Political Digest of the last week (02.02- 07.02.2009)

Official chronicle

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolence to Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on a human loss after a fire engulfed a nursing home in the Komi Republic, the Azertaj state information agency reported.

"The news of a human loss as the result of a fire in a care home was a source of great sorrow to me" the President said in his letter.

"On behalf of the people of Azerbaijan and on my own behalf, I offer sincere condolences to you, families and relatives of the dead and all the people of Russia." President Aliyev said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved based on UN Security Council resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani lands, the Azertaj state news agency quoted President Ilham Aliyev as saying in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Aliyev said the conflict remains unsolved despite years of negotiations. He stressed that the issue must be solved in accordance with international law.

"Unfortunately, Armenia does not comply with international law and this is the main reason why the conflict has not been resolved. The talks have had some progress, but not enough," Aliyev said.

He added that the OSCE Minsk Group stated that Nagorno-Karabakh's recognition cannot be a matter of debate after the conflict in Georgia. The events must not set a precedent, the group added.

"But from the geopolitical point of view, if your neighbors are at war, it is of course not beneficial for you. Georgia and Russia are our neighbors and we maintain good relations with them both," he said.

"The Armenian-Azerbaijani talks have nothing to do with the difficulties that we faced during the war in Georgia," Aliyev said. "It was clearly not an easy time for us because the bulk of our energy sources are transported through Georgia. The war was a major obstacle. We had to look for other routes to transport our oil. The more access that we have to world markets, the better. But the situation in Georgia has stabilized. There are no more transportation problems in the country. In addition, as I mentioned, there are other routes."

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed orders on celebration of 100th jubilee of Mehdi Huseyn, Writer Jalil Mammadgulizade's 140-th anniversary and the 85th anniversary of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Feb. 9 is the 85th anniversary of establishment of NAR.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an order approving State Resort Development Program in Azerbaijan in 2009-2018. 

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an order granting special scholarship to three pupils of a musical school

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev accepted the credentials of the newly appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors of India, Estonia, Angola, Yemen, Nigeria, Benin, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Republic of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Parliament

Azerbaijan may reconsider its relations with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Azerbaijan is dissatisfied with biased PACE assessments of Armenia, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the organization Samad Seyidov said at an Azerbaijani parliamentary meeting on Feb. 2.

"If PACE continues to apply double standards to Azerbaijan, Baku will have to reconsider its relations with the organization," Seyidov said.

He added that all organizations must assess the processes in member countries impartially.

"By turning a blind eye to the events in Armenia, PACE will face problems with Azerbaijan," Seyidov said.

He added that PACE did not acknowledge the political prisoners in Armenia.

"PACE's documents on Armenia do not include the word 'political prisoner,' but rather 'prisoner problems.' How can the arrested members of parliament not be considered political prisoners?" Seyidov asked.

Discussions were held on Armenia's execution of resolutions 1609 and 1620 at the PACE winter session on Jan. 27.

PACE decided to allow its Monitoring Committee to further assess Armenia's fulfillment of commitments before the organization until the spring session in a bid to help the country improve the situation.

Armenia is accused of evading a key obligation and violating human rights in the country.

Armenian opposition launched mass protests against the presidential election and Serzh Sarkisyan's victory in Yerevan on Feb. 20. Demonstrators clashed with law enforcement agencies on March 1. Dozens of people died and 265 were injured. Two major demands were put forward to Armenia - to release political prisoners arrested during the protests and hold impartial investigations into the events.

Azerbaijani members of parliament aim to discuss a Russian armament supply to Armenia in Moscow.

On Feb. 2, Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov offered to send members of parliament to Moscow to meet with their Russian counterparts to discuss an alleged armament supply to Armenia.

Media reported that Russia transferred military equipment to Armenia from the Russian 102nd Military Base in Gumri worth $800 million.

Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vasiliy Istratov was asked to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry to explain the situation. Later, the Russian defense and foreign ministries denied the reports.

Azerbaijan was dissatisfied with Moscow's reply. In a recent telephone conversation, the foreign ministers decided to continue their talks on this issue.

Azerbaijani members of parliament appealed to the speaker to discuss the supply at their spring session.

"We cannot make hasty decisions. The parliament should focus on this issue and we will include it in the agenda after discussions with Russian members of parliament," Asadov said.

