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Weekly political digest (31.05- 05.06.2010)

Analysis Materials 10 June 2010 12:11

Official chronicle

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received governor of the People`s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan.
The Head of State praised the two countries` relations, saying they were developing successfully.

The Azerbaijani leader said his country intended to expand all-round relations with China.

The President hailed the fact that despite the global financial crisis both countries` economies had been growing at a very good pace.
The President stressed the importance of conducting an exchange of views on joint economic cooperation initiatives.

President Ilham Aliyev noted the visit of Zhou Xiaochuan to Baku would be a success, expressing confidence it would contribute to defining new directions of cooperation between the two countries.

Zhou Xiaochuan, in turn, said one of the purposes of his visit to Azerbaijan was to learn President Ilham Aliyev`s position on the international financial system reforms to be discussed during a forthcoming meeting of G-20.

Zhou Xiaochuan expressed confidence his visit to Azerbaijan would be fruitful.

On the occasion of May 28th - Republic Day, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received letters of congratulation from President of France Nicolas Sarkozy; President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych; President of Turkey Abdullah Gul; President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko; President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov; President of Serbia Boris Tadić; President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus; President of Bangladesh Zillur Rahman; President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu; President of the United Mexican States Felipe Calderón Hinojosa; President of People`s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika; President of the Dagestan Republic of the Russian Federation Magomedsalam Magomedov; Emperor of Japan Akihito; President of the People`s Republic of China Hu Jintao; President of Austria Heinz Fischer; King of Norway Harald V; King of Morocco Mohammed VI; Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Crown Prince of Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia; Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Governor of Moscow Oblast Boris Gromov; Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee - Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev; Secretary General of the Council of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Mikhail Krotov; President of Hungary László Sólyom; King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej; chief of the Interstate Aviation Committee Tatyana Anodina; Queen of the Netherlands Beatrix; President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard; President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak; President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano; President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov; leader of North Cyprus People Dervish Eroglu, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon; and King of Jordan Abdullah II.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended XVII International Exhibition and Conference on "Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals" held in Baku.

The President cut the red ribbon symbolizing the opening of the exhibition, and familiarized with the exhibition center.

A wide range of machinery and equipment for oil, gas and petrochemical industries, production of oil and gas industry, new technologies and services are demonstrated at the exhibition.

The area of the exhibition increased by 15 percent compared to the last year.

About 280 companies from 26 countries participate there. Well-known foreign companies take more than 40 percent of the exhibition. Most of them are permanent members of the exhibition.

President Ilham Aliyev spoke at the opening and got acquainted with the pavilions of the exhibition.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the delegation headed by member of the EBRD Board of Directors, Werner Gruber.

The views on the current situation and prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EBRD were exchanged

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has arrived in Azerbaijan for an official visit.

A guard of honor was lined up in honor of the Belarusian President at the Heydar Aliyev international airport decorated with the national flags of both countries.

President Lukashenko was welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov and other officials.

The Belarusian president and Azerbaijan's deputy premier had a brief talk in the airport`s VIP room.

An official meeting of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is on an official visit to Azerbaijan, has been held in Baku.

A guard of honor was lined up at the square decorated with state flags of Azerbaijan and Belarus in honor of the distinguished guest.

A head of a guard of honor gave a report to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.

A head of a guard of honor gave a report to the Belarusian President.

National anthems of Belarus and Azerbaijan were performed.

The Presidents passed near a guard of honor.

Belarusian President welcomed Azerbaijani soldiers.

Azerbaijani state and governmental officials were introduced to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, members of the Belarusian delegation - to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko took part in a ceremony of laying the foundation for the building of the Belarusian Embassy in Azerbaijan.

The Presidents reviewed the project and layout of the building.

The Presidents were informed of the new embassy building. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko lowered the capsule into the foundation and filled with concrete solution.

The Presidents got acquainted with the vehicles for different purposes made by Ganja Automobile Plant.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has hosted an official dinner in honor of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is now visiting Azerbaijan, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Touching upon the relations between the two states, President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of high-level mutual visits to develop bilateral relations.

"Some important documents, which outline main directions of our bilateral cooperation, have been signed during the visit. Our high-level meetings have become regular. There have been four such visits during the last five years, which show how much importance we attach to our bilateral relations."

President Alexander Lukashenko thanked his Azerbaijani counterpart for praising the two countries` relations.

The Belarusian leader hailed President Ilham Aliyev's role in ensuring Azerbaijan`s all-round development.

