Azeri Foreign Ministry pleased with results of 2004

Turan news agency
30 Dec 04

Baku, 30 December: Meetings between the heads of states and foreign
ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia intensified in 2004. They laid the
foundations of continuing the negotiations and of possible progress in
the Karabakh settlement in 2005, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign
Affairs has said in a press release.

Yet the document noted that the talks were exacerbated by the "very
serious" problem of Armenians settling in the occupied territories in
defiance of international legal norms. In this connection and at
Azerbaijan's initiative, the agenda of the 59th session of the UN
General Assembly included Point 163 on the "Situation in the occupied
territories of Azerbaijan".

As a result of this and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov's meetings
with his Armenian counterpart and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen in
Berlin, Sofia and Brussels, an agreement was reached to continue the
talks in 2005. Moreover, a decision was made to dispatch a factfinding
OSCE mission to the occupied territories in January-February to verify
evidence on illegal settlement.

The press release described as noteworthy the discussion by the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] of a report on
the Karabakh settlement prepared by Terry Davis and David Atkinson.

In 2004, Azerbaijan took more steps towards integration into the
European and Euro-Atlantic bodies. President Ilham Aliyev presented an
individual plan of cooperation with NATO in Brussels in May 2004. In
addition, Azerbaijan was included in the European Union's European
Neighbourhood Policy in 2004.

Azerbaijan continued active cooperation with the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
and GUUAM [Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova] in
2004.

In 2004, Azerbaijan opened embassies in Hungary, Greece, India,
Canada, Kuwait, Poland and Switzerland and general consulates in Iran
(Tabriz), Russia (St Petersburg) and Turkey (Kars).