Weekly political digest (01.03- 06.02.2010)

Official chronicle

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev sent a letter of condolences to his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet Jeria. The letter runs: "I was deeply grieved upon hearing the news on heavy human loss caused by earthquake in your country.

I extend my sincere condolences and sympathies to you, families and relatives of the dead, the people of Chile on this tragedy, and wish speedy recovery to the injured."

On March 1, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev today received the delegates who came to Baku to participate at the 90th anniversary ceremony of the Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency, AzerTAc, and at the 11th meeting of the Council of heads of the CIS State News Agencies, AzerTAc State News Agency reported.

President Aliyev expressed confidence for success of the jubilee ceremonies in Baku. It will enable the visitors to closely get acquainted with the life of Republic. Similar meetings promote mutual and wider understanding of the countries and states, the President noted.
"From this standpoint, many depend on activity of the news agencies and in the whole the mass media bodies", he emphasized. "Operative and timely dissemination of true information enables to accept correct and exact decisions, rightly comment the ongoing processes and plays valuable role in establishment of bilateral and multilateral relations between the countries".

Noting that Azerbaijan plays active role in the processes of integration in the CIS space, the President said from the point of view of new trends of cooperation among the mass media bodies, the Baku meetings have special importance. Head of the Azerbaijan State highlighted on the last years` socio-economic accomplishments in the country. Despite the crisis year in world economy, Azerbaijan could successfully implement all the projects, he said. The President also touched upon the foreign policy of Azerbaijan, making accent on the country`s policy that aims at long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation. President of Azerbaijan underlined importance of participation of the delegation representing the political, economic and cultural spheres of Russia.The Head of State said quite a few news agencies, hundreds of newspapers and electronic media outlets function in Azerbaijan, adding important qualitative changes occurred in this field.

President Ilham Aliyev expressed hope that the Baku meetings would be effective and bring good results. Azerbaijani leader recommended searching for new formats to exchange information in the CIS area. President Ilham Aliyev wished every success to the participants. He noted although Azerbaijan regained its independence 20 years ago, relations among CIS countries are developing, in particular, in the field of media. President Ilham Aliyev stressed the necessity to keep the dynamics in the humanitarian cooperation.  "I believe that CIS countries and neighboring nations are also keen on cooperation," said President Ilham Aliyev. He once more congratulated participants of the events.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolence to the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy over the loss of lives caused by the Xynthia storm, the AzerTaj state news agency reported. The letter says: "The news of human loss and damage as a result of the Xynthia storm was a source of great sorrow to me. On behalf of the people of Azerbaijan and on my own behalf, I offer sincere condolences to you, families and relatives of the dead and all the people of France."

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov on the national holiday. "Today, the relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are developing successfully. I am sure that in future we will make efforts to strengthen our ties, successfully continue our cooperation programs and projects implemented by the European Union in areas of mutual interest," the congratulatory letter says. Ilham Aliyev wished Georgi Parvanov good health, happiness, success in work, and the friendly people of Bulgaria - peace and progress.

On March 2, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev received president of the European People's Party (EPP) Wilfried Martens. They discussed current state and prospects of cooperation between the New Azerbaijan Party and the EPP, and Azerbaijan's integration into Europe.

On March 2, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has today received Miguel Angel Moratinos, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain which currently holds the European Union`s rotating presidency. Moratinos said relations with Azerbaijan are "a priority issue" in the European Union`s foreign policy during Spain`s chairmanship. He said the EU had strong relationship with Azerbaijan, adding "it is bigger than just the bilateral relations and it already acquired strategic importance".
Moratinos also touched upon the bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Spain, saying his country was keen to "expand our ties". President Ilham Aliyev praised the Azerbaijan-EU relations, describing them as "quiet dynamic". "My visit to Brussels and the EU commissioners` trips to Azerbaijan contributed to strengthening our cooperation." The President said he believed the Eastern Partnership Program would open new opportunities "from the point of view of cooperation, integration and relationship". President Ilham Aliyev expressed Azerbaijan`s readiness to develop "constructive cooperation with the European Union in all directions and on the basis of mutual interests".
President Ilham Aliyev and Miguel Angel Moratinos also discussed settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

