

On 13 April the Azerbaijani Minister is concluding his visit to three Near East countries. Prior to Lebanon, Mr. Mammadyraov visited Syria and Jordan.

Russians residing in all three South Caucasus countries have problems and they are eager to resolve them through joint efforts. The statement has been studied at the regional conference of the Russian compatriots of the South Caucasus, which ended in Baku on 14 April.

MP Mikhael Zabelin, Head of the Russian community of Azerbaijan, stated at the end of the conference that the problems mainly concern the activities of Russian schools, publications in Russian-language media, and social problems of the Russian-speaking people. The conference also discussed the establishment of information mechanisms among Russians, organization of events within the framework of the "Russian Year" (a celebration each country takes in turn) in South Caucasus countries, he noted.

Mr. Zabelin regarded the situation of the Russian-speaking population of Azerbaijan as positive. "All Russian-language schools, which have been functioning since the Soviet period, still function, Russian-language departments exist at all universities, and the Russian community takes an active part in the country's public and political life," he added.

The Azerbaijani Embassy in Georgia has informed Trend on 13 April that 3 specialised trains with military facilities of the Russian military units in Georgia would be withdrawn via Azerbaijan in May.

Two of the trains will be withdrawn from the 12th Russian military unit in Batumi (on 15 and 24 May) and one of them will be withdrawn from the 62nd Russian military unit located nearby Akhalkalaki (Samtskhe-Javakheti region) on 17 May.

In compliance with the decree on early withdrawal of the Russian troops from Georgia issued by the Russian Ministry of Defence, 387 military men, over 100 military facilities, 350 tons of property and ammunition were withdrawn in 2006. According to the agreement signed between Georgia and Russia, the withdrawal of the Russian military from Akhalkalaki will be completed by 1 July, 2007; the withdrawal from Batumi will be over by the end of 2008.

Six columns of Russian military facilities will be delivered from Georgia to Armenia. The first column with engineering technique and other facilities was transported from Georgia to Gumri ( Armenia) on 13 April. The rest will be transported on 19 and 25 April, 4 and 30 May. The exact time of the final withdrawal has not been defined as yet.

The Georgian politician Pata Davitaya stated on 13 April that the demand of the Armenian organizations in Javahety (South of Georgia) to equate the Armenian language to the Georgian State language is a separatist statement.

It is true that they understand it well, but making this demand has created tension in the region, Davitaya said. According to him, the Head and Parliament of the Country have repeatedly highlighted the impracticability of the demands of the Armenians which is contrary to the Constitution of Georgia.

MP Ganira Pashayeva, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has made a written address to the chairman of the Ministers Committee of the Council of Europe (CE), Mr. Stlofy, in connection with the fictional presidential elections to be held in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh in June by separatist Armenian regime with the assistance of official Yerevan.

In her address Pashayeva noted that the actions contradict the international legal norms and negatively affect the negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"What actions does the CE Committee of Ministers intend to make in order to remove the obstacles in the way for stability and peace in South Caucasus, and to prevent the fictional presidential election scheduled for July?" the letter demands.

Pashayeva noted that none of the elections held in the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territory have been approved by the world community. This territory belongs to Azerbaijan, though is still under occupation.

"The entire world community approves the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. So, any elections held by the separatist Armenian regime in the territory cannot be considered legal. Our major purpose is to see the efforts of the CE and the Committee of Ministers aimed at prevention of the fictitious elections," Pashayeva states.

The member of the delegation has reported that the chairman of the Committee, Mr. Stlofy, is expected to deliver a speech within the framework of the Spring session of PACE. The chairman will reply to all written applies made by the parliamentary representatives. He will also address the authors of the letters, and enable them to give additional questions. The chairman will provide immediate reply.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH

The Public Union "Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh" sent an appeal to the embassies of the OSCE Minsk Group member-countries in Azerbaijan and the OSCE Baku Office to protest against the general plan of the occupied district of Susha in Azerbaijan, which has been devised by the American Company SEMA. The appeal says that in occupied Azerbaijani lands, the Armenian Armed Forces have destroyed and burnt 547 architectural monuments, including 5 worldwide, 393 republic and 149 local architectural monuments, 205 archeological monuments, 927 libraries, 808 clubs, 85 musical schools, 22 museums, four photo-galleries, ten holiday and culture centers, four State theatres and two concert buildings.

