BAKU: NK issue on Agenda

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
May 26 2004

NAGORNO-KARABAKH ISSUE ON AGENDA
[May 26, 2004, 21:54:55]

A regular meeting of the PACE Political Affairs Committee was
held in Paris on May 25. Azerbaijan was represented by Chairman
of the Standing Committee of the Milli Majlis on International and
Inter-parliamentary Relations Samad Seyidov, deputy Vagif Vakilov and
Head of the Permanent Representation of Azerbaijan to the Council of
Europe, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev.

During the meeting, PACE rapporteur on Armenia-Azerbaijan,
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Terry Davis announced that the text of his
related report is not yet prepared, and that that would be submitted
for discussion after amendments based on Azerbaijan and Armenian
remarks have been studied and introduced in the report.

Meanwhile, Mr. Davis admitted that his last meeting in Warsaw with
Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Robert Kocharyan of Armenia,
as well as a number meetings between the two countries’ Foreign
Ministers, and change in composition of the OSCE Minsk Group had
given him confidence in achieving certain progress in the settlement
of the conflict.

It should be specially noted that the issue remains in the agenda,
and the Azerbaijani side is insisting on and will do achieve prompt
consideration of the problem at the PACE session.

USA not supporting investment, trade in Karabakh,envoy in Azerbaijan

USA not supporting investment, trade in Karabakh, envoy in Azerbaijan says

Lider TV, Baku
26 May 04

[Presenter] US ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish has commented
on opinions about the joint work of US companies [with Armenians]
in Nagornyy Karabakh today.

[Harnish, speaking to microphone in English, with Azeri voice-over]
The US does not support investment or trade in Nagornyy Karabakh. The
only real answer for the Nagornyy Karabakh [problem] is a just lasting
and negotiated solution.

BAKU: Azeri defence chief, US envoy discuss military cooperation

Azeri defence chief, US envoy discuss military cooperation

Bilik Dunyasi news agency
26 May 04

Baku, 26 May: Azerbaijani Defence Minister Safar Abiyev received
yesterday [25 May] US ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish. The
minister expressed deep satisfaction regarding close cooperation
with the US government. A few days ago, Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev presented the NATO secretary-general with a plan of individual
cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO in Brussels.

“We are seriously preparing for the Cooperative Best Effort-2004
exercises to be held within the framework of NATO’s Partnership for
Peace Programme in Baku this autumn. Azerbaijan’s integration into
NATO bodies is continuing successfully.

According to Harnish, a new stage of cooperation has started between
Azerbaijan and NATO.

“The image of your country is improving on an international level day
by day. Azerbaijan’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Afghanistan and
Iraq enhance the country’s status in the world. These activities will
yield positive results in the Karabakh conflict,” the ambassador said.

Then the sides exchanged views over military cooperation between
the two countries and the fight against the spread of weapons of
mass destruction.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

BAKU: Envoy says USA following trial of Azeri opposition leaders

Envoy says USA following trial of Azeri opposition leaders

Trend news agency
26 May 04

Baku, 26 May: The trial of those detained after the October
presidential elections in Azerbaijan must be held in an open
and transparent atmosphere and on the basis of the rule of law,
US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish told journalists today,
Trend reports.

He said the American side has been closely following the trial since
it began.

“This issue represents enormous interest to members of the Congress. US
nongovernmental organizations are watching the trial closely as
well,” he added. Harnish pointed to two positive facts observed in
the trial thus far: the fact that the opposition media were provided
with access to the hearings and that the lawyers of the detained
opposition activists had an opportunity to speak on television.

“I can see that this is a good signal on the part of the government,
because the international community is following this trial,” he said.

The ambassador added that the American side would provide its final
comments on the basis of OSCE expert opinion.

Government behind country’s deprivation of US aid programme – Azerio

Government behind country’s deprivation of US aid programme – Azeri opposition

Azadliq, Baku
26 May 04

The statement says: “The US Congress has decided to allocate 5bn
dollars to developing countries within the framework of the Millennium
Challenges programme.”

[Passage omitted: reported details of the programme]

As has already been reported, Azerbaijan is one of the countries which
will not receive the financial aid allocated within the framework of
the Millennium Challenges programme. Unlike Azerbaijan, the other two
South Caucasus countries – Georgia and Armenia will receive 500m and
330m dollars respectively.

This shows that the suppression of democratic values in the country
by the incumbent government and the employment of corruption as a
state policy caused Azerbaijan, the overwhelming majority of whose
population live in poverty, the loss of 100m dollars.

