BAKU: Interview w/Turkish minister on re-opening of Armenian border

Azeri TV interviews Turkish minister on re-opening of Armenian border

ANS TV, Baku
14 Apr 04

[Presenter] The visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Turkey
is continuing. In about three hours he will deliver a speech at the
Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Aliyev has already had several meetings. We will now have a link with
Turkey. ANS TV’s special correspondent seconded to Turkey, Qanira
Pasayeva, is joining us now. Qanira, who has the president met?

[Correspondent Pasayeva over telephone] Aliyev has attended the
opening ceremony of a park named after [the late Azerbaijani
President] Heydar Aliyev. In future, it will become a large recreation
area. Ilham Aliyev himself planted a tree there.

[Passage omitted: Minor details]

One of the main issues which attracted a lot of attention from the
mass media was the re-opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The
protest staged recently by Azerbaijani journalists here in this regard
is still being discussed.

Although no statements have been made concerning this issue, Turkish
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has given an exclusive interview to ANS
TV in the wake of the talks.

He said he was informed about those protests and about Azerbaijan’s
concerns. The Turkish government’s official position in the wake of
this meeting is that the Turkish-Armenian border will not be re-opened
unless Armenia is ready to make compromises on the Nagornyy Karabakh
conflict, withdraws its troops from the occupied territories, and
unless the US-based Armenian lobby drops its false claims about the
alleged Armenian genocide, Gul said. He said he had voiced this stance
during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Vardan Oskanyan. Gul
said he would inform the Armenian government about the final and firm
position of Turkey in this regard during their next meeting.

Following the meetings with Aliyev, the Turkish government has decided
to step up its efforts to resolve the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.

Ultimatums no way to reach settlement, Armenia’s speaker says

Ultimatums no way to reach settlement, Armenia’s speaker says

Aravot, Yerevan
14 Apr 04

The chairman of the Armenian parliament, Artur Bagdasaryan, has said
that political consultations between the government and opposition
should continue. “We cannot reach political settlement by means of
ultimatums,” he told Armenian newspaper Aravot. “Confrontation,
artificial tension will complicate the situation more.” Bagdasaryan
rejected the description of the dispersal of the opposition’s sit-down
strike as a “military operation”, but condemned the violence against
journalists. The following is the text of Margarit Yesayan’s interview
with Bagdasaryan in Aravot on 14 April headlined “We shall not reach
political dialogue by means of ultimatums”; subheadings inserted
editorially:

An interview with chairman of the National Assembly Artur Bagdasaryan.

[Aravot correspondent] Mr Bagdasaryan, on 12 April a group of deputies
wanted to meet you, but they were not allowed to enter the National
Assembly. Don’t you think that you’ve been rather aloof?

[Artur Bagdasaryan] Since I was elected chairman of the National
Assembly, no deputy has had difficulty meeting me or talking to me by
phone. Moreover, during these tense days I had meetings with the
leaders and members of the opposition and we discussed the actions
necessary to get out of this domestic political situation. In addition
I had numerous telephone conversations with them and they asked me to
talk with the law-enforcement agencies about their problems. As for 12
April, you know very well that the sitting of the National Assembly
did not take place in order not to aggravate the situation further. At
1800 I left the building of the National Assembly. So there was not a
problem about not meeting them, my door is always open to deputies.

Not responsible for police guarding parliament

[Correspondent] The leader of the Justice bloc, Stepan Demirchyan,
said that you are responsible for what happened after midnight,
because the troops that attacked the sit-in came out from the National
Assembly.

[Bagdasaryan] This is either Stepan Demirchyan’s subjective view or he
does not know the law about guarding the National Assembly
building. Armenian police guard the building, it is not the National
Assembly chairman who guards it.

[Correspondent] Do you not think that in this situation the coalition
should express its political position, not only by refusing to attend
National Assembly sittings but also by assessing the situation?

