Weekly political digest (19.10- 24.10.2009)

Official news

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who is on a visit in Switzerland was officially welcomed in this country.

The square was decorated with flags of the countries and a guard of honor was lined up in honor of Aliyev.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz met Aliyev. State and governmental officials of Switzerland were introduced to Aliyev and members of the Azerbaijani delegation to Merz.

The military band played the anthems of Azerbaijan and Switzerland.

The presidents reviewed the guard of honor and then posed for photographs.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Hans-Rudolf Merz of Switzerland gave a joint press conference October 19.

Azerbaijan and Switzerland regard each-other real partners, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said at official opening of the Days of Azerbaijani Culture in Switzerland on Monday.

The President pointed out "we regard each-other real partners", adding "bilateral projects will bring us closer".

President of Switzerland Hans-Rudolf Merz have today attended an event, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said in his remarks that Azerbaijan and Switzerland have a lot in common in terms of culture, geographical conditions and stable political situation. He noted Azerbaijan and Switzerland established good cooperation in all fields including culture. The Swiss Leader added holding the Azerbaijani Culture Days in Switzerland was a good indicator of cooperation in this area.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev thanked for hospitality. He described his first official visit to Switzerland as "successful". The Head of State underlined "we are intensifying our relationship in various spheres". He also stressed the importance of reciprocal visits.

According to him, culture is the best way to raise "our awareness of each-other".
"Azerbaijan has old history, rich culture and high national values, and we protect them".

The Head of State noted Azerbaijan was one of the world`s leader countries for its economic development.

He also expressed hope that "the Azerbaijani Culture Days in Switzerland will bring our countries closer".

Then, the two leaders and their spouses watched a concert program.

Following the concert, a reception was organized on the occasion of the inauguration of the Azerbaijani Culture Days. Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Hans-Rudolf Merz of Switzerland and their spouses participated in the reception.

In the frame of his official trip to the Swiss Confederation, President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva visited the office of Mayor of Bern, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Mayor of Bern Alexander Tscheppet highlighted on the history and the present of city which plays important role in the socio-political and cultural life of country.

Then, the President and First Lady were accompanied by the Mayor in city tour. They, in particular, visited a church, architectural pearl of 16th century.

Following the church visit, President Ilham Aliyev and Mehriban Aliyeva familiarized themselves with the Albert Einstein House Museum.

Here, the President and his spouse were taken their photos in front of the Clock Tower.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz met Monday here in the presence of the two countries` delegations, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

President Hans-Rudolf Merz said "we have intensive relations at the level of heads of state and other levels. He added inter-parliamentary groups contribute to boosting bilateral relationship even more.

On Azerbaijani days in Switzerland, he noted "such events contribute to bringing our peoples closer".

According to the Swiss President, bilateral economic cooperation is developing rapidly. "Our energy cooperation is expanding, we have projects in non-energy sector, as well", he added.

President Hans-Rudolf Merz underlined the importance of expansion of cooperation in alternative energy sector. He also praised the fact that the volume of trade turnover between the two countries has increased.

For his part, President Ilham Aliyev said his official visit to Switzerland serves deepening of relations.

The President pointed out bilateral economic cooperation was developing rapidly, and that the two countries have greater potential for this. He also added "we have strong political ties".

The Azerbaijani leader underlined "our energy cooperation is continuing successfully", adding "there are good opportunities in non-energy sector and they should be expanded".

President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of Azerbaijani days in Switzerland. He also underscored the necessity of continuing political consultations on bilateral and regional issues.

The sides also exchanged views on bilateral relations, regional cooperation and international issues.

Following a meeting in the presence of the two countries` delegations, Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Hans-Rudolf Merz of the Swiss Confederation had an official dinner on Oct. 19.

On Oct. 19, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree awarding "Tereggi" Medal to following people for achievements in energy development in Azerbaijan:

Adigezalov Rasim
Adilov Nizami
Agayev Iskender
Bakhshov Samid
Dostaliyev Ilham
Ahmadov, Rauf
Aliyev Yunis
Askerov Zeynal
Guliyev Kamil
Mammadov Elchin
Mammadov Gasim
Mirzayev Kamil
Salehov Hikmet
Seyidov Miryasin
Shahmuradov Vugar

On Oct. 19 Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev conferred the honorary title "Honored Engineer" upon the country's power engineering specialists: Hasan Hasanov, Gubad Guliyev and Parviz Mammadov for their achievements in the field of energy development in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev expressed his condolences to President of Iran in connection with the act of terror that occurred in Iran on Oct. 18.

"I deeply mourn for the many victims of the act of terror in your country. We are indignant at the accident and condemn terrorism and support combating this scourge," the message says.

On his own behalf and on behalf of Azeri people, Azerbaijan President expressed deep condolences to the families and relatives of the victims, the entire Iranian people, and wished prompt recovery of the wounded.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has on Tuesday ended his official visit to Switzerland.

At the Bern International Airport, the President and his spouse were seen off by Swiss state and government officials.

Later the same day, the Head of State returned to Baku.

At the Heydar Aliyev International Airport, President Ilham Aliyev was welcomed by Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, Chief of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev and Baku Mayor Hajibala Abutalybov.

Reciprocal interests of Azerbaijan and Switzerland in the energy sphere may help the countries in forming a new transportation route to be named "Southern corridor", said the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the joint press conference with the President of Switzerland Hans-Rudolf Merz in Bern, State News Agency Azertaj reported on Tuesday.

"We have big potential in this sphere. We have common perspectives related to the European energy security. With its rich oil and gas reserves, Azerbaijan is ready to supply its energy carriers to its partners in Europe. Our reciprocal interests in this respect may help us in forming a new transportation route to be named "Southern corridor", said the President.
 
According to him, the first official visit of an Azerbaijani president to Switzerland is an important step towards developing the bilateral relations.

"I consider this visit, the first official visit of an Azerbaijani president to Switzerland, an important step towards developing the bilateral relations. We enjoy the successfully developing ties. Early this year we met with you in Davos and had very interesting discussions. And today we are continuing our dialogue. This dialogue covers a variety of spheres. We have had very good results and this can be continued as our relations are very promising. Over the last few years our relations have seen dynamic development. Reciprocal visits by presidents and delegations, creation of friendship groups at the Swiss and Azerbaijani parliaments and the holding of the Azerbaijani culture days in Switzerland are all important elements of our bilateral relations', President of Azerbaijan said.

As Ilham Aliyev said, economic relations between the two countries are successfully developing despite the global financial crisis.

"Switzerland is a close partner and friend of ours. Mr. President, the atmosphere that you have created here today is the atmosphere of real friendship. We have discussed very important issues concerning our bilateral relations and ways of developing them. We`ve also explored opportunities for implementing joint investment projects both in Switzerland and Azerbaijan. Our trade is increasingly growing, and our economic relations are successfully developing despite the global financial crisis. We have also discussed settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. I`ve updated Mr. President on latest developments in the talks", he said.

Azerbaijani President expressed confidence that in the coming years, the relations between the two countries will develop successfully.

"I believe our relations will continue developing in future. We have all necessary conditions for this - political will, strong political ties, reciprocal attractiveness of our economies and favorable investment opportunities. We have adherence and ability to pursue an independent policy, we have a favorable geographical location and we have a desire to build closer relations for the prosperity of our peoples and countries. I`m greatly satisfied with our discussions, our meeting has been very fruitful. It has allowed us to focus on traditional issues of mutual interest and outline our new priorities", Ilham Aliyev said.

There are no problems between Azerbaijan and Switzerland, Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz told Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at a joint press-conference with in Bern on Oct. 19. 

"There are no problems between our countries. Friendship exists between our nations. Exactly in this spirit we held our meetings and we intend to develop relations between our countries in the same spirit," he said.

Swiss President said that there are much common features between our countries.

