Azeri president says new Karabakh settlement stage "almost started"

Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
3 Jan 05

[Presenter] The country's Security Council headed by President Ilham
Aliyev met today. The head of state said that success has been
achieved in all spheres in 2004. The course of the all-national
leader, [Former President] Heydar Aliyev, was continued resolutely.

[Correspondent over video of the meeting] Talks between Azerbaijan and
Armenia on resolving the Nagornyy Karabakh problem are under way in a
direction acceptable for Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev told the
Security Council today.

[Aliyev] A new stage of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over
Nagornyy Karabakh has almost started. The process, which we call the
Prague process, envisages a stage-by-stage solution. I have talked
about that already. It was not easy to achieve this. Of course, I do
not want to say that the issue has already been resolved. The talks
are under way. We are making every effort for the talks to continue in
a direction that will meet our interests.

[Correspondent] Mr Aliyev also said he is confident that the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and other regional projects will be implemented
successfully during the upcoming year.

[Aliyev] One can be optimistic about the year 2005. Of course, it will
depend on our activities and work. I hope that we, the government will
implement these tasks as honestly as always we do.

[Correspondent] The head of state also told the Security Council
members about the work that has been done over the last year and also
about future tasks.

[Aliyev] We have all worked very efficiently during 2004. We, every
one of us in his position, ruled Azerbaijan very resolutely. What is
important is that the policy of our people's national leader, Heydar
Aliyev, remained unchanged. And this is an important factor which
will secure our future success.

[Correspondent] Mr Aliyev also paid special attention to the
enforcement of the state programme on the fight against corruption and
the development of regions. The president said that the state will
continue to do its best to raise the people's living standards.