The members of parliament supported the speaker's decision.

Azerbaijani member of parliament Lala Abbasova refused membership in a working group on Azerbaijani-Israeli interparliamentary relations to protest Tel Aviv's official policy toward Palestinians.

"This step is a protest against the Israeli government's policy. I respect the Jewish nation, but I cannot accept the Israeli government's annihilating civilians. No one has the right to deprive children of the right to life," Abbasova told Trend on Feb. 3.

The Israeli military operations against Hamas killed roughly 1,300 people and injured 5,500 in the Gaza Strip, BBC reported. The Israeli military said they lost 13 soldiers.

Abbasova said she will appeal to parliament to leave the working group.

Member of parliament Yevda Abramov, an ethnic Jew, heads the working group.

The commission comprises Bakhtiyar Aliyev, Vagif Samadoglu, Safar Mammadov and Tahir Suleymanov.

The South Caucasus Inter-Parliamentary Network to Combat Corruption has been established in Baku. The network aims to share experience among parliaments and assist governments in fighting corruption.

The network's founders are Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Commission on Legal Policy and State Building Ali Huseynov, Chairman of the Georgian Parliamentary Legal Committee Pavle Kublashvili, several Azerbaijani members of parliament and Anti-Corruption Commission Working Group member Alimammad Nuriyev.

The network represents the Global Organization Against Corruption (GOPAC) in the South Caucasus. The decision to open a GOPAC representative office in Baku was made at the organization's third conference in Kuwait on Nov. 16-20.

The network will appeal to the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry for registration, Kulabishvili said. Georgia is ready to share its experience with Azerbaijan on combating corruption, he added.

Azerbaijan does not need to share experience with Armenia, Huseynov said.

"There have not been any beneficial experiences in this sphere in Armenia. Azerbaijan is interested in cooperating with Moldova, Ukraine and East European countries," he said.

After the registration of the South Caucasus Inter-Parliamentary Network to Combat Corruption, the group will closely cooperate with representatives of international organizations in Baku, implement grant projects and hold regional and international conferences, Huseynov added.

The Azerbaijani parliamentary commission's chairman believes educated youth staff's flow to private sector will create problems for governmental bodies.

"Educated staff, especially youth graduted from foreign universities inclines to work at private sector," the Azerbaijani Parliamentary Permanent Human Rights Commission's Chairman Rabiyyat Aslanova said during discussing a bill on Changes and amendments to Labor Code on Feb. 5.

Aslanova said that these staff's inclining to private sector may cause professional staff lack at governmental bodies.

The Azerbaijani parliamentarian offered to apply extra concessions and privileges to increase educated youth staff's interest to work at governmental bodies.

Political movements

An Azerbaijani pro-government party will partake in the referendum initiative campaign together with the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP).

"Our party members will hold the campaign together with the governing NAP's initiative group," Ana Vatan Party Chairman Fazail Agamali told Trend on Feb. 2.

Azerbaijan's pro-socialist parties have launched coordinating council and analytical information center.

"It was decided at the meeting of People's Socialist, Left Democratic and Progressive-Socialist parties to launch coordinating council of pro-socialist parties and analytical information center for the council," chairman of the Progressive-Socialist Party Rustam Shahsuvarov told Trend .

Azerbaijan's left wing parties have played a passive role in county's political life for many years. Therefore left parties need to unite.

An initiative group established to restore proportional system of elections in Azerbaijan suspended a campaign on signatures collection.

"Up to now members of our party presented in an initiative group collected about 40,000 signatures. We decided to suspend a campaign on signatures collection because of referendum," Vahid Nazarov, member of initiative group, deputy chairman of the Azerbaijani Liberal-Democratic Party, told Trend on Feb. 3.

By 2002 Azerbaijani Parliamentary elections were held on mixed system - majority and proportional. Proportional election system was liquidated upon referendum held in 2002. The country fully passed to majority system.

After referendum scheduled on Mar. 18, the Liberal-Democratic Party and other opposition parties joined the initiative will resume campaign on signatures collection. "We positively consider referendum on additions and supplements to the Constitution. But we think referendum on restoration of proportional election system must be held," deputy chairman of the Liberal-Democratic Party said.