"There are much common features between our countries. First, they are situated at the interfaces between East and West. It is the sphere where different mentalities and languages cross. Both countries fight for independence and stability in political and economic spheres. Taking it into account, we establish close contacts. We began to strengthen these ties after Azerbaijani restoration of its state independence. Azerbaijan as Switzerland does not participate in any military organization or a union. From other side, our countries cooperate in the international organizations, namely, the International Monetary Fund. Azerbaijan is a member of the important group in this organization where Switzerland presides," he said.     

Swiss President stressed importance of development of economic relations between our countries. 

"We have discussed several issues. We have prevalent relations. We must strengthen and deepen our ties. Development of our economies and economic relations is important for us. For example, we interact in energy. The talks on migration continue," Hans-Rudolf Merz said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul phoned Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on October 21.

During the conversation, the presidents exchanged views over Azerbaijan-Turkey bilateral relations, settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and Turkey-Armenia relations.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said unless the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is settled the Turkey-Armenia relations can not be normalized.

President Ilham Aliyev thanked the Turkish leader for his position.

"Children are future of Azerbaijan. Let's not be indifferent towards their problems," Azerbaijan's First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, Mehriban Aliyeva, said addressing at a national conference on Child Protection Reform in Azerbaijan, which was dedicated to the Year of Children and the 20th anniversary of UN Convention on Child Rights.

The modern world has faced many global problems, including military conflicts and clashes, global climatic changes, epidemic and pandemic. But children's problems must be on the top place, Mehriban Aliyeva said.

She said that family atmosphere plays great role in forming children as personalities. "Respect for a family is one of the best qualities of Azerbaijani people. At present, an Azerbaijani woman, being a mother, takes an active part in social life of the country," she said.

"As a mother of three children, I think that motherhood is the most important mission in my life," Mehriban Aliyeva said.

She regretted that now definite part of children grows up without parents' care. All of us should worry about these children's destiny," Mrs Aliyeva said.

Mrs. Aliyeva said the Heydar Aliyev Foundation that she heads pays special attention to solving problems of these children. About 31 infantile schools were overhauled and equipped in Azerbaijan within the Fund's program 'Development of boarding schools and orphanages'.

However, none of modern and well-equipped boarding-schools and orphanages can replace a family, Mehriban Aliyeva said.

In March 2006, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev approved the state program to deliver children from children's homes to families (de-institutionalization) and alternative care.

Mehriban Aliyeva said that tremendous work is being done within this program covering 2006-2015. About 45 infantile institutions are planned for transformation in Azerbaijan within subsequent 3-5 years.

UNICEF representative in Azerbaijan Mark Hereward expressed readiness of the organization to combine efforts with the Azerbaijani government to protect children's rights.

He called on the Azerbaijani government and NGOs to improve tools on protection of children's rights, combine efforts and to strengthen potential of social employees in this sphere. UNICEF representative said Azerbaijan achieved breakthrough in alternative care for children and de- institutionalization.

"UNICEF is prepared to support the Azerbaijani government's efforts in this issue," Hereward said.

In his speech Azerbaijani Education Minister Misir Mardanov stressed services of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and its President Mehriban Aliyeva in solving children's problems in Azerbaijan.

He said that the government in cooperation with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNICEF prepares potential models of national organizations on protection of children's rights.

Protection of children's rights, providing them with profound education, creation of necessary conditions for it are priority spheres of Azerbaijan's children policy, chairman of the State Committee for Family, Woman and Children Affairs, Hijran Huseynova, said.

Huseynova drew attention of participants in the conference to necessity of strengthening potential of social employees and improvement of their professional skills.

A two-day-conference organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Azerbaijani government, UNICEF and mobile operator Azercell, will end by adopting a declaration.

During today's meeting UNICEF representative in Azerbaijan Mark Hereward delivered a diploma and a memorable present to President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva for achievements in protection of children's rights in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev decreed on establishment of Science Development Fund under the Republic of Azerbaijan to ensure stimulation of fundamental scientific researches in Azerbaijan, strengthen exploration of the country's natural resources and cultural and historical heritage, increase effectiveness of researches in various spheres of science and represent Azerbaijan's science worthily among the world scientific community.

Jointly with the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the Cabinet of Ministers is in charge of preparing the draft statute for the Science Development Fund and submiting it to the President, making necessary arrangements for providing an appropriate place and technical base for the creation of Fund.

Upon another Presidential decree, Elchin Babayev was appointed executive director of the Fund.

On Oct. 22, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari.

Safari conveyed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's greetings to the Head of State.
The Iranian Deputy FM said this is not his first visit to Baku, adding "much has changed here".
President Ilham Aliyev praised the level of Azerbaijan-Iran cooperation, saying it has good prospects.

The President expressed confidence "friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Iran will be continued".

President Ilham Aliyev asked Safari to deliver his greetings to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

On Oct. 22, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received Foreign Minister of Bulgaria, Rumiana Jeleva.

During the meeting, was noted the successful development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria in various spheres, existence of the potential to strengthen ties and was mentioned confidence in the expansion of relations in the future.

During the meeting, was also mentioned the importance of the 12th meeting of the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Baku and that this meeting promotes cooperation between countries.

On October 22, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davudoglu.

Turkish Minister conveyed greetings by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to President Ilham Aliyev.

The sides discussed the Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenian-Turkish relations.

President Ilham Aliyev thanked for the greetings by Abdullah Gul and asked him to convey his greetings to President of Turkey.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev attended a commemorative ceremony in honor of outstanding musician, People`s Artist of Azerbaijan and USSR Muslim Magomayev.

The President was accompanied by his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva.

Magomayev was just 20 when he first performed at an international youth music festival in Helsinki, the Finnish capital. At the age of 21 he gave his first solo concert in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Concert Hall to a full house and became a soloist of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 1964 - 1965 Magomayev was on probation in the La Scala theatre in Milan. In the following years, the singer turned to popular music, becoming a pop idol for several generations of music lovers in the Soviet Union. Muslim Magomayev`s popularity in the USSR was overwhelming. He quickly became a cult figure and gave three concerts a day filling out huge arenas all across the Soviet Union, while his albums sold millions.

In 1973, at the very young age of 31, Muslim was awarded the Soviet Union`s highest artistic title: People`s Artist of the USSR.

Magomayev was also known as a composer, writing several film soundtracks. In addition, Magomayev acted in films and hosted television and radio broadcasts devoted to prominent musicians of the 20th century.

Magomayev also was the holder of Azerbaijan`s high state awards "Shohrat" and "Istiglal".
Despite he lived the last part of his life in Moscow, Muslim Magomayev was always in close touch with his Motherland, where he was known as a strong patriot and was mostly loved for his song Azerbaijan, which became his visiting card.

Magomayev died at his 67 in Moscow last year.

Hundreds of people including friends and family members gathered at the tomb of People`s Artist of Azerbaijan and USSR Muslim Magomayev to mark the first anniversary of his death on Oct. 22. 

Azerbaijan`s first lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, head of the Foundation`s Moscow office Leyla Aliyeva, Magomayev`s widow Tamara Sinyavskaya and daughter Marina Magomayeva were among those who came to the Alley of Honors to pay tribute to the outstanding musician. 

Participants of commemorative ceremony, in particular Azerbaijani deputy prime minister Elchin Efendiyev, People`s Artists Arif Melikov and Eldar Guliyev and deputy chairwoman of the Russian State Duma Lyubov Sliska shared their memories of Muslim Magomayev, who was the holder of Azerbaijan`s high state awards, Glory and Independence.

President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, her daughter Leyla Aliyeva and Magomayev`s widow Tamara Sinyavskaya put flowers at tombs of the outstanding singer and his grandfather, well-known composer Muslim Magomayev.

On Oct. 22, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree appointing Rahman Mustafayev Azerbaijan's ambassador to Greece.