On March 3, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received credentials of the newly-appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of the Philippines, Pedro O Chan. President of Azerbaijan had conversation with the Ambassador and exchanged views on prospects of relations with the Philippines. Head of the State wished success to the ambassador of the Philippines in his diplomatic mission in Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on 3 March received the credentials of the ambassador of Libya Saad Mustafa Mujbir. Ambassador Saad Mustafa Mujbir conveyed greetings of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi to the president of Azerbaijan. He remembered his meeting with the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev ten years ago and said Libya was one of the first countries to recognize independence of Azerbaijan. The Libyan ambassador said he would spare no effort to enrich the bilateral relations of the two countries. Head of the Azerbaijan State noted good level of relations between Azerbaijan and Libya which closely cooperate on the international organizations, including the Islamic Conference Organization and the United Nations. Azerbaijan is keen in deepening of the bilateral relations with Libya, President Aliyev underlined, stressing existence of good prospects to further boost these ties. President of Azerbaijan expressed gratitude for greetings from Mr. Muammar Gaddafi and requested to convey his greetings to the Libyan president.

On March 3, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev today received credentials of the newly-appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Ireland to Azerbaijan Thomas Russell. During short talk, it was stressed existence of certain potential for development of bilateral relations between the two countries. President Aliyev expressed confidence for further expansion of cooperation during the new ambassador`s diplomatic mission.

On March 3, First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva has today met with head of the UNICEF Baku Office Mark Hereward. Mehriban Aliyeva said she supports UNICEF`s activity in Azerbaijan. First Lady noted the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNICEF maintain good contacts. She pointed out care for children is the priority of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s activity. Mehriban Aliyeva expressed hope that the Foundation and UNICEF would implement new successful projects in the future. Head of UNICEF Baku Office Mark Hereward said there is room for expanding cooperation in a number of fields between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNICEF, adding some projects are scheduled to be implemented in the future. Mehriban Aliyeva said Azerbaijan is ready to implement new projects jointly with UNICEF. The First Lady noted the Foundation has prepared a new project for people with hereditary blood diseases. The Foundation has prepared videos, books to raise the people`s awareness about hereditary blood diseases.

On March 3, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva met the vice-president of Italy's Saint Raphael Foundation Mario Kaal. In meeting, discussed were prospects of cooperation between the two Foundations, including exchange of physicians, experts, joint academic studies. President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and vice-president of Italy's Saint Raphael Foundation Mario Kaal exchanged views on implementing joint projects in future.

President Ilham Aliyev on 3 March received the credentials of newly appointed Ambassador of Denmark to Azerbaijan Ole Egberg Mikkelsen. Sides have discussed several issues of bilateral interest. President Ilham Aliyev said relations between the two countries were developing successfully. Emphasizing good potential for cooperation between two countries, the President pointed out that there is a need for data exchange between the two countries. The President also said hopes are high that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Denmark in all spheres, especially in the sphere of economy, will develop. Ambassador Ole Egberg Mikkelsen conveyed greetings of the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to the President of Azerbaijan. He said he will contribute to the broadening of relations between Denmark and Azerbaijan. President of Azerbaijan expressed gratitude for greetings from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and asked the Ambassador to convey his greetings to the Queen.

On March 3, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Wednesday Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. They said relations between Azerbaijan and Russia were developing successfully in various spheres including economic one. The sides expressed confidence that bilateral relationship would continue to expand. The talks also touched upon the prospects for cooperation in CIS territory.

On March 3, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deputy foreign minister Ed Kronenberg.  ronenberg said his country was keen to develop cooperation with Azerbaijan. He described the opening of the Netherlands` embassy in Azerbaijan as evidence to the importance his country gives to the relationship with Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan attaches significant importance to enhancing relationship with the Netherlands. According to the Head of State, the fact that Azerbaijan`s embassy has been operating in the Netherlands for three years contributes to developing bilateral relationship.
The Azerbaijani leader expressed hope that relations between the two countries would further develop.

