The OSCE mediators brokering a settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper Garabagh expect a breakthrough in peace talks that have been underway for 10 years without any tangible results. They have said parties to the conflict may reach accord in 2006.
In a joint statement passed at the end of their visit to Baku on Friday, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (MG) voiced confidence that the ongoing talks within the 'Prague process' are moving forward and will produce positive results next year.
Experts from the European security body are visiting Azerbaijan's regions bordering on Armenia for the first time in the past eight years to examine the conditions for possible stationing of peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone after the long-standing conflict over Upper Garabagh is settled.
The planning group comprising 9 OSCE representatives - seven from European countries, and one from Turkey and Georgia each - left Ganja, the country's second largest city, for Goranboy district, 260 km west of Baku, on Monday morning.
Baku, December 13, AssA-Irada - Opposition parliamentarians will propose setting up two new permanent parliamentary commission at the next session of the Milli Majlis, chairman of the Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front Party Gudrat Hasanguliyev told AssA-Irada.
One of the commissions is to deal with the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper Garabagh, while the other one - issues of European integration, he said, citing the importance of the measure.
Baku, December 13, AssA-Irada - Next year will see more opportunities for settling the long-standing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper Garabagh, deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov said Tuesday.
"First of all, no elections will be held in either country in 2006. Everyone [both sides] realize that any progress in this area is unlikely during the elections," Azimov told a news briefing.
The deputy foreign minister concurred with the statements by the OSCE Minsk Group (MG) mediators that next year may be crucial for the conflict settlement.
Baku, December 9 AssA-Irada - The Asian Development Bank will allocate $231.25 million in loans to Azerbaijan next year under a relevant program, and $7.8m in technical assistance.
The Country Support Strategy program is being discussed by the government and the bank representatives, the ADB Baku representation told AssA-Irada.
ADB's focus in Azerbaijan is assistance in funding education, energy, micro-finance, road renovation, water supplies and improving the conditions of internally displaced persons. It is implementing projects totaling $52 million in the country.
The talks among foreign ministers of states included in the OSCE, the world's largest security organization, held in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, concluded without passing a final statement, as Russia rejected the obligation it assumed in 1999 to withdraw its troops from the former Soviet Union republics of Georgia and Moldova.
Baku, December 5, AssA-Irada - Foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia met on Sunday to discuss resolution of the long-standing Upper Garabagh conflict in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. The informal meeting was attended by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating the conflict settlement, Radio Liberty reported.
The two discussed the possibility of adopting a joint statement assessing the current status of talks on the conflict settlement.
Baku, December 2, AssA-Irada - "The fact talks on settling the Upper Garabagh conflict have lasted for 10 years is a major concession for Armenia", President Ilham Aliyev said addressing the first session of the newly-elected Milli Majlis (parliament) on Friday.
Aliyev mentioned that the negotiations are proceeding within the 'Prague process', which complies with the stage-by-stage conflict settlement supported by Azerbaijan. "The problem will be solved strictly within the country's territorial integrity", he said.
Armenian officials made stunning statements last week that may harm the ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks, amid hopes that 2006 will see a breakthrough in the settlement of the long-standing dispute over Upper Garabagh, an Azeri region under occupation.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian said he does not rule out the possibility of "recognition by official Yerevan of the Upper Garabagh republic or its annexation to Armenia" if the peace talks are exhausted.
Baku, November 29, AssA-Irada - The website of the state committee on refugees and displaced persons, www.refugees-idps-committee.gov.az, has been launched. The web-page consisting of seven sections in Azeri, English and Russian, provides information about the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper Garabagh. The electronic mail address of the Committee is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baku, November 29, AssA-Irada - Iranian aid was delivered to Azerbaijan on Tuesday by the Imam Khomeini Assistance Committee international humanitarian organization, Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan Afshar Suleymani told journalists on Tuesday.
The 140-ton aid consisting of food and school materials will be distributed among refugees, internally displaced persons as well as families of war victims, disabled people and low-income families, the ambassador said.
Suleymani noted that another consignment of assistance of the same volume will be delivered to the country in a month.
Baku, November 25, AssA-Irada - The Japanese government has allocated over $180,000 to launch 2 projects in Azerbaijan within its Grassroots and Human Security grant program. The relevant agreements were signed at the Japanese embassy in Baku on Friday.
Azerbaijan-Armenia talks on the settlement of the long-standing Upper Garabagh conflict are reviving after a short period of stillness. With the parliament election left behind, Azerbaijan is coming out of the environment that some said was a precursor of a 'velvet revolution' that recently swept several former Soviet Union states.
But a tension-free period enabling favorable conditions for conflict resolution is expected only after a referendum on constitutional changes in Armenia due November 27, another development intensely watched by the international community.
Tensions remain high in Azerbaijan after parliamentary elections, as the opposition claims vote rigging despite assurances by the government and some international observers that the country passed its crucial test for democracy on November 6. Amid allegations of election fraud, the government scrutinized the irregularities at the polls.
President Ilham Aliyev instructed relevant government agencies to investigate the violations observed in a dozen constituencies and crack down on violators.
The government sees no reasons for a 'timeout' in talks on settling the long-standing Armenia-Azerbaijan Upper Garabagh conflict due to the November parliament elections, deputy foreign minister said.
The peace talks were suspended after the Kazan (Russian Volga river city) meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in order to once again look into the gist of the discussions", Araz Azimov told journalists.
Azimov said the 'talks should be continued till the end', as the resources available for this have not been exhausted yet.
Baku, October 19, AssA-Irada - Armenian military units, from their positions 1.7 kilometers east of the occupied Javahirli village of Aghdam District, northwest Azerbaijan, fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani troops in the same district's Chirakhly village with submachine and machine guns on Tuesday.
No casualties are reported, the Ministry of Defense said.
Baku, October 14, AssA-Irada - President Ilham Aliyev has cited diplomatic progress in talks with Armenia on settling the long-standing Upper Garabagh conflict but said the lack of results diminishes this progress.
"There is certain diplomatic success in the process, as 'positive changes' have occurred in the positions of international organizations. But all these achievements are worthless in the absence of any results."
The President said that the negotiating process will continue as long as its potential is not exhausted.
Baku, October 10, AssA-Irada - The government of Azerbaijan has allocated assistance worth $500,000 for those affected by a recent powerful earthquake that swept through Pakistan. Moreover, a 40-people strong team of rescue workers and doctors left for Islamabad to assist the survivors.
Pakistani Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohammad Hafeez has expressed gratitude to the Azeri people on behalf of his country for their support.
38,000 are reported dead and the death toll is expected to further rise to 55,000.
Baku, October 6, AssA-Irada - An international organization working to prevent conflicts worldwide is expected to publish a new report soon covering 20 alternatives for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Upper Garabagh conflict.
The International Crisis Group project director on South Caucasus Sabin Frasier said the proposals will be submitted to the governments of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the entire international community.
Baku, October 5, AssA-Irada - Azerbaijan is seeking a peaceful settlement of the Upper Garabagh conflict but no results have been achieved in this area yet, which prompts the country to continue strengthening its military power, President Ilham Aliyev said at the ceremony of opening a new administrative building of the Special State Guard Service on Wednesday.
Aliyev pointed out the need for establishing a strong military potential. "Only powerful Azerbaijan army will achieve liberation of the country's territories.