Weekly political digest (21.09- 26.09.2009)

Official news

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree amending the decree of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 30, 2007 Number 2070 "On approval of the new composition of the joint intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation between Azerbaijan Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan", State News Agency Azertag reported on Wednesday.

According to the order, the words "Yagub Eyyubov - First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan" replaced by "Natig Aliyev - Minister of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan Republic", the phrase "Gulmammadov Javadov - Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan" excluded.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Republic is committed to notify the side of Kazakhstan.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on awarding Rasim Hasan oglu Aliyev with "Sharaf" order for great contribution to the development of architectural art in Azerbaijan.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree approving the memers of the Commission to prepare proposals for the strategic development of gas processing and petrochemical industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan, as follows:

Chairman of the Commission:

Yagub Eyyubov - First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan

members:

Shahin Mustafayev - Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Republic
Samir Sharifov - Minister of Finance of the Azerbaijan Republic
Natig Aliyev - Minister of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan Republic
Huseyngulu Bagirov - Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Republic
Kerem Hasanov - Chairman of State Committee of Azerbaijan Republic on the property
Mahmud Karimov - President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan
Rovnag Abdullayev - President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic
Majid Karimov - President of the State Company "Azerikimya" Azerbaijan
Rasim Dadashov - head of department of petroleum and chemical machinery of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic

Commission are required within three months to prepare and submit proposals to the President of the Azerbaijan Republic.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree dismissing the head of executive power of Nizami district of Baku Mehbali Aliyev.

Upon another decree by head of state, Tahir Budagov was appointed the head of executive power of Nizami district.

On Sept. 24, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev attended a ceremony to mark the start of reconstruction of the Bilgah-Sumgayit motor highway.

Transport minister Ziya Mammadov told the President that the highway will be 39.6 kilometers in length. According to the minister, the road will have 6 lanes and maximum speed limit will be 120km/h.

The President chatted with constructors to give them recommendations concerning the quality of the construction work.

The Azerbaijani government has adopted the General Rules on filling the vacant positions corresponding to the sixth- ninth qualification of the administrative positions.

Under the decision, the administration of relevant state institutions will adopt the job descriptions for positions corresponding to the sixth-ninth qualification of the administrative positions, in accordance with general rules, the official website of the Cabinet of the minters reported.

The General Rules are consisted of sections of "The requirements regarding education," "The requirements regarding the duration of service" and "One should know."

The "Requirements regarding the education" section determines the required higher education to fill positions. The "Requirements regarding the length of service" section defines the necessary work experience to fill positions.

The section "One should know" determines the necessary minimum knowledge to fill positions.

The state organizations present to the state commission on public service under the President the job descriptions (in paper and electronic form) and other necessary documents in the order set by the commission to fill vacant positions of the sixth-ninth qualification of the administrative positions. The commission supervises the preparation of job descriptions in accordance with General Rules.

On Sept. 24, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a Czech delegation headed by President of the Senate Premysl Sobotka.

The Azerbaijani leader praised the current level of bilateral relations between the two nations, saying "there is a great potential to further develop them".

The Head of State said he had discussed the bilateral relations during his meetings with Czech President and Prime Minister.

President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of Azerbaijan's participation in Eastern Partnership Program.

The President expressed assurance the Czech delegation will have effective discussion on Azerbaijan-Czech and Azerbaijan-European Union cooperation during their trip to Baku.
Premysl Sobotka said Czechia regards Azerbaijan its strategic partner and is keen to develop the bilateral cooperation. The Speaker praised Azerbaijan's role in expanding Czechia's relations with other countries of the region.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev decreed to confer honorary ranks on people, contributing to socio-cultural development of the Ganja city, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

Under the decree, Gizdarkhan Damirova and Mubariz Aliyev has been awarded the honorary title "Honored Teacher of the Azerbaijan Republic," Sarvar Abdurahmanov, "Honored Doctor of the Azerbaijan Republic, and Afiser Omarov -"Honored Actor of the Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on extra measures to accelerate construction work on welfare of Baku.

Under the decree, the Reserve Fund of Azerbaijani President will allocate 20 million manats to the Baku City Administration.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree dismissing the head of executive power of Geranboy district of Azerbaijan Elshan Garayev.

Upon another presidential decree, Nizamaddin Guliyev was appointed the head of Geranboy executive power.

On Sept. 25, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev inspected the Azerbaijan State Art Museum, which was recently reopened after restoration work.

According to the draft, all the engineering and technical equipment of the three-storey building was renovated.

Head of State and his spouse got familiarized with photostands, which reflect past and current condition of the museum building.
The President also got acquainted with the project of the museum complex.