On March 4, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed an Executive Order to improve emergency medical service in the country. Under the presidential order, the Ministry of Health will be allocated 7 million manat (or $8.7 million) from the President's Reserve Fund for the purchase of ambulances.
The President instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to deal with the tasks arising from the Order.

Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade has met today International Monetary Fund's representatives Ratna Sahay and Nienke Oomes. The IMF officials praised the fact that Azerbaijan managed to survive the global financial crisis. They described the GDP growth rate in Azerbaijan in 2009 as "the highest indicator across the world."  They also noted due to preventive measures by the Azerbaijani government, the inflation was dramatically declined in the country, while the poverty level decreased to 11 percent. They also discussed other issues including improvements in institutional and management reforms, development of non-oil sector and plans to use effectively the Oil Foundation's revenues.

On March 5, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has opened new production divisions at Iglim enterprise of the Defense Industry Ministry`s Sharg Production Association, the AzerTaj state news agency reported. The President first put flowers at a bust to national leader Heydar Aliyev in front of the enterprise. The Head of State toured the facility and viewed production process.
The President also viewed a shooting gallery.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev congratulated Azerbaijani women on 8 March International Women's Day. "I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you, all women of our country on the international Women's Day and wish each of you health, happiness and successes. Azerbaijani women have made exceptional contributions to safeguarding and worthily keeping up to this date the national-spiritual values, mother tongue, customs and traditions defining national identity of our people.
Being committed to our independent statehood and idea of Azerbaijanism, inviolability of sovereignty and territorial integrity of our holy homeland, she makes every effort to imbue youth with a love of country," the message reads. According to Aliyev, every page of the old and rich history of Azerbaijan contains striking examples of wisdom, selflessness and heroism of our women. "After Azerbaijan regained its independence, women enhanced their social activity and achieved serious accomplishments in the fields of science, education, healthcare and culture. With their commendable activity ensuring dynamic development of our sovereign country, they realize their own talents and capability to build national state, worthily represent Azerbaijan in the international arena," the State Head said in message. "I hope, you, women of Azerbaijan, will continue to work in various spheres of socio-political, socio-economic and intellectual-spiritual life of the state and make contribution in the name of prosperity of our steadily renewing country," the President said.

On March 5, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has today attended opening of newly-reconstructed Dalga enterprise of the Defense Industry Ministry`s Ufug Production Association. The President first put flowers at the bust to national leader Heydar Aliyev in front of the enterprise. The Head of State cut the ribbon symbolizing the official opening of the enterprise, and viewed video-clip featuring previous conditions of the facility. Then, President Ilham Aliyev familiarized himself with the Heydar Aliyev corner. The President toured the facility and viewed production process. President Ilham Aliyev praised works done here.

On March 5, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a telephone call Friday to President of Turkey Abdullah Gul. During the conversation, the Head of State expressed his outrage against and strongly condemned the resolution passed by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He described it as the unfair decision misrepresenting historical truth and fueling tension in the region. He emphasized Azerbaijan had always been alongside Turkey and would continue to support this country. President Ilham Aliyev expressed his confidence that the attempts of Armenians - who committed genocides against Turkey and Azerbaijan at some points in history - to falsify the history will fail and not be accepted by the world community. The Turkish President, for his part, hailed President Ilham Aliyev's stance on the issue. The Presidents also discussed bilateral relations and situation in the region.

On March 5, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan sent a letter of congratulation to the President of the Republic of Ghana John Evans Atta Mills on country`s Independence Day.
President Aliyev expressed hope the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Ghana would serve strengthening of friendly and cooperation ties between the two peoples.
President of Azerbaijan wished John Evans Atta Mills robust health, his people - tranquility and welfare.