An Azerbaijani opposition referendum initiative group may turn into a larger union.

"The founders of the Movement for Karabakh and the Republic initiative group will work together after the referendum vote. An agreement is being designed at the moment," People's Party Chairman and member of parliament Panah Huseyn told Trend .

An agitation group formed by several Azerbaijani opposition parties will not join another opposition agitation group.

"We are prepared to cooperate with all agitation groups formed by opposition. However, our agitation group does not intend to join Movement for Garabag and Republic," the Great Azerbaijan Party's Chairman Elshad Musayev told Trend on Feb. 3.

An Azerbaijani opposition party will actively partake in the referendum campaign.

"We have not formed a separate referendum group. But we will cooperate with the groups supporting the referendum and join the regional campaign," Vahdat Party Chairman Tahir Karimli told Trend on Feb. 4.

Karimli said the party decided to support the amendments to the Constitution in late December.

"We told our members to actively partake in the campaign," the chairman said.

Azerbaijani pro-governmental parties will be restored.

"We plan to hold a restoration meeting in March," a member of the initiative group to restore the Great Nation party Samir Adigozalli said to Trend .

Adigozalli said he would not nominate his candidacy for the post of chairman at the restoration meeting. "Despite the fact that I was formerly chairman of the party, now I do not claim for the post. I hope that a man who could become one of the leading political forces in Azerbaijan will be elected to the chairman post," said the former chairman of GNP.

According to him, to recover the meeting is also planned to amend the Charter. "Group of persons that has resigned from the Party of Democratic Peace of Azerbaijan after the presidential elections last year, is also actively involved in the restoration of the GNP," said Adigozalli.

An Azerbaijani opposition party has accused an Iranian television channel of disseminating unethical information. The party says the propaganda is inadmissible.

"Sahar is insulting and slandering Civil Solidarity Party (CSP) Chairman Sabir Rustamkhanli. The Iranian special forces said they are staging a campaign against him," the CSP told Trend .

The party said Iran must stop unethical and immoral campaigns.

The Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry must prevent foreign broadcasts threatening Azerbaijani statehood, the party said.

The National Security Ministry must also investigate steps taken against Azerbaijani national security, and take immediate measures, the party added.

The CSP said it will launch mass protests if the campaign continues.

Azerbaijani opposition parties' agitation group on referendum appealed to the Constitutional Court.

"The appeal said that the Azerbaijani parliament's decision dated Dec. 26, 2008 to hold referendum should not be fulfilled, as it will damage the Azerbaijani Constitution, including human rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution," Chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) represented in the Movement for Garabag and Republic Sardar Jalaloglu told Trend on Feb. 5.

"We have discussed expanding the movement at the today's meeting," Jalalgolu said. "Agitation groups, including Peoples Republic of Azerbaijan, National Independence formed by the Union For Democracy and the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP) respectively, refused to join our movement. I think all arguments which they put forward not to join the movement were groundless."

Jalaloglu said that he initiated to include these political organizations to the movement.

"I met with Mirmahmud Miralioglu and Panah Huseyn and offered them to join the movement," he said. "After head of the Peace and Democracy Institute applied to them in a written form. Their arguments on this matter are groundless," Jalaloglu said.

An Azerbaijani opposition party will support the governing New Azerbaijan Party's (NAP) referendum initiative group.

"We have established our own referendum group. However, during the campaign, we will cooperate closely with the ruling NAP's group," Taraggi Party Chairman Chingiz Damiroglu told Trend on Feb. 6. Taraggi is represented in the Azerbaijani Progress Alliance.

Azerbaijan will hold a referendum on March 18 to amend 29 articles of the Constitution.

Damiroglu said each of the 21 parties united in the Azerbaijani Progress Alliance will carry out its own campaign.

"Besides supporting the governing party's group, every member of the political structures united in the Azerbaijani Progress Alliance will execute active propaganda in all regions," Damiroglu said.

Elections

Azerbaijan will hold a referendum on March 18 to amend 29 articles of the Constitution.

The deadline for submitting signed referendum membership lists to the CEC expired Feb. 1 at 18:00.

According to Sariyev, the CEC will check membership lists until Feb. 10.