Upon another presidential decree, Rahman Mustafayev was conferred the diplomatic rank of ambassador of Azerbaijan Republic.  

Upon decree by the President Ilham Aliyev, Mir-Hamza Efendiyev was recalled from his post as ambassador of Azerbaijan to Greece according to paragraph 15 of article 109 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic.

On Oct. 23, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev received the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanov.

During the meeting, the sides discussed bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the United States, Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and regional issues.

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on Friday received credentials of the newly appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Italy to Azerbaijan Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi.

Head of the Azerbaijani State hailed current bilateral relations between the two countries, noting these relations cover numerous fields. The President stressed good understanding and political support between Azerbaijan and Italy, emphasizing there was larger potential to enhance bilateral cooperation. President Aliyev said "Italy was one of the important partners of Azerbaijan on international arena" and expressed hope the new ambassador`s diplomatic activity will make notable contribution to these ties.

Ambassador Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi, in turn, noted close contacts between business circles of both countries and hoped for future partnership.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today accepted credentials from newly appointed ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Jan Lucas Inayat van Hoorn.

The Head of State expressed his confidence that Azerbaijan-Netherlands relations would continue to develop successfully in all fields. He said there is enormous potential for expanding bilateral ties in political economic and cultural spheres. The Head of State said a meeting he had with Prime Minister of Netherlands at the Eastern Partnership summit in Prague is important for development of bilateral relationship. President Ilham Aliyev also stressed the importance of Azerbaijan-Netherlands relations as part of cooperation with the European Union.
Hoorn said he is honored to assume office of ambassador to Azerbaijan. He noted his goal is to develop ties with Azerbaijan in all fields, adding he will spare no efforts in this direction during his tenure.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev congratulated Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer on national holiday.

In his letter, the Azerbaijani leader expressed confidence that the development of friendly and partnership relations between Azerbaijan and Austria will continue to serve the interests of both peoples.

President Ilham Aliyev wished the head of Austria good health, success, the Austrian people - peace and prosperity

 Elections

Prior to the municipal elections in Azerbaijan, free airtime and print space will be allocated in the media for the election propaganda.

"For the purpose of pre-election campaign, prior to municipal elections, free airtime and print space will be allocated in the media for political parties or blocs to which they belong, and candidates who were registered in more than half of the municipalities in the in Public Television and radio, newspapers of "Azerbaijan", "Khalg qazeti", "Respublika"," the press service of the Central Election Commission (CEC) told Trend on Oct. 22.

Municipal elections in Azerbaijan will be held on December 23. 15,682 members are envisaged to be elected for 1,718 municipalities.

Municipal elections were held twice - in 1999 and 2004.

In Azerbaijan, the district election commissions approved 7,126 candidates for municipal elections in 1,075 municipalities. Of candidates, 2,886 have higher education.

Nine political parties nominated candidates in the elections.

Lists for the collection of signatures have been provided to 5,828 candidates, the press service of the Central Election Commission told Trend on Oct. 21. Already 73 of them provided lists of signatures and other required documents.
Municipal elections in Azerbaijan will be held on December 23.

About 7,000 candidates for the municipalities from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party have obtained signature lists.

"Of the approximately 16,000 candidates from the party, about 7,000 have submitted lists to relevant district election commissions," the press service of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) told Trend on Oct. 22.

Municipal elections in Azerbaijan will be held on December 23. 15,682 members are envisaged to be elected for 1,718 municipalities.

Municipal elections were held twice - in 1999 and 2004.

The ruling party continues to prepare for the municipal elections in accordance with the election legislation. "Other members of the party, who had nominated, will receive the signature lists in the district electoral commissions in the near future," the same source said.

The process of nominating for municipal elections continues in Azerbaijan.

9,042 candidatures have already been approved for 1,246 municipalities, the press service of the Central Election Commission (CEC) told Trend on Oct. 22. Of this number, 1,469 are women. 3,928 persons from those nominated have higher education.

Nine political parties nominated candidates in the elections.

Lists for the collection of signatures have been provided to 7,490 candidates. Already 373 of them provided lists of signatures and other required documents to relevant district election commissions.
Municipal elections in Azerbaijan will be held on December 23.

Azerbaijani opposition party will take part in municipal elections as a common party list, as well as individually.

"For the successful conduct of the campaign, we give preference to the nomination of candidates from one list, separated by local organizations and compiled by the central executive office of the party," Arif Hajili, head of the central executive office of Musavat Party, told Trend on Oct. 24.

Municipal elections in Azerbaijan will be held on December 23. 15,682 members are envisaged to be elected for 1,718 municipalities.

Municipal elections were held twice - in 1999 and 2004.

According to Hajili, Musavat party intends to nominate candidates for the majority of municipalities in Azerbaijan and succeed. "I believe that the candidates who will support the party can achieve greater success in the elections," he said.

The party has developed a special plan of campaign. "Once the campaign will start, we will begin to implement the plan," - said Hajili.

Parliament

The Azerbaijani Parliament will discuss the amendments and changes to the law on "Prosecutor's Office" at the next meeting.

"The agenda of the meeting scheduled for Oct. 20 will discuss 16 issues," the parliament told Trend on Oct. 19.

Under the Article 133 of the Azerbaijani Constitution, the President appoints and dismisses Prosecutor General upon the agreement with the parliament.

According to the Article 16 of the law on "Prosecutor's Office", the prosecutor general's office term covers 5 years. One citizen cannot be appointed this position more than twice.

The current Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan, Zakir Garalov occupies this position since April 25, 2000 and his office term will expire on April 25 in 2010.

The bill, sent by the President Ilham Aliyev to the parliament upon legislative initiative, includes an item removing limitation on appointment of the prosecutor general, military prosecutor, prosecutor and military prosecutor of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR).

The parliamentary meeting will also debate the amendments and changes to the law on "Status of Interior Troops", "Entrepreneurship activity", "State duties" and other laws.

Azerbaijani MP Elmira Akhundova will take part in a workshop to be held in Lithuania.

"Akhundova will represent Azerbaijan at the workshop seminar to be held in Vilnius on Oct.19-23," the parliamentary press service told Trend on Oct.19.

The meeting will focus on exchange views on procedures for holding elections and the parliament's role in this process. "Akhundova will inform participants about Azerbaijan's experience in this sphere," the press-service added.

The Azerbaijani Parliament will debate the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia.

"I and my counterparts returning from the Turkey visit will put forward proposals to prevent discussion of the signed protocols at the Turkish Parliament," Member of the Azerbaijani Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, Zahid Oruj told Trend on Oct. 19.

Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers, Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocol in Zurich on Oct. 10.

Oruj said appeal to the Turkish Parliament will depend on the discussions.

"Azerbaijan is engaged in certain diplomatic activities. I believe we can use different influence tools," the parliamentarian said.

Oruj added that they should not only discuss the policy pursued to repair relations between Turkey and Armenia, but also the regional issues.

"We should determine profit and losses of Azerbaijan in these processes, because Azerbaijan's future is too important as a result of a change in a power balance in the region. Exchange of opinions should be held on this issue, as the parliament as a legislative body is a branch of the government," the member of the committee stressed.

The Azerbaijani Parliamentary Vice-Speaker urged Turkey to use pressure leverages in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement.

"One of key tasks of the OSCE Minsk Group is the solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The participation of the foreign ministers of the co-chair countries in the signing ceremony of the Protocols in Zurich said that they were not interested in a quick solution. The signing of the protocols has proved that the co-chairs can exert pressure on Armenia, if necessary. And there is an opportunity to impact on Turkey. However, we do not see the mechanism of pressure in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," First Vice-Speaker of the Parliament, Ziyafat Asgarov said at the meeting on Oct. 20.

Azerbaijani Parliamentarian, Iqbal Aghazade suggested to discuss in closed session of Parliament the current situation related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and processes in the region.