Despite the fact that representatives of international organizations, including co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, pay visits to the region obviously see these brutalities, they do not take any measures. "We condemn the American company joining this issue and require Armenia to clarify this and put an end to the illegal activities of this company in the territory of Azerbaijan," stated the appeal. The appeal asks the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan to, in the near future, express its position on this issue and urges Armenia to refrain from such illegal activities.

Jonathan Hanick, the Head of the Public Relations department of the U. S. Embassy to Azerbaijan, has stated today that the U. S. Government has nothing to do with the individual and private activity of its citizens and private companies. The American diplomat made this comment after the recent information concerning an American private company allegedly preparing a general plan of the Ancient Azerbaijani Town of Shusha occupied by Armenians on May 8, 1992.

Mr. Hanick noted that the American position in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has remained unchanged. Being one of the Chair states of the OSCE Minsk Group, USA adheres to the peaceful negotiation of this conflict and ready to eliminate all obstacles and barriers that are in the way. At the same time, the American diplomat noted that the U. S. State Department had informed all its citizens that a part of the Azerbaijani territory had been occupied. The American Government therefore does not bear the responsibility for the possible activity of some companies," admitted Mr. Hanick. He noted that the information concerning the activity of an American private company on Armenia's occupied territory of Azerbaijan, which was recently broadcast by Armenian media sources, was clarified. According to the Press Service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Office, due to this fact, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has given a commission to our Diplomatic Representative Office to U.S.A. to investigate matters.

Notably, according to the information by Armenian Agency, "PanArmenian", the video projection of a new general plan, as well as its presentation is expected to be held on the Fortress wall of the Town of Shusha on 8 May, 2007. The new plan of the Town has been projected by specialists of SEMA Associates of U. S. A. Other video material of the Fund is also expected to be projected on the Shusha Fortress wall.

Natig Mammadov, the chairman of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, reported on 10 April that Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian origin, residing in the occupied territory had applied to the Central Election Commission to ensure their voting right in the elections that are held in Azerbaijan.

According to Mammadov, the CEC cannot publicize the number and list of applicants, because the appeals were made unofficially. Due to the fact that the citizens face violence, they cannot exercise their rights.

The CEC applied to international organizations to add the citizens residing in the occupied territory to the electorate list. No reply has been received. The Secretary of the CEC considers that international organizations can render assistance in resolving the problem.

According to recent statistics, about 5,000 voters have been registered in Azerbaijan.

The Head of the Office of Public Affairs of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan, Jonathan Henick, said on 11 April that the USA does not recognize the elections which will take place in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The USA has not changed its attitude towards the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Washington has never recognized any elections or referendums which have taken place in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian sources have reported that the presidential elections will take place on 19 July in occupied Azerbaijani territories in the so-called " Nagorno-Karabakh Republic".

Several blasts came from the Uzundereh district of Aghdam region (occupied Azerbaijani territory) at 11:45 pm. Over ten house located nearby suffered cracks and splits due to tremors caused by the blasts.

It wasn't the first time that Armenian troops broke ceasefire, although this one was more intensive than their use of arms in March. Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence confirmed the cases of ceasefire but stated that the blasts were caused by Armenian military training in the territory.

Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) considers it necessary to establish a state commission to study the mass burial cemetery recently discovered in the Guba region.

KLO voiced beliefs that the cemetery is another historical proof of mass extermination of the Azerbaijani people by Armenian terrorists. "The cemetery proves one more time the fact that the Armenians killed the Azerbaijanis in Guba with extreme brutality, even taunting their corpses. The graves are telling of the Armenians, who constantly speak of the fictitious genocide of the Armenian people.

