New minister to restart talks

PanArmenian Network, Armenia
April 8 2004


Dismissal of Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan may affect the Karabakh

Elmar Mamedyarov is a career diplomat, 42 years old. He was born in
the village of Yadji, Ordubad region of Nakhichevan. His father is an
academician, director of the Institute of Biology. He has graduated
from Kiev’s Institute for International Relations, where Mikhail
Sahakashvili has also studied. Mamedyarov works in the MFA system
from 1992. He is close enough to Ilham Aliyev. He was appointed
Ambassador in Italy when Ilham Aliyev was in fact governing the
country. He stayed in Italy for half a year. He has never been noted
during his career in the MFA that is why his appointment seemed a
little bit strange.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The appointment was more unexpected because
Mamedyarov is not very aware of the process of Karabakh settlement
and. The pro-governmental Baku press says he has written few
analytical articles on Karabakh settlement and has had lectures on
this subject. However, it is not enough to carry negotiations. He has
worked neither with the Minsk group co-chairmen nor even with the
Azeri diplomats involved in the process. Thus, Mamedyarov’s
appointment will hardly be a good proof of the fact that Aliyev
really wants to restart the talks. The leader of the National Front
Party of Azerbaijan Ali Kerimli said recently that Mamedyarov would
not have any political weight and the foreign policy would be totally
conducted by Ilham Aliyev personally. Evidently, he is right.

We shall note that the former Minister was dismissed immediately
after the regional visit of the US Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage. The observers in Baku presume that while being the
Councilor of the Azerbaijani Embassy in the U.S., Mamedyarov had had
certain contacts with him. So, they believe he is Armitage’s protégé.

Why did Ilham Aliyev dismiss Vilayat Guliyev? It should be noted that
Guliyev was appointed in 2000 when conclusion of an agreement on
Karabakh was being outlined. Then Heydar Aliyev needed an experienced
political figure on the post of the Foreign Minister who would be
able to prepare the public opinion in favor of the agreement based on
Parisian principles. Guliyev matched very well. Now Baku carried out
a harsher political course and Ilham Aliyev does not want Guliyev any
more. Besides, an experienced political figure in the staff of a
President-beginner would be dangerous.

Dismissal of Guliyev was stipulated also by the backstage
confrontation of two commanding clans – the Nakhichevani group and
the clan of politicians and officials coming from Armenia and
Karabakh. Mamedyarov represents the Nakhichevani group, while
Guliyev’s origins are from Shoushi. The observers think that after
Guliyev’s dismissal the career of other officials coming from Armenia
– state Advisor to the President Idayat Orujev, Health Minister Ali
Insanov and Minister of Education Misir Mardanov will also suffer. At
the same, the positions of the informal leader of the Nakhichevani
clan, head of the president’s administration Ramiz Mehtiyev have
strengthened recently. He has become a power broker in the staff of
Ilham Aliyev.