International Mugham Center hosted a presentation of memorial medallion in honor of National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in Baku on Sept. 25. The medallion was prepared at the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Medallion was prepared by the international company Maer Collection, which is one of the worldwide companies in the field of numismatics and quickly became a respected brand in the field of coins and medallions.

The head of the company, Bernard Maer told reporters that the medallion in honor of National Leader of Azerbaijan was prepared with the permission of the Head of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

"The company thanked the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and its president Mehriban Aliyeva for their support," said Maer.

According to him, a year ago the company decided to prepare commemorative medallions of personalities who have played an important role in the political life of Eastern Europe, former USSR and the Caucasus.

"Our company is proud of producing a commemorative medallion of National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev," said Maer.

On Sept. 25, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev inaugurated a new building for the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan (Parliament).

The Head of State and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva were welcomed by the Milli Majlis leadership.

President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing official opening of the new building.
The foundation stone of the new building was laid on November 3, 2007. In accordance with Azerbaijani leader`s instruction, the 15-storey building was built ahead of schedule. The building was designed by the Azerdovletlayihe Institute and built by local specialists. The total area of the building is 1365 sq meters. The interior and external appearance of the building meets high standards.

The building will house a huge library.

The new building is the second to none not only in the CIS area but also in some developed countries.

President Ilham Aliyev was presented with the Milli Majlis`s Honorary Medal for exceptional contribution to strengthening interparliamentary ties and developing parliamentarism.
MP, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded the Milli Majlis`s Honorary Medal for her contribution to strengthening interparliamentary ties and developing parliamentarism

President Ilham Aliyev praised the conditions created here for MPs and wished every success to the parliament of Azerbaijan.

On Sept. 26, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) Mehmet Ali Shahin.

The speaker extended greetings of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Azerbaijani President.

Shahin expressed satisfaction with the fact that he had made one of his first foreign trips to Baku since he took office on August 5 this year.

Touching upon the upcoming first summit of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkish-speaking countries, the speaker noted inter-parliamentary ties contribute to boosting relations among peoples.

President Ilham Aliyev, in turn, stressed the importance of the fact that the Turkish speaker had made one of his first foreign visits to Azerbaijan.

The Head of State pointed out "the fact that parliament speakers are continuing Presidents-founded tradition is a vivid evidence of relations between our countries".

On the importance of the first summit of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkish-speaking countries the President said "our relations will be successful in this format, as well".

President Ilham Aliyev also touched upon the summit of heads of Turkish-speaking countries to be held in Nakhchivan, saying "holding such important events will contribute to strengthening friendship and solidarity among Turkish-speaking peoples".

Mehmet Ali Shahin underlined as long as the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is not resolved, GNAT will not ratify "protocols on agreement".
President Ilham Aliyev thanked him for "this position".

The President asked Mehmet Ali Shahin to convey his greetings to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Elections

In Azerbaijan, the number of municipalities, whose term has not expired, wishing to join the municipal elections continues to grow.

"The Central Election Commission (CEC) has received 81 requests from the municipalities with existing authority," the CEC Spokesperson, Azar Sariyev said to Trend .

Term of municipalities, on which in 2006 Azerbaijan held repeated and additional municipal elections, will expire in 2011.

Municipal elections are scheduled for mid-December. The number of municipalities in Azerbaijan reduced from 2,760 to 1,720 as a result of their unification.

Parliament

Regardless of who will be elected secretary-general, the relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe will not change.

"The Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will actively participate in the elections for the post of the Secretary General. Prior to the session, some discussions will be hold about the candidates. The relations between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe at the level that regardless who will be elected the secretary-general of the organization, they will not change," Member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, Gultakin Hajibayli said to Trend on Sept. 23.

The PACE autumn session will elect a new secretary-general of the organization.

Former Prime Minister of Poland Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Former Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland, Former Head of the Government of Belgium Luc van den Brande, and Member of the Hungarian Parliament Matthias Iorsh have been nominated for the post of the CE General Secretary. The CE Committee of Ministers has approved the candidatures of Cimoszewicz and Jagland of the four candidates in early September.

A bill on the Azerbaijani peacekeepers was included in the agenda of the autumn session of Azerbaijani parliament.

"Our committee has already recommended submitting the bill on the status of the peacekeepers for discussions at the Parliament's next session," member of the parliamentary committee on security and defense, Zahid Oruj told Trend on Sept.24.

The service term of 150 soldiers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the multinational force in Iraq also ended.

According to Oruj, when discussing the bill, they had received positive feedback from the Ministries of Finance and Defense, as well as from the Presidential Administration.