"The registered groups will be able to launch their campaigns on Feb. 18. The referendum calendar plan says the campaigns must be completed by March 16 at 00:00," he said.

The Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered the Right and Democracy referendum initiative group.

The signatures were collected from 86 constituencies.

Of 42,450 signatures, 40,759 were valid and 1,691 - invalid, CEC Secretary Natik Mammadov said.

In late December, Azerbaijan's parliament passed a decision to hold a referendum March 18 to amend the Constitution. It was decided to hold a referendum to amend 29 articles in the Constitution.

The CEC registered the Yeni Azerbaijan, Shahar and Taraggi groups.

The Abad Kand group was refused registration.

The Constitution was adopted in 1995. Amendments and additions were made in 2002.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan made up a permanent electoral list of the country. In accordance with the list, the number of voters is 4.804 million in Azerbaijan, CEC Secretary Natik Mammadov said at a meeting on Feb.6.   

The text, form, quantity and rules on preparation of ballot papers were adopted at the meeting. The ballot papers will be printed three times more than the number of voters (4,949,018). The papers will will be printed at the parliamentary printing office beginning from Feb.7.

Foreign policy  

Kazakh Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Azerbaijan Mr. Serik Primbetov said in an interview with Trend ,"In 2007 Kazakhstan offered Road map to OSCE members to strengthen interethnic and interconfessional agreement. The Kazakh President is sure our all efforts and experience testifies that a dialogue between cultures and civilizations is not only important, but also possible. Only through it, it will be possible to eliminate destructive stereotypes which make both sides rivals. Therefore, such a map is necessary to solve many conflicts in the Eurasian space.

Today Kazakhstan actively cooperates and enhances partnership with Azerbaijan. As a whole, the Caucasus has become one of the priorities of Astana's foreign policy for the last three years.

Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the OSCE will not be easy. In any case, Kazakhstan will be happy to see all conflicting sides among its friends and allies in the course of 2010. Kazakhstan is guided only by mutually beneficial cooperation. Search for compromises will be Kazakhstan's priority within the OSCE for the coming year.

Kazakhstan hopes that Astana's chairmanship in the OSCE will open opportunities in terms of all-European security. Relying on support of its partners, Kazakhstan can step up security which will contribute to strengthening of its foreign policy authority and further integration to international organizations."

The rapid reaction forces established under the auspices of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are not aimed against the interests of Azerbaijan, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Dimitry Rogozin said in a telephone conversation from Brussels on Feb. 4.

"We have always seen Azerbaijan as a close partner. Our interests are closely intertwined. Russia will never act against the Azerbaijani interests. Increasing the CSTO's military capacity is not aimed at weakening Azerbaijan or creating problems for the country," he said.

Rogozin said the forces will resist genuine enemies, such as extremist groups in Afghanistan and neighboring areas in Pakistan.

"We have never viewed Azerbaijan as a goal for military actions by Russia or CSTO allies," he said.

The CSTO is an organization with an open-door policy. If Azerbaijan feels a threat, even a virtual one, the country can negotiate with the CSTO to ensure its security, Rogozin added.

"I will do my utmost to make Azerbaijan feel a calm, helping hand from Russia," he said.

Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member countries' unified military contingent does not threat Azerbaijan, said an Azerbaijani official, "I think the domestic and foreign policies carried out by the government ensure stability, independence and security of Azerbaijan and provide a good, strong and promising future," Azerbaijani Presidential Administration International Relations Department head Novruz Mammadov told Trend on Feb. 4, commenting on the creation of a unified military contingent of the CSTO member states.

Azerbaijan is not a member of the organization.

CSTO countries have been operating within the organization for many years, said Mammadov.
"Every state is trying to maintain its independence and security by various factors. The counties believe it is expedient to ensure security in this framework," said Mammadov.

The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, received the Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, Andrezej Cramer, the press service of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan told Trend .

During the meeting was mentioned the need for larger intensification of the successfully developing relations between the two countries, for the organization of mutual high-level visits. Mammadyarov and Cramer discussed the prospects for the development of bilateral relations, in particular co-operation in the non-oil sector. They also noted the need of accelerating the work of inter-governmental economic commission.

Angola voted against the UN resolution on Azerbaijani occupied territories due to a misunderstanding of the situation, newly-appointed Angolan Ambassador to Azerbaijan Samuel Tito Armando said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Foreign Ministry reported.