The rule of the corrupt regime over 10 years led to the gradual
deterioration of the Azerbaijani people’s living conditions and to
misappropriation of funds in the sum of a billion dollars by a group
of people in the authorities. At the same time, this fact objectively
expresses the negative opinion of the international public about
Azerbaijan. Traditionally, Azerbaijan is described in reports by
international organizations as a country flagrantly violating human
rights, suppressing democratic values and as highly corrupt. That means
that this government’s presence does not enable our country to get the
support of the international public for the resolution of its problems.

The People’s Front of Azerbaijan Party [PFAP] states this huge
material damage on our country, just because of this fact, is another
unforgivable step harming the Azerbaijani people’s living conditions
and the state.

The PFAP thinks the incumbent government, which has turned corruption
and legal nihilism into a state policy and is trying to suppress the
democratic processes, is responsible for Azerbaijan’s deprivation of
[US] financial aid when Armenia, fighting a war with Azerbaijan,
received 300m dollars [as published].

The PFAP states that Azerbaijan’s deprivation of major financial
assistance to support the formation of democratic and open society
and economic reforms, is a heavy blow to our country’s national
development and the interests of the state and the government should
answer to the Azerbaijani people for this.

BAKU: US congressman hails Azeri efforts in fighting terrorism

US congressman hails Azeri efforts in fighting terrorism

Trend news agency
26 May 04

Baku, 26 May: “We appreciate Azerbaijan’s efforts in fighting
international terrorism,” the [deputy] chairman of the House Armed
Services Committee of the US Congress, Curt Weldon, told Azerbaijani
Parliament Speaker Murtuz Alasgarov today, Trend reports.

He stressed the importance of developing US-Azerbaijani relations,
particularly in the area of inter-parliamentary cooperation.

In turn, Alasgarov spoke in favour of developing US-Azerbaijani
cooperation. At the same time, he called on the US side, as a country
co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, to step up its efforts to resolve
the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Georgian president calls for national unity in Independence Day spee

Georgian president calls for national unity in Independence Day speech

Rustavi-2 TV, Tbilisi
26 May 04

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has used the occasion of the
Independence Day parade to call on his people to “reclaim Georgia” by
working together to achieve the country’s unification. In his speech,
which was broadcast live by the Georgian TV station Rustavi-2,
Saakashvili said that “neither Georgia nor its president will
ever accept a fragmented Georgia”. He said the first step towards
unification had been taken in Ajaria, and urged the peoples of
the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to join in the
process of agreeing the form of a single state. At the same time,
he promised to respect their language rights and to take account of
their interests. Saakashvili also bemoaned the fact that economic
and political troubles had forced many Georgians to leave the country
in recent years but promised that nevertheless all Georgians living
abroad would be entitled to Georgian citizenship. The following is
the text of Saakashvili’s speech broadcast by Georgian TV station
Rustavi-2 on 26 May. Subheadings inserted editorially:

[Saakashvili] My fellow citizens, my fellow-fighters, soldiers of
our nation. Four months ago, we presented ourselves to our nation for
the first time and we took the oath that we would reclaim Georgia. We
pledged that we would reclaim Georgia and replace the years of
disappointment and alienation by a new feeling of hope and unity.

We asked you to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in order to restore
legality and decency and create state institutions. On the day of
my inauguration, I pledged that we would accomplish the hopes of
our ancestors, the hopes of heroes who sacrificed their lives for
the freedom of Georgia – today we are looking at the memorial of the
300 Aragvians – , the hopes of these and other heroes of Georgia. We
pledged that we would start the process of the unification of our
great nation.

Georgia on “right track”

At that time, we asked you to trust us and to believe in better common
future for us all. Today all of us can see that our belief has already
produced the first results. Four months ago, there were more sceptics
than believers, both here and abroad. Pessimists predicted that we
would break our necks at the very first attempt. They were talking
about an inevitable and rapid defeat. They did not think that anything
could be fixed in Georgia. And yet, we are now standing before you,
and it is impossible to deny this: Georgia is on the right track
today. Our people are gathering new strength today. Our belief is not
only not diminishing, our belief is getting stronger. Our belief is
now based on concrete results.

Today Georgia has a chance, as never before, to become the great
state it once was. Georgia may become a state in which our children
will be proud of their ancestry, their citizenship, their passports
and a state which will be the object of the respect and admiration
of its neighbours. We can already see the first signs that such a
state is being established here.

We started a real war against corruption and we have already won the
first battles in this war. Untouchable people no longer exist at any
level of the Georgian government. We have disarmed and neutralized
several armed gangs. We have made serious progress in the formation of
our armed forces. I want to say that today, as never before, trust in
our armed forces is increasing. Here, together with us, is a resident
of Tbilisi, Roland Nebieridze, who has five sons of draft age. Until
now, none of them wanted to serve in the army because they did not
trust the state. But now Batoni [Georgian polite form of referring
to a man] has decided to send all five of his sons to the Georgian
army. I call on all of us to greet them, here they are. [Applause]

Relations with other countries

We have achieved real and serious successes in the international arena.
Georgia’s severely damaged reputation has been fully restored. Georgia
is a popular country all over the world, as never before in its
history.