"During a private meeting, the relevant agencies should submit a report on the current situation", said Aghazade.

Azerbaijan is not conducted the anti-Turkish campaign, said Ali Ahmadov, deputy chairman of ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP).

"This campaign is launched against the signing of the protocols. The Azerbaijani-Turkish relations - this is not the relations between governments. These relationships can never be destroyed," said the deputy chairman of the NAP.

The leadership of the Azerbaijani Parliament stated that the country is not holding a campaign against Turkey.

"The Azerbaijani government and other official agencies are not interested in the campaign against Turkey. No special campaign is held against Turkey," Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker, Ogtay Asadov said at the meeting on Oct. 20.

"The recent removal of foreign flags, including Turkish, in Baku and other places of Azerbaijan is not related to repairs or any other works", Head of the Public-Political Issues Department of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, Ali Hasanov told media earlier.

The Head of the Department said the lowering of flags was related to the implementation of "Law on use of flags of foreign countries and international organizations in the Republic of Azerbaijan". Hasanov said after adoption of this law, local and central authorities were commissioned to draw list of flags hanged in the places not meeting those requirements.

The First Vice-Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Ziyafat Asgarov also said that there is not any campaign held against Turkey.

"Azerbaijan is not holding any campaign against Turkey. If one accepts lowering of the Turkish flags in the Martyrs' Lane as an insult, then the Azerbaijani flags have also been insulted in Bursa. But we do not accept this case as the policy of the Turkish government," Asgarov added.

The Vice-Speaker, Bahar Muradova noted the Turkish flags were lowered in accordance with the law.

"Our key discontent with Turkey is due to bringing opening of the borders to the agenda without settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan has the law and flags are regulated in accordance with the law," Muradova added.

On Oct. 20, the session of the Parliament of Azerbaijan adopted amendments to the Law on Prosecutor's Office. According to article 133 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the Prosecutor General is appointed and dismissed by the President with the consent of Parliament.

Upon the article 16 of Law on Prosecutor's Office, the term of office of the Prosecutor General is five years. A citizen can not be appointed to this position more than two times.

Acting Prosecutor-General Zakir Garalov was appointed for the second time. His term will end in April 2010.

The bill, sent to the Parliament by President Ilham Aliyev, as legislative initiative, envisages removing the restrictions on the appointment of one person for the post of Prosecutor General, the Military Prosecutor and the Prosecutor General and the Military Prosecutor of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic no more than two times.

A bill on amendments to the Law on regulations of using flags of foreign countries and international organizations in Azerbaijan was submitted to the Parliament of Azerbaijan.

"The bill on amendments and additions to the law was submitted to the Parliament. Under the amendment, the flags of foreign countries may be posted in locations designated by the relevant executive authorities," Panah Huseyn, a member of Musavat group of MPs, said on Oct. 20.

According to the current law, the flags of foreign countries and international organizations can be displayed only on buildings, embassies, consulates and missions.

The Azerbaijani MP believes the bill on defamation may be adopted.

"If some changes are made, the bill may be adopted," MP Elmira Akhundova told Trend on Oct. 21.

The bill on defamation was prepared with the support of the OSCE Baku Office in 2005. The working group designing the bill includes MPs Ganira Pashayeva and Azay Guliyev, representatives of journalist organizations and law scientists.

International organizations believe that Article 147 (defamation) and 148 (insult), which proposes criminal responsibility, should be removed from the country's Criminal Code.

According to Akhundova, she stands for beginning the discussions on the bill, despite the presence of several shortcomings.

"I am a journalist myself and I would not like to see anyone imprisoned for publishing material," the MP said.

The journalists' punishment for libel and defamation should be governed by the Civil Code, Akhundova said.

"The fact that Azerbaijan has imprisoned journalists affects the image of the country negatively. Recently, dozens of imprisoned journalists were pardoned. I believe the Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy faces difficulties because of the arrest of journalists, Akhundova added.

According to Akhundova, given all mentioned, the bill "On defamation" should be put into a serious discussion and adopted.

"I will do my utmost so that to adopt this law," Akhundova said.

Azerbaijani and Armenian MPs have decided to continue intensive meetings to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

"During Moscow's talks, the sides said that similar talks can be held in Baku, Yerevan and even in the neutral territory in future," MP Sabir Hajiyev told Trend on Oct, 23.

Azerbaijani MPs, including Rabiyyat Aslanova, Ali Huseynov, Rovshan Rzayev, Sabir Hajiyev və Mikhail Zabelin attended the round table organized in Russian Duma on October 22.

Armenian and Russian MPs also participated there. 

Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs and Contacts with Compatriots Alexei Ostrovsky, member of the Armenian Permanent Committee on Economic Affairs Ermine Nagdalyan and ambassadors of Armenia and Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu and Armen Smbatyan also took part in the event.

According to Hajiyev, during the meeting in Russian Duma, the sides have not reached a concrete agreement on Azerbaijani MPs' visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Despite it, Azerbaijani MPs' visit to Nagorno-Karabakh is not excluded. The visit to Nagorno-Karabakh is greatly depends on Russia's corresponding organizations, due to the initiative to meet with the Armenian MPs comes from Russia," the MP said.

According to Hajiyev, it is not ruled out that Moscow's meeting will give certain impetus to the settlement of the conflict. "Our main goal is to support negotiations between the presidents, as well as between foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia," Hajiyev said.

Foreign policy  

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is paying an official visit to Switzerland, expected to focus on economic issues, Azerbaijani Ambassador to this country, Elchin Amirbayov said in an interview with www.swissinfo.ch.

Ilham Aliyev left for Bern to pay an official visit on Oct. 18.

The ambassador said Switzerland is mainly interested in having Azerbaijan as one of its major partners in terms of energy cooperation. In a broader economic field Switzerland is one of the most important countries for Azerbaijan in terms of direct foreign investment into the non-energy related sector, the diplomat said.

A second thing in a political dialogue will become the role that Switzerland has been playing in the south Caucasus recently. "Switzerland has taken over the representation functions between Georgia and Russia and also trying to play a more active role in bringing Turkey and Armenia closer together. There is also its interest in a peaceful resolution of all unresolved conflicts in the region of the south Caucasus, including the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan," Amirbayov said.

Azerbaijan's ambassador to Switzerland, Elchin Amirbayov, told swissinfo.ch that President Aliyev's visit is a chance to make his country better known

Along with his Swiss counterpart, Hans-Rudolf Merz, the Azerbaijani President will be attending the inaugural concert of a series of Azerbaijani cultural events to be held all over Switzerland in the next six weeks, the m ambassador said.

Amirbayov said Switzerland has a long tradition of democratic development. "We started this only in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and if you take into account the fact that immediately after that we were burdened with this difficult unresolved caseload of occupation, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, you'll realise that the security issue and the existential issue was a priority," Amirbayov said.

He said Azerbaijan became members of the Council of Europe in 2001 quite a long way has been covered in trying to establish a basis for political reform, to open up the country, to establish a basis for civil society and democratic norms and principles. "Of course the experience of Switzerland which has several centuries of this development is useful to us," the diplomat said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will discuss cooperation between Azerbaijan and Qatar in political and economic spheres in Doha.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister's visit to Qatar is scheduled for November 23-24, Qatar's embassy to Azerbaijan told Trend .

During the talks Azerbaijani Foreign Minister will discuss urgent issues of bilateral cooperation with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani and Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

According to the Azerbaijani State Statistical Committee, turnover between Azerbaijan and Qatar hit $7,500 within January-July.

"We will maintain Azerbaijan's interests as Turkey's," Turkish Prime Minister Receb Tayyib Erdigan said at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CNN Turk reported.

Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers, Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocol in Zurich on Oct. 10.