Mammadyarov said he was surprised that Angola voted against the resolution in 2008.

"It cast a shadow on Angolan-Azerbaijani relations," he said.

The UN adopted a resolution supporting Azerbaijani territorial integrity in 2008.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armando said the Angolan president instructed him to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

The parties agreed to hold talks between their permanent representatives in international organizations.

The new ambassador gave his credentials to Mammadyarov.

Russia must develop relations with Azerbaijan as the future leader in the South Caucasus, Russian member of parliament and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Political Research Committee Sergey Markov said.

"I respect Azerbaijan. I have always supported Russia's increasing cooperation with the country as our two nations have traditionally been close. We must develop relations with Azerbaijan as the future leader in the South Caucasus," Markov said in an interview with Trend .

Russia must have deeper strategic relations with Azerbaijan, he asserted. For this purpose, Russia must install a military base in the country. Azerbaijan should join the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Markov added. The more Azerbaijan and Armenia join similar organizations, the closer they will be to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he said.

"Russia will invite Turkey to actively partake in these organizations in the near future. We hope Azerbaijan will use this opportunity as Turkey's traditional ally," Markov said.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved through peaceful political means, he said.

Markov said time is on Azerbaijan's side as the country's economic growth far exceeds Armenia's.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and GUAM have different priorities in the activity, although their interests do not intersect, Secretary General of GUAM said.

CSTO considers military-political component as the important direction of co-operation, whereas basic directions of GUAM are to create space for civilized partnership in the region and realize concrete projects with regards to sectoral co-operation such as transport, energy, tourism, cultural-humanitarian co-operation, Valerie Chechelashvili, GUAM Secretary General, told Trend in telephone conversation from Kiev.

Ukraine considers Azerbaijan a strategic partner, Ukrainian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Boris Klimchuk told Trend on Feb. 6.

"Dynamics of relations between Ukraine and Azerbaijan at the highest political level testifies this fact," Klimchuk said. "In 2008 our presidents met thrice to discuss important issues of bilateral interaction on different fields of cooperation." 

Independent Ukraine and Azerbaijan established diplomatic relations in Feb. 6, 1992. 

Ukrainian and Azerbaijani nations together developed and gained independence by supporting each other, Klimchuk said. 

At present the Azerbaijani-Ukrainian diplomatic relations are of 17 years, the ambassador said. 

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev signed a protocol to open embassies in both countries on July 28 in 1995. The Ukrainian Embassy in Azerbaijan opened on May 5 in 1996. The Azerbaijani Embassy in Ukraine is operating since March 12 in 1997. 

The Azerbaijani diplomatic representation opened in Kiev in 1918 and the Ukrainian special diplomatic mission was located in Baku in 1919. 

"Thousands of Azerbaijanis studied in Ukraine. Our country remembers and commemorates Azerbaijani National Leader Heydar Aliyev who did a lot for Ukraine," Klimchuk said. "Bases of intergovernmental relations between Ukraine and Azerbaijan were laid with his direct participation."

On Friday in Geneva, the Human Rights Council has listened to the UN report on human rights in Azerbaijan, was reported in a message distributed by the Press Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.

The head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov, spoke with and official report.

Khalafov stressed the importance of the referendum in terms of strengthening and developing human rights, scheduled for March 18 this year.

He informed the participants, that Azerbaijan participates in the protection of human rights at the international level and cooperates with international organizations working in this field.

The head of the Azerbaijani delegation noted that efforts are being made to improve legislation, reform the penitentiary system, as well as success in the economic sphere, according to the report.

He noted that Heydar Aliyev Foundation's education, health and cultural programs are implemented.

Khalafov, in his speech touched upon not only the promotion of human rights protection since the time of independence, but also problems and difficulties that Azerbaijan is facing.

The Deputy Minister noted the difficulties of refugees and internally displaced persons with whom they have encountered as a result of aggression by Armenia of Azerbaijani territories.

Representatives of States participating in the discussions, highly valued Azerbaijani Government's activities to reform the economy, advances in the field of human rights.

Discussions continued as an interactive dialogue.

During the visit, Deputy Minister Khalaf Khalafov met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay.