[Bagdasaryan] The coalition did not conduct the 12-14 April sittings
of the National Assembly and, in this connection, made a specific
political comment in its statement. And it is difficult to say if
there would have been worse events if the sitting had taken place. In
addition, let us not forget that the opposition has not taken part in
National Assembly sittings for a long time. Whereas I am sure that we
should find the key to settle political problems in parliament. As for
the coalition’s political assessment of the current situation, I think
the coalition member-parties will talk about this concretely.

No military operation took place, violence against journalists
unacceptable

[Correspondent] It is obvious that military actions were applied
against peaceful and unarmed people. Who will be responsible for the
violation? What international assessment will be given to all this?

[Bagdasaryan] First, I do not think that “military actions” took
place. Bagramyan Avenue was closed, traffic was stopped, the police
were trying to open the street and ensure normal traffic. I am against
violations and I censure what happened to the journalists. The rest
will be clarified by the investigation. I think that first we
ourselves should understand and assess the reasons for and
consequences of what happened in our country, then we should listen to
the views of other countries.

[Correspondent] There are rumours that the prosecutor-general is going
to enter parliament to arrest some deputies. Will you please comment
on this?

[Bagdasaryan] At present as chairman of the National Assembly I have
no information about the arrest of some deputies. My attitude towards
the arrest of deputies is negative, as political problems should be
settled in the political field, and crimes should be punished
according to the criminal code.

Dialogue only solution

[Correspondent] What do you suggest at this moment in connection with
the domestic political situation?

[Bagdasaryan] I am sure that political consultations should continue
and we should be able to find political solutions. I have already made
relevant political statements in connection with this. We cannot reach
political settlement by means of ultimatums, as it may have a
short-term, but never a long-term, positive result both for political
forces and for society. Confrontation, artificial tension will
complicate the situation more. Only political discussions, the
settlement of the accumulated problems by means of political dialogue
and talks may lead us to development.

NKR FM hopes Azerbaijan to stand by armistice

NKR FM hopes Azerbaijan to stand by armistice

Mediamax news agency
14 Apr 04

Yerevan, 14 April: “The constant improvement of the fighting
efficiency of the defence army of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic (NKR)
inspires the confidence that peace in the region will be maintained,”
NKR Foreign Minister Ashot Gulyan has said in an interview with
Mediamax news agency.

On 5 May 1994 in Bishkek, the heads of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and
Nagornyy Karabakh parliaments, under the aegis of the
Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS, signed a protocol that served
as a basis for establishing an armistice in the zone of the Karabakh
conflict.

In his interview with Mediamax, Ashot Gulyan described the Bishkek
meeting as a “momentous stage in the history of the Karabakh
settlement”. He recalled that cease-fire agreements had also been
signed on the Karabakh-Azerbaijani front earlier, but in most cases
the truce was violated by the Azerbaijani side, which was also
confirmed by former mediators.

Ashot Gulyan noted the importance of the circumstance that over the
past 10 years, the armistice has been observed with the efforts of the
sides without the support of an international peacekeeping force. “The
cease-fire has been in place first of all owing to the balance of
forces in the region, and the constant improvement of the fighting
efficiency of the NKR defence army inspires the confidence that peace
in the region will be maintained,” the minister said.

The NKR defence minister expressed the hope that Azerbaijan would
stand by its commitment to the mediators to maintain the cease-fire
until the signing of a political agreement on the establishment of
comprehensive peace.

“I hope that the current armistice will secure lasting peace when a
final solution to the conflict is achieved,” Ashot Gulyan stated.

