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Georgian government to change law on occupied territories
07.02.2013 17:06
Georgia, Tbilisi, Feb. 7 /Trend, N. Kirtskhalia/

The Georgian government is going to change its law on occupied territories, State Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili told journalists after a governmental meeting on Thursday.

He said according to the current law, foreign nationals who enter Georgia through Abkhazia and South Ossetia are immediately detained.

"Criminal cases are initiated against them and they serve sentences in Georgian prisons. We consider this is unfair, as many citizens of Azerbaijan and Armenia returning home through Georgia were imprisoned," Zakareishvili said.

He stressed that the new law requires punishment for the first time violators of the law, which does not allow visits to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a manner not agreed upon with the government.

"If the violation is repeated, criminal case will be initiated," he said.

Today, the Georgian Government approved this proposal.

Large scale military actions were launched in South Ossetia in Georgia on August 8, 2008. Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia late in August. Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow in response and has declared the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

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    The article reads:

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    Since its independence at the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan has considered the United States as one of its principal strategic partners. This conscious, but at times hazardous, choice to turn to Washington was from the outset rooted in a belief in American strength and a hope in Washington's fairness in mediating among disputing nations. It was a conviction that drove successive Azerbaijani governments to accept American arbitration in Baku's conflict with neighboring Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani region occupied by Armenian forces since the end of a war in 1994.

    For 20 years, Azerbaijan has patiently stuck to this belief in America as the foolproof arbiter that will somehow and someday help engineer a peaceful resolution to this frozen conflict in the South Caucasus. Increasingly, however, the Azerbaijanis question whether the United States prioritizes short-term goals over long-term objectives of peace making and the upholding of key American values, including respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations.

    Azerbaijan's anxieties about Congress and the administration's stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict recently surfaced again following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March. Officials in Baku quickly grasped the possible impact of Moscow's actions on the fate of other forcefully annexed territories, including Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region. In a bold step that could have not failed to irk its larger neighbor, Azerbaijan voted against Moscow in a UN vote that called the annexation of Crimea an illegal act, while many of the post-Soviet states abstained and Armenia, along with only 10 other questionable nations voted against the West.

    The Azerbaijanis have since also eagerly watched America's posture toward Moscow in the hope that Washington will lead a broader push to stop Russian intimidation of her smaller neighbors and Moscow's disregard for the territorial integrity of other countries. At a minimum, Baku had hoped that the United States would adhere to the same principles when adopting policies to deal with international territorial disputes. American policy-makers in Congress and the Executive, however, seem more preoccupied with scoring symbolic geopolitical points against Moscow than applying international laws on the question of territorial integrity of states.

    This was the case with a recent American measure at the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly in Baku. On 1 July, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) introduced a resolution that condemned Russian annexation of Crimea. Russia predictably voted against the resolution, and pro-U.S. Azerbaijan, which hosted the event, was not enthusiastic about the measure either. The territorial integrity of Ukraine is important, the Azerbaijanis argued, but a selective approach by the international community to territorial disputes will in the long run only make mockery of international law.

    Cardin's resolution was a mere knee-jerk reaction to a phenomena - the disregard for territorial integrity of states - that impacts a number of post-Soviet states. It is not just Ukraine and Azerbaijan, but also an issue that Georgia and Moldova are wrestling to address. Along with Azerbaijan, the resolution failed to mention Georgia and Moldova as well. As the head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Bakhar Muradova, put it, a "serious resolution, which would concern all conflicts in the region," will have been far more fitting given American leadership.

    Incidentally, such a selective approach best demonstrated by the EU's refusal to emphasize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity in its proposed association agreement with Azerbaijan, in stark difference with agreements offered to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, is one reason why Baku is still hesitant to move forward with the EU association.

    It is one thing to pursue a muddled foreign policy that leaves U.S. allies puzzled; it is an entirely different proposition - and with potential grave consequences for America's global leverage - when Washington's policies foster a sense of American double standards or its undependability as a partner.

    Vatanka is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington D.C. He is also a senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field and teaches as an adjunct professor at DISAM at Wright-Patterson AFB.
  • Azerbaijani gymnasts to vie for world medals
    19.09.2014 17:55
    Baku, September 19 (AzerTAc). Azerbaijan`s national rhythmic gymnastics team will compete in the world championship to be held in Izmir, Turkey, on September 22.

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    In the team event, Azerbaijan`s hopes will be pinned on Siyana Vasilova, Sabina Abbasova, Diana Doman, Alia Pashayeva, Aynur Mustafayeva and Alexandra Platonova.
  • Bulgarian President arrives in Azerbaijan
    19.09.2014 17:49
    Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has arrived in Azerbaijan on a two-day visit, the Embassy of Bulgaria in Azerbaijan told APA.

    Plevneliev will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. On September 20, Plevneliev will take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Southern Gas Corridor together with representatives of Albania, UK, Georgia, Greece, Italy, US, Turkey and Montenegro.
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    19.09.2014 17:44
    Baku is among the cities which will host the "Euro-2020" games.

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    Hungary/Budapest - three group games, one round of 16 game

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    Netherlands/Amsterdam - three group games, one round of 16 game

    Republic of Ireland/Dublin - three group games, one round of 16 game

    Romania/Bucharest - three group games, one round of 16 game

    Russia/Saint Petersburg - three group games, one quarter-final

    Scotland/Glasgow - three group games, one round of 16 game

    Spain/Bilbao - three group games, one round of 16 game

    England previously staged EURO '96, with Germany beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final at Wembley. Of the other host cities announced in Geneva today, Munich (1988), Rome (1968, 1980) and Brussels (1972) have all held UEFA European Championship final matches in the past.

    UEFA's Executive Committee decided in Lausanne on 6 December 2012 to organise a "EURO for Europe" in 2020, rather than a tournament in one or two host countries. The move followed an initial idea revealed by UEFA President Michel Platini at the end of UEFA EURO 2012.

    The Executive Committee also took its decision in the wake of positive feedback from its member national associations as part of a consultation process lasting several months. Then, on 25 January 2013, the Executive Committee decided that the UEFA EURO 2020 final round would be staged in 13 cities around Europe.
  • Israelв's most valuable Muslim ally
    19.09.2014 17:23
    The Jewish Journal has published an article 'Israel's most valuable Muslim ally' by Rabbi Mark Diamond.