Alexander Lukashenko wished the people of Azerbaijan prosperity and happy future.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expresses condolences to Bangladesh counterpart Zillur Rahman.

"I express my condolences with fire occurred in Dakka town which injured many people. I wish speedy recovery to the injured people and express condolences to families and relatives of people died as a result of the fire," a letter said.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko visited Friday the Baku Slavic University where he was awarded a Diploma of honorary doctor.

Here, the Belarusian President was warmly welcomed by the University`s students and teaching staff.

Rector of the University Kamal Abdullayev welcomed the President on behalf of the students and teaching staff.

He said the University`s Scientific Council decided to award President Alexander Lukashenko the Diploma of Honorary Doctor for his contribution to developing relationship between Belarus and Azerbaijan, strengthening friendship between "the two peoples" and deepening bilateral scientific, education and cultural cooperation.

The rector noted a Center of Belarus Language and Culture had been established at the University. He also thanked Belarus` ambassador to Azerbaijan and Belarusian State Pedagogical University for the contributions they made to the opening of the Center.

Then, Kamal Abdullayev presented the University`s Diploma of Honorary Doctor to the Belarus` President.

Addressing the event, President Alexander Lukashenko thanked for the Award.

Touching upon relationship between Azerbaijan and Belarus, the President said the two countries had close friendly ties.

President Lukashenko said national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev always supported the people of Belarus, adding "that is why his memory is always honored in his country with great respect".

The Belarusian leader underlined President Ilham Aliyev successfully continues the national leader`s policy.

The Belarus President also noted during the current trip he saw rapid development process in Azerbaijan since he visited the country three years ago. He wished the Azerbaijani people development and welfare.

Then, the President and his accompanying delegation attended the inauguration of the Center of Belarus Language and Culture.

The President signed the Center`s Guest book.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has today ended his official visit to Azerbaijan.

The Belarus` President was seen off by first deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov and other officials.

Head of the Russian office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, editor-in-chief of the Baku magazine, Heydar Aliyev`s granddaughter Leyla Aliyeva has shared her thoughts on goals and activity of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia, work of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan`s new image which is being formed in Europe and the United States. The interview was taken by Samir Shahbaz (RIA Novosti).

Q: Hello. We are joined today by Leila Aliyeva, head of the Russian office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and editor-in-chief of Baku magazine. Good afternoon, Leila.

A: Hello.

Q: Thank you very much for joining us today. I know you've had a busy schedule these past few days. Could you tell our listeners what you've been doing?

A: Last week we held the second conference of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia, which is now in its second year. Five hundred young people attended, many of them from Russian regions, not just Moscow. Our organization has more than 60 chapters now. Young people are playing an active role in Moscow and other regions around Russia. The foundation's mission is to promote Azerbaijani culture, familiarize people with our history, support our compatriots living in Russia, and help young Azerbaijanis get an education and integrate.

We are working on many cultural and social projects. Our young people volunteer to help children in children's homes and hospitals. I'd like to mention one project in particular. It's called "Blood Has No Nationality," and it involves young Azerbaijanis donating blood for sick children. This project was intended to highlight that young Azerbaijanis and Russians have the same values.

The Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia (AYOR) is involved in other projects, for example the important international campaign, "Justice for Khojaly." The yearlong campaign included over 70 events intended to raise awareness of the February 1992 tragedy in Azerbaijan around the world.

The campaign ended with a conference in Moscow's President Hotel in February 2010, where the results of the campaign were discussed.

AYOR members took part in these events in a number of Russian cities. Our purpose was to let the whole world know the truth about the massacre in this Azerbaijani village in 1992. Khojaly is a wound in Azerbaijan, and we want to tell people the truth about what happened. We want to be heard.

Another focus is sports. In May 2009, we organized a futsal tournament between Azerbaijani teams. Sixteen teams took part then. This year there are 24 teams. Our young people are very active and they support all our initiatives. I find it very easy to work with them. That's what I have to say about AYOR.

Now, regarding the Heydar Aliyev Foundation - this non-profit organization has been operating in Russia through a local office for three years. Russia was the first country where the foundation opened an office. We are always hosting cultural and charity events, such as photo exhibitions, concerts, and book receptions. The foundation's primary mission is to promote Azerbaijan's rich cultural and historic heritage.

