Weekly political digest (10.01- 14.01.2011)

Official news

Jan. 10

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolences to President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

"I was very saddened upon hearing the news on the heavy human loss as a result of the plane crash happened near the city of Urmia. On my own behalf and on behalf of the Azerbaijani people I offer sincere condolences to You, families and relatives of the dead and all the people of Iran, and wish the injured recovery. May Allah rest their souls in peace!" the letter says.

Jan. 12

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree awarding a number of persons medals "Tereggi", "For distinction in public service" and conferring honorary titles "Honored teacher", "Distinguished physician", "Distinguished engineer", "Honored worker of culture" for their merits in socio-political, socio-economic, cultural life in Yevlakh and Agdash districts, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Wednesday minister of foreign affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj and his accompanying delegation, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the delegation headed by Iranian Oil Minister Seyed Massoud Mir-Kazemi today, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

Jan. 13

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev today has received Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Euronews TV channel Pier Luigi Malesani and channel`s Chief Executive Officer Philippe Cayla, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

The meeting saw exchange of views over relations between Euronews and Azerbaijan`s relevant structures. They also highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the field of information, and exchange of news.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso have today met in private in Baku, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

They stressed relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union were successfully developing in various fields. The parties underlined the sides have good potential for energy cooperation.

Following a meeting in presence of delegations, a ceremony was conducted to sign documents between Azerbaijan and European Union. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso signed a Joint Declaration on gas delivery for Europe in Baku.  

The head of Azerbaijan's permanent mission to the EU Emin Eyyubov and head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan Roland Kobia signed the Memorandum of Understanding on National Indicative Program, the Memorandum of Understanding on framework paper of Comprehensive Institutional Capacity Building program between Azerbaijan Republic and European Commission.

The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso held a joint press conference in Baku, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Ilham Aliyev and Jose Manuel Barroso issued a joint statement, answered questions from journalists.

On January 13 a dinner on the behalf of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was given in honor of the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso being on his official visit to Azerbaijan, state-run news agency AzerTAg reported on Thursday.

Jan. 14

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev today received President of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Marius Vizer, AzerTaj state news agency reported.

The country`s contribution to international cooperation for development of sports on international arena was stressed during the meeting.

The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers held a large meeting presided over by President Ilham Aliyev and dedicated to the socio-economic outcomes of 2009, AzerTaj state news agency reported. President Aliyev made opening remarks at the meeting.

Minister of Finance Shahin Mustafayev, chairman of the Central Bank Elman Rustamov, Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfaz Garayev, Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov made reports on socio-economic measures carried out in the country last year.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree awarding Eldar Guliyev the "Sharaf" order, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

Guliyev was awarded the "Sharaf" order for his merits in the development of culture in Azerbaijan.

PARLIAMENT

Jan. 13

Vice Speaker of Azerbaijani Parliament Ziyafat Asgarov discussed with Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj the problem of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Parliament of Azerbaijan reported.

Political movements

Jan. 10

Musavat Party functionaries Adil Geybulla and Gabil Huseynli, who were resigned from the party, were summoned to the U.S. Embassy. As Gabil Huseynli told Trend, the meeting was held with the U.S. Embassy's Adviser on Political Issues.

Huseynli noted that the Embassy was interested in their future plans and asked for the reasons for their resignation from the Musavat Party.

Musavat Party's former Assembly Chairman Sulheddin Akbar told Trend that he together with Ibrahim Ibrahimli was summoned to the U.S. Embassy. He said that the meeting discussed social and political situation in the country.

 

Jan. 14

There are several successive resignations in Musavat Party. Dozens of members of the party decided to withdraw from the city organization of Sumgait, a member of the political council of Sumgait organization Keramet Salayev told Trend.

He said that they resigned because of disagreement with the party's course. They are mainly protesting against the party's position on the issue of unification with Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA).

"The main reason for our resignation from the party is the party's refusal from the policy of unification with PFPA. The steps against the union point to the unwillingness of Musavat to participate in the political struggle for the presidency in 2013," he said.

He said that another reason for the resignation is ideological clashes within the party.

Foreign policy



Jan. 10

Beth Am, one of the largest synagogues of Los Angeles, hosted a workshop on the strategic role of Azerbaijan within the traditional Saturday (Shabbat) service, Azerbaijan's Consulate General in Los Angeles said.

The debate was opened by Reuven Firestone, professor of the University of Southern California, who is well-known for his research in the Muslim-Jewish dialogue. Prof. Firestone spoke about Azerbaijan's history, highlighting the tradition of tolerance and the absence of anti-Semitism.  Rabbi Adam Kligfeld also greeted seminar participants.