First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP, Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with the Woman and Development Award by the woman community of the country. "Based on numerous requests from citizens for the activities, increasing prestige of the Azerbaijani women at the international level, the invaluable contribution to the protection of national and spiritual values, exceptional role in the development of inter-civilizational dialogue Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva was honored with Woman and Development Award by the women community of Azerbaijan," the head of the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Hijran Huseynova said to an event dedicated to 8 March International Women's Day. According to Huseynova, awarding Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva with the Officer rank of the Legion of Honor by the French President's order is an obvious embodiment of country's high prestige and deep respect for her personality which was achieved as a result of her multilateral activities. "The fact that Mrs Aliyeva is the first Azerbaijani woman presented with such a high award makes a sense of great pride and joy for all of us. With her public activities and personal example, she worthily represents Azerbaijani women throughout the world. It embodies that the Azerbaijani family is based on high moral values and universal ideas," said head of the Committee. In addition, the State Committee has awarded the head of the Russian representation of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, General Coordinator of Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue Leyla Aliyeva the Memory Award for her exclusive achievements in presenting the truth about the Nagorno-Karabakh, the realities of Khojali genocide to the world community. "Leyla Aliyeva, being a worthy representative of the Azerbaijani youth, conducts extensive and purposeful activities in presenting the truth about the Nagorno-Karabakh and the realities of Khojali genocide to the attention of world public," said Huseynova. The State Committee also presented awards to MPs Elmira Akhundova, Ganira Pashayeva, Gultekin Hajibeyli, Havva Mammadova, Lale Abbasova and Jale Aliyev for their activities in bringing the realities of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the attention of international public and educating the young generation in the spirit of patriotism; Firangiz Alizadeh, Zemfira Safarova, Ruhangiz Gasimova, Amalia Panahova, Aysel Teymurzadeh - for achievements in arts; Fakhriya Khalafova, Zarifa Hamzayeva, Khayala Safarova, Gulnara Ismayilova - for perpetuating the tradition of charity of national entrepreneurship; Zarifa Salakhova, Mehriban Alishanova, Lydia Rasulov, Larisa Reyhrudel for productive activities in cooperation with the committee.

Parliament

Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijani Parliament offered to respond with a declaration of protest to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee's decision on the "Armenian genocide".

"We must create a group and send a declaration of protest to Congress," Parliament Deputy Chairman Bahar Muradova said at the meeting today.

According to Muradova, adoption the declaration of protest in the parliament will be also indicator of Azerbaijani-Turkish solidarity.  

Speaker Oktay Asadov supported the offer and stated that the document will be prepared with the participation of parliament committees.

Samad Seyidov, chairman of the Milli Majlis standing committee on international relations and inter-parliamentary relations also stressed importance of preparation and adoption of the declaration of protest.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted yesterday with 23 to 22 votes a resolution recognizing the so-called "genocide."

Azerbaijani Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova was re-elected for a second term.

Suleymanova was elected with 106 pros and seven cons today at a meeting of the Azerbaijani Parliament.

Earlier President Ilham Aliyev sent to parliament a list of three candidates in accordance with Article 109.14 of the Constitution.

The candidates included the current ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova, Head of the Department for Human Rights and Public Relations under the Justice Ministry Faig Gurbanov and the National Program Officer Human Rights Project of UN in Azerbaijan Teymur Melikaslanov.

Although the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide, President Barack Obama is wise and will not allow the recognition of the genocide, Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov said.

"There is no doubt that the adoption of the resolution by the U.S. committee was the result of Armenian lobby. But I think that, as in 2007, Barack Obama and the State Department will not tolerate the continuation of the process on recognition of the genocide," he said at today's parliamentary meeting. "The United States does not want to lose allies such as Azerbaijan and Turkey."

He said Azerbaijani and Turkish MPs should work together for the prevention of further anti-Turkish steps.

"Pressure on Turkey is directed also against Azerbaijan. Parliamentarians of both countries should take this into account and strengthen relations with U.S. congressmen," he said.

Azerbaijan must undertake adequate steps to respond the adoption of resolution about recognition of the so-called "Armenian genocide" by the International Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress House of Representatives, thinks an Azerbaijani MP.