Education is also very important. The foundation has built over 300 schools in Azerbaijan, which meet the highest standards in education. They have modern technology, gyms and recreational facilities for the children. Outside of Azerbaijan, the foundation has built a girls' school in Pakistan and a comprehensive school in Georgia. We also plan to open a school in Moscow, which will include a cultural component. It will provide Azerbaijani children living in Moscow with an opportunity to study their native language and to learn about Azerbaijani history, culture, customs and traditions.

There is one such school in Moscow now, No. 157 in northern Moscow. But as you know, Moscow is a very big city, and a lot of Azerbaijani children live here. I would like more of our young compatriots to be able to study their native tongue.

I am also the editor-in-chief of Baku magazine, which has been around for three years now. The magazine was founded to inform Russian readers about Azerbaijan. The project has turned out exactly as I'd planned. I wanted it to be unique, different from anything else out there - a professional-looking magazine about Azerbaijan. Nothing like that has ever been published in Russia.

Everything has gone smoothly, for the most part. The magazine found an audience, and we print 45,000 copies now. There are subscribers in Russia and in other countries. Perhaps it would be a good idea to put out an English version in the future.

Q: You just answered my next question. You still have a lot of work to do here in Russia, because it is impossible to fit everything there is to say about Azerbaijan, with its centuries-old culture, into just one issue. I wonder how they see Azerbaijan abroad. You travel abroad often, and you went to school there. What do the English and Americans think about your country? And if one were to ask you to describe Azerbaijan in one word, what would you say?

A: There is greater awareness of my country now in both America and Europe. This is certainly a good sign; it means there is growing interest in my country and that people are seeking out information about it on their own. It is hard to describe Azerbaijan in one word. A European might see Azerbaijan as a bridge between civilizations and a model of tolerance. Personally, I believe Azerbaijan is a unique country. Everything is unique there, including the people, the landscape and the climate. Nine of the 11 climate zones are found there. I could talk for hours about Azerbaijani painters, poets, writers and the mugham musical tradition. And you can't talk about Azerbaijan without mentioning its cuisine. If you ask Russians about Azerbaijan, the first thing that would come to their mind would probably be Azerbaijani food. Many would agree that we have some of the best food in the world.

Q: Azerbaijani restaurants are very popular in Moscow now.

A: I think they'll soon outnumber Italian restaurants. Personally, I would like Europeans to know more about Azerbaijan. I know that they are interested, but there are not enough events to raise awareness. In February, we organized a photo exhibition called "Baku with Love." It was a collection of works by Gueorgui Pinkhassov, a very gifted photographer who has created a series of images of Baku for our magazine. We displayed them in Moscow's Manege, and then took the exhibition to London. It generated a lot of interest. I think we should hold more events like this.

Q: And you should always bring along the drummers. I went to the exhibition. I remember it was getting late and people were starting to leave, but then suddenly this ensemble of drummers started to play and everybody stayed.

A: Yes! In London, people would stay until midnight. It's great. That's what's important. It's easy to tell if people like what you're doing, or if they just dropped in on their way by. If people stick around, it means they like what you're doing.

Q: Leila, how do you balance your busy public life and your family life? I know you have two children, and you must be a good wife too.

A: To tell you the truth, it's not easy. I travel a lot, but I am determined to bring them with me wherever I go. They are always with me, even when I go away for five days or a week. I want to give them enough attention; I think it is really important. But the most important thing is to believe that everything will work out, everything will be OK. For some reason, no matter what I do I'm always confident that things will work out and go well. It is important for everyone. If you believe, you will find a way to succeed.

Q: You say you will always bring the kids along. But eventually you'll have to spend some time apart from them. You were educated abroad, and you probably have similar plans for your children. Have you and your husband discussed that?

A: Not yet, they are too young. They are only 18 months old.

Q: But time flies.

A: Yes, it does. But you never know where you'll end up. When I went to school in London, I never imagined that I would ever live in Moscow. But here I am, living in Moscow since I got married. In fact, I was born in Moscow and spent the first seven years of my life here. I don't know about the kids yet. Emin, my husband, was educated in America, so maybe he would want to send them to the states. I went to school in London, so I might prefer a British education for them. But there is also Moscow, Baku, and other options.

Q: You said the most important thing is to believe, and then everything will work out. And I see that this philosophy works, at least for you. You have achieved a lot in life academically, professionally and personally, which is no less important than a career. But is there anything else? I have the impression that you are the kind of person who always needs new challenges and obstacles to overcome. You might even invent problems for yourself just to prove to yourself that you can solve them. Is there anything else you want? To learn how to snowboard, skydive, play the piano?

