Weekly political digest in Azerbaijan (28.06- 04.07.2010)

Official chronicle

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received outgoing German ambassador Per Christopher Stanchina on June 28, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

The German ambassador praised Azerbaijan's development, saying the country had made great progress under President Ilham Aliyev.

Per Christopher Stanchina also stressed the fact the world community's attention towards the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had increased.
President Ilham Aliyev praised the Azerbaijan-Germany relations, saying they were successfully developing and based on strong partnership principles. The Azerbaijani leader also hailed reciprocal high-level visits.

President Ilham Aliyev expressed confidence the two countries` relations would continue to strengthen.

The President wished the ambassador successes in his future activities.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received a delegation led by Vice-Chairman and President of GDF SUEZ, President of EUROGAS Jean-Francois Cirelli.

Jean-Francois Cirelli said they were impressed by development processes in Azerbaijan as well as the prosperity and stability reigning in the country. He highlighted his company`s operations in Europe, saying it was interested in expanding the cooperation with Azerbaijan on gas.

President Ilham Aliyev praised the cooperation between GDF SUEZ and the Azerbaijan State Oil Company, expressing confidence it would be further expanded.

The Azerbaijani leader said Jean-Francois Cirelli's visit to the country would create good opportunities "to conduct fruitful discussions on the issues related to our cooperation".

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a delegation led by Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on June 29.

Yumkella said his visit to Baku aimed to discuss with state and government officials the prospects for cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNIDO.

He praised the development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan, noting his organization was interested in cooperation in this field.

President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan had achieved great progress in all fields, in particular economy. The Azerbaijani leader noted developing non-oil sector was among key priorities for his country.

The Head of State said a second regional development program will be carried out until 2013 in the country, noting it would create wide opportunities for realization of new infrastructural projects.

The Azerbaijani leader expressed hope the Azerbaijan-UNIDO cooperation would further expand.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a Syrian delegation headed by Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and co-chairman of a Syria-Azerbaijan intergovernmental commission Sufian Allaw on June 29, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

The Head of State stressed the significance of the first meeting of the intergovernmental commission launched in Baku, saying it would create "good" opportunities to discuss the economic cooperation between the two nations. Describing such gatherings as a sign of development of the bilateral relations, President Ilham Aliyev expressed assurance the two countries would soon yield practical results in the economic field.

The Azerbaijani leader recalled an official visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Baku, saying it made "huge" contribution to further boosting the relationship. The Head of State described the establishment of the intergovernmental commission as "one of the successful results of that visit".

President Ilham Aliyev said he was interested in further strengthening the partnership between Azerbaijan and Syria in the political and economic fields.
Sufian Allaw conveyed greetings of President Bashar al-Assad and the people of Syria to the Azerbaijani leader.

The Syrian minister said his country was keen on developing the bilateral ties with Azerbaijan in all areas.

The Azerbaijani President thanked Sufian Allaw for greetings from his counterpart Bashar al-Assad and asked him to convey his regards to the Syrian President.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has today received an Albanian delegation led by Parliament's Speaker Jozefina Topalli.

The Albanian Speaker praised Azerbaijan's achievements, saying she had witnessed rapid development processes during her stay in the country.

Jozefina Topalli said Albania was interested in expanding political relations with Azerbaijan, and emphasized the necessity of developing economic ties. She noted there was great potential to enhance the bilateral cooperation in a range of fields, in particular energy, tourism and culture.

Jozefina Topalli said the expansion of the interparliamentary cooperation was of great importance in terms of strengthening the bilateral relations.

President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of expanding the Azerbaijan-Albania ties.

The Azerbaijani leader said the Albanian Speaker's visit was of particular importance for exploring the prospects for the bilateral relations in the fields of politics, economy and culture, and cooperation within international organizations.

President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the importance of building relations between government and parliament members.

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov paid official visit to Azerbaijan today, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

A guard of honor was lined up at the international airport named after Heydar Aliyev in honor of the distinguished guest.

President of Bulgaria and his wife Zorka Parvanov were met by Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev and other officials at the airport.

A bouquet of flowers was presented to First Lady of Bulgaria.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov met in an expanded format with participation of representatives of delegations.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov made statements.

Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria met in presence of both countries' delegations on June 30, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

President Ilham Aliyev stressed the importance of the Bulgarian leader's visit describing it "another important step" for development of bilateral relationship and regional cooperation. The Head of State praised the current level of bilateral relations.

President Ilham Aliyev said "we are ready for political, economic and cultural cooperation with you in order to fully use the potential for bilateral cooperation for welfare of our countries and peoples, as well as strengthening relations between Azerbaijan and European structures."

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, in turn, praised the relationship between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria calling it "very cordial and good".

President Georgi Parvanov said "relations on the level of ministries and other organizations are developing very actively. But it is also very important that relations between the heads of states give an impetus to development of ties in all spheres."

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva inspected the reconstruction work carried out in the Fountain square on July 2.

The President and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva became familiar with the conditions provided in the "Fountain" restaurant-cafe.

The Head of State was informed about reconstruction of the buildings around the square.

President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva also viewed what Baku residents call a "book passage" after its reconstruction.

The Head of State was curious about the reconstruction work carried out in the Khagani garden. The President saw a new park and fountains built in the Nizami street. The Azerbaijani Leader also got familiar with ongoing rebuilding work in the street.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev received the leadership of the board of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) headed by EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot on July 2.

Jean-Paul Philippot said the participants of the 64th session of the EBU General Assembly saw the ongoing development processes in Azerbaijan, adding they were impressed by the beauty of Baku and reconstruction work carried out in the city.

Jean-Paul Philippot also pointed out they had visited various culture centers in Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev, in turn, stressed the importance of Baku's hosting the 64th session of the EBU General Assembly.

The Head of State noted the event had provided a forum for delegates, coming from various countries, to familiarize themselves with the accomplishments achieved in Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan has achieved great progress in all fields. The Head of State also underlined special attention is paid to development of culture in the country.
The importance of the 64th session of the EBU General Assembly was underscored in terms of expansion of international broadcasting cooperation

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived 4 in Baku on July. At the Airport named after Heydar Aliyev, Hillary Clinton was welcomed by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The United States' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 4 visited the Alley of Martyrs to commemorate Azerbaijani heroes who gave their lives for the country's independence and territorial integrity.

She laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame monument.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 4.

The Head of State expressed hope that the present meeting would very successful, AzerTAj state news agency reported. President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the US top diplomat on Independence Day and wished all the best to the people of the United States.

The Azerbaijani leader pointed out Azerbaijan places a great importance to Clinton's visit. According to him, the US-Azerbaijan relations have been successfully developing in a variety of fields.

President Ilham Aliyev mentioned the efforts of the United States, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chair, to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He noted Azerbaijan seeks to find the soonest solution to the dispute based on international law.

The Head of State expressed assurance that the results of Secretary of State's visit would help to develop bilateral ties even more.

For her part, Hillary Clinton expressed her satisfaction with visiting Baku and the fact that the trip coincides with her country's Independence Day. She praised the fact that Azerbaijan has worked much to lay a solid foundation for its economic and social development.

The Secretary of State underlined the present meeting is a good opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva had a joint dinner with visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 4.

President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva saw off the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ended her official visit to Azerbaijan on July 4.

At the Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Hillary Clinton was seen off by Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and other officials.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has signed an Executive Order conferring high special ranks on officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In accordance with the presidential order, Chief of the Central Passport, Registration and Migration Department Arziman Aliyev, chief of Central Human Resources Department Ismat Aliyev and deputy chief of the Baku Central Police Department Hasan Shirinov received a special rank of police Major-General.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev approved the law "On compulsory insurance on labor ability loss in production".

The Cabinet of Ministers was tasked to submit proposals on bringing the existing legislation into conformity with the law and bring the regulatory framework into line with the document in three months, as well as inform the head of the state about the insurance rates set for this type of insurance, norms to calculate the payroll of insured workers, the rules of the monthly premiums and average wages and one-time insurance payment rules.

The maximum insurance rate is two percent of the salary fund. Tariffs will be differentiated according to various sectors.

