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Azerbaijan Report: July 13, 2001

13 July 2001
Karabakh War Invalids Stage Rally In Cars
On 13 July, a group of Karabakh War Society staged a rally in the streets of Baku in Oka automobiles which they received from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. Head of the press service of the Karabakh War Invalids Society Rey Kerimoglu told RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service that their goal is to inform the community about the demonstration to be staged on 14 July in front of the Gelebe cinema. He recalled that Baku inhabitants did not take an active role during the last demonstration on 16 June. Rey Kerimoglu said that the rally by the Karabakh invalids lasted more than an hour and ended near the bus station, where police surrounded them. Etimad Asadov, head of Karabakh War Invalids Society, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service that the majority of participants in the rally were detained and the Oka cars belonging to them were given to the State Automobile Inspectorate.

(Babek Bakir)

Observers Discuss OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Visit
Head of the Investigation Center on Conflictology Gulshan Pashayeva said that during the most recent visit the co-chairmen demonstrated the same position on the solution to the Karabakh problem. But it is difficult to appraise the visit of mediators because of the absence of detailed information about negotiations.

Political analyst Rasim Musabekov considers the visit entirely ineffectual. He said that the meeting which will take place in Genoa may give a dynamism to the peace process. Musabekov noted that the participation by the deputy foreign ministry of Russia Trubnikov in the negotiations demonstrates that Moscow wants to strengthen its role in the Karabakh peace process. He appraises as a positive factor the activity of Russia in the negotiation process.

Politologist Mubariz Akhmadoglu characterized as "successful " the results of the Minsk Group co-chairmen's visit to the region.

(Zerkhanim Akhmedli)

Portuguese Foreign Minister Visits Azerbaijan
Portuguese Foreign Minister Jozeh Jayme Matush De Gama during his meeting with Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Vilayyat Guliyev on 12 July said that Portugal joined the OSCE Minsk Group on 1 July 2001. De Gama pointed out that earlier he visited Armenia and his goal is closely to acquaint with the situation in the region. Portugal is a member of the OSCE "troyka" and in 2002 it will head OSCE. He also noted that the bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Portugal to be discussed during his visit. The Portuguese foreign minister added that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen plays a great role in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and reported that he has discussed the Karabakh issue with mediators. "Our main role is to increase efforts in order to intensify the face-to-face dialogue between the two presidents," De Gama said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayyat Guliyev said that it is not easy to solve the Karabakh conflict and the peace negotiations are continuing without real results. He expressed a hope that Portugal, which will head the OSCE next year, will help to find a solution to the Karabakh conflict.

(Samira Gaziyeva)

Minsk Group Co-chairmen Visit Baku
The French, Russian, and U.S. co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group held a press conference at the U.S. Embassy to Azerbaijan on 12 July devoted to their most recent visit to the region. U.S. co-Chairman Carey Cavanaugh appraised as "productive" the recent visit to the region and negotiations with both Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents. He said that the co-chairmen discussed the "real issues" with the presidents. This year, the co-chairmen have achieved considerable progress in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. At the same time he noted "there is a lot of work to be done." "We were very pleased to hear that President Aliyev several times said that he supports a peaceful solution," Cavanaugh said Russian co-Chairman Nikolay Gribkov said that the co-chairmen are working in close contact and in close cooperation. "We are on the eve of an important meeting which will take place on 20-22 July in Genoa, Italy. In the framework of the G-8 meeting there will be negotiations between the Russian, French, and U.S. presidents. I am sure that during this meeting the Karabakh conflict will take an important place," Gribkov said. He noted that "our recent meeting is of particular importance."

Gribkov added that the co-chairmen will have to report to the presidents of their countries about the results of their visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia. He pointed out that cochairmen in their report will state that the both leaders have confirmed that they will remain to be committed to the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict and they will preserve the cease-fire.

The co-chairmen also accused some journalists and politicians of calling for war. "A few irresponsible politicians and reporters held hostage the entire peace process," Gribkov said.

The co-chairmen reported that the date of the meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Geneva is still unknown. French co-Chairman Philip Suremen said that "both sides have so many hopes from the results of such a meeting and it will be very well prepared." The co-chairman noted that the negotiation are held in an atmosphere of confidentiality.

(Samira Gaziyeva)

Karabakh War Invalids Protection Committee To Stage Demo on 14 July
The deputy chairman of the Karabakh War Invalids Society, Firudin Mamedov, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service that on 17 July, the Republican Court on Serious Crime will pass sentence on six Karabakh war invalids arrested during a hunger strike of the Karabakh invalids in February this year. The Baku City Council permitted the Committee to Protect the Karabakh War Invalids to stage a meeting in front of the Gelebe cinema on 14 July to demand the release of the arrested Karabakh war invalids. He said all the opposition party will join the demonstration by the Karabakh invalids.