    The article reads:

    Jews worldwide will soon mark the onset of a Jewish New Year with the specter of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East. Amid the preponderance of daily bad news, it is uplifting to celebrate narratives of tolerance and respect. Earlier this month, I was one of 12 rabbis meeting with two distinguished Los Angeles-based diplomats, Consul General of Israel David Siegel and Consul General of Azerbaijan Nasimi Aghayev. We broke bread together and discussed our shared goal of shining a positive light on the unique story of Azerbaijan, a Muslim nation that enjoys positive relations with the United States, Israel and its own Jewish community.

    World Jewry has a special relationship with Azerbaijan, home to a nearly 2,000 year-old community of approximately 15,000 Jews. Azerbaijan has been a haven of tolerance and respect of Jews through centuries of persecution and exile in many other countries. It remains so today, a remarkable achievement given the current state of Muslim-Jewish relations in the Middle East and elsewhere. Azerbaijan is a predominately Shia Muslim nation that sits directly north of Iran and has enjoyed more than two decades of diplomatic relations with Israel.

    During the luncheon, we learned a great deal about how and why Azerbaijan invests in and supports its Jewish community and Jewish heritage. The republic is home to one of the largest all-Jewish towns outside Israel, the centuries-old Red Village of Azerbaijan, whose Mountain Jews meet and pray in several stately synagogues. Azerbaijan's capital city of Baku features a state-of-the-art Jewish day school with more than 300 students. Baku's Chabad rabbi, born and raised in Israel, recently decided to become a citizen of Azerbaijan, a nation he is proud to call his new home. Baku has a beautiful new synagogue for the Mountain Jews, built in 2011 and paid for by the Azerbaijan government.

    "Azerbaijan serves as a critical link for outreach to the Muslim world for our partners like the United States and Israel," said Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, addressing American Jewish Committee's 2013 Global Forum in Washington, D.C. His nation's close, friendly relations with Israel are "reinforced by the strong bonds between our peoples."

    Indeed, the foreign minister said, the bilateral relationship goes "well beyond" diplomatic ties. Azerbaijan is Israel's biggest trading partner in the South Caucasus, and some 40 percent of Israel's oil imports come from Azerbaijan.

    We do well to celebrate the bonds that link Azerbaijan and the Jewish people. Our social media is inundated with alarming news about anti-Semitic violence in Germany, France and Belgium, and Islamic terrorism in Gaza, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. Azerbaijan is a rare blessing and a ray of light in our deeply troubled world. It is unfortunate that most Jews have never heard of Azerbaijan and the positive example it could be for other Muslim nations. A nation that has protected its Jews for two millennia and is an ally of Israel and the United States deserves our friendship and support.

    Storytelling lies at the heart of Jewish life, lore and tradition. Jews discuss and debate the Akedah mdash; the narrative of Isaac's near sacrifice mdash; on Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur highlights tales of Temple sacrifice and Jewish martyrdom. This year, let's include the modern-day tale of Azerbaijan, an inspiring true story of harmonious relations between Jews and Muslims. Our world would look much brighter if other nations would emulate Azerbaijan's historic model of peaceful coexistence.
  • Hijab scandal in Azerbaijan
    19.09.2014 17:13
    Several students of the first course were not allowed to the Sumgayit state university because of wearing hijab.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to ANS TV that the vice president for humanitarian issues of the university Nizami Namazov said the following:

    "They have to come to the university without hijabs just like on their ID photos. They are without hijabs on the photos that they submitted to the State Commission for Students' Admission'.

    Sumgayit residents voice different opinions about the issue.

    Some say it is prohibited to attend classes in hijab, while others consider the ban illegal.
  • Russiaв's next land grab
    19.09.2014 17:03
    The US influential New York Times has published an article 'Russia's next land grab' by Brenda Shaffer.

    The article reads as follows:

    Ukraine isn't the only place where Russia is stirring up trouble. Since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Moscow has routinely supported secessionists in bordering states, to coerce those states into accepting its dictates. Its latest such effort is unfolding in the South Caucasus.

    In recent weeks, Moscow seems to have been aggravating a longstanding conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan while playing peacemaking overlord to both. In the first week of August, as many as 40 Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers were reported killed in heavy fighting near their border, just before a summit meeting convened by Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin.

    The South Caucasus may seem remote, but the region borders Russia, Iran and Turkey, and commands a vital pipeline route for oil and natural gas to flow from Central Asia to Europe without passing through Russia. Western officials cannot afford to let another part of the region be digested by Moscow mdash; as they did when Russia separated South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia, just to the north, in a brief war in 2008, and when it seized Crimea from Ukraine this year.

    Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not new. From 1992 to 1994, war raged over which former Soviet republic would control the autonomous area of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region with a large Christian Armenian population of about 90,000 within the borders of largely Muslim Azerbaijan. The conflict has often been framed as "ethnic," but Moscow has fed the antagonisms. That war ended with an Armenian military force, highly integrated with Russia's military, in charge of the zone. The war had killed 30,000 people and made another million refugees.

    Even today, Armenia controls nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, comprising most of Nagorno-Karabakh and several surrounding regions. Despite a cease-fire agreement since 1994, hostilities occasionally flare, and Russian troops run Armenia's air defenses. Moscow also controls key elements of Armenia's economy and infrastructure.

    More to the point, Russia has found ways to keep the conflict alive. Three times in the 1990s, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed peace agreements, but Russia found ways to derail Armenia's participation. (In 1999, for example, a disgruntled journalist suspected of having been aided by Moscow assassinated Armenia's prime minister, speaker of Parliament and other government officials.)

    An unresolved conflict mdash; a "frozen conflict," Russia calls it mdash; gives Russian forces an excuse to enter the region and coerce both sides. Once Russian forces are in place, neither side can cooperate closely with the West without fear of retribution from Moscow.

    The latest violence preceded a summit meeting on Aug. 10 in Sochi, Russia, at which Mr. Putin sought an agreement on deploying additional Russian "peacekeepers" between Armenia and Azerbaijan. On July 31, Armenians began a coordinated, surprise attack in three locations. Azerbaijan's president, Ilham H. Aliyev, and defense minister were outside their country during the attack and Mr. Aliyev had not yet agreed to attend the summit meeting. But the Armenian president, Serzh A. Sargsyan, had agreed to; it's unlikely that his military would have initiated such a provocation without coordinating with Russia. (The meeting went on, without concrete results.)

    Before the meeting, Moscow had been tightening its grip on the South Caucasus, with Armenia's tacit support. Last fall, Armenia's government gave up its ambitions to sign a partnership agreement with the European Union and announced that it would join Moscow's customs union instead.

