Nine Azerbaijani opposition parties yesterday condemned as “a betrayal of national interests” President Haidar Aliev’s invitation to Armenia to attend the TRACECA conference in Baku. The signatories to the statement include the four main opposition parties: the Popular Front, Musavat, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party (the latter representing the interests of the expatriate ex-chairman of parliament, Rasul Guliev). These parties are boycotting the upcoming presidential election.
Justifying that invitation, Aliev stated yesterday that success of the project requires Armenia and Azerbaijan to “replace enmity with an atmosphere of mutual understanding. The pain of the past ten years is known to all, but our countries must look forward. Neighbors can not live in enmity forever.” (Turan, Assa-Irada, September 7)
The conference, which opened yesterday in Baku, is sponsored by the European Union and gathers together approximately thirty heads of state and government to discuss the TRACECA (Transit Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Central Asia) project. Aliev invited Armenian president Robert Kocharian, who sent his prime minister Armen Darbinian to attend the forum. Aliev has repeatedly ruled out the use of force to regain Karabakh. The opposition for its part advocates the use of force if negotiations fail to produce results.
YELTSIN POSTPONES SUMMITS IN KAZAKHSTAN.