RUSSIA TO BOOST CASPIAN STATUS TALKS IN TEHRAN
By Ali Saidov
Azernews Staff Writer
The Caspian status issue was last discussed in Moscow in December 2000 during a visit by the Iranian president's Caspian status negotiator Ali Ahani.
Despite "certain progress" observed by Russian deputy foreign minister Viktor Kaliuzhny, specialists are downplaying the likelihood of a breakthrough. Iran keeps insisting on an equal division of the Caspian among littoral states, something opposed to by other littoral nations.
According to Russian sources, Mr. Kaliuzhny will pay a reciprocal visit to Tehran on January 13 to continue the negotiations. It is not ruled out that Mr. Kaliuzhny will make a stop-over in Baku, in light of discerning closeness in the positions of Azerbaijan and Russia on the issue. The proximity of views is expected to be further strengthened during Russian President Putin's visit to Azerbaijan.
KILLED AZERI JOURNALIST's MEMORY REVERED
10 years ago, on January 9, 1991, a "Molodyozh Azerbaijana" correspondent Salatin Asgarova and two Soviet officers accompanying her were gunned down by Armenians thugs on the Lachin-Shusha highway.
The 29-year-old journalist was on her way to Shusha to prepare a write a story for the paper. The female journalist decided to go to the troubled zone despite her parents' and son's persuasions not to jeopardize her life.
She was conferred the National Hero title posthumously. S. Asgarova was buried in the Alley of Martyrs together with those who perished for territorial integrity and independence of Azerbaijan, people she was going to dedicate her last article to.
NGOs PRESS FOR GABALA STATION SHUT-DOWN
On the eve of Russian President Putin's visit to Azerbaijan, representatives of several national NGOs and political parties have urged the government to shut down the Gabala Radio Location Station, which has inflicted immense damage to the soil and health of the people of Azerbaijan.
The appeal was adopted Friday in a meeting at the NGO Resource Center, as participants spoke of the ruinous impact of the station on flora, fauna, soil and human health.
Also highlighted was a 19.8% increase in mortality rate, 6.1% decline in birth rate, doubled blood diseases, tripled endocrine diseases, growth in nervous and somatic maladies by 7.6 times, kidney diseases by 8.5%, etc.
Repeated appeals to various government instances, including Prime Minister Artur Rasizadeh and Health Minister Ali Insanov, have yielded no fruit.
The meeting emphasized that Russia has to reimburse at least the material damage caused, which has not been calculated yet.
SECURITY MINISTRY RELEASES WORLD WAR II POW DATA
The Ministry of National Security press-service has released a list of Azeri POWs of the World War II, indicating first and last names, as well as dates of birth, of 70,000 people. The list has been compiled on the basis of the Ministry's archives, as well as German archives captured by Soviet troops during the war.
The list has been published in an alphabetical order by the ministry's "Sarhad" (border) newspaper in an article named "Restoring the memory".
The ministry employee Jalal Gasimov, who has contributed a great deal of time and energy to the job, has told Azernews of the historical, political and moral value of the document.
From the historical standpoint, the release of the once forbidden facts can play tremendous role in revealing the truth of the World War. From the political viewpoint, the list can facilitate the process of formation of Azeri lobby abroad and foster its communication with the homeland.
Finally, the moral significance of the document is that many of those who received "killed in action" notices during the war will now find out the truth of their relatives' fates.
It is indicative that the list of those killed during the Bolshevik repression of 1920-1941 was published in the previous issue of the newspaper.
LATVIA SEES BAKU AS COE MEMBER
Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzinsh visited in Baku for two days last week and met with his Azeri counterpart Vilayat Guliyev, as the parties focused on ways of further boosting bilateral relations and Azerbaijan's accession to the Council of Europe.
In a briefing following a closed-door meeting, Mr. Berzinsh stated that the key objective of the visit is to collect new information about Azerbaijan. He indicated that Azerbaijan was doing a great deal toward democratic development.
Considering the fact that Latvia is going to assume rotating presidency in the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers for the next 6 months, the statement by its foreign minister, "we see Azerbaijan as a member of the Council of Europe", carries tremendous importance. He said on January 17 the committee of ministers would pass a decision in favor of Azerbaijan.
In his opinion, in order to contribte to regional stability it is important that Azerbaijan and Armenia be admitted simultaneously.
The Latvian diplomat was also received by President Aliyev and chairman of the Milli Mejlis Alasgarov.
AZERBAIJAN TO DELEGATE 6 PEOPLE TO COE
The PA CE spokesman Guillermo Martinez Cassan told journalists Tuesday that Azerbaijan will have 6 representatives in the COE, including those of the opposition. He said the issue had been agreed upon with the Azerbaijan authorities.
According to Mr. Cassan, opposition parties that decide to take part in the parliament's work can play an important role in democratic development.
ANOTHER INTERIOR TROOPS OFFICER TO BE TRIED
The Grave Crimes Court is expected to launch the trial of a former interior troops officer involved in a coup attempt in March 1995 Amil Muradov.
Mr. Muradov, charged with assailing the executive power committee of Gazakh province in March 1995, will be tried for illegal possession of guns, murder attempt and involvement in an armed assault.
Wanted since 1995, he was arrested in November 2000.
AIOC HOSTS TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR CELEBRATION FOR KIDS
A New Year celebration, traditionally organized by the AIOC for orphans, refugee, IDP and handicapped children, was held at the "Nizami" cinema Friday. An interesting show was prepared for the children, who then received New Year gifts.
It is also indicative that the AIOC has taken care of providing wheel-chairs to the disabled kids.
IRANIAN SPY RUMOR PROVED FALSE
The Ministry for National Security spokesman Araz Gurbanov has vehemently brushed off newspaper publications on an alleged detention of an Iranian spy in the Gazakh province of Azerbaijan.
He said police had indeed arrested an Iranian national Abulfaz Muhammadi in the mentioned province for having trespassed the Azerbaijan state border. After being detained, he was brought to Baku and is currently kept in police custody.
According to the law, A. Muhammadi will soon be sent back to Iran, A. Gurbanov said.
MIGRATION PROCESSES TO BE REGULATED JOINTLY
Ministries of labor and social security of the population of Azerbaijan and Moldova are expected to sign an agreement on cooperation in the area of employment and social security, according to the ministry.
As part of the agreement, the two entities will be exchanging information and experience in regulating migration processes. The agreement is to be signed in the first quarter of 2001.
TRADE UNIONS CHANGE FUNCTIONS
Over 30 industrial trade unions, included into the Azerbaijan Trade Union Confederation (ATUC), are currently bringing their functions into conformity with the International Labor Organization (ILO) guidelines.
ATUC told Azernews Monday that based on a trilateral agreement among trade unions, employers and the government, which has become effective since January 2001, trade unions are to dedicate 70%-80% of their working time to concluding tariff and industrial agreements, which will govern workers' demands to the government.
In case the demands are ignored, trade unions preserve the right to launch strikes.