BAKU: Paper weighs Azerbaijan’s benefits from situation in Armenia

Paper weighs Azerbaijan’s benefits from situation in Armenia

Zerkalo, Baku
14 Apr 04

The Azerbaijani daily Zerkalo has said Azerbaijan could have used the
situation in Armenia “to at least partially change the situation in
the conflict zone”. The paper sees no reason for Azerbaijani society
to rejoice at the possible power change in Armenia as the opposition
has a “tougher’ stance on Karabakh than President Robert Kocharyan.
The following is an excerpt from report by R. Mirqadirov in
Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo on 14 April headlined “Power change in
Armenia” and subheaded “What a point for us to be happy”; subheadings
in the text have been inserted editorially

The situation in Armenia is uncertain. Another “velvet revolution” in
the South Caucasus is seemingly approaching. Not thinking about
consequences and holding the logic “the worse for them, the better for
us”, many people in Azerbaijan are inspired by the events in Yerevan.
Strangely, a sober analysis demonstrates that neither preserving the
incumbent “throne” nor coming of the new authorities will be good for
Azerbaijan.

“Weak” Kocharyan to come under pressure from the West and Russia

Let us start with a scenario whereby [Armenian President] Robert
Kocharyan manages to withstand the opposition pressure and to preserve
power in his hands. If the situation develops according to this
scenario, Kocharyan’s power will be very weak and susceptible to both
internal and external pressure. Some people believe that Azerbaijan
will benefit from the existence of a weaker leader in Armenia. It is
alleged that the positive aspect of this is the fact that the Yerevan
government will find itself under strong external pressure which can
make Kocharyan take a more realistic position on the Karabakh issue.

But at the same time these people forget that countries of the South
Caucasus, especially Armenia, come under external pressure not just
from one party. Along with the USA and the EU, which are interested
in any settlement of the conflict, Russia can also make a significant
impact on Armenia. But Moscow’s policy in the region is often aimed at
counterbalancing the West. The essence of this policy is in the
formula “what is beneficial to the USA and the EU is against Russia’s
interests”.

In addition, Russia can continue to play its peace-making role in
future as well especially as the official position of the OSCE Minsk
Group co-chairmen is that the international mediators will be prepared
to back any scenario of the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh
conflict to be agreed by the conflicting sides. This position enables
Russia to constantly torpedo coordination of any peace proposals with
the help of the Yerevan government, keeping somewhat aloof.

The most interesting point is that there is no need for inventing
anything new. The Yerevan government should simply stand firm – “no to
a stage-by-stage scenario and no to Karabakh within Azerbaijan”. If
the Yerevan government follows this position, the peace talks might
continue forever. It costs the Kremlin nothing to get this out of the
weak Kocharyan authorities.

Opposition to use Kocharyan’s own weapon against him

Even if weak Kocharyan agrees to constructive concessions on the
Karabakh issue under pressure from the West, the opposition in the
country can use this against him. The position on the Karabakh
settlement of the current leaders of the Armenian opposition is much
tougher than Kocharyan’s. They are against the Karabakh clan which
usurped the power in Yerevan. If the Armenian president agrees to
concessions, the opposition may decide to use his own weapon against
Kocharyan because in his time the latter achieved [Armenian
ex-President] Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation by accusing him of
inadmissible concessions on Karabakh.

Kocharyan’s presidency itself demonstrates that Armenia’s weak
authorities will be unable to conclude a peace accord on Karabakh.
Kocharyan was ready to sign a peace agreement before the terrorist act
in the Armenian parliament [in October 1999]. But after that, when he
was accused of organizing the terrorist act and his power weakened as
a consequence, Kocharyan rejected all previous agreements.

Kocharyan may provoke hostilities

On the contrary, under the circumstances Kocharyan may provoke the
beginning of hostilities in the conflict zone to somewhat neutralize
the opposition in the country. After all, in the absence of constant
monitoring of the contact line between the armed forced of the
conflicting sides it would actually be impossible to determine who
made the first shot. After the beginning of the commotion the sides
will be able to make endless claims that they cede to each other the
right of the first shot, as it was the case during the 100-year war
between France and England. But any defeat in this case would mean an
end to Kocharyan.

Baku unlikely to benefit from power change in Armenia

Under the circumstances Azerbaijan is unlikely to benefit from the
power change in Armenia. First, according to the above, the stance of
the Armenian opposition on Karabakh is probably tougher than
Kocharyan’s.