Armenian-Turkish ties have been severed since 1993 due to Armenia's claims of an alleged genocide, and the country's occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands.

Turkey will support Azerbaijan's interests as its own, Erdogan added.

Erdogan also said that he is loyal to his statements made at the Azerbaijani parliament.

Turkey will never take steps contradicting Azerbaijan's interests, Erdogan said.

Some forces want to damage the Turkey-Azerbaijan relations and they are within Turkey, Erdogan said.

"I want to tell the Azerbaijani people that your joy is Turkey's joy and your grief is Turkey's grief," Erdogan added.

Erdogan asked not to believe those who want to damage the Turkey-Azerbaijan relations. 

Erdogan also mentioned that he had a very sincere meeting with the Azerbaijani MPs.

Leader of the National Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahcheli said the Ankara-Yerevan protocol has disappointed Azerbaijan. Bahcheli was commenting on signing of the Turkey-Armenia protocols, the CNN Turk reported.

With signing of these protocols Turkey cheated Azerbaijan, the opposition leader added.

"Unfortunately, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drove the relations with Azerbaijan into an abyss to establish relations with Armenia," Bahcheli said.

The Azerbaijani flag was banned in the Turkey-Armenia football match held in Bursa on Oct.14 at AKP's decision.

"Turkey is not only the AKP and today the AKP is in power today, but can be out of power tomorrow," the opposition leader added.

AKP's mistakes should not damage the Turkey-Azerbaijan relations, Bahcheli said.

urkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers own statements on avoidance of verification protocols without progress in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem a matter of honor and is ready to stand his words, Azerbaijani MP Mubariz Gurbanli told the official website of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) on Oct.20.

Gurbanli said that the Turkish prime minister expressed this idea in his meeting with the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation.

"Our delegation also held a meeting at the Committee on Foreign Policy, where the Turkish side has expressed solidarity with Azerbaijan. It was noted that the protocols may be returned after discussions in the committee, not acting in the parliament," Gurbanli added.

Azerbaijani MPs are planned to visit Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Azerbaijani MPs' visit to Nagorno-Karabakh will be discussed at the meeting of Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian MPs in Moscow, MP Rovshan Rzayev told media on October 20. He will also participate in this meeting.

Rzayev said that realization of the visit will depend on result of the talks.

"The decision concerning a staff of MPs to leave for Nagorno-Karabakh and a date of the visit must be made at the level of the Azerbaijani government," Rzayev said.

On Oct.20, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said Armenia attaches importance to the deepening of multilateral relations and strengthening of friendly partnership and cooperation with the U.S.

It was stated at the Nalbandian's meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Tina S. Kaidanow held On Oct.20, the Mediamax reported.

The sides discussed the process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations. Nalbandian thanked the U.S. for facilitating the establishment of the Armenian-Turkish relations and the efforts in this direction.

Nalbandian and Kaidanow also mulled the latest developments in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Members of parliaments of Azerbaijan and Armenia will discuss ways to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

"The Moscow meeting will mull issues to accelerate the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, repatriation of refugees and co-residence of the two communities," Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Rabiyyat Aslanova told Trend on Oct. 20.

According to Aslanova, the meeting will be held upon the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu's initiative.

he Organization of Karabakh Liberation expressed discontent concerning participation of Armenian deputy foreign minister Aram Kirakosyan in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization's meeting to be held in Baku on October 22, the organization told Trend .

The international organizations justify aggressive activity of this country by inviting Armenian representatives to these meetings, NGO's statement said.

"Armenia occupied Azerbaijani lands does not have right to participate in any meeting in Azerbaijan," the document said.

Azerbaijan is interested in holding a meeting of the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries on resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"We have repeatedly offered to hold a meeting with foreign ministers of the three countries to discuss the future of the conflict. We do not even insist on holding this meeting in Azerbaijan. It may take place in one of three co-chairing countries or in a neutral territory," Azerbaijani parliamentary First Vice-Speaker Ziyafat Asgarov told journalists on Oct.20.

Persons who intend to damage the Ankara-Baku relations should not be given any chance, Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Hulusi Kilich said. 

"No chance should be given to those desiring to damage the Ankara-Baku relations. We should ignore persons who want to damage our relations," Kilich told journalists on Oct.21.

Turkey was and will always be next to Azerbaijan, the ambassador added.

"We are compatriots and the Turkey-Armenia borders were closed because of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. The borders will not be disclosed until the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is resolved. Turkey will never take steps contradicting to Azerbaijani interests, Kilich said.

According to Kilich, the Azerbaijani people should trust in statements of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Prime Minister Receb Tayyib Erdogan. 

"I state insistently that the Turkish people's position will be shown in the parliament and the parliament will not ratify the protocols," Kilich added

Turkey has submitted a note to Azerbaijan in connection with removal of the Turkish flags in front of the Council for Religious Affairs of the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's Spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told Trend .

On Oct. 20, the Turkish flags were removed from front of the Council for Religious Affairs of the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan

Currently, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry is preparing a response to the note, Polukhov said.

Ankara will not take steps against the interests of Baku, said the former President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel, touching upon the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, CİHAN news agency reported.

"Turkey will not take steps harming the interests of Azerbaijan," said Demirel.

There can not be a crisis between Azerbaijan and Turkey because these two states are brothers, said Demirel. "Turkey will do everything that promised to Azerbaijan," he said.

Azerbaijan expects signing of an agreement with Turkmenistan and convergence in the positions of all the Caspian littoral countries on the definition of the Caspian Sea status in the near future, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov told journalists On Oct.22.

"We hope that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will sign a cooperation agreement," Khalafov said at a meeting on security in the Caspian region. "I believe that the Caspian littoral countries have reached an agreement and the relevant structures and institutions will contribute to our cooperation in all fields."

According to Khalafov, the present meeting is a very important event to determine the Caspian legal status and to resolve all issues pending at the Tehran summit where the first agreement on cooperation of the Caspian littoral countries was signed.

Khalafov said that one of the final decisions taken by the presidents at the Tehran summit aimed at ensuring mutually beneficial cooperation and development of effective mechanisms by the internal agencies, border and customs services.

Azerbaijan has prepared a draft agreement on the basis of proposals and submitted it to his counterparts. It will be more probably discussed on Oct. 22-23, Khallafov said.

"Attraction of a growing number of countries makes the prospects associated with the region more attractive. All the projects initiated in the region are being implemented successfully," he said.

Khalafov named the division of the water surface of the Caspian Sea as another topical and important issue. Rapprochement between the Caspian littoral countries in the recent years gives ground to believe that these countries will reach an agreement soon, Khalafov added.

Obstacles in BSEC's activity are connected with conflicts in the region, Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister Mahmoud Mammadguliyev said.

"Obstacles in BSEC's activity are connected with conflicts in the region. They hamper to make cooperation more productive," Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister Mahmoud Mammadguliyev told Trend .

During its chairmanship in the organization Azerbaijan submitted proposals to change the organization's charter on increase of working groups' effectiveness. There are 19 working groups in the organization, deputy minister said.

BSEC's foreign ministers will operate in this sphere, Mammadguliyev said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that there is no flag problem between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan and Turkey do not have a flag problem. The Azerbaijani flag is as dear for Turkey and the Turkish people as the Turkish flag, Davutoglu told journalists in Baku.

During the Turkey-Armenia football match in Bursa, which took place on Oct. 14, the Azerbaijani flag was taken away from fans. Due to the incident on Oct. 15, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry submitted a protest to the Turkish Embassy.

The Turkish flags were removed from the Martyr's Alley under the Azerbaijani legislation.

The Azerbaijani flag will be waving in Turkey as it was earlier, the minister added.

Turkey has the law on flag, but the Azerbaijani flag is waving in Turkey because it is not foreign flag for Turkey, Davutoglu added.

