Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev renewed his demand over the weekend that Moscow evacuate its military bases from Georgia and Armenia and repatriate to Russia the combat hardware it has supplied to Armenia and Karabakh. Aliev reiterated that Azerbaijan possesses itemized lists of more than $1 billion in armaments and ammunition transferred clandestinely to the Armenian side by Russian troops stationed in that country and in Georgia. The Azerbaijani president spoke in Baku with the visiting top management of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Aliev complained that some RFE/RL broadcasts to Azerbaijan are sometimes "tendentious" and "based on rumors and gossip;" he implied that such broadcasts reflect the opposition’s views.
Also over the weekend, the Popular Front of Azerbaijan held a congress at which it reelected Abulfaz Elchibey as chairman and as candidate in the approaching presidential elections. Addressing the congress, Elchibey criticized Azerbaijan’s international oil contracts as disadvantageous to the country. He warned that, in the event of electoral victory, the Popular Front would revise those contracts. Regarding Karabakh, the congress called in a resolution for the "liberation of Karabakh from occupation." It used the Azeri name of Stepanakert (Khankedi) as a city to be "liberated." Elchibey also came out for a possible resolution of the Karabakh and "southern Azerbaijan" issues "simultaneously." (Turan, January 31; Russian agencies, February 1) "Southern Azerbaijan" is the term used by the Popular Front and other nationalist groups to designate the northern part of Iran inhabited by ethnic Azeris. Elchibey has repeatedly held these positions on oil contracts, Karabakh and "southern Azerbaijan" since returning from internal exile last October and as he prepares to run for president.
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