A: Of course there is. There are other things I would like to learn. I don't think there is a single person out there who would say that he or she has achieved everything they wanted and has nothing else to work for. All people, regardless of their age or circumstances, must have something they would still like to know or do. I would like to learn French and Italian. I took Spanish when I was in London, and then lived in Spain for a year. I think knowing lots of languages gives you a huge advantage. I want my children to speak many languages too. It would be great to skydive, but now that I have children, I don't think I'd risk it.

Q: Ah yes, you can forget about these kinds of things now.

A: It still might be possible. I also want to do more in my job. I have a lot of projects and ideas. I might not have time for everything, but again, if I strongly believe that I can do it, I could eventually accomplish a lot of what I'm planning now.

Q: Well, let's wait and see. Then you can come and tell us about it.

A: I will, thank you.

Q: Thank you very much.

Elections

The Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) plans to hold preparations for the parliamentary elections together with the Venice Commission in June, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov said.

In addition, the CEC meeting decided to rename the 13th and 14th constituencies of the Azizbayov district of Baku, in accordance with the renaming of the district in Khazar.

The meeting also made some changes in the composition of the electoral commissions.

Panahov said the joint activities with the international organizations to prepare for the elections are scheduled for late July - early August.

The parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are scheduled for November.

The Head of OSCE Baku Office Ali Bilge Dzhankorel and the Mayor of Baku Hajibala Abutalibov exchanged views on preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, OSCE Baku Office told Trend.

Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are scheduled for early November. According to the list provided by the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, the number of voters in the Republic totals 4,829,000.

During the meeting, Dzhankorel highlighted the readiness of OSCE Baku Office to cooperate with the executive power of Baku in these matters.

Parliament

The Azerbaijani Parliament has increased the amount of fine for a number of administrative violations.

On Monday the Azerbaijani Parliament adopted amendments to Articles 133 and 134 of the Code on administrative violations.

According to the amendments to Article 133, a penalty worth 100 manat was fixed for non-observance of safety rules of property and people, the maintenance of discipline on board, by the pilot.

Previously, the penalty for this administrative violation was 20-25 manat.

The amount of fines for photos and video on board and use of computers, electronic communication has been also increased.

According to the amendments to article 134, offenders must pay 100 manat for smoking in the places not envisaged for it.

Previously, offenders paid 30-40 manat.

The Azerbaijani Parliament prepares a new bill on "Restriction on smoking".

Each year the world celebrates May 31 as World No Tobacco Day, and therefore holding in this regard a "roundtable" is no coincidence, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Policy Haji Rajabli said at the roundtable on the topic "Combating tobacco in the national legislation: realities and prospects" held by the Committee.

Deputy Chairman Musa Guliyev, stressing the importance of adoption of a new law in this direction, said the new project on "Restriction on smoking " can be discussed at the autumn session of the Parliament.

Combating tobacco serves as preservation of human health, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agrarian Policy Eldar Ibrahimov said stressing that the law reflected in the national legislation, is not sufficiently realized. He said that he is not only a supporter of certain laws in this direction, but also supports the making additions and amendments to the Code of Administrative Violations, which envisages fines.

Director of the Society for Social Health and Reforms of the Ministry of Health Jeyhun Mammadov told about the dangers of tobacco and said that smoking leads to cancer, cardiovascular and other diseases. "Mortality in Azerbaijan by 71 percent is related with cancer and cardiovascular diseases", Mammadov said.

Discussion of the electoral law can be included on the agenda of the Azerbaijani parliament, Deputy Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Bahar Muradova told media.

"On the eve of each elections, the Parliament of Azerbaijan considers the electoral law.

Perhaps, the issue will be included on the agenda of the parliament this year", she said.

The parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan in autumn this year. Previous legislative elections were held in November 2005. In Azerbaijan, the parliamentary elections are held by the majority system in 125 electoral districts.

Deputy Speaker expressed confidence that many votes will be given to representatives of the leading "New Azerbaijan Party" at the elections to the parliament.

Deputy Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament expressed hope for a peaceful solution of the problem between Turkey and Israel.

"I believe that Turkey and Israel will have enough faith to resolve the conflict peacefully" Deputy Speaker Bahar Muradova told media.

Israeli special forces on the night from Sunday to Monday conducted the operation in the neutral waters to intercept Fleet Freedom of six vessels. At least 600 human rights activists, most of them Turkish citizens moved to a blocked Palestinian enclave with humanitarian goods.