"Azerbaijan has been participating in peacekeeping operations since 1999. This brought great benefit to Azerbaijan. The participation in peacekeeping operations also provides a guarantee of security of our country. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt a certain law on the peacekeepers, " Oruj said.

The bill reflected the status of peacekeepers, their logistical support, treatment and other issues, Oruj said.

The Azerbaijani Parliamentary Committee will discuss a bill on "Ex-presidents", devised by a chairman of an opposition party.

"The discussion will be presented a bill consisting of nine articles, which was submitted by me to the committee for state construction and legal policy", - said to Trend on Thursday the head of Great Establishment Party (WSP), the deputy Fazil Mustafa.

"A bill including 9 articles which I submitted to the State Establishment and Legal Policy Committee will be debated," Parliamentarian and Head of the Great Establishment Party (GEP) Fazil Mustafa told Trend .

Mustafa said under the relevant additions and amendments to the Constitution, the Law on the status of ex-presidents must be adopted. "Delaying the process would be contempt of the Constitution. But I am not particularly hopeful that the bill developed by my initiative as well as on the initiative of other members will be adopted," said the parliamentarian.

About four years ago, the bill on "Ex-presidents" was submitted to the Parliament by the parliamentary group of the Musavat Party.

There are more than 30 issues on the agenda of the first meeting of the Azerbaijani parliament's autumn session.

"The document signed by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia, on the completion of the delimitation of borders and fundamental principles of division of the Samur River water basin, is expected to be ratified at the first meeting," member of the Committee on Security and Defense, Zahid Oruj told Trend on Sept. 24.

According to Oruj, the first meeting will also discuss the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Serbia, Oman, Libya and Estonia.

Some additions and changes are envisaged to the legislation on electricity, tobacco products, public service, as well as to the bill on broadcasting of public television and radio, Oruj said. "In addition, a plan on legislative work of the autumn session will be approved at the first meeting," the MP said.

The first meeting of the Azerbaijani parliament's autumn session will be held on Sept. 30.

The Azerbaijani parliament opened a Department on European Integration.

The department is tasked to adjust the country's legislation to the European standards, Head of the parliamentary department, Sefa Mirzayev, said at the briefing after the presentation of the project on support to the Azerbaijani parliament.

According Mirzayev, the department will work under the parliament's administration and later become a special section. "The European Integration Department will involve different specialists and we will try to realize the project on support to the Azerbaijani parliament at the highest level," Mirzayev added.

On Sept. 25, the Twinning project on support to the Azerbaijani parliament was presented at the parliament. The Lithuanian Seim will work with the Azerbaijani parliamentarians to realize the project.

A presentation ceremony of the project on support to the Azerbaijani parliament has been held.

"The main objective of the Twinning project is to contribute to strengthening democracy and supremacy of law in Azerbaijan, particularly, assist in the approach of the country's legislation  to the EU legislation," Valeh Alasgarov, Deputy Chairman of the Parliament, told Trend on Sept.25.

The Lithuanian Seim will work with the Azerbaijani parliamentarians to realize the project. "Azerbaijan's integration into European organizations will be accelerated as a result of this project," Alasgarov added.

"The Lithuania- Azerbaijan relations will develop actively under this project and we are pleased that we are partners in this," Lithuanian Seim Vice-Speaker Ceslovas Stankiyavicus, said at the event.

According to Stankiyavicus, the Lithuanian parliament will use maximum its experience to improve the legal base of Azerbaijan under the project. "We believe the relations between the executive agencies and the parliament will be updated as a result," Stankyavicus said.

"This project proves once again how attentively the Azerbaijani president and the Parliamentary leadership concerning the development of parliamentarism in the country," Head of the parliamentary department, Sefa Mirzayev, said.

The main objective of the project, which will be implemented over 24 months, is to strengthen democracy and supreme of law in Azerbaijan, Mirzayev said

Baku has hosted the 10th meeting of the Azerbaijan-EU Cooperation Committee, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

Chief of the European Commission Directorate for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Gunnar Vigant represented the European Union and Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Mahmoud Mammadguliyev was a co-chair of the committee from Azerbaijan.

The meeting discussed issues of the bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, the prospects of these relations and exchanged views on the EU Eastern Partnership program.

Foreign policy

The second Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Russia has launched its activities in the Urals, Yekaterinburg. Its consular district covers half of the country - the territories of the three federal districts - the Far East, Siberia and the Urals.

The information department of Sverdlovsk Governor told ITAR TASS that Eduard Rossel had received the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu, who presented the Consul General of Azerbaijan Republic in Yekaterinburg, Sultan Gasimov. "This consulate-general will be the second diplomatic representation of Azerbaijan in Russia after St. Petersburg," noted the department.