Regarding the disrespect against the Azerbaijani flag in Bursa, the minister said there are forces intending to damage the Turkey-Azerbaijan relations.

This is their provocation. Some media outlets willingly exaggerate the incident. Turkey does not have litter-bins with the word WC. Turkey inspects this attentively and Turkey will inform Azerbaijan as soon as it completes the inspection, the minister said.

FIFA have put ban on the Azerbaijani flag during the Turkey-Armenia football match. No one from the Turkish authorities appealed FIFA to put this ban, Davutoglu said.

Restoration of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey can not cause Yerevan's unconstructive position in the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh, International Crisis Group' Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer believes.

"The Armenian-Turkey rapprochement will actually encourage the Armenians to be more flexible in the negotiation with Azerbaijan," Freizer said "The talks lack progress because the remaining issues are extremely difficult."

The last meeting of Heads of States did not give cause for optimism, because the Armenian side suddenly began to discuss the issues that were agreed two to three years ago, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov told Trend . Mammadyarov believes that such actions by the Armenian side are connected with the latest events in the region - the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

"Maybe the Armenian side considers that if the process developed in this regard, it is possible to freeze other issues," said the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan in an interview with Trend .

According to Freizer, the Armenians main argument for retaining control over the occupied territories is because they say "We need to have these territories as a security guarantee. We feel isolated and we need these territories to protect ourselves".

"Once the border with Turkey is open, that excuse will no longer be valid. They will have access to the rest of the world. And thus they will no longer be able to say that they need all these territories as security guarantees," she added.

The reason why Azerbaijan and Armenia have been unable to agree to a kind of compromise is that they are still dealing with issues that extremely difficult to resolve, Freized added.

One of the main questions is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

But the two sides could still agree on a basic principles document. The two sides agreed that there should be a withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories and that eventually this withdrawal should be from seven occupied territories. The sides also agreed that there should be non-use of force by any sides, she said.

"The two sides seem to have agreed on above mentioned. I would hope that the sides could sign a document that at least puts into writing these significant issues the parties agreed upon," Freizer said.

Co-chairman of Azerbaijani-Turkish working group on inter-parliamentary relations does not believe that the protocols signed between Ankara and Yerevan will be ratified by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (Parliament).

"The protocols can be approved in the Turkish Parliament if the USA, France and Russia, insisting on signing these documents, put pressure on Armenia to release Azerbaijani occupied territories," co-chairman of Azerbaijani-Turkish working group on inter-parliamentary relations, Nizami Jafarov, told Trend on October 22.

Jafarov said that it is impossible not to believe in Turkish officials' promises that the border with Armenia will not be opened till the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved. "If the border is opened, it will be evidence of current Turkish government's lie," he said.

During the meetings with participation of 11 Azerbaijani MPs in Turkey, it was stated that opening of the border with Armenia is possible in case of any serious changes in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, co-chairman of the working group said.

"If one believes in sincerity of these statements, the protocols are not expected to be ratified rapidly in the Turkish parliament," Jafarov said.

Azerbaijan and Turkey should be attentive towards attempts aimed to damage the relations between the two countries, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said. "There may be persons that would want to damage our brotherly relations wittingly or occasionally. We should be more attentive towards this," Gul said, CNN Turk reported.

Gul mentioned that the president have discussed normalization of the Turkey-Armenia relations during the bilateral and multilateral meetings held in the Azerbaijani oldest land of Nakhchivan.

Gul asked everyone to be careful. Everyone should refrain from actions that may damage Turkey-Azerbaijan fraternal relations, the president added. 

The question of removing the Turkish flag from the Martyr's Alley was discussed today at a meeting between foreign ministers of Turkey Ahmed Davudoglu and Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov.

"We discussed it today and we hope that soon the Turkish flag will wave in the Martyr's Alley," Davudoglu told journalists in Baku on Oct. 22.

According to Elmar Mammadyarov, an investigation will be held to identify those insulting the flag of Azerbaijan during a football match in Bursa between Turkey and Armenia. According to Davudoglu, this step was a provocation in order to make differences between the two peoples.  

"Azerbaijan and Turkish flags are the same for us, we protect Azerbaijani flag in Turkey, as you protect our martyrs here," said Davudoglu.

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey today visited the Alley of Honorary Burial and Martyr's Alley.

This issue of illegal armament of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed today during the debate at the 17th meeting of the Committee of UN General Assembly about the peace, security and disarmament.

Azerbaijan has raised the issue of illegal armament of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh at the Sixty-fourth UN General Assembly.

"Armenia had built up its military presence, with data showing a growing number of uncontrolled arms, including 316 tanks, 324 armoured vehicles and 322 artillery systems in the occupied territories, exceeding its maximum levels", deputy chairman of the committee, the first secretary of Azerbaijani permanent office in UN, Ogtay Ismayilzada, said.

"Armenia's aggression had led to the occupation of one-fifth of Azerbaijan's territory, triggering the internal displacement of 1 million people, and of war crimes and genocide.  Armenia had used the occupied territories to hide great numbers of unaccounted and uncontrolled treaty-limited equipment from the "CFE" community, endangering the security of Azerbaijan and the stable development of the whole region," he said.

Other representatives noticed that peace and security could only be achieved with strong regional action and strict compliance with existing arms agreements; otherwise the present arms races would erect stumbling blocks along the road to stability around the world.

Ismayilzada regretted that unfortunately, unlawful use of force still plagued certain States, and civilian populations were suffering around the world, owing to the failure of individual States to fulfill their most basic responsibilities.

"Armenia had blamed Azerbaijan for increasing its military budget and for violations of arms limitation norms, but it had failed to mention Azerbaijan's defense spending, conformed to overall budget increases," he said. 

"Azerbaijan spent 3.26 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on the army, compared with Armenia's 3.86 per cent.  Despite being in a state of war, Azerbaijan was continuing to fulfill commitments under the CFE Treaty, reducing and destroying more than 150 treaty-limited armaments and equipment over the last five years, in line with the Tashkent Agreement.  Azerbaijan aimed to liberate all occupied territories, return internally displaced persons to their homes and establish a durable peace and stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh region," he said.

Mexico is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in the energy sector, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon said at the meeting with the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Mexico Ilgar Mukhtarov.

Expressing his interest in Azerbaijan's energy policy, Calderon noted the importance of expanding cooperation in all spheres, the Azerbaijani embassy in Mexico told Trend .

Mukhtarov presented his credentials to the president on his appointment. The diplomat informed Calderon about priorities of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, the economic growth rate, energy policies and the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

President Calderon expressed his confidence in speedy resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and establishment of peace in the region.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Tina S. Kaidanow discussed the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict with representatives of the Azerbaijani civil society in Baku on Oct.23.

This is Ms. Kaidanow's first visit to Azerbaijan as Deputy Assistant Secretary and it is more of familiarization character. Kaidanow was interested in civil opinion on all these issues," Co-chair of the International Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Arzu Abdullayeva told Trend .

Representatives of the Azerbaijani NGOs familiarized Kaidanow with the civil society's interest in the rapid settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and this is the only general agreement between the authorities and civil society, Abdullayeva said.

"We have informed Kaidanow that no one in Azerbaijan agrees with loss of the Nagorno-Karabakh, as this is our land," Abdullayeva added.

The President said that the nations of Belarus and Azerbaijan are connected by brotherly ties. The Azerbaijani have no grudge against the Belarusians while the Belarusians have no problems with the Azerbaijani, added the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that cooperation with Azerbaijan is very profitable for Belarus as the two economies are complementary and have no competing points. "With great pleasure we are ready to diversify our economic activities and cater to Azerbaijan which we do already," he said.