Head of the Musavat Party Isa Gambar said that parties which are members of the Democratic Congress, consisting of parties close to Musavat, will take part in the rally by Karabakh invalids. But he has not decided about his own participation in the demo.

Head of the Azerbaijan National Independent Party Etibar Mamedov also said that the members of his party will join the demonstration but he does not know yet if he would take part in the action.

Both wings of the Azerbaijan Popular Front party will take part in the demonstration of the Karabakh war invalids. General Secretary of the Azerbaijan Democrat Party Sardar Jalaloglu said that he will never take part in the demonstration in front of the cinema Gelebe because it is far from the center of city. At the same time he said ADP members will take part in the demonstration. According to the Protection Committee of the Karabakh War Invalids the health of invalids who suffer from tuberculosis has deteriorated.

(Natig Zeynalov)

Minister of Labor and Social Protection Holds Press Conference
Minister of Labor and Social Protection Ali Nagiyev during a press conference held at the headquarters of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party on 13 July said that the goal of the Azerbaijan government before 1995 was to create stability in the republic. After 1995 the main goal of the government was to improve the social conditions of the people. He reported that 240,000 Azerbaijan citizens are handicapped, of whom 8,000 are people who took part in the military operations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh. He thinks that the government provides the special privileges for Karabakh war invalids and control their health and social protection.

Concerning the trial of the arrested Karabakh war invalids, Nagiyev said that he does not have the right to interfere in the court process.

Nagiyev also said his ministry has achieved successful results in solving the problem of unemployment. Today 47,000 people are registered as unemployed. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection ensured 30,000 people a job. At the same time he does not believe that there are only 47,000 unemployed people in Azerbaijan. "It is not easy to clarify the number of unemployed in Azerbaijan", Nagiyev said. He added that the new law on employment will provide allowances for the unemployed three times.

(Natig Zeynalov)

Ambassadors To Discuss Sheki Trial
Twenty-seven people arrested during the protest demonstration in Sheki on 18 November last year were sentenced from two to six years. On 13 July human rights activists, lawyers of the imprisoned, and their family members held a press conference.

Lawyer of businessman Tehran Lyatifov, Gayib Jannatov, said that the Sheki trial is the most disgraceful process in the judicial history of Azerbaijan. There are many facts which proved the innocence of the arrested people. He added that Tehran Lyatifov did not take part in the demonstration in Sheki and local authorities use him to stabilize the situation in Sheki.

Head of the Protection Committee of the Arrested Sheki Inhabitants Amina Askerova said that among arrested people are some persons who do not have any relation to the Sheki riots. Worker Sadig Mamedov, shoemaker Nadir Mamedov, and employer of tea-rooms Nadir Mamedov are among them. She added that Nadir Mamedov was at a wedding during the demonstration in Sheki on 18 November and he has videotape which confirm this fact. In spite of it judge Anver Seyibod sentenced him to five years. Askerova also said that Tofig Hasanov, who was sentenced to four years, suffers from tuberculosis.

Head of the Peace and Democracy Institute Leyla Junusova said that on 13 July human rights activists have a meeting at the British Embassy to Azerbaijan. Ambassador of Great Britain to Azerbaijan Endry Takker said in the near future the ambassadors of the foreign countries to Baku will have meeting to discuss the trial of people arrested during Sheku events and trial of Karabakh War invalids.

(Zhala Mutallimova)

Police Pressure On Political Parties and NGOs in Khacmaz
Head of the Representative of Human Rights Resource Center in Guba-Khachmaz district Solmaz Mekhdiyeva told RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service that recently the pressure on Center members by police increased. She said on 11 July members of 14 political parties and NGOs held a joint meeting at the representative of Research Center in Khachmaz. They issued a statement and condemned the pressure on political parties and NGOs in the region. Mekhdiyeva said she has appealed to the Interior Minister Ramil Usubov twice on this issue but she has received no answer yet.

(Maarif Chingisoglu)

(Compiled & Translated by Samira Gaziyeva)

New history textbook "History of Azerbaijan" for 11th-class students of comprehensive schools is a handbook for New Azerbaijan party members, says the independent newspaper "Tezadlar." The paper notes that the name of Heidar Aliyev is mentioned 128 times, the word "president" 50 times in the 352-page book. There are nine photos of Aliev, as well as photos of his wife, father-in�law, son, and brother.

The independent newspaper "525th" says that nobody expects from the OSCE a solution to the Karabakh problem. The paper calls the OSCE`s efforts as "dramatizing show."

On the contrary "Ekho" newspaper sees signs of preparation of public opinion in Armenia and Azerbaijan to peace. The paper considers that the Minsk Group must get appreciable results before resuming military operations, possibilty of which is not excluded.