The parties expressed their satisfaction with the current level of cooperation and exchanged views on the prospects and directions of cooperation.

Khalafov informed Pillay about country's activities in the field of human rights, as well as the aggression of Armenia.

During the visit, Deputy Minister met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

The sides exchanged views on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its solutions, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin, the involvement of international donors in addressing the social problems of refugees, the report says.

Human rights

Azerbaijani members of parliament are satisfied with the national army military unit near the front line.

"We made sure the national army is well equipped," State Deputy Havva Mammadova said.

A group of Azerbaijani members of parliament visited the national army military unit in Khojavand.

She said the soldiers were highly disciplined.

"The soldiers in the trenches are in good spirits," Mammadova said.

"We cannot deny that our army has quality food," member of parliament and retired Colonel Aydin Hasanov said.

He said parliament must visit military units to reform the army.

"We witnessed great discipline in this military unit at war," Hasanov said.

"Parents must not worry about their children who serve in the army," State Deputy Baba Tagiyev said.

He said parliament will strengthen control over the army.

"We made sure that our army has a strong material and technical base," Tagiyev said.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

On Feb. 1, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops at 08:20-08:50. The shots were fired from near Goradiz village in Fuzuli region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Kuropatkino village in the Khojavand region at 16:00-16:15 and 22:00-22:10, near Tapgaragoyunlu village in the Goranboy region at 19:30-19:40.

The Azerbaijani troops answered their fire. No casualties were reported.

The NATO supports all OSCE Minsk Group steps to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, NATO Secretary General's representative to the South Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simons said in response to the Trend reporter's question at opening ceremony of a library at the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy.

Simons said NATO's position on the peaceful resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is clear.

"The NATO is actively cooperating with both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Both of them are our partners. Each of these countries has action plan on cooperation. I am glad about the progress in peaceful solution of the conflict through talks. Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents have met several times and reached certain agreement," Simons added.

Simons said the NATO supports all issues that Azerbaijan and Armenia have coordinated on the peaceful resolution. "I think all problems must be solved within the OSCE Minsk Group," Simons said.

On Feb. 2, Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from 11:40 to 11:50 and from 15:40. The shots were fired from the nameless heights of Fuzuli region of Azerbaijan.

The Armenian armed forces were also firing from Seysulan village of Terter region from 13:25 to 13:30 and from Tapqaraqoyunlu village and nameless heights of Goranboy region from 14:55 to 15:20. On Feb. 3, the shots were also fired from near Sarijali village of Agdam region from 01:09 to 01:15 and from Garakhanbayli village and nameless heights of Fuzuli region from 02:20 to 02:30.

The response of fire shelling was suppressed, without any losses.

Units of the Armenian armed forces bombarded the dislocated places of Azerbaijan armed forces. The attack went off from the nameless heights of Terter district, and happened on February 3rd, between 14:10 and 14:30.

More fire came from the positions near Kengerli village of the Agdam region from 20:15 to 20:30 and from 21:45 to 21:55 from the nameless heights of the Fizuli area on to the Azerbaijani troops. This was reported in the press service of the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan.

Response fire has started and the firing was suppressed. No losses were reported.

Azerbaijan hopes that Russia's official reply about supply of ammunition worth $800 million to Armenia is true.

Russian Defense Ministry denied media reports that it supplied ammunition to Armenia from the 102nd military base in Gyumri in 2008.

"We have an official document and have to believe in it, because these steps do not correspond to the spirit and nature of the bilateral and multilateral relations developing between Azerbaijan and Russia over the last 7-8 years," Azerbaijani Presidential Administration International Relations Department head Novruz Mammadov told Trend on Feb. 4.

Mammadov says Azerbaijani is certainly concerned on the issue. "If that took place, which is impossible to hide, then sooner or later different evidences will be found and Azerbaijan will express its views," he said.

Mammadov believes Russia will not allow relations with Azerbaijan to be undermined, as this does not correspond to interests of both countries.

"We have a reply and have to be content. But this does not mean that the process has stopped," said Mammadov.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have different approaches on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"The latest round of talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Zurich showed the sides still have different approaches on resolving the conflict, although certain progress has been made," head of the International Relations Department of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Novruz Mammadov told Trend on Feb. 4.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan met to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Zurich on Jan. 28.