    Renewed open warfare would give Russia an excuse to send in more troops, under the guise of peacekeeping. Destabilizing the South Caucasus could also derail a huge gas pipeline project, agreed to last December, that might lighten Europe's dependence on Russian fuel.

    But astonishingly, American officials reacted to the current fighting by saying they "welcome" the Russian-sponsored summit meeting. Has Washington learned nothing from Georgia and Ukraine? To prevent escalation of the Caucasus conflict, and deny Mr. Putin the pretext for a new land grab, President Obama should invite the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Washington and show that America has not abandoned the South Caucasus. This would encourage the leaders to resist Russia's pressure. The United Nations General Assembly session, which opens next week, seems like an excellent moment for such a demonstration of support.

    Washington should put the blame on Russia and resist any so-called conflict resolution that leads to deployment of additional Russian troops in the region.

    Finally, the West needs a strategy to prevent Moscow from grabbing another bordering region. Nagorno-Karabakh, however remote, is the next front in Russia's efforts to rebuild its lost empire. Letting the South Caucasus lose its sovereignty to Russia would strike a deadly blow to America's already diminished ability to seek and maintain alliances in the former Soviet Union and beyond.
  • Americaв's lack of leadership is feeding global instability
    19.09.2014 16:54
    The Hill has published an article 'America's lack of leadership is feeding global instability' by Jason Katz.

    The article reads:

    The growth of global instability and volatility is undeniable, so is the need for America's leadership.

    Also puzzling is Washington's reluctance to engage with actual allies, like Azerbaijan.

    However, the problem is not just lack of leadership, but an apparent confusion about actual policies that leadership necessitates. Actions by a superpower (the U.S. is still a superpower) should be realistic and strategic, as well as driven by interest and objective.

    Introduction of elections in Gaza, for instance, produced a terrorist Hamas authority, which repeatedly attacked Israel and, caused death and destruction amongst their own people. Egypt is another example. The radical and bloody Muslim Brotherhood was brought to power by an election.

    Some would argue that voting freely is more important than anything else, while forgetting that security and peace are necessary for that, not to mention that the voters need to be alive.

    Similarly, America's expedited withdrawal from Iraq, half-hearted (some would say half-witted) actions in Syria, half-measured responses to ISIL, and decisive but somewhat pointless intervention in Libya helped deepen divisions and add fuel to civil wars. Should U.S. abandon Afghanistan, again when the outcome is just as predictable?

    Strangely, the U.S makes little distinction between a friend and a foe. Note the increasingly comfortable relationship between Washington and Teheran, this against the background of the former's conspicuous tension with Israel. If there is one lesson the administration can learn from its one time buddy Turkish PM Erdogan is that his policy of "zero problems with neighbors" ended up with having zero neighbors without problems.

    After the 2008 war in Georgia, Washington's insistence on the "reset" policy was seen as a sign of weakness by the Russians, both because of different political mentalities and because it was hard to see it otherwise.

    Also puzzling is Washington's reluctance to engage with actual allies. One example is Azerbaijan, the key player in the fragile geopolitical equilibrium in Eurasia. This fiercely independent country's choice of partners in the currently fluid situation may determine the future of the region. Squeezed by Iran and Russia, Azerbaijan is the nation Georgia depends upon economically, the main westward energy transit route for energy-rich Central Asia and an imperative political partner to all. In this line up of realpolitik posturing, one absentee is the United States.

    Seemingly having learned nothing from the debauchery of the "Arab Spring," Washington is too eager to criticize Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities, no doubt, can be overzealous and the opposition should be treated better. However, even with all its faults, Azerbaijan is scolded more than others much faultier. A good portion of this stems from Armenian activists, who are eager to emphasize Azerbaijan's flaws rather than the spectacular failure of Armenia's statehood. It is hard to see how Armenia can be characterized as an independent state when it is clear that it has evolved to become a vassal state of the Russia and a close ally of Iran.

    These activists are the same people who push for a second Armenian state, also destined to fail. This one in Azerbaijan's Nagorno Karabakh region, internationally recognized as Azerbaijan and illegally occupied by Armenia.

    Negativity gets ratings. From personal attacks to constant and bitter criticism, U.S. tax payer-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) is the champion. Similar to Russia Today's (Russian's very polished and high tech propaganda machine) view of the United States, RFERL sees little that is positive about Azerbaijan. Journalists pursuing an agenda may be understandable. Why this should transpire at tax payer expense to the detriment of U.S. interests is not understandable.

    Unlike Russia Today, which has a clear anti-American mandate, and Al-Jazeera, which covers up Qatari dirty dealings with radicals, RFERL has lost its focus and, depending on the preferences of its language services, purposefully undermines America's relations with other nations.

    Ironically, those criticizing foreign governments for spending money on lobbying to promote stronger ties with U.S. never ask a logical questionhellip; why do the tax-payers spend millions on a major organization in Prague and hire hundreds of foreigners with expat allowances to challenge governments, which are often friendly to us? One may argue that an independent media is a pillar of democracy. Of course, and media freedom throughout Eurasia remains a problem. But the paradox is that neither RFERL nor Russia Today are independent.

    Perhaps, we should break the recent habit of tactical superficiality and conveniently myopic vision, which is harming America's prestige and costing lives worldwide, and return to what has made the U.S. the world's only superpower - strategic and responsible global leadership.

    Katz is the principal of TSG, LLC, a consultancy that advises foreign governments, NGOs and corporations in the realms of strategic communications, politics and policy. He is also the former head of Public Affairs and Public Relations for the American Jewish Committee, based in Los Angeles.
  • Bulgarian President arrives in Azerbaijan
    19.09.2014 16:50
    Baku, September 19 (AzerTAc). President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev has today arrived in Azerbaijan.

    A guard of honor was lined up for the Bulgarian President at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport decorated with the national flags of the two countries.

    President Rosen Plevneliev was welcomed by Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev and other officials.
  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife enjoy panorama of Baku
    19.09.2014 16:48
    Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu and his wife watched the panorama of Baku.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to APA that the Prime Minister, who is on an official visit to Azerbaijan, showed the places to see in Baku to his wife Sarah Davutoglu.

    Then the Prime Minister and his wife made '‹'‹a memorable photo on the background of the Caspian Sea.

    The Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu is on an official visit to Azerbaijan. During the visit, Davutoglu visited the Alley of Martyrs and Honor and memorial of Turkish Martyrs.