"I visit this territory for many years, and I am witnessing how the city and region are developing. I hope that we will cooperate successfully in the future. In Azerbaijan, you are treated with great respect," said the ambassador. Eduard Rossel assured Polad Bulbuloglu that the Urals will continue to actively cooperate with Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan and Estonia have signed an agreement on cooperation in information and communication technologies (ICT).

During his visit to New York, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet, Foreign Ministry told Trend on Sept.24.

The sides signed an agreement on cooperation between the governments of Azerbaijan and Estonia in the ICT.

This document opens up opportunities to expand cooperation in the ICT sector, the sides said. They mentioned the importance of mutual business missions to discuss specific projects in this area and to explore the possibilities of cooperation in various sectors of the economy.

Mammadyarov and Paet agreed to exchange drafts of the documents to enhance bilateral judicial cooperation in various fields.

The Czech Republic supports the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

"The principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders are extremely important for the Czech Republic. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a very serious problem. I believe every conflict should be resolved peacefully. The military intervention may lead to even greater disasters. Therefore, the conflict should be resolved by peaceful means, based on norms and principles of the international law. The Czech Republic supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and this position is unchanged," Chairman of the Senate of the Czech Parliament, Přemysl Sobotka, said during his meeting with Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Ogtay Asadov, in Baku on Sept. 24.

Sobotka mentioned the Czech Republic's interest in developing ties with Azerbaijan. "In big-time politics the parliaments play an important role. Therefore, the development of the inter-parliamentary relations is in the interests of both sides.

There are large opportunities for the development of economic and trade ties between the two countries. "The businessmen, who came with me to Azerbaijan, intend to expand cooperation with their Azerbaijani counterparts," Sobotka said.

Asadov provided detailed information about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and stated Baku's position on this matter. "The UN Security Council, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other prestigious international organizations have adopted resolutions on this matter, but  the invader Armenia ignores these documents," Assadov added.

The speaker expressed his gratitude to the leadership of the Czech Republic for a fair position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"After the restoration of independence, the relations between our countries began to develop in a new plane. Your visit will give impetus to the development of the Azerbaijani-Czech relations," Asadov said.

Speaker also praised the level of the inter-parliamentary ties, activities of the friendship groups in the parliaments of the two countries, mutual visits and cooperation of the Czech and Azerbaijani MPs in the international organizations. "Our economic ties and trade are also growing. We believe that there are large opportunities to increase trade turnover," Asadov said.

Asadov appreciated the participation of the Czech Republic in the GUAM as an observer, saying that Azerbaijan is interested in this country's experience in integration into the Euro-Atlantic organizations.

The Azerbaijani and Turkish Foreign Ministers have discussed the situation with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution in New York.

The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey, Elmar Mammadyarov and Ahmet Davudoglu have met as part of the UN General Assembly, currently taking place in New York, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry told Trend .

The ministers also debated the cooperation of the two countries in all fields.

Lithuania is ready for a new phase of cooperation with Azerbaijan in the parliamentary sphere.

"The aim of the visit to Azerbaijan is to initiate a new project on Azerbaijan and the EU cooperation," Lithuanian Seim Vice-Speaker Ceslovas Stankiyavicus told journalists in Baku on Sept. 24.

According to Stankiyavicus, Lithuania appreciates of its being selected the main candidate for the execution of this project on the Unification of Azerbaijani legislation with the European. "We plan to start a new phase of cooperation between the Azerbaijani parliamentarians and our representatives as part of this project. We are glad for opportunities to cooperate with Azerbaijani parliamentarians on an equal footing," Stankiyavicus said.

It all is planned under the project aimed at the progress of Azerbaijan, the vice-speaker added.

On Sept. 24, the vice-speaker visited the grave of Azerbaijani National Leader Heydar Aliyev and the Alley of Martyrs.

Ruling parties of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) and Nur Otan, will sign an agreement on cooperation.

The agreement will be signed during the visit of the NAP delegation headed by Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the NAP, to Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijani embassy in Kazakhstan told Trend .

"The delegation visits Astana upon the invitation of the Kazakh ruling People's Democratic Party Nur Otan, the party told Trend earlier.

The main aim of the visit is to attend the V General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), where NAP enters. "The conference will discuss ways to solve the global economic crisis and its consequences, increasing role of the young political leaders and women in public life," the same source added.

Establishment of peace and security in the region is impossible without the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated in a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Fawzi Salloukh in New York within the framework of the 64th UN General Assembly, the ministry announced.  

The ministers discussed common interests and viewpoints of Azerbaijan and Lebanon on different problems in the Middle East and South Caucasus.

Mammadyarov informed his Lebanese counterpart the country's position on the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and said peace and security in the region is impossible without the resolution of this dispute.