Talks must continue to resolve the conflict, Mammadov said.

He added that it is too early to speak of any serious progress.

The presidents have made progress understanding several key principles, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Matthew Bryza told Trend news in a telephone conversation.

"The meeting between the presidents was positive and constructive. They made progress on several key issues," Bryza said.

Poland supports solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with preservation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Parliament Vice-Speaker Valeh Alasgarov on Feb. 4. Kremer is visiting Baku.

On Feb. 4, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azeri troops in the the Tovuz region at 05:40-05:50. The shots were fired from the Mosesgah village in Armenia's Berd region.

The Azeri Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azeri troops from the Yusifjanli village in the Agdam region at 08:35-08:55, and from the Gulustan village in the Goranboy region at 11:15-11:30.

The Azeri troops answered their fire. No causalities were reported.

Azerbaijan gave Armenia a dead soldier who was killed on the contact line in the Agdam region, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told Trend on Feb. 6.
The Armenian armed forces moved toward the Javahirli village in Agdam to seize the Azerbaijani army's positions at 19:00 on Jan. 26. During the one-hour battle, three Armenian soldiers were killed and several wounded. The Armenians lost their position. Their military took the bodies of the wounded and killed soldiers except for one which lay on the contact line.

It is unclear if Armenia will hand over one Azerbaijani POW, the ministry said.

Azerbaijani Soldier Rafig Hasanov was taken prisoner in October 2008 under unknown conditions.

The OSCE Minsk Group Russian, French and U.S. co-chairs will discuss steps to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

The co-chairs will visit the region in late February or early March to continue consultations with both countries' governments, OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair Matthew Bryza wrote Trend in an email on Feb. 6. 

On Feb. 5, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops at 15:00-15:10. The shots were fired from nameless heights in the Khojavand region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Mehdili village in the Jabrayil region at 20:15-20:40.

The Azerbaijani troops answered their fire. No causalities were reported.

On Feb. 6, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops at 17:30-17:35. The shots were fired from heights in Khojavand region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Tap Garagoyunlu village in the Goranboy region at 20:45-20:50.