    Ahmet Davutoglu visited the grave of the national leader Heydar Aliyev at the Alley of Honors. The representative of Turkey will hold a series of meetings in Baku.
  • Fresh lava covers Nishinoshima Island
    19.09.2014 16:33
    Baku, September19 (AzerTAc). The Japan Coast Guard has confirmed that fresh lava flows have almost covered Nishinoshima Island south of Tokyo.

    Nishinoshima's latest eruption began from the southeast seabed in November last year. The island is located about 900 kilometres from Tokyo. The new lava vent in the sea soon made a bridge to the original island.

    The Coast Guard's aerial survey on Thursday found several new craters in the middle of the island.

    Three craters were observed shooting lava and cinders 100 meters into the air, with smoke reaching roughly 1,500 meters. Lava rocks have piled up more than 50 meters high.

    Molten magma has flowed north from the craters, covering most of the original island.

    The emergence of the new lava-spewing craters has slightly expanded the size of the island over the past month.

    Nishinoshima currently measures 1,550 meters east to west and 1,450 meters north to south. It's approximately 7 times larger than before the eruption.

    A Coast Guard official says ships operating around the island need to remain on the alert for any sudden changes in volcanic activity.
  • Growing Religious Extremism: The Good News And Bad News From Azerbaijan
    19.09.2014 16:32
    The Daily Caller has published an article 'The Good News and Bad News from Azerbaijan' by Asim Mollazade.

    The Honorable Asim Mollazade is a member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Milli Majlis), Chairman of the Democratic Reforms party and President of the Euro-Atlantic Center.

    The Honorable Asim Mollazade is a member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Milli Majlis), Chairman of the Democratic Reforms party and President of the Euro-Atlantic Center.

    Of late, prolific information, commentary and rhetoric about contemporary religious extremism is bantered back and forth in the global media and throughout social media. Much is true, deeply disturbing and frightening. Many are threats to the national security of freedom-loving nations, including my nation, Azerbaijan.

    The world is, indeed, facing dire circumstances, compounded and exacerbated by a lack of leadership and will by some to stop these religious extremists. Our reality is that ISIL, or whatever the correct acronym is this week, is shaping up to be the first actual terrorist state, as they march their way through Syria and Iraq, torturing, maiming and killing Muslims and Christians alike. In addition, stark examples of ingrained anti-Semitism are rearing their ugly heads in Europe once again after relative silence following WWII.

    It sometimes feels like the world is at war with itself and that there is no end in sight. Much of the strife is blamed on Muslims and sadly all Muslims. The world looks at bonafide threats like ISIL and applies their actions and that of other terrorist groups to me and my nation. We are staggered by the growing anti-Semitism worldwide, as anti-Semitic actions, rants and beliefs are applied to me and my country.

    Azerbaijan is, indeed, a Muslim-majority nation. We are proud Muslims and we cherish our religion. However, I am not sure that I can remember an instance of an Azerbaijani suicide bomber or the like, save the occasional and very unfortunate incident of Azerbaijanis planning "bad deeds" after being coopted by some of my nation's less progressive neighbors.

    Azerbaijan is a Muslim-majority nation, yet unlike some others, we have a vibrant and emerging democracy. Is it perfect? I can tell you as a member of parliament that it is not. But what is perfect in this life?

    Azerbaijan, however, emerged from the ashes of the long dysfunctional Soviet Union to become a parliamentary democracy. It bears noting that before the Red Army marched into Baku in 1920, Azerbaijan had established the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world. After the fall of the Soviet Union, we continued where we left off.

    Historically, Azerbaijan is a leader and innovator in the Islamic and Turkic world, the Muslim-majority nation that established the first democratic republic and the first secular state with a multi-party parliament. As early as 1918, Azerbaijan enfranchised women mdash; even before the United States and some European countries entitled women to vote. Azerbaijan always synthesized its own cultural values '‹'‹with European and Western ones. Therefore, it was Azerbaijan where the Islamic world's first symphony orchestra, opera, ballet and jazz music emerged. It also was the first Muslim nation that "allowed" women to be involved in cinema. The first female teacher in the Islamic world was in Azerbaijan as well.

    Why have Azerbaijan's values been and continue to be so closely aligned with the West? The answer is education and a worldview. Up until the 1930's Azerbaijan produced 60 percent of the world's oil. In the late 19th century - the early 20th century, "the oil factor" enabled young Azerbaijanis to receive education in the best European and Russian universities. Azerbaijanis have always understood that educated youth is the key to society's progress and, therefore, Azerbaijan has been investing in education.

    Our young nation has dealt with much adversity, yet we have always held to our traditions of tolerance and the rule of law. Our independence has hard fought and we were left with much to modernize and much to build following our independence. It was though the deft leadership of then-president Heydar Aliyev and now President Ilham Aliyev that we were able to parlay our oil and gas revenues into real prosperity for our people.
  • Turkey aims to increase trade turnover with Azerbaijan to 15 bn
    19.09.2014 16:14
    "All ongoing projects can be successfully implemented."

    We aim to increase trade turnover with Azerbaijan up to $ 15 bn.

    Oxu.Az reports citing SalamNews that according to Anadolu, it was declared by Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu,.

    "We will continue to support all regional and international projects in Azerbaijan. All ongoing projects can be successfully implemented and will open the way to large-scale works. We aim to ensure that a $ 5 bn turnover with Azerbaijan to increase up to $ 15 bn by 2023," Davutoglu said.
  • Moldovaв's Day of Independence marked in Baku
    19.09.2014 16:00
    Baku, September 19 (AzerTAc). Moldova's Embassy in Azerbaijan hosted a reception marking the 23rd anniversary of state independence of the country.

    Addressing the event, Moldovan ambassador to Azerbaijan Igor Bodiu provided an insight into the history of Moldova. The Ambassador said a strong legal base has been created for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Moldova, adding there was greater potential for successful development of relations in the fields of economy and energy.

    The diplomat said Moldova as a suffering country from separatism supports settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders and norms and principles of international law.

    Azerbaijan`s Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Salim Muslumov on behalf of President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the Moldovan people.

    "Azerbaijan fully supports territorial integrity of Moldova," said the minister. He highlighted close relations between the two countries, adding stressing there is larger potential for boosting cooperation in economic field.

    The event brought together State and Governmental officials, MPs, representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in Azerbaijan.
  • Combat aircrafts of Turkish Air Forces arrived in Azerbaijan to join the tactical exercises
    19.09.2014 15:55
    Baku, September 19 (AzerTAc). Combat aircraft and helicopters of the Turkish Air Forces arrived in Azerbaijan to join the next stage of the joint tactical exercises, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said.