KLO considers that the Foreign Ministry, the National Academy of Science, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Health ought not to be indifferent to such facts. A special commission should be established with the assistance of official bodies, in order to inform the world society of the atrocity committed by the Armenians. "If the official bodies do not wish to deal with the matter, KLO will do its best to begin research with the assistance of the people and participation of KLO's experts," the organization reported.

KLO was founded in Baku in 2000, with the purpose being to organize a civil liberation of Karabakh. The organization headed by the candidate of History Science, Docent Akif Naghi, unites 10,000 members. There are KLO departments in the regions of Azerbaijan and foreign countries.

Tigran Torosyan, the speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia (Armenian Parliament), believes the proposals made by the OSCE Minsk Group are the best way to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"The Co-chairman of the Minsk Group has found a solution to resolve the confrontation. They propose to compare the principles of the self-determination of the nations and the territory, as stated in the Helsinki Final Act," Torosyan reported during the meeting with Walter Kalin, the UN Secretary General's representative on the protection of internally displaced persons' rights, held in Yerevan.

The Public Relations Department at the Armenian National Assembly informed the information agency ARKA that Torosyan called on the UN and the international society to give a right and fair estimation to the situation. He stressed that unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia does not carry out any propaganda in the country.

According to the speaker, in case the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents are to sign any document on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the decision should be approved by the society. He stressed that the society of both countries should be prepared for this and the propaganda that would follow but any form of hatred should be avoided.

Kalin voiced his gratitude to the speaker who clearly portrayed the situation.

The Russian Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlyakov, informed Trend Special Correspondent in Moscow that the next meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenia, Vardan Oskanyan, will take place on 18 April in Belgrade with the participation of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. He voiced his hope that the next visit of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group to the region will take place until the next meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia at the end of May or beginning of June.

"I appreciated it very much the statement by Mammadyarov that Russia is an active participant in the negotiations process. I highly assess Mammadyarov's statement," Merzlyakov said. With regards to the prospects of the conflict settlement, Merzlyakov said that to make any forecasts is very difficult and if we put aside all objectives, presently there are possibilities to agree upon the base principles of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. The Russian Co-chair felt that everything depends upon the political will of the conflicting sides to make really a significant step to meat each other to agree upon these principles.

According to the Russian diplomat, if this occurs, very hard work will commence to devise an agreement in which there will be problems and contradictions as well. "However, the main fact is that if we can agree upon these principles, then the key structures of the future conflict settlement will be agreed and it will provide an opportunity to our negotiators, the new Head of Armenia and Azerbaijani, not to take the same steps in the future," he said.

According to the Russian Co-chair, the elections in Armenia will not prolong this process because it will be continued at the level of Foreign Ministers. "I am asked how the death of the Prime Minister of Armenia will affect the negotiations process and I reply that it should not be affected. I think that the government is temporary and it means that the Foreign Ministers will continue working," the diplomat said.

Daniel Fried, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, stated that 'some progress' has been made in the peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In his meeting with media in Washington Fried said, "We could talk all day about Nagorno-Karabakh. It is important to try to find a peaceful settlement. War will destroy everything Azerbaijan is trying to do.'

"We have been working very actively with France and Russia to help broker a settlement. We've made some progress, and we hope we can succeed this year," the diplomat stressed.

He noted that Azerbaijan has made some progress in democracy, but it needs to make much more. It has a leadership which is poised to take the country into a much more prosperous, democratic future, and I hope that it does.

According to Fried, a strong country has a strong free press and a strong opposition as well as strong central institutions, and Azerbaijan has every opportunity, like Armenia, although the economies are very different, to have a very good 21st Century.

On 12 April the divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces fired in three directions from the occupied Azerbaijani land. From the occupied village of Bash Gervend of Agdam district of Azerbaijan, the Armenians fired at the posts of the National Army of Azerbaijan located in Chiragli Village, using machine guns. In addition, the divisions of the Armenian Army shot at the posts of the National Army of Azerbaijan from the occupied village of Sarjaly of Agdam district and occupied Chayli village of Tartar district.