Azerbaijan has created favorable conditions for foreign investors' activities and has great business opportunities, the British Co-Chair of the Azerbaijan-UK Business Council, Lord Howell said at the meeting of the Council in London on Sept. 22.

At the meeting, Howell stressed the relations between the two countries have been recently expanded in all fields and noted that the Council will contribute to more strengthening of the bilateral economic-trade relations, the Foreign Ministry reported on Sept. 25.

The meeting was attended by Chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, Jahangir Hajiyev, Azerbaijani Ambassador to UK, Fakhraddin Gurbanov, British Co-Chair of the Council, Lord Howell, Director of the Council, Michael Thomas, members of the British House of Lords and an official of the British Foreign Ministry, as well as representatives of different companies.

Hajiyev made a report about the recent achievements in the Azerbaijani economy and said that the newly founded Council aims to more expand the trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Representatives of the some British leading companies and business institutions put forward proposals and exchanged opinions concerning potential projects.

The participants of the meeting emphasized that the Council's activity will intensify the economic activity between the two countries.

Azerbaijan's cooperation with Islamic umma [community] is one of priorities of the country's foreign policy, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated in a meeting with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Ministry announced.

The meeting was held within the framework of the UN 64th General Assembly.

Mammadyarov appraised the UN and OIC resolutions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, supporting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.

Ihsanoglu appraised the level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and OIC, its role in the dialogue of civilizations, as well as measures done by the country in this field.

In 2009 Baku was announced a capital of the Islamic culture for contribution and development of the Islamic world.

Jews in Azerbaijan have always resided in peace and agreement with representatives of different nationalities and religions, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated in a meeting with the U.S. Jewish community, the Ministry announced.

Mammadyarov is currently on a visit to New York to participate in the 64th UN General Assembly.

A model of tolerance of religious and national communities of Azerbaijan is one of national wealth of the country, Mammadyarov said.

The Jewish community appraised the level of tolerance in Azerbaijan and success of Israeli President Shimon Peres's visit to Azerbaijan, as well as Azerbaijani President's Ilham Aliyev's congratulatory message to Jews on Rosh ha-Shana holiday - Jewish New Year.

Mammadyarov said that Peres's visit to Azerbaijan gave impetus to intensive development of relations with Israel.

The meeting focused on regional issues, Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and Azerbaijan's visions on regional and global processes.

Azerbaijan plays an important role in energy security of Europe, Switzerland's Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said in a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in New York.

In turn, Mammadyarov informed his counterpart about the process of resolution of the Armenian -Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and stressed peace and security in the region is impossible without settlement of this dispute, the ministry announced. .

The sides discussed bilateral cooperation and their prospects. The foreign ministers of the two countries met as part of their participation in the UN General Assembly.

On Sept. 24, the Georgian Parliament approved the current Georgian ambassador to Azerbaijan Nikoloz Natbiladze as Georgia's ambassador to Spain. He gained 101 votes of MPs.

Natbiladze will replace ambassador to Spain Zurab Pololikashvili, who was appointed Minister of Economy of Georgia.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry presented a note to the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan.

"The note stated that a while ago, journalists of the Turkish NTV TV channel, which were issued accreditation in the so-called "Foreign Ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh", visited the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. The fact disappointed Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry categorically opposed to such visits to its occupied territory and requests the Turkish Foreign Ministry to investigate this fact and take measures, Foreign Ministry's Spokesman, Elkhan Polukhov, told Trend on Sept.25.

A new co-rapporteur of the PACE Monitoring Committee on Azerbaijan instead of Yevgenia Zhivkova should be appointed next Thursday, October 1, said PACE spokesperson Angus Macdonald.

"One of the two posts of co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Azerbaijan is currently vacant, but it is foreseen that a new co-rapporteur should be appointed by the Monitoring Committee next week, on Thursday 1st October, during a meeting of the committee on the fringes of the PACE session in Strasbourg," Macdonald told Trend via e-mail on Sept. 25

Co-rapporteur Zhivkova's resignation became known in June, but until appointment of a new person, she is officially in office. Another PACE co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan is Andres Herkel, head of the Estonian delegation and vice-president of PACE.

Macdonald refused to comment on the most likely candidate for the post until his/her appointment as co-rapporteur.

He said that the normal practice is that the person appointed would make contact with the Azerbaijani delegation shortly after appointment, to introduce themselves and to prepare - along with the other co-rapporteur - their programme of visits and co-operation with the Azeri authorities.

While joining the Council of Europe in 2001, Azerbaijan undertook a number of obligations, of which fulfillment is monitored by the Monitoring Committee.