    The next stage of the exercises on September 19 will be attended by more than 30 air crafts of Azerbaijan and Turkey, in particular, the fighters "MIG-24", "F-16" military transport aircraft ""Su-25", "C-130 Herkules", helicopter gunships "Mi-24", "AH-1W Super Cobra" and military transport helicopter "Mi-17" and "Sikorski UH-60".

    During the military exercises it will be carried out the task of planning joint activities of Air Forces of two countries, explore the possibilities of joint action and coordination to conduct combat operations, in particular the destruction of ground targets with air strikes.
  • Seyidov: Resolutions covering pressure against Azerbaijan have never worked
    19.09.2014 15:46
    ''Maybe the terms of sovereignty and rule of law have been removed from the European Parliament and weв're unaware it?''

    "The resolution adopted by the European Parliament regarding Azerbaijan in fact is about itself rather than Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, while observing what is happening in the European Parliament, we witness that the European values and universal principles are being violated in the European Parliament itself, the most significant structure of Europe", Vice President of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Head of Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE, Chairman of International and Interparliamentary Relations Committee of the Azerbaijani Parliament Samad Seyidov told APA while commenting on the EP's recently adopted resolution regarding Azerbaijan.

    Seyidov said that if this were not so, the EP's resolutions would have led to peace, reconciliation and development of Europe.

    "However, due to its resolutions, Ukraine is in a crisis today, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia has been violated and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict actually remains frozen. In fact, the region is facing very serious and dangerous processes. Moldova's problems are worsening day by day and the number of extremist forces in Europe is increasing. The basic principle of the European Parliament is to work toward peace, development, democracy, human rights and rule of law. So, if everything absolutely works in reverse as a result of its activity why it should be considered that we have benefited from the resolutions adopted regarding Azerbaijan and they will force Azerbaijan to take steps that will serve human rights and the rule of law", he said.

    Seyidov said the decision adopted is in fact a resolution aimed at damaging the rule of law.

    "Because it means that no one can interfere in the decisions adopted by a state and its parliament. To be honest, I've got to say a representative from the Czech Republic stated during discussions around the adoption of the decision there that Azerbaijan is an independent and sovereign country, the European Parliament does not have the authority to force Azerbaijan to accept the concept and the domestic affairs of Azerbaijan must be respected. But see what the concept finally arose: "Change the laws, the persons under investigation should be freed from all the chargesmdash;although there's no result yet and the investigation continuesmdash;and released. But the perpetrators of any act must be arrested immediately". In what language is it written? Maybe the terms of sovereignty and rule of law have been removed from the European Parliament and we're unaware it?"

    Mr Seyidov also said the resolution had initially been proposed by a very small portion of the European Parliament although it was later adopted: "What's the most interesting is that none of the representatives of the parties involved in the adoption of the resolution has ever been in Azerbaijan, not even for once. They're completely unconscious of what's going on here".

    He said the document adopted by the European Parliament was proposed by those who are under the direct influence of the Armenian lobby: "The main reason for the pressure against Azerbaijan is that the country is taking steps not under the instructions of the West, East or others but in accordance with the interests of its people."

    Seyidov also added: "It is not occasional that this resolution was adopted on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century in Azerbaijan and it is a great strategic game: "This pressure is due to entirely false information on Azerbaijan provided by the Armenian lobby and parliamentarians under the influence of the Armenian lobby".

    Seyidov emphasized that the adoption of such a resolution on the eve of the PACE President's visit to Azerbaijan is not correct and said that resolutions covering pressure against Azerbaijan have never worked and will never work.

    The EP has adopted a resolution on Azerbaijan. The resolution called on the Azerbaijani government to carry out serious reforms in the field of human rights, to stop attacks against civil society organizations, opposition parties and independent journalists, to lift the ban on freedom of assembly. Immediate and unconditional release of a group of human rights defenders was also demanded. It was stressed that the protection of human rights and freedoms is needed for the cooperation with Azerbaijan.
  • Sobyanin to come to Baku
    19.09.2014 15:28
    Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin will make a visit to Azerbaijan soon. reports with reference to that according to diplomatic sources he will come to Baku with a large delegation of his deputies and representatives of business establishment.

    The discussion of partnership and cooperation issues between Azerbaijan and Russian Federation is planned.

    Besides, the signing of the memorandum between governments of Moscow and Azerbaijan is expected.

    It is envisaged that within the framework of his visit the mayor will be received by the Head of the State.
  • New well put in operation in Caspian Sea
    19.09.2014 15:25
    The daily output of the well rates 6 tons.

    Well в„-675 was put in operation on the platform в„-670 ("Bank of Darwin" field).

    Oxu.Az reports that, according to SOCAR, the daily output in the range of 1485-1469 meters rates 6 tons.

    The works were carried by Complex Drilling Works Trust Company.

    The well was drilled by order of "Absheronneft" OGPD.
  • Korean magazine publishes extensive article about Azerbaijan
    19.09.2014 15:19
    An extensive article about Azerbaijan has been issued in the magazine ''Leader of the next generation'', which is published by Korean web portal SISA Report.

    The article titled "Azerbaijan - Land of Fires" provides a wide coverage of Azerbaijan's history, culture, economy, and tourism potential, the press service of the Azerbaijani Embassy in the Republic of Korea told APA.

    The article gives information about the etymology of the word Azerbaijan, the country's ancient history, its world-famous cultural figures, economic achievements in recent years, the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and its consequences, Icherisheher, Gobustan National Park, Palace of the Shirvanshahs and other tourism sites attracting tourists.
  • ANAMA completes mine/UXO clearance operations in Gabala radar station
    19.09.2014 15:19
    36 anti-tank, 16 antipersonnel mines and one UXO were found during the operations.

    Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has completed the mine/UXO clearance operations in the territory of Gabala radar station, chief operation manager of ANAMA Samir Poladov told APA.

    Poladov said the operations were fully completed in August. ANAMA inspected 230 hectares of area around the station.

    36 anti-tank, 16 antipersonnel mines and one UXO were found during the operations.

    Gabala RLS, established in 1984 as a missile defense system of the USSR, possesses the ability to take launch of ballistic missiles over the Indian Ocean - 6000 km radius under its control and put into operation in 1985.

    The agreement on "The status, principles and terms of Gabala RLS between the Azerbaijani Government and Russian Government" was signed in 2002. Russia suspended the station's exploitation on December 10, 2012; the station was fully handed over to Azerbaijan in 2013.
  • Bill on weddings discussed
    19.09.2014 15:15
    "All restaraunts pollute the environment."