The Labor and Social Protection Ministry's Labor Inspectorate reported that about 250 accidents occurred in production in 2009 - 65 in the construction sector. As a result of accidents, 69 people have died. About 218 people were injured during production, including 48 people in the construction sector.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolence to the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite over the death of former President of the Republic of Lithuania, the prominent statesman Algirdas Brazauskas.

"Sharing your sorrow on this terrible loss, on behalf of the Azerbaijani people and on my own behalf I express deep condolences to you, the late President's family, all the people of Lithuania" - the message says the head of state," in his letter, the Azerbaijani leader said.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a congratulatory letter to Governor General of Canada Ms. Michaëlle Jean on the country's public holiday - Canada Day, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

In the letter, the President praised the current level of development between Azerbaijan and Canada. The President expressed assurance that "we will steadily continue joint efforts towards strengthening friendly relations and deepening cooperation both bilaterally and within international organizations"

President Ilham Aliyev wished the Governor General of Canada robust health, successes in her activity and friendly people of Canada peace and prosperity.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a congratulatory letter to Pal Schmitt on his election as Hungary's President.

In his letter, the Head of State said "we attach great importance to developing the Azerbaijan-Hungary relations".

"I am sure that friendly relations and cooperation between our countries will be further strengthened and expanded for the prosperity of our peoples," the Azerbaijani President said.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a congratulatory letter to Christian Wulff on his election as the President of Germany.

The President said in the letter that Azerbaijan-Germany relationship is dynamically developing. According to the letter, cooperation between "our friendly countries both bilaterally and within the EU's programs have provided a good foundation for comprehensive expansion of our relationship".

The Head of State expressed confidence that "our interstate relations, mutually beneficial fruitful cooperation in various spheres will continue to develop and strengthen steadily".
The Head of State wished the German leader robust health, happiness and successes in his activities for the welfare of the friendly German people.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a congratulatory message to Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on the country's Independence Day.

The Head of State expressed assurance in the letter that "traditional friendly relations and multilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus would continue to develop dynamically and rapidly for the welfare of our peoples and countries".

President Ilham Aliyev wished the Belarus leader robust health, happiness and successes and the people of Belarus peace and prosperity.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of congratulation to US leader Barack Obama on the country`s Independence Day.

In his letter, the Azerbaijani leader praised the relations between the two countries, saying they had reached the level of partnership.

"Joint efforts towards ensuring energy security, fighting against global threats and challenges and strengthening regional stability are among key priorities of our cooperation."

President Ilham Aliyev expressed confidence the two countries would continue efforts to strengthen "our friendly relations" and deepen "our bilateral cooperation both on the bilateral format and within international organizations".

The President also touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying his country pinned great hopes on efforts of the United States, as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, for peaceful, soonest, just and international legal norms-based settlement of the conflict.

President Ilham Aliyev wished Barack Obama robust health and successes in his activities, and the people of the United States peace and prosperity.

Parliament

Azerbaijan is a leading country in terms of economic development and digital technologies, Albanian Parliamentary Speaker Josefina Topalli said during a meeting with Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov.

According to Topalli, the visit will strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations.

Such visits will contribute to developing inter-parliamentary relations, Asadov said.

Topalli has also scheduled meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and other officials.

During the meetings, bilateral cooperation will be discussed.

Topalli arrived in Azerbaijan June 28.

The Azerbaijani Parliament has fulfilled all the legislative work planned for the spring session, Parliamentary Vice-Speaker Bahar Muradova said at the news conference on the results of the spring session.

"The parliament adopted 81 bills and decision at its 11 meetings and 39 laws and decisions - at its three extraordinary meetings," Muradov said.

She said the parliamentary committees had a fruitful work during the spring session. The committees discussed 124 issues at 82 meetings.

Muradova highlighted the changes and additions to the electoral code of Azerbaijan, which serves to strengthening of democracy in the country, as well as military doctrine among the adopted documents.

"During the past session, the parliament received 2,691 proposals, appeals and complaints. The parliamentarians received 2,861 citizens, which demonstrates the openness of the parliament to the public," Muradova said.

The law on 'Ex-president' will be submitted to the Azerbaijani parliament soon.