"We must raise the question of recalling our Ambassador from the U.S. before our Government and Foreign Ministry," Gudrat Hasanguliyev, MP and Chairman of the Party of Popular Front of Integrated Azerbaijan (PPFIA), stated on Friday.

In Hasanguliyev's opinion, that the US has not been appointing its ambassador to Azerbaijan for such a long period of time is a manifestation of disrespectful attitude to the country.

"Delaying the issue of appointing ambassador pursues definite political goals. The U.S. uses this as a means of pressure on Azerbaijan," the MP added.

First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP Mehriban Aliyeva congratulated Azerbaijani women on 8 March International Women's Day.

"I congratulate the women represented in the Parliament, as well as all Azerbaijani women on International Women's Day," Mrs Aliyeva said at a meeting of parliament on March 5.

Addressing the meeting MP Ganira Pashayeva congratulated Mrs Aliyeva on the International Women's Day and awarding with the Officer rank of the Legion of Honor by the French President's order.

"Mehriban Khanum makes successful efforts to bring the truth about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the international community. We wish her every success in this activity," Pashayeva said.

Foreign policy

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos arrived in Baku as part of a regional visit to the South Caucasus March 02.

This is his first visit to the region as a representative of the Spanish presidency of the EU.

Moratinos visited the region in 2007 as acting chairman of the OSCE. Then, the Madrid principles regarding the Karabakh conflict were crafted.

He is accompanied by a large team of specialists, including representatives of the European Commission, EU ambassador in Azerbaijan Roland Kobia said earlier.

The Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister said Iran's law enforcement agencies should take measures in connection with disrespect shown to state symbols on the building of the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran.

"We expect Iran's law enforcement agencies to undertake corresponding measures in connection with the disrespect towards our state symbols and throwing eggs tot the embassy's building," Deputy Foreign Minister Vagif Sadykhov told reporters on Tuesday.

As a result of action staged in front of the building of the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran, the state symbols of Azerbaijan were insulted, and the Embassy's building was pelted with eggs.

According to Sadykhov, conduct of a propagandistic campaign in foreign countries in various forms is a natural phenomenon.

"We also conduct propagandistic campaigns, and such campaigns are conducted against us as well. We do not see anything unusual in this. As to forms of propaganda, and conduct of demonstrations or pickets in a certain form, this is to be determined by local power bodies. If such occurs in conformity with the law, this, of course, is given permission, but if counters the law, definite restrictions are imposed. That's exactly how the things in Azerbaijan are," Sadykhov said.

In his opinion, such incidents should not be considered an extraordinary phenomenon.

"This is a common phenomenon. As to demands voiced at such actions, this is the reflection of organizers' thoughts. We treat this with tolerance. But of course, we make definite conclusions," Sadykhov noted.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and National Coordinator on CIS Affairs Igor Shuvalov has launched his Azerbaijan visit today.  

Shuvalov did not talk to reporters in Baku.

During the visit, Shuvalov will outline priorities of CIS for 2010 in connection with Russia's chairmanship in the CIS.

Dutch Foreign Ministry' Secretary General Ed Kronenburg is on official visit to Baku to discuss prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands.

During the visit, the official is expected to meet with the Azerbaijani officials, the Dutch embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend .

Kronenburg discussed various aspects of development of cooperation between the two countries in political, economic and humanitarian spheres.

Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Maxime Verhagen voiced the proposal of opening the Embassy.

On March 3, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ed Kronenburg, the press service of Foreign Ministry reported.

Kronenburg expressed satisfaction with his visit to Azerbaijan, highly assessed the current state of the Azerbaijani-Dutch relations, noting that the opening of the embassy of Netherlands in Azerbaijan will further strengthen the relations between the two countries.

Greeting the guest, Mammadyarov mentioned Azerbaijan's cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands within the European Union and the importance of deepening cooperation between the two countries in economic, ecological, educational, energy and other fields.

The meeting also focused on exchanging views on issues of mutual interest.