We have established close relations with the United States of America
and we remain its military ally in the fight against international
terrorism. We have made a decision that our contingent in Iraq will
be increased threefold. We should support our soldiers who will be
going there voluntarily, so that we stand by our allies.

We have significantly improved our relations with Russia. We have
started a new phase of cooperation with Turkey, Azerbaijan and
Armenia. For the first time, Georgia is referred to as a serious
candidate for joining the European Union.

“Reclaiming Georgia”

What do I mean when I say that we should reclaim Georgia? We mean that
all the changes should become irreversible. We mean that every Georgian
family should feel the benefits of these changes. Who should reclaim
Georgia? The answer to this question is in each of us. Reclaiming
Georgia is the common task and common responsibility of every Georgian
child and citizen. Reclaiming Georgia is the essence and purpose
of all our lives. Reclaiming Georgia means its reunification. We
have already made the first big step in this direction in Ajaria.
Ajaria and Batumi [capital of Ajaria] are free today, and this is the
accomplishment of every Ajarian, every Georgian who did not give up,
who believed and who had faith in our freedom and our unification.

When we are talking about Georgia’s reunification, we should return
to the main foundation of the Georgian nation – when two of our great
rulers came to believe that in unity lies strength, when two great
kings [of Georgia], Parnavaz and Kuji, stood together, and united
Georgia. Georgia was created when leaders of its various regions put
[the interests of] Georgia above their own interests. They sacrificed
their egoistic interests and their own desire for power in order
to create a strong and permanent unity in a peaceful way. In unity
lies strength.

Unlike an absolute majority of other countries, Georgia was not formed
through conquest and the use of force. In reality, our nation, our
unity and our culture are the result of human solidarity, harmony,
tolerance and diversity among the natives of this land and their unique
talents. Today, on our Independence Day, I again wish to draw on the
wisdom of our ancestors. It is precisely by showing our respect for
their principles of tolerance, brotherly love, self-sacrifice and
human dignity that we shall reunite Georgia.

Appeal to South Ossetia, Abkhazia

I wish to confirm that neither Georgia nor its president will ever
accept a fragmented Georgia. Until my last breath, I will not put
up with a fragmented Georgia. That is why we offer our Abkhaz and
Ossetian brothers to start immediate talks on the restoration of a
single state. We are prepared to consider any state model that takes
into account their interests and ensures their future development.

I wish to address our Ossetian brothers, confirm my most profound
respect for them and promise them that the Georgian state will always
consider their interests, the interests of every Ossetian living in
Georgia. I wish to address them – I am the first president of Georgia
to do it – in their native Ossetian language. Its state language
status will be guaranteed by the Georgian state, which will also create
guarantees for its development and protection. These guarantees will
be created for every inhabitant of Georgia, including every Ossetian
living in Georgia. [says several phrases in Ossetian]

I also wish to address the Abkhaz and again offer them to start talks
on federal relations and broad guarantees, including international
ones, for their autonomy. We offer a hand of friendship to the
Abkhaz people, and I can now repeat it in Abkhaz. [says one sentence
in Abkhaz]

I wish to appeal to the entire Georgian nation to be tolerant. We
should be able to see not only others’ but also our own mistakes. We
should be able to offer a hand to anyone who seeks friendship. Let
us be tolerant but at the same time let us never again show our backs
to the enemy, let us never again succumb to those who want to divide
Georgia. [applause] There is no force in the world that can defeat a
nation that wants to unite and fight for its motherland. We should
all stand united, so that no-one will ever be able to intimidate us
again, no-one will ever be able to sow doubts in our minds, no-one
will ever be able to keep us in a permanent state of mourning,
suffering and despondency.

Appeal to diaspora

When we speak about Georgian reunification, we should remember that one
in five citizens of Georgia have left their motherland. These people
were forced to flee by hardship, war, devastation and an unpromising
future. The children of these people, who were born after they left,
have never seen their motherland. Their return and the restoration of
links with their motherland is one of our main and urgent historical
tasks. The Constitution of Georgia gives the president of Georgia the
power to grant Georgian citizenship to citizens of foreign countries
proceeding from and based on Georgia’s national interest. I appeal to
our compatriots dispersed around the world, our flesh and blood. Guided
by Georgia’s interest, I have decided to grant Georgian citizenship
to all Georgians living abroad regardless of their citizenship if
they wish to have it and if they apply to us.