    Milli Majlis will prepare a bill in connection with the rules of wedding ceremonies in Azerbaijan.

    Oxu.Az reports citing Qafqazinfo that the statement came from the chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations, Deputy Executive Secretary of the "Yeni Azerbaijan" Party (NAP) Mubariz Gurbanli speaking to journalists of Trend.

    Gurbanli believes that Azerbaijani people themselves can make a big change in the wedding ceremony, but the introduction of laws is also possible in this area:

    "How can this be done? Firstly, in wedding ceremonies it is necessary to define the permitted limit of the volume of music using amplifiers. Secondly, a certain wedding menu should be in restaurants. Wedding organizer can order dishes from the menu, or to choose other dishes. Third, all the restaraunts violate the environment.

    The smoke that is generated in the preparation of a shish kebab negatively affects the environment. And it must be considered and controlled. Currently we are working on this issue in the Milli Majlis, the bill is planned to be prepared. Regulation of weddings has become a social need. "

    Mubariz Gurbanli is a deputy of Milli Majlis of the first, second, third and fourth convocation. According to the decree of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev dated July 21, 2014, he was appointed the chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations
  • Mild quake hits Lankaran District
    19.09.2014 14:54
    Baku, September 19 (AzerTAc). A magnitude 4.5 earthquake today occurred 19 km the north-west of Lankaran District at 03:29 local time.

    According to the Seismological Service of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, the earthquake had a depth of 18 kilometres.

    Tremors have not been felt.
  • Ilham Aliyev receives President of European Olympic Committees
    19.09.2014 14:04
    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey.

    The sides praised the progress of preparations for the first European Games to be held in Baku in 2015.

    The importance of government attention to the development of all sports in Azerbaijan was emphasized, AzerTag reports.

    The parties discussed the issues related to international cooperation in the field of sport.
  • Turkish Prime Minister visits tomb of national leader Heydar Aliyev
    19.09.2014 13:43
    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is visiting Azerbaijan.

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has today visited the Alley of Honors to lay a wreath at the tomb of national leader, founder and architect of modern Azerbaijani state Heydar Aliyev.

    The Turkish Prime Minister also put flowers at the grave of prominent ophthalmologist, academician Zarifa Aliyeva.
  • ''Azerspace-1" satellite expands broadcast of Turkish TV channels
    19.09.2014 13:40
    Azerkosmos began airing five other Turkish TV channels through the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to APA-Economics that according to the Ministry of Communications and High Tech, the broadcast of the Turkish channel Kanal D, STAR TV, TV8, ATV, Show TV is carried at a frequency of 11046-H (EU) by Azerspace-1 satellite. Thus, the total number of TV channels that are broadcast over Azerspace-1 reached 126.
  • EU Minister promotes Turkeyв's new EU strategy
    19.09.2014 13:16
    Turkeyв's EU Minister Volkan BozkД±r (R) shakes hands with former European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan FГјle in Brussels.

    Turkey has outlined a new strategy to secure accession to the European Union that vows determination in the political reform process, continuity in socio-economic transformation during the process, and effectiveness in communication, Hurriyet Daily reports.

    "Prioritizing Turkey's interests and the benefits of the citizens, the new strategy will lead to a boost in the reform process and the establishment of new communication channels between Turkey and the EU," said a written statement from the EU Ministry on Sept. 18.

    The European Union Strategy will go into effect upon the adoption of the National Action Plan for EU Accession and the European Union Communications Strategy in November and will be the first step for the "concrete commitment" declared by the new government, said the ministry's strategy paper.

    The European Union Strategy consists of the following parts: the political reform process, socio-economic transformation in the accession process and EU communication strategy, according to the paper.

    The strategy paper outlined the road map as follows:

    - The National Action Plan for EU Accession will be implemented in two periods: the first period will last until 2015 and the second will cover the period of 2015 to 2019. Determining the concrete and priority steps required in each negotiation chapter, the action plan consists of three parts; namely the harmonization of primary legislation, the harmonization of secondary legislation and institution building and others.

    - Although fundamental laws and pieces of legislation have already been repealed or amended, all legislation bearing the imprints of the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, will be reviewed in detail under the work for a new Constitution. The new charter will pave the way for the initiatives that Turkey needs by expanding the scope of politics and removing the imprints of the military tutelage.

    - Although the relevant screening reports have not been conveyed to Turkey, the country will steadfastly continue a comprehensive reform agenda in all areas covered by the political criteria and accession chapters 23 and 24, such as freedom of expression, institutionalization in the field of human rights, border management, organized crimes and the management of migration.

    - The work of the Reform Monitoring Group (RMG) and the Political Affairs Subcommittee (SIYAK) will be intensified in the upcoming period for the preparation of new reform packages.

    - All necessary steps will be taken for the successful conclusion of a visa liberalization process.

    - Adopting legislation is not sufficient for harmonization with the EU. Upcoming reforms will not only focus on new legal arrangements but also on enhancing the implementation capacity.

    - The National Action Plan for the EU Accession will address Turkey's priorities in continuing and enhancing socio-economic change and identify the legislation to be harmonized in addition to the areas of action for improving administrative structures in proper implementation.

    - The communication strategy has two dimensions. The first one is communication at home which aims to solidify the domestic perception of the EU process as a modernization project that improves living standards of Turkish people. Such a perception will ensure the support of all segments of society for the adoption and proper implementation of the reforms.

    The second dimension of the strategy addresses the international community in a bid to showcase facts about Turkey to mold a correct perception within EU public opinion. This dimension will help establish a trust in terms of Turkey's commitment and self-confidence in the EU process.

    Minister regrets own lsquo;progress reports' on Turkey

    EU Minister Volkan BozkД±r, speaking meanwhile to reporters in Brussels Sept. 18, regretted earlier "progress reports" from Turkey that were announced in 2012 and 2013 in reaction to the EU.

    "Turkey's own progress reports do not have any value regarding the system," he said, noting that the upcoming report should be functional both for the EU and Turkey. An "inappropriate tone" in the report could cause more problems, he warned.
  • Azerbaijan starts export of metal goods to UK
    19.09.2014 13:12
    Garadag Metalworks plant plans to enter British market.

    According to Kenan Maharramov, Production Manager, the plant exports its production to Turkey and Kazakhstan and now is holding negotiations to organize supplies to other post-Soviet countries, as well as to UK, reports.

    "Every month the plant produces 3,000 - 5,000 tons of metal goods. Starting from early this year production has increased by 25-30%. We plan to continue increasing our production in future", - Maharramov said.

    The plant was constructed by means of a preferential loan provided by the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support operating under the Azerbaijan's Ministry of Economy and Industry. The loan amount totaled AZN 10 million.
  • Armenians violate ceasefire
    19.09.2014 11:46
    The enemy fired at our positions.

    Yesterday and last night the Armenian armed units fired at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces in several directions.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to Ministry of Defence that yesterday and last night the Armenian armed units fired at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces from positions near the Yusifjanli, Garagashli, Merzili villages of Agdam district and Kuropatkino village of Khojavend district and from positions on the nameless heights.

    The enemy was silenced by response fire.
  • Russia, Ukraine, EU to hold gas talks September 26 in Berlin
    19.09.2014 11:38
    Russia, Ukraine and EU will hold talks September 26 in Berlin, this date suits every party, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the reporters.

    "On September 26 in Berlin," Novak said answering the question about the date of the trilateral gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and EU, RIA Novosti reports.

    "Our position remains the same: the November-December [ed. 2013] debt-servicing, partial debt-servicing for May and April, in total approximately two billion dollars," the Minister noted.

    Moscow and Kiev are still unable to agree on the price of Russian gas for Ukraine. Russia proposes to establish a temporary price of 385 dollars per thousand cubic meters for the period of consideration of the mutual claims of Gazprom and Naftogaz.

    In mid-June, Russia's Gazprom introduced a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive gas debt of around $5.3 billion. On September 3, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said Kiev offered Russia two options on gas price: $300 per 1,000 cubic meters during the summer and $380 during the winter. In response to Yatsenyuk's statement, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would only agree on a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, and would resume cooperation on the issue no sooner than the debt is repaid.
  • IAEA report confirms Iran commitment: Najafi
    19.09.2014 10:28
    Iranв's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says a report by the agency confirms Tehran's commitment to a deal between Iran and the P5 1 group reached in November.

    "The recent report by the IAEA Director General (Yukiya Amano) which confirmed no violations in Iran's nuclear energy program is a clear evidence for Iran's cooperation and fulfillment of its commitments," Reza Najafi said on Thursday, according to Press TV.

    The Iranian official further refuted allegations that Iran's nuclear energy program "has military dimensions," saying the Islamic Republic of Iran does not consider such claims valid.

    Najafi made the remarks after Laura Kennedy, the US representative at the IAEA, claimed, "Concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program must be addressed as part of any comprehensive" deal between Iran and the six powers.

    Iran and the IAEA signed a joint statement on November 11, 2013, to outline a roadmap for mutual cooperation on certain outstanding nuclear issues.

    On May 21, the two sides held a technical meeting within the Framework for Cooperation agreed in November 2013. During the meeting, they agreed to five practical measures which were to be implemented by August 25.

    On September 15, Amano confirmed that Iran had enforced three of the five transparency measures it had previously agreed to, and said Tehran and the IAEA had begun talks on the implementation of the two remaining measures.

    Earlier this month, Najafi said given the complexity of the issues, Iran and the agency had already predicted it might not be possible to finish their reviews of the remaining issues by August 25.

    Last November, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Germany signed an interim deal in Geneva, which took effect on January 20 and expired six months later. In July, Iran and the six countries agreed to extend negotiations until November 24 this year after they failed to reach common ground on a number of key issues.
  • Ankara, Berlin should cooperate more against ISIL, German minister
    19.09.2014 09:39
    Germanyв's Minister of Interior Thomas de Maiziere has said Ankara and Berlin are cooperating against the threat posed by the Islamic State.

    "The Turkish government has recently taken a clear, tough stance against ISIL. I would like to stress that. Our cooperation to prevent radicals using Turkey as a transit country is good, but it should be even better," de Maiziere told Hürriyet during a meeting with Muslim community leaders in Germany, Hurriyet Daily reports.

    Zekeriya AltuДџ, the foreign affairs manager of the Diyanet Turkish Islamic Union (DД°TД°B), and Aiman Mazyek, the head of Muslims' Central Council (ZMD), were also present at the meeting.

    "We need to share intelligence on the travel movements of jihadists. This is very costly work. Intelligence agencies should cooperate on this issue. We talked about it during my visit," de Maiziere added.

    When de Maiziere visited Turkey last month, reports on Germany's spying on Ankara dominated the news agenda.

    Speaking on Sept. 18, he also said Berlin holds "deep respect" for Turkey for accepting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and that he "wholeheartedly supports" Ankara's efforts in the peace process with Kurds. "It is a positive development that the ISIL issue accelerated this process," he added.

    Of nearly four million Muslims in Germany, only around 6,000 are "radicals," de Maiziere estimated, but he warned that although the ratio might be small, the number is still large.

    He stated that the German government had banned all of ISIL's activities and had worked to raise public awareness of the group.

    "According to our predictions, some 400 young people in Germany are radicalized enough to carry the terror to Syria and Iraq after being deceived by a wrong call. Some of them have probably returned home already. We need the help of the Muslims in Germany on the issue," de Maiziere added.
  • Elman Abdullayev appointed as Azerbaijani Ambassador to Ethiopia
    19.09.2014 08:56
    President Ilham Aliyev has issued an order on appointment of Elman Abdullayev as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

    The President has also issued an order on conferment of diplomatic rank of the Second Class Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on E. Abdullayev.

    E. Abdullayev was head of press service of the Foreign Ministry.
  • Qarabag claim first point in UEFA Europa League group stage
    19.09.2014 00:20
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). Azerbaijan`s football champions Qarabag Agdam have been held to a goalless home draw by French Saint-Etienne in their opener in the UEFA Europa League Group F.

    Qarabag missed several attempts on goal denied by Saint-Etienne`s goalkeeper Ruffier.

    In the group`s other match, Italian Inter Milan beat Ukrainian Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0.
  • Montenegrin PM embarks on official Azerbaijan visit
    18.09.2014 22:54
    Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Dukanovic on Sept. 17 has arrived in Azerbaijan for an official visit.

    A guard of honor was lined up for the Montenegrin Premier at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport decorated with the national flags of the two countries.

    PM Milo Dukanovic was welcomed by Azerbaijan`s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov and other officials.

  • Montenegrin Prime Minister visits Heydar Aliyev Center
    18.09.2014 22:10
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Dukanovic has today visited the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

    The Premier was informed about the grandiose facility. All conditions have been created at the Center to host official receptions, various international conferences and meetings. The Center was put into operation on 90th anniversary of Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev.