Kuwait

In connection with the 18th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy, within the Justice for Khojaly campaign, the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons of Azerbaijan held a series of activities in Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, together with the embassies of Azerbaijan in these countries.

The event was attended by representatives of the Azerbaijani communities in these countries, leaders, diplomats, several embassies, media representatives, many foreign nationals who are friends of Azeri people, the Commission told Trend on March 3.
Ambassadors of Azerbaijan in these countries provided the participants of the event detailed information on terrorist acts committed by Armenians against Azerbaijan, and Khojaly tragedy, which is a crime against humanity.

Addressing the meeting, Secretary of the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons Shahin Sailov spoke in detail about the Armenian policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Azerbaijanis, the material and moral damage inflicted to Azerbaijan and Armenia's destruction of cultural monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani lands, as well as the crimes committed by Armenians against captives and hostages from Azerbaijan.

Participants of the event were presented a documentary film, books, photographs and other materials reflecting Khojaly tragedy and the Armenian terrorism. The event was covered in the media of these countries.

On March 3, the consul general of Azerbaijan in Saint Petersburg Gudsi Osmanov met with the governor of Leningrad Oblast Valery Serdyukov, the press service of the Consulate General of of Azerbaijan in Saint Petersburg reported.

The meeting focused on expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Leningrad Oblast. The governor spoke about the economic potential of the oblast, noting that the reforms carried out in industry, agriculture and service sectors have yielded good results.

Consul general informed the governor that as a result of successful domestic and foreign policy pursued by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has become a rapidly growing and leading country with a strong economy in the region.

The governor said that signing a cooperation agreement between Azerbaijan and Leningrad in trade and economic, scientific-technical and cultural spheres prepared and agreed by the two sides in 2005 are on the agenda and all opportunities will be resolved to resolve the issue.

Mentioning opening a memorial stone on the memorial Sinyavino Heights on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in order to perpetuate the memory of Azerbaijanis who died in defense of Leningrad during World War II, Osmanov thanked the leadership of the Leningrad Oblast for care.

The Azerbaijani Presidential Administration categorically condemned the adoption of the resolution recognizing the so-called "Armenian genocide" by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Such step by the U.S congressmen is mistaken and unfair, Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Socio-Political Department Head Ali Hasanov said in his interview with the media outlets.

"All the nations and states that were involved in World War I (WWI) suffered losses in the course of events taken place in one of the fronts of WWI in 1915. The question of who suffered more losses and who less, or what the war's results were for it, should be addressed not by the Congressmen of the country, claiming the title of world superpower, but by independent historians and researchers," Hasanov said.

Hasanov said the Azerbaijani government condemns this step by the U.S. congressmen, and brings to attention that this decision was unilateral, unjust, pro-Armenian and anti-Turk in spirit. "We believe this decision also does not correlate strongly with the interests of the United States and the American people, and seriously damages the international image of this country," he said.

Hasanov also expressed confidence that receiving the required assessment from the U.S Congress House of Representatives, the Foreign Affairs Committee's decision will be withdrawn, and the U.S. government will be released from this unfair responsibility.

Azerbaijani parliament sends an appeal to the U.S. Congress on the regard of adoption of of a resolution recognizing the so-called "Armenian Genocide" by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Appeal has been prepared in the working group under the chairmanship of the Samad Seyidov, chairman of the Milli Majlis standing committee on international relations and inter-parliamentary relations.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted yesterday with 23 to 22 votes a resolution recognizing the so-called "genocide."

Regret on the adoption of a resolution recognizing the so-called "Armenian Genocide" by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee was expressed in the appeal.

The appeal says that that there was no "Armenian genocide" in the history and this was proven by Western historians. "In fact, the Armenian genocide is the product of a diseased imagination," the document says.

Certainty about the fact that the resolution will be rejected by U.S. Congress is also expressed in the appeal.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chief foreign policy adviser Jean-David Levitte during his visit to Paris, which begins March 5, Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told Trend .