Second, the power change in Armenia as was the case during “the velvet
revolution” in Georgia, will be assessed by the West as a victory for
democracy. In a word, Azerbaijan will then be the only undemocratic
country in the South Caucasus given the Western standards.

[Passage omitted: more of the same and example from Israel’s history
and recap of ex-President Heydar Aliyev time]

Azerbaijan is not planning to start hostilities

Azerbaijan could have used the current situation to its own ends, it
seems it will not do so however. Armenia is in deep political crisis
which also applies to the armed forces. We will hardly have such a
chance again to at least partially change the situation in the
conflict zone for our benefit. But as the Azerbaijani-Turkish
declaration signed yesterday [13 April] in Ankara says, we are going
to settle the conflict “by peaceful means” and with respect for
territorial integrity… [ellipsis as published].

BAKU: Aliyev’s address to Turkish National Assembly

Azeri president praises ties in address to Turkish parliament

Space TV, Baku
14 Apr 04

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that relations with Turkey
are a priority to Azerbaijan. In his address to the Turkish Grand
National Assembly broadcast live on Azerbaijani Space TV, Ilham Aliyev
pointed out that his first official visit to this country would play a
great role in developing relations between the two nations. At the
same time, the Azerbaijani president noted the importance of regional
energy projects, saying that they would bring stability and security
to the region. Ilham Aliyev also touched on the Nagornyy Karabakh
problem and accused Armenia of occupying Azerbaijani territory and
violating the norms of international law. Azerbaijan will never put up
with the loss of its territory and will liberate it at all costs, he
said. The following is the text of the report by Azerbaijani Space TV
on 14 April; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Dear Turkish Grand National Assembly!

Dear Mr Chairman! Dear MPs!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Dear friends!

Relations with Turkey priority

It is a great honour for me to address the Turkish Grand National
Assembly. I want to express my thanks to you for giving me this
honour.

This is the second day of my official visit to Turkey. I can already
say that this visit has been very successful. All our negotiations and
conversations convinced us again that friendly and fraternal relations
between Turkey and Azerbaijan are continuing, developing and
strengthening. These relations are a priority to Azerbaijan.

As you know, Turkey was the first to recognize Azerbaijan after it
gained its state independence. Since then, at all times, Turkey has
always sided with Azerbaijan and has always supported Azerbaijan. We
rate this very highly, and hope and are confident that from now on,
our fraternal countries will always side with each other. Our power is
in our unity. Turkey’s power is Azerbaijan’s power and Azerbaijan’s
power is Turkey’s power [applause].

Difficult years of independence

Over the last 12 years, since Azerbaijan gained its independence, it
has gone a very difficult way. In the first years of our independence,
our country faced great dangers. As a result of Armenia’s aggressive
policy against our country, Azerbaijan lost part of its territory. In
addition, the domestic situation was unstable and there was a reign of
instability. Thus, Azerbaijan was left face-to-face with great
disasters. After Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev returned
to rule Azerbaijan at the demand of the people in 1993, the situation
in the country gradually normalized and Azerbaijan managed to overcome
this crisis.

I can tell you that from 1993 to 1996, the domestic public-political
situation in Azerbaijan was very tense, several coup attempts were
made, a civic war had already started and illegal armed units were
taking illegal actions in Azerbaijan. And of course, a lot of efforts
were made in order to prevent all these unpleasant situations.

In 1996, I can say, stability was established in Azerbaijan. Since
that year, our country has been developing and strengthening its
potential, and our economy has been developing. From 1996 to 2003, our
economic growth reached 10 per cent per year on average. Last year’s
growth in the gross domestic product, the growth in the main indicator
of the economy, was 11 per cent. Over the last seven years, inflation
in Azerbaijan has been 2 to 3 per cent. According to the amount of
foreign investment per capita, Azerbaijan is the leader among the
former Soviet republics, and 17bn dollars have been invested in our
country over the last few years.

