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Azerbaijani FM Says OSCE Will Get Invite To Monitor Presidential Vote

Azerbaijan says it will allow monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to observe its presidential elections this autumn.

Speaking after talks with OSCE officials in Baku, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on July 8 that his country will issue a formal invitation approximately two months before the mid-October vote.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, the current head of the rotating OSCE chairmanship, said he welcomed Azerbaijan's "openness" on the matter.

Azerbaijan's incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, is due to run for a third term.

His opponents are expected to include award-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov, who was picked by the National Council of Democratic Forces -- an umbrella group pulling together the country's main opposition parties -- on July 2 in hopes of rallying the opposition behind a single candidate.

More than 500 monitors from the OSCE and other international bodies observed the country's last presidential elections in 2008. They said that vote failed to meet international standards of proper conduct.

Based on reporting by Interfax and

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