At the moment, the number of victims of the Israeli special operation hit 19 people. Israel confirmed the death of nine people, the world media reported.

If it is necessary, Azerbaijan will voice its official position, Muradova said.

"Turkey is fraternal country. Nobody can deny the role that government plays in the region. Everyone knows that Turkey has always expressed its strong position on global issues," Muradova said.

It was recommended to consider the Azerbaijani Draft Military Doctrine in the Azerbaijani Parliament.

The Azerbaijani draft military doctrine has been discussed at a meeting of the Committee on Security and Defence of the Azerbaijani Parliament today.

Deputy Speaker, Chairman of the Committee on Security and Defence of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ziyafet Askerov said that in accordance with the Azerbaijani Constitution Article 109 item 11, the document was submitted for discussion of the Azerbaijani President.

The document consists of seven sections and 75 items. It deals with protecting the individual, society and state.

The document reflected such issues as national security, military threat in the region, the facts of military aggression, military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, real problems and challenges facing the armed forces of Azerbaijan.

The questions of the future strategy of military development, the international military cooperation, military ties, bilateral military treaties and other issues were also indicated there.

Armenia is listed as an aggressor in the doctrine.

The draft military doctrine reflected the issues of global crises, violent struggle being waged over energy resources, and separatism.

Members of the Committee on Security and Defence Zahid Oruj, Aydin Mirzazade, Sayavush Novruzov, Aydin Hasanov and Elman Mammadov participated in the meeting. They emphasized that military doctrine is a long-expected document for the public.

The draft military doctrine will be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Azerbaijani parliament.

Two of the detained Azerbaijanis, who were on the ships "Freedom Flotilla", were not international activists, IHH representative - Turkish waqf, Orhan Shefik, who organized humanitarian aid to the Gaza, told Trend.

Two Azerbaijani citizens Muharam Orujev and Garaoglan Guliyev were employees of the marine company, which was hired by organizers of the action.

Azerbaijani citizens will return home from Israel on Sunday. Now they are in a special place in the Tel Aviv airport, Ben Gurion, the Interior Ministry Immigration Department told Trend.

"We have still two citizens from Azerbaijan because they will have their flight only on Sunday. On Sunday they fly back. They are kept in the airport. There is a special place for the people who are willing and have to fly but they can not fly to the country. They are in the Ben Gurion Airport," a message said.

According to a source, Azerbaijani citizens have voluntarily agreed to leave Israel and fly directly to Baku, but not to Turkey, as many activists of "Freedom Flotilla" did.

An agreement on mutual assistance to remove the effects of a natural disaster was signed by Azerbaijan and Greece in Athens in February and will be tabled in the Azerbaijani parliament.

The Parliamentary Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Committee discussed the draft agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance between the Greek and Azerbaijani governments to prevent and liquidate the consequences of natural disasters.

The document reflects forms of cooperation between the two countries in emergency situations, border crossing detachments assistance and information exchange.

The committee members said the document meets the country's national interests.

Foreign policy

Representatives of the Azerbaijani Center for Strategic Studies took part in the Asia Media Summit, held in China, the Center for Strategic Research under the Azerbaijani President said.

Researcher of the center Anar Huseynov represented Azerbaijan at the event, organized by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development and the State Administration of the People's Republic of radio, film and television.

Employee of the center gave extensive information about Azerbaijani realities: the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the difficulties and obstacles posed by the conflict in the region to the participants of the workshop "International Media Dialogue on Religion and Culture", held during the summit. He also called for media representatives participating in the summit, to be fair and impartial in their information policy.

During the summit, held in Beijing, a member of the center visited leading 'think tanks' in China, and also held several working meetings. They discussed Azerbaijan-China relations, modern geopolitics in the South Caucasus and Caspian regions, the impact of unresolved conflicts in the global security. They also discussed important regional issues and the scope of cooperation between analytic institutes of both countries in the research field.

Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Vagif Sadikhov discussed the possibility of strengthening the UK-Azerbaijan relations in the British parliament and the foreign ministry, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Great Britain reported.

During the visit, Sadikhov visited the Islamic Studies Centre in Oxford and discussed the establishment of relations with the relevant research organizations in Azerbaijan.

Sadikhov also made a report on "Azerbaijan's foreign policy and its role in the region," which provided information about the peace talks to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and  Azerbaijan's energy policy, and its role in the international energy market.