Economic reforms

Economic reforms are being successfully conducted in Azerbaijan, a
privatization programme is being implemented, land has been privatized
and other industrial enterprises and the services sector have been
almost completely privatized. Today the share of the private sector in
Azerbaijan’s GDP and economy accounts for 74 per cent. This goes to
show that market economy principles have been completely established
in Azerbaijan, the country is developing on the basis of market
economy principles and we are confident that Azerbaijan will benefit
greatly from this in the future.

At the same time, our policy is socially-orientated. Although
Azerbaijan is living in a new system now and is living a period of
transition from the communist system to a new system, in spite of all
this, great attention is being paid to social justice in
Azerbaijan. The main part of our budget revenue is channelled into
solving social issues. The payment of salaries, pensions, scholarships
and other social allowances and increasing them is a priority issue
for our government.

Political reforms

Political reforms are also being conducted successfully. Azerbaijan is
a modern and secular state. The process of democratization is being
successfully conducted in Azerbaijan. Our country has made great
progress in the sphere of protecting human rights. Our country is
quickly appropriating values common to all mankind and at the same
time, it is making its own valuable contribution to world
civilization. Azerbaijan has a very ancient history and very rich
cultural heritage. And of course, we are giving this heritage and
history to world civilization as a valuable contribution.

For more than three years, Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council
of Europe. Over this period, serious changes have taken place in our
country, and changes have taken place in our legislation, which, in
turn, makes our country even more democratic. Azerbaijan’s activities
in the Council of Europe have been very successful, and the Council of
Europe, in its official documents, has recognized Armenia as an
aggressor. This is our great success, and we believe that this will
prepare strong grounds for the future negotiating process.

At the same time, our relations with the European Union are developing
and strengthening. It is very pleasing that the European Union has
appointed its special representative in the South Caucasus, and this
shows that the European Union is increasing its attention to our
region. We are confident that the whole international community will
continue its successful cooperation with Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan
sees its future in integration into the world community and Europe.

We have many plans and programmes. The recently-adopted socioeconomic
programme of our country is being successfully implemented. At the
same time, the recently-adopted regional programme of our country is
being implemented as well and thus, Azerbaijan’s economy will develop
comprehensively. Azerbaijan will develop comprehensively and regions
will derive greater benefit from the implementation of this programme.

Important energy projects

Our country has wonderful prospects. As you know, the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which is of great importance
not only to Azerbaijan, but also to the whole region and Europe at
large, is being successfully implemented, and we are sure that it will
be put into operation in time. The initiator and author of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline was Azerbaijan’s national leader
Heydar Aliyev. It is not by chance that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
company has named this pipeline after Heydar Aliyev. It is thanks to
Heydar Aliyev’s successful oil strategy that a great amount of
investment has been made in Azerbaijan and its oil sector. Azerbaijan
is independently conducting its policy without depending on anyone,
and at last we have achieved what we wanted – the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
oil pipeline has turned out of a dream into a reality [applause].

We encountered many difficulties and obstacles in this way. There were
great dangers to Azerbaijan’s future. But despite all this, the will,
resolve and courage of the Azerbaijani leadership and personally
President Heydar Aliyev prevailed over everything. We are sure that
after this oil pipeline is put into operation, the entire situation,
atmosphere and climate in the region will change and must change. This
pipeline will bring stability and security to our region and will link
Azerbaijan and Turkey even more closely. The positions of Turkey and
Azerbaijan in the world will get even stronger. That’s why we are all
looking forward to the commissioning of this pipeline, and we are sure
that we will mark the solemn opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline in time – in the first quarter of the next year.