"Besides the meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen the minister also plans to meet with President Sarkozy's chief foreign policy adviser Jean-David Levitte," Polukhov said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will meet with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen March 5 in Paris, the Minister said to journalists March 2.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Ambassador Yuri Merzlyakov, the Russian Federation; Ambassador Bernard Fassier, France; Ambassador Robert Bradtke, United States, met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Paris, where they held a working session. They assessed the current stage of the negotiations and considered comments of both the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides on the updated Madrid Principles, which were presented to them by the Co-Chairs in December 2009 and January 2010. The Co-Chairs plan to meet Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Paris later this month for a similar discussion, prior to going to the region."

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov's meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in Paris mulled the negotiation process over the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in detail and in wide format, Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told Trend .

Polukhov said the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister once again brought to the co-chairs' attention that Baku recognizes the document, which the co-chairs submitted, based on the updated Madrid principles with certain exceptions and intends to identify the main ways of resolving the conflict working on it.  

The Co-Chairs, in their turn, said that they will continue to work on questions of the Armenian side.

Political movements

Several Azerbaijani opposition parties will hold a meeting to discuss the parliamentary elections.

"The leaders of the parties entering the Union for Democracy agreed to meet March 6 to discuss the preparations for the parliamentary elections," Great Azerbaijan Party Chairman Elshad Musayev told Trend . The party also enters the union.

Azerbaijan scheduled parliamentary elections for autumn 2010. Previously, elections were held in November 2005. Azerbaijan holds parliamentary elections under the majority system in 125 electoral districts.

He said the meeting will focus on preparations for the parliamentary elections and issues on cooperation with other opposition parties.

"We appealed to the Musavat Party and Azadlig Bloc about consultations on the pre-election situation in the country," he said. "Musavat has responded positively to our appeal. Azadliq will reply March 3."

The Union for Democracy was created after the parliamentary elections in 2005 by the opposition parties of the Classic Popular Front Party, Azadliq and National Democracy.

In 2008, the Great Party of Azerbaijan and People's Party joined the union. In October 2009, the National Democratic Party left the group and the National Liberation Party later joined.

No official suggestions have been received for participation in parliamentary elections as a bloc of three parties, said the head of the opposition party in Azerbaijan.

"The reason for the spread of information in the press about our association and the establishment of an alliance is linked to my respect that I have for Fazil Mustafa and Gudrat Hasanguliyev," the chairman of Adalat Party, MP Ilyas Ismailov told Trend on March 1.

According to Ismayilov, no discussions are held with either Great Establishment Party or the Unified Azerbaijan Popular Front Party. "I did not think of the joint participation in the parliamentary elections. In general, Mustafa and Hasanguliyev did not talk to me about it," said the chairman of the party.

Formerly it was reported that Adalat Party, Great Establishment Party and Unified Azerbaijan Popular Front Party established a Vatan election bloc in connection with the parliamentary elections. It was not excluded that the parties establishing bloc will run for the elections with single candidates.

Presentation of a book titled "Europe: I fought and I won" by Wilfried Martens, Chairman of the European Popular Party and the former PM of Belgium, was organized by the ruling News Azerbaijan Party in Baku on Tuesday.

"Martens is one of famous and authoritative politicians. The presentation of Martens' book in Azerbaijan, with his personal participation, is a remarkable event," Samed Seyidov, Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Parliament of Azerbaijan told the event.

The book reveals the mystery of vital successes Martens has achieved. "I am convinced that his to-be books will reflect aspects related to Azerbaijan," Deputy Chairwoman of the Azerbaijani Parliament Bahar Muradova said.

Azerbaijan has been heading for European integration and undertakes substantial steps in this direction, said Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Vagif Sadykhov. "We partake in certain programs. However, various civilized means should be used in the current world of globalization. From this point, Azerbaijan's cooperation with the European Popular Party, which is the leading political force in Europe, is of huge importance," he said.

Azerbaijani opposition will continue discussions in connection with preparation for parliamentary elections.

"Despite Azadlyg bloc didn't answer positively to our appeal, we will debate with Musavat party in connection with preparation to the parliamentary elections," Chairman of Great Azerbaijan Party, represented in the Union for Democracy, Elshad Musayev told Trend .