Consul General Elin Suleymanov noted the contribution of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan's development, good relations of Azerbaijani and Jewish peoples, as well as the positive dynamics of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov paid a visit to Kuwait on Monday to attend Azerbaijan-Kuwait Intergovernmental Commission's first meeting.

During the two-day visit, Mammadyarov met with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, the Foreign Ministry said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov discussed the issues of cooperation in the energy sphere with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Talks were held during Mammadyarov's visit to Kuwait on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Heir of the Kuwaiti state, noting the high level of bilateral relations, was interested in the process of development of the energy sector, particularly natural gas production and its exports in recent years in Azerbaijan.

Mammadyarov informed the Kuwaiti Crown Prince on the ongoing works in the energy sector and about the country's contribution to ensure energy security of Europe.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov delivered Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's letter to the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Bahraini state news agency reported referring to the state agency of Kuwait.

Jan. 11

Azerbaijan and Kuwait signed an agreement abolishing visa requirements for diplomats during the first session of the Kuwaiti-Azerbaijani intergovernmental commission on cooperation, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported on Tuesday.

Following the meeting, the parties signed a "Protocol of the first meeting of the Joint Cooperation Commission between the Governments of Azerbaijan and Kuwait", "Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Governments of Azerbaijan and Kuwait" and "Agreement to abolish visa requirements for persons with diplomatic or special passports between the Governments of Azerbaijan and Kuwait."

During his meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Tuesday, Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stressed on the importance of direct flights between the two countries and expanding the ties between the oil companies of both countries, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

They discussed the results of the first session of the intergovernmental commission on cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kuwait, was held on Monday.

The sides noted the importance of efficient usage of the existing capacity to expand the relations. They expressed confidence that the agreements on the areas specified in the protocol of the meeting of intergovernmental commission, will give impetus to this process.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister informed Kuwaiti Prime Minister on the course of the negotiation process to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the economic success of Azerbaijan.

The new head of the Baku office of the Council of Europe may be appointed before the end of the month.

"There are two candidates for the post of Special Representative of the CoE Secretary General in Azerbaijan. Both are being considered by the CoE Secretary General", Azerbaijani Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Arif Mammadov told Trend today.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Azerbaijan, the Czech diplomat Veronika Kotek left the country late December in connection with the completion of her diplomatic mission. Kotek has continued its work in Strasbourg.

Special Representative of the CoE Secretary General in Azerbaijan may be appointed before the end of the month, Mammadov said.

Jan. 12

Slovakia is interested in intensifying bilateral contacts with Azerbaijan, Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic said in Bratislava at the meeting with Fuad Ismaylov, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Slovakia.

The meeting took place during a reception, organized by the Slovak President in honour of the diplomatic corps accredited in his country on the occasion of the New Year, Ambassador Ismaylov told Trend on Wednesday.

"President Gasparovic, in his speech, raised the issues of domestic and foreign policy of Slovakia, focused on the economic situation in his country and relations with all neighbours", the ambassador said.

According to the ambassador, expectation for further expansion of relations between the countries was also expressed. In this regard, the importance of mutual visits at the highest level was stressed, the ambassador said.

The meeting with the Foreign Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda was also held during the event. The development of relations between Baku and Bratislava and the organization of meetings between the leaders of the two ministries this year were discussed at the meeting.

The Foreign Ministries of Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina have today signed a cooperation protocol. The document was undersigned during Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj's visit to Baku on Wednesday, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry reported.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received copies of the new Swiss ambassador Sabina Pullman's credentials, the Foreign Ministry said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi, said the Foreign Ministry.

New Turkmen ambassador to Azerbaijan Toyli Komekov handed a copy of credentials on his appointment to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

Jan. 13

Peter Bateman has been appointed Great Britain's ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, succeeding Carolyn Browne, the website of the British embassy in Baku reported.

Deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov discussed prospects for the development of Azerbaijan-Italy relations on Jan. 12-13 with country's officials in Rome.

During the visit, the sides discussed bilateral relations, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, energy security and other issues.

A delegation of the European Commission headed by President Jose Manuel Barroso has arrived in Baku. Barroso, accompanied by Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger, is paying his first visit to Azerbaijan during his tenure as the European Commission president.

Russia intends to accelerate the process of determining the status of the Caspian Sea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow, the Russia-24 TV channel said.

"We will cooperate to accelerate the settlement of the Caspian issue on the basis of specific tasks given by our presidents at the Baku summit of Caspian littoral countries to resolve the existing problems in this issue," Lavrov said.

During his visit to Azerbaijan, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj met with Deputy Foreign Minister, Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) Hafiz Pashayev and faculty of the Academy.

