Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 218

In a televised debate on Azerbaijan’s National Revival Day, former president Abulfaz Elchibey paid tribute to current president Haidar Aliev’s achievements in restoring internal order and stability to Azerbaijan. Elchibey conceded his own and his government’s failures in this respect when the Popular Front was in power. "Aliev has far greater experience as a statesman than we do, he is doing great work in organizing the state bodies, has done a great deal in disarming and isolating subversive forces. This is much valued. We should have done these things, but we were unable to do them. The current authorities have managed to do all this," Elchibey summed up.

The former president also praised Aliev’s foreign policies — particularly the establishment of close relations with Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Moldova, as well as the "European line" in Baku’s foreign policy, and the "absolutely correct" rapprochement with the U.S. and NATO. Elchibey described these policies as "a great success, a hedge against an intervention of Russian imperialist forces in Azerbaijan." He urged the government to draw closer to Turkey. (Azerbaijani Television, November 17, excerpted in BBC, Summary of World Broadcasts, November 19)

This was Elchibey’s first appearance on national television since his October 30 return to Baku after more than four years of internal exile. This statement shows a far more reflective Elchibey by comparison to the militant tenor of his initial statements. Several days earlier Elchibey had been received at the U.S. Embassy, according to Baku media reports. During the last year of Elchibey’s exile, other Popular Front leaders had moved to recognize Aliev’s foreign policy successes, though still pressuring him on the issue of Karabakh.

Tensions in Tajikistan.