The Azerbaijani people should be sure that Turkey will not take any steps offending Azerbaijan, the Head of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Mehmet Ali Sahin, who arrived in Baku on an official visit, told reporters on Sept. 25.

Ali Sahin said that Turkey has always been close to Azerbaijan and that Turkey would not take steps contrary to the interests of Azerbaijan.

Regarding the negotiations between Armenia and Turkey to improve relations, Ali Sahin said that the Turkish Parliament has not acted this issue yet, but Turkey informs the Azerbaijani government on the negotiations with Armenia.  

"Turkey is working to solve all the problems in the Caucasus and the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is one of them," said Ali Sahin.

Azerbaijan supports the efforts to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said, making a speech at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference in New York, the Ministry said.

"The situation in Palestine and the issue of Jerusalem remain a topical issue for the Islamic society and members of the OIC must act with single position in this regard in the international community, Mammadyarov said. - Azerbaijan supports the efforts of the Palestinian people towards creating an independent and sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital".

"We must be ready to respond to such challenges as the fight against extremism, as well as terrorism and religious fanaticism," said Mammadyarov.

According to him, Azerbaijan intends to continue to cooperate with the Organization of Islamic Conference, and has applied for hosting the summit of the OIC in 2014 in Baku.

Azerbaijan also hopes that the OIC member countries, which are represented in the UN Security Council, would support Azerbaijan's candidacy for non-permanent membership in the Security Council in 2012-2013, he added.

Non-permanent membership of Azerbaijan will be discussed at the meeting of the 66th UN General Assembly in 2011.

Mammadyarov said that the decisions and resolutions of the OIC on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been very useful for the formation of approach by the international community, as well as the UN General Assembly and Security Council on the issue of occupation of Azerbaijani territory by Armenia.

According to Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan supports resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the international law and principles, UN resolutions and the OIC and OSCE documents, and hopes for continuing support of the OIC.

Resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the main topic of discussions at a meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair in New York on Sept. 25, the ministry said.

Mammadyarov's meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Yuri Merzlyakov of Russia, Bernard Fassier of France and Robert Bradtke of the United States, was held under the 64th UN General Assembly in New York.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said Minister Nalbandyan welcomed Robert Bradtke as OSCE MG Co-Chair and expressed hope that his diplomatic experience will contribute to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Novosti Armenia wrote.

At their meeting, which lasted for about two hours, the Armenian minister and the OSCE MG co-chairs discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, as well as the co-chairs' possible visit to the region to organize a meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The victims of 20th January tragedy  played a big role in recognition of Azerbaijan as an independent state, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin told journalists in Baku on Sept. 26 after visiting the Martyrs Lane.

Ali Sahin appraised the Turkish troops' contribution in Azerbaijan's independence, who defended it from the Armenian Dashnaks in 1918.

The U.S. administration considers status-quo unacceptable in the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The new U.S. administration has reiterated its support in the speedy settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Clinton said at a meeting with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, the Foreign Ministry told Trend .

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only within the framework of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, Mammadyarov said.

The parties also debated the issues of bilateral and regional cooperation.

The Turkish Parliament will not make any decisions that can damage Azerbaijani-Turkish friendship, Chairman of the Turkish Parliament, Mehmet Ali Sahin, who is on visit to Azerbaijan, said at the meeting at the Azerbaijani Parliament.

He said that despite rumors periodically spread in the press by various forces, Turkey will never take steps contrary to national interests of Azerbaijan. "The most important thing is that the same blood runs in our veins," he said.

He appreciated Azerbaijan's efforts to establish the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking countries.

Mehmet Ali Sahin said that after his election as chairman, he made first visit to Azerbaijan.

Borders will not be opened unless Armenia withdraws from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Turkish Parliament, Mehmet Ali Sahin, who is on visit to Azerbaijan, said at the meeting at the Azerbaijani Parliament.

He stressed that the Turkish-Armenian border was closed because of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Official Ankara took this step after Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani territories. The borders will not be opened unless the occupied territories are liberated, he said.

Political movements

A new chairman has been elected in an Azerbaijani opposition party.

"At the meeting of the Supreme Majlis on Sunday, my candidature for the chairman position has been unanimously supported," newly elected Chairman of the Open Society Party (OSP), Vagif Mahmudov told Trend on Sept. 21.

In June 2009, Akif Shahbazov resigned from this position. At the board meeting, the duties were assigned to the chairman of the Supreme Majlis, Vagif Mahmudov.

Mahmudov said during the meeting, he resigned from this position. "Dayandur Gambarov was elected the new chairman of the Supreme Majlis," said the new head of OSP.