Apart from that, the Belarus President mentioned friendly relations between him and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. "We've been great friends with his father Heydar Aliev [a former Azerbaijan President]. We had very good relations," stressed the Belarusian head of state.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus sees the interest of the Azerbaijani leadership in cooperation with Belarus. "I know that Azerbaijan has problems and I know the key one but I think that everything can be fixed. The potential that you have allows you to resolve any problems," the Belarusian head of state was confident.

The President made it clear that Belarus cooperates with Azerbaijan not only because the latter has a major potential but also because the Azerbaijani leadership are interested in such cooperation.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that Yagub Eyubov's visit to Belarus prior to the oncoming visit of the Azerbaijan President to Belarus in November is very important. "Everything we can do for Azerbaijan, we will do. I would like us to accomplish a couple of breakthrough projects with you," added the Belarus President.

For Azerbaijan, Belarus is an important strategic partner, said Yagub Eyyubov.

"Belarus is a very important strategic partner for Azerbaijan, as it enjoys prestige in the world, said Yagub Eyyubov. - We know that Belarus is a country with which we must make friends and maintain good economic and political relations. It is very important. "

zerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Mohammed Al-Arab, on Oct.23, the ministry told Trend .

During the meeting, the sides discussed the results of meetings of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the organization's activities and future plans.

The sides said that the high level of the Azerbaijan-Egypt relations opens new possibilities for their expansion. Particularly, the countries have a vast experience in mining and processing of energy resources, which makes it appropriate to put to the forefront of the mutual exchange of experience in this and other areas.

The talks centered on the processes in the South Caucasus and the Middle East.

 Political movements

Leader of the Azerbaijani opposition movement has recognized that the opposition faced a very difficult situation.

"It is necessary to maintain the unity in a situation when our resources are extremely limited," Leader of the National Unity Movement (NUM) Lala Shovkat told Trend on Oct.19.

According to Shovkat, it is not the right time for the parties represented in the Civil Movement for Karabakh and the Republic to set conditions to each other.

"When establishing the movement, we took as a basis the situation developed around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not in Azerbaijan's favor. Karabakh is our national problem and in the current period, I'm against the collapse of the movement connected with Karabakh," Shovkat added.

The position of the government and opposition on the Karabakh problem should be the same, the Leader added.

"In such situation the movement should not be collapsed. I strongly appealed Musavat party and Umid party to refrain from conditions and to compromise with each other," Shovkat said.

Shovkat expressed regret that unions established by the Azerbaijani opposition are short-term in nature.

"I do not want to bring an accusation against any particular party, which played a role in the decay of these unions. But we cannot allow the movement connected with Karabakh to be collapsed in the current period. I once more appeal Musavat and Umid to come to a compromise. Otherwise, the activity of the movement will be suspended. There is no need to keep the movement if the two parties, which are the founders of the movement, cannot find a common language," Shovkat added.

The head of the opposition party of Azerbaijan considers it important to meet with representatives of political parties in Turkey in connection with the signing of Turkey-Armenia protocols.

"However, because of the lack of such a tradition, the implementation of such a meeting is very difficult," chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) Sardar Jalaloglu told Trend on Oct. 19.  

According to Jalaloglu, although the political parties in Azerbaijan make such attempts, it is unlikely that the meeting will take place. "Yet extensive bilateral ties have not been established between the parties of Azerbaijan and Turkey. On the other hand, in addition to our desires, it is also essential that Turkish parties also have interest in this," said the party chairman.

According to party chairman, the opening of borders between Turkey and Armenia and bringing this issue to the agenda without the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can result in the appearance of unexpected processes in the region. "The opposition of Azerbaijan is concerned by this issue not less than the power. For this reason, for the benefit of the common matter, it would also be beneficial to make consultations with opposition parties of Turkey," said Jalaloglu.

The delegation of the Azerbaijani communists which will be headed by Chairman of the Communist Party (CP) Rauf Gurbanov will attend the 34th congress of the CIS communists to be held in Moscow on Oct.24, the party told Trend on Oct.20.

During the congress, the Azerbaijani communists will meet with their Armenian counterparts and discuss the restoration of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Azerbaijani opposition intends to establish the National Resistance Movement due to the situation with Nagorno-Karabakh, member of MP group 'Musavat', Panah Huseyin, told media on October 20. 

"We are obliged to establish the National Resistance Movement to draw attention of Azerbaijani society and the international community towards Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The meetings are held between opposition parties on this regards. The decision will be made soon," Huseyn said.

There is no necessity in establishment of National Resistance Movement due to the situation with Nagorno-Karabakh problem, chairman of Azerbaijani opposition party said.

"The government must form a conception determining Azerbaijani people's position together with real political forces in Azerbaijan," chairman of Azerbaijani Democratic party, Sardar Jalaloglu, told Trend on October 21. 

The National Resistance Movement will be established due to the situation with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, member of MP group 'Musavat', Panah Huseyin, said. 

Jalaloglu said that all Azerbaijani people should participate to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with a principle to ensure Azerbaijani territorial integrity. "We must conduct national campaign with participation of 1-2 million people to inform world community our position," he said.

He said that the government must conduct its foreign policy in accordance with position of all people in future. "Turning of Nagorno-Karabakh issue into a toy, including this problem in opposition's interests or authorities do not correspond to our national interests. This problem is national. So, all political parties should participate in its solving," Jalaloglu said.  

Leader of the Azerbaijani opposition movement believes in Turkish officials' statements that the border with Armenia will not be opened till the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved.

"The President, Prime-Minister, Foreign Minister and chairman of the Turkish Parliament have repeatedly stated that the Turkish-Armenian border will not be opened without solving of the Karabakh problem," leader of the Movement 'National Unity', Lala Shovket, told Trend on October 21.

Shovket said that politicians are defined by their expressions. "I think that high-ranking Turkish politicians respect themselves and their expressions. They will be responsible for their words," she said.

She said that opening of Turkish border with Armenia is a strategic issue.

"Turkey strives for joining the European Union. Opening of the border was laid down as a condition. Second, Turkey faces accusations in the world due to so-called 'genocide'. About 19 countries recognized it.

The fact that the protocols reflect establishment of the Commission (on investigation of events in 1915) is very important for Turkey ", Shovket said.

The growing influence in the South Caucasus is also a strategic issue for Turkey, she said.

"Russia plays the role of hegemon in this region. Appearance of Turkey in the South Caucasus is a very serious issue. Turkish-Armenian border was closed after occupation of the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan. Therefore, its opening contradicts national interests of Azerbaijan, 20 percent of which is under occupation," Shovket said.

Leader of the opposition movement said that the opposition must conduct effective policy together with the government to avoid actions contradicting national interests.

So, we must disregard the issue on the flag and prefer our joint effective policy with Turkey. Much can be changed before ratification of the protocols. We must use this opportunity. Games are over. Real policy has been launched. All Azerbaijani politicians must prove themselves", she said.

Shovket said that there can not be a dispute about the flag between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

One should not forget that Baku, in which we live today, was released by Turkish soldiers, "she said.

As to disrespect for the Azerbaijani flag during a football match in Bursa between Turkey and Armenia, Shovket said that she did not believe in the interest of Turkish official circles in the incident.

"Turkey and Azerbaijan are one nation - two states. Naturally, the incident in Bursa affected me. But we must not repeat someone's mistakes. We must show our generosity," Shovket said.

Azerbaijani opposition leader thinks that the society should protest against opening of the Turkey-Armenia borders.

"Majority of Turkish people are against signing the protocols. The Turkish government has taken this action under pressure of the U.S.A. and the West. The society should resist to prevent this step," Head of the National Independence Party of Azerbaijan (NIPA) Etibar Mammadov told Trend .

The Turkish and Azerbaijani public should participate in protests to put pressure on the Turkish government, Mammadov said. "But we can not allow this issue to be abused," the leader of the NIPA said.

According to Mammadov, there is no need to raise the issue of the flag in the statements on the Turkish government's intention to open its border with Armenia.