At the same time, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, which is of
great importance to our countries, is successfully progressing. This
project is being implemented as well and will enable us to transport
Azerbaijani gas to Turkey in a comfortable and secure way and send it
to other European countries from Turkey. Thus, Azerbaijani gas will be
of great importance to European consumers. On the one hand, this gas
will be cheaper than other gases because its transport expenses are
lower and on the other, an alternative source is very important for
every consumer, and we will provide this source. In a word, after the
implementation of all these large-scale regional projects in a few
years, Azerbaijan and Turkey will make successful headway together. No
cooperation – regional cooperation – is possible without Turkey and
Azerbaijan in the region. This is our great achievement [applause].

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

>From this point of view, in order to make the region even more secure
and eliminate danger, it is necessary to solve the
Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. This conflict has not
been solved for many years.

You know that as a result of Armenia’s aggressive policy, 20 per cent
of Azerbaijan’s territory are under occupation. As a result of this
occupation, over 1m of our citizens have become refugees. And
unfortunately, the international community is not being decisive. In
this situation, this conflict is not being resolved. Azerbaijan’s
position is fair and this position is based on the norms of
international law. The norms of international law should be restored.
Azerbaijan recognizes the territorial integrity of all other
countries, and of course we demand that our territorial integrity be
recognized and restored. This is our fair demand, and I am sure that
there have to be and will be achievements in this direction because we
live in the 21st century. In the 21st century, one country cannot
occupy the land of another country.

Armenia’s position is not based on any logic and violates all the
norms of international law. What is Armenia’s demand? In a nutshell,
their demand is that the Armenians of Nagornyy Karabakh should
determine their fate themselves. First, I have to say that the
Armenians living in Nagornyy Karabakh came to Nagornyy Karabakh, the
ancient Azerbaijani land, as guests. They came there in the 1820s and
in this connection, a monument was erected in the Nagornyy Karabakh
capital of Xankandi to mark the 150th anniversary of the Armenians’
arrival in Nagornyy Karabakh. This is the historical aspect of the
issue. Another aspect is that there is an Armenian state and the
Armenian people have already determined their status within the
framework of the Armenian state. If the Armenians want to determine
their status in all the countries they populate, how many Armenian
states will emerge in the world? Armenians live in Georgia, Russia,
America, France and other countries. Why, among all the countries they
populate, have they chosen Azerbaijan to determine their status? This
principle is against the norms of international law. If the Armenians
who live in Nagornyy Karabakh want to determine their status, let them
do so within the framework of the Armenian state. Nagornyy Karabakh is
Azerbaijani land, has always been Azerbaijani land and will be
Azerbaijani land in the future [applause].

Azerbaijan will never put up with the loss of its territories and will
liberate its lands at all costs [applause].

I am very pleased that our fair position is being accepted by the OSCE
Minsk Group which has been dealing with this issue in the recent
period. And I am confident that important steps can be taken in this
direction in the near future.

One nation, two states

Dear friends!

As I said, this is the second day of my official visit to Turkey as a
president. I have been to Turkey many times. I am very attached to
Turkey and love this country very much. I regard Turkey as my
homeland, but this is my first visit as a president and I was looking
forward to this visit. I can say with full determination today that
this visit will play a great role in developing relations between the
two countries and will turn into a new stage. Owing to the efforts of
our national leader Heydar Aliyev, relations between our countries
have risen to a very high level. Like in all the other spheres, I am
loyal to Heydar Aliyev’s policy in this sphere too, will continue this
policy, will not give up on this policy and will do everything
possible to base Turkish-Azerbaijani relations on principles of
friendship and fraternity.

Our historical roots and origin are the same. As Heydar Aliyev said,
we are one nation, two states. Our power is in our unity. I am
confident that from now on, at all times – 50, 100 or 200 years later,
our fraternal states will always be together.

Dear friends!

I want to express once again my profound thanks to you for giving me
this chance and for inviting me here. Long live the eternal and
irreversible unity and fraternity of Turkey and Azerbaijan! Long live
the great Turkish state!

Thank you.