At the meeting of the party was also considered the issue of Zamina Dunyamaliyeva, Advisor to the Chairman of the Party. "It was decided to exclude Zamin Khanum from the party due to repeated violations of requirements of the party's regulations. Although she was repeatedly invited to attend meetings of the Board, Zamin Khanum impartially expressed about the party in the press, and therefore, the party's members offered to debate this issue at the Supreme Majlis," said the chairman.

Concerning the future activity of the party, the OSP chairman said that consultations are being held with the party leader Rasul Guliyev due to this ongoing process. "We will take steps in accordance with the situation. But we will not partake in the municipal elections, such a decision has been passed by the Supreme Majlis," said Mahmudov.

Right-centrist opposition Open Society party was set up in April 2007. Leader of the party is ex-speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament Rasul Guliyev. At present, Guliyev lives as emigrant. Guliyev headed Azerbaijani Democratic Party till February 2007. He established Open Society party.

A new member has joined the Union For Democracy, uniting some opposition parties of Azerbaijan.

The Council of the Union Chairmen has positively replies to this request on the membership of the National Salvation Party of Azerbaijan (NSPA), the NSPA told Trend on Sept. 24.

The number of the parties in the Union has reached 6.

Union for Democracy was founded by the opposition Classic Popular Front Party, Azadlig party and National Democracy Party, People's Party, Great Azerbaijan Party and National Salvation Party after 2005 parliamentary election.

The opposition Azerbaijani Union for Democracy held an unsanctioned rally in front of the Foreign Ministry on Sept. 24.

The protestors came out against the Madrid principles proposed for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders.

"About 50 people took part in the rally and as a result of clashes with the police, three participants were detained. The protestors presented a petition to the Ministry," Chairman of the Azadlig party, which enters the union, Ahmad Oruj, told Trend on Sept.24.

According to Oruj, the rally may be considered as valid. Activists of the Karabakh Liberation Organization and several non-governmental organizations also joined the rally.

Ruling parties of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) and Nur Otan, will sign an agreement on cooperation.

The agreement will be signed during the visit of the NAP delegation headed by Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the NAP, to Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijani embassy in Kazakhstan told Trend .

"The delegation visits Astana upon the invitation of the Kazakh ruling People's Democratic Party Nur Otan, the party told Trend earlier.

The main aim of the visit is to attend the V General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), where NAP enters. "The conference will discuss ways to solve the global economic crisis and its consequences, increasing role of the young political leaders and women in public life," the same source added.

The head of the opposition party of Azerbaijan does not exclude that the disagreement between the two parties - the founders of the movement in which they are presented, can further deepen the crisis within the opposition.

"The fact that Musavat Party puts hard conditions before Umid Party is unacceptable. But what is happening today in the movement can further exacerbate the crisis within the opposition. And this is not desirable," Sardar Jalaloglu, chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) represented in the Movement for Karabakh and Republic, told Trend on Sept. 24.

Musavat Party, represented in the Movement for Karabakh and Republic, has put condition before the Umid Party that the latter must withdraw its representatives from the election commissions. Chairman of Umid Party, MP Igbal Aghazadeh, in his turn, said that this condition is unacceptable, not excluding party's withdrawal from the movement.

According to Jalaloglu, despite attempts to solve the problems between the two parties, they have not yet yielded positive results. "We do not consider right any party. But the leaders of Musavat and Umid insist on their own. And we must recognize that for this reason, now a serious problem appeared inside the movement," - said the chairman of the ADP.

According to him, all possibilities have not been used yet to remove the problem. "Our goal is to preserve the integrity of the movement and participate in the municipal elections in this form, and withdraw opposition from the current crisis," said Jalaloglu.

Movement for Karabakh and Republic was established by Azerbaijani People Front, Party of Citizen and Development, Liberal party, Azerbaijani Democratic party, Musavat party, Umid party, as well as several public organizations.

The Azerbaijani opposition parties are unlikely to achieve positive results in the municipal elections, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), Siyavush Novruzov, said.

"Their participation in municipal elections and achievement of any positive outcome is unlikely because of the lack of the social base," Novruzov told the official website of the NAP.

According to Novruzov, earlier part of the country's opposition refused to participate in the elections under various pretexts. The real reason for refusal to participate was the absence of the electorate. The opposition is not able to nominee candidates in all municipalities, the MP said.

The ruling party stands for participation of the opposite side in the elections. "We want the other party to participate in the elections and to provide alternative programs. But the reality is that the opposition lacks such an opportunity," Novruzov said.

There is no need to amend the Election Code of Azerbaijan, believes deputy executive secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP).

"The main fundamental questions related to the Election Code have found their solution and I think that there is no need to amend them. The current Election Code enables to hold free, fair, and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. The elections, held thus far in the country, testifies it," NAP Deputy Executive Secretary and Parliamentarian, Siyavush Novruzov said in his interview with the official website of the ruling party.