    The Premier also reviewed the cars that Heydar Aliyev used during his leadership of Azerbaijan from 1969 to 2003.

    The Prime Minister has also viewed the exhibition "Azerbaijani Pearls". The exhibition features unique artifacts on the long history, cultural heritage, inexhaustible natural resources of Azerbaijan, as well as economic projects realized since the country`s independence.

    Dukanovic signed the Guest Book.
  • Baku, Tehran to establish joint working groups, investment committee
    18.09.2014 21:50
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). The expansion of relations between Baku and Tehran was the main matter of discussions between Azerbaijani and Iranian officials in Tehran.

    Azerbaijani delegation led by Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev Azerbaijani delegation included representatives of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic's Supreme Assembly, State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), Azerenerji JSC and the ministries of foreign affairs, transport and emergency situations, who arrived in Tehran to discuss bilateral relations with Iran in energy, oil, customs, agriculture, tourism and transportation.

    During the meeting with Mustafayev, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for expansion of cordial relations between Tehran and Baku, IRNA news agency reported.

    Referring to the two countries' ancient-old historical relations, President Rouhani underscored that the mutual ties could be expanded in economic, political and cultural areas.

    Describing terrorism as a very dangerous threat for the regional countries, President Rouhani underlined that terrorism is a contagious disease, which is stationed behind the borderlines of the countries. He added that if the regional countries do not remain united, every moment these germs (terrorists) may enter into their states.

    Mustafayev, for his part, underscored that Azerbaijan and Iran have witnessed expansion of relations during the recent months.

    He also guaranteed that no threat would pose Iran from the Azerbaijani soil.

    Mustafayev also stressed that Azerbaijan stands ready to cooperate with Iran in the areas of water supply, electricity, transport, and trade.

    Meanwhile, Iran's Economy and Finance Minister Ali Tayebnia and Mustafayev agreed to establish a joint investment committee in a meeting.

    Mustafayev stressed development of all-out ties between the two countries.

    Tayebnia, in turn, said Iran is committed to increase its current $500-million-trade exchange with Azerbaijan.

    He added that Iranian investors are ready to help Baku to reconstruct its infrastructure including roads, plants and dams.

    Mustafayev for his part welcomed expansion of ties between the two neighboring states and invited Tayebnia and Iranian investors to pay a visit to the country to become familiar with its investment opportunities.

    Also, new areas for the further development of ties in different sectors were explored during the meeting of Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi and Mustafayev.

    The Azerbaijani minister said the two countries are after improving mutual cooperation in all fields, especially in diplomatic areas.

    He further noted that the team comprising 23 individuals is trying to mature mutual cooperation between the two countries.

    The visit is also aimed at pursuing the implementation of the agreements reached by the 9th Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission in Baku in August.

    Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.

    Data from the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan shows that trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $281.03 million in 2013, which is 6.13 percent higher than 2012. The figure stood at $263.785 million in 2012.
  • Azerbaijani State councilor meets British delegation
    18.09.2014 21:05
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). Azerbaijani State councilor on multinational, multicultural and religious affairs Kamal Abdullayev has today met British MPs Tony Baldry, Peter James and Professor at the University of East Anglia, founder and rector of the London Diplomatic Academy Nabil Ayad.

    Kamal Abdullayev spoke about multiculturalism and tolerance in Azerbaijan which became an integral part of state policy by national leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev. He also praised establishment of the service of the State Councilor as a symbol of government's attention to this field.

    The British delegation hailed Azerbaijan`s stability in national, religious and ethnic spheres. They stressed that most of world countries and international organizations pursue a dual policy in settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The British MPs said that they plan to organize a conference dedicated to the Khojaly tragedy in London.

    The Azerbaijani state councilor underlined the activity of Heydar Aliyev Foundation in promotion of Azerbaijani realities to the world. He expressed his gratitude to the British delegation for their support in this field.
  • Azerbaijani athletes claim 2 medals at European 'Special Olympics' summer games
    18.09.2014 21:00
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). Two Azerbaijani athletes have won medals at the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

    Niyazi Ismayilov claimed the gold medal, while Zaur Eyvazov grabbed the silver medal in badminton.

    The event will host two thousands athletes from Europe and Eurasia between 2 and 20 September in Antwerp.

    The games use sports to help those with intellectual disabilities to better integrate in society, and give them the opportunity to interact with others.

    Athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in ten sports, including football, judo, or swimming. But basketball and table tennis teams will be consist of persons with and without intellectual disabilities.

    The Special Olympics event is officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee. It has been dubbed the "games of the heart" because it is meant to be more than just a sports event.
  • Albanian-Udi Christian Community head in Azerbaijan receives ''Shohrat'' Order
    18.09.2014 20:40
    Baku, September 18 (AzerTAc). President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has signed an Order to confer "Shohrat" (Glory) Order upon the head of the Albanian-Udi Christian Community Robert Mobili for his contribution to Azerbaijan's social sphere.

    The State Committee on Work with Religious Associations (SCWRA) has held an event to confer "Shohrat" (Glory) Order upon Robert Mobili.

    Heads of religious confessions in Azerbaijan were present at the event.

    SCWRA chairman Mubariz Qurbanly noted that representatives of all nations and religions live in peace and friendship in Azerbaijan for centuries. He said, it is very positive that historically no conflicts based on the religious differences occurred in Azerbaijan.

    The Committee head noted, since Azerbaijan's independence the government takes care of restoration of churches. One of the most ancient churches in the Caucasus, the Kish Temple in Shaki was restored in 2003. One of the three Christian temples in Gabala region's Nij settlement - Saint Yelisey's Chotari church has underwent a major overhaul in 2006.

    SCWRA chairman noted that Nij settlement where Udis community resides also is going through the construction and renovation. President Ilham Aliyev has visited this settlement two times in the last decade, which is a vivid proof of the state's care to this community.

    Head of the Albanian Udi Christian Community Robert Mobili thanked President Ilham Aliyev. He noted that 170 years ago Russian Czar gave Albanian church to the Armenian-Gregorian church. However, Udis managed to preserve their own language, culture and their faith. Thus, they refused attending the church, worshipping in their houses. During the Soviet era religious worshipping experienced numerous pressures. Since Azerbaijan's independence the Udis had a revival.

    During the event, heads of religious confessions in Azerbaijan made speeches congratulating Robert Mobili and wishing him every success.
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