BAKU: Azeri, Turkish presidents urge “stage-by-stage” NK solution

Azeri, Turkish presidents urge “stage-by-stage” Karabakh solution – TV

ANS TV, Baku
13 Apr 04

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has called for a stage-by-stage
resolution of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. Speaking after his
meetings in Ankara on 13 April broadcast by ANS, Aliyev said that he
shared the view of his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Sezer that the
conflict should be resolved “on the basis of international norms and
within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity…and in a
stage-by-stage manner”. The following is the text of the report by
Azerbaijani TV station ANS on 13 April; subheadings have been inserted
editorially:

[Presenter over video of the meetings] Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev is today paying his first official visit to Turkey.

He met Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at the airport. Right
from there Aliyev went to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk who was
the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Following his meetings with
Turkish officials, Aliyev held talks with Gul in the premises prepared
for him.

Next, Aliyev met in Ankara’s Cankaya district Turkish President Ahmet
Necdet Sezer, who thanked him for visiting Ankara at Sezer’s
invitation. Sezer said that Aliyev’s first official visit to Turkey
will bring the two countries even closer together and said that
Azerbaijan and Turkey will forever have friendly and brotherly
relations. He said Turkey closely monitors developments in the
Caucasus and attaches great importance to peace in the region.

Speaking about the Nagornyy Karabakh negotiations, Aliyev talked about
the importance of international justice. He said that Azerbaijan felt
Turkish support at the most difficult stages of its history and he
hoped for Turkish support in settling the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict
as well.

In his speech, Aliyev recalled Heydar Aliyev’s recommendations and
foreign policy. Our strength is in our unity, such was the essence of
Heydar Aliyev’s policy, end of quote.

We will now have a link with Turkey. ANS TV’s special correspondent
Qanira Pasayeva is on the air. Which topics were discussed during the
meetings, Qanira?

Stage-by-stage Karabakh solution

[Correspondent Qanira Pasayeva] The meeting between Aliyev and Sezer
took longer than expected, longer than the 35 minutes envisaged by
protocol. An expanded meeting with the involvement of Azerbaijani and
Turkish officials was held later.

In general, the meeting outlined prospects and directions for future
cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey. The Nagornyy Karabakh
conflict, ways of settling it, and the situation in the South Caucasus
featured prominently at the talks between the two presidents and in a
joint declaration which they signed. In their briefings, the
presidents attached special importance to the Nagornyy Karabakh
problem.

The declaration signed by the presidents also put special emphasis on
the Nagornyy Karabakh issue. Sezer said that the presence of
unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus, including the one in
Nagornyy Karabakh, is one of the factors which undermine stability in
the region. He openly said that Turkey has always been in favour of
settling the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict in line with international
law, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Sezer said
Turkey will never budge from this position.

[Sezer] Once again we would like to tell our Azerbaijani brothers that
we will do our best to resolve the conflict in accordance with
international law, in a stage-by-stage and peaceful manner. I am happy
to see that Aliyev shares my views on establishing peace, stability,
and cooperation in the South Caucasus.

[Correspondent] Aliyev’s remarks also showed that the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict was the main topic at the talks. Aliyev said that
Azerbaijan tries to resolve the conflict in accordance with the norms
of international law and will never abandon these principles. He said
that the stage-by-stage approach to resolving the conflict should be
the main one at the talks.

[Aliyev] Turkey has always been together with Azerbaijan on ways of
resolving the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over Nagornyy Karabakh,
and today’s talks show this once again. This conflict must be resolved
on the basis of international norms and within the framework of
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. It can be resolved, as Sezer said,
in a stage-by-stage manner.

Pipelines to be built on time

[Correspondent] Economic ties was the second topic to be
discussed. Documents were signed on this. It was especially noted that
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Erzurum gas pipelines will be
build on time. The declaration also stipulates that the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline must start to function by May 2005, and
the Baku-Erzurum gas pipeline will start to operate in 2006. The
declaration also expressed the hope that Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
would reach an agreement and Astana would join the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
project.