Earlier Union for Democracy, which brings together some oppositional parties, appealed to Musavat party and Azadlig bloc with an offer to hold debates on the threshold of parliamentary elections. Azadlyg bloc decided to refuse from participation at discussions at a meeting March.3.

The Council of Chairmen may decide the date of the meetings at the next meeting. "We will express our attitude in connection with a negative response of "Azadlig" bloc to our appeal," said Musayev.

Party's divan decided to participate at party meetings and we will follow this decision," the head of the Central Executive Apparatus of Musavat party Arif Hajili told Trend today.

The refusal of "Azadlig" block to participate in meetings related to its disagreement with the "Musavat" party and the Liberal party is misplaced.

Parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan in autumn 2010. The previous elections were held in November 2005. Parliamentary elections are held by the majority system in 125 constituencies in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan's ruling party appraises a resolution recognizing the so-called "Armenian Genocide" by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee as a distortion of historical reality and roughly violation of the principle of justice.

"As New Azerbaijan Party we expressed categorical protest in connection with the adoption of such unfair decision containing the elements of falsification of history by the U.S. Congress, and we have sent a corresponding letter. Our address openly says that the decision taken by Congress is directed against the interests of friendly and brotherly Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan," Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party MP Ali Ahmedov told journalists.

The address also says that adoption of such a decision, which has the character of pressure on the opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders, in fact, also directed against the rapid resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ahmedov said.

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday adopted 23 votes to 22 a resolution recognizing the so-called "Armenian genocide".

Ali Hasanov, head of the Presidential Administration's department for social and political affairs, said that none of the laws bans members of the president's family, full aged children and relatives to be engaged in business or commercial activities. Hasanov was commenting on article published in the Washington Post newspaper, issued on March 5, 2010.

"There is nothing unusual that members of his family and relations, like all Azerbaijani citizens, own a property. It is necessary to take into account the fact that one of the President's daughters is a daughter-in-law of a rich family," Hasanov underscored.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Feb.28, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas and positions outside the Mehdili village in the Jabrayil region at 22.00-22.25, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

March 1, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from nameless heights in Armenian Berd region to the Kokhanabi village in the Tovuz region at 19.00- 19.05, as well as from areas and positions outside the Yusifjanli village in the Agdam region at 16.15-16.25, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from positions outside the Jojugmarjanli village in the Jabrayil region at 22.30-22.45  and from positions in the Ashagi Abdurahmanli village in the Fizuli region at 23.45- 00.00, the ministry reported.

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

March 2, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from positions in the Mosegerkh village in the Armenian Berd region to the Alibayli village in the Tovuz region at 11.20-11.25, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from positions outside the Tapgaragoyunlu and Gulustan villages in the Goranboy region at 10.30- 10.40 and 15.10-15.30 , as well as from positions in the Tagibayli village in the Agdam region at 20.20- 20.30 and from nameless heights in the Fizuli region at 20.50- 21.00, the ministry reported.

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

Monitoring was held on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces March 3, after a mandate by the special envoy of the OSCE chairman.

The monitoring n the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces on 4 miles west of the Tapgaragoyunlu village in Azerbaijan's Goranboy region proceeded without incident March 3, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

The monitoring held on the Azerbaijani side by OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative field assistants Vladimir Chountulov, Imre Palatinus and Pieter Ki.

The monitoring 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 Irji Aberli, and Jaslan Nurtazin.

March 4, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from positions outside the Yusifjanli village in the Agdam region at 18.20- 18.25, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

March 5, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from positions in the Berdavan village in the Armenian Noyanberyan region to the Kamarli village in the Gazakh region at 19.05-19.10, and from areas in the Tapgaragoyunlu village in Goranboy region at13.50-14.15, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from nameless heights in the Gazakh region at 19.00-19.05 and from positions in the Ashagi Abdurahmanli village in the Fizuli, the Ministry reported. The Azerbaijani troops answered their fire. No causalities were reported.

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