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Azerbaijan's Aliyev Sacks Labor Minister --> Observers say President Aliyev is purging his inner circle (file photo) (AFP) 7 February 2006 -- Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev today fired Labor Minister Ali Nagiyev, the second leading member of the ruling elite to be sidelined in two days.

Yesterday, Aliyev demoted customs chief Kemalatdin Haydarov to an obscure cabinet post.

Analysts said Aliyev was purging people who make up the inner circle around him but are also seen as potential rivals for power.

State-run television said Nagiyev was sacked by a presidential decree. No reason was given.

Businessman Fizuli Alekperov was named as his replacement.


Click on the map to see an enlarged map of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area.

In February 1988, the local assembly in Stepanakert, the local capital of the Azerbaijani region of NAGORNO-KARABAKH, passed a resolution calling for unification of the predominantly ethnic-Armenian region with Armenia. There were reports of violence against local Azeris, followed by attacks against Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. In 1991-92, Azerbaijani forces occupied most of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the Armenians counterattacked and by 1993-94 had seized almost all of the region, as well as vast areas around it. About 600,000 Azeris were displaced and as many as 25,000 people were killed before a Russian-brokered cease-fire was imposed in May 1994.

For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,click here.

Of particular interest:

2005 In Review: Conflicts In Caucasus Still Characterized By Gridlock

Nagorno-Karabakh President Expresses Optimism

Nagorno-Karabakh: OSCE To Unveil New Peace Plan