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Nizami Ganjavi International Center hosts side event as part of UN General Assembly's 76th session (VIDEO)
Indian gov't says 75 pct of stolen heritage returned during last seven years
Indian gov't says 75 pct of stolen heritage returned during last seven years
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S.Korea reports record-high COVID-19 cases, deaths
Iran, China review cinematic cooperation
Georgia and Poland have potential for development of bilateral trade
Kyrgyzstan, Russia presidents hold telephone conversation
Japan PM Kishida likely to cancel U.S. visit due to Omicron
Militants kill at least 31 in central Mali, say local authorities
Tunisia confirms 1st case of Omicron variant infection
Turkey confirms 21,495 daily COVID-19 cases
France announces new travel restrictions
IMF chief says Omicron could dent global economic growth
France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan
UK records more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases
Italy's economy projected to grow 6.3 pct this year
Kazakhstan decreases petroleum gas export to Hungary amid global pandemic
Militants kill 7 soldiers in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state
Iran nuclear talks adjourn, resume next week
South Africa hit by fourth COVID wave driven by Omicron
Budget for social rehabilitation and childcare to reach 52 mln GEL next year, Georgian PM says
Putin informs Erdogan on main results of Sochi trilateral meeting
Turkey introduces action plan to improve lives of the disabled
Construction of 50MW solar power plant underway in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijani FM, OSCE rep exchange views on OSCE Charter (PHOTO)
Human remains discovered in Caspian Sea and recovered - SOCAR
Iran highlights need for more customs cooperation with Pakistan
bp discloses investments in construction of power plant in liberated Azerbaijani lands
Turkmen gas may be supplied to Europe via Caspian Connector project - ambassador
Turkish, Russian Presidents hold phone talks
Azerbaijan’s Pasha Holding talks about development strategy
Azerbaijan's Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNICEF sign another memorandum of understanding (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijani, Turkish military pilots conduct joint training flights in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 1,703 more COVID-19 cases, 2,180 recoveries
Turkmenistan can supply natural gas to European market until 2050 - ambassador
Azerbaijan discloses export volume of petroleum coke
Azerbaijan's Finance Ministry to auction gov't bonds via Baku Stock Exchange
SOCAR begins testing of new mobile diving complex
Israeli co Fireblocks raising $400m at $8b valuation
Croatia remains one of Russia’s key partners in EU
Value of goods transported via road increases in Azerbaijan
U.S. job growth misses expectations in Nov.
Policy and Management Consulting Group shares data on Georgia’s economic outlook
Georgia, Qatar discuss favorable investment climate
Price indexes of financial, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Uzbekneftegaz obtains new industrial gas flow from Kulbeshkak field
Uzbek Statistics Committee shares data on imports of meat for 10M2021
Georgia’s economic climate remains stable – PMC
Uzbekistan reveals volume of bank loans allocated to various sectors of economy
Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan gas swap - win-win deal, says Iranian analyst
FMs of Azerbaijan, Poland hold meeting within OSCE Ministerial Council
Co-op between Turkmenistan, EU to focus on improving business climate till 2027
Azerbaijan's food import volume down for 10M2021
Zones free from animal diseases being created in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh, East Zangazur
Azerbaijan considers opening Indonesian Chamber of Commerce
Azerbaijan increases chemical production volume for 10M2021
Azerbaijan, Turkey begin work on establishing joint university - minister
Azerbaijan’s liberated territories have several types of renewable energy sources– RES agency
Azerbaijani parliament adopts amendment to servicemen insurance law
Azerbaijan may exempt sale of electric cars from VAT
Azerbaijan introduces excise taxes on electronic cigarettes, shisha
Concept for creation of "green energy" zone in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories prepared
Transaction to sell Chinese oil company’s stake in Azerbaijan closed
Output volume at Azerbaijan’s Kursangi, Garabagli fields revealed
Austrian interior minister becomes candidate for country’s next chancellor
Azerbaijan begins geological exploration at Tutkhun gold deposit in Kalbajar
Iran to import hay from Russia
Uzbek home appliance manufacturer Artel joins United Nations Global Compact
Economic stability - framework of Iran`s next year budget
BioNTech CEO confident of quickly adapting vaccine for Omicron
Situation is still fragile in South Caucasus - OSCE Chairperson-in-Office
Azerbaijan to strengthen social protection of population in 2022 – PM
Azerbaijan may exempt import of books and paper from VAT
Iran reveals its non-oil trade in 7 months
Iran aims to build new oil, gas refineries amid growing consumption
Uzbek Central Bank shares data on leading banks in terms of loans
Azerbaijani PM talks on measures to curb price increase
Iran seeks to establish joint banking network with Syria
Azerbaijan to expand agriculture dev’t in Karabakh in 2020 – minister
Demining of water basins in Azerbaijan's liberated Fuzuli, Aghdam underway - ministry
Azerbaijan removes electronic bracelets from 134 convicts within amnesty act
India seeks strong ties with EU, cooperation in transition to clean energy
Dubai's DP World pulls out of Haifa port privatisation bid
Azerbaijani Artillery Units hold live-fire exercises (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan to change state duties on issuing registration plates of road vehicles
Georgian business sector sees average monthly salary increase
Cementing ties with France, UAE places $19 bln order for warplanes, helicopters
Azerbaijan preparing development strategy for Karabakh - Karabakh Revival Fund (PHOTO)
Man of Armenian origin who attacked Azerbaijani soldier neutralized – MoD
Azerbaijan releases 14 prisoners from correctional institution № 16 as part of amnesty act (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan releases 122 prisoners from correctional institution within amnesty act (PHOTO)
Australia calls on Azerbaijan, Armenia to delimit and demarcate state borders
Azerbaijan sees growth of trading via Baku Stock Exchange
Azerbaijan to release 65 female prisoners within act of amnesty
Georgia’s domestic supply of natural gas slightly decreases
Azerbaijan clears almost half of "Araz Valley Economic Zone" Industrial Park of mines - minister
Azerbaijan releases seven prisoners within act of amnesty (PHOTO)
Azernews newspaper selected as media partner of ECO from Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
bp is first company to use flexible approach in management of energy resources during pandemic
Turkey’s fuel exports to Georgia plummet
EU firms in infrastructure sector spent higher share of their investment on energy efficiency
Azerbaijan to strengthen control over allocation of subsidies
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