He believes the allegations of some opposition parties about the need to amend the Election Code are not justified and not supported by society. "Proposals of this kind do not belong to any electoral practice or to the election of the theory, nor to the election standards. All international organizations have repeatedly stated that the current Election Code of Azerbaijan enables to hold fair, free, and democratic elections," said the parliamentarian.

Novruzov said with the development of society it is necessary to convert some of the laws. "It is possible to inject some minor procedural changes into the Election Code. For example, changes can be made to the form of filling sheets, produced for the campaign to collect signatures, as well as the changes associated with the mission of observers. In general, there is no need to make any fundamental changes to the Code," he said.

The opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP) believes that the opposition parties, not conducting an independent policy, can not create a lasting and sincere unity.

"There is no genuine unity between the opposition parties in Azerbaijan. One of the reasons for this is that political leaders do not retreat from their ambitions. Another reason is that many parties for one reason or another depend on sponsors and political forces. So they can not pursue an independent policy. The lack of genuine relationships and trust between the party leaders also prevents the establishment of long-term unity," secretary of press and propaganda of ANIP Ali Orujov told Trend on Sept. 25.

Orujov said unfortunately, instead of integration, there is confrontation, and cold relationship between the opposition parties. "This is a bad influence on the parties themselves and on society. Society's trust in the unity of the opposition parties declines," said the secretary of the press and propaganda of ANIP.

As to the parties, preventing the unity of opposition parties, Orujov said that this is the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan. "In most cases, the words and actions of Ali Kerimli do not coincide. Today Kerimli also can not pursue an independent policy, and the party, which he heads, is unable to make their own decisions. The fact is that they depend on those or other sponsors," said Orujov.

According to Orujov, in order to create a long-term unity in the camp of the opposition, the parties should be financially independent, and party leaders have in some measure to refrain from their own ambitions and understand that there are many things that can unite the opposition.

The Astana party forum is the evidence to authority of Kazakhstan and its leader in the international community, the delegations of Turkey and Azerbaijan stated at the meeting with Parliamentary Chairman and Head of the Nur Otan faction, Ural Muhammadjanov, the press service of the Kazakh parliament announced.  

The meeting with Deputy Chairman of the Turkish Justice and Development Party, Haluk Ipek and Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the NAP, Ali Ahmadov, focused on the upcoming Kazakh chairmanship in OSCE in 2010, the Islamic Conference in 2011 and the Kazakh president's initiatives on the foreign policy," the same source said.

The participants of the meeting at the parliament noted the historical importance of the party forum in further development of comprehensive cooperation, especially in economy and culture, strengthening peace and security. The participants expressed their admiration with the new Kazakh capital and Kazakhstan in whole, which achieved success in formation of its new statehood in short timeframes.

Attending the meeting were Turkish MPs, leader of the Kazakhstan-Turkey friendship group, Valikhan Konirbayev, Amzebek Jolshibekov, members of the Azerbaijani delegation Erlan Nigmatulin and Amzebek Zholshibekov, as well as Azerbaijani Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Latif Seyfeddin Gandilov.

"The Azerbaijani delegation headed by Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the NAP, Ali Ahmadov, visits Astana upon the invitation of the Kazakh ruling People's Democratic Party "Nur Otan". The main aim of the visit is to attend the V General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), where NAP enters, an official website of the party reported.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

On Sept. 22, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas in the Ashagi Abdurahmanli and Horadiz villages of the Fuzuli region at 23:00-23:20 and from areas in the Ashagi Seyidahmadli village of the Fuzuli region at 04:30-04:50 on Sept. 23, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

On Sept. 23, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand region at 13:30-13:40, from in the Goygol region at 15:50-16:20, from the positions near the Garakhanbayli village in the Fuzuli region at 22:00-22:15 and from areas near the Sarijali village in the Agdam region at 22:45-23:00, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

On Sept. 24, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas in the Khojavand region at 13:20-13:30 and near the Gulustan village in the Goranboy region at 16:50-17:15.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Garakhanbayli, Ashagi Abdurrahmanli and Gorgan villages in the Fuzuli region at 19:45-19:50, 23:00-23:20, on Sept. 25 at 02:40-02:55 and 06:40-06:55, respectively.

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

On Sept. 25, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Gulustan village of the Goranboy region at 21:20-21:45, from the positions near the Ashagi Abdulrahmanli village in the Fuzuli region at 00:30-00:35 on Sept. 26, and from areas outside the Garagashli and Sarijali villages in the Agdam region at 04:20-04:35 and 05:01-05:15, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

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