"The Azerbaijani flag was not allowed to be taken to the stadium under the Turkish official's decision in Bursa. The Turkish public opposed it and criticized its government," he said.

Regarding the possibility of joint activities of the Azerbaijani opposition parties to prevent the ratification of the protocols in the Turkish parliament, Mammadov said that every organization should express its position.

"You should not differentiate the power and the opposition in this issue. This issue affects the national interests," Mammadov added.

Chairman of Azerbaijan's opposition party accused Musavat Party of an attempt to accelerate the dissolution of the Movement for Karabakh and Republic.

"For a long time, Musavat Party has been pursuing policy towards the rapid dissolution of the movement," Sardar Jalaloglu, chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) represented in the Movement for Karabakh and Republic, told Trend on Oct. 22.

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. And Umid Party stated that it will fulfill this requirement if members of Musavat group of MPs give up their mandates. The difference between the two parties caused serious crisis within the movement. 

According to Jalaloglu, the founders of the movement have not made a common decision to stop the activities of the movement. "If there is not such a decision, then the statement of the head of the central executive office of Musavat Party that the movement does not exist is illogical," said the chairman of the party.

The fate of the movement depends on Azadlig bloc, he said. "However, over the intervening period, the overall position of the parties represented in this bloc was not made. Despite this, Musavat Party continues to sound thought in relation to the movement in accordance with its own wishes," said Jalaloglu.

According to the chairman of ADP, in recent years, Musavat Party has a special role in dissolving unions created by the opposition. "At this time, they realize their mission further. In fact, it needs to accept this step of Musavat as normal," said Jalaloglu.

Representatives of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) have left for Ukraine.

The NAP delegation will attend the Ukrainian Regions Party's next assembly to be held in Chisinau on Oct.23, the party's official website wrote.  

The NAP Deputy Executive Secretary, MP Siyavush Novruzov and MP Rauf Aliyev will represent the party in the assembly of the Ukrainian leading opposition party.

Azerbaijani People's Socialist Party sent a letter to secretary general of Turkish Republican People's Party Deniz Baykal. The letter expressed confidence that Turkish MPs will not allow ratification of protocols signed in Zurich on October 10, Azerbaijani People's Socialist Party told Trend news on October 23.

"We highly appreciate resistance which Turkish major opposition Republic People's Party put on ratification of the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia," the message said.

Chairman of Azerbaijani Socialist Party Rovshan Huseynov regretted in the letter that Turkish current authorities demonstrate return evil for good. Azerbaijani authorities have been executing its obligations before Turkey since 1993.

Musavat party fulfilled the order to split the movement," head of Azerbaijani opposition party said.

"It has been confirmed that Musavat party's proposal to recall members of our party represented in election commissions is the ground to accelerate collapse of the movement," chairman of Umid party represented in the Movement for Karabakh and Republic, Igbal Agazade, told Trend on October 23. 

Musavat party represented in the movement calls on Umid party to recall its members from election commissions.

Umid party said that it will fulfill this requirement if members of MP group Musavat refuse from their mandates.

Tension among two parties was a reason of serious crisis in the movement.

Agazade said that Azadliq bloc's final position on these processes has not been determined, further activity of the movement complicated.

"But public-political situation will give impetus to continue activity of the movement," he said.

"We have spread information about Igbal Agazade's personality and activity. Thus, I think there is no necessity for additional comments," head of the central executive office of Musavat party, Arif Hajili, told Trend .

"We hope that our proposal to preserve the movement will be taken into account," acting chairman of Azerbaijani Liberal Party represented in the Movement for Karabakh and Republic, Avaz Temirkhan, told Trend on October 23.

He said that the situation not meeting Azerbaijani interests has occurred around the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Thus, it is necessary for the movement to continue functioning.

"We would like parties-founders of the movement to forget all political offences and not to refuse from joint combat for Nagorno-Karabakh," Temirkhan said.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Turkey-Armenia relations and stability in South Caucasus remain delicate given the lack of significant progress in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani Consul General to Los Angeles, Elin Suleymanov, said.

"It is early to speak about new routes of energy resources export without solving the conflict," Suleymanov's article posted in Washington Post said.

He said that the USA can promote achievement of real changes in South Caucasus by encouraging overwhelming regional settlement on the basis of stated adherence to intensify efforts to solve Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

On Oct. 18, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops form an area outside the Tapgaragoyunli village in the Goranboy region at 15:20-15:40.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops from an area outside the Horadiz and Ashagi Abdurahmanli villages in the Fuzuli region at 18:50-19:15 and on Oct. 19, 00:05-00:20.

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

On Oct. 19, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops in the Ashagi Askipara and Jafarli villages of the Gazakh region at 10:40-10:50 and 11:30-11:40. The shots were fired from the Voskepar and Azatamurt villages in Armenia's Noyenberyan region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that the Armenian soldiers fired at Azerbaijani troops in the Gizil Hajili village of the Gazakh region from an area outside the Berkaber village in Armenia's Ijevan region at 11:30-11:40, from an area outside the Gulustan village in the Goranboy region at 15:20-15:55, from the positions near the Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages and areas in the Fuzuli region at 14:50-15:20 and on Oct. 20, at 00:00-00:20 and 03:30-03:55, from an area outside the Shikhlar and Javahirli villages in the Agdam region at 21:50-22:00 and on Oct. 20, at 00:10-00:25, as well as from the positions near the Jojugmarjanli village in the Jabrayil region at 03:50-04:10.

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

On October 20, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops near the Sarijali village of the Agdam region at 06:45 to 06:58. The shots were fired from the nameless heights of Goranboy region at 14:30 to 14:45, 21:05 to 21:40, 22:10 to 22:35, from nameless heights of the Fizuli region and positions near Karakhanbayli, Korgan and Ashagi Abdurahmanli villages on October 21 at 01:10 to 01:48 and 01:50 to 02:00.

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

Monitoring was held on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces on Oct. 22 after a mandate by the special envoy of the OSCE chairman.

The monitoring near the Gapanli village in Azerbaijan's Tartar region proceeded without incident on Oct. 22, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

The monitoring was held on the Azerbaijani side by OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative field assistants Pieter Ki and Irji Aberli.

The monitoring was held on the opposite side, which the international community recognizes as Azerbaijani territory, by OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative Andrzej Kasprzyk's field assistants Imre Palatinus, Vladimir Chountulov and Jaslan Nurtazin.

On October 21, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops near the Sarijali village of the Agdam region at 12:20 to 12:45.

The shots were fired from the nameless heights of Goranboy region at 15:00 to 15:10, from Yarimja village of Terter region at 20:25 to 20:35, at 21:50 to 21:55, 23:00 to 23:10, from nameless heights of the Fizuli region and positions near Karakhanbayli, Korgan and Ashagi Abdurahmanli villages on October 22 at 00:30 to 00:45 and 06:15 to 06:30, from nameless heights of the Hojavand region at 00:05 to 00:20.   

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

On October 22, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops near the Gulustan village of the Geranboy region at 19:25 to 19:45.

The shots were fired from the nameless heights of the Fizuli region and positions near Ashagi Abdurahmanli village at 21:00 to 21:15; from positions near Javakhirli and Shurabad villages of the Agdam region on October 23 at 00.30 to 00.35, and 03.30 to 03.40; from the nameless heights of the Hojavand region and positions near Kuropatkino village at 01.00 to 01.40 and 06.10 to 06.30, 00:05 to 00:20, the Azerbaijani ministry of defense said.   

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

On Oct.23, As a result of Armenia's breaking ceasefire in the direction of the Agdam region, Azerbaijani soldier Eldar Ismayilov was wounded mortally, Trend regional correspondent reported. 

Ismayilov was enlisted to the military service from the military commiserate of the Sumgayit city six months ago.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has not yet affirmed the information.

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