The Head of Agdam Executive Power, Chingiz Guliyev, reported on 13 April that as a result of the violation of the ceasefire regime by the Armenian Armed Forces, the roofs of more than 100 houses and administrative buildings were damaged. The Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan confirmed the incident and confirmed that no injuries were sustained.

POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

The members of the Political Council of Azerbaijan Democratic Reform Party (DRP) provided a report regarding the results of the constituent conference of the International Network of Young Political Leaders.

Participated by the heads of the democratic political parties from sixteen countries, including the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, an International Network of Young Political Leaders was created. The members of the Political Council of Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party, Eldar Jahangirov and Mardan Efendiyev attended the conference. Mr. Jahangirov was elected as a member to the Executive Committee of the Conference. Mr. Efendiyev joined the Economical Committee of the Organization.

In addition, the meeting of the Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party focused on the social-political situation in the country, party establishment, and organizational issues.

The Chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Reform Party is a Member to Azerbaijani Parliament. The party attaches great importance to liberal and democratic values.

Ilgar Gasimov, the Chairman of the political movement Azerbaijan Yolu (the Way of Azerbaijan), reported during a press conference on 9 April that the city regional organizations of the opposition Agstafa Party would be holding a demonstration on 22 April.

According to Gasimov, the organizers of the demonstration are the Azerbaijan Yolu Party. "Apart from the Musavat Party, all the organizations of the city regional oppositional parties Agstafa will be taking part. A joint Organizing Committee has been established in preparation," the Chairman added.

Gasimov noted that only slogans dealing with social issues would be highlighted.

The opposition political movement Azerbaijan Yolu was founded in 2004. The Chairman of the organization is General Ilgar Gasimov, the Russian Minister for Justice.

Araz Alizadeh, a Co-chairman of the Socio-Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (SDPA), reported that the Party did not participate in the establishment of the new opposition union.

According to him, the Party did not receive an official proposal to hold negotiations in the opposition centre and establish a new union. "They know that we do not deal with such matters. We believe the establishment of a union or alliance by the opposition will not lead to any positive results. The initiative is a senseless one." Alizadeh noted.

The first Azerbaijani President, Ayaz Mutallibov, is another co-chairman of the SDPA. Mutallibov has been residing in Russia since 1992.

Ahmad Oruj, the chairman of the Azadlig Party, reported that the unification of the Azadlig and Adalat parties will be possible after leaving their political credo.

According to Oruj, both parties arranging joint events for the time being prefer cooperation. Their next joint action will be dedicated to human rights. Once the parties leave their political credos and get better acquainted with each other, they will unite. Only then Oruj will change the party's name and leave his post.

"I always make the necessary concessions at the right time. If I have to leave my post for the sake of the formation of a strong, efficient opposition party, I will do that," Oruj noted.

Opposition parties Adalat and Azadlig have been represented in the Democratic Azerbaijan Block since 2005. MP Ilyas Ismayilov is the chairman of the Adalat Party.

The Chairman of the Islamic Democratic Party, Tahir Abbasly, said that a number of parties which left 'Our Azerbaijan' Political Block established a new block under the same title. According to him, the Block was left by the Islamic Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Yeni Turan Party, the Popular Liberation Party, and the National Confidence Party. These parties claim the name of the party and decided to restore activities of the block. The parties which have left the block accuse it of inactivity.

'Our Azerbaijan' Political Block was created to support the candidature of the Chairman of the Musavat Party, Isa Gambar, in the 2003 Presidential elections. After the election, Musavat and other several parties left the block.

Iltizam Akbarli, a member of the parliamentary group of the Musavat Party, who has recently been included into the member list of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, stated in Baku on 12 April that he was not planning to participate in the Spring session of PACE in Strasbourg.

"The appointment surprised me, as several days ago I firmly refused the proposal of the Administration of Milli Mejlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) to be appointed a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE," Akbarli stated.

Akbarli noted that during the meeting of the Administration by the decision of the Musavat Parliamentary Group he nominated his colleague, Nasib Nasibli, for the post. "Musavat is consistent with its decision. The party proposed Nasibli for the post, so I cannot join the delegation. I will not change my decision in any case," Akbarli urged.

