Information-Analytic Agency
Aug 31 2009

Concerned over the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the Azerbaijani
authorities have decided to once more perform their favorite painfully
primitive trick. Today a number of Opposition political forces, which
have no influence on the country's political life, have announced
their intention to hold rallies in Baku this September, to protest
the Madrid Principles.

The leaders of the National Salvation Party of Azerbaijan and of
the Popular Front of Azerbaijan arranged about an action of protest
against the Madrid Principles, which run counter to Azerbaijan's
national interests.

Since rallies are most rare events in authoritarian Azerbaijan, it is
obvious that an action will by no means be held in the center of Baku
without being sanctioned by the authorities and by President Ilham
Aliyev personally. All the opposition parties' initiatives to hold any
mass actions in the center of Baku were formerly nipped in the bud,
and the opponents of the Aliyev clan had at best to be content with
the most "uncomfortable" conditions on the outskirts of the city. The
fact that the Government-controlled advertised the two small parties'
initiative proves that it was approved by the authorities.

The Azerbaijani authorities have lately been showing a gradual
tendency toward declining the Madrid Principles - in an indirect
way. President Aliyev's rather strange statement last weekend was the
first presage. Speaking of the present state of the Nagorno-Karabakh
peace process, Aliyev expressed the confidence that the problem will
be resolved within Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. That step was
as unconstructive as it could be just before the end of the August
interval and on the threshold of an active stage of the preparations
for the two Presidents' meeting.

No doubt, President Aliyev is well aware of the possible consequences,
namely: the stronger positions of the forces that have for a long time
been objecting to the Madrid Principles in Armenia and consider any
territorial concessions to Azerbaijan inadmissible. What else does
official Baku need for if not for concealing its own unconstructive
approaches, torpedoing the negotiations, which are not following a
course favored by Azerbaijan. In this context, one is not surprised
at the reports on the Opposition-planned rallies just a couple of
days after Aliyev's statement. These tendencies should be expected
to grow stronger and stronger in Azerbaijan as the Sargsyan-Aliyev
meeting is drawing closer.