Azerbaijan is interested in intensifying cooperation between the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the European Union, Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev said, giving a speech at a meeting of BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Sofia on 28 May, the press center of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported.

In his speech, Azerbaijani deputy minister noted the prospects of the organization, Azerbaijan's expectations from the activities of the BSEC. Mammadguliyev emphasized the importance of strengthening the activities of the organization's secretariat.

Noting the problems in economic cooperation within the organization, Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister mentioned the need to address regional problems, in particular the existing conflicts in the region in order to restore stability.

The Iranian Embassy in Azerbaijan holds a contest of poetry and articles, the embassy told Trend.

The embassy is planned to organize the contest in connection with the death anniversary of Imam Khomeini and dedicate it to Khomeini's works and ideas, including his religious, political, social, cultural, artistic, etc. opinions and judgments, the embassy said.

The articles must be published in one of the leading newspapers, a copy of which must be sent to the embassy, and poems should be sent before June 15, the embassy reported.

Winners of the first, second and third places will be awarded with special prizes and will be paid for travel expenses to the Mashhad city.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the Member of the German Bundestag Michael Link, the press center of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported.

During the meeting, German MP expressed satisfaction with the high level of relations between the countries, and noted that there are good opportunities to develop relations in various spheres, especially in non-oil sector. Noting that the South Caucasian region assumes a particular interest to the European area, Link got interested in the processes occurring in the region.

Touching upon the topic of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadyarov mentioned the importance of resolving the conflict based on international norms and principles, only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The Minister presented to German MP's attention the European Parliament's resolution on "The EU requirement on strategy for the South Caucasus", which definitely supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Remembering the resolution of the Bundestag of Germany dated May 14, 2009 regarding the South Caucasus, Link said that his country recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and supports the solution of the conflict based on the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state.

Then the sides discussed a number of other bilateral issues of mutual interest.

Azerbaijani MP Ganira Pashayeva conducted several meetings with the presidents of some countries within the 10th Doha Forum.

At the meeting, Amir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Al-Thani said that he attaches special importance to Azerbaijan-Qatar cooperation and its further expansion. He stressed that he appreciated his friendship with President Ilham Aliyev.

MP Ganira Pashayeva thanked the Amir for supporting the position of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. About 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is still under Armenian occupation. Official Yerevan does not allow more than 1 million refugees and internally displaced people to return their homes," she said.

MP met with Finnish President Tarja Halonen within the forum. The sides discussed the Azerbaijani-Finnish relations, and enhancing the role of women in society and other issues.

A meeting with President of Macedonia Georgi Ivanov was held. He said that he pays special attention to expansion of Azerbaijani-Macedonian relations. He considers mutual support of countries on the international arena important.

MP informed the President of Macedonia on the situation with Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Both sides exchanged views on the issue.

Ganira Pashayeva stressed that Armenia, ignoring resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, refuses to release its occupied territories. In this regard, she said that the international community must exert pressure on Armenia.

MP met with Jordan's Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and former Minister of Economy of Syria within the forum.

The armed attack on humanitarian convoy should be investigated and the incident should find its fair estimate, Novruz Mammadov, head of foreign relations department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan, said on June 1.

IDF Naval Forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip according to the orders of the political leadership. The ships were not allowed to enter the enclave, and break the naval blockade. According to the world media, about 19 people died during Israeli special operation. Israel confirmed that nine people died.

"We are concerning that the humanitarian convoy was attacked. We condemned the action which caused human loss," Mammadov said.

According to him, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan has already announced its position regarding the incident.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received U.S. Secretary of State special envoy on Eurasian energy, Richard Morningstar, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

The sides discussed the current status of energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the U.S., as well as exchanged views on the implementation of energy projects in the Caspian region.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has arrived in Azerbaijan for an official visit.

A guard of honor was lined up in honor of the Belarusian President at the Heydar Aliyev international airport decorated with the national flags of both countries.

President Lukashenko was welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov and other officials.

The Belarusian president and Azerbaijan`s deputy premier had a brief talk in the airport`s VIP room.

Russia and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. There are no unsolved problems between them, Chairmen of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov and the Azerbaijani Parliament Oktay Asadov said at a meeting today, ITAR-TASS reported.

"Azerbaijan is a strategic partner in the Caucasus. We are bound by a relationship of trust",  Mironov said.

There are no unsolved issues between Russia and Azerbaijan, Asadov said. Russia is the only neighboring country to which we have no issues, including borders," he said.