The head of the Central Executive Administration of the Musavat party, Arif Hajili, noted that the administration of the organization proposed Nasib Nasibli for membership in the PACE delegation.

"We are firm with our decision and feel confident that Iltizam Akbarli will adhere to it," Hajili said.

The Opposition party of Musavat was formed in the beginning of the 20th Century, but restored its activities in 1992. The head of the party, Isa Gambar, was the speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament in 1992-1993 and ran for Presidency in 2003. Musavat is represented in Milli Mejlis by 5 members.

The members of the Political Council of Azerbaijan Democratic Reform Party (DRP) provided a report regarding the results of the constituent conference of the International Network of Young Political Leaders.

Participated by the heads of the democratic political parties from sixteen countries, including the Azerbaijan Democratic Party, an International Network of Young Political Leaders was created. The members of the Political Council of Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party, Eldar Jahangirov and Mardan Efendiyev attended the conference. Mr. Jahangirov was elected as a member to the Executive Committee of the Conference. Mr. Efendiyev joined the Economical Committee of the Organization.

In addition, the meeting of the Azerbaijan Democratic Reforms Party focused on the social-political situation in the country, party establishment, and organizational issues.

The Chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Reform Party is a Member to Azerbaijani Parliament. The party attaches great importance to liberal and democratic values.

Ali Aliyev, the Co-chairman of the block Azadlig, reported that the block considers joint rallies with the Musavat party to be pointless.

The head of the opposition Musavat party had proposed joint rallies of the opposition as well as forming a committee for this purpose. Commenting on the proposal, Aliyev noted that it is a kind of provocation.

"Musavat is not interested in fighting the current power. The fight should be carried out not by means of rallies but through elections. Musavat has refused to co-operate with the Central Elections Commission and remained loyal to its own interests," Aliyev noted.

Aliyev added that joint action with Musavat is impossible due to the lack of common viewpoints on principal issues.

Azadlig unites 3 oppositional parties, which are the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party, the Liberal party and the Party of Citizenship and Development. Musavat is represented in the parliament by 5 MPs.

The Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (DPA) headed by Sardar Jalaoghlu will not participate in unapproved actions to be taken by the opposition.

The Chairman of the Musavat Party, Isa Gambar, proposed to hold joint actions with the opposition parties and to form a joint committee. Commenting on the proposal Mr. Jalaloghlu noted that the DPA would neither join in any mass event, nor maintain bilateral or multilateral relationships with any party by the end of May. "After the congress of the DPA to be held in May takes place, we will define our position on such matters as cooperation with the opposition and participation in presidential elections. Only then we will begin to make moves in compliance with our new political strategy. In case cooperation with any party or taking part in rallies does not correspond to our new strategy, we will not do that until it is clear," Jalaoghlu added.

The Head of the OSCE Baku Office, Ambassador Jose Luis Herrero, met with the Leader of Opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP), Etibar Mammadov, on 13 April. The meeting focused on the processes in Azerbaijan, in particular democratization. Informing of his meetings with other opposition parties, Herrero said that this meeting aims to know the position of the ANIP regarding the political processes in Azerbaijan.

The OSCE Ambassador expressed an interest in developing the co-operation with the ANIP. Mammadov highlighted the importance of the activities of the OSCE in Azerbaijan. The Leader of the ANIP considers that the OSCE should co-operate not only with the Government, but also with opposition in the process of Azerbaijan's integration to Europe. The ANIP Leader presented to the attention of the Ambassador the necessity to create free market economy and form independent courts.

The party headed by Rasul Guliyev was renamed at party's congress which is taking place at present. During the congress, a decision was made to entitle the party as Open Society Party. It is stated that this idea has been initiated by Rasul Guliyev. The proposal is explained through the issue that Guliyev became the Head of Azerbaijan Democratic Party long after its creation, and after the disruption within the party, it would be expedient to alter the name and act under other title.

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EBRD and Bank CenterCredit support Kazakhstan packaging producer
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Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Poland
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