We should all join together to reclaim our country. We should all
return to our country, our Georgia. We should make sure that our
children, our offspring return to Georgia. We should all join together
to help our country get up on its feet and together deal with the
challenges of the modern world.

We have gone through a lot of suffering and torture. The main cause
of that suffering was our alienation from each other. I ask you to
unite because we are well aware of how much we can achieve by being
united. We have enough perseverance, culture and intellect to change
our everyday behaviour for the better, which will allow us not only to
change our own lives through daily work but also transform Georgia and
our way of life to a genuinely European state and genuinely European
way of life. In order to find the strength to attain our cherished
goals through daily work, we should realize that this strength lies
in each of us and in our unique features that have saved us over the
centuries and helped us survive to this day.

We, together with the government, with our authorities, promise to
discharge our duties honestly, with dignity and with due respect
for every person. At the same time, we ask you to support each other
and support all our good initiatives. Let every person be involved
in the titanic work that will lead us to success. Georgia should be
built up by the Georgians, by every single citizen. The government,
the president or our army alone will not be able to build up
Georgia. Georgia is to be built up by each of us, every citizen, every
genuine patriot and everyone who loves their motherland. May God give
us the perseverance and wisdom to do this. May St George lead us to new
victories. I congratulate you on Georgian Independence Day. [applause]

Breakaway region’s PM rejects Georgian leader’s single-state proposa

Breakaway region’s PM rejects Georgian leader’s single-state proposal

Interfax-AVN military news agency web site, Moscow
26 May 04

Sukhumi, 26 May: Abkhaz Prime Minister Raul Khajimba has rejected a
proposal from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to unite in a
single Georgian state. The Georgian president made this proposal to
the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and [South] Ossetia.

“There can be no discussion of unification between Abkhazia and
Georgia in a single state,” Khajimba told Interfax on Wednesday [26
May]. “Abkhazia has finally established its status. The republic has
adopted the constitution of an independent state and the status of
Abkhazia cannot and will not be subject to discussion,” the Abkhaz
prime minister said. “As regards the wishes of the Georgian side,
wishes do not always correspond to reality,” Khajimba said.

TBILISI: Georgian PM criticizes Russian governor’s “foolish escapade

Georgian PM criticizes Russian governor’s “foolish escapade” in Abkhazia

Kavkasia-Press news agency
26 May 04

Tbilisi, 26 May: Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania has commented on
[Russian] Krasnodar Territory governor Aleksandr Tkachev’s recent visit
to Sukhumi [capital of breakaway region of Abkhazia] and Tkachev’s
statements about the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

Zhvania said he did not regard this as a manifestation of the Kremlin’s
policy [Cossack delegation led by Tkachev visited Sukhumi on 22 May].

“This was a foolish and irresponsible escapade. This may only bring
us back to the ambiguous relations of the previous decade,” the prime
minister said.

“We have no desire to return to the past. We want to see a new,
pragmatic Russia. We want to respect Russia’s interests in the region
and we hope that our sovereign interests will also be respected,”
he noted.

“We will never understand these kinds of hysterical escapades. If
Georgia’s and Russia’s policies are defined by this sort of gestures
and by such people, the Caucasus will once again be divided by many
lines of confrontation, while we wish to turn the Caucasus into
an arena of cooperation. These people do not want to help Russia to
resolve its problems and to increase Russia’s international authority,”
Zhvania said.

TBILISI: Georgian navy ready for “any combat mission” in Black Sea –

Georgian navy ready for “any combat mission” in Black Sea – president

Rustavi-2 TV, Tbilisi
26 May 04

[Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, addressing military parade
in Ajarian capital Batumi] Greetings to all of you. I extend my
greetings to our heroic Ajarians, people who endured a great fight,
people who are now standing here in this pouring rain in order to
prove, once again, their love for their motherland.

The whole world was applauding Ajaria. The whole world admired the
heroism of every Ajarian.

I wish to tell you that my main task is not to fail your hopes, my
dear Ajarians. I believe that Ajaria’s revival and the wellbeing of
every Ajarian family will certainly cause a chain reaction and the
same processes will develop throughout Georgia. [Passage omitted]

Our armed forces will protect Ajaria and the rest of Georgia. We will
win without fail. Our armed forces and the navy have enough force
today to perform any combat mission along our coast on the Black Sea.

We are not going to wage wars in [world] oceans. Our arena is here,
the Black Sea. Our arena and target is Abkhazia. Our target is to
protect our territory. Our target is that all enemies should know: We
want peace, but we will always render an appropriate response to the
[threat of] disintegration of Georgia. We want to hold negotiations
with everyone, we want a peaceful resolution of issues, but our
response to an enemy attack will always be very strong.

Thank you very much for your heroism and your strength.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress