Azerbaijan’s opposition leader, former president Abulfaz Elchibey, yesterday lashed out at the U.S. and other Western powers for their alleged "indifference toward Azerbaijan’s right to restore its territorial integrity" in Karabakh and their "solicitude for Armenia’s prosperity." Addressing a session of his Popular Front’s Majlis (leadership council), Elchibey warned that, once in power, the PF "would reconsider Azerbaijan’s oil contracts if the U.S. and the West do not change their approach to the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict;" and that, in the meantime, his supporters "would not allow the oil to flow out the country if Azerbaijan’s interests are ignored." Elchibey also lashed out at "Persians, the historic enemies of Azerbaijan." (Turan, November 4)
The former president, who has just returned to Baku from internal exile, plans to run as the candidate of the joint opposition against President Haidar Aliev in the upcoming election. (See Monitor, November 3) His policy statements since resuming the acting chairmanship of the PF have ranked the reincorporation of Karabakh over oil development and relations with the West in the order of his and the PF’s priorities. During the last year, PF leaders in Baku — notably First Vice-Chairman Ali Kerimov — had declared the PF’s support for President Haidar Aliev’s policy of close relations with the West. Elchibey dissents from that view.
Policy Debate in Uzbekistan.