At the meeting, the rector of the ADA informed the guest about the activities of the Academy and plans for the future, the ADA reported.

According to the ADA rector, last year, Academy students visited the Czech Republic, Georgia and Iran and there are plans to send them to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the exchange of students.

The Stanford University discussed the strategic role of Azerbaijan.

One of the leading higher educational institutions of the U.S., the Stanford University, held a seminar dedicated to Azerbaijan, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles said.

Senior Fellow Gail Lapidus and Azerbaijan's Consul General in Los Angeles Elin Suleymanov took part in the discussions.

Jan. 14

The EU is ready to start talks on the simplification of the visa regime, which will facilitate the movement of people and ensure further progress in expanding the partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told journalists in Baku today.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Jan. 10

 

Ex-head of Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Goran Lindblad is to begin a project, which will allow European politicians and organizations to get better acquainted with the current situation around Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in mid-January.

The project of the former head of the Swedish delegation in PACE will be held under the coordination of Azerbaijani- European community (TEAS), based in London.

"I will advise the TEAS and will lobby the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through European politicians," - said Lindblad. in an interview with a correspondent of Trend. - The project includes meetings with my colleagues in the European Council and European Parliament. I have already discussed with politicians from Finland, Belgium, Holland and Spain, and am planning to appeal to all members of the EU and PACE.

In addition to working with European politicians, Lindblad plans to cooperate with the Azerbaijani parliamentarians.

"At present we have no direct contact with Baku, but, of course, I am planning to get in touch with colleagues in Parliament," he said.

The main objective of the Lindblad`s  project, a former member of the Swedish Parliament from the Moderate Party, aims to strengthen the propaganda among European policy makers regarding resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the level of which in his opinion, is still low.

"The only way to reach a progress - is to raise awareness and familiarity, otherwise nothing will happen" - said Lindblad. - The level of awareness [about the Nagorno-Karabakh], within the European public, including politicians, is quite low.

The negotiation process to resolve the conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, according to Lindblad, is very slow, given the lack of pressure from the EU.

"If the European political establishment would be better informed and aware, then it is able to exert pressure with its Russian counterparts. Without the pressure of European countries, nothing significant will happen "- said Lindblad.

Jan. 11

"The agenda of the meeting of the council of the OIC Parliamentary Union, to be held in Abu Dhabi, includes the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to OIC PA Govhar Bakhshaliyeva told Trend.

"The urgent problems of the East, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be discussed at the meetings of the committee and the council of the OIC Parliamentary Union scheduled for Jan. 16," she said.

Jan. 12

Monitoring was held on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces without incident.

Jan. 13

Russia will try to move forward in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict this year more than the previous one backed by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow, the Russia-24 TV channel reported.

"Besides participating in the "troika," Russia in the face of President Medvedev uses its relations with Baku and Yerevan to try to solve the problems in the format of the presidents of three countries," the minister said.

He said that Medvedev held more than ten meetings with colleagues from Baku and Yerevan.

The foreign ministers of these countries also negotiate. The next meeting will be held soon.

"We strive to find solutions to the two or three issues. Though there are few problems compared to the already agreed ones, but they are the most difficult ones," Lavrov said. 

"The most important thing at this stage is not to interfere with this process, because as soon as the podiums of such organizations as the UN and the OSCE are involved, the question transfers from the business discussion to the sphere of polemics. It does not promote the rapprochement of positions, but only provokes the aggravation of approaches and antagonism between the parties. So far one managed to overcome these syndromes mostly by the efforts of our president, who created the atmosphere for the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to find solutions. We will continue our efforts," Lavrov added.

 

Jan. 14

 

The EU is concerned over run of resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso told journalists.

"At yesterday's meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, we discussed this issue along with other important issues. I expressed my deep concern over the plight of people affected by the conflict," Barroso said.

The EU, he said, supports the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

"We fully support the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts to resolve the conflict," Barroso said.

The EU, is ready to continue to provide political assistance in resolving the conflict, he said.

"We stand ready to provide technical assistance in rebuilding infrastructure following the final settlement agreement will be achieved," Barroso said.

The meeting of Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan - Edward Nalbandian, Sergei Lavrov and Elmar Mammadyarov is scheduled for January 24 in Moscow, Armenian Foreign Minister told media, Novosti-Armenia agency reported.

"The meeting initiated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled for January 24 in Moscow," Nalbandian said.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry also confirmed the date of the trilateral meeting, scheduled for January 24 in Moscow, Elkhan Polukhov, official representative of the Azerbaijani foreign ministry told Trend.

"Another meeting is likely to be held with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen in early February," Armenian Foreign Minister was quoted by "Novosti-Armenia" agency as saying.

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