"The bill was prepared by the Azerbaijani presidential administration. According to the information, it will be submitted to the Parliament of the country soon", Safa Mirzayev, head of the Parliament office, said.

Additions and changes to the Azerbaijani Constitution through a referendum held March 18, 2009, envisaged the assignment of the status of ex-president to former heads of state. A new bill must be prepared and submitted to the Parliament.

Since gaining independence, Azerbaijan was headed by Ayaz Mutalibov, Abulfaz Elchibey, Heydar Aliyev and the current President Ilham Aliyev.

It is important to respect the principles of objectivity and truth in the documents on the situation in South Caucasus prepared by the European Parliament, Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov said at the European Parliament delegation.

He praised the recent decision of the European Parliament regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh.

It is important for Europe to expand political, economic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan, which has an important geo-strategic position, MEP Norica Nicolai said.

During the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual interest and it was noted that the relations of the European Parliament in our country reached a high level.

Political movements

New political forces are expected to join the opposition Musavat party and the Union for Democracy, Azadlig Party leader Ahmad Oruj told Trend today.

He said the eighth round of talks between Musavat and the union were held June 30. The sides discussed cooperation within the opposition.

"Several political parties approached us to discuss joint activities during the elections, but I cannot say the parties reached any specific decisions," Oruj said.

During the talks, the sides considered the idea of jointly supporting candidates, Oruj said. Musavat and the union have already decided to jointly support 20 candidates, he added.

Parliamentary elections will be held in Azerbaijan Nov. 7, 2010. Previous elections were held in November 2005. The elections are held according to the majority system in Azerbaijan's 125 constituencies.

Oruj said the sides also discussed holding a mass rally July 3.

The Azerbaijani Liberal Party considers the processes occurring in the country's opposition camp as unsatisfactory.

"We put forward the initiative on participation in the format of the 'Six' in the parliamentary elections even in 2009. Each party pursues its own interests, which are not comparable with those of other parties. Therefore, unfortunately, the united opposition is not yet possible," Liberal Party Acting Chairman Avaz Temirkhan told Trend.

Temirkhan called unfounded allegations against the Liberals associated with the party's non-participation in the rally of the opposition.

"We were not informed about where the rally of the Azadlig bloc and Azerbaijan Popular Front Party would be held. How could we take part in it?" The three parties included in the unit plan to hold a rally and two of them do not know where the third party is going to hold a picket," Temirkhan said.

The opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan is waiting for a reply from Azadliq bloc concerning cooperation.

"Negotiations on cooperation with the bloc Azadliq were launched. The next meeting will be organized by this organization. Now we expect a reply from them," chairman of the party  Sardar Jalaloglu told Trend.

In block Azadlyg are three opposition parties - the Popular Front of Azerbaijan (PFPA), Liberal Party of Azerbaijan (LPA) and the Citizens and Development Party (PRT).

Azadliq bloc is represented by three opposition parties - the Popular Front of Azerbaijan, Liberal Party of Azerbaijan and the Citizens and Development Party.

The party continues to discuss cooperation with the bloc.

According to the party chairman, it is planned to cooperate with Azadliq only on matters related to the elections.

"Our goal is to create a pre-election bloc. As a political bloc, Azadliq may engage in any political activity", Jalaloglu said.

Elections

Azerbaijani Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Mazahir Panahov discussed prospects of cooperation with EU with EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semneby today, the CEC reported.

Semneby expressed his confidence in the continuation of effective cooperation and that the upcoming parliamentary elections will be successful.

Semneby expressed EU's willingness to promote democracy in Azerbaijan.

Panahov informed Semneby on preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary elections and said that the elections will be held in accordance with the electoral legislation and European standards.

Foreign policy



A final agreement on border delimitation between Azerbaijan and Russia will soon be signed, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov told Trend.

"Negotiations between working groups have already ended," Khalafov said.

Agreements on the delimitation of the border and the apportionment of the Samur River borders were also achieved during negotiations with the Russian delegation.

The joint use of the Samur River's water resources is envisaged based on the 50-50 principle. A joint commission will be established for water resources management.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, presented his report on Azerbaijan today.

