Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 113

Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev returned home on June 9 after a seven-week absence. Aliev had left on April 21 for the NATO summit in Washington, underwent open-heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States on April 29, convalesced there until May 10 and spent another month of post-operation recovery in Turkey. The entire high officialdom of Azerbaijan greeted Aliev at Baku airport and sizeable crowds lined the route of the presidential motorcade into the city. The president, looking thin and pale–though clearly not disabled—ignored the journalists assembled at the airport and declined to receive the media at the presidential palace the next day. The summit of Turkic states, scheduled for June 14 in Baku, was postponed on June 9 at the request of Turkish President Suleyman Demirel who had hosted Aliev in Turkey. No official explanation was offered for the cancellation and no substitute date was set.

Aliev yesterday chaired an enlarged meeting of Azerbaijan’s cabinet of ministers and a meeting of the country’s National Security Council. Official information about these meetings was scanty but sought to suggest that the president has resumed an active work schedule and is physically able to control the operations of the government.