Economic cooperation

[Presenter] What other meetings were held and which documents were
signed?

[Correspondent] Various documents were signed. I already talked about
the declaration. In addition, a document on long-term economic
cooperation was signed. It says, for instance, that the trade turnover
between Azerbaijan and Turkey reached 400m dollars between
2000-04. Describing this as a positive development it also hoped that
the turnover will go up to 1bn dollars in coming years. The document
is to give a fresh impetus to that.

An agreement was signed with the Azerbaijani Airlines. According to
information which we have just received, the company wants to fly from
Naxcivan [Azerbaijan’s exclave] to some Turkish cities. This has to do
with Naxcivan’s development. The two countries also signed accords on
cooperation in industry, property rights, culture and customs.

Armenian deputy speaker says room remains for dialogue with Opp.

Armenian deputy speaker says room remains for dialogue with opposition

Mediamax news agency
13 Apr 04

YEREVAN

Armenian Deputy Speaker Vahan Ovanesyan said today that there is still
room for dialogue with opposition leaders.

According to Mediamax news agency, Ovanesyan told journalists today
that yesterday’s events, particularly the dispersal of the opposition
rally in central Yerevan, were the consequence of the fact that “the
opposition has overestimated its own capabilities and made maximalist
demands”.

Ovanesyan recalled that representatives of the ruling coalition,
particularly the [Armenian Revolutionary Federation] Dashnaktsutyun,
had recently kept suggesting to the opposition that they begin
dialogue.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Iran’s intelligence minister conferred with Armenian FM

Iran’s intelligence minister conferred with Armenian foreign minister

IRNA news agency
13 Apr 04

TEHRAN

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan here Tuesday [13 April]
conferred with Minister of Information Hojjat ol-Eslam Ali Yunesi.

At the meeting, Oskanyan and Yunesi discussed issues of regional and
mutual interest, the public relations department of the ministry said.

[Passage omitted: About Oskanyan’s itinerary in Tehran]

Armenian opposition plans another rally on 16 April

Armenian opposition plans another rally on 16 April

Mediamax news agency
14 Apr 04

YEREVAN

The Armenian opposition is going to stage another rally on Freedom
Square in Yerevan on 16 April, a representative of the Justice bloc,
MP Shavarsh Kocharyan, has said.

Addressing a briefing in Yerevan today, Shavarsh Kocharyan said that
this decision had been made at a meeting of the Justice and National
Unity opposition factions in the National Assembly today, Mediamax
reports.

In turn, the chairman of the political council of the Republic Party,
Albert Bazeyan, called on the party’s members and supporters to come
tomorrow to the party’s office, which had been sealed by the police,
and demand that it be opened. The Republic’s office was shut down on
the night of 13 April after the police dispersed an opposition rally
and arrested its several leaders.

“Despite the steps that can be taken against us, we will use our civil
and political rights,” Albert Bazeyan said.

Heads of the Armenian Police said on 13 April that they would not
allow the holding of unauthorized rallies in Yerevan.

Armenian president calls on opposition to return to “normal activity

Armenian president calls on opposition to return to “normal activity”

Mediamax news agency
14 Apr 04

YEREVAN

Armenian President Robert Kocharyan spoke about the necessity of a
political dialogue in Yerevan today, at the same time, highlighting
that he considered it unacceptable if readiness for such a dialogue
was of an ultimatum nature.

Robert Kocharyan said this at a meeting with heads of the United
Communist Party of Armenia today, Mediamax has learnt from the
presidential press service.

Commenting on the events of the recent days, the Armenian president
said that “forces advocating political extremism” were responsible for
them in the first place. Kocharyan believes that “the measures taken
were appropriate, and the police used means exclusively permitted by
the law”.

“Today the opposition has every opportunity to return to normal
activity. If this is not done, then the authorities have enough
potential to defend the people and prevent any manifestation of
lawlessness,” Armenian president said.