Following a visit carried out in March, the report focuses on freedom of expression and association, conduct of law enforcement officials and administration of justice.

Freedom of expression is curtailed in Azerbaijan today - major improvements are needed, the report says. Furthermore, Hammarberg underlines that decriminalization of defamation is needed to bring the legislation in conformity with European standards.

He recommends that the authorities allow BBC, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and Europa Plus radio stations to resume broadcasting on FM waves.

The Commissioner appraised the willingness of the authorities to take steps to facilitate the registration of NGOs.

Hammarberg visited Azerbaijan March 1- 5. During the visit, the Commissioner held meetings with the Azerbaijani officials, and representatives of NGOs and public organizations.

Prospects of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Germany, the situation in the region, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, energy policy in the Caspian basin were discussed by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his german counterpart Guido Westerwelle during a visit to Germany, the ministry said.

Germany's Foreign Minister stressed significant interest of German companies in Azerbaijan, citing the fact that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner and creates favorable conditions for foreign investment.

Azerbaijani Minister informed his counterpart about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, noting that the latest statement by the presidents of Russia, France and the U.S in Toronto reflects the phased solution to the conflict and the realities.

Noting the support of the federal government for Nabucco project, Westerwelle expressed his country's interest in signing a memorandum of understanding on the dialogue between the Foreign Ministries of two countries in energy policy.

The sides also discussed cooperation within the Eastern Partnership of the EU.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov highly assessed and recognized very important the recent statement by the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair-countries in Toronto.

"Occupation is occupation, and all recognize this. My optimism about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement will intensify if we know what the Armenians want. If they want annexation of Karabakh, it is impossible. If they continue to insist on the independence of this region, this is also impossible," said Mammadyarov on June 29 at a meeting with members of the Bundestag during his working visit to Germany.

Mammadyarov said he is confident that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will strive to resolve the conflict. "He (Medvedev), as a lawyer and an "honest broker", understands that there is a fact of occupation, and that the Armenian armed forces should be withdrawn from the occupied territories," the minister said.

Mutual trust between the three OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries is very important in resolving the conflict," Mammadyarov said. "If we want to achieve peace in the region, this peace must be based on international law," said Mammadyarov.

Speaking about the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan accepted updated version of the Madrid principles. "Basically, we have agreed upon them," said the minister.

Their main provisions are: to, at the first stage, release 5 of the 7 occupied regions around Nagorno-Karabakh, provided that the remaining 2 districts will be released after 5 years; to unblock communications in the region (here the agenda also includes opening of Turkish-Armenian border ); carrying out restoration work, the return of refugees to their homes, deployment of peacekeeping forces to ensure the security of the population; an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh with a wide self-government; and only in the end, restoring confidence between the parties, it will be possible in a calm atmosphere to discuss the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the minister said.

The possibility of a meeting of foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan within the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Astana on July 16-17 will be discussed during OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs' visit to the region, said Elmar Mamedyarov.

The possibility of a meeting of foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Astana depends on the schedules of Ministers, Mamedyarov said at the event during a visit to Berlin, answering the question of Trend.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK Fakhraddin Gurbanov gave an interview to "Open Central Asia," the Azerbaijani Embassy in the UK told Trend.

The ambassador spoke about the relations between Central Asia and Azerbaijan, as well as the activities undertaken to promote business ties between London and Baku. He added that the activities of the British-Azerbaijan Business Council and trade mission visits will provide a significant impetus to futhering business ties between the two countries.

The ambassador also spoke about Azerbaijan's energy potential. He noted that Azerbaijan has a multi-pronged energy export infrastructure. The country has increased its weight in energy supplies, not only in the region, but also for Europe, he said. The ambassador stressed that transportation projects to restore the ancient Silk Road, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, will have a positive impact on the transportation of goods between the Far East and the West.

He also stated that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains the biggest source of instability in the region, adding that a peaceful solution is important.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to France, the Holy See and the Principality of Monaco Elchin Amirbekov presented his credentials to the Prince of Monaco Albert II, ambassador told Trend.

After presenting credentials, diplomat met with the Prince. The sides discussed prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Principality of Monaco.

Azerbaijani ambassador also held several meetings with officials of Monaco, in particular with Director General of the Department for External Relations of the Principality Mireille Pettiti, Director for Diplomatic and Consular Relations Marie-Catherine Ravera. He discussed the current state of bilateral relations and exchanged views on further development of relations in political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Azerbaijani diplomat discussed business activities of Monaco's companies in Azerbaijan with Director General of department of investments and economic development encouragement of Monaco Elizabeth Ritter Moati at a dinner organized in his honor.

The Netherlands hosted a presentation of dynamic development and future prospects of the Azerbaijani economy organized by the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry, Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Azerbaijani embassy in the Netherlands, Dutch Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan Investment Company and the Council of the Netherlands to support trade.

The event was attended by representatives of business communities of both countries, as well as heads of diplomatic missions accredited to The Hague.

Deputy Secretary General of the Netherlands Foreign Ministry M.Van Dalen briefed participants on the successful development of bilateral relations between the two countries and the prospects for their expansion, in which the Netherlands is interested. Azerbaijani ambassador to the Netherlands, Fuad Isgandarov, spoke about the dynamic development of the country, informed the participants of the prospects of economic development and priority spheres.

Economic Development Ministry Apparatus head Samir Valiyev provided information on the economy of Azerbaijan, its attractiveness for investment, and creating a favorable business and investment environment. Valiyev invited the Dutch business community to take this opportunity to further develop relations with Azerbaijani entrepreneurs.

The event discussed enhancing cooperation between business communities of both countries.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy noted the importance of relations with Azerbaijan.

France attaches great importance to its relations with Azerbaijan. It hopes that relations between the two countries will continue to develop, Sarkozy said at a meeting with Azerbaijani ambassador to France Elchin Amirbeyov, ambassador told Trend.

Today Azerbaijani Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador presented his credentials to President Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in France.

The United States supports and attaches great importance to the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said to a press conference in Baku on July 4 as a result of her visit to Azerbaijan.  

Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will take place early November.

U.S. Secretary of State discussed with country's leadership in Baku the issues of democracy, noting the importance of civil society.

"We always discuss this issue, it is an integral part of our dialogue," she said.

"The democratic reforms are always our goal of development. Speaking of the progress made by Azerbaijan, I think this is particularly evident in the economic and energy reforms, as well as in business," said Clinton.

"Azerbaijan, as a country, has huge potential, and today we discussed with President Ilham Aliyev the ways to strengthen our cooperation," said Clinton.

United States is interested in security and prosperity of the region, and together with Azerbaijan is working on global issues - the fight against extremism, ensuring stable energy supplies, etc.

"In this regard, we want to remain a friend and partner of Azerbaijan," she said.

Human rights

Internet radio and television will not be licensed in Azerbaijan, Presidential Administration Social and Political Department head Ali Hasanov said at a conference on "New Media Era Values" in Baku today.

Hasanov refuted rumors spread in local media and international organizations that licensing would be provided for Internet radio and television.

Former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Miklos Haraszti expressed concern about the rumors. Such intentions may create grave problems for the development of Internet resources in Azerbaijan in the future, he said.

Hasanov said the rumors of licensing e-media are untrue.

"We do not have and would never have such plans," Hasanov said, adding that the accusations against the authorities are unfounded.

He also disagreed with the assertion that there is no freedom of speech or press in Azerbaijan.

"The fact that Azerbaijan ranks 145th among 160 countries in the Index of Freedom of Speech is a piece fiction, and this is untrue," Hasanov said.

Adoption of the law on defamation in Azerbaijan will be a serious advance in the field of freedom of the media, Former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Miklos Haraszti said at the conference-seminar "Values of the new media era" in Baku today.

Haraszti said the Azerbaijani parliament is ready to accept the bill on defamation.

The conference-seminar organizers are the association of broadcasters in Europe and the Organization of public service broadcasters in Norway, together with the Azerbaijan Media Centre.

Haraszti expressed concern over the fact that a number of journalists are in police custody in Azerbaijan.

He also believes it is necessary to lift the ban on broadcasting of foreign radio stations in Azerbaijan.

Haraszti named the positive the fact that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries in the former Soviet Union, where a public television was created.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the Russian and U.S. presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama within the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, Turkish media reported.

During the 15-minute meeting with the head of the White House, Erdogan said that the effective role of the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France, could accelerate the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the website of the Turkish publication Beyaz Gazete reported.

The Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from nameless heights and areas and position outside the Gulustan and Tapgaragoyunlu villages in the Goranboy region at 07:40-08:15, 16:10-16:40, 18:25-18:40, 20:40-20:50 on June 27 and from nameless heights of Jabrail district at 19:30-19:35, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

Further the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the positions in the Javahirli villages in the Agdam region at 01:40-02:00 June 28, from nameless heights in the Fizuli region and from position near Goran village at 03:00-03, 12:00-12:15, 22:35-22:50.

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

June 28, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the positions in the  nameless heights and near the Ashagi Abdulrahmanli, Gorgan, Horadiz and Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages in the Fuzuli region at 10.30 -10.35, 22.55-23.15, 23.35-23.55, 00.40-00.55 and 02.40-02.55 June 29, from positions in the nameless heights and near the Gulustan and Tapgaragoyunlu villages in the Goranboy region at 13.40-14.25, 19.50-20.20 June 28, from positions in the nameless heights in the Khojavand region at 17.30-17.35, from positions near the Sarijali, Yusifjanli and Garagashli villages in the Agdam region at 17.55-18.00, 23.45-23.50 and  00.30-00.40 June 29, from positions in the nameless heights and near the Chilaburt village in the Terter region at 23.45-00.05 June 28 and 02.40-03.00 June 29, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.

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

EU is concerned by frequent violations of the ceasefire regime on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.

"This situation bothers us. We see that the situation has recently become more regular and serious," EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby told media in the Heydar Aliyev international airport in Baku.

Semneby said that it is necessary to take measures to avoid such cases.

Karabakh must not be a blank spot on the map of Europe, EU special representative for the South Caucasus said.

As to his possible visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, together with representatives of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Semneby said that this issue has not been resolved yet. But maybe it will be held. It is important to have a dialogue and contacts between all parties of the conflict, he said.

During the visit Semneby will meet with Azerbaijani leadership. They will discuss urgent issues, including progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, scheduled for early November, energy issues and cooperation with the EU.

Semneby did not comment on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"There is the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the conflict. The recent statement by the Presidents of France, U.S and Russia is very important. This creates a serious basis for a serious process," Semneby said.

He said that people of both sides must know about details of the negotiation process.

June 29, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops in the nameless heights in the Gazakh region from the positions in the Berdavan village in the Armenian Noyenberyan region at 19:20-19:30, from positions nameless heights in the Fuzuli region and Ashagi Abdulrahmanli, Garakhanbeyli villages at 12:20-12:50, 23:05-23:20 June 29; 00:05-00:10, 00:35-00:50 June 30,  from positions in the nameless heights in the Khojavand region and from positions near the Kuropatkion village at 15:00-15:15, 15:45-16:30 June 29, from positions near the Tapgaragoyunli village in the Goranboy region at 11:00- 11:10, 14:35- 14:45, from positions near the Garagashli village in the Agdam region at 04:50- 05:00 June 30, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported.

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

June 30, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the nameless heights, as well as from areas and positions outside the Ashagi Abdulrahmanli, Gorgan and Ashagi Sayidahmadli villages in the Fizuli region at 07:10- 07:30 and 07:48- 08:10, and 03:30-03:35 July 1, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the nameless heights and from areas and positions outside the Gulustan and Tapgaragoyunlu villages in the Goranboy region at 16:10-16:50 and 19:50- 20:20, as well as from areas and positions outside the Kangarli and Sarijali villages in the Agdam region at 00:40- 00:55 July 1, the ministry reported.

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

China Thursday urged calmness and restraint after clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenia and Azerbaijan have a territorial dispute.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks while commenting on an exchange of fire in the region on June 18.

"China consistently holds a clear stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue," Qin said, adding that China hopes the disputes will be settled peacefully, Xinhua reported.
  
Stressing that there is no change in China's stance, Qin expressed China's hope that the parties concerned have enough political wisdom to find a solution through negotiation and dialogue.
  
He said such an outcome is in the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as regional peace, stability and development.

The EU can play a more active role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semneby said.

"The EU can play a more active role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to support the OSCE Minsk Group but not instead it in connection with intensification of relations with the countries of the region," Semneby said at a press conference following his visit to Azerbaijan.

It is necessary to seek methods of confidence, he said.

"We will consider ways with which the EU can contribute to solving the conflict", he said.

He said that the resumption of contacts between the countries is encouraging.

"As the United States is co-chairman of the Minsk Group, the upcoming visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the region will play a role in the negotiations. The U.S. intends to use this visit to promote the issue," Semneby said.

Russia will not place peacekeepers in Nagorno Karabakh, Speaker of the Russian Federation Council of the Federal Assembly Sergei Mironov said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station. This is a problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia, he stressed.

"There is an interesting format where the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders can meet in the presence of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. I hope the format will continue," Mironov said. Russia plays a positive role in this negotiation, he added.

According to Mironov, Moscow is prepared to guarantee compliance with these agreements once the parties agree.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's State Secretary and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev said a security and stability in the South Caucasus, including the promotion of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, are the priorities of the Kazakh chairmanship in OSCE. Kazakhstan's chairmanship is ready for active mediation to restore peace and security, establishing a full-fledged regional cooperation in the region, he said.

"We believe Kazakhstan as OSCE chair that has a common history with Azerbaijan and Armenia, understanding and knowledge of the history of the issue could give a positive impetus to the negotiation process, building confidence between Baku and Yerevan. Moreover, we also have an important resource as high prestige and credibility that our head of state enjoys in the parties to the conflict," Saudabayev said in an interview with Trend.

July 1, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the nameless heights in the Khojavand region at 08.15-08.35 and 20.45- 20.55 and the nameless heights in the Jabrayil region at19.00- 19.05, as well as from areas and positions outside the Sarijali, Garagashli, Marzili and Yusifjanli villages in the Agdam region at 23.25-23.50, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.  

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas and positions outside the Ashagi Veysalli village in the Fizuli region at 23.25- 23.45 and from areas and positions outside the Gapanli and Goyarkh villages in the Tartar region at 23.25- 23.40 and 01.20 -01.45 July 2, as well as from nameless heights in the Goranboy region at 16.05- 16.25 and 03.05- 03.15 July 2 , the ministry reported.

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

July 2, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from the nameless heights in the Khojavand region at 08:15- 08:35 and 12:15-12:25 and from areas and positions outside the Sarijali and Yusifjanli villages in the Agdam region at 23:30- 23:45, as well as from the nameless heights and  areas and positions outside the Ashagi Veysalli, Gorgan and Ashagi Abdulrahmanli villages in the Fizuli region at17:30-17:45 and  03:00- 03:30 July 3, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.  

Further, the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire at Azerbaijani troops from areas and positions outside the Chilaburt village in the Tartar region at 04:15- 04:45 July 3, as well as from nameless heights  and the Tapgaragoyunlu village in the Goranboy region at 17:05-17:30 July 2 and 04:00- 04:15 and 05:00- 05:15 July 3, the ministry reported.

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

The United States is committed to a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of territorial integrity, non-use of force, the right to self-determination and on the basis of the Helsinki principles," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said to a press conference in Baku on July 4 as a result of her visit to Azerbaijan.

"The U.S. can not resolve the conflict, but can help bring the parties closer so that they can reach an agreement," Clinton said, adding that the United States can be a partner in the negotiations between the two countries.

"President Obama reaffirmed this commitment at a summit in Toronto, and I mentioned this in our discussions with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. We are ready to help Azerbaijan and Armenia achieve a lasting peaceful solution to the conflict," said Clinton.

"Recent steps towards peace are usually the most difficult, but we believe that peace is possible and necessary. The peace is necessary to build a prosperous safe future for both sides. All the peoples of the region and Azerbaijan have the right to live in security," said the Secretary of State . Secretary of State's visit to Baku began on July 4.

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