The two sides drew attention to the close economic cooperation.

About 500 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan, Asadov said. He also drew attention to the fact that the republic have relations with 30 Russian regions.

In his turn, Mironov has invited Azerbaijani politicians and businessmen to visit Baikal Economic Forum in Irkutsk in September. "We will present a lot of effective investment projects of the regions there. It will help to strengthen inter-regional contacts," he said.

Asadov also stressed that Azerbaijan is paying great attention to study the Russian language.

Important joint activities, including the participation of Patriarch Cyril, are held in the country.

More children have been admitted to the first forms of schools studying the Russian language for the last two years, head of the Azerbaijani Parliament said.

About 50 schools have the project of thorough studying of the Russian language. It is planned to develop this process, including the universities.

First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin, who heads a group of observers from the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, thanked Azerbaijani colleagues - members of the group for their active work at the elections in the Commonwealth countries, including Ukraine.

Mironov expressed readiness to send observers to the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan November 7, suggesting "any format of observers - from the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly or the Federation Council upon the invitation and proposal of the Azerbaijani parliament. "We never play up in the assessment of the elections. We evaluate them objectively and without bias," Speaker of the Federation Council said.

Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohammad Bagher Bahrami in a telephone conversation with Turkish counterpart Hulusi Kilic expressed his condolences over the death of Turkish citizens who were on board of the ships of "Freedom Flotilla" captured by Israeli intelligence services, the Iranian Embassy in Azerbaijan spokesman Abbas Iskandari told Trend.

Israeli attacks on the "Freedom Flotilla" is contrary to the principles of the international law. Their actions are inexcusable, Bahrami said.

"Freedom Flotilla" consists of six vessels. There were about 600 activists from Europe and Arab countries, including dozens of deputies on the board. The rally was organized by human rights activists from Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Algeria and Kuwait. They intended to bring 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies, including medicines and construction materials to the Gaza Strip. According to the world media, about 19 people died during Israeli special operation. Israel confirmed that 10 people died.

Political movements

Deputy chairman of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party Ali Akhmadov discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections, the preparation process and the activities of election commissions with the Head of OSCE Office in Baku, Ali Bilge Jankorel, the official website of the party said.

The parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are scheduled for November.

The conducted and planned joint projects, as well as the prospects of relations between the ruling party and the OSCE were also discussed at the meeting.

Deputy executive secretary of the ruling party Siyavush Novruzov attended the meeting.

New Azerbaijan party was founded in 1992 by national leader Heydar Aliyev, when he was chairman of the Supreme Mejlis of Nakhchivan. Now, President Ilham Aliyev heads the ruling party.

An attempt of the representatives of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, Liberal Party and the Civil Society party, members of the bloc Azadliq to hold an unsanctioned rally on Saturday has been prevented.

Despite the opposition claims that the event will be held near the cinema "Narimanov", it tried to hold a rally near the metro station "Icheri Sheher".

Executive Power of Baku has not allowed the block Azadliq to hold a rally in front of a cinema "Narimanov". The city administration advised to organize a rally at a stadium of a sports complex in Binagadi, or in the area of a driving school on the street Elchin Azizov, or at the site opposite the block 29/22 on Zikh road.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) held monitoring over detention conditions of the Armenian citizen Yeghishe Gevorgyan's familiy who are in Azerbaijan's captivity, ICRC Azerbaijani Office Spokesman Gulnaz Guliyeva told Trend. Citizens of Armenia sent a letter to their friends and relatives.

Armenian citizen Yeghishe Gevorgyan and his wife and three children crossed the border by car illegally and traveled to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Jan.10 at 7:00 p.m., disregarding the instructions of the Armenian border guards.

At present, there are six Armenian soldiers in Azerbaijan's captivity. They stated that crossed the border as a sign of protest against unbearable conditions in the Armenian Army.

May 31, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire from areas and positions in the nameless heights in the Fuzuli region at 10.30-10.45, from positions near the Goyarkh village in the Terter region at 11.35-11.50, from positions in the nameless heights in the Goranboy region at 14.50-15.50, and from positions near the Saridjali and Javahirli villages in the Agdam region at 23.40-23.58 May 31 and 00.00-00.15 June 1, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

June 1, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire from areas and positions in the nameless heights and the Gulustan village in the Goranboy region at 12:00-12:30 and 16:10-16:25, from positions near the Gorgan village in the Fuzuli region and nameless heights at 00:45-01:00 and 00:55-01:15, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

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

Hungary supports the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh within the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, Foreign Ministry of Hungary said in its statement in connection with the "parliamentary elections" held May 23 by the separatist regime of the Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan's occupied territories.

Hungary adheres to the European Union's position, declared in connection with the "parliamentary elections" in Nagorno-Karabakh, said in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry's statement to the Azerbaijani Embassy in Budapest.

Some 2,358,191 sq. m. of area was cleared from mines and unexploded ammunition in April, the ANAMA told Trend .

The Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Actions (ANAMA) revealed and detonated 2,633 unexploded ammunition and mines in this territory. In April 10 antitank mines and 6 antipersonnel mine were found.

Some 425 specialists, 115 assistant staff, 6 mechanized mine clearing cars and 30 mine detector dogs took part in it.

So far, 1,331,810,18 sq. m. of area was demined and 613,705 unexploded ammunitions were detonated.

The ANAMA carries out demining in Tartar, Agdam, Fuzuli, Agstafa, Gedabek and Goygol regions of Azerbaijan and in Garadagh region of Baku.

In May, no case of mine/unexploded ammunition was fixed.

The problem with the Armenian side's rejection from updated Madrid principles is conceptual but not the linguistic complexity, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.

"If there is a conceptual solution from the Armenian side, the question can advance. If there are constant efforts to catch hold of something, delay, then there will be difficulties," Mammadyarov told media on Saturday in Venice.

He said that Azerbaijan is ready to work further on the basis of these updated principles to reach an agreed comprehensive peace agreement.

"Now we realize in Azerbaijan where we are stalled on a text. Although, I think that the question is not linguistic, but conceptual," Mammadyarov said.

At a meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister in Venice, the participants discussed moments that are difficult to be adopted by the Armenian side, and determined further actions. The minister said that moments, which are included in the updated Madrid principles, were also discussed.

At the meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Sochi in January, the OSCE Minsk Group submitted the parties an updated version of the Madrid document, which is the basis for negotiations. This document was prepared at the OSCE summit with participation of Foreign Ministries in Athens.

The minister said that the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, presenting the document in Athens, of course, expected that the Azerbaijani and the Armenian sides would react positively to those documents, as it was a result of two-year-work and meetings between the parties both at the level of foreign ministers and the presidents.

Unfortunately, at the last moment the Armenian side claimed that it had some obstacles, Mammadyarov said.

"Azerbaijan is ready to continue to meet, if the Armenian side has a sincere desire to move on," Mamedyarov said.

He expressed his desire to continue negotiations if there is a similar desire from the Armenian side.

Mammadyarov said that he understands the desire of co-chairs to strengthen the negotiating process, as there is already a document on the table prepared by representatives of the United States, France and Russia. Azerbaijan has worked on the document and it is ready to proceed, the minister said.

He also stressed that the document has some points which the Azerbaijani side has proposed to modify.

"Using a football terminology, I can say that the ball is on the field of Armenia. Armenia must decide what to do next," the minister said.

June 4, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas and position near the Kuropatkino village in the Khojavend region at 17:12-17:20, from nameless heights in the Fizuli region and from the positions near the Garakhanbeyli village at 00:05-00:10 June 5, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told Trend.

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

One should not allow those, who do not want peace and stability in the South Caucasus region, to frustrate the peace process on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.

"It is the responsibility of politicians to find a common language and points of cooperation between the countries and peoples," Mammadyarov told media on Saturday in Venice.

The minister said that Azerbaijan has always stood for contacts and cooperation between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan is one of the first who initiated these contacts, Mammadyarov said.

He stressed the well-known initiative of the ambassadors in Moscow on trips through the territory of Azerbaijan to Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Russian President's Special Envoy for Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi, who is the initiator of shuttle diplomacy, Azerbaijani and Armenian ambassadors to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu and Armen Smbatian twice visited Nagorno-Karabakh, Yerevan and Baku within this diplomacy in 2008-2009. The delegation included representatives of the intellectuals from Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"The philosophy here is very simple. One can not just take its territory and fly with it on Mars or the Moon. In any case, it is necessary to find a common language with its neighbors, and as soon as possible. This will be beneficial to the economy and ordinary people, " the minister said.

Mammadyarov said that taking into account the data on Azerbaijan and Armenia, not to mention the Nagorno-Karabakh, which is generally in a dilapidated state, there is no other choice. However, the whole process must be carefully